Who is the most evil?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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I know what you are all thinking. What these forums needs is yet another alignment thread. In honour of this being the 666th thread on alignment (okay not really, but let us pretend) imagine each evil alignment were to state their case for being the most evil as follows:

Chaotic Evil: I am the most evil. No rule binds me, I acknowledge no master and have no principles. I wallow in my evilness leaving destruction in my wake.

Lawful Evil: I am the most evil. Only I have the discipline to pursue evil in every facet of my existence. I will be evil in every action and every thought until the end of all things. The others cannot claim such commitment to evil.

Neutral Evil: I am the most evil. The others are distracted by their lawful and chaotic philosophies. Only I am truly evil above all other things.

Neutral: You are all a pack of bastards. None more evil than the next.

Who is correct?


Speaking someone who hates the, perceived, simplicity of the alignment matrix, it really depends on their evil acts and commitment to evil, as opposed to the other part of their alignment. Although, it does feel like a lot of people, at least used to, see Chaos as more evil then Law. In that sense, Chaotic Evil would be more evil. I will stop now as I feel a lecture rant coming on.


Chaotic Neutral of course. The others corrupt the game world, but that one corrupts the player.

Since LE was designed so that PCs could negotiate with LE NPC's and trust them to hold their word (usually a lot more trustworthy than PCs), some people tend to hold them as lesser evil. To that argument's credit a little LE tends to be easier to live with then a little NE or CE. On the other hand a lot of LE is usually just as bad as a lot of CE. NE seems to collapse on itself before hitting the lot stage or get good at hiding what it is doing--either way a lot of NE seems easier to live with then a lot of LE or a lot of CE.


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None of the Evil alignments are inherently more evil than the next, that's why they're side-by-side. The level of Evil you attain is based on the character you play, not the alignment you choose.


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Tammy.


Tyinyk wrote:
None of the Evil alignments are inherently more evil than the next, that's why they're side-by-side. The level of Evil you attain is based on the character you play, not the alignment you choose.

Which begs the question, would a diamond be more accurate than a box?

Contributor

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Think of CE/NE/LE as frequencies of evil rather than amplitude.


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Tammy strikes frequently.


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So nobody is going to play Devil's Advocate (pun intended) and argue the case for lawful evil being the most evil?


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Boomerang Nebula wrote:
So nobody is going to play Devil's Advocate (pun intended) and argue the case for lawful evil being the most evil?

It would seem not. None of them are necessarily more or less evil. You're talking about an RPG, so it'll depend on the GM.


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That's weird. Clearly lawful evil is the most evil. To make a moral decision you have to understand the consequences of your actions. Only lawful evil displays the discipline, planning and understanding of consequences to be called truly evil. The others are more likely to accidentally commit good acts.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

That's one interpretation.

I have another, but you're dug in, and I have to walk the dog. :-)


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I have no idea, I haven't been tracking my Holy Smite dice that well.

Clearly this means we need to do extensive testing. I say smite 100 mooks of each alignment, take the average, and whoever has the highest is the most evil. Use intensify spell for some extra range.

FOR SCIENCE!


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Tammy's just going to kill everyone, and let Pharasma, or whoever sort them out.

Because that's just how Chaotic Evil does it.


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Well I'll step in.

Lawful Evil is best evil. They are organized, productive, in control, and their legality doesn't necessarily means honesty.

LE is dedicated, focused, and methodical. CE will keep going till they're bored, NE until they're threatened. LE is willing to pull through and be truly perseverant.

Rather than immediately smite, the good guy has to listen to them sometimes. Plus, LE is just simply the alignment that gets things done. CE or NE relies on sheer power for world domination. For LE sheer power is of course vital, but methodical planning and logical steps are just as crucial.

Think about it. Despite sheer number and James Jacob's favoritism towards demons ;) Devils still stand, and control an entire nation, manipulating many more people.

All right, I ranted a bit. I do believe they're all... equal but LE is just a personal favorite. I think the point of the thread is for everyone to have fun and make their best case. If you don't like LE that's fine. You can be my minion.


