Tim, one of the players in my Labyrinth Lord campaign wrote me today about alignment. He came of age in the 2e time frame, so his understanding of alignment can be sometimes different than mine. He wrote:
I was thinking about the game world, with the razing lands and everything, and how things seem to be divided among chaos and law, rather than good and evil, and it got me thinking. What would a lawful society with no regard for good vs evil look like? I mean, I think that Imbroglio (Tim's character) is pretty obviously straight Chaos - or Chaotic Neutral in 2E parlance. He commits acts of kindness with the same lack of regard as he does acts of . . . questionable morals. So what would the lawful version of Imbroglio be, writ large to a society? This got me thinking, and it reminded me of a game that I'm playing on my X-Box, Dragon Age 2 . In it, there is a race of beings called the Qunari that are as close to an amoral Lawful society that I can think of. It's actually kind of interesting. They have a philosophy called the Qun, which basically amounts to institutionalized slavery, but slavery to themselves - the goal of their every action being the betterment of their society. Over the course of the game, some Qunari come to the human lands and are disgusted by the rampant chaos endemic to human society. Eventually, their need for order overcomes them and they try and take over the city, which I thought was fascinating - their need for order was so intense that they had to capture the world around it and bend it to their will.
Tim continues on with interesting quotes and links about the Qunari, which you can go dive into with Google's help if you want. I don't know much about Dragon Age,but the Qunari do seem like an interesting spin on Lawful Neutral.
My idea of Lawful Neutral, on an organizational level, is a mindless machine - like the US Post Office, or the British Civil Service. It's a soulless machine bent on doing what it was designed to do and following the rules, with no attention paid to whether the results are good or evil, beneficial or destructive.
So are the Qunari Lawful Neutral, or is Tim high on drugs? What does Lawful Neutral look like in your games? Are your games more involved with the struggle between good and evil, or law and chaos?