Creating your D&D character is always an exciting experience, especially when you combine alignment with backstory! Neutral Good is one of the more heroic alignments representing our most iconic names in anime, comics, video games, and movies. Let’s look at what it means to roleplay a Neutral Good character in the world of D&D and what you can expect to meet on your travels!
Neutral Good characters are selfless and self-sacrificing, even if it means disregarding their self-interests if it means others will benefit. They follow the law but will not hesitate to ignore it if they believe it is inhumane or unjust. They describe most heroes, like superman and spiderman.
The Neutral Good alignment contains plenty of feel-good moments along the way, and we will discuss all things necessary to enhance your journey! We’ll cover personality traits and quirks, interactions with other alignments, background variations, popular anime and movie characters that share the Neutral Good alignment, and even some Neutral good gods.
What Does It Mean To Play A Neutral Good Alignment in D&D?
Neutral Good characters desire to produce benevolent results by doing good that benefits others. While they would adhere to the laws of a town to maintain peace, their desire to alleviate suffering takes precedence, so they have no qualms about ignoring the law if they believe it will produce a more wholesome result.
If the law isn’t good, they are not under obligation to follow it. In fact, they may see it as reasonable to disobey laws that did harm for the greater good.
A Neutral Good cleric might consider their duty as a healer to the injured of both warring sides; healing one side could create bitterness between them, while treating both might lead to resolution. They oppose Evil characters who openly choose to harm others. So you’ll often find them saving the village chief’s daughter, clearing the nearby den of wolves, or escorting an injured elven priestess to a safe location.
Your Neutral Good characters can come in different flavors, too. Some treat benevolence as an obligation, devoting themselves to a life of goodwill without question. Their desire to do good acts like a compass to guide them toward those needing assistance. They can be self-sacrificing to a fault, often putting aside their own happiness for the sake of producing a favorable outcome.
Neutral Good characters do what is good without bias for or against order. They value freedom and use it to protect those close to them. In the anime series Naruto, Hatake Kakashi is a Neutral Good character who has this to say about his work as a ninja:
“In a ninja’s world, those who violate the rules and fail to follow orders are garbage. However, those who do not care for and support their fellows… are even lower than garbage!”
Heroes often carry the Neutral Good mantle, seeking to do good at every turn to right wrongs and fight evil. Their principles are steadfast, and when they can rely on their beliefs to push them forward when they face a challenge for which they are unprepared.
“Deserves death? I daresay [Gollum] does. Many who live deserve death. And some who die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment.”
His dutiful attitude toward doing good does not make him Lawful Good, but rather it means he will do good regardless of the existence of lawlessness and let others apply the labels and judgements of it all.
How Has Neutral Good Changed Since Its Inception?
Neutral Good offers the player much more flexibility regarding roleplaying aspects, allowing them to choose their degree of benevolence.
When Tactical Studies Rules (TSR) published the first ruleset of D&D in 1974, players could choose from only three possible alignments: Lawful, Chaotic, and Neutral.
- Lawful – Obedience to and a desire to fulfill the law
- Chaotic – Rebellion that birthed self-expression and served self-interest
- Neutral – Neutral didn’t necessarily mean balanced, but living between the two extremes of utterly Lawful and utterly Chaotic
The first hint of a proper good alignment came into existence in 1977 with the release of the D&D basic set. It made it easier for players to distinguish between benevolent and malevolent actions.
When D&D 3.5 Edition reared its head with the Eberron Campaign Setting (2004), the gears were well in motion to bring players to what we now know as D&D 5E. It expounded on the 2004 change and allowed players and NPCs (non-playable characters) to adopt any alignment regardless of race, background affiliation, or personality type.
It brought the total number of alignments to nine, with the tenth aligned option for monsters that react according to instinct. If nine alignments sounds familiar, congratulations, you’ve identified the birth (at least in Dungeons & Dragons) of the modern alignment chart that players of 5E, and many common RPG video games, will be most familiar with.
The Good alignment started in black and white, and players experienced several limitations requiring them to tailor their choices accordingly. D&D 5e now counts backgrounds and racial features as secondary gems that dazzle your character, but they fit in other places instead of the front of your crown. You’re the king or queen of your own destiny, and no one will stand in your way!
What Are The Characteristics Of A Neutral Good Character?
Neutral Good characters prioritize benevolence over following laws or social and political rules. They make decisions according to their conscience, which helps them decide whether something is good. They value and protect friends, family, and strangers and do not break their promises unless they believe it is for the greater good of everyone.
Neutral Good characters tend to have the following positive traits:
- They prioritize good for the benefit of all and strive to do what is Right, even if it comes at a high cost to themselves and regardless of local customs or laws.
