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

  1. #31
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    I can understand where you are coming from, Ben Rostoker and Thoth-Amon, but I view both sides of the issue as still being the same coin.

    People are strange, and we have both good and evil within us.
    The inner struggle to balence the wish to help others with the desire to achieve your Goals could be construed as the true measure of what makes someone stand out.

    Heroes strive for bettering the situation, even if it is for someone else, and sometimes despite there being no personal rewards.

    Villains are not really against bettering the situation for others, just so long as they get what they want.

    I believe that those that have a touch of each Morality, and show it - are the best Characters.

    A change of Ethics should be the most drastic of changes for a Character, even more then changing Morality (you can delude yourself into believing that it serves a Greater Purpose, etc.).

    Sorry to keep pointing to this one guys, but it's the favorite of a lot of people: Anican Skywalker (CG) becoming Darth Vader (LE).

    When Anican Skywalker was a Jedi he was CG. He saw the Laws of the Jedi Order to be limited and too restrictive, but he still followed them. He just took more personal action to try and change things.

    Now, Anican had a flaw: Love.
    He gave too much of himself to those that he cared about. Love for his mother and his fear of losing her was what Yoda sensed when Ani was first introduced. The anguish of the loss of his mother drove Anican to seek revenge against those that killed her, and Anican gains a few darkside points doing this. Love for Padme was what motivated him to do anything to save her life. This was Anican's downfall, and soon-to-be Emperor Palapatine used Anican's heart against him.

    When Anican swore alliegance to Darth Sidious, he not only accepted the fact that he was going to have to do evil deeds to gain the training that he desired, he also accepted that he would never again be able to challenge the Rules. Thus, Darth Vader is L.E.

    Now, Vader could not completely kill those feelings for Love, and it was this fact that allowed Anican to redeam himself: By saving Luke from the Emperor - even though it cost him his life. For love of his son.
    Last edited by DragonDM; 09-24-2008 at 10:07 PM.
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    Webhead: Turning the Villians into relucntant Heroes is also a great way to have fun.

    The more heroic stuff they do, the more the various NPCs react to, and treat them as Heroes.


    Next thing you know, all the Villians are trying to be the most popular amoungst the group, each trying to one up the other in preforming Heroic Deeds. Or doing even more diabolocal deeds to try and undermine the new heroes, while still supporting the overall Goal of "Get rid of the Invaders."
    Last edited by DragonDM; 09-24-2008 at 11:45 AM. Reason: double posted
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  3. #33
    Arch Lich Thoth-Amon is offline Cursed by the Gods
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    Here's some interesting trivia: turns out that 5% of the population are complete sociopaths. Now there's a scary thought.
    Thoth-Amon, Lord of the Underworld and the Undead
    Once you know what the magician knows, it's not magick. It's a 'tool of Creation'. -Archmagus H.H.
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    That's a good point about "Love" being the source of Anakin's tragic flaw. As Yoda pointed out, it was his fear of loss that evolved into greed that eventually led Anakin down the path of the Dark Side. I think he also had another flaw which ran with this: Hubris.

    Anakin was powerful (arguably one of the most gifted Jedi). His abilities came quickly and easily to him and he started feel as though he was being held back from unlocking his full potential. He was supremely arrogant and prideful (facing down Dooku alone against Obi-Wan's warnings, believing that he could use the Force to stop death, being upset at not being made a Jedi Master by his early twenties) and felt that he was greater than the other Jedi and that they were becoming only an obstacle to his desire for more power.

    I think his fall was facilitated by the self-deluded notion that, with his power, he could control his destiny and "make things the way he wanted them to be". Instead, his hubris was only responsible for causing the very thing that he so desperately sought to prevent.
    HARRY DRESDEN WIZARD
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    Star Wars tangent: Yoda was evil.

    He deliberately set Anakin up to become Vader and bring balance to the force. Think about it, the Jedi Council knew a powerful figure was going to arise to bring balance to the force in a time when the Jedi were the overbalancing agency.

