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Thread: Ask a GM [09/14/08]: "Evil" Campaigns

  1. #301
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    I have ran many evil campaigs, on on many occasions PCs have killed one another, warred each other, killed the prince and took the crown ect, the player were into that, most of the time it was evil fighting a greater evil, but the snobby good guys weren't off limits as in a normal campaign they would be, they robbed magic shops and banks, broke into the princesses room, and relieved her of her jewels and held her ransom


    its about the players, and me ill pretty much run anything, being a long time gm/dm i can make anything mine

  2. #302
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    I really think it's all perception. Case in point...

    As a bard in a little one off game 'cause the other players were late, I had kidnapped the mayor's daughter in a small town and set it up so her lover was the only one that could get past all of my 'traps' and such to rescue her... mainly, I pretended to be evil even though I did do some pretty questionable things, that would make me evil according to some posters. no one died though so that was good. (I think)

    End result though was that the mayor was ousted as proof of his spending the town's profits on his habits appeared (not something folks could stomach), his daughter who I had kidnapped married the hero I coached (in disguise) to step up and save his lover...

    It all worked out. Though.. when the party rolled through, there was an awkward moment or two.

    Mayor: "do I know you?"
    Me: "Oh no, not at all. Oh! Look at the time I have to go, BYE..."

    According to the town, I was evil. (They were pretty naive too about what evil was, but I'm not holding that against them.) According to the paladin in the party, I was evil (or damned near!) and couldn't understand why I would even consider it. I should have focused only on the mayor and not dragged anyone else into it.

    Well.. ok, so say I did get rid of the mayor, what happens then? Who takes over? Does it descend into chaos? am I going to babysit it through the transition?

    So my methods stunk! So be it... but they were better then being tied down to a town and seeing it through. That and his daughter and the new mayor were happy finally.
    Last edited by WhiskeyFur; 10-01-2009 at 01:57 PM. Reason: rewrote it for brevity

  3. #303
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    1) It is only perceptual that killing kids is worse than adults, becuase of the percieved cutting of life before it had a chance to live. I could argue that victimizing elders is worse, after all they have and maybe still be serving the public and the people. They have knowledge experience and wisdom. Children lack anything useful and are completely dependant. They are, in essence, everything republicans hate, people who mooch off of other's success and hard work.

    2) I agree that evil is evil no matter what spin you put on it. But I may put into question the idea that evil loves their children. I don't think we can say that with 100% certainty. Some or even most, ok. But there are people out there, who due to their circumstances or limitations, can only unleash their evil on children, even their own. I think evil may rest in some of us looking for a channel to be funneled through, like stresses. Having children, being responsible for the financial, nutritional, educational, emotional, and physical well being of a new life can be quite testing, and being a helples lump of whiney flesh + being the source of the aggrevation isn't an invitation for cruelty I don't know what is.

    A good vigilante will bring in the bad guys with as little force and as close to their legal rights as possible
    A neutral/selfish mihgt have some fun with them or even outright kill them with a minimal amount of provocation
    Evil won't be too worried about facts or the law or mercy. Going after bad guys is just an excuse to beat people. If they get paid as a bounty hunter, or in reward money good.

    Which kind of brings up tomb raiding?

  4. #304
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    Whiskey. Love the bard story. Bravo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Killwatch View Post
    A good vigilante will bring in the bad guys with as little force and as close to their legal rights as possible
    A neutral/selfish mihgt have some fun with them or even outright kill them with a minimal amount of provocation
    Evil won't be too worried about facts or the law or mercy. Going after bad guys is just an excuse to beat people. If they get paid as a bounty hunter, or in reward money good.
    Three versions of evil (since Disney and holy books don't define it very objectively):

    1) Psychotic. These are the guys in Silence of the Lamb movies, who tend to treat other people like objects. They have no social empathy.

    2) Selfish. As mentioned by Killwatch, these evil people don't worry about facts or law or mercy - because these things don't serve them. Their question always is, "does this help ME, or not?"

    3) Misunderstood. Like the mayor-usurping bard, "good" people can be evil simply by being seen that way by others. I'm dying to use this one to get two paladin armies pissed at each other, and watch some PC heads spin. It would basically look like this:

    Army 1: our Good god's avatar is coming to earth, and your non-worshiping people are living on his landing spot. Move it, or lose it.

