An AP for evil players (ok... Evil characters... my bad) ?


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Hello,

I'll try to make it simple... I'm currently GMing the RoRL campaign...

My players wanted to know if, when this campaign end, they can play an "evil campaign"... And when they play evil, they play evil (not evil idiot, but evil nonetheless :p ), killing, betraying etc.

I was wondering if anyone knows of an AP or any campaign that may suit this kind of play ? (Remember, they betray anyone, include themselves :D )

Or something vaguely akin that I can adapt ?

Thanks,

Loen.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Not gonna happen from Paizo, especially not for evil players. :p

I think Kingmaker is your best bet, since it's so much of a sandbox.


Also if you didn't play Savage Tide, with little work it can be redone into an evil campaign - i actually thought it would be much funnier to play it as evil characters than good characters.


I thought about that, too.
While I think it's an awesome idea, I don't think we will see an EEEEVIL Adventure Path anytime soon. An AP like that would probably require printing some not-so-friendly material like the good old Book of Vile Darkness. I don't know if the moms of a part of the customers would be happy with that. ;)
Paizo is probably better off sticking to material everyone can purchase and enjoy.

Now, this doesn't change facts that you *can* do something about it with pre-existing Paizo APs.
Kingmaker is a great choice in this, if you can set the right mood. Ruling a kingdom can really be a nice motivator for evil characters, and some backstabbing to be *the king* is guaranteed. Your players should read The Prince by Macchiavelli and act accordingly. ;)
Anyways Kingmaker is not your only resource. If your players want less kingdom management and more low-level adventures in a "wretched hive of scum and villainy", you should definitely check out the first two modules from the Second Darkness adventure path. Don't let the bad reputation of that AP influence you: it is widely recognized that the first adventures are a blast. The problems, especially with an evil and presumably selfish group, show up only later. Riddleport is a real heaven for scoundrels of every kind, and evil players can really get engaged in the crime wars between criminal lords and in managing the Golden Goblin betting hall.


Well I haven't think of Kingmaker... Good idea, I will have a look at Savage Tide and Second Darkness too... thank you :)


Loengrin wrote:

Hello,

I'll try to make it simple... I'm currently GMing the RoRL campaign...

My players wanted to know if, when this campaign end, they can play an "evil campaign"... And when they play evil, they play evil (not evil idiot, but evil nonetheless :p ), killing, betraying etc.

I was wondering if anyone knows of an AP or any campaign that may suit this kind of play ? (Remember, they betray anyone, include themselves :D )

Or something vaguely akin that I can adapt ?

Thanks,

Loen.

These things dont' tend to last long, but as far as ideas go, maybe your party just needs to drink a bit and play "Kobolds Ate My Babies!" it might be the fix they're looking at.

I once ran a forgotten realms campaign that had an evil theme to it, the players were all weapon masters of different drow houses and while they were required to play into the political intrigue of their society, they did a lot of vigilante justice in their off hours and tried to influence their society for the better. It led to some really intense role-play as their houses began moving against each other and required them to fight each other at times in matters of house honor. While not an evil game, it does expose the players to an evil society and is a darker, grittier game.

Scarab Sages

I second Kingmaker. It works for any alignment because the motivation is rather universal. Anybody might want to rule, the alignment difference accounts for how a character will rule.

Granted, I am currently running a homegrown "save the world" plot for an all-evil party. Evil characters just need a stake beyond "Because it's the right thing to do." My group is still trying to save the world, despite being Lawful and Neutral Evil, because they'll never be able to rule the world if aberrations and cultists destroy it first, so if the characters can be given a selfish enough hook, even evil characters can be heroes. no self-respecting evil overlords will allow competition for their evil overlord position.

Ofttimes, as well, alignment might have more to do with methods than goals. I as a GM would certainly allow any party of good characters to travel with a Lawful Evil character who wanted to be heroic, but just preferred brutal interrogation or "ends justify means" types of solutions to typical overly risky heroics. My aforementioned evil party takes terrible risks to save the world, they just don't take arrows for commoners or other characters they perceive as "weak" or take unnecessary risks for moral reasons. They're coldly and cruelly efficient, but they might be the only reason the world is still standing when the smoke clears.

Or maybe evil characters fight to save themselves from some great danger, and the fact that a few peasants also live is completely incidental.

However, without modification or serious re-interpretation, I'd feel comfortable running Kingmaker for Neutral or Evil PCs out-of-the-box. Even the initial adventure hook can easily be sold to evil characters.


Loengrin wrote:

Hello,

I'll try to make it simple... I'm currently GMing the RoRL campaign...

My players wanted to know if, when this campaign end, they can play an "evil campaign"... And when they play evil, they play evil (not evil idiot, but evil nonetheless :p ), killing, betraying etc.

I was wondering if anyone knows of an AP or any campaign that may suit this kind of play ? (Remember, they betray anyone, include themselves :D )

Or something vaguely akin that I can adapt ?

