What's so fun about evil?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
PossibleCabbage wrote:


"I believe that I am in the right" doesn't really work when evil is a tangible, objectively knowable thing like it is in the default Metaphysics for Pathfinder, does it?

Sure it could. Good vs evil is a question of morality and may have little or nothing to do with a practical situation at hand such as "How do we deal with a burgeoning rebellion in Kintargo?" Sure, you could try to understand them and negotiate like a bunch of goody-goodies and let them walk all over you because they feel you're weak, or you could ruthlessly put them down and impose martial law. Simple.


Ventnor wrote:
Dαedαlus wrote:

Chromatic- before I go further, I'm just going to clarify that this is something of a joke, I don't actually think Parasma's evil, but it is kind of interesting.

1: She damns souls that are power-hungry and self-absorbed because that's a pretty common form of Evil on Golarion.

2: Urgathoa is a perfect example! She rejected Pharasma's judgement, seeing her as she truly was, and now all of a sudden she's the bad guy. Disease is really more neutral, as a force of nature, it's just that, because one of her rivals created it, Pharasma (the ultimate decider of good and evil in this conspiracy) declared it evil, to make her rivals seem worse. Of course she regrets letting a being that sees her for the corrupt despot she is escape her judgement and rise to Godhood, teaching her flock how to escape their judgement from an unjust judge through the necromantic arts.

3: Yes they decide how they will act, but who is it that declares whether any given act it "good" or "evil?" Pharasma! Besides, as the goddess of fate, how much do mortals really have control over their own actions? Up until recently, people's entire lives were plotted out for them up to thousands of years in advance!

4: You're right. Heaven does fight against "Evil," but once again, who is it that setermines what is "Evil?" Pharasma! She's the puppet master, pitting devil against angel by determining that following the law to the letter and being a vengeful warrior in the perfect, lawful society is "Evil." And, like you said, how is controlling the flow of all souls possibly in the interest of Neutrality? Connect the dots! See the truth!

5: You've bought into the lie! SHE IS THE MASTERMIND! Open your mind!

Urgathoa created vampires when she escaped from the Boneyard, which means she is indirectly responsible for the Twilight books.

She's earned that evil alignment through and through.

the concept of vampires predates the concept of urgathoa so that point is moot


Dαedαlus wrote:
Chromatic- before I go further, I'm just going to clarify that this is something of a joke, I don't actually think Parasma's evil, but it is kind of interesting.

Yeah so was I ... I was trying to reply to your comment roleplaying as Pharasma's Public relations person.... go read my comment again and laugh at it!

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1: She damns souls that are power-hungry and self-absorbed because that's a pretty common form of Evil on Golarion.

if the power hungry do evil they damn themselves! if they acquire power in the name of good they go upstairs. Just so happens that doesn't happen all too often. Old Mage Jatembe won't be going to the lower planes.

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2: Urgathoa is a perfect example! She rejected Pharasma's judgement, seeing her as she truly was, and now all of a sudden she's the bad guy.

Pretty sure she never actually got judged she escaped before that point.

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Disease is really more neutral, as a force of nature, it's just that, because one of her rivals created it, Pharasma (the ultimate decider of good and evil in this conspiracy) declared it evil, to make her rivals seem worse.

1) Tell that to Apollyon

2) Ha rival! she wishes! thats like saying the girl that drops out of highschool is the headmistresses rival
3) Even if disease was a neutral none discriminatory force (which it isn't, it targets the vulnerable :O the young, the old, the weak) bringing it to the world can still be evil. All the suffering, all the loss, all the death, all Urgothoa.

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Of course she regrets letting a being that sees her for the corrupt despot she is escape her judgement and rise to Godhood, teaching her flock how to escape their judgement from an unjust judge through the necromantic arts.

She doesn't seem to be doing much teaching to me, mostly seems to throw hedonistic parties, like the last days of Rome. but with Zombies....