    Army 2: OUR Good god gave us this land centuries before your god ever existed, and we will bleed before you displace our women and children, and defile our holy land. Come and get it.
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  6. #306
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMMike View Post
    3) Misunderstood. Like the mayor-usurping bard, "good" people can be evil simply by being seen that way by others. I'm dying to use this one to get two paladin armies pissed at each other, and watch some PC heads spin. It would basically look like this:

    Army 1: our Good god's avatar is coming to earth, and your non-worshiping people are living on his landing spot. Move it, or lose it.

    Army 2: OUR Good god gave us this land centuries before your god ever existed, and we will bleed before you displace our women and children, and defile our holy land. Come and get it.
    I could almost argue a case to wake up that (almost) big evil just to give the two of them something to focus on.

    "Hey! Remember that lich we stuck in stasis a while? How about we let'em loose in between those two armies and see how quickly he gets smashed up? Undead blender, coming right up..."

    Make the lich just powerful enough that it takes both sides to stomp'em flat, and when they're licking their wounds and looking at each other... help'em figure out that they're a lot more powerful working together then at each other's throats, and that while they're wailing on each other, undead baddies like him are making out like a bandit while they're busy.

    Would that make me evil?
    --- Merged from Double Post ---
    Pure silliness here:

    Just had a thought... That could also resolve the issue of those big nasty evil things that are usually left sitting around, in what to do with them.

    Just call that no man's land in between the two armies the evil disposal unit.

    Evil artifact? -toss-
    Lich? -toss-
    Here's some cursed items too... -toss -toss -toss-

    Hit a few buttons and -whirrrrl-crunch-

    No more evil. Next?
    Last edited by WhiskeyFur; 10-05-2009 at 05:17 PM. Reason: Automerged Double Post

  7. #307
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    That. Is. Brilliant!
    I am the very model of a nineteenth centíry historian, I have information Lincoln, Polk, Jacksonian. When it comes to US battles I am very full of trivia, From Montezuma to the shores Algeria. Roosevelt I envy for his awesomeness, Coolidge I disdain for his shamefulness. My forte urban and Michiganian, I am the very model of a nineteenth centíry historian.

  8. #308
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    Quote Originally Posted by Killwatch View Post
    1) It is only perceptual that killing kids is worse than adults, becuase of the percieved cutting of life before it had a chance to live. I could argue that victimizing elders is worse, after all they have and maybe still be serving the public and the people. They have knowledge experience and wisdom. Children lack anything useful and are completely dependant. They are, in essence, everything republicans hate, people who mooch off of other's success and hard work.

    This is a grey area, to me.
    While Elders are a potential resource, unless they are teaching those kids as much as possible (this one acknowledges that not all kids are willing to heed their 'advice') then they are also as much a waste of space as the babies you described above. Kids that do nothing find themselves in dire strights when they are no longer legally children – before, if they turn to crime to try and get their way.
    They pay for their choice, sooner or later.

    I suppose that I have a Repulican view, judging by your comment.
    People that only want to exist off the system, getting everything they want, while doing the least amount of work to get it, is evil. The system that is in place to help the single mother that had her deadbead man jet out of town, and leaving nothing for her and the kids. (I can deal with this.)
    Ripping off this system is morally wrong – which makes it evil. Having more kids just to stay on the system and find excuses to not get work, I find unacceptable.

    2) I agree that evil is evil no matter what spin you put on it. But I may put into question the idea that evil loves their children. I don't think we can say that with 100% certainty. Some or even most, ok.
    It is true that not all evil people (parents or other relatives: aunt, uncle, older sibling/s, etc) love their kids; after all a lot of classic Heroic stories are based how how a child managed to escape and then overcome (best them in some contest, prove to everyone how bad they really are, or even kill them.)
    But there are people out there, who due to their circumstances or limitations, can only unleash their evil on children, even their own. I think evil may rest in some of us looking for a channel to be funneled through, like stresses.
    I could classify this kind of person Vile, not evil.

    Having children, being responsible for the financial, nutritional, educational, emotional, and physical well being of a new life can be quite testing, and being a helples lump of whiney flesh + being the source of the aggrevation isn't an invitation for cruelty I don't know what is.
    Children can also be a source of great Joy, when cared for correctly.
    It's not supposed to be an easy task – some would say that nothing of true value is ever easy.

    A good vigilante will bring in the bad guys with as little force and as close to their legal rights as possible

    A neutral/selfish mihgt have some fun with them or even outright kill them with a minimal amount of provocation

    Evil won't be too worried about facts or the law or mercy. Going after bad guys is just an excuse to beat people. If they get paid as a bounty hunter, or in reward money good.