Thanks,

Loen.

Ahh the old "lets try an evil campaign" discussion. Every group eventually tries it and learns it just does not work. I won't go into the various problems with it but go ahead and give it a try, you'll see.

The best you can do is a Neutral/Neutral Good type campaign in the spirit of the Conan or Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser novels. There is a reason there are no "Evil PC" APs or modules and it's not a moral issue it's a gaming one.


Quote:
Ahh the old "lets try an evil campaign" discussion. Every group eventually tries it and learns it just does not work. I won't go into the various problems with it but go ahead and give it a try, you'll see.

Aaaah, nice way to put your personal experience as a factual evidence.

Personally, the last evil campaign I ran lasted for 3 years before people wanted to try something new (and right now I'm running an all-good party). Also, I do enjoy playing evil characters in a "all evil" scenario and that would be a good half of the characters I played when I get to be a player. Still, you don't see me saying "Evil campaign are awesome and if you try you will never get back, that's valid for every group!"
That would be no less correct than your grossly incorrect statement.
OP asked how to use Paizo material to run an evil campaign, not if running an evil campaign is a good idea or not.


Play nice you two.

It can work, sure, it just requires a setting in which it fits, and more importantly MATURE gamers that are interested in story. I wouldn't call Vampires from White Wolf good exactly, but they make due with what they have.

The biggest issue is ensuring that your players are able to play evil without being stupid. I'm going to kill babies with magic fire! Is not only silly, its detrimental. If they want cartoony over the top dark humor then a campaign is likely the wrong venue for them, but if they want to explore the darker themes of villainy then there's certainly no reason to hold them back.

I think its a bit more important to focus on WHAT they want then to fixate on the alignment. I allow evil alignments in my game (when I even use the alignment system at all) all the time. The important thing to remember is that they're supposed to be playing a character in a realistic fashion and even if they're chaotic evil they should understand that their actions have consequences.


Kingmaker will work...

Even so I think the ultimate power grab will come when the position of king comes open.....

Evil characters (not stupid) might even share the power as a ruling council or something of that nature!


I'd love to observe a group of Evil characters in Kingmaker. When it comes time to establish a city, it would be so much fun to observe them as they choose what to build and why. Oh yeah, one word immediately comes to mind; embezzlement!

If you're playing with mature players, Evil could probably be quite fun indeed.


Hey... No worries... All my players know what they do, we play together for more than 10 years and have already done some evil scenarios... ;)
They tend to be a lot of fun, lots of laugh etc.
They will kill babies, but only when they won't get caught, they are NOT "evil idiot", just...well... Chaotic Evil... :D

Years after they still talk about one of our players who ran a pirate, one night he goes in the poor quarter in order to ask question to a beggar (beggar have lots of gold he wanted to know why), he found one in a small and dark venue, surprise him, beat him lightly then he goes : "ok, now I lift him from the ground, cut his throat and ask him for the gold..."
Every players around the table looked at him in amazement, and I go "Huuum... Well he said gruglgrglgl aaargh...", it took him about 20 sec to realise what he have done... :D
Well I will stop there 'cause I don't want to write all night, let's just say that after that it was more and more funny for everyone (including me ;) )

True it was in Warhammer rpg and so it was maybe easier in this world... But they have loved they adventure as evil characters...

I think I'll go with kingmaker, I'm pretty sure I'll have an oracle of bones in the party, wonder what he will make of a town :D


Loengrin wrote:

surprise him, beat him lightly then he goes : "ok, now I lift him from the ground, cut his throat and ask him for the gold..."

...and repeat for each NPC. Throw in the inevitable PC on PC violence and now you have an Evil PC campaign. Have fun!


cibet44 wrote:
...and repeat for each NPC. Throw in the inevitable PC on PC violence and now you have an Evil PC campaign. Have fun!

Not really the second one manage to escape and the pirate run after him shouting "stop right there, after all you're already dead !!!" and was wondering why his intimidation haven't stop the beggar in his track... :D

And not so surprisingly there's not much PC vs PC in our game, erf, well, until the reward come that is ;)

Knowing them they will do a council for running the town and they will fight verbally, maybe some threat etc.

It can goes well...We know each other very well and I know there will be two leaders fighting between them and two others ploting in the shadow to scrap every penny they can get... ;)

Well Kingmaker seem the perfect AP for them... Thanks again for your advice... :)


Evil is fine, as long as ALL the players and the DM are ready for it...and of course the players play smart, evil masterminds are masterminds, petty crooks are morons.

Unfortunately for me, I was running the Kobold King series, and when the characters decided after the first scene they wanted to play it evil and loose, it became a bit harder to provide motivation to go on to the next parts, without a large locomotive and lots of track...

Good characters can be won over with gratitude and a damsel in distress...

Evil characters require wealth and power.


