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michaeljearley
07-30-2008, 04:27 PM
Has anyone ever run, or participated in a successful evil campaign? By successful, I mean that the players only killed one-another when it was character driven, not just because they could or were sterotypically evil.

Valdar
07-30-2008, 04:41 PM
I've run games where I've allowed evil characters. In retrospect, it never turned out all that well- the player just wanted to use his alignment to justify being disruptive and antisocial. It never brought the game down completely, but it never added anything to the game either.

I've never run an all-evil game. I'm not sure I could think of a plot for evil characters that I'd be interested in running.

fmitchell
07-30-2008, 04:57 PM
In college I was thrown out of an evil campaign in 2ed. It was really because I missed a number of sessions (hello, Physics Major!), but the in-game reasons were that I was too crazy to be trusted (which is how the DM played me when I wasn't there), and that the Barbarian of the party finally realized I was a Magic User. (I was thrown out not in a regular session, but a "special session" called because all of us were in the dorm at the time.)

Don't know if that counts.

The major problem with an all-evil campaign is that evil characters, by definition, will stab each other in the back if the reward for doing so is greater than the perceived benefit of keeping his compatriots as allies. You need a greater threat to keep them together.

Engar
07-30-2008, 06:17 PM
I have always allowed evil characters; although, I do encourage cooperation. I do not protect characters from each other and I will creatively reveal schemes of a PC working against the party just as I would an NPC. It is a fine line between evil PC and guest NPC villain, crossing it means empty your pockets of all those PC issue four leaf clovers. We can dance, but I lead.

I have had a few PC's start out one way and change over time, including a very Raistlinesque mage. The only players to succeed with evil characters in my games have been the most accomplished roleplayers (even then not always).

I had one group so attached to the character (always evil just interestingly so) they planned an intervention. It involved secret questing for a helm of alignment changing whenever the player missed a session. Finally they took him by surprise as a group, tied him up and forced the helm on him. In hind sight, I allowed the party to do what I disallowed the evil PC to do (plot against the group/individual in full secret) and I realized it was a mistake. He was a good sport, but it was not much fun for him.

Moritz
07-30-2008, 06:26 PM
I ran an evil game. The characters died mostly not by one another's hands, but lack thereof. If a character went down, the others really weren't willing to help them or waste resources on that character, so they would die (reroll time).

It lasted about 3 sessions. It was kinda fun, but not worth pursuing.

Grimwell
07-30-2008, 06:59 PM
In my limited experience "evil campaigns" tend to flounder because people see them as an opportunity to blow off some steam and do things that they wouldn't do with a normal character. They lack the attachment, or use it to be socially unacceptable.

The best way I've found to manage it is to keep the party busy within the story context of the game. If they don't have enough down time to stop and find ways to screw over the other characters, they can be sufficiently evil and still progress as a group.

Example: They are in a village that's under attack. They don't defend it and protect the people (the good thing to do), but they do work as a group to carve a path out and exit the doomed village (the evil thing to do). Or they defeat the leaders of the attacking force and take charge of them for their own evil needs (the really evil thing to do).

I also focus more on the concept of ramifications in darker campaigns. If the players are driving their characters as evil incarnate, they quickly become targets for the heroes of the world. The "right thing to do" is to put these evil masterminds down, or bring them to justice. Or perhaps they get a high powered master who grooms them along over the course of time, so they can do his bidding, but then he turns on them before they get too evil.

Busy though, keep them so busy they can't stop to think up creative ways to be mean. That always helps!

ronpyatt
07-30-2008, 07:00 PM
My group's evil game lasted a couple of years. I'd say successful. The dynamic worked because most of us were opportunists ready to take advantage of a good aligned world. With a couple of manipulative evil-doers, it was easy to manipulate the chaotic evil types. We succeeded in making it to epic level (we started at 1st level). As I've mentioned before, evil people have friends too. You can play evil smart or evil stupid. Just make sure your leaders are playing evil smart.

dalenvec
07-30-2008, 07:21 PM
....evil people have friends too. You can play evil smart or evil stupid. Just make sure your leaders are playing evil smart.

Couldnt agree more. Ive played a number of evil pc's and even in a whole group of them, we where all LE or NE and worked together well, just because your evil doesnt mean you cant have a sence of honor(twisted as it might be) or work for the better good of the group.

the group i was in worked for an evil warlord, and we became his elite guard/special forces whatever, we raped pilaged murdered, you name it we probably did it. If there was a disagreement between two members, we'd let em fist fight it out and then went and grabed the local farm girl.... the group lasted quite awhile till we all got killed trying to actually overthrow the warlord we where working for... thats another matter.

I played a CE barbarian once and over time i ended up being NG divine champion of Sune(FR).
I had another CE drow assassian that roleplayed as a LG swashback, i never killed the party, but i did get them captured, to turn around and swoop in and rescue them to make myself look good :D.

Most people assume, because your evil, you have to be a dick and screw everyone over, not realizing you can work for a common cause just fine with a Paladin, just dont let on that you consort with demons or devils, and you can even do the accasional good act to keep good faith, but still practice evil deeds.
I even gave half my money to an orphanage once on my drow, but that was more of a random act of chaos then any thing else, that and i did end up selling the children into slavery in the underdark when the came of age...
you can play evil, just have to play it with style

tesral
07-30-2008, 08:51 PM
Once, but only because the party leader was the evil one. Smart evil. Goal driven don't get in my way evil. And the player is good at it.

A general "we is all evil" group? Never seen it done or done well.

Engar
07-30-2008, 09:13 PM
I think it is done well in real life all the time. Every heard of MS13? There are tons of examples.