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3: Yes they decide how they will act, but who is it that declares whether any given act it "good" or "evil?" Pharasma!

actually I think there is a consensus on that one xD pretty sure gods like Asmodeous and Sarenrea have more influence over whats good and evil, since they're setting the example. OR maybe simply devils and demons and angels since they are made up of their aligned planes soul stuff....

Not to mention the Abyss and the Maelstrom were around before the boneyard, Chaos and Evil have been set for quite a while.

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Besides, as the goddess of fate, how much do mortals really have control over their own actions? Up until recently, people's entire lives were plotted out for them up to thousands of years in advance!

Fate has many, many roads, you pick the road, she just knows where it will end.

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4: You're right. Heaven does fight against "Evil," but once again, who is it that setermines what is "Evil?" Pharasma! She's the puppet master, pitting devil against angel by determining that following the law to the letter and being a vengeful warrior in the perfect, lawful society is "Evil." And, like you said, how is controlling the flow of all souls possibly in the interest of Neutrality? Connect the dots! See the truth!

the Abyss has been around much longer than the boneyard baby, and Asmodeous makes the rules in hell. The Rovagug came from a place beyond, Pharasma didn't make these things happen.

She sends the souls where they need to go and no-one has won the war in the heavens. Seems pretty neutral to me.

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5: You've bought into the lie! SHE IS THE MASTERMIND! Open your mind!

the caps are coming out :O

this time I'm being a Pharasma fan girl, tune in next week for my newest character.


Dαedαlus wrote:

Your number 5 just started a whole conspiracy in my mind.

Who sends souls to the "corresponding" plane of their alignment? Pharasma. Who damns souls that try and accumulate power for themselves? Pharasma. Who is supposedly a fair and just judge, yet those that try and encroach on her domain (soul traders and necromancers) invariably find themselves slipping into evil, despite their intentions. Who is it, that, despite being "Neutral," anyone who seeks to emulate her actions are abhorred by all and are condemned after death, when she decides where they spend eternity? Pharasma.

Who's really the villain here? The person who is the omnipotent decided of "good" and "evil," setting the cast forces of heaven against any who might grow to challenge her or emulate her deeds? Or the person who uses negative energy to reanimate a few dry bones, ensuring his village won't starve come winter?

Pharasma, that's who! Millions and billions pay homage to her, the eternal decider of all living creatures fates! And she has the tenacity to declare herself beyond good and evil!

Don't forget she utterly exterminates the souls of atheist to extend the life of the galaxy. It says every time she does it this disgusts the moon god so she doesn't crash into the Boneyard.


...I just want to mention that I've become increasingly interested in Urgathoa as someone for the local populace to worship. As a deity of disease and undeath, nope, that's not popular. As a deity of gluttony and the dead, we're getting somewhere.

As a deity of bounty, celebration, ancestors, reminiscing, and the cycle of life, heck yeah.


Urgothoa is a pretty interesting god to worship.


To cycle back to the original question, if people have experience with this I would appreciate the insight.

- Is there an issue with playing a neutral character in an "evil" campaign, and trying to stay that way?

Specifically, in order to get the ball rolling on the potential campaign we were encouraged to think about what characters we would play in this sort of campaign and I think I settled on a rough sketch of something I like:

Human or Half-Human Psychic Marauder, Sorrow Psychic Discipline : At a young age, some supernatural trauma both unlocked her psychic abilities and left her with a distorted (some would say cracked) perspective (this is from the description of the archetype.) As a result, she pathologically others those around her, seeing others as unpersons as they lack necessary perspective in order to be counted as "real people", but without any sort of inherent malice (you'd only cut down as many trees as you need to, not "every tree in the forest, as that'd be wasteful".) Driven, however, by the fact that she cannot make sense of both what happened to her or the world in general, she concludes the fault is lack of knowledge and is obsessed with discovering the true and forgotten histories, which led her to the fold of the The Lost Prince, mostly because their melancholia and objectives are in alignment, less so out of any actual admiration.