Well, there's playing garden variety, look-to-thine-own-interests-first evil and then there is Ee-vil™, which is more about a parody of what people like to summarize evil as. The biggest problems usually stem from a lack of communication and players who let their character's alignment (or in-character personality for that matter) dictate overwhelmingly their character's actions to the complete detriment of game play.

I've seen some great evil characters whose players worked well with the other players and were able to get their 'evil' fix without becoming caricatures of mustache twirling villains or complete psychotics and sociopaths who must enact their plots or killing to the detriment of all others. It is certainly possible.


cibet44 wrote:
Loengrin wrote:

surprise him, beat him lightly then he goes : "ok, now I lift him from the ground, cut his throat and ask him for the gold..."

...and repeat for each NPC. Throw in the inevitable PC on PC violence and now you have an Evil PC campaign. Have fun!

I have had far more problems with good characters than with evil ones. Every evil campaign I have been in has had less inter-party conflict than any non-evil campaign I have been in. With evil campaigns, players go into them expecting people to make amoral decisions and do things they do not like. With regular campaigns, everything is fine until 1 of those situations comes up. Then, the s*&% hits the fan and PvP starts. And just because everyone is good does not mean they have similar goals at all.

Scarab Sages

Caineach wrote:
cibet44 wrote:
Loengrin wrote:

surprise him, beat him lightly then he goes : "ok, now I lift him from the ground, cut his throat and ask him for the gold..."

...and repeat for each NPC. Throw in the inevitable PC on PC violence and now you have an Evil PC campaign. Have fun!
I have had far more problems with good characters than with evil ones. Every evil campaign I have been in has had less inter-party conflict than any non-evil campaign I have been in. With evil campaigns, players go into them expecting people to make amoral decisions and do things they do not like. With regular campaigns, everything is fine until 1 of those situations comes up. Then, the s*~* hits the fan and PvP starts. And just because everyone is good does not mean they have similar goals at all.

I have similar experiences. I once ran a campaign that actually had two parties of PCs, we switched between the two every month or so. One party was all neutral and evil, the other all neutral and good. The Neutral/Evil party never had a single argument. The most intelligent of the PCs would suggest the most efficient course of action, the other PCs would agree, and they would go do it with frightening, machine-like efficiency. The Neutral/Good party (played by the exact same players) spent several sessions arguing with each other over law/chaos differences and taking great exception to the one "collateral damage" casualty that the neutral PC caused. The evil party became the player favorites over a year of play, and after taking a few months off, I've committed to running a sequel to that campaign, just so the players can play their evil PCs again. We've been playing the sequel for about a month. The PCs are even more evil than before (aforementioned evil PC party leader actually talked all the neutral PCs into an alignment change by arguing that compassion and restraint will make their efforts to save the world less efficient), and teamwork is up.

Liberty's Edge

Council of Thieves could be fine for this, so long as you've got enough Lawful in your party.


Face_P0lluti0n wrote:
Caineach wrote:
cibet44 wrote:
Loengrin wrote:

surprise him, beat him lightly then he goes : "ok, now I lift him from the ground, cut his throat and ask him for the gold..."

...and repeat for each NPC. Throw in the inevitable PC on PC violence and now you have an Evil PC campaign. Have fun!
I have had far more problems with good characters than with evil ones. Every evil campaign I have been in has had less inter-party conflict than any non-evil campaign I have been in. With evil campaigns, players go into them expecting people to make amoral decisions and do things they do not like. With regular campaigns, everything is fine until 1 of those situations comes up. Then, the s*~* hits the fan and PvP starts. And just because everyone is good does not mean they have similar goals at all.
I have similar experiences. I once ran a campaign that actually had two parties of PCs, we switched between the two every month or so. One party was all neutral and evil, the other all neutral and good. The Neutral/Evil party never had a single argument. The most intelligent of the PCs would suggest the most efficient course of action, the other PCs would agree, and they would go do it with frightening, machine-like efficiency. The Neutral/Good party (played by the exact same players) spent several sessions arguing with each other over law/chaos differences and taking great exception to the one "collateral damage" casualty that the neutral PC caused. The evil party became the player favorites over a year of play, and after taking a few months off, I've committed to running a sequel to that campaign, just so the players can play their evil PCs again. We've been playing the sequel for about a month. The PCs are even more evil than before (aforementioned evil PC party leader actually talked all the neutral PCs into an alignment change by arguing that compassion and restraint will make their efforts to save the world less efficient), and teamwork is up.

One of the best teamwork games I have seen was an all traitor game. It was Conspiracy X, not D&D. Everyone knew their were traitors in the group besides them, but didn't know everyone was. Because they didn't want their secrets known, they were willing to work together for mutual ends and gave info to get more, instead of the usual game, where the non-traitors clam up when they start to suspect someone of being a traitor so that more information is not leaked.