- Neutral Good characters follow an internal belief system rather than social laws, rules, or a strict code. They use their conscience to determine the course of action necessary to see the goodness brought to light.
- They will adhere to authoritative laws unless the laws are disruptive or unjust. If the law presents the best way to move forward and accomplish their definition of goodness, they will follow it to where it leads but if it is the opposite then they may easily find themselves the villains to authorities in that kingdom.
- Since Neutral Good characters concern themselves with Good results, they become dangerous when the methods for achieving their goodness become irrelevant. A neutral good character’s fanaticism can become scary if their guiding compass of beliefs becomes corrupt and insensitive to others.
- They do not concern themselves with keeping order or tearing down the chaos. Their allegiance is to procure good in the same way dragons hoard treasure.
- Family, friends, acquaintances, and those within their social spheres of influence receive their help whenever they ask, and they extend the same hand of kindness to strangers.
- A Neutral Good character will readily work with Lawful Good characters or according to their rules, but they do not feel beholden to them or adopt the ideals into their belief system.
Neutral Good characters have flaws that stand opposite to their benevolent nature:
- Neutral Good characters will rebel against laws, officials, or authorities that are or appear unnecessarily cruel or unjust in a vacuum, sometimes refusing to look at how actions can affect things in the larger picture.
- They may refuse the opportunity to take the life of someone evil because they believe the deed is not suitable for the greater good.
- Neutral Good characters measure goodness according to their own beliefs. For this reason, they won’t shy away from breaking promises, misleading, or even stealing if it will further the greater good of others.
- Neutral Good characters might refuse to offer assistance if they believe the methods used to achieve a goal are wicked or inhumane.
Lawful Neutral Gods
Milil, the lesser deity of poetry and song, Chauntea, the goddess of agriculture, and Mystra, the Mother of Magic, are Neutral Good gods.
Milil is the Faerûnian lesser deity of poetry, eloquence, creativity, inspiration, and song. Milil took the appearance of a young, charismatic male with golden hair that flowed down to his shoulders.
His unnaturally beautiful features made him indistinguishable between human and elf, and his voice sounded so beautiful it could stop an ogre in its tracks. He wore brightly decorated garments adorned with gold jewelry.
Milil possessed an inspiring personality that radiated with confidence, and his impeccable memory fueled his love for lore from across Toril and brought color to his musical performances. He desired to be the center of attention wherever he went; otherwise, he quickly grew bored. His charismatic nature shared its place with a flirtatious persona toward mortals and deities.
When it comes to allies and enemies:
- Milil served Oghma, the Neutral god of invention, knowledge, and inspiration, along with Gond and Deneir. He had little in common with Gond, so they had a strained relationship.
- He has good relations with some of the more powerful gods, like Sune, Lliira, Mystra, and others from the elven pantheon.
- Milil created a mocking ballad about Cyric, the Prince of lies. The Lord of Song provoked Cyric’s wrath, and they became enemies.
Chauntea is the Faerunian goddess of life and bounty. The Earthmother considers herself one with agriculture, plants, and cultivation, while many see her as the tamer version of the Father of Druidry, Silvanus.
When Chauntea appeared in her home realm, her form took the shape of a large, pretty human woman. Her long white hair, which she braided around her head, glittered in the sun, with the length indicative of her age. She had fair brown skin and toned muscular features akin to laborers that toil in a farmer’s field.
Her posture does not betray her femininity and strength, and people often describe her appearance as a rose in full bloom.
Chauntea lived with humility and serene wisdom, having learned the virtue of patience over millennia. She was slow to anger and often pondered for long periods before making hasty decisions. Her caring nature fell on the inhabitants of Toril like a refreshing summer rain, as she loved doing things to enrich their lives.
As for Chauntea’s allies and enemies:
- She possessed a strong bond with nature deities like Mielikki and Shiallia. She was particularly close with Silvanus, but the bonds faded with time.
- Chauntea had a love interest in Lathander, the greater god of renewal, youth, spring, and birth.
- She was enemies with Talona, the Lady of Pestilence, and enjoyed spreading disease and suffering in the natural world. Chauntea also battled Talos, Bane, and Malar, who wrought destruction on nature.
Mystra, formerly Midnight, is a greater goddess that took responsibility for guiding the magic that enveloped Toril. The Mother of all Magic worked tirelessly with the Weave, so magic users experienced incredible miracles and magical mysteries. People believed her to be the embodiment of magic itself.
Mystra had her share of enemies and allies:
- Azuth, the lesser deity of arcane magic, served as Mystra’s primary adviser, along with Velsharoon and Savras as indirect advisers.
