View Full Version : Evil Campaign Advice?

Lord Loss
2011-02-20, 08:23 AM
I'm starting an evil (Drow-ish) Campaign. Our party consists of:

Neutral Drow Wizard 1
Neutral Evil Io-Rach Goblin (Homebrew Race) Ranger 3
Chaotic Evil Drow Rogue 1
Lawful Evil Warforged (Class hasn't been chosen yet) 3
Unknown (Character hasn't been made yet)
Unknown (Character hasn't been made yet)

Also, the characters will be merging from the Underdark and wind up on the surface world, where they'll head to either a jungle inhabited by Siv, a volcanic mountain range where Genassi and Dwarven artificers live, the Warforged are used for menial tasks, or a floating tower inhabited by Lumi. There's also a group of evil, mostly sentient constructs trying to overthrow the "biologicals" and a group of Yuan-ti that use genetic engineering and construct-building alike, and finally there are gnomes and Raptorans that live in airships.

I've never run an evil campaign. I've played a campaign with an evil character or two, but they've always been on a tight leash and we've never had an openly "evil" campaign. I need advice for this specific sort of campaign, as well as sample plots that could motivate such characters and how to avoid too much intra-party conflict.

2011-02-20, 08:31 AM
Greed and powerlust are good motivators for evil characters, but then again, pretty much all adventurers are driven by greed and powerlust. Also, a vengeance-driven character could easily be evil.

Anyone willing to buy their services for a decent price should perk their interest. But they'll all have personal motivators as well, so you should read their backgrounds and look for those.

2011-02-20, 08:45 AM
The main question is if you want to have an ongoing continous campaign, or just fool around burning and killing everything for ****s and giggles.

If you don't want the later, you should come up with a long term goal for the characters. Something they work towards to and that gives them a reason to cooperate and hold back with their mutual dislikes for more important things.
A big problem with evil groups is that very often it ends with everyone thinking it's fun to be the one character who betrays the rest and backstabs them at every opportunity, but that gets stale very fast and won't sustain a longer campaign.

The characters need a reason why they work together and why they don't try to screw each other over. They don't have to like everyone in their group, but they need to accept that their need each other to succeed at their goal. When the whole thing ends in a mexican standoff after the final boss is defeated and everyone wants to keep the final reward for themselves, that's fine. But until you reached the end of the campaign, it's really not much fun when you spend most of the time fighting against yourself.

I ran City of the Spider Queen with a group of evil drow. They started as a scouting party of a surface drow faction doing some recon on a town of hostile underdark drow and when they realized there's a huge power struggle going below the forest, they decided to exploit the opportunity and strike at their enemies as they are vulnerable. In the end, they did stop the rise of a new evil power, but only for the purely selfish goal of keeping all the enemies of their faction weak.

Lord Loss
2011-02-20, 09:00 AM
I do in fact intend to make it a long-term campaign. The premise is that the subterrean races have been shut off from the surface for thousands of years and have finally managed to undo the magic keeping the Black Gate (I need a better name, I know) shut and plan on conquering the surface world and (main goal) taking their vengeance on the surface races... but when they make it up, the humans, elves and goblins are gone. From there, the PCs have as goals to fulfill their own ambitions, whilst their superiors use them as pawns in order to fulfill their own ambitions...

2011-02-20, 09:11 AM
So they are more like evil spainards enslaving the technologicaly inferior people of south america?
Well, that's a start. Carving out their own domain to create a bridgehead on the surface and gain control over trade of surface goods. The surface natives won't be too happy about that, so they will have to be defeated and enslaved.

At the beginning, the main anatagonists would be the local tribes that attempt to drive back the intruders. Once a first foothold is established, this might shift to competing expeditions founded by hostile underworld nations. Sounds like a good candidate for a Sandbox game.

Lord Loss
2011-02-20, 09:20 AM
I have one slight problem, however. One player is very sick of playing angsty characters (he usually plays an elven rogue with demonic ancestors) and asked if he could play a non-underdark race. he,s also going to miss the first session, so I gave him the option of playinga suface race and he's going to be a Warforged. I have no idea how to integrate this character into the group.

Also, the PCs have the option of starting alliacnes with races if it would be beneficial to the Underdark races (for the time being, they still intend to enslave them eventually).

2011-02-20, 09:28 AM
I think that one is rather easy. He's one of the collaborateurs who's willing to sell his services and knowledge to the enemies of his people. He works as the groups translator and provides a lot of the much needed information an invasion of the surface needs. But you can still make him an outcast, so he does not know much about the politics of the land and does not have any powerful contacts. But for the start, the things he knows will be a valuable resource for the group.

When you want to make the campaign about underdark races enslaving the surface races to exploit their working power and resources, I'd just start with reading the wikipedia page on Cortez and Colonialism in South America. This should give you a huge amount of ideas what kinds of goals such an expedition has, how it interacts with the locals, and what kind of challenges they have to face.

2011-02-20, 10:05 AM
Warforged are easy to work into a game later than the starting point, the party just finds it deactivated/disabled somewhere, they reactivate it and it joins out of gratitude. If you have a hard time thinking of how to reactivate it, just put a wand of repair with 1 charge left in it laying JUST out of reach of the deactivated Warforged's grasp.

Note on Evil Campaigns: You'll likely want to rule that PvP is completely disallowed, it'll be hard to continue a long campaign if everyone is dead because 1 player is playing a backstabber (as noted above) or every time a player has to reroll, he creates a sociopath that kills his previous killer in its sleep, because "that's what my new pc would do, he's a sociopath; I'm not specifically targeting <Bob> for killing my last pc".

Lord Loss
2011-02-21, 07:12 PM
First session was yesterday. Only two players were there. First, I let them intract with people in the Drow City for a little while, to give those unfamilliar with the drow a glance of their society and worldview. I informed one of the Drow that she was a member of House Tormtor, who is currently in a position of power in Erlhei-Cinlu. Her goal is to keep said Drow house in power, by whatever means necessary. After some time in the Drow city, they headed towards the surface, where they entered a mutually beneficial deal with a Shunned that knew said drow priestess in his past life. They then met a duo of Io-Rach Goblin salesmen, from whom they bought Liquid Pain, poisons and rations at ridiculously . They continued on their way and found a spawning pool where the Io-Rach make their warriors undergo a hideous transformation that degrades their mental abilities but turns them into physical powerhouses. The goblin in charge of the pool, a sorcerer with an eye for profit. He offers them the tranformation, and they get into a "disagreement" which ends with him stuck his own pool of boiling acid. They ransack his treasure chest, and away they go. Making it to the Black Gate, they hand over the Essence of Lolth, the potentially dedly magical artifact that opens the door to the surface. The correct rituals are performed and they make it to the surface, where a robotic centaur (Zelekhut Inevitable) attacks, before having a peculair conversation with another voice coming from its own mouth and disappearing. They begin to walk, and that's where things get really interesting (I'll post the rest later).