View Full Version : Some sort of Evil

2008-03-27, 02:03 PM
Okay first off I want to state that I don’t much care for the alignment system for D&D. I find it just doesn’t’ really fit but as I cannot offer a better solution that would still fit with much of the game mechanics I’ll do my best not to harp on it too much in this post. Alignment is a necessity for the game mechanics of many spells and abilities and thus a necessary evil.

Secondly I’d like to offer a little information on myself. I started playing D&D my freshman year of high school. Started running an occasional game after moving away from my core gaming group with other players I’d meet. After returning to the area of my old gaming group after about 5 years a few of us discovered a new gaming store that was quite friendly to D&D players. This was right when 3rd Ed was released. Over the next few years my role as a DM expanded. At one point myself and 2-3 other DMs consolidated our games at the store and ran games every other weekend for 30 players on average. Honestly I’m not the best DM out there and don’t have near the experience as many that I’ve met. I lack a bit in rule knowledge and am more concerned with making sure the players have a challenging and fun session.

With the experience I do have I often ask myself this question. “Why do so many people play evil characters so poorly?”

I’ve seen a fair amount of Evil characters come across my table. Most of them end up dead due to stupidity. Why do so many players become like a kid in a candy store when they end up with */E on the top of their character sheet? It’s like their characters get up in the morning and say “How much evil things can I do today.” So they go about and kick every puppy they see, steal candy from babies, force them selves upon the attractive female women of the village and kill random people because they just feel like it because they are evil. What ever happened to logic or motive? Why so often does that */E make them fly right out the window? Why do some players insist on trying to figure out the best way to screw over or kill other party members just because their character is evil? I mean seriously who in their right mind would adventure with someone that they didn’t trust with their life? Where does it say that just because you’re evil that you have to do evil things all the time and that you can’t ever do good? Even when it’s in your character’s own best interest?

Expample: Demitri a human wizard that researches necromancy. He and the party are the local heroes of the village. He does everything he can for the village and will protect it and his group members. Now what happens to the dead bodies…or near dead bodies he disposes of is a much darker side of the coin.

So why the evil overachievers? Guess its some peoples sort of evil.

I have another question. Why do so many people say mixed alignment parties don’t work? The thing is they can and in some cases it makes for a much more interesting game but it really takes some good players. I personally have played only one Evil aligned character consistently, a human Rogue/Warlock/Assassin that was NE. While it was not near an optimal build he was quite fun to play and useful in several occasions. If people had not known his alignment there would have been no issues with the party. Have to love meta gaming and OoC knowledge. He respected many of the party and on more then one occasion saved their lives or put his on the line to help them. He had no problem doing good deeds but he also knew in his mind that to destroy your enemy sometimes you had to get your hands dirty and play at their level. He had no problem killing someone, breaking laws or doing “evil” unless it had a logical and viable gain for him or the party. I didn't see him as evil so much but as a guy willing to do evil things “ends justify the means”. He was for sure my sort of evil.

So what’s your sort of evil?

2008-03-27, 02:14 PM
That's exactly my sort of evil. The problem I believe comes from poorly defined alignment rules and an cloudy seperation from "evil" and "Evil."

Simply put, evil people are self-serving and often amoral. On the other hand, Evil things are creatures that are inherently evil, like Demons. A Demon will kick a puppy because it's a Demon. An evil person may kick a puppy, if say the puppy was annoying him and he couldn't get the puppy to leave by yelling 'scram!' Or maybe the love dogs, and are self-serving in other ways. The problem is that there is no rule distinction between evil and Evil, except maybe for some monsters that have Evil as a subtype. As such, inexperienced role-players assume that evil=Evil.

2008-03-27, 02:29 PM
I think the problem is that most people in western society grow up without ever experiencing true evil. The worst people they see are on tv, and those characters are all overtly evil.

You have an evil arch-nemesis, and they usually have this guy kick a henchmen or something just to drive the point home that "yes, he's the bad guy. Hate him!"

In reality, it doesn't matter how evil you are, if you abuse your help, they're going to leave and you'll have trouble getting new help. So our idea of "evil" is very distorted and unrealistic.