- Mystra had allies among Kelemvor, whom she knew when she was mortal, and she had an alliance with Selûne, the goddess of the moon.
- Mystra’s most hostile enemies were Shar and Cyric. Shar opposed her practice of the Weave by creating the Shadow Weave and Cyric, who used to be a mortal alongside Kelemvor and Mystra.
Who Are Some Neutral Good Characters in Pop Culture?
There are far fewer Neutral Good characters than Chaotic Good or Lawful Good characters, which makes sense to some extent as Lawful Good is a much easier trope to write well in TV and Movies, and many readers and cinema fans are fans of Chaotic Good. After all, who doesn’t like a Hans Solo type rogue?
That said, when Neutral Good is done well, the characters tend to be very interesting, have depth, and can be the center to, or accentuate, a very good overall story.
The Ultimate Neutral Good Character: Batman
Wait, Batman is Lawful Good Alignment, isn’t he? Law and Order? You can argue aspects of his character are Lawful Good because of his personal code that he follows such as famously not killing people, but he’s a Vigilante working outside of the law who works for the greater good because it’s the right thing to do, but the number of laws, regulations, or social norms he breaks to do it…much less of a concern.
But nobody would argue that Batman was Chaos or Evil – he is one very popular and intriguing version of what a Neutral Good character can look like and how entertaining those stories can be.
Thor is a super hero in modern comics based off Norse Mythology, and he is a good character who does a lot for the greater good or because it’s right, especially when it involves standing against evil and challenging it head on. He clearly has a deep love for his homeland and yet will disobey the laws of the land or orders of this father, the literal All-Father Odin, God of Gods in Norse Mythology when he believes it’s the right move not because he’s anti-authority, but for the greater good.
Inara (from FireFly)
If you want endless debate on alignment, look at the multiple graphics and memes of Alignment in Firefly that you can find online (most of which I at least partially disagree with – adding to that noise), however Inara fits in very well as Neutral Good.
She has a great heart, cares for the Firefly crew despite massive differences with several of them and you only need to look at the Train Robbery episode to see her lying to a lawman to pull Mal and Zoe out of a tough spot.
Lawful? Absolutely not. Good as she understood it? Close enough.
Are Any Character Backgrounds Inherently Neutral Good?
The D&D5e ruleset provides a lot of freedom, allowing characters to own personality quirks and characteristics that are true or opposite of their background. Soldiers can be hardy and cold or warm and receptive, and a sage can use their knowledge for personal gain or the good of all.
As a soldier, you’re well-versed in the art of combat, learning to wield a weapon from a young age and how to keep yourself alive when death stares you in the face. You might have a history of working with the fighter’s guild or leading a group of elite soldiers in the national army. It could be that you formed a private group of mercenaries for hire, who you thought of as the family.
Although you never knew your parents, the man who raised you was strict but fair and insisted that you return the goodness that you receive to the world. The principle stuck, so people know you as the warrior who will lend a hand, and your fellow companions know they can trust you to watch their back in a fight or scuffle. This describes a Neutral Good soldier.
A lifetime of battle and loss might affect your character differently, causing them to view the world with a cold touch. They decide not to engage with petty emotions like love and friendship, knowing that war can take it away as quickly as it came. This type of soldier might be chaotic neutral, slow to trust, and unwilling to do favors for others. They are unlikely to be merciful to the plight of others.
The vast amount of time spent in your books makes you an expert in several subjects. You enjoy indulging in the literature about the history of the many schools of magic and how they relate to each race. Perhaps your fascination lies in the metaphysics of the spells themselves or the world’s histories, religions, and myths that give it shape and color.
Your findings may alter your perspective of the events of history, causing you to treat certain races, items, or practices with disdain. A lot of harm was done to your people when your allies betrayed you thousands of years ago, and the scriptures made it all too real. You wish the same suffering on those who caused you endless agony, giving your character a Neutral Evil alignment.
Upon researching old records, your character discovers evidence of foul play that caused a devastating war. The remnants left behind swirl in the hearts of both nations like a bitter sickness. With a strong desire to see goodness as the victor, your Neutral Good or Lawful Good character decides to embark on a mission to bring this information to those who need it.
Neutral Good Vs. Lawful Good
There may be times when Lawful Good characters break the law, although those situations are as rare as wyvern’s teeth. Neutral Good characters, conversely, won’t hesitate to break any rule – whether from a king or a dragon – if it means they follow what is good and right.
They are not fueled by chaotic inclinations that have them breaking laws, and for the most part, they will stay within the laws of authority, although with no obligation to follow them.