Scarab Sages

Quote:
One of the best teamwork games I have seen was an all traitor game. It was Conspiracy X, not D&D. Everyone knew their were traitors in the group besides them, but didn't know everyone was. Because they didn't want their secrets known, they were willing to work together for mutual ends and gave info to get more, instead of the usual game, where the non-traitors clam up when they start to suspect someone of being a traitor so that more information is not leaked.

That's awesome. I've never had anything that cool happen, though I did run a game where a childless king was dying and was going to pick one, and only one, of the PCs as heir. They worked together on group goals the whole campaign, each competing to show off how efficient and helpful they were so the good aligned king would pick them.


Loengrin wrote:

Hello,

I'll try to make it simple... I'm currently GMing the RoRL campaign...

My players wanted to know if, when this campaign end, they can play an "evil campaign"... And when they play evil, they play evil (not evil idiot, but evil nonetheless :p ), killing, betraying etc.

I was wondering if anyone knows of an AP or any campaign that may suit this kind of play ? (Remember, they betray anyone, include themselves :D )

Or something vaguely akin that I can adapt ?

Thanks,

Loen.

I would(as a group) set guidelines so no feelings get hurt. I noticed you said betrayal. Who are they betraying? If they are betraying each other then it is no better than the stupid evil games I normally hear about. Even evil people have things, and people they care about, and they can be loyal. They are just loyal to a select few individuals or to a cause that is strong enough to keep them together. If evil just meant backstab then the good guys would have an easier job as all the evil NPC's would be picking each other off.

I am not accusing your group of playing this way, but I wanted to put it out there as something to think about.


cibet44 wrote:

Ahh the old "lets try an evil campaign" discussion. Every group eventually tries it and learns it just does not work.

We must be gods, then.


I am always hearing (and reading on the boards) “OMG! There is no way to run an evil campaign with evil characters not cutting each other’s throats!” I have GM'ed and played role-playing games for a bit of time and over 50% of my campaigns have been evil type. I constantly hear my character has to do this he is EVIL! That is just a load of something that isn’t dirt.
Players run their characters not vice versa. If your group can understand this fact, in game and out, you can run a successful evil campaign: The only way we can play together is if we can get along.


Azrael Lukja wrote:
An AP like that would probably require printing some not-so-friendly material like the good old Book of Vile Darkness.

That's like saying "For a good AP, you would need a Book of Exalted Deeds."

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

From experience I can say that Second darkness works with a group of evil Pc's (ran a group through it) In fact if anything it made running the Ap easier (Evil characters kind of expect people not to trust them and treat them in a less than friendly manner)


Evil will always triumph... because Good is dumb.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
magnuskn wrote:

Not gonna happen from Paizo, especially not for evil players. :p

I think Kingmaker is your best bet, since it's so much of a sandbox.

Yeah...I am DMing an "evil group" through Kingmaker now.

Sure, so far they are doing fine, however a lot of the mechanics and flat out story of the adventure is something that will be lost to them I think, which is kinda meh imo. But, it happens.


Cartigan wrote:
That's like saying "For a good AP, you would need a Book of Exalted Deeds."

Noooot so fast...

First of all, I said "You would probably require some material like the one published in the Book of Vile Darkness", not the book itself. So, that's like saying: running a good-themed campaign would "probably require some material like the one published in the Book of Exalted Deeds". ;) And I don't think this is far from truth. In BoED you can find new creatures, particularly good-themed spells and a bunch of stuff like that. And that would be quite useful in running a good-themed campaign, but not *required*. And there's a reason for this. Pathfinder's core assumption is that the characters will be good or neutral aligned. This is *not* as strong as in (let's say, but no edition war please) D&D 4E, but the feeling is still there. You are given the *option* to create an evil character, but that's a "variant", not the main rule. E.g. the Paladin is the core class in the main book, the Antipaladin is a variant in another book. That's just the way it is.
So, the game already has enough implied material so that if you want to play a righteous character you can do it without anything else.
And... There's more to it, actually. When I say "an AP like that would probably require printing some not-so-friendly material like the etc etc" I'm saying "Hey, for that AP they'll need to print stuff who can be unappealing to some people. Like, let's say, the stuff on BoVD is not appealing to everyone. Yeah, stuff like that". Maybe it's not dark spells, maybe it's not rules for addiction (we already have them I think), maybe it's not blood-themed prestige classes... But writing an evil AP means that they'll have to write something with the same style. Maybe just fluff, maybe just the adventure, but you can't really write an adventure about "sacrificing young maidens" without gettin a lot of people mad at you. That's what I meant, and I don't think it was that obscure or unclear. BoVD was simply an example of the "style" they'd need to recreate and that same style could get them in troubles.

Another thing I'd like to underline: what would you define as a "good AP"? I'd say an AP where the PCs are required to be good and their "goodness" is a main theme of the AP itself. For example, I wouldn't call Second Darkness a "good AP", even if the PCs are supposed to save the world. They are also supposed to be running a betting hall, to pretend they're drows and things like that. I don't really think that we've seen a really "good AP" from Paizo so far, but I don't have them all so I'm not sure about this.