    If Yoda was really interested in preserving the Jedi he would have found a way to prevent Anakin from going to the dark side (perhaps by killing him?). Instead he deliberately created situations that would put anger in the boys heart and prepare him for the Emperor's manipulations.

    Yoda was the silently evil agent in Star Wars. He had to know that balance in the force meant fewer Jedi or more Sith (both bad things in the mind of a Jedi) and yet he did nothing to stop it, and many things to help.

    It's a good campaign example for running evil games. Seem good.
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    Grimwell

  6. #36
    Arch Lich Thoth-Amon is offline Cursed by the Gods
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    Quote Originally Posted by grimwell View Post
    Star Wars tangent: Yoda was evil.

    He deliberately set Anakin up to become Vader and bring balance to the force. Think about it, the Jedi Council knew a powerful figure was going to arise to bring balance to the force in a time when the Jedi were the overbalancing agency.

    If Yoda was really interested in preserving the Jedi he would have found a way to prevent Anakin from going to the dark side (perhaps by killing him?). Instead he deliberately created situations that would put anger in the boys heart and prepare him for the Emperor's manipulations.

    Yoda was the silently evil agent in Star Wars. He had to know that balance in the force meant fewer Jedi or more Sith (both bad things in the mind of a Jedi) and yet he did nothing to stop it, and many things to help.

    It's a good campaign example for running evil games. Seem good.
    It's an excellent example. I like the idea that Yoda was really pulling all the strings. Very ingenious. Yoda was, after all, over 700 years old.
    Thoth-Amon, Lord of the Underworld and the Undead
    Once you know what the magician knows, it's not magick. It's a 'tool of Creation'. -Archmagus H.H.
    The first step to expanding your reality is to discard the tendency to exclude things from possibility. - Meridjet

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    Quote Originally Posted by grimwell View Post
    Star Wars tangent: Yoda was evil.

    He deliberately set Anakin up to become Vader and bring balance to the force. Think about it, the Jedi Council knew a powerful figure was going to arise to bring balance to the force in a time when the Jedi were the overbalancing agency.

    If Yoda was really interested in preserving the Jedi he would have found a way to prevent Anakin from going to the dark side (perhaps by killing him?). Instead he deliberately created situations that would put anger in the boys heart and prepare him for the Emperor's manipulations.

    Yoda was the silently evil agent in Star Wars. He had to know that balance in the force meant fewer Jedi or more Sith (both bad things in the mind of a Jedi) and yet he did nothing to stop it, and many things to help.

    It's a good campaign example for running evil games. Seem good.
    Actually...that's the running theory that one of my players clings to adamantly! He insists that Yoda is the true Dark Lord of the Sith and has been all along...even the powerful Darth Sidious is merely his unwitting puppet.

    Personally...I think it's Artoo...

    Seriously though, there's often misunderstanding about the prophesy and "bringing balance to the Force" equating to fewer Jedi and more Sith. In actuality, bringing "balance" to the Force was in reference to a massive shift of potency to the Dark Side (a scene mentioning this to greater effect was cut from RotS but was still mentioned briefly by Mace Windu a la "Our ability to use the Force is diminished"). The Light Side of the Force was weakening while the Dark Side was becoming more potent. Anakin's very conception may have had something to do with this (as he was created by Plagueis manipulating the Dark Side to create a living being). The Chosen One was to destroy the Sith and restore the normal flow of the Force (which he eventually did by sacrificing himself to kill Palpatine).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Severan View Post
    I think the main thing is to have mature players (mature in action. not necessarily in 'age') who won't use it as an excuse to back-stab and party in-fight.
    Bolded by me; just want to say thank you for adding that in.

    Originally Posted by grimwell
    Star Wars tangent: Yoda was evil.

    He deliberately set Anakin up to become Vader and bring balance to the force. Think about it, the Jedi Council knew a powerful figure was going to arise to bring balance to the force in a time when the Jedi were the overbalancing agency.

    If Yoda was really interested in preserving the Jedi he would have found a way to prevent Anakin from going to the dark side (perhaps by killing him?). Instead he deliberately created situations that would put anger in the boys heart and prepare him for the Emperor's manipulations.