Tammerine "Tammy" Dragontoe wrote:

Tammy's just going to kill everyone, and let Pharasma, or whoever sort them out.

Because that's just how Chaotic Evil does it.

So by that argument chaotic evil is the most evil because you would expect neutral evil and lawful evil to show restraint at some point.


Boomerang Nebula wrote:
Tammerine "Tammy" Dragontoe wrote:

Tammy's just going to kill everyone, and let Pharasma, or whoever sort them out.

Because that's just how Chaotic Evil does it.

So by that argument chaotic evil is the most evil because you would expect neutral evil and lawful evil to show restraint at some point.

Bah! I just show enough restraint in killing to dominate and control people. What's an empire without thralls after all?


Good point.

Sometimes even good characters will kill, but they will never enslave.


I think of it terms of Devils, Daemons, and Demons. Devils want to rule everything and will use whatever means necessary to do so. Daemons want to destroy all mortals. Demons want to destroy everything.


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Nohwear wrote:
Tyinyk wrote:
None of the Evil alignments are inherently more evil than the next, that's why they're side-by-side. The level of Evil you attain is based on the character you play, not the alignment you choose.
Which begs the question, would a diamond be more accurate than a box?

I have seen square (most common), horizontal rectangular (close second most common), and circular (rare) alignment diagrams in various D&D editions (not counting 4th Edition, for which I haven't seen a diagram but the description makes it sound like it would have a distorted Z shape). But I have been coming to the conclusion that a square with somewhat rounded corners, or for the Pathfinder Campaign Setting a vertical rectangular version thereof, would be the most accurate. So Neutral Evil would have the most Evil potential, but not by much, and greater proficiency at evildoing could easily propel Chaotic Evil or Lawful Evil into 1st place in any particular instance.

A Lawful Evil dystopia would be one run by the banks and insurance companies, or by fascist friends thereof. They are seeking to exploit you to death, but they need to maintain an orderly framework to do it in, or their scheme doesn't work, even if they have adequate security to protect themselves from an outbreak of destructive chaos. This may make it look okay on the surface even to some of the people not in the top 0.01%, but if you run afoul of the system, whether by revealing secrets that you weren't even supposed to know about, or just by being unable to pay off your debt, or even just by being a member of a downtrodden group, you will feel the full might of Hell crushing your throat or ripping through your innards.

A Neutral Evil dystopia would be one run by the energy, munitions, industrial food, and communications companies, or by most Communist regimes. Such companies or dictatorships care for neither justice nor freedom, and only need enough orderly framework to keep themselves secure, and given time and enough previously accumulated resources, they can prepare themselves to operate profitably in a sea of destructive chaos. Witness the cell phone companies and at least one major junk food company in a certain anarchic failed state that lasted for nearly 2 decades on Earth in recent times.

A Chaotic Evil dystopia would be like the above-mentioned failed state, or like any of several run by certain completely unpredictable despots that Earth has had in past and present history. Such despots and their commanders may rule with an iron fist, but the basis of their rule is completely based upon force, fear, and the cult of personality. Not only do they maintain destructive chaos, but they thrive on uncertainty to keep their competition from taking hold.

The Lawful Evil dystopia may seem easier to live in, but it is going to be the hardest to escape if something goes wrong for you. The Neutral Evil dystopia is going to be harder to live in, and almost as hard to escape. The Chaotic Evil dystopia may be easier to escape, relatively speaking . . . if you can survive long enough.


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Boomerang Nebula wrote:

Good point.

Sometimes even good characters will kill, but they will never enslave.

And now I shall methodically start phase 2, convince everyone CG is the best good, and therefore LE is the best evil for enslavement and tyranny!


^Lawful Evil may be the most efficient at preventing slave escapes, but it is not necessarily more inclined to slavery than the other forms of Evil -- both theoretically and canonically, slavery spans the full spectrum of Evil, and even spreads its corruption to people who would not otherwise be especially Evil.


Mad Max War Boys- CE

Team Voldemort- NE

Star Wars Empire- LE

Mad Max the War Boys just worship death and destruction. Voldemort just likes to kill everyone he hates, using sheer power and protecting himself when necessary. In star wars the empire dominates and controls everyone, through tyranny.

