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worthlesston
2010-05-30, 11:17 AM
Dear Playground,
A friend of mine is organizing a new campaign, with around 6 or 7 PC's in the group. The size of the group however, is not his current issue. It is of course a problem of alignment. One of the players wants to play a CE character (consequently the only evil character), while at least one of the players is going to be LG. The rest of the group will likely fall somewhere into the neutral area, but the main sticking point is convincing the party to work towards the same end.

In a metagaming sense, the party will probably work together, as they are all friends outside of the table; in a practical sense, there is a lack of inspiration for a reason why the CE and LG characters would ever spend any extended period of time with each other.

So my question is thus: what reasonable story devices might justify diametrically opposed alignments working together?

Sincerely,
Worthlesston

WarKitty
2010-05-30, 11:24 AM
There's always throwing them into a "you have one way out" type of adventure. Like, "you all wake up in a jail cell after being arrested last night. You don't know what you are charged with, just that you were grabbed by the police and locked up. You are told that the king will waive your death sentences if you agree to a mission."

Reflavor as needed.

Zaq
2010-05-30, 11:36 AM
You ever read Order of the Stick?

Yeah, kinda like that.

Greenish
2010-05-30, 11:37 AM
why the CE and LG characters would ever spend any extended period of time with each other.Maybe they're friends.

Bharg
2010-05-30, 11:39 AM
Maybe they're friends.

Like in "The Judge and His Hangman"

Mando Knight
2010-05-30, 11:42 AM
You ever read Order of the Stick?

Yeah, kinda like that.

Roy and Durkon: LG. Belkar: CE.
Belkar's a problem, but dammit, he's Roy's problem and it's better that he's being used to do some good rather than being let loose to do whatever he wants.

ShadowsGrnEyes
2010-05-30, 11:50 AM
i'm fond of the, you would really like to kill the CE character but the BBEG cast some sort of spell and thus you cannot kill said character or all is lost(in as dramatic a sense as you can think up. Said character just wants to be free of all this crap so he can go rape pilliage steal whatever. . . but cant until he's free of said curse. . . it can make for some fun dynamics . . ..

CE: *attempting to steal somthing*
LG: Stop it!
CE: but! But! it's not even guarded! its like they're giving it away!
LG: no!
CE: you suck!
LG: you suck!

much fun by all

Mongoose87
2010-05-30, 11:51 AM
Party of Opposite Alignments: You have a killer party, with the beats bopping and the girls swinging and the drinks flowing. Everyone wakes up the next morning with a headache and are permanently affected as though wearing a helm of opposite alignment.

Gensh
2010-05-30, 01:29 PM
I've got a trio of NPCs that have a tendency to pop up in any campaign at any time when I need plot-givers and haven't had time to actually write something in. LG paladin, his CG bard sister, and her CE necromancer husband. No bad feelings between the pally and the necro at all because they've known each other since they were children, and they know each other better than anyone. Pally would have no issues leading an army of the undead raised by his brother-in-law because he also believes in fighting with fire. Between such different alignments, it's a lot of give and take, but at the same time, they cover each other's bases and make sure neither gets arrested in a society of the opposite alignment (usually).

Tengu_temp
2010-05-30, 01:36 PM
You ever read Order of the Stick?

Yeah, kinda like that.

Actually, the only reason the rest of the group puts up with Belkar and his antics (including innocent-killing antics) is because he's a PC and in a (mostly) comedy campaign. If this was a more serious setting, he'd be dead long ago.

A better example would be Firefly. Jayne is an evil character in an otherwise good/neutral group, and they manage to work together, even if there are tensions. That's because he's selfish evil rather than "massacre everything for lulz" evil, and because he's still loyal to the crew.

PId6
2010-05-30, 01:36 PM
Just tell the CE player to pretend to be good (and pass you notes when he's kicking puppies in the alley). CE doesn't mean serial murderer; it's quite possible that a CE character would act the same way as a LG one but with different motives. Tell him to max his Bluff check too.

Binks
2010-05-30, 01:47 PM
Maybe they're friends.