    Look upon the Writing of Samual Clemmens (Mark Twain) and you will see Good and Evil played out in clear tones: it was why someone did something more then what the person did, that made them evil.
    Both Tom Sawyer and Huckelberry Finn books – as well as quite a few others were examples of this.

    Which kind of brings up tomb raiding?
    Funny you should bring this up.
    As a matter of fact, D&D was the first RPG that made raiding tombs a 'good' thing.
    They put justifications on this otherwise Evil act to make it acceptable to break into someone's burial site and take all their stuff.

    Personally, I believe that it was selfish to the point of being evil to try and take all the good things with you when you died. Remember, funerals are not for the dead, but for the living.
    Representations of what these good things were, was all that was really needed.
    Sure, King Tut took all his stuff with him, but now all of that – plus his mummafied corpse is collecting dust in a museum – the only good news is that lots of people, mostly non-Egypians, are learning lots about that era of time.
    Underestimate No One.

  9. #309
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    What where the results? Elfschwitz Why? Because my players are sick sick people.

    I've found evil games can be a lot of fun so long as your playing with the right group. If you have a player that gets a little scweemish in combay then DO NOT have them in an evil game as your just asking to make them uncomfortable. However that being said being able to throw off the rules and run rampant can be fun. Just make sure everyone is on the same page and clear up where peoples comfort zones are before you get started.

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    I recently tried on the evil hat again with mixed results. Of course it all depends on the players and characters and how they were built to work with each other. However, my character turned evil and it was fun. I held up a mirror to the party's actions (hey, again, most PC's are just people who go around murdering other creatures and taking their stuff) and most folks were not comfortable because they were not ready to defend themselves in their beliefs. Every time i would step out of line, i had a ready quip or parable that justified my actions. Eventually i got my behind beaten down and it was change or die (because might apparently made right with the "good guys"). Funny how my character, while less "morale", was more loyal, brave, honest, and trustworthy to the others than the "do-gooders".

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    I've read many of the posts about the different types of evil characters. I do believe that one has been skipped (although certain people did get close). Some of my favorite villains are the Gothic villains. They are a distinct group in that they are very tragic and very human (even if they are vampires and all other sorts of beings). Most of the epic villains I know fit exclusively in this category. They didn't start out as evil people really. A good portion were decent people with character flaws (typically being selfish in some form or other). Darth Vader's transformation from Anakin Skywalker to a Sith lord is a great example.

    The reason I bring this up is that many GM's don't promote organic play. It is feasible that a PC hero could become a campaigns main villain. It would certainly mean much more to me as a player to see a villain evolve at the table then to simply decide to play an 'evil' character. The problem with evil for the sake of evil is that the motivation is weak. Why play a 'good' or 'evil' campaign when you could play a 'human' campaign? Why not decide who your character is and let the chips fall where they will?

    I realize with games such as D&D, where alignment effects certain game mechanics, that alignment can be an issue of rules. But what use are rules but to make sure that there is fun for all? Do what makes sense and get on to the story that we are all at the table to collectively weave. The less you worry about rules in stone or running a specific game in stone the more fun can be had for all.

    The same can be said of an 'evil' campaign. Setting in stone that a campaign is 'evil' hurts organic play at the table. So unless you are shooting for that cheesy, "hur hur, pillage and plunder" type game, let the players play their characters and not their alignment.

  12. #312
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve S View Post
    The reason I bring this up is that many GM's don't promote organic play. It is feasible that a PC hero could become a campaigns main villain. It would certainly mean much more to me as a player to see a villain evolve at the table then to simply decide to play an 'evil' character. The problem with evil for the sake of evil is that the motivation is weak. Why play a 'good' or 'evil' campaign when you could play a 'human' campaign? Why not decide who your character is and let the chips fall where they will?
    In my last Star Wars campaign using the d20 Star Wars revised (edition before Saga came out), I actually had a player who created a character simply to be a sociopath within the group. Ultimately, no matter how much the group in game tried to real the character in or convince him to change his ways, he would always go the extra mile for some pretty heinous and despicable fun. Ultimately, the character went off the deep end and has been a major evil bad guy in the campaign. The character is a blend of Dr. Moreau, Sid 6.7 (from the movie Virtuosity), and teh Joker (Heath Ledger version). One of his last acts with and against the group, was changing one fo the PCs from being Twi'Lek into being a Jawa without using anesthesia or in the case of Star Wars, a bacta surgery unit.

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