Edit: @UnArcaneElection. That's true now that I think about it. Hobgoblins and Duergars have really efficient castes and slave processing. Along with Kobolds they keep them healthy as productive workers. Gnolls and Orcs seem to use slaves until they "burn out". By the way, I notice you take an anti-arcane stance, and I really support the movement. :)


Part of this question hinges on the motivation of the particular evil, rather than the flavor.

Demons are seemingly just out for themselves in general; and do whatever they want, whenever they want, until something or someone stops them. Individual Demon Lords have differing plans; but whatever, whenever, seems to usually boil down to "mass genocide with a dash of atrocity and degradation".

Devils are bound to the will of Asmodeus, who has the apparent long-term goal of subjugating all of reality and forcing creation itself to bend knee to him.

Daemons are unabashedly all out for themselves, but they are also very openly working towards the extermination of all existence; living, dead, past, present, and future.

I would personally place Daemons on the top of the heap of Evil, myself; but that is just because nearly ANY horrible existence is going to be better than NO existence.


I'd vote NE.

Presumably a CE or LE creature is going to sacrifice its evil goals periodically to advance its C or L goals. NE is free to just focus on being as evil as it can be without conflicts of interest.

Suppose a devil has a choice between a CE act and a LN one, sometimes they grit their teeth and do the LN thing, a daemon never has those kinds of moral quandaries.


MageHunter wrote:

{. . .}

By the way, I notice you take an anti-arcane stance, and I really support the movement. :)

Sorry to disappoint you, but I'm not anti-arcane in general -- just against the use of magic in elections.


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The true question is, what alignment is the illuminati?


It is hard to say.... depends- are you talking about individual, or organized evil?

Lawful evil is about turning it into an industrial complex where they arrange it so they can handle a large mass of evil. Pretty much no single individual gets to the deepest depths (since often, that would require you to pursue end that may come at a great personal cost and risk).... but their combined weight is staggering. This is the safer method, since you slowly buy out or blackmail any that would rise against you.

Chaotic evil is about tearing down complexes... which can allow one individual to have catastrophic results. The temptress that twists the king into a madman, the conqueror that that wipes out city after city making sure all are pillaged and raped. With this, they can personally perform some of the most profane acts imaginable. The problem with this approach is that it rests so much on an individual and the amount of followers they can personally force to kowtow. Their damage can only reach far as collateral- like a fire that happens to spread. The pillaged cities cut off trade routes, leading to famines, the mad king places corrupt officials who do their own evil. The other flaw is that it is a candle that burns at both ends- they tend to not last long since their acts bring such outrage, adn they make many enemies that swift surround them.

So.... I vote NE.

NE is good at both. The daemons are at the entire cross plane economy revolving around stealing souls and destroying them for profit. They can organize for great gains... but they also ultimately wish for a self destructive path for their evil- the end of all things.


I've actually had a character sheet that had a diamond before. Using that, NE is the most Evil you can be. But as I've said, I believe all the Evils have the same capacity for Evil, but maybe they don't all have the same efficiency.

CE cuts right to the point of Evil, doing whatever they want, whenever they want. Definitely the fastest Evil.

LE takes their time, forming the perfect plan, cutting all the right deals, and abusing the system to ensure Evil wins. A slow build, but very effective, especially if you want to get away with it.

NE doesn't have a strong preference either way. They'll make a plan, but they'll drop it when it stops being effective, and switch to a fresh approach. They'll take the time to enjoy the smaller Evil moments, much like a CE, but they won't do so if it would be beneficial. They'll adapt to whatever strategy they feel is called for, and will break their word or the system if called for.

I think NE is probably the most efficient Evil


Science. '^'


Neutral. Evil acts. Evil can be opposed to other evil. Sometimes it is, at least within a given context, the lesser evil. Neutral just sits and lets the world fall to ruin.


Atarlost wrote:
Neutral. Evil acts. Evil can be opposed to other evil. Sometimes it is, at least within a given context, the lesser evil. Neutral just sits and lets the world fall to ruin.

I don't understand. Are you saying neutral evil is less evil?