(on a side note: what's the deal with this boards? That's like the third time someone tries to counter-argument something I said with an apparently parallel example who, in reality, doesn't fit to what I'm saying and I have to explain WHY it's not fitting. Guys, try some other tactic from time to time!)

The Exchange

I'm currently playing in a Kingmaker game, in a group that is entirely neutral on the good-evil axis. It's working out fine for us so far, and from what I've seen we could just as easily be an all evil group and still be enjoying the campaign plenty.


Serpent Skull is looking good for morally ambivalent groups.

Spoiler:

I think there are 5 factions that the party can join and 3 of them are Neutral to Evil.


In thinking back over most of the APs I think just about any of them could be warped slightly to cater to Evil characters.

I disagree that an Evil Campaign or AP needs to get to BoVD levels of Evil. That book is the extrem end of Evil. Just most Good characters don't fit under Exalted Deeds, so to should most Evil characters don't need to be *that* Evil.

A the spin is to present the material in ways that would appeal to the characters or groups selfish desires.

Rise of the Runelords: Boost Sin magic and let players dabble in it more. Entice them into the quests with that angle.

Curse of the Crimson Throne: Angle it so they want to become rulers of the city. That will bring them into conflict in the end.

Second Darkness: How about learning about the spell that brought rare valuae metal to mine. Which starts them down the path to learn about the world ending aspect of that magic.

Legacy of Flame: This doesn't have as good an evil angle. The greed for money and power isn't as high in this one.

Council of Thieves: It's gang wars in Chelex for control of a city, how more Evil could this get? Devil pacts, murder, Hell Knights... need one go on.

Kingmaker: Evil Empire in the making. Nothing really stops the PCs from being evil bastards. Every threat is a threat to thier new empire in the River Kingdoms.


Never saw any evil campaign working. An adventure, sure, there you don't care about long-term cohesion, and forced cooperation/unequal PCs relationship do not last long enough, to start getting on players' nerves. Still requires players that are mature enough to hold back when necessary.
Campaigns where PCs pretended to be evil, but in realilty were just somewhat-more-ruthless-than-usual heroes on standard heroic quests, or a bunch of generally non-malicious people out for themselves, or even straight-up heroes (one of my parties seemed to like deluding themselves about them being evil, even though they helped practically everyone in need they met, at least half the time without expecting any immediate reward) - well, those I've seen in abundance.


FatR wrote:

Never saw any evil campaign working. An adventure, sure, there you don't care about long-term cohesion, and forced cooperation/unequal PCs relationship do not last long enough, to start getting on players' nerves. Still requires players that are mature enough to hold back when necessary.

Campaigns where PCs pretended to be evil, but in realilty were just somewhat-more-ruthless-than-usual heroes on standard heroic quests, or a bunch of generally non-malicious people out for themselves, or even straight-up heroes (one of my parties seemed to like deluding themselves about them being evil, even though they helped practically everyone in need they met, at least half the time without expecting any immediate reward) - well, those I've seen in abundance.

Evil does not mean you have to stab your buddy in the back. I think that is why most evil campaigns fail. The difference between good and evil is the methods they use to get the job done. A good group would not torture to meet goals. An evil group would. Evil also kills when it is convenient. Good characters kill because they have too. The NPC's in the players are up against are evil, but they back each other up, so I don't see why the players can't do the same.

Silver Crusade

wraithstrike wrote:
Evil does not mean you have to stab your buddy in the back. I think that is why most evil campaigns fail. The difference between good and evil is the methods they use to get the job done. A good group would not torture to meet goals. An evil group would. Evil also kills when it is convenient. Good characters kill because they have too. The NPC's in the players are up against are evil, but they back each other up, so I don't see why the players can't do the same.

Funny enough, both the evil PCs and the LE ruling NPCs in my side campaign have been successful specifically because of this. Highly professional, highly loyal to their comrades, definite goals in all of their hearts and minds, and quite evil.


wraithstrike wrote:

Who are they betraying? If they are betraying each other then it is no better than the stupid evil games I normally hear about. Even evil people have things, and people they care about, and they can be loyal. They are just loyal to a select few individuals or to a cause that is strong enough to keep them together. If evil just meant backstab then the good guys would have an easier job as all the evil NPC's would be picking each other off.

I am not accusing your group of playing this way, but I wanted to put it out there as something to think about.

Well, we have played at Paranoia and it went well... ;)

Usually players set a lot of rules between themselves (to prevent gutting each other for loot etc.), role are well defined to the start, yes, overall an evil team is more efficient from the start than a good team...

They usually betrayed each other on loot things... You know, keep some extra gold for themselves, be hired for 500gp and tell the party it's for 400... Try to take a loot unseen... That kind of things...

I've take a look at kingmaker and council of thieves... And I think I'm going with the council of thieves ;)
The story look awesome, and fit well for an evil group...