Bearfoot_Adam
07-30-2008, 10:38 PM
I always wanted to play and evil game where the characters are LE & NE. It would start of in an evil land. Full of savage races and the like. So as the characters got started it wouldn't be too bad cause all the bad stuff they would do would be to other bad people and races. Once they got enough power thats when the heroes from the good lands would come and try to take it away. Never got a chance to run it. Maybe one of these days.

gdmcbride
07-31-2008, 05:00 AM
I ran a multi-year Wizards of Thay campaign where everyone in the party was:

1) Lawful Evil
2) A wizard (at least predominantly)
3) A loyal member of the Red Wizards

The PCs played basically a Red Wizards special ops team who travelled the world furthering the goals of the zulkirs. It was a great game! I enjoyed the hell out of it. It went from 3rd to 12th level (D&D 3.5).

There are a number of keys to running a successful evil game I learned from that campaign:

1.) Give the characters a reason to stick together and work together. The Zulkirs (leaders of the Red Wizards) did not like it when missions failed. Attacking your fellow Red Wizards was a crime and resulted in draconian punishment (at least when there was a proof....) These two facts were clearly stated, vigorously enforced and made the game so much smoother.

2.) Small number of players. The game had at its height six players and for most of its duration had only five. And more than that would have seriously bogged down the game. I'm not sure four wouldn't have been better.

3) The PCs were not each others primary enemy. Yes, there were some bitter rivalries in the group and one PC did assassinate another (it was such a great setup!). But the PCs consistently had worse problems than each other. And they had to admit, they would usually rather assault Enemy X with five associates (and their minions, magic resources and so forth) rather than with less...

Gary

Addis Hellfire
07-31-2008, 05:24 AM
Played and finished a evil campaign almost a year ago. It actually went really well, and we managed to avoid PvP . .. . for the most part (Aurak Draconian Archmage getting tired of the bickering going on around him and explaining how he could kill all the members of the party with only a few words stopped the fight pretty quickly lol)

It was set in Dragonlance Chronicles, and 4/6 of the party were Draconians (me being the Aurak). We ended up killing off most of the heroes and changing the course of history.

Webhead
07-31-2008, 09:00 AM
I think it is done well in real life all the time. Every heard of MS13? There are tons of examples.

Which is one reason (of several) that I tend to avoid running "evil" campaigns when possible. There's enough discouraging blackness and shades of gray in real life that I don't feel much compelled to explore even more of that at the game table...not from a player's perspective at least (I love to GM dastardly villains though...a hero is meaningless without a good villain).

Not that I never have or never would play "evil" characters or in an "evil" game...that's a role playing challenge by itself, and a challenge is good, but I don't think I'd care to be in it for the long-term. But then, I admire selflessness and self-sacrifice in my characters...ideas usually antithetical to most "evil" mentalities as played in RPGs.

Jcosby
07-31-2008, 10:19 AM
One of the most fun campaigns I have ever run was making the players take on the roles of the monsters. I placed them as a party of Orcs in the Spine of the World region in Forgotten Realms and limited them to classes like I would normally with Orcs. The players had a great time ransacking towns, farms and caravans.

I believe it worked because in the end the players all had a common enemy. It was also fun playing PC type NPCs in parties hired to hunt them down.

But as for "PC" evil campaigns I agree with most posts above that they usually just degenerate into an anti-social type of setting which is 100% the opposite from what I try to promote when I run my games.

Jeff

Ramzei
07-31-2008, 10:35 AM
While I have never played in a full group of evil, there have been a few where over half was. It is all about how you play it. Evil can be looked at in 2 ways. The first is screw anyone at any time, but this only offers short-term gain. The other is working with others for greater long-term gain. There was only 1 time it broke down to pvp. That time did not eveolve into a character death or even any damage being done. One of the players had an artifact that could imprision another being, while still allowing communication. One player used it on another, a resolution was come to and no actual fighting took place.
That said, this thread brings into light whether alignments are necessary. Often times, players take evil alignments to give them flexibility with the world. To make a loose analogy, think of Jack Bauer in 24 (hated the show but it will fit the discussion). Often times he had to do things that were not good, or neutral. While he was doing them for a "greater good" there were times he did evil things. I wouldn't consider his character to be evil, but he needed flexibility to get things done.

Webhead
07-31-2008, 11:30 AM
I did run a "darker" supers game once. The party consisted of a cyber-enhanced drug lord (he was a chemist who was creating his own designer drugs and selling them to big dealers), a sorcerer who was unwittingly possessed by a demon that took control of his body whenever he was unconcious (the player's idea, not mine), and a vampire who was out looking for redemption for his past sins.

It was definately a unique game and was fun to witness as a GM in its own twisted ways. It didn't last very long and it quickly wound up that the sorcerer's demon side (completely controlled by the player) became the central villain of the game without the other players realizing the connection to their fellow party member (they never actually met the demon, only witnessed the results of its diabolical schemes).

The interesting thing about running that game was that I didn't need to create enemies for the party at all...they were more than capable of making their own enemies constantly. As you can imagine, as the "drug lord" PC's schemes began expanding, he was attracting the ire of not only the city police force, but also both rival mafia families that operated within the city and even one of the city's "Batman-esque" super heroes. He was really putting himself between a rock and a hard place. The vampire was the least "troublesome" of the PCs as he mostly kept to his own private devices, never drawing too much attention to himself (except by association of course). And then there was the demon-possessed sorcerer, who had no clue that his demon-half existed, much less that it was behind all the terrible schemes going on including the brutal murder of the wife of one of the world's biggest super heroes (an attempt to provoke the hero into madness).

Yeah, the party created more than enough trouble for themselves that I didn't even have to put any effort behind what to throw at them. The game didn't last more than a handful of sessions, but that's just as well, because things were getting ready to go downhill in really short order.