It seems to me that this is a deeply unpleasant person, who values lives other than her own very, very little but is she necessarily evil? It seems like her arc would be to bring her to a point where she either pursues hidden knowledge to the point of madness, or she pulls back and realizes that what she was missing was less "facts" and more "other people." If it wasn't explicitly an "evil campaign" I would probably write down "Neutral" and be done with it. Maybe it's peer pressure that turns her evil...


PossibleCabbage wrote:

To cycle back to the original question, if people have experience with this I would appreciate the insight.

- Is there an issue with playing a neutral character in an "evil" campaign, and trying to stay that way?

Specifically, in order to get the ball rolling on the potential campaign we were encouraged to think about what characters we would play in this sort of campaign and I think I settled on a rough sketch of something I like:
... stuff...

Evil wrote:
Evil Evil implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others. Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient. Others actively pursue evil, killing for sport or out of duty to some evil deity or master

vs neutral

Neutral wrote:
People who are neutral with respect to good and evil have compunctions against killing the innocent, but may lack the commitment to make sacrifices to protect or help others.

I'd say evil by no stretch (see emphasis). As she would (i assume) have no qualms about killing innocents if it were convenient as 'they are not people'

I think such a character would have a good chance at redemption and or could be persuaded to commit good acts but the apparent total lack of empathy towards other sentient beings is fairly damming in my opinion.


The most fun I had playing an evil character was when the DM turned Village of Hommlet upside-down, where our goal was to find the evil high priest, join his cabal, and then double-cross him and take over.

The fun part was the troop of good-aligned PC-types who were chasing us all the time, and the fact that the whole town would inform on us. It forced us to be careful to the point of paranoid, and totally ruthless in a way that one can't get away with in real life.

Spoiler:
At one point the LG paladin sheriff caught up with us. I flesh to stoned him -- as one of my favorite spells; the posse anticipated that, and had potions of stone to flesh stocked. But I was one step ahead of that -- I'd bought a chisel; after petrifying the sheriff, I chiseled out his heart and stuffed the chest full of mud. When his allies found us they immediately doused him with a potion, turning him back to flesh, and he pitched forward with a gaping chest wound where his heart was. I still chuckle to myself, imagining the looks on their faces.


Firewarrior44 wrote:

I'd say evil by no stretch (see emphasis). As she would (i assume) have no qualms about killing innocents if it were convenient as 'they are not people'

I think such a character would have a good chance at redemption and or could be persuaded to commit good acts but the apparent total lack of empathy towards other sentient beings is fairly damming in my opinion.

What I come back to though is a lot of times a person will have no idea (or a false idea) of what they would do in a situation, until that situation actually comes up. Maybe a character thinks "I will kill anybody who stands between me and my goal" but when the person standing between them and their goal is a desk clerk who just wants you to fill out a form, you might just reach for the pen even though you talked a big game earlier. Especially if you're a high INT/CHA and low STR character so almost every approach might seem better than "murdering the desk clerk."

Additionally, if a character places equivalent moral value on,say, "the life of a human" and "the life of a rabbit" is that necessarily evil? Certainly, you wouldn't kill every rabbit you see, and may in fact have qualms about killing particular rabbits (e.g. they're cute and harmless) while realizing that sometimes you have may to kill rabbits (e.g. they're dinner). I can read an extreme, warped solipsistic perspective as evil based on the the text you quoted, but I'm not sure if it necessarily is.

I'm just not sure if it's more interesting to play the character as "neutral, can go either way" or "evil, can redeem."


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We all started playing as kids, most of us. A kid isn't really going to understand "Evil" in the sense that an adult would. A kid's just going to want to be "that badass dude."

SNL gives us a pretty good parody of it.

I usually try an experiment. Replace "Evil" on the character sheet with "Badass."

If you could do that, it's more about wanting to be badass than wanting to be Evil. Evil is an entirely separate thing, and you'd probably need a solid group to handle it.


Why are you assuming that she would be redeemed by knowing people?

