View Full Version : A Campaign of Evil (AKA A Villains by Necessity story arc); evolving thread

2018-05-27, 05:32 PM
Hello everyone,

This initial post is going to be about high concepts and me reaching out to gather ideas.

For a quick synopsis, I'm building a campaign based around a party of evildoers, who will remain evil. What has happened is the death of a prime evil god. I will be using Greyhawk as the campaign setting so I was thinking something like Nerull or Asmodeus for the dead prime evil.

This death has lead to an imbalance in the cosmic scheme of things and the adventurers, now driven and harassed by the forces of good, have come under the rescue and direction of a true neutral party. Now in the novel, Villains by Necessity, the neutral party is represented by druids (one druid specifically), though, I'm wondering if anyone has any other ideas. Personally I don't mind druids and rangers coming to the rescue of monsters and evil champions, but it pays to consider other options. Maybe a clique of mages and clerics that worship Boccob or something?

Anyway, the evil party members will then be pointed in the direction of a great epic that will seek to rebalance the cosmic fold. How though? Do they summon another evil god or resurrect one long forgotten? Do they seek to lay low champions and avatars of light and goodness? I've considered both, but again, I like assimilating ideas. Perhaps forging an item of such powerful evil could have the same rebalancing effect?

Also, I'd like to include a kind of character generation minigame of sorts that is a kind of raffle for evil races (Full blood orc, Hobgoblin, Goblin, that kind of thing.) I would also like to include some kind of trait, along with the race game. For the traits I'd like to have some kind of curse, affliction or torment to follow the character and evolve as the character gains in levels.

An example would be something like lycanthropy or leprosy, maddness or demonic/devilish possession. (I keep thinking of Darkest Dungeon and I just love the dark, gritty system there.) To date I've created some and I'll post the Word doc here in a few hours.

I do want to post scriptus this whole shpeal by saying that my friends and I are all veteran gamers, and I know the party would have a ball playing this kind of adventure. We're all also mature and willing to become immersed if the narrative fits.

So, to boil this down,

Thoughts on the raffle for evil races? Like pick a playing card from a poker deck that is linked to a race I have down and then allow players to trade races at the table?

Thoughts on the traits for afflictions? And then, how would these traits evolve. I don't want the traits to be strictly negative, I would like them to be a double edged blade, providing both a bonus and a negative to the character in play.

Feedback on the 'how' for rebalancing the equation and ensuring that the cosmology doesn't unravel because of the now super strength of the forces of light.

As always, all the help is appreciated.

2018-05-27, 07:12 PM
Here's an idea; depending on how the god died, have each of the PCs(as well as future NPCs) be imbued with a piece of the God's body. This could be why they specifically are targeted by the good aligned gods to pursue this evil path. The way to reestablish balance is to collect the all the pieces then cast a special ritual that will reform the God's body. As a bonus twist, make some of the pieces fall into pure good characters, ones whose sole purpose is to eradicate evil for good.

2018-05-27, 09:01 PM
Ooooooh, that's a great idea. Potential fonts of evil energy and one of the PCs can be a good PC. Which would tie in to the raffle minigame. So maybe also add an alignment mini game?

To reiterate again, we've been there and done that so exploring slightly static characters through roleplay isn't going to be an issue. We were all gamers before it was a trend.

2018-05-27, 09:58 PM
For a further twist, perhaps the players themselves must decide who gets what part of the body, without knowing what powers relate to which part.

That is, perhaps consuming the eyes of the deity grants piercing sight and mutated perception, consuming the heart grants lycanthropic abilities, drinking the blood grants vampirism, etc. The specifics are obviously opaque from the perspective of the characters.

Players who choose early will have the most choices, but the least information about what they could get.

2018-05-28, 02:00 AM
OOOOOOOHHHHH!!!! Another great idea! That could be a part of the chargen minigame. Adding to the randomness. Ok so, let's say 6 or 7 parts. What would they be then and what would they impart?

2018-05-28, 02:26 AM
Heart, Eyes, Arms, Legs, Bones and the metaphysical "body parts" of Mind and Soul would probably be the most thematically appropriate.