Why not? Nothing stopping them from being friends. What kind of chaotic evil are we talking about? Chaotic 'kill everyone! mwahahaha!' evil or chaotic 'in it for what amusement I can get out of the situation' evil? The first is pretty tough, the second would be easy.

Alternatively the old 'enemy of my enemy' strategy could work, with the group teaming up because each of them wants to defeat the BBEG for their own reasons, the LG guys because it's the right thing to do, the neutrals for cash or whatever, and the evil because he doesn't approve of the BBEG's plan and doesn't want him interfering.

I apologize in advance to everyone who needs to get something done today but there's a Tvtropes page that comes to mind, Enemy Mine. (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/EnemyMine) A long term one of those could work if there's no possible way they could be friends with anyone on the team.

Yukitsu
2010-05-30, 01:54 PM
It works when the CE is smart. I got away with all kinds of crimes, like mass dissapearances, because I didn't do it in front of the mostly LG party.

worthlesston
2010-05-30, 01:57 PM
At present, the specific brand of CE the character will play is unknown; as a result, its hard to predict what specific situations will have to be called for. All told, the main issue that the DM is trying to avoid is a situation in which the CE character does something that causes an ultimatum wherein the LG character would have to leave due to his morals. The DM is trying to accommodate the opposed alignments, without throwing the party into a position where they will have to choose between keeping the CE or keeping the LG.

I hope that made sense ><

-Worthlesston

aberratio ictus
2010-05-31, 06:14 AM
It did.

It's a shame that he wants do be chaotic evil, it is much easier to get a lawful evil character to work with a good-aligned group.
As previously stated, giving them a common goal is a good start - if the player is reasonably smart and his character is given the impression that he won't be able to achieve his goal without his teammates, he may hold back on being evil, at least in times when he likely would be caught.
However, this won't work if the player intends to play a "slaughtering innocents when bored"-character.
Actually, I'm afraid nothing will work if he plays like this, except if you are willing to pull something cheesy like a curse that prevents him from being evil, and that might upset the player and also leads the whole plan of playing an evil character ad absurdum.

Yottagray
2010-05-31, 02:51 PM
What about a good ol' fashioned framing?

The the entire party were framed for some terrible awful crime by the BBEG. They have no choice but to run, being chased by some powerful syndicate (perhaps wronged by the crime) in addition to law enforcement, and of course bounty hunters. Now the natural thing would be to stick together especially if the DM makes it clear in an early encounter that being alone would mean death. The DM could sort of imply to the CE character that the only way out of the mess is to get the truth out of the BBEG, and doing that requires all the help he can get (ie the other party members). So he wouldn't be stabbing any party members in the back, and he couldn't be overly evil (well in front of the other characters of course) as not to be kicked out of the group.

That may be a bit complicated... anyone think it would work?

Murphy80
2010-05-31, 03:54 PM
Dear Playground,
A friend of mine is organizing a new campaign, with around 6 or 7 PC's in the group. The size of the group however, is not his current issue. It is of course a problem of alignment. One of the players wants to play a CE character (consequently the only evil character), while at least one of the players is going to be LG. The rest of the group will likely fall somewhere into the neutral area, but the main sticking point is convincing the party to work towards the same end.

In a metagaming sense, the party will probably work together, as they are all friends outside of the table; in a practical sense, there is a lack of inspiration for a reason why the CE and LG characters would ever spend any extended period of time with each other.

So my question is thus: what reasonable story devices might justify diametrically opposed alignments working together?


This question is difficult, if not impossible for strangers to answer for several reasons (some have been brought up before);
- What kind of CE?
- What is the player like?
- WHY does he want to be CE?
- What are the other players and characters like?
- What do the other players think of the situation?

In general I would advice 1 word, Don't. While it can be done if the players are good, there are so many ways for it to go wrong, it's not worth the effort.

Don't do it if;
- any of the other players don't want it.
- if it is going to be kept a secret from the other players.
- if the CE character is in any way, shape or form crazy/stupid evil.
- if you think there is even a chance the CE character's player will try to disrupt the party.
- if the character has no attachments to the group
(ie: you all meet in a bar...)
- if the CE character's player has ever uttered the phrase "But it's what my character would do" (or any derivation of that phrase).
- if the answer to "Why CE?" does not satisfy everybody.