When faced with a situation where Neutral Good must choose between breaking the law to uphold good or save a life, they do not have the same internal conflict as someone with a Lawful Good alignment.
A Lawful Good character might say that, despite the injustice of losing a life, the law is absolute, and no one is free to decide when it does and does not suit them. A Neutral Good values the intrinsic value of life more, and so it quickly becomes a removable obstacle for the sake of goodness. This is why Neutral Good characters tend to make the most wholesome heroes.
Neutral Good Vs. Lawful Neutral
Neutral Good desires a good outcome and will lend a hand to strangers if it means rescuing a cat from a tree or returning a boy that visited a vampire cave outside the village.
Lawful Neutral have a personal code that directs their actions, and will stubbornly follow it to maintain order and structure. They may not rescue the boy from a vampire cave because their code dictates the mother failed to protect her son, and those who fail to adhere to the law must face the consequences.
In this regard, they consider Neutral Good characters idealistic in their beliefs to want a desirable outcome for all things. They believe that Good does not trump the law, which is absolute and always serves their best interests while producing the best result.
Neutral Good characters will not hesitate to circumvent the law if they consider it unfair, inhumane, or unjust, mainly if the result will produce a benevolent outcome. These kinds of actions will not sit well with Lawful Neutral characters who strongly believe in following the law, even if it means going against self-interests. For this reason, they consider Neutral Good to be unreliable for executing tasks.
Consider that your party wishes to reclaim an ancient dwarvish city from invading orcs who now claim it as their orcish stronghold. The heroic Neutral Good disregards the laws and traditions of war, wishing to jump into the fray by attacking the orcish stronghold head-on and providing a distraction.
The Lawful Neutral character will likely disagree with this plan, pointing out that no one is to attack the stronghold without the dwarven king’s permission and that such a law exists to protect them and the dwarven people.
Neutral Good Vs. True Neutral
Lawful Neutral and Neutral Good characters have the same desire to see a desirable outcome, but their idea of what a desirable outcome looks like may differ considerably.
Neutral Good characters use various means to promote goodness in the hopes of producing their desirable outcome, often going out of their way to help those in need. True Neutral has no interest in self-sacrificing actions or pursuits for the sake of others. They would withhold their assistance to keep a balance between right and wrong, which they believe keeps order.
True Neutral characters care only for things that can advance their own self-interests and thus have no qualms working with Good or Evil characters. Neutral Good characters generally ooze altruism and will jump at the chance to offer a hand if they can change a bad situation into a source of goodness and well-being – changing the world one step at a time.
Regarding friends, allies, and relatives, True Neutral will show qualities of altruism, although they tend to return the treatment they receive.
Neutral Good’s altruism spans far and wide, reaching those unrelated and sometimes even enemies. They readily forgive those who did them harm in the past, believing that nothing good will come from bearing grudges or garnering hate for someone or something.
A True Neutral character’s actions are much more self-serving, as they won’t offer a helping hand and would instead take advantage of an enemy’s weakness instead of showing them mercy. They believe in mutual exchanges for beneficial gain, while Neutral Good strive to treat others as they want others to treat them.
Neutral Good Alignment, Concluded
Neutral Good characters are the most wholesome heroic types, ready to turn a bad situation into a well that can produce goodness. Their desire to do good will sometimes cause them to ignore the laws of a town or village, although they generally do follow the laws until given a reason not to.
They sometimes find themselves caught in a personal struggle where what seems evil now could clearly be for the greater good…and how exactly do you deal with that? Just following a noble’s orders or doing what you want and forgetting about it in the tavern that night just aren’t options for the Neutral Good mind.
Whatever flavor of Neutral Good you decide to practice with your D&D character, there are many different variations of this to fit into the story your DM is telling and to bring forward your version of good and light wherever your adventures may take you.
Other D&D Articles of Interest
- Best 5E Utility Spells
- 5E Fighter Vs Barbarian Comparison Guide
- 5E Sorcerer Vs Wizard Comparison Guide
- 5E Passive Perception Guide
- 5E DnD Damage Guide: Types of Damage in D&D
- DnD True Neutral Alignment Guide
Proud to embrace the locally created moniker of “Corrupt Overlord” from one of the all time great Lords of Waterdeep runs, Shane is one member of the Assorted Meeples crew and will be hard at work creating awesome content for the website. He is a long-time player of board games, one time semi-professional poker player, and tends to run to the quirky or RPG side of things when it comes to playing video games. He loves tabletop roleplaying systems like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Werewolf, Fate, and others, and not only has been a player but has run games as DM for years. You can find his other work in publications like Level Skip or Hobby Lark.