If she's in an evil campaign sorrounded by other twisted individuals and constantly opposed by people who claim to be good but keep trying to kill her and her allies and oppose her ambition.

Gaining a better understanding of people in that environment would not endear you to people or to being good, good people are in-efficent a@% h%&*s constantly trying to push their own guilt driven morality onto her. In her opinion.

She'd probably go from no feelings for people to hateing most of humanity I can't find the sorrow psychic discipline so I can't tailor it to your character but a busy body clerk opposing this person^^^ going through that development is probably getting Mind Thrust/ego whipped/dominated


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Firewarrior44 wrote:

I'd say evil by no stretch (see emphasis). As she would (i assume) have no qualms about killing innocents if it were convenient as 'they are not people'

I think such a character would have a good chance at redemption and or could be persuaded to commit good acts but the apparent total lack of empathy towards other sentient beings is fairly damming in my opinion.

What I come back to though is a lot of times a person will have no idea (or a false idea) of what they would do in a situation, until that situation actually comes up. Maybe a character thinks "I will kill anybody who stands between me and my goal" but when the person standing between them and their goal is a desk clerk who just wants you to fill out a form, you might just reach for the pen even though you talked a big game earlier. Especially if you're a high INT/CHA and low STR character so almost every approach might seem better than "murdering the desk clerk."

Additionally, if a character places equivalent moral value on,say, "the life of a human" and "the life of a rabbit" is that necessarily evil? Certainly, you wouldn't kill every rabbit you see, and may in fact have qualms about killing particular rabbits (e.g. they're cute and harmless) while realizing that sometimes you have may to kill rabbits (e.g. they're dinner). I can read an extreme, warped solipsistic perspective as evil based on the the text you quoted, but I'm not sure if it necessarily is.

I'm just not sure if it's more interesting to play the character as "neutral, can go either way" or "evil, can redeem."

If they place little value on any life but their own then they have no qualms about using, manipulating and killing people to their benefit. Which is defined as evil.

Just because they don't murder the clerk because it would be inconvenient doesn't mean they still don't fit the criteria of being evil. As if it was the most convenient path they would do it without hesitation because of the total lack of morals. If they do have morals and decide that killing the clerk is wrong not inconvenient then they would have more ground to be called neutral.


Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
I can't find the sorrow psychic discipline so I can't tailor it to your character but a busy body clerk opposing this person^^^ going through that development is probably getting Mind Thrust/ego whipped/dominated

It's in Legacy of the First World: CHA based, you a ChaMod morale bonus to saves against mind-affecting, a targeted debuff (Despair) that recovers phrenic pool points, an AoE debuff (Aura of Gloom), and your own private gloomy demiplane that no one else is ever allowed to visit. I didn't really look at the spells, it was just the Charisma discipline that had the best pool recovery and was most thematically appropriate.

I'm just envisioning her as someone who dislikes people, will talk about how she dislikes people, but in order to keep people from getting close will put on a convincing facade of being personable and charming to allow the person to go away with no suspicion and nothing beyond the most superficial or fake connection. Though this comes naturally, she finds this exhausting and frightening, it's just easier than the alternatives. At least at first level when you don't have dominate person yet, that is.


Yeah I could see an argument for her being evil or neautral to begin with, but if she hangs around with evil people and is therefore opposed by good people I would suggest those formative experiences would make one evil, especially one that is essentially a sociopath who can go and stew in her juices in a private Demi-plane when's she pissed off.

The Exchange

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

As a GM, I'm playing evil characters all the time. Now as much fun as GMing is, I probably couldn't do if not for the fact that my characters are supposed to lose in the end.

As a player, I've not only no interest in playing an (unapologetic) evil character, I also know that I'm unable to do that well (been there, done that, failed miserably).

In both cases it comes from me seeing enough evil triumphing in the real world, so at least in my games I want to see the good side winning.