Abilities would probably depend on the original deity, and I'd probably tailor them somewhat to the PC in question depending on how they approach problems. The Eyes in the hand of a ranger might grant superior senses, raw magnification and the ability to pick up minute details easily, see in the dark or "see" colors, etc. manifesting as increased vision, Darkvision/Low-Light Vision, Detect Secret Doors at-will and so on. In the hands of a Wizard a base level improvement of senses makes sense, but they get the more magical and soul related sight of the god in question, being able to cycle through things like Arcane Sight, See Alignment, See Invisibility, etc.

That way people don't ever feel like they get NOTHING usable from the thing making them a target (such as a Wizard with a Heart that makes them fly into a Barbarian-like Rage) but still putting hard limits on what they may or may not get base on their choice; it will always fit a theme, and choosing one precludes others.

2018-05-28, 06:38 AM
I would recommend going 9 for everything raffles at the beginning. All 9 alignments(and I can realistically see every one of them having a character who would want to help). 9 races(I recommend Tiefling, Aasimar, Hobgoblin, Orc, Kobold, Dhampir, Kitsune, Strix, and Nagaji). And 9 curses(Either body parts; 2 eyes, 2 arms, 2 legs, heart, mind, soul, or based off of the 9 layers of Hell; Lust, Limbo, Treachery ,Gluttony, Heresy, Greed, Fraud, and Violence.).
Also, if you give them their curse BEFORE they design their characters, you can have a set escalating boon and drawback for each one. If you give them AFTER, then Rynjin's suggestion is excellent, and it should be done as such

2018-05-28, 02:48 PM
So chargen is as follows:

-Race raffle (As yet undetermined- not sure of the implementation)

-The remainder of chargen

-1st session- characters meet and decide among themselves what body parts they take

-Players discover the powers they've been granted.

On race generation:
There's less importance placed on each character being different, IMO. It's more OK to have two orcs, compared to two vampires, so I don't know that a raffle is what you want (especially since the debate over the body parts is another chargen minigame)

Anyway, the evil party members will then be pointed in the direction of a great epic that will seek to rebalance the cosmic fold. How though? Do they summon another evil god or resurrect one long forgotten? Do they seek to lay low champions and avatars of light and goodness? I've considered both, but again, I like assimilating ideas. Perhaps forging an item of such powerful evil could have the same rebalancing effect?
Maybe a mix of the first two- in order to fill the void left in the dark pantheon, one of the players will ascend to godhood, piggybacking off the piece of the god they consumed, and making use of the divine power they steal from those they slay.

2018-05-30, 08:37 AM
Wow, you all have some fantastic ideas thank you.

So far after some thought, here is what I am thinking.

Restricted Race list; Dwarf- Duergar and Derro

Elf- Wild elf and Drow


Half-orc and Half-elf

Goblin and Hobgoblin and Bugbear

Full blood Orc


Dragonborn- Chromatic

I keep toying with the idea of ogres but I do not think that will be balance capable

For the parts of the dead god to be consumed I see
Eyes - Mind - Flesh - Blood - Bones - Essence/Spirit - Innards - Tongue - Heart -

As for the minigame, I keep thinking about having everyone draw cards at the beginning of the game. We all love making characters so I think giving the option to create your own character, and so allow everyone to make two, would be a good option. Just in case.

The same is for the consumption of the pieces of the dead god, they will draw the cards and not know what the last card is about until a few sessions in, when they are confronted by the druids.

As far as one of the players becoming a god, honestly I have done that before in a previous group, not that it is not a good idea, i am just hesitant to do the same gag you know, let me know what you think.

Also, since these guys are going to start out on the run from a broken campaign, i would like to give them a starting item I call Plunder, but I do not want it to be too overpowered starting at level 1. Do you guys think a magic item would work? I plan on having them raffle that as well, during chargen.

2018-05-30, 06:09 PM
On distributing races: Seems OK, although you may have some players disappointed that they didn't get what they want (picture a player who wants to try an arsonist barbarian who gets kobold and drow).

On the body part thing: I might actually not give out cards at all, and simply ask the players (at the appropriate time) "All right. Who picks first, and what do you want to eat?"

Godhood: If it doesn't work, don't go for it.

Plunder: Giving magic items to start is probably OK, as long as you keep it in mind when designing encounters. Depends on the item to some extent.