Personally, I would be interested in hearing from the DM and the CE character's player.

Gnaeus
2010-05-31, 04:19 PM
Just tell the CE player to pretend to be good (and pass you notes when he's kicking puppies in the alley). CE doesn't mean serial murderer; it's quite possible that a CE character would act the same way as a LG one but with different motives. Tell him to max his Bluff check too.

Disagree strongly. If he is acting against the group in secret, and they find out, there is very likely to be bad blood. Especially if players find out out of character first and you wind up with metagaming/player knowledge problems.

Much better to give them a good reason to work together. Make them friends, family, people with common goal, have a boss who assigned them to work together and will punish PKing, or just make them play Rock/Paper/Scissors and the loser changes his alignment.

Yottagray
2010-05-31, 06:08 PM
A better example would be Firefly. Jayne is an evil character in an otherwise good/neutral group, and they manage to work together, even if there are tensions. That's because he's selfish evil rather than "massacre everything for lulz" evil, and because he's still loyal to the crew.

I like this reference. Also, one can't forget that Jayne knows if he ever turned on any of the crew members the rest would have zero problem shooting him in the kneecap and throwing him out of an airlock.

I definitely think this idea could work. Part of it is, of course, the players wanting it to work. But, if there were a decent story reason for the lot to stick together (see my above post), at least long enough for the characters to get to know one another, then I think a group with CE and LG could definitely jive.

PId6
2010-05-31, 06:14 PM
Disagree strongly. If he is acting against the group in secret, and they find out, there is very likely to be bad blood. Especially if players find out out of character first and you wind up with metagaming/player knowledge problems.
If the players are mature enough, there shouldn't be much problem out of game (and if they're not, you shouldn't be bringing in an evil character at all). If the party finds out later, well, by that time they're likely working together long enough that they would rather work together as a team (such as if there's a greater evil). And if they're not willing to work together by then, well, inter-party conflict is always fun! :smallbiggrin: For the DM anyway.

742
2010-05-31, 06:46 PM
"CE" is not a character; why is the character called chaotic evil? is the player planning to play a full developed character who fits in that category better than any of the others or just wanting an opportunity to play chaotic stupid? the same applies to the lawful good character*

maybe the CE is one of these (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/PoisonousFriend) or maybe the big bad wronged them somehow. or maybe they just really really like living and are smart enough to know that the world ending would make that difficult, or find undead icky; or whatever.

besides; great stories come from conflict. is the big bad going to be a constant presence? if not then some intergroup conflict might be good. "yeah yeah, we COULD wait til the gaurds come back and sort this all out like reasonable people and explain that its all just a case of mistaken identity, but they teleported into our rooms-plural-and grabbed us individually, that means they had some damn powerful magic and know exactly who we are. chances are they just want us dead." works great in a gritty campaign but if your going for vanilla high fantasy it doesnt work quite as well.

another example of super-lawful-very-probably-good and super-chaotic-very-probably-evil characters working together would be samurai champloo; again a great show.

oh and you kill people just because someone alignment has an E in it? your characters are all total *******s and have some serious prejudices.

*i hate lawful stupid. hate hate hate hate hate; i can handle chaotic stupid but not the other kind.

Safety Sword
2010-05-31, 07:00 PM
My advice would be to exclude PCs from evil alignments altogether. Unless the entire party is evil, then I'd allow it (but then again, they usually end up killing each other if played right).

It's a heroic fantasy role playing game. Be heroes, not villains.

PersonMan
2010-05-31, 07:07 PM
My advice would be to exclude PCs from evil alignments altogether. Unless the entire party is evil, then I'd allow it (but then again, they usually end up killing each other if played right).

It's a heroic fantasy role playing game. Be heroes, not villains.

Heroes can be evil. If you need to do evil to fight evil, you become evil. If you need to conquer the peaceful Happy Nation and make them able to fight off the demon invasion, or if you need to do anything necessary to beat the Big Bad, you're evil.