This said, I like to play broken characters, characters that need to be healed before they can be the heroes I want them to be and that might include starting with an evil character who might have done horrible things in the past and now is looking out for redemption. Characters like Erevis Cale or Radovan Virholt come to mind.


On one hand you've got grand theft auto, on the other hand you've got Darth Vader. All in all these are two concepts off the top of my head of things that deal with evil or malicious intent yet people love them. Sometimes you just want to cut loose and just go nuts in a session or two. Why not? Also I know of some friends of mine that always do the evil dialogue options in video games for the lulz. For some people it's just another way of having fun.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

For me, playing evil characters can make for a good change of pace in who I can ally with and a different set of motivations to go on adventures.


People don't tell your that doing anything other than allowing yourself to die would not be playing to your alignment in catch 22 situations.

Less catch 22 situations


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

There's only a few ways to become a hero. There are a few hundred thousands of ways to become a monster.

I've found that even my good characters are made more interesting by their flaws than their altruism. Evil, on the other hand, leads to so many different concepts that I can spend my entire life playing tabletop games and still not be able to explore all of them.

It all boils down to what you want. If you are a die-hard for traditional, hero-beats-all fantasy, then good might be more interesting to you. For me, though, the most interesting part about role-playing games is getting into the head of a character with a unique personality and unique views that are often different from my own. To try to imagine a facet of humanity that I don't typically come across in my relatively sheltered suburban life. For that, neutral and evil characters shine in ways that good does not.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Felyndiira wrote:
There's only a few ways to become a hero. There are a few hundred thousands of ways to become a monster.

While true, that also means that it's incredibly easy to become the villain, while it's much harder to be the hero. And it's also true that there are as much unique ways to be a hero than there are to be a monster. To use your words, "Good leads to so many different concepts that I can spend my entire life playing tabletop games and still not be able to explore them all."

You're right that good characters are made more interesting if they have flaws. I'm not sure if agree with your view of altruism, because in my mind that also leads to a lot of challenges evil characters might simply not have to face. But again, evil characters also aren't interesting because they are pure evil. The best villains have much more complex agendas, they have aspects normally considered as good as well.

Cole Deschain brought up a great example of that. That character isn't interesting because he's a ruthless assassin, but because of the combination of that with his love for his sister and his loyality to his companions. I can totally see, why someone would play such a character, I can even see myself doing that. Probably with the difference that I'd only do that with the intent to redeem that character over the course of the campaign.

If the same character would be pure, irredeemably evil, that would bore the hell out of me.


Totally alien detachment can be both interesting and terrifying. In my most hated god threads Pharasma's detachment was one of the main reasons people liked her.

It's easier to do totally alien detachment evil than it is to do it good, and the fact it's interesting shows villains don't have to have luveeduvee attachments to be good villains.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber

I always have trouble playing Evil characters because Good acts come easily to me

However I imagined a few characters that would be Evil IMO but could still function within a Good group, so not exactly the OP's premise

- A quite capable fighter who is also an uncouth lecherous bully (think Biff Tannen in Back from the Future) and something of a coward when faced with authority

- An overbearing motherly figure who knows better than people what is good for them. She dotes on children, to the point of secretly murdering parents who she sees as unworthy. She is a healer by craft

- A devotee of the Old Gods out to increase his personal power by killing the followers of other Evil gods and stealing their energy

One I imagined for a Way of the Wicked campaign would be a tempter who wants the whole world to see what hypocrites the Good guys are and how easily they fall into vice and abusing the meek who trust them

For Sabbat campaigns in the old WoD, I created a guy willing to go to any length to live his obsession of becoming Elric of Melniboné and another who was basically a religious fanatic convinced that his god had great plans for him

And I am these days thinking of playing a guy possessed by an immortal Evil spirit who is quite willing to work with the Good guys so that the world does not end

The appeal I see in playing Evil is exploring how we would act if we were free of the moral restraints we respect in our daily life


The Raven Black wrote:
I always have trouble playing Evil characters because Good acts come easily to me

I can turn that off pretty quick xD

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However I imagined a few characters that would be Evil IMO but could still function within a Good group, so not exactly the OP's premise

- A quite capable fighter who is also an uncouth lecherous bully (think Biff Tannen in Back from the Future) and something of a coward when faced with authority

- An overbearing motherly figure who knows better than people what is good for them. She dotes on children, to the point of secretly murdering parents who she sees as unworthy. She is a healer by craft

I like the mother idea, I think mothers in general can make very interesting complex characters.