MortonStromgal
07-31-2008, 01:07 PM
I've run plenty of shades of grey games, I think shades of grey is more fun because almost no one is pure good or evil. Shadowrun even the heroes are still thieves and Vampires still are parasites. I've never been a fan of the evil to be evil games though.

Webhead
07-31-2008, 01:18 PM
Moral and ethical dilemmas in a game are fun. It creates tension, drama and demands that players to make choices and live with the consequences. "Being evil so I can get away with stuff", is not so fun to me.

Valdar
07-31-2008, 03:16 PM
Moral and ethical dilemmas in a game are fun. It creates tension, drama and demands that players to make choices and live with the consequences. "Being evil so I can get away with stuff", is not so fun to me.

This is an excellent way of putting it- If evil characters suffered the appropriate consequences of their actions, they would be incarcerated or killed, and the game would end, so for the sake of the game continuing they can't do so.

tesral
07-31-2008, 04:20 PM
I I had one group so attached to the character (always evil just interestingly so) they planned an intervention. It involved secret questing for a helm of alignment changing whenever the player missed a session. Finally they took him by surprise as a group, tied him up and forced the helm on him. In hind sight, I allowed the party to do what I disallowed the evil PC to do (plot against the group/individual in full secret) and I realized it was a mistake. He was a good sport, but it was not much fun for him.

Another reason to ditch alignment.

The standing definition of "evil" seems to fit the cartoon mold. One can hear Dishonest John cackle and mustache twirl in the background as he minces away from his latest dastardly deed.. "I'm so evil I don't even like meee!"

I am shaking my head sadly. "Evil" doesn't have to be any of that. Evil can be loyal to a group, evil can cooperate for long periods of time. Heck, Congress hasn't killed anyone on the House floor in ages. A bigger collection of crooks, lairs and robbers you will not find outside of a prison.

By my reckoning the "evil" ones in that group forced a change against the free will of another person. Sounds pretty evil to me.

A sane person does not consider themselves evil. Evil for the sake of evil is a sure sign they are not evil, they are nuts. Ergo the whole concept of the "evil character" is unbalanced, and not in the game system sense. I'll play the character, personality motivations, morals. If I decide that the morals are optional according to circumstances, you might get one of them there "evil" types. They are never going to declare, "Well that would be the evil thing to do, so I'll do that." Dishonest John is not welcome.

Webhead
07-31-2008, 04:37 PM
This is an excellent way of putting it- If evil characters suffered the appropriate consequences of their actions, they would be incarcerated or killed, and the game would end, so for the sake of the game continuing they can't do so.

True. Also, too often "evil" PCs carry the mentality "I can murder, lie, cheat and steal as needed to achieve my goals, and it's okay because I'm evil".

Engar
07-31-2008, 04:45 PM
Another reason to ditch alignment...

Maybe, but not because the others in the party knew the alignment specifically or detected it. They judged the character by his actions and arguments, not by some moniker. If the argument is because of the helm, okay. I still like the alignment system, I just wish I had given the PC hints or hooks regarding the other PC's actions as I would do for any other antagonist.

Bearfoot_Adam
07-31-2008, 06:23 PM
The one thing I would like in an evil game is to show how a LE society really isn't that differant from a LG society. The evil people may find murder , pilliging and other such afterschool activites as acceptable but they don't do them becasue it is against the law. However nothing is stopping them from slaughtering the band of orcs near the town. Stopping the orc raiders is something that a LG character would see as the right thing to do just as the LE character would.

Webhead
07-31-2008, 08:14 PM
Another reason to ditch alignment.

The standing definition of "evil" seems to fit the cartoon mold. One can hear Dishonest John cackle and mustache twirl in the background as he minces away from his latest dastardly deed.. "I'm so evil I don't even like meee!"

I am shaking my head sadly. "Evil" doesn't have to be any of that. Evil can be loyal to a group, evil can cooperate for long periods of time. Heck, Congress hasn't killed anyone on the House floor in ages. A bigger collection of crooks, lairs and robbers you will not find outside of a prison.

By my reckoning the "evil" ones in that group forced a change against the free will of another person. Sounds pretty evil to me.

A sane person does not consider themselves evil. Evil for the sake of evil is a sure sign they are not evil, they are nuts. Ergo the whole concept of the "evil character" is unbalanced, and not in the game system sense. I'll play the character, personality motivations, morals. If I decide that the morals are optional according to circumstances, you might get one of them there "evil" types. They are never going to declare, "Well that would be the evil thing to do, so I'll do that." Dishonest John is not welcome.

True. "Evil" can be a very complex thing. "Evil" can be selfish or selfless, well-intentioned or malicious, orderly or chaotic. What distinguishes "evil" from "good" to me is more about what an individual is willing to do to achieve their goals.

Example time: Greed. Greed is a powerful thing, but greed itself is not "evil" (sinful perhaps, but hear me out). Let's use an example of a character with a lust for gold.

A "Good" greedy person might simply be an "opportunist". They want to amass as much gold as possible, but they will pursue "normal" civil means of accruing it. They will seek to earn gold at any given opportunity, but they will not violate law or personal conduct to do so. They satisfy their greed through channels that do not infringe upon the rights of others. If their neighbor has something he wants, he will barter, haggle and attempt to persuade for satisfaction, but when all fails, he will not resort to murder, deceit and theft to achieve his goal. Simplified philosophy: "I will do what I can to achieve my goal, but I won't abuse others to do so."