Il_Vec
2010-05-31, 07:10 PM
Have the "evil" character step toward neutral if he doesn't commit evil acts for 2 weeks or so.
Because if he is spending that much time being not-evil, it isn't really his alignment, is it?
And, of course, if he actually does evil stuff, roleplay the consequenses. Sooner or later he will die, go neutral, or have a great time squeezing out of akward situations.

Lev
2010-05-31, 07:10 PM
Simple fix: Don't make your characters transparent.
Want to do something CE? Be slightly ashamed of it, cover it up or do it in secrecy, you can be CE while actually liking your group and caring about how they view you, Belkar is CE and a Jerk, but that doesn't mean CE = Jerk.

Greenish
2010-05-31, 07:11 PM
another example of super-lawful-very-probably-good and super-chaotic-very-probably-evil characters working together would be samurai champloo; again a great show. Mugen andů that other guy are good examples of chaotic and lawful (respectively), but I wouldn't call either of them Evil.

My advice would be to exclude PCs from evil alignments altogether. Unless the entire party is evil, then I'd allow it (but then again, they usually end up killing each other if played right).

It's a heroic fantasy role playing game. Be heroes, not villains.Yeah! Remember kids, don't play the game wrong!

PersonMan
2010-05-31, 07:16 PM
Yeah! Remember kids, don't play the game wrong!

I know, right? Stop having fun, guys!

Mike_G
2010-05-31, 07:34 PM
Depends on the campaign. Some threats transcend Alignment.

You can be Evil, but when the Githyanki invade the Prime Material Plane, they're gonna enslave us all, and you won't be free to practice your evil.

Or you could share an allegiance to a nation, guild, god, race, whatever.

Alignment gets way too much credit. I served in the Marines with guys who shared none of my personal philosophies or values, other than we wore the same uniform, and we had a bond of loyalty. I'd like to think of myself as good, but I'd shoot a foreign fighter I'd never met, and who could be a real nice guy outside of combat to save a Marine whose basic goodness I questioned.

In a heartbeat.

Oooh-Rah.

Susano-wo
2010-05-31, 09:21 PM
I probably shouldn't get involved, but I think this seems like a good example of my number alignment related character creation maxim: Create the Character, then figure out what alignment fits. <ok, I think that's my only alignment related character creation>

At the risk of telling someone how to play, I really cringe every time someone speaks of actions as if alignment is the determiner, not the determined. "I'm Evil, therefore I do X." Or "I blah blah blahed because I'm Chaotic Neutral"

from the OP: I would say that he should create a character that will interact productively (in terms of gaming enjoyment) wit the other characters, and if that character ends up CE, then cool. If not, also cool. It sounds like there is a certain hook or attitude or what have you that he thinks is CE, and that's what he wants to play. BUt of course, that's off of very limited data.

Gensh
2010-05-31, 11:00 PM
Alternatively, you could try asking the players what their alignments are in other systems' terms in order to see if there will be a real problem. I keep an MS Excel chart around that has all my characters' multilignment on it. It's a running tally of things I come across, but so far it has:

D&D's Alignment
MtG's Colors
Reborn!'s Deathperation Flames
Persona's Major Arcana
Political Ideals
Main Brawl Character
Profession if the character wasn't an adventurer

So while the CE guy who plays Luigi and would be a schoolteacher if he wasn't an anarchist doesn't seem as dangerous as the NG guy who plays Ganondorf and would be a mobster if he wasn't busy destroying cults. (ignoring how bad Ganondorf actually is).

sambo.
2010-05-31, 11:45 PM
so long as the person playing CE isn't playing the alignment as "chaotic idiotic" (which is how most noobs play CE) then it shouldn't be a major problem unless you have a paladin in the party as well.

note, Chaotic Idiotic means things like:
1: you jostled me in the market, behead!
2: you're sitting in my chair, behead!
3: i rekon the kings daughter is cute, rape.

so on and so forth.

personally, i rarely allow CE characters in my games unless i know the player is capable of playing that alignment without ruining the game for everyone else.