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- A devotee of the Old Gods out to increase his personal power by killing the followers of other Evil gods and stealing their energy

One I imagined for a Way of the Wicked campaign would be a tempter who wants the whole world to see what hypocrites the Good guys are and how easily they fall into vice and abusing the meek who trust them

tempter idea sounds fun too but sounds more like a villain than a PC simply because of the amount of staying still manipulating one group it would require.

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For Sabbat campaigns in the old WoD, I created a guy willing to go to any length to live his obsession of becoming Elric of Melniboné and another who was basically a religious fanatic convinced that his god had great plans for him

And I am these days thinking of playing a guy possessed by an immortal Evil spirit who is quite willing to work with the Good guys so that the world does not end

for the possessed guy you should look at the spiritualist class or the abomination for the Psychic class, both work with the flavor.


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Laughter.

Seriously, evil gets the best laughs. Not the best jokes, but when you are evil you not only get to chuckle, you are allowed to chortle, guffaw, and let out some truly maniacal gouts of laughter. As a good guy you get funny looks and people asking for you to atone for letting loose a good laugh but evil lets you really express yourself. Besides, laughter is the best medicine.


Why else are all the bad guys crusty old men and women?


I hate the repeated insistence on equating all killing with murder. All murder is killing but not all killing is murder.


RDM42 wrote:
I hate the repeated insistence on equating all killing with murder. All murder is killing but not all killing is murder.

correct there are 3 categories for killing 1st is murder, 2nd is manslaughter and the last is what people do to animals for food


Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
Why else are all the bad guys crusty old men and women?

Who are you calling crusty and old?


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Lady-J wrote:
RDM42 wrote:
I hate the repeated insistence on equating all killing with murder. All murder is killing but not all killing is murder.
correct there are 3 categories for killing 1st is murder, 2nd is manslaughter and the last is what people do to animals for food

So when, and who gets to decide, it's okay for me to eat my fellow man?

I mean it can get a bit confusing when animals, fungi and minerals have gained sentience and developed culture, right?


Here's 32 pages of what is so fun about evil.


Definitely, in a world where a lot of creatures are sentient the difference is somewhat deluded.

When you think that killing one of the most intelligent creatures and skin them off to wear their scales is a common practice among adventurers...

In the end it depends more on the PoV of the GM and the compromise with the players to keep the game interesting for everybody.

Myself I enjoy moral conflict and having my players to think of creative solutions. I like stories where things aren't usually black or white.

So to me what is evil and what is not largely depends on the kind of game that is being played and how much do you want to have characters to face moral conflicts.


Blatant Plug.
This is my cheap and cheerful attempt at an Evil AP. Players guide and first two parts. Its a sort of anti-kingmaker homage!

Kingslayer Primer.

Part 1 Storm The Kings.

Part 2 Into The Breach


Aside: Evil has too often been seen as a replacement word for "gritty" but we may be seeing a pushback.

https://www.polygon.com/2017/6/17/15821584/wonder-woman-justice-league

article wrote:

From the article: That has more to do with theme than it does with any specific character. Wonder Woman is optimistic. Gal Godot’s Diana wants to be a hero. She leaves Themyscira to be a hero, and while her faith is tested, her resolve ultimately holds. She climbs out of the trenches in WWI because there are human lives at stake and she’s going to protect them. Hers is a movie about a superhero making the choice to be a superhero, without any expectation of praise or reward.