An "Evil" greedy person may outwardly want the same thing. They want gold and lots of it. However, satisfying the greed itself, is more important than obeying the "rights" of others. He will seek satisfaction in the most reasonable and least obtrusive way possible, but when "legitimate" means do not serve or fulfill his desire, he will consider further. If his neighbor has something he wants and all attempts to acquire it "legitimately" fail, he will plot to acquire it some other way. He will still tend to (if intelligent) seek the path of least risk, but in his mind, satisfying his desire is more important than respecting his neighbor's "rights". If coersion, deceit, theft or murder will get the character what he wants, and he can do so in a way that does not greatly threaten his life, liberty and personal goals, he will use them. He sees those methods as merely "tools" to be used to achieve an end, and the end is the supreme importance. Simplified philosophy: "I will do whatever is necessary to achieve my goal, using the most sensible and effective means, even if it infringes upon the rights of others."

rabkala
07-31-2008, 10:06 PM
Evil campaigns are the best! They work when the world is a horrible place, more evil than the players can be. I am that evil.

Maturity helps a great deal. In the past eons, many groups degenerated into constant in fighting. If your players are responsible adults, it s far easier to manipulate them and make them cooperate.

Alignment is but a foolish guide. Do you play Lawful stupid paladins? Why play chaotic stupid rouges?


Or just play Canadian metric rules wargames! Nothing is more evil ! :canada:

Valdar
08-04-2008, 11:37 AM
Reading about alignment in 4e, it's more gone now than I thought before. Now it's down to a personality trait: No attacks selectively target alignment anymore. No spells or other abilities detect it. No classes are restricted in what alignment they can be. Players now have the explicit option to not take an alignment, and most creatures (and gods!) don't have one. In fact, the only game mechanic that mentions it is a specific paladin paragon path power that gets a possible free recharge if you kill an evil creature with it (more stuff might be coming, or that might just have been something slipping through the cracks...)

Engar
08-04-2008, 12:08 PM
Alignment does not exist in 4e. They just kept a few familiar words. I think they should have reduced it to aliance and horde.

ignimbrite
08-04-2008, 03:21 PM
I also ran a successful evil campaign - rather simlar to Jcobsy.

I had the group be a collection of goblinoids in Eberron centered in Darguun. The whole campaign was centered around the idea of restoring the goblinoid empire that had spanned Khorvaire prior to humans showing up.
The group had a great time planning ambushes, raiding caravans, making shady deals with peoplewho exchanged money for 'favours' in the future, dodging warforged paladins. It was a riot. Too bad I had to move before we finished.

I also did a more normal evil campaign and I found it very difficult to motivate the players. I would come up with a plot hook and resonable reward and the guy running the mage would usually go 'I want double or my character isn't interested'. Really annoying and hard to deal with because it skewed wealth guidelines etc.

Anaesthesia
08-04-2008, 04:29 PM
I've ran (and been in) succesful evil campaigns.

The only thing that irks me is the people who out and out refuse to be in a Neutral or Evil campaign (and on further questioning of why they won't play anything other than a LG Cleric of Pelor, is for the most part they never had played a neutral or evil campaign).

Bearfoot_Adam
08-04-2008, 05:52 PM
As far as evil campaigns has anyone run a succesful gurps goblins campaign or paranoia campaign. These are two games that seem really fun to me. I wouldn't call them out and out evil settings . Just kind of low grade evil not apacolyptic evil.

boulet
08-04-2008, 09:16 PM
Paranoia is quite different to D&D in the way that player competitiveness is encouraged and supported (6 clones for instance). I think a successful Paranoia game starts with a little bit of preparation for the necessary mindset : it's OK to lose characters because it brings the dark comedy into motion. Plus, every PCs are members of a secret organization... Players don't know which secret groups other PCs belong to, but they know (by metagame) it's the case. The only cohesion of the group relies on the mission given by the Computer : but it has less priority than denouncing traitors. One could say this mission is anecdotal to the PvP competition, plus it's usually a non-sense mission anyway. So "evil" doesn't describe the typical Paranoia group dynamic IMO. It's more of an existentialist/Kafkaesque exploration of totalitarianism, or disciplined societies in general one could add. It's truly a subversive game (which explains why I enjoy it very much :))

tesral
08-04-2008, 11:13 PM
So "evil" doesn't describe the typical Paranoia group dynamic IMO. It's more of an existentialist/Kafkaesque exploration of totalitarianism, or disciplined societies in general one could add. It's truly a subversive game (which explains why I enjoy it very much :))

The only way I can win is to kill my entire team and denounce myself to the computer. So I do.

It's happened. The mind set is NOT long term we are going to play these characters for years. It is wacky, toonisque, over the top, how bad can we possibly make it RPG.

There is no insanity score in Paranoia, you start that way and get worse. Evil is just a way of life, the Computer said so, trust the Computer.

Valdar
08-04-2008, 11:30 PM
The only thing that irks me is the people who out and out refuse to be in a Neutral or Evil campaign (and on further questioning of why they won't play anything other than a LG Cleric of Pelor, is for the most part they never had played a neutral or evil campaign).

I'd refuse to play in one because it wouldn't interest me. If it works for other people, great- but the prisoner's dilemma is working against you in an evil game- your party is enjoying an unstable truce for the medium-level reward of party cohesion, but someone will eventually go for the high-level reward of screwing over their party members.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
08-04-2008, 11:53 PM
Either played in them or ran them for over 30 years. Definitely fun and challenging. All one has to remember is that evil does NOT equate to stupid or lacking common sense. An evil character does not sabotage oneself.

Thoth-Amon

Anaesthesia
08-05-2008, 12:57 PM
I'd refuse to play in one because it wouldn't interest me.

At least that's a reasonable answer. I've encountered at least 3 people that couldn't be persuaded to be anything other than a LG Cleric when I try to do a Evil/Neutral campaign. Heck, I can't even get those guys to play anything other than a LG Cleric in my regular campaigns (even if there is 2 other LG Clerics/Divine Casters already).