In reality, bad guys scheme, form alliances, make friends with people because of what those people can do for them. Some will stab their friends in the back, others are more cunning and are able to get what they want without burning bridges.

A well played bad-guy won't be perceived as a bad-guy by his friends. Everyone close to a bad-guy should think he's the best guy in the world, since he treats his friends well. They'll also feel "lucky" and "honored", since this person treats them so much better than he treats everyone else.

Unfortunately, you have a lot of people who play this game who just want to get out some frustration. They want to be ***** in a consequence-free environment, and just come up with the rationalization afterward. Their thought process is "how can I be a **** and get away with it? Oh, I can just be evil? That let's me do what I want, right? Sweet!"

2008-03-27, 03:30 PM
Is there anything Good about making a lot of friends that trust you?
I suppose that they might feel better, but its not as Good as eating a puppy is Evil.

I think that evil becomes Evil in the hands of PCs, but a lot of DMs who put thought into their world and characters make their villains evil.

2008-03-27, 03:59 PM
So what’s your sort of evil?

I'm currently running an evil game. The PCs (except for the rogue) are all quite evil, but not a single member of the party is "Stupid Evil" or "Chaotic Stupid."

Intelligent and charismatic, the LE Human Dread Necromancer seeks dark knowledge to aid him when he finally returns to the Spire, a powerful school of necromancy. He makes long-term plans, and implements them carefully and with tact.

Cruel and ambitious, the LE Half-Elf Blue Dragon Disciple wishes to fully realize the power of his draconic heritage. When he decides to contribute, the party's planning becomes that much more clever.

More than a little masochistic, the CN Drow Rogue likes to explore the surface world, travelling with the party after her banishment from the Underdark.

Seeking power and revenge, the CE Elf Cleric of Nerull longs to gain his deity's favor. He has a tendency to be direct with people. He has a somewhat disturbing knowledge of funeral rites.

Just because they're evil doesn't mean they're dumb. My players realize that evil and mentally unbalanced are not one and the same. In fact, I think they're a better example of their alignments than some of the villains that I've seen.

2008-03-27, 10:34 PM
With the experience I do have I often ask myself this question. “Why do so many people play evil characters so poorly?”

Short answer: Because so many people are dumb or obnoxious.

Long answer:

I think the problem is that most people in western society grow up without ever experiencing true evil. The worst people they see are on tv, and those characters are all overtly evil.
In reality, bad guys scheme, form alliances, make friends with people because of what those people can do for them. Some will stab their friends in the back, others are more cunning and are able to get what they want without burning bridges.

In reality, "bad guy" is subjective. A real patriot, one who's willing to do whatever it takes for the betterment of his country, is evil to anyone from another country. A powerful criminal is a boon to his friends, allies and associates. A freedom fighter is a terrorist on your side. Etc.

Some mentally disturbed individuals look Evil from outside, but they have reasons in their minds (whatever they may be). Even the most atrocious stuff are ultimately for the good of someone. There's no Evil in the real world. Or Good for that matter.

CS or SE people are either ignorant of the nature of evil or wrecking the game to vent out their frustrations.

Or they are just dumb.

2008-03-27, 10:50 PM
I am the DM of a group consisted by: An NG Bard, a N rogue and a NE with lawful tendencies Cleric. They travel together because they nedd each other. The cleric needs to perform a ritual and the components he needs are spread all over the world so he uses the bards knowledge of legends to find them, the rogue has no actual place to go and his life become much more intresting since he travels with this two and is a heplful lad to have around specially on dungeon crawls and the bard is quite a skilled warrior who needs the other two to fulfill his goal of gathering knowledge about the world and since the evil guy has some emotional unbalance (not SE, is part of the background, he hears voices from his god) the bard is the obvious choice for social activities.