Boomerang Nebula wrote:
Atarlost wrote:
Neutral. Evil acts. Evil can be opposed to other evil. Sometimes it is, at least within a given context, the lesser evil. Neutral just sits and lets the world fall to ruin.
I don't understand. Are you saying neutral evil is less evil?

The OP lists four alignments. I'm putting my hat into the ring for the one everyone else is ignoring.


Neutral Evil: I am the most evil. there are no consequences because nothing really matters.


Obviously, a lot of arguments on all of these, though I do like the OP's original suggestion of Neutrality. After all, as Burke said, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

(Substituting "good" for "neutral" in this sense. Although, hmm... if a lawful good person were too bound by strictures of law to act overtly, might not those very constraints be evil in allowing bad things to occur...? :p)


Atarlost wrote:
Boomerang Nebula wrote:
Atarlost wrote:
Neutral. Evil acts. Evil can be opposed to other evil. Sometimes it is, at least within a given context, the lesser evil. Neutral just sits and lets the world fall to ruin.
I don't understand. Are you saying neutral evil is less evil?
The OP lists four alignments. I'm putting my hat into the ring for the one everyone else is ignoring.

Oh! I didn't catch that, very clever.


Perhaps another way of looking at this is: which alignment is more open to redemption?

Lawful Evil may have a code of honour that can be appealed to. Chaotic Evil not so much. Then again Lawful Evil may be more rigid and set in their ways. Perhaps Neutral Evil is the most open to change?


^Neutral Evil is most likely to be totally devoted to Evil -- absolutely selfish and all-consuming, with no consideration for anything else. Lawful Evil could have their dedication to order used as a hook to pull them towards redemption. Chaotic Evil could have their dislike of imposed order used as a prod to push them away from the tyranny of Evil. Neither of these are very likely to work, but they are better than nothing.


Alignments are just a way to codify your actions or how your PC will tend to act in a given situation.
So just having a LE, NE, CE alignment does nothing unless you act upon it.
The alignment is also in no way an indication of just how evil you are or how many evil acts you have committed.
MDC


I'd go with NE as the "most evil". As others have said, LE and CE might eventually choose L or C instead of the big E. NE always chooses E.

Most open to redemption I'd probably place on CE. It's not that hard to convince someone not to commit wanton murder because, eh, why not not do it this time? NE has no real motivation to switch, and LE has the sunk cost fallacy to deal with. They've devoted so much of their life to mastering the system to benefit themselves, once they do that why would they suddenly feel like letting others benefit from their hard work? "Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow?" CE might be willing to try Good (or at least Neutral) just for fun, and if they enjoy it they might keep going.


Mechagamera wrote:

Chaotic Neutral of course. The others corrupt the game world, but that one corrupts the player.

{. . .}

Missed this one before -- actually, with Chaotic Neutral, the corrupt player corrupts the campaign -- at least that was my experience in college, and judging from other posts on these messageboards, my experience was far from unique. Chaotic Neutral played right would be more like Deadpool, but seems like nobody actually does that . . . .


UnArcaneElection wrote:
Mechagamera wrote:

Chaotic Neutral of course. The others corrupt the game world, but that one corrupts the player.

{. . .}

Missed this one before -- actually, with Chaotic Neutral, the corrupt player corrupts the campaign -- at least that was my experience in college, and judging from other posts on these messageboards, my experience was far from unique. Chaotic Neutral played right would be more like Deadpool, but seems like nobody actually does that . . . .

That's because CN is "The GM said no CE/Evil". So the player plays CN and then proceeds to kill and eat babies/bathe in the blood of the innocent/recreate the Saw movies, all while convincing everyone else that it's still technically CN so they haven't violated their alignment. Usually dragging everyone else down with them.


Bob Bob Bob wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:
Mechagamera wrote:

Chaotic Neutral of course. The others corrupt the game world, but that one corrupts the player.

{. . .}

Missed this one before -- actually, with Chaotic Neutral, the corrupt player corrupts the campaign -- at least that was my experience in college, and judging from other posts on these messageboards, my experience was far from unique. Chaotic Neutral played right would be more like Deadpool, but seems like nobody actually does that . . . .