ETA:For some reason, whenever I advertise or say that I want to run an Evil or Neutral campaign, I always get one guy that says "I want to be in your campaign, but I have to be LG. I can't be seen playing an Evil or Neutral character." I had on occasion had people state that they'd desperately wanted to be in my Evil campaign, asked if they were allowed to be LG and if I'd allow them to convert everyone else to be of a good alingment/their Deity.

Webhead
08-05-2008, 01:26 PM
I wouldn't refuse to play/run "evil" campaigns, but I don't have much long-term interest in them. I just don't enjoy that style of play as much.

The primary problem I encounter when running campaigns for "evil" PCs, is that "evil" most often equates to "self-serving". "Evil" PCs value themselves and their well-being, goals and desires over most everything else. Whatever it is that serves their best interest is the direction they will go.

It makes it difficult to hook "evil" PCs into adventures because unless they perceive that the adventure can somehow advance what they want (or can be twisted as such), they would just as soon prefer to apply their time, resources and effort to other things. An "evil" party isn't going to risk themselves to rescue someone unless that someone can prove to be a valuable asset or possesses something (wealth, knowledge, influence) that the party wants (and can thus be negotiated/blackmailed).

Basically, "evil" PCs begin every consideration with "what do I get out of this?" This essentially means that each plot hook needs to tap into this mentality if it is to have any hope of attracting any attention by the PCs. In the end, "evil" PCs are either 1) protecting their own well-being OR 2) advancing it, which is fine but not the way I generally care to play. As I've said, I like heroics. There's more than enough selfishness to go around. Heroes are very rare.

Webhead
08-05-2008, 01:38 PM
At least that's a reasonable answer. I've encountered at least 3 people that couldn't be persuaded to be anything other than a LG Cleric when I try to do a Evil/Neutral campaign. Heck, I can't even get those guys to play anything other than a LG Cleric in my regular campaigns (even if there is 2 other LG Clerics/Divine Casters already).

ETA:For some reason, whenever I advertise or say that I want to run an Evil or Neutral campaign, I always get one guy that says "I want to be in your campaign, but I have to be LG. I can't be seen playing an Evil or Neutral character." I had on occasion had people state that they'd desperately wanted to be in my Evil campaign, asked if they were allowed to be LG and if I'd allow them to convert everyone else to be of a good alingment/their Deity.

In the long-term of most all-evil parties, I would probably end up becoming the "Darth Vader" of the group. The guy who is evil but who begins to regret the choices he has made until he reaches the point that he can no longer accept what he has become and seeks absolution. Just because the "evil" would get dull and empty after a while and I'd need to pursue other patterns of thought to bring some drama to the character. He might even end up becoming the arch-nemesis of the party. That'd be cool. :)

Valdar
08-05-2008, 02:08 PM
At least that's a reasonable answer. I've encountered at least 3 people that couldn't be persuaded to be anything other than a LG Cleric when I try to do a Evil/Neutral campaign. Heck, I can't even get those guys to play anything other than a LG Cleric in my regular campaigns (even if there is 2 other LG Clerics/Divine Casters already).

ETA:For some reason, whenever I advertise or say that I want to run an Evil or Neutral campaign, I always get one guy that says "I want to be in your campaign, but I have to be LG. I can't be seen playing an Evil or Neutral character." I had on occasion had people state that they'd desperately wanted to be in my Evil campaign, asked if they were allowed to be LG and if I'd allow them to convert everyone else to be of a good alingment/their Deity.

That's just... weird. I guess problem players come in all stripes...

Of the standard nine alignments, I'd say LN is my fav- an ordered society benefits everyone, but altruism gets taken advantage of too often. Even when I play LG, I emphasize the L more than the G. When last I played a Paladin, we had captured the BBEG, and most of the party wanted to find a jail to put him in, but I and the Wizard wanted to hang him in the middle of the town he'd been terrorizing...

Webhead
08-05-2008, 03:14 PM
...Of the standard nine alignments, I'd say LN is my fav- an ordered society benefits everyone, but altruism gets taken advantage of too often. Even when I play LG, I emphasize the L more than the G. When last I played a Paladin, we had captured the BBEG, and most of the party wanted to find a jail to put him in, but I and the Wizard wanted to hang him in the middle of the town he'd been terrorizing...

Of the standard nine, I think my favorite to play is Neutral Good:

Law can be abused and perverted and chaos breeds selfishness, so the importance is about maintaining a balance of peace, freedom and goodness. Too much of a slant in one direction or the other (law or chaos) shifts values. Chaos and law must play equal roles in creating a society that values good. Chaos enough to allow freedom, law enough to encourage peace. As long as these things are in the service of "good" (the protection, preservation, and advancement of all life and liberty), they have their place.

In this way, I tend to play characters who will oppose law if it seems unjust or corrupt, but will just as quickly oppose chaos if it breeds greed, usurpation and the devaluing of life.

Bearfoot_Adam
08-05-2008, 06:32 PM
I don't think evil has to be selfish. There are evil causes out there as well, one may even sacrifise themselves to the cause for the better good. And I feel all true villians think of themselves as the hero.

TAROT
08-06-2008, 12:05 AM
I've no problems with games that stray into the morally grey (or even reprehensible for that matter). Not all the time, perhaps, but it's good sometimes. Vampire is a game where you eat people.

I do have a problem with games where the characters self-describe themselves as "evil." It doesn't feel real to me. "Evil" is a word that people use to describe others, not themselves. Your character might be a narcissistic sadist, but she wouldn't think of herself as "evil." It comes off as cartoony.

You might call your game "mature," "realistic," "grim & gritty," or "R-Rated" and I'll listen to the pitch. When I hear "evil campaign" it sets off a whole mess of alarm bells for me.

tesral
08-06-2008, 12:43 AM
I've no problems with games that stray into the morally grey (or even reprehensible for that matter). Not all the time, perhaps, but it's good sometimes. Vampire is a game where you eat people.

