A lawful evil villain methodically takes what he wants within the limits of his code of conduct without regard for whom it hurts. He cares about tradition, loyalty, and order but not about freedom, dignity, or life. He plays by the rules but without mercy or compassion. He is comfortable in a hierarchy and would like to rule, but is willing to serve. He condemns others not according to their actions but according to race, religion, homeland, or social rank. He is loath to break laws or promises.
This reluctance comes partly from his nature and partly because he depends on order to protect himself from those who oppose him on moral grounds. Some lawful evil villains have particular taboos, such as not killing in cold blood (but having underlings do it) or not letting children come to harm (if it can be helped). They imagine that these compunctions put them above unprincipled villains.
Some lawful evil people and creatures commit themselves to evil with a zeal like that of a crusader committed to good. Beyond being willing to hurt others for their own ends, they take pleasure in spreading evil as an end unto itself. They may also see doing evil as part of a duty to an evil deity or master.
Lawful evil is sometimes called "diabolical," because devils are the epitome of lawful evil.
Lawful evil creatures consider their alignment to be the best because it combines honor with a dedicated self-interest.
Lawful evil is the most dangerous alignment because it represents methodical, intentional, and frequently successful evil.
Creatures of this alignments are great respecters of laws and strict order, but life, beauty, truth, freedom, and the like are held as valueless, or at least scorned. By adhering to stringent discipline, those of lawful evil alignments hope to impose their yoke upon the world. Obviously, all order is not good, nor are all laws beneficial. Lawful evil creatures consider order as the means by which each group is properly placed in the cosmos, from the lowest to the highest, strongest first, weakest last. Good is seen as an excuse to promote the mediocrity of the whole and suppress the better and more capable, while lawful evilness allows each group to structure itself and fix its place as compared to others, serving the stronger, but being served by the weaker.
These characters believe in using society and its laws to benefit themselves. Structure and organization elevate those who deserve to rule as well as provide a clearly defined hierarchy between master and servant. To this end, lawful evil characters support laws and societies that protect their own concerns. If someone is hurt or suffers because of a law that benefits lawful evil characters, too bad. Lawful evil characters obey the law out of fear of punishment. Because they may be forced to honor an unfavorable contract or oath they have made, lawful evil characters are usually very careful about giving their word. Once given, they break their word only if they can find a way to do it legally, within the laws of the society.
The cliché that there is "No honor among thieves" is false when dealing with the lawful evil character. This is a person who is driven to attain his goals through force, power, and intimidation. Yet the lawful evil stands apart from the norm, with his own, personal, code of ethics. He expects loyalty from his minions, punishing disloyalty and treachery with a swift merciful death. A lawful evil character will define his terms and live by them, whether anyone else likes it or not.
Lawful evil characters value the allegiances that they have with their cause, government, religion, or other organization. They also value those individuals that they call allies. Betraying a friend is just as much a transgression for the lawful evil as it is for the lawful good. Lawful evil characters always try to work within the law, since it's the safest way to ensure your own success. Breaking the law results in possible punishment and forfeiture of both wealth and power, and the lawful evil is loath to give up what he has attained through his own determination. These characters also like to use the law to destroy their enemies. If a lawful evil can find devastating evidence of a rival's wrongdoing, you can be assured that he will use this information to his own advantage.
This character seeks to increase his power over others within the hierarchy of the universe, with the strongest first and the weakest last. Naturally, most adherents of this alignment wish to be first. Like the other two lawful alignments, the lawful evil being normally holds that strict order is of utmost importance, but he sees it as necessary to further the ends of the deserving (strong ) over the undeserving (weak and worthless). Usually it is that being's own ends that are to be promoted above all others, but he respects the will of the group and the power and authority of those above him--unless he believes his superiors are not deserving of that position. A lawful evil being is seldom subject to the secular laws of good society in general, as he sees those laws as restrictive and unfair because they deny the worthy their proper place. So-called "good" is seen as a means by which the undeserving are placed and maintained in positions of power, whereas each person should be allotted his place by his leaders according to personal merit. Life is valueless to the lawful evil character; those too weak to defend their possessions and positions don't deserve to have them in the first place.
A lawful evil character will keep his word if he gives it and will never lie, although he may mislead or withhold information. He will attack and kill an unarmed foe and will harm an innocent. He will use torture to extract information, but never for pleasure. He will kill only to advance himself, never for pleasure. A lawful evil character will use poison. He will not help those in need without a reward and he prefers to work with others. He responds well to higher authority, is trustful of organizations, and will always follow the law. He will never betray a family member, comrade, or friend. Lawful evil characters respect the concepts of self-discipline and honor.
Here are some possible adjectives describing lawful evil characters: cruel, vengeful, proud, callous, hostile, taciturn, malevolent, calculating, plotting, merciless, domineering, severe, tyrannical, commanding, organized, and respectful of authority and power.