I have read many different explanations on the 9 alignments and the 6 extremes all click, but call me stupid I just cannot get my head around the 3 neutral variations (Neutral Good, Neutral, Neutral Evil).

My main issue is how neutral compares to the lawful/chaotic counterpart. For example, does Neutral Good simply mean being always good but 50% of the time going about it lawfully and 50% chaotically/unlawfully? Same could be asked for Neutral Evil.

Similarly for Neutral (true neutral/neutral neutral), does this mean 50% of the time good and the remainder evil, and 50% of the time lawful and the remainder chaotic? Because if so wouldn't this mean that doing equal amounts (50%) of Lawful Good and Chaotic Evil would equate to Neutral, or is it something else completely?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Could you clarify what your undertstanding of chaotic and evil is? You said ot clicks, but I suspect you might have those wrong, if they seem the same as neutral. \$\endgroup\$
    – RHS
    Jun 12 '21 at 4:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to this Stack! Take the tour. This question needs to be RPG system-specific, like for D&D 3.5 or whatever. Still, users will likely will close this question as the site doesn't support these kinds of alignment questions. However, if you've questions on many other aspects of RPGs, please ask! Thank you for participating and have fun! \$\endgroup\$ Jun 12 '21 at 5:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have added the DnD tag. I'm quite confident with my understanding of chaotic, evil etc what I'm confused about is how neutral affects these two scales. Am I on the right track with 50/50 idea eg. Lawful Neutral = 100% Lawful, 50% Good & 50% Evil? \$\endgroup\$
    – FrontEnd
    Jun 12 '21 at 8:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ Definitions vary a bit between D&D editions. Which one are you interested in? Or are you looking for a historical overview? \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Jun 12 '21 at 12:20

Neutral fills the void between the extremes

The main difference is the concern for the law. Lawful X won't break the rules that guide them. Chaotic X don't care for the rules at all. Neutral X will consider the rules and, given the right incentive, break them.

For completeness, let's have a look at the official explanations (from 5e as that is most common).

From the Player's Handbook pg 122:

Lawful good (LG) creatures can be counted on to do the right thing as expected by society. Gold dragons, paladins, and most dwarves are lawful good.

Their idea of what is "right" comes from societal norms, and they will stick to them. Whether those are the rules of the clan, the rules of your religion - somewhere the set of rules you live your life by is codified in some way.

Chaotic good (CG) creatures act as their conscience directs, with little regard for what others expect. Copper dragons, many elves, and unicorns are chaotic good.

So here we're seeing people who have a strong sense of morality and want to do the right thing but really couldn't care less if they break the law doing it.

Neutral good (NG) folk do the best they can to help others according to their needs. Many celestials, some cloud giants, and most gnomes are neutral good.

The neutral, here, is between the two above. Laws have their place and would be considered but breaking them is on the table too. To the lawful good a law is an impenetrable wall, to chaotic good the law has no bearing and to the neutral good the law is a barrier to jump if the need is great enough.

Lawful neutral (LN) individuals act in accordance with law, tradition, or personal codes. Many monks and some wizards are lawful neutral.

Neutral here is a very passive attitude. They follow their rules because they are the rules, not because they're fighting for some greater good like the righteous paladin.

Neutral (N) is the alignment of those who prefer to steer clear of moral questions and don’t take sides, doing what seems best at the time. Lizardfolk, most druids, and many humans are neutral.

Full neutral is the most passive of all - they really don't feel strongly one way or the other. They aren't putting themselves out of their way to help others, but they aren't going to get anything out of making someone else feel bad either. It isn't that they're sometimes really selfless and then can be extremely evil, they just wouldn't put themselves in either situation. They'll also consider laws but they aren't above being broken.

Chaotic neutral (CN) creatures follow their whims,holding their personal freedom above all else. Many barbarians and rogues, and some bards, are chaotic neutral.

The neutrality as above but without any regard for rules.

Lawful evil (LE) creatures methodically take what they want, within the limits of a code of tradition, loyalty, or order. Devils, blue dragons, and hobgoblins are lawful evil.

The text here says it all. As with the other lawful alignments, they won't break their laws, but that is all that stops them - if it wasn't there they'd kill you for being an inconvenience.

Neutral evil (NE) is the alignment of those who do whatever they can get away with, without compassion or qualms. Many drow, some cloud giants, and yugoloths are neutral evil.

"Do whatever they can get away with" is the key bit here. Could they break that law and no one would know? They aren't concerned about any consequence but that which can come back to bite them.

Chaotic evil (CE) creatures act with arbitrary violence, spurred by their greed, hatred, or bloodlust. Demons, red dragons, and orcs are chaotic evil.

These really don't care for anyone but themselves.


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