That’s more or less the elevator pitch for superheroes as a concept, but it’s strangely at odds with everything we’ve seen from the DCEU thus far. Prior to Wonder Woman, DC’s output included two grim deconstructions of Superman and a third film about supervillains. All three have been skeptical of altruism as a concept, as if the most implausible thing about superhero movies is the hero’s willingness to help other people.

If we're to believe the article (and similar ones published in places like Atlantic or comic review sites), we're seeing a thirst for heroes who genuinely...want to be heroes.

Evil doesn't have to be a replacement word for "Gritty" or "Badass." It gets used that way because in part, when we played as kids, we didn't understand what Real Evil was. We understood it meant kicking down buildings and taking names, and who wouldn't want to do that?

Good doesn't mean nice. But maybe as the gaming community ages, we're getting tired of those early, childhood assumptions that it has to be, and that the only way to be Badass is to be Evil.

That may be assuming too much. Either way, let's see how it rides out, eh?


I feel like it was always possible to have "gritty anti-heroes" without actually devolving into "outright evil". You just have to maintain lines of conduct that you're unwilling to cross (e.g. most versions of Batman eschew guns and refuse to kill.) I feel like an anti-hero should always have something heroic about them to counterbalance the flaws that make them a non-traditional hero.

But I don't know if we really ever needed to do "evil" to do "gritty". Just consider that the internal morality of your character, as afflicted with cynicism as they are, does draw some lines somewhere.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

I feel like it was always possible to have "gritty anti-heroes" without actually devolving into "outright evil". You just have to maintain lines of conduct that you're unwilling to cross (e.g. most versions of Batman eschew guns and refuse to kill.) I feel like an anti-hero should always have something heroic about them to counterbalance the flaws that make them a non-traditional hero.

But I don't know if we really ever needed to do "evil" to do "gritty". Just consider that the internal morality of your character, as afflicted with cynicism as they are, does draw some lines somewhere.

We don't, no.


But then when I come to "okay, where does this character, as unpleasant as they may be, draw the line?" and I stop to think of maybe I can move those lines enough to make them more heroic and not-evil, and I end up up back in Neutrality.


All these alignment threads just merge into one in your head if you read too many of them.

Doesn't Evil have that feeling that it is allowed to be much more pro-active than Good? Good is usually seen as very passive thing. They first need to burn the starting village before you can go and fight the evil villain. Can't just go and fight the villain. Gotta wait it first to give you a reason.


Envall wrote:
Doesn't Evil have that feeling that it is allowed to be much more pro-active than Good? Good is usually seen as very passive thing. They first need to burn the starting village before you can go and fight the evil villain. Can't just go and fight the villain. Gotta wait it first to give you a reason.

I'm pretty sure that the reason you can't just go fight the villain in this game is that the villain is likely much higher level than the party. Good characters are every bit as able to proactively decide "a thing that I oppose is happening" and head it off before it gets bad, it's just that the good version of this probably does not involve quite so much combat. So the fact that a plurality of the rules in this game are about hurting things probably creates the impression that you're supposed to solve a lot of your problems with violence.

I mean, one of the appeals of "good" to me in these sorts of games is that good actually gets to solve the problem. If there are riots in the slums in a big city, the evil party might just kill everybody, which just delays the time until there are more riots, whereas the good party might see fit to actually address their structural concerns (and hey, maybe it turns out one of the miserly landlords is a literal vampire in league with dark forces.)

I mean, there's no reason the good party can't be there at the village to keep it from being burned. Likewise there's no reason for the evil party to know about their antagonist before they actually do anything.


I like playing evil characters because I'm a huge fan of the Become What You Fight tropes. One of my favorite characters in my homebrew setting is essentially a LE Hellknight, and is best friends with the NG Queen and LG Paladin King (in his own twisted sense of "friend"). His entire point for existing is to eliminate enemies of the state, so that his Queen and King are safe and anything that is necessary for the "Greater Good". If that means executing heretic "savages" so be it. If that means executing their children so that they do not grow up vengeful, that is unfortunate, but it "has to be done".