Mikaze wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Evil does not mean you have to stab your buddy in the back. I think that is why most evil campaigns fail. The difference between good and evil is the methods they use to get the job done. A good group would not torture to meet goals. An evil group would. Evil also kills when it is convenient. Good characters kill because they have too. The NPC's in the players are up against are evil, but they back each other up, so I don't see why the players can't do the same.
Funny enough, both the evil PCs and the LE ruling NPCs in my side campaign have been successful specifically because of this. Highly professional, highly loyal to their comrades, definite goals in all of their hearts and minds, and quite evil.

I think that falls under "somewhat-more-ruthless-than-usual heroes" in FatR's description above.


wraithstrike wrote:


Evil does not mean you have to stab your buddy in the back.

Evil means you're the sort of egoist, who doesn't really have buddies. Whatever alignment descriptions you are using, simply being a hardened killer is not enough to qualify a person as evil, because characters are supposed to spill untold rivers of blood and still remain good.

And even looking away from DnD alignments, seriously, the free alliance of equals model, inherent for DnD (and RPG in general), just doesn't work with evil people. Neither in RL, not in the game. And crazy power growth associated with DnD, means that the party cannot be held together for long by being a bunch of goons in their boss' employ. There are a few workarounds, usually boiling down to characters being forced into cooperation by mutual danger, but, as I said, these tend not to work for very long. The best case of evil characters cooperating I've seen was in an one-shot adventure, where we both had an enemy all of us hated, and were strapped with restraining devices (notably, NPCs, and, as I recon, GM, still expected them to kill each other - the mission they were sent onto was set up to fail).

wraithstrike wrote:


Good characters kill because they have too. The NPC's in the players are up against are evil, but they back each other up, so I don't see why the players can't do the same.

Almost every evil force in the published advendtures I can remember is composed of a BBEG (or a BBEG and a few lieutenants, actually running its organization, who usually try to one-up each other) on top, and its b@&&$es below. This model doesn't work for PCs, for obvious reasons.


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Evil party's work. They have to be built appropriately, and the whole crew has to agree to the blueprint. One type:

- A Charistmatic leader others are willing to follow. Best bet is Cleric, Rogue or Bard here. Make him a scion of nobility with the desire to rule the country/world/temple.
- A brutish thug who is the Leader's enforcer. He does what he is told because he loves/worships the Leader PC or doesn't have the imagination to betray him. A smart Leader keeps this guy happy by delivering virgins to sate his baser lusts. Barbarian/Fighter works very well here.
- The assassin/spy type. This is the trickiest type. It works best if romantically involved with the Leader, or maybe as a family member who recognizes his best shot is to hang around the well loved leader. Ranger/Rogue works awesomely here.
- The ammoral brains behind the throne. He wants power, but doesn't want to deal with the trapping s and responsibility. Hooking up with the Leadre and enforcing his agenda leads to wealth/power/willing sacrifices for his research. Cleric or Wizard works well here as well.

Curse of the Crimson Throne would work well here. Just make the family of the Leader the only worthy threat to the Queen is a succession, that the rabble would rally around. Then the Queen would try to get rid of them as a preventive maneuver, setting the party against her from the start. Their only hope is to fight back, and the heroic NPCs could be dilluded into following them because they are less of an evil (maybe), or because the Leader is good at dissembling his evilness to the public.

Remember, the party can appear to be good while been deeply evil. Many dictators have been deeply loved by the masses wh were unaware of their villainy.

The above is just one blueprint of many that might work. Evil party's are very effiecient in the sense that they ar very self motivatedf for power grabbing.


FatR wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:


Evil does not mean you have to stab your buddy in the back.

Evil means you're the sort of egoist, who doesn't really have buddies. Whatever alignment descriptions you are using, simply being a hardened killer is not enough to qualify a person as evil, because characters are supposed to spill untold rivers of blood and still remain good.

Being evil does not make you not worthy of trust. In movies many evil people have families, and people they care about, and when the good guys accidentally or not, hurt a loved one the wrath of Mr.Evil is pointed towards the good guy. The good character spill blood because they have too, and because the game promotes it,however they would(should) take the less violent option if it were readily(not too far out of the way) available. Intents and willingness to do bad things are more a determiner of evil than what you do. I never understood why evil is associated with not having compassion or feelings. If that were really the case no evil person could be redeemed because they would not be bothered to hear whatever nonsense(from their PoV) of why they were wrong, and why they should try to be better.

PRD:Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient.


wraithstrike wrote:


Being evil does not make you not worthy of trust. In movies many evil people have families, and people they care about, and when the good guys accidentally or not, hurt a loved one the wrath of Mr.Evil is pointed towards the good guy. The good character spill blood because they have too, and because the game promotes it,however they would(should) take the less violent option if it were readily(not too far out of the way) available. Intents and willingness to do bad things are more a determiner of evil than what you do. I never understood why evil is associated with not having compassion or feelings. If that were really the case no evil person could be redeemed because they would not be bothered to hear whatever nonsense(from their PoV) of why they were wrong, and why they should try to be better.