I do have a problem with games where the characters self-describe themselves as "evil." It doesn't feel real to me. "Evil" is a word that people use to describe others, not themselves. Your character might be a narcissistic sadist, but she wouldn't think of herself as "evil." It comes off as cartoony.

You might call your game "mature," "realistic," "grim & gritty," or "R-Rated" and I'll listen to the pitch. When I hear "evil campaign" it sets off a whole mess of alarm bells for me.

And there lies the rub. The sane person does not call themselves "evil". Nothing blows my buffer quite like dialog on the order of "we evil people have to stick together." You expect the "Evils" to come out and do a jazzy dance number on how cool the "Evils" are or some such.

So a self described "Evil" group is going to fail to get my attention as well. Tell my no ethos restrictions and you might have something. You can get mature and R rated and never have a less than heroic group. I will once in a great while toss a situation at my players that simply sucks. Like a demon possessed child that has killed everyone o nthe ship wit hthe demon keeping the child perfectly aware of every minute. Now, deal with the child.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
08-06-2008, 12:57 AM
Wizards battle to show why evil always wins in the end... http://rpgbomb.com/videos/id_8/title_legacy-of-the-spellmaster-dandd-fanfilm/

They just dont play by the rules,

Thoth-Amon

ronpyatt
08-06-2008, 03:35 AM
There really are people that call themselves evil. If you don't know of any, then they just haven't come out to you yet.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
08-06-2008, 08:04 AM
Usually, the people that call themselves evil, really are not. The truly evil dont brag about it.

Btw, what's up with the experience ranking on this site? It's been going nuts that last couple of days. I've added at least 8 comments in the last 18 hours and have dropped from 100 to 90.

Thoth-Amon

ronpyatt
08-06-2008, 10:40 AM
Ah, true evil. That's what playing an evil character is all about. Or is it about playing your interpretation of what an evil character should act like? And does knowing any of these truly-evil-people-that-don'-brag help in roleplaying an evil character? No. I think adding too much reality might take away from the fantastic.

Law Dog
08-06-2008, 10:50 AM
Ah, true evil. That's what playing an evil character is all about. Or is it about playing your interpretation of what an evil character should act like? And does knowing any of these truly-evil-people-that-don'-brag help in roleplaying an evil character? No. I think adding too much reality might take away from the fantastic.

Let's face it though, in most fantasy RPG's the idea of "evil" is pretty cartoonish. One could make a good argument for many folks that walk the real world to be evil. I'm thinking a whole lot of politicians and lawyers here. A combination of selfish and not having the concept of the greater good in mind.

Webhead
08-06-2008, 11:07 AM
Ah, true evil. That's what playing an evil character is all about. Or is it about playing your interpretation of what an evil character should act like? And does knowing any of these truly-evil-people-that-don'-brag help in roleplaying an evil character? No. I think adding too much reality might take away from the fantastic.

Yes, we tend to play exaggerations of "good" and "evil" because it tends to be more fun that way. Sure, the comic book idea of malcontents dressing up and conjuring up elaborate schemes to "rule the world" is a little corny and "unrealistic", but it sure is a lot of fun! :)

Role playing is all about exaggerating reality. That's why there's bizarre creatures, fantastic magic, epic destinies and massive battles. These are the kinds of things most of us can't experience in real life, so its fun to explore them in our imaginations.

tesral
08-06-2008, 11:21 AM
There really are people that call themselves evil. If you don't know of any, then they just haven't come out to you yet.

Then I question how sane they are. I didn't;'t say people never call themselves evil, I said sane people never call themselves evil.

I've met a few, rebellious pretenders. "I'm evil!". Yea, right kid. The truly scary ones don't bother with labels, and if Mr. "Evil" ever met one he would cry for Momma.

A principle I write on. "No one is a villain in their own mind." It is a help in creating opponents that have depth beyond being placed as pop up targets for the PCs gain experience on.

I go much further into depth with NPCs that is usually required. I want a mnemonic for the kind of person I see in that position. Most of it never comes up, but it helps me play the role.

I have stories behind the tableaus that PCs come across. If they mess with it, I have a background for what they may discover. If there is a skeleton lying in the middle of a hall I know why that skeleton is there and who put it there. Adventure hooks are everywhere.

Getting off topic a bit. It is getting back to motivation. I don't like over the top cartoon evil, it is frankly silly. It makes it safe and approachable. Evil, is not over the top. Something or someone that is truly evil is and should be scary.

My current perfect example of insane evil is the Joker in The Dark Knight. Heath Ledge nailed the role into the ground. All the scarier because you can actually see such a person existing.

boulet
08-06-2008, 11:30 AM
There's a type of "evil" PC that I find interesting : they don't have so much to prove about their ethos but they thrive on breaking other characters morale (PC or NPC). An illustration of this type is the evil halfling from the Order of the Stick. Sure he's very much into metagaming, for instance in his insistance to bring down the female paladin (forgot her name) and make her loose her status. Still I find it interesting because it's a roleplay source and there is a plan behind all this badness. So yeah I enjoy "goodie two shoes" busters, they provide a good story.

tesral
08-06-2008, 12:04 PM
There's a type of "evil" PC that I find interesting : they don't have so much to prove about their ethos but they thrive on breaking other characters morale (PC or NPC). An illustration of this type is the evil halfling from the Order of the Stick. Sure he's very much into metagaming, for instance in his insistance to bring down the female paladin (forgot her name) and make her loose her status. Still I find it interesting because it's a roleplay source and there is a plan behind all this badness. So yeah I enjoy "goodie two shoes" busters, they provide a good story.