    Yoda was the silently evil agent in Star Wars. He had to know that balance in the force meant fewer Jedi or more Sith (both bad things in the mind of a Jedi) and yet he did nothing to stop it, and many things to help.

    It's a good campaign example for running evil games. Seem good.
    Don't forget that Yoda sent millions of clones to their death without a blink, whilst still claiming to be ethical. He also upholds a classist world view where only those who a certain sort of 'blood' can become jedis.

    And lets not forget: "Only Sith think in absolutes" - Obi-wan

    Therefore Obi-wan was a Sith.

    A even better example of how evil is just how you look at things... sometimes anyways.
    Last edited by Ben Rostoker; 09-24-2008 at 08:07 PM.


    Supporters tend to argue with me that roleplaying is separate from the system and can be strongly supported in any game. I always encourage them to write a history for their iron token in monopoly and discuss the motivations for passing go.
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    Quote Originally Posted by grimwell View Post
    Star Wars tangent: Yoda was evil.

    He deliberately set Anakin up to become Vader and bring balance to the force. Think about it, the Jedi Council knew a powerful figure was going to arise to bring balance to the force in a time when the Jedi were the overbalancing agency.

    If Yoda was really interested in preserving the Jedi he would have found a way to prevent Anakin from going to the dark side (perhaps by killing him?). Instead he deliberately created situations that would put anger in the boys heart and prepare him for the Emperor's manipulations.

    Yoda was the silently evil agent in Star Wars. He had to know that balance in the force meant fewer Jedi or more Sith (both bad things in the mind of a Jedi) and yet he did nothing to stop it, and many things to help.

    It's a good campaign example for running evil games. Seem good.
    i would have called that an example of how so-called "neutrality" is simply evil in disguise.
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  10. #40
    Arch Lich Thoth-Amon is offline Cursed by the Gods
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rostoker View Post
    Bolded by me; just want to say thank you for adding that in.



    Don't forget that Yoda sent millions of clones to their death without a blink, whilst still claiming to be ethical. He also upholds a classist world view where only those who a certain sort of 'blood' can become jedis.

    And lets not forget: "Only Sith think in absolutes" - Obi-wan

    Therefore Obi-wan was a Sith.

    A even better example of how evil is just how you look at things... sometimes anyways.
    Having played evil campaigns since the '70's, i can tell you that without a doubt, evil campaigns have no chance if the players arent mature(actions), as well as understand that evil doesnt equate to stupid or suicidal. Now on the other hand, if you get the right kind of players, evil campaigns can be very rewarding. In fact, my most memorable campaigns have been the evil ones, no question.
    Last edited by Arch Lich Thoth-Amon; 09-25-2008 at 09:42 AM.
    Thoth-Amon, Lord of the Underworld and the Undead
    Once you know what the magician knows, it's not magick. It's a 'tool of Creation'. -Archmagus H.H.
    The first step to expanding your reality is to discard the tendency to exclude things from possibility. - Meridjet

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    What is worse than evil player chacters. Evil DMs! I have had players in the group play evil characters just to see if they can mess up my campaign. So I just say things such as "Spendid", "Great" or "Wonderful" and use everything thrown at me as the DMs to aid my campaign instead. Kill the main NPC of the campaign--great! He has 3 brothers, 2 sisters and a lot of children- each of them just as good to take his place. Mess up the main dieties temple, Spendid!-- more people go to worship to defend their god and fight for the cause- ever heard of marters! Mess up the DMs campaign--Wonderful, any skillfull DMs will use it for adventful to make a better storey. DMs dont get mad, use it and get even! I have had player do everything they can to mess up everything and I can use it everytime.