I think you are mainly describing LAWFUL Evil. Lawful Evil will still follow laws, or at least try to avoid breaking them. I think of the typical mob boss who never actually commits crimes himself and protects and is loyal to (cares about) his family. He will knowingly profit from Evil acts but is not going to kill anyone if he can absolutely help it. A Lawful Evil character would certainly kill in a "legal" gladiatorial death match whereas a good character would most likely not.

wraithstrike wrote:


PRD:Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient.

I think this is Chaotic Evil. Their evil behavior is a compulsion just barely in control and sometimes not and that's how they like it.

Silver Crusade

hogarth wrote:
Mikaze wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Evil does not mean you have to stab your buddy in the back. I think that is why most evil campaigns fail. The difference between good and evil is the methods they use to get the job done. A good group would not torture to meet goals. An evil group would. Evil also kills when it is convenient. Good characters kill because they have too. The NPC's in the players are up against are evil, but they back each other up, so I don't see why the players can't do the same.
Funny enough, both the evil PCs and the LE ruling NPCs in my side campaign have been successful specifically because of this. Highly professional, highly loyal to their comrades, definite goals in all of their hearts and minds, and quite evil.
I think that falls under "somewhat-more-ruthless-than-usual heroes" in FatR's description above.

Not these guys.

MY PLAYERS DON'T READ:

Spoiler:
The evil PCs:

One is trying to curry favor with denizens of the lower planes in order to guarantee his safety in the afterlife, he hopes.
One is in it to unravel the mysteries of their city.
One is in it for prestige and honor in his god's(Zon-Kuthon) name.
One is in it for the money, luxury, and because the others are the only family he's got.

They've engaged in sabotaging resistance efforts against tyranny, tracking down and tricking the paladin in charge into a sting operation, sold the survivors into slavery for a pretty profit, treated with unholy organizations out of convenience and power, etc.

The only thing heroic about these guys is that they have standards.

The ruling NPCs:

The leader is in it because he believes he's the only one that can safeguard a certain culture in the area, the only one with the foresight to guide them, and he wishes to see them prosper. As slaves, underneath his rule as a god-king.
Another is in it for similar reasons as the first listed PC, as well as loyalty and genuine friendship with the leader.
Another is in it because she's fanatically devout to her god(ZK again) and an absolute believer in the leader's vision, with herself as his right hand.
Another is in it mostly because he wants to prove that his sociological theories are solid and workable.
And many more in that cabal.

They're tyrants, they regularly prevent souls from recieving their rightful afterlife by turning them into undead sentinels, they ruthlessly and efficiently shape society as they see fit, they seek to enslave what free members remain of the culture they have under their heel, etc.

The only thing heroic about them is that they're better than the previous guys in charge and they don't do genocide.

And to add, the PCs aren't out to overthrow the ruling NPCs or in conflict with them by default. They're out for their own goals only.


I have ran numerous evil campaigns over the years with about the same win/loss ratio as my good campaigns.

The very first one I ran I sat down with the players and told them from the outset what we were doing. they made characters, and I made a campaign that ultimately ended up providing our setting with its own "Sauron". That evil party eventually made high level and in several subsequent campaigns those characters were the big bad-guys in the world. Imagine Sauron as a chick, and instead of Nasgul its more along the lines of The Ten Who Were Taken from the Black Company. It was a roaring success and the effects of that campaign STILL can be felt in our games today - and it finished sometime around 1998 or 99. It ran a little over 200 sessions and took the better part of 3 years to complete. When we wrapped it up - we did so because we were done.

The second one I tried was a few years later. We used the 3e rules set and it was going to be the sequel of the previous evil game. It ran for prolly 12 sessions before I gave up on it. The big problem with it for me was that I just couldn't think of anything 'fresh' to do for an evil game, since I had so recently ran one. That was in 2001.

Fast forward to 2010.

My guys just recently decided they wanted to try the evil thing. I have an entirely separate group of players now than in the first evil game. These same guys ran an overwhelmingly fun uber-good campaign I ran a few years back that lasted for over 5 years and went Epic. It was basically what if DnD had Jesus. It was huge.

So we started a new game this last winter. Thematically I am ripping heavily from Star Wars. Imagine that the Jesus guy from the earlier campaign had a kid who ended up 'accidentally' breeding with the offspring of the She-Sauron from the epic evil game. They have a kid. Jr is a brat but he is very powerful at magic. He is basically Anakin Skywalker. He needs a tutor. Enter the PCs.

They are basically going to serve as my Sith lords - one of them is 'secretly' possessed by Vecna. One is a doppleganger. One is a quickling working on behalf of the Yellow King. The other is human druid who believes himself to be the Prophet of Baphomet and basically a Minotaur Moses (though he himself is human).