In that respect they have a great deal to prove about their ethos. Their justification is that there is no good. And an example of good has to be broken to prove their ethos true. So every altruistic hero type out there is a threat to their personal viewpoint. "No one can really be the nice, no one can really be that selfish. Everyone at heart is out for themselves and no one else and if you say different you are lying. Better I can prove it."

Invalidate that and the guilt will flood them and they break. It's a precarious position in that it depends on the behavior of others to validate yourself. Bekal is a fragile personality. I can see a background were someone he thought was good and wonderful disappointed him utterly. He concluded that there is no good and has lived his life accordingly. When he finds a supposed "shining example" he needs to tear it down to continue to justify his own viewpoint.

fmitchell
08-06-2008, 12:09 PM
An illustration of this type is the evil halfling from the Order of the Stick. Sure he's very much into metagaming, for instance in his insistance to bring down the female paladin (forgot her name) and make her loose her status. Still I find it interesting because it's a roleplay source and there is a plan behind all this badness.

That was Belkar at his most "heroic". Usually he just stabs people without warning because they have something he wants, or they just annoy him.

But yeah, the only people who call themselves "evil" are cartoonish supervillains (e.g. the Evil League of Evil), or ineffectual rebels without a clue. The truly evil either think they're "good" (for their warped definition of "good"), or dismiss the labels "good" and "evil" entirely.

To avoid Godwinning this thread, I'll offer up a couple of examples from SF media:

The Borg from Star Trek, who want to "assimilate" new cultures by destroying them and converting other people into units in their hive mind

The Cylons, from the new Battlestar Galactica, who want to wipe out humanity because they are "sinful" and "flawed", and don't deserve to live.

Syndrome, from The Incredibles, who paints himself as a champion of "ordinary people" despite his extraordinary intellect, but in reality wants the adulation and fame of being a "superhero" without really doing anything heroic.

Sutekh, from the Doctor Who episode "The Pyramids of Mars", who said (paraphrasing) that what others call evil, he calls good ... including destroying the universe out of revenge.

Davros, also from Doctor Who, who will quite patiently explain that cooperation between different "races" is impossible, and only when one completely dominates will the universe know peace.

For that matter, Davros's creations, the Daleks, who embody Davros's philosophy and destroy anything that's not a Dalek (or, in some cases, not sufficiently Dalek).

Webhead
08-06-2008, 01:33 PM
But yeah, the only people who call themselves "evil" are cartoonish supervillains (e.g. the Evil League of Evil), or ineffectual rebels without a clue. The truly evil either think they're "good" (for their warped definition of "good"), or dismiss the labels "good" and "evil" entirely.

Or they recognize their actions or behavior as "evil" but view it as necessary either because other means are ineffectual/inefficient or because they are trying to prove a point (a la Heath Ledger's Joker). I'm sure if you asked him if he was "evil" he'd say "Abso-frickin-lutely...but I've got a reason".

And there, I feel, is the rub. Whether someone considers themselves "evil" or not, real "evil" is driven by a purpose. People don't walk around kicking puppies "because I'm evil". If they kick puppies, it's because they have some reasoning (however twisted) behind it. Some might still recognize that kicking puppies is "wrong", but they either don't care enough to carry a conscience about it, or they feel or persuade themselves to feel justified because of some past experience, observation or understanding (again, however demented it is).

I agree that "evil that considers itself evil" is elusively rare in a real world sane mind. Exceedingly more likely is "evil that erroneously believes it is good", "evil that values the ends over the means" or "evil that does not recognize a good/evil duality".

ronpyatt
08-06-2008, 05:46 PM
Then I question how sane they are. I didn't;'t say people never call themselves evil, I said sane people never call themselves evil.Sorry, that wasn't directed at your previous comment. You've explained the insane thing quite well.

This thread has digressed beyond it's original intent. Should we lock it up, and let the new Alignment:Evil thread thrive?

Grimwell
08-06-2008, 11:35 PM
My current perfect example of insane evil is the Joker in The Dark Knight. Heath Ledge nailed the role into the ground. All the scarier because you can actually see such a person existing.

I'm down with you on that one. He's evil, unabashedly so. He's insane, unabashedly so. Yet he is very credible as portrayed. It's easy to suspend your disbelief and buy into the fact that he's doing what he is doing simply to see what happens next.

You can have evil people in your game who will gladly profess that they are knowingly evil without it being unrealistic. They can be very powerful and interesting personalities.

Thing is, just like everything else, you can't have all of your bad guys thinking their evil (even when they are). That's where it becomes cartoon like and a caricature instead of a persona.

tesral
08-08-2008, 11:50 AM
You can have evil people in your game who will gladly profess that they are knowingly evil without it being unrealistic. They can be very powerful and interesting personalities.

Thing is, just like everything else, you can't have all of your bad guys thinking their evil (even when they are). That's where it becomes cartoon like and a caricature instead of a persona.

Must have variety. Otherwise pass out the Power Rangers' suits.

upidstay
08-10-2008, 07:26 AM
I generally don't play evil characters. Did participate in a an ongoing evil campaign for one adventure. I was allowed to come in as a 10th level character, as the party was 10th level.
I played a sorcerer who was basically just a selfish b%$#h. She Cared for nothing or no one but numero uno. She was a sbeautiful as she was deadly. Remember Famke Jansens character in that James Bond flick? Many skill points in Knowledge: Poisons. She murdered the only other female PC because she didn't want the competition. She had sold her soul to a demon lord for 4 points of charisma. I ended up Charming a few of the party members. We crashed a wedding party, where I poisoned the entire wedding party. The groom failed to respond properly when I tried to seduce him, so I killed him last. Then we burned the inn down. Fired upon the city watch when they arrived to put out the fire. We ended up retreating, where I cast Hold Person on one of the fighters. I knew I didn't have to out run the Guard, just my party members. I kept her character sheet for use as a NPC.