That's because CN is "The GM said no CE/Evil". So the player plays CN and then proceeds to kill and eat babies/bathe in the blood of the innocent/recreate the Saw movies, all while convincing everyone else that it's still technically CN so they haven't violated their alignment. Usually dragging everyone else down with them.

I vehemently disagree. CN can be played a lot of interesting ways without being "Evil-but-not-on-paper" and I find that "Those guys" are the vocal minority. (Obviously not vocal, but you get my meaning.)

I find CN is best played as someone who has a simple goal that's not selfless, but it's not selfish either (Such as wanting to track down a lost family member, or bring fame to your family name) and having your character be willing to do most things to accomplish that. They're not going to go out of their way to do good OR evil, but if they have to do so in order to accomplish their goal, they will.


Chaotic Neutral makes me think of the stereotypical American Wild West. Vigilante justice based on conscience and individual curcumstances, independent communities and the opportunity to make or lose your fortune following your own destiny. Civilisation didn't suddenly collapse or turn evil, but neither was it beholden to the wider world and the laws of the old world.


Tyinyk wrote:

I vehemently disagree. CN can be played a lot of interesting ways without being "Evil-but-not-on-paper" and I find that "Those guys" are the vocal minority. (Obviously not vocal, but you get my meaning.)

I find CN is best played as someone who has a simple goal that's not selfless, but it's not selfish either (Such as wanting to track down a lost family member, or bring fame to your family name) and having your character be willing to do most things to accomplish that. They're not going to go out of their way to do good OR evil, but if they have to do so in order to accomplish their goal, they will.

Ah, sorry, I only meant that very specifically in context. That is, "The people who corrupt campaigns playing CN are not actually playing CN, they were denied CE/Evil and decided to play it anyway, while saying they were playing CN".

CN is absolutely fine as an alignment, there's just a... memorable minority who use it as an excuse to play CE. I'm sure there are others who play CN, but "trying to save my uncle" doesn't stick in the mind quite like "commits war crimes".


Any neutral alignment is the most of the alignment. LN most lawful, TN most neutral.

So NE does let chaos or law get in the way of their evil.


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LE - Most effective evil, teamwork makes the evil dream work.
CE - Most crazy evil, even fights with itself, will do the darkest things but rarely has very substantial far-reaching effects because they tend to do stupid things.
NE - Somewhere in between. Does darker things than LE, but has more purpose than CE.

I think CE is the darkest of the evils, while LE is the one with the greatest lasting impact.


I've seen people play various alignments including Lawful Good in a "The DM didn't let me be Evil, but I'm doing it anyhow" manner.

One of my current PCs started out as CG but over time "slipped" to CN partially due to the influence of an Evil magic item. He still performs a lot of heroic acts, but he's greedy, boastful, and prone to fits of rage. He's got an ongoing struggle between being a hero or giving in to the temptation of the daemonic powers which have been offered to him. Some see a villain where others see a hero. He's saved towns from terrible monsters, but he's also sacrificed foes to Evil magic for a thrill while in the throes of rage. The same campaign has another CN character who acts more like CG most of the time since he usually agrees to help folks out, rarely asks about rewards, and seems to chafe at dealing with Evil NPCs.

I guess I'm just offering some examples contrary to the usual reputation of CN. Anyhow, I seem to remember a time before all the complications of Good and Evil, back when Chaos was just Chaos - "Blood and souls for Lord Arioch!!!"


You can be petty evil with LE, NE and CE, and you can be incredibly rotten with LE, NE and CE. So there is no general answer.

But the question was rather about average LE creature vs. average NE creature vs. average CE creature. If I had to decide, I'd say NE, with the same argument as Ring_of_Gyges:

Quote:
Presumably a CE or LE creature is going to sacrifice its evil goals periodically to advance its C or L goals. NE is free to just focus on being as evil as it can be without conflicts of interest.


Actually to answer the question of the thread title, it is the alignment of evil itself.
Somewhere out there, who knows, is the Idea of Evil.
Nothing can be more evil than the concept of evil itself.

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