My intention with the campaign is for them to establish a nice big empire for Jr. to eventually inherit and go Turbo Vader with later on.

The campaign I am running is one I have spent the last few years writing. The premise - in addition to all the other - is basically ripped from WoTC's Elder Evils book. I took each of the Elder Evils from that and stuck them in my world. The time is approaching of a prophesied "Rise of the Nine Banes" where each of these baddies will be unleashed on the world.

Since the PCs are evil, but they wanna succeed, they intend to stop the Nine Banes and in so doing espouse to anyone that will listen how awesome they are for saving the world. So on and such forth.

Back to my point though: Evil games work just like good games. You still run the same plots, stories, and whatnot - its just easier to motivate the PCs.

There is one huge caveat to all of this though.

Sit down with your players before hand and have them each state what it means to be evil. Then, have everyone agree on a few limits. For instance, we used to play with a guy that was notorious for wanting to play the 'secret badguy' character that would ultimately betray the party. We got rid of him though cause none of us thought that was fun (and he was a douche). So, before we did this campaign we basically agreed that no PC would be built that would screw the party. However, there have been a few combats already where things got hairy and it was every man for himself. Literally. That was actually pretty funny.

So yeah...evil can be done successfully. It just takes finesse.

Thanks for reading.

[edit-ps] oh, and isn't one of the Paizo iconics LE?


cibet44 wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:


Being evil does not make you not worthy of trust. In movies many evil people have families, and people they care about, and when the good guys accidentally or not, hurt a loved one the wrath of Mr.Evil is pointed towards the good guy. The good character spill blood because they have too, and because the game promotes it,however they would(should) take the less violent option if it were readily(not too far out of the way) available. Intents and willingness to do bad things are more a determiner of evil than what you do. I never understood why evil is associated with not having compassion or feelings. If that were really the case no evil person could be redeemed because they would not be bothered to hear whatever nonsense(from their PoV) of why they were wrong, and why they should try to be better.

I think you are mainly describing LAWFUL Evil. Lawful Evil will still follow laws, or at least try to avoid breaking them. I think of the typical mob boss who never actually commits crimes himself and protects and is loyal to (cares about) his family. He will knowingly profit from Evil acts but is not going to kill anyone if he can absolutely help it. A Lawful Evil character would certainly kill in a "legal" gladiatorial death match whereas a good character would most likely not.

wraithstrike wrote:


PRD:Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient.
I think this is Chaotic Evil. Their evil behavior is a compulsion just barely in control and sometimes not and that's how they like it.

The word "some" was key because the other poster was trying to say nobody evil cares about anyone other than themselves. I would agree that it is hard for a CE person to have any real friends.

I think both LE and NE people can have friends.


I've done a few evil campaigns in the past. It CAN be done, but you have to ask what the player want out of it. If they want PvP, then it's best if they all understand that it's just a game.

But, if they really want to be an evil party, what I usually do is give them all a common goal to shoot for, with someone much more powerful directing them. I've found that doing this way works rather well.

But, again, what works for me may not work for you. Best of luck to you!

Dark Archive

i love playing evil characters and evil campaigns, though they are harder to pull off, villains are fun to play (PvP on the otherhand not so much)....


Mikaze wrote:

Not these guys.

MY PLAYERS DON'T READ:
** spoiler omitted **...

Without getting into a discussion of what's good and what's evil, I'll just note this: using force and trickery to defeat Team Good isn't really very different from using force and trickery to defeat Team Evil (which is standard adventurer procedure, IMO).

The only real difference is that there's more "puppy kicking" involved (i.e. doing normal PC stuff in a pointedly cruel way in order to keep your negative karma).

Dark Archive

that, and trying to make the others at the table cring with what you come up with next...


iwatt wrote:

[...]

Curse of the Crimson Throne would work well here. Just make the family of the Leader the only worthy threat to the Queen is a succession, that the rabble would rally around. Then the Queen would try to get rid of them as a preventive maneuver, setting the party against her from the start. Their only hope is to fight back, and the heroic NPCs could be dilluded into following them because they are less of an evil (maybe), or because the Leader is good at dissembling his evilness to the public.

Remember, the party can appear to be good while been deeply evil. Many dictators have been deeply loved by the masses wh were unaware of their villainy.

The above is just one blueprint of many that might work. Evil party's are very effiecient in the sense that they ar very self motivatedf for power grabbing.

Thank you, I'll have a look to the curse of crimson crown AP, will buy the first book soon (It seems a lot of AP can be used for an evil campaign :D )

And for my party, as already said, I have no worries, I have not to told them what to do, they play with each other for a very long time and we know each other very well, there will be the blueprints as you wrote... Without having to explain them the things ;)
One will be the leader (he always is), one will be the power behind the throne/wannabe leader too, the two others are going to play respectively "the dedicated thug" and "the we don't know what he will do next" guy :D

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