Valdar
08-11-2008, 10:46 AM
I generally don't play evil characters. Did participate in a an ongoing evil campaign for one adventure. I was allowed to come in as a 10th level character, as the party was 10th level.
I played a sorcerer who was basically just a selfish b%$#h. She Cared for nothing or no one but numero uno. She was a sbeautiful as she was deadly. Remember Famke Jansens character in that James Bond flick? Many skill points in Knowledge: Poisons. She murdered the only other female PC because she didn't want the competition. She had sold her soul to a demon lord for 4 points of charisma. I ended up Charming a few of the party members. We crashed a wedding party, where I poisoned the entire wedding party. The groom failed to respond properly when I tried to seduce him, so I killed him last. Then we burned the inn down. Fired upon the city watch when they arrived to put out the fire. We ended up retreating, where I cast Hold Person on one of the fighters. I knew I didn't have to out run the Guard, just my party members. I kept her character sheet for use as a NPC.

That's about how I would expect an evil campaign to go. Which is why they don't interest me much as a DM- I'd rather not come up with an elaborate world and story if all the players want to do is watch it burn.

Holocron
09-21-2008, 02:34 AM
Hmm... never really tried an evil campaign...

I played a few adventures where my brother was GM and I was a dark elf mage, and my friend was a were-tiger. We teamed up and had some mischeivious adventures, but we weren't really evil. It didn't really have the same appeal as being heroic, so it only lasted for 2 or 3 adventures.

I've had some moderate success with one of the smarter players being exceptionally evil. It was hard to run the campaign, because I would constantly have to time share between what the villain was doing and what everyone else was doing, because the villain of course had plans he couldn't allow the others to know about, and he was usually travelling seperately from the other players.

I have to give kudos to the villain player though, because he played a truely brilliant evil mastermind, but had the self control to present himself as a good person around the other players' characters. One of my other friends had an evil character that would do evil stuff with him, but he was't always around.

Like I said though, it was a pain to run a campaign like that unless I had the villains doing their thing in a completely different session where most of the other players weren't around.

I find it much more rewarding to give the players who are trying to be good tough moral decisions, and let them try to figure out what would be best.

wbrandel
09-22-2008, 05:01 PM
I have found that most evil campaigns flounder or die horrid deathes is because players very seldom play an evil alignment smart. evil does not mean you kill when you want to but when it is necassary to make a point or for failure. evil characters can and should cooperate due to the fact that there is strength in numbers and your fellow characters will keep you alive (however when they have served their purpose or no longer useful then is the time to remove them, because they know your weaknesses).

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
09-23-2008, 12:55 AM
It's been said before but i will say it again...

Evil does NOT equate to stupid and/or suicidal, never ever!

tesral
09-23-2008, 02:46 AM
It's been said before but i will say it again...

Evil does NOT equate to stupid and/or suicidal, never ever!

The Awful Evil alignment. That cartoon idea of evil that evil does bad things because they are evil. And, if you are not doing bad things, you are not evil, and you can't do good things because you are evil. Eeeeeviiiil....

Pity that alignment props this idea up.

Holocron
09-23-2008, 03:11 AM
Hmm... now that we've had all this discussion about evil campaign groups, and established that evil groups never really worked out, I kind of want to try running or playing in an evil campaign and seeing how it works out. Unfortunately, my gaming opportunities don't even afford me many gaming sessions of any kind...

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
09-23-2008, 09:23 AM
I wasnt aware that it was established that evil games dont work out. I've been playing in evil campaigns for over 30 years and they always worked out well. I believe the reason why they dont for so many others is for the reason i gave earlier on this thread: Evil does NOT equate to stupid and/or suicidal, never ever!

This being said, i believe youll enjoy the evil campaign, Holocron. Be sure to give us updates and your experiences when you begin your evil campaign.

tesral
09-23-2008, 11:58 AM
I wasnt aware that it was established that evil games dont work out. I've been playing in evil campaigns for over 30 years and they always worked out well. I believe the reason why they dont for so many others is for the reason i gave earlier on this thread: Evil does NOT equate to stupid and/or suicidal, never ever!

Problem one. Defining the group as "evil". That sets up certain expectations. I wouldn't define the "group". Define the background and motivations within the party and let the chips fall. Avoid the "E" word. I think it has "stupid" plastered all over it far passed the ability of anyone to scrap it off.. Again, sane people do not define themselves as "evil". They might practice the seven deadly sins one each day of the week, but "evil", no, "I just look out for myself and why should I deny myself anything? Now, those uptight asses at the church of Pelinor, them you have to watch out for. They are always trying to force their goody-goody ideas down your throat, want them or not. Dude, that is real evil."

Holocron
09-24-2008, 03:21 AM
Ahh, I guess it wasn't well established. It seemed like the general trend was for evil groups not to work out, but since Thoth-Amon had several that worked, I guess it can.

I doubt I'll ever be able to run or play in an evil campaign, just not enough time... but if I do I'll post some updates.

I think the closest I'll have is the two players I had that were unrefutably "evil". They knew it and claimed it and were good at it. One was a human necromancer, the other was a "neck-romancer" (vampire). Their initial meeting was edgy... for about two minutes, then they established that cooperation would be mutually beneficial. They played very smartly, and were completely wicked when they knew they could get away with it. The necromancer had all the steal attribute spells (GURPS), so the vampire would charm their victim, and the necromancer would drain the victim of wisdom and split it up between them... The necromancer also had the alter visage spell, which he could maintain indefinitely, and his standard appearance was that of a very handsome long blond haired blue eyed knight, and he had the whole chainmail ensemble to go with it. Needless to say he put on the man of virtue act brilliantly for a long time.