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Thread: Evil Groups

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    Evil Groups

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.
    "On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    - Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

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    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.
    "Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth." - JFK

    "If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all."
    - Noam Chomsky

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    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.
    "And then you wake up."

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    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!
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    Grimwell

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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronpyatt View Post
    ....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 .

    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
    Ask me no questions, and I'll tell you no lies.

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    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.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
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    The Olde Phoenix Inn

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    I think it is done well in real life all the time. Every heard of MS13? There are tons of examples.
    "Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth." - JFK

    "If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all."
    - Noam Chomsky

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    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.

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    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

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    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.


    Just a random bored person with a computer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Engar View Post
    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.
    HARRY DRESDEN WIZARD
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    Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates.
    No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.

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    Evil Campaign

    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

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