Dark Knight Renee
2008-03-27, 11:22 PM
I can say that, without a doubt, I handle villains and especially BBEGs very, very poorly. They’re usually arrogant, stupid, and over-the-top EBIL. Part of this comes from the fact that I have no idea how to run a proper villainous plot while still keeping both the PCs and the villain alive in a long-running campaign, so I make the BBEG both overpowered and too stupid to just kill the PCs. These guys would benefit from reading the Evil Overlord List. Part of it comes from the fact that I really, really like over-the-top EBIL villains. And part of it comes from the fact that some of these are legacies leftover from when I was too stupid to know better.

When PCs go evil, however, evil typically means a lack of respect for the life and liberty of others, in some form or another and varying in form and intensity from character to character, and always much subtler and smarter than the EBIL of the BBEGs. Stupid Evil and Chaotic Stupid are right out, unless something is genuinely wrong with the PC’s brain.

Edit: Specific examples aren't coming to mind at the moment, too late at night.

2008-03-27, 11:59 PM
I dont know why so many character are played so badly

of my five evil characters

one is an aasimar who's seen and heard too much evil and chaos from normaly trusted and good people.

one is the aasimars twin, a tiefling sorcerer/cleric who was treated as a hated outcast thanks to her horns and tail who turned to the dark cult led by her brother, because they were the only ones who respected and accepted her, so she treated them well and rose through the ranks quickly.

one is an orc ranger who left her master for five minutes to fetch some water and came back to find her home splattered with the remains of her master and all but one of the killers, who scarred her and escaped, now leads a death squad against the humans and elves who caused her so much grief

one's a drow cleric/champion(of a fallen god) there was a prophecy saying that a red haired drow would be born and lead them back into the light, in spite of their many enemies.

one is a king who's defending his country from the orcs noted above, he has to take radical steps, including the exile of whole subraces, kidnapping sorcerer children to be raised as caster monks, but it was because crime was running high, orcs and goblinoids were pillaging northern towns, and general order was decaying, now he has one thousand sorcerer 5/ monk 7 soldier police stopping crime and bashing orc skulls, his name heralded in the streets.

2008-03-28, 01:44 AM
Because for many people, DnD is an excuse to do stuff they can't in real life. All the frustration and annoyance they have at whatever becomes channeled into what quickly becomes a Saturday morning cartoon villain in terms of sheer stupid malevolence. However, the real problem is generally a sense of immunity to consequence that causes them to go completely off the deep end, doing anything that could be evil because they can.

In the evil campaign I am in, we are all playing incredibly foul characters. It is even worse, because we have concealed it so well. There is a huge spot of evil spreading from our castle, and no one can tell it is anything but a bastion of light due to the precautions we took. And we have to keep it subtle, despite the fact we all play people who could be BBEG's in their own right, because we know the consequences of our actions being discovered: go down under a tidal wave of paladins and good clerics.
We have

Ghost Sorcerer, partway through lichdom. He has killed himself and several others in the process of seeking immortality, and still doesn't care. It was his idea to grind up the bones of high powered good clerics to mask the desecrated areas inside their castle where he was seeking lichdom and they were consorting with demons for power. He isn't particularly evil, just careless, goal oriented, and lacking in an understanding of human suffering.

Human Warblade, the owner of the keep who seeks to provoke a war between the humans and goblins in the area so he can continue to sell weapons to both sides at high prices.

Half Fiend Duskblade, a true monster. He is basically what you get when you give someone a Hitler complex and rabies at the same time.

Human Cleric, utter hedonist and self worshiper. She has taken the concept of worshiping a concept to the extreme. She follows the concept of her rising to deityhood, and has a small cultic following. We are going epic, so she may pull it off. She seeks to displace the current deities eventually.

Nymph Bloodline Spellthief, who is both addicted to sex and magic. And willing to kill to get both. She goes through several apprentices a year.

Nymph Bloodline Warmage, who is the twin of the above. However, she is only willing to kill for magic. She also kills people for mistaking her for her sister and propositioning her.

At the moment, we have been killing dragons for gits and shiggles, and so we can skin them for armor and loot their hordes for cash. We engage in standard adventure protocol, but revel in the stuff that most parties seek to justify. To sum it up, we're bad. And good at it.