    Your world or mine? (by a die-hard gamer)
    Hey! You said my character died? Ok, what do I see now? (not so last words of the character Elvona tia by her player)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Foki Firefinger View Post
    What is worse than evil player chacters. Evil DMs! I have had players in the group play evil characters just to see if they can mess up my campaign. So I just say things such as "Spendid", "Great" or "Wonderful" and use everything thrown at me as the DMs to aid my campaign instead. Kill the main NPC of the campaign--great! He has 3 brothers, 2 sisters and a lot of children- each of them just as good to take his place. Mess up the main dieties temple, Spendid!-- more people go to worship to defend their god and fight for the cause- ever heard of marters! Mess up the DMs campaign--Wonderful, any skillfull DMs will use it for adventful to make a better storey. DMs dont get mad, use it and get even! I have had player do everything they can to mess up everything and I can use it everytime.
    Yes, the players are usually far better at creating problems for themselves than I am doing it for them.
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  13. #43
    Arch Lich Thoth-Amon is offline Cursed by the Gods
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foki Firefinger View Post
    What is worse than evil player chacters. Evil DMs! I have had players in the group play evil characters just to see if they can mess up my campaign. So I just say things such as "Spendid", "Great" or "Wonderful" and use everything thrown at me as the DMs to aid my campaign instead. Kill the main NPC of the campaign--great! He has 3 brothers, 2 sisters and a lot of children- each of them just as good to take his place. Mess up the main dieties temple, Spendid!-- more people go to worship to defend their god and fight for the cause- ever heard of marters! Mess up the DMs campaign--Wonderful, any skillfull DMs will use it for adventful to make a better storey. DMs dont get mad, use it and get even! I have had player do everything they can to mess up everything and I can use it everytime.
    Evil DM's? We always referred to them as Killer DM's. These are the guys whose sole purpose is to kill the characters. Once word gets out, they stop playing DnD due to a lack of players. Now, as fars as players trying to screw with the DM's game? I agree with you, Foki; a good DM can use anything & everything to enhance their game. I'm sure your games are a blast to play in. Perhaps one day, many of us lich's will meet up at a convention and have a private game. Would be a blast, considering our experiences and stories we can bring to the table.
    Thoth-Amon, Lord of the Underworld and the Undead
    Once you know what the magician knows, it's not magick. It's a 'tool of Creation'. -Archmagus H.H.
    The first step to expanding your reality is to discard the tendency to exclude things from possibility. - Meridjet

  14. #44
    Arch Lich Thoth-Amon is offline Cursed by the Gods
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    Quote Originally Posted by Webhead View Post
    Yes, the players are usually far better at creating problems for themselves than I am doing it for them.
    It does make it easier for DM's to create continued/ongoing stories in their games. I love it when characters create their own problems, the game takes on a life of its own. Even I, the DM, enjoy watching the process unfold.
    Last edited by Arch Lich Thoth-Amon; 09-25-2008 at 12:40 PM.
    Thoth-Amon, Lord of the Underworld and the Undead
    Once you know what the magician knows, it's not magick. It's a 'tool of Creation'. -Archmagus H.H.
    The first step to expanding your reality is to discard the tendency to exclude things from possibility. - Meridjet

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    So, yeah. I've run a very successful evil campaign, and played in one.

    I ran D&D, and it was a two-pronged campaign. There were two entire sets of PCs, one good and one evil, that were played by the same players. We would alternate weekends. The evil PCs were trying to bring about an apocalypse so the world would be remade their way. The good PCs were trying to stop them.

    Eventually this ended with splitting the players up, one side playing good and the other evil so that the final battle could be resolved. It was a normal, serious RPG experience which everyone enjoyed.

    I played in an Imagine campaign where we were all working for the same evil god. Masta Shank, god of Blood and Whores. It was only semi-serious. We all died about 3 sessions in. I played what amounted to an eco-terrorist... a multi-class Assassin/Druid. It was fun, but too short.

    I find that a good "evil" campaign needs to be based on the shared goal that the PCs determine to be "good" and that they simply prosecute that goal ruthlessly. So in spite of any anti-social tendencies, they work as a team toward a goal. Summoning the god of Blood and Whores in order to rule the world would be an example. It explains their teamwork, and any masochism, sadism, etc.

    edit to add: You know, that goes for any campaign. The PCs need a shared goal to work towards in order for the campaign to be any fun. So in this sense, an "evil" campaign isn't really any different than a "good" one.

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