In the 5e game I’m currently part of I have a largely homebrew barbarian golem character, who has lived several centuries and is aligned as true neutral, not because he doesn’t have emotions, but more because he couldn’t care less about mortal concerns. I justified him needing to level up by saying that he spent 50 years in a desert with nothing to eat but sand, and since he usually ate rocks to use the minerals for sustenance, this was the same as starving himself.
As part of the original 3 characters in the campaign he did many great things, such as slaying a dragon, and simultaneously saving, yet also politically condemning a country by killing the king after he was infected with a kind of home brewed infection that turned him into a monster, thus introducing us to the overarching threat of the campaign as we need to go around to several towers in order to destroy entities that are fuelling the spread of the infection.
Since the story I’m telling here, my golem has gotten a lot less dismissive of mortals, partly due to his growing respect for the rest of the party, and the people we’ve interacted with along the way.
However, he wasn’t always like this, and as a result, he has done some really horrific things without caring in the slightest, the worst of which is most likely the time he nonchalantly turned a child into paste whilst fighting a werewolf.
The story begins when our party met a wild man in the forest, he had been hiding in a hole in the ground, trying to live as close to nature as possible, and generally just minding his own business, but he helped us out a bit, so we determined he was an ok guy, cut to a few hours later when as he’s leading us toward the nearest town since collectively our party at the time had the navigation skills of a toddler with a blindfold, he gets suddenly caught in a net trap, and several of the townsfolk come running out of the trees with spears.
Upon confronting the townsfolk we were told that the man was a werewolf, and that he had been stealing their children.
Now remember, we had decided this guy was cool, and the party was good aligned (notably excluding my golem, who was the only person to suggest we let the townspeople do as they please, though the exact wording was “let the local fleshlings deal with their fleshlings problems” again, not evil, just not interested in getting roped up into some anti-witch hunt shenanigans) but despite my arguments the party elected that we would help clear his name, winning over the townsfolk by having our ranger tell their towns equivalent of mayor’s fortune, then having the bard and sorcerer convince him to let us stand guard by the wild man’s cell in case he turned, our thinking was that when he hadn’t transformed in the morning, we could help out our cool friend, then carry on with our journey, letting the town have someone that knew the woods as an ally in tracking down the werewolves.
Later that night however, the guards told us they had seen something run down the street, and we went to investigate, what we saw in the distance thanks to our rangers high passive perception, was a werewolf, running down the street carrying a child.
We immediately gave chase, and eventually followed the werewolf to an old abandoned mansion on the edge of town, that the mayor would later tell us the guards hadn’t thought to check, given that the entire building had been on the verge of collapsing for a while now, I pointed out that fleshlings were stupid, and then we prepared to mount our rescue of the captured child, through the age old strategy of throw the halfling.
After my extremely successful roll sent the ranger through a window on the second floor, the rest of the party began entering the building from below, the plan was simple, the ranger searches for the child, the rest of us make as much noise as possible to lure the werewolf to us.
The ranger found a child, though notably not the one we were looking for, turns out these werewolves were smart, and kept the children in locked rooms so they had constant snacks whenever they wanted, this made the bard declare he would end them, the ranger to quietly comfort the terrified child, the sorcerer to suggest we burn down the building, and me to compliment the forward thinking of the hairy fleshlings I was soon to tear apart.
The plan went well for a while, with the party distracting the werewolves in the main hall of the mansion, whilst the ranger unlocked doors on the second floor, and told the children to wait until we had finished off the werewolves so we could escape, then came the moment we slipped up, you see the DM had thought our party was a little overpowered, so to make up for this he had started getting creative with the combat mechanics of our enemies, he’s since made this a regular thing, and it’s great fun to work around in encounters.
Anyway, the quirk we discovered was that these werewolves regenerated damage done to them very quickly, not instantly, but fast enough that we would start taking serious damage before they did, and this forced us to change strategy, namely by employing another age old strategy “burn the building down with them still inside” to be fair, this was at first accidental burning, as our sorcerer cast a spell to create an area of fire, not remembering that this building was made of wood, and that the spell lasted a minute.
The werewolves, realising they were about to lose their hideout, elected to cut their losses and leave while they could, one of them ran up into an attic, and was chased by our ranger, the second ran down a hallway, and was chased by me.
The sorcerer and bard were too busy frantically trying to open all the doors in the building before it burnt down, and telling the children to run for it, the ranger used a scroll to summon a powerful elemental in the attic that made quick work of the werewolf he was chasing, and he left the building via the main entrance with the others, taking the werewolf body outside so the sorcerer could burn it to ashes, just in case.
Meanwhile, I had chased the other werewolf through the entire mansion, I was big and slow, so it could easily outpace me, but eventually it came to a dead end, the only room the bard and sorcerer hadn’t gone into, and thus containing the final child.
This is where the whole not caring about mortals thing turned a possibly tense hostage situation, into a terrifying example of what true neutral characters are capable of.
The werewolf was holding the child in front of itself, and told me if I came any closer it would kill them, the DM then mentioned that the werewolf was inching toward a window at the other side of the room, clearly intent on breaking it and making an escape, since even with its healing a golem twice its size was still intimidating.
I took a moment to ponder the situation, and weighed my options.
Then I remembered that I was both true neutral, and that I was a barbarian, a barbarian with a single rage left for the day.
So, my golem roared at the werewolf, then charged it at top speed.
the werewolf, surprised by my sudden aggression threw the child at me, the DM then started saying that as the child is in my way, the werewolf starts to make for the window, but before he can say the werewolf tries to break it, I simply ask in a calm, though perhaps slightly menacing voice “why would that slow me down?”
The DM simply asked “what?” And I said, “I bat the child aside and continue charging the werewolf”
The DM made me roll for an attack, and as the dice gods love nothing more than blood sacrifices, I got a nat 20, and then rolled max damage, dealing a whopping 26 damage to an NPC less than 5 hit point, I joked that the child was probably paste now, and the rest of my party were silent, trying to take in what I had done.
The werewolf put up an admirable fight, but the blood sacrifice had pleased the dice gods, and they favoured me throughout, ending with me pinning the werewolf, and unceremoniously ripping off its head.
I left the building, and threw the werewolf’s body on the fire with the other, the child’s remains were buried beneath the building, and as a result, the party never discovered just how terrifying my golem could really be.
Remember kids, true neutral doesn’t have to mean you have no opinions and no personality, it can also be used as a fun way to justify and explain why your usually good character occasionally does or says truly terrible things from the perspective of a good guy, simply because they see the world in a different way.