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In some cases evil is simply somebody that has a priority strong enough that the ordinary rules of society won't stand in their way.


  • I want to protect my nation. Other nations want to harm us. Therefore I will do anything to stop them. Including torture and murder.
  • This life is difficult and I want to protect my family. To do that I need power. Selling my soul is a quick way to gain power. I am sacrificing myself for my children.
  • If I die, then I can't continue my research. With a ritual and a few human sacrifices, I can become a lich and study forever.

In other cases, it's simply a lack of empathy.


  • Those people are just {peasants|orcs|halflings|etc}. They aren't as important as my kind. Plus, they don't feel pain the way that real people do.
  • When it comes down to it, souls are just energy. They go to Pharasma, and she just recreates more people down the road. I'm not a monster who consumes souls. I'm just killing their bodies.

I've also played characters literally raised into evil. All of their socialization was geared toward creating an evil person willing to follow the orders of their superiors.


I prefer Suicide Squad evil overall. You are evil, but your controllers want you to direct your evil to some targets.

So, yes you kill the rioters when you have to, but only when needed as that isn't your mission.


I have only purposely played evil once since my start in RPG's in 1984, it started only a few months ago, my guy is 3rd level and it is an ongoing campaign. I wanted to give it a shot playing an Asmodean. It is intellectual curiosity and the RP challenge accurately playing and succeeding with a manipulative and treacherous play style.

On the flip side, I have/had a thoroughly selfish CN Urban Druid Ratfolk and I realized I was playing him Chaotic Evil. So I backed off my play style. He did not wantonly kill, or openly betray the party, but I found I was putting him and his interests first above everything, which fits with CE and I had to change his attitude.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

I feel like it was always possible to have "gritty anti-heroes" without actually devolving into "outright evil". You just have to maintain lines of conduct that you're unwilling to cross (e.g. most versions of Batman eschew guns and refuse to kill.) I feel like an anti-hero should always have something heroic about them to counterbalance the flaws that make them a non-traditional hero.

But I don't know if we really ever needed to do "evil" to do "gritty". Just consider that the internal morality of your character, as afflicted with cynicism as they are, does draw some lines somewhere.

bat man is a super hero not a anti hero, if you want anti hero look at deadpool or the punisher or red hood(jason todd)


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Lady-J wrote:
bat man is a super hero not a anti hero, if you want anti hero look at deadpool or the punisher or red hood(jason todd)

There's a lot of different Batmans. Adam West's Batman is absolutely not an anti-hero, nor is Bruce Timm's. Frank Miller's Batman, is pretty clearly an anti-hero from where I sit.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
bat man is a super hero not a anti hero, if you want anti hero look at deadpool or the punisher or red hood(jason todd)
There's a lot of different Batmans. Adam West's Batman is absolutely not an anti-hero, nor is Bruce Timm's. Frank Miller's Batman, is pretty clearly an anti-hero from where I sit.

Any alignment argument that's based on batman is a losing battle. depending on series, author and date, his alignment can cover every alignment.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
bat man is a super hero not a anti hero, if you want anti hero look at deadpool or the punisher or red hood(jason todd)
There's a lot of different Batmans. Adam West's Batman is absolutely not an anti-hero, nor is Bruce Timm's. Frank Miller's Batman, is pretty clearly an anti-hero from where I sit.

the only batman i can see being an anti hero is the one from the arkum video game series because he kills like 2-3 dozen people a night

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

What has being an Anti-Hero to do with killing? Especially when Heroes kill all the time?


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One of my main problems is good "Heroes" leaving incredibly dangerous evil people alive, capturing them and giving them to people with no reasonable means of containing them.
Then the evil people escape, more people die, good persons catches them again.

Rinse repeat. Thats my definition of Stupid Good.


PossibleCabbage wrote:


I'm pretty sure that the reason you can't just go fight the villain in this game is that the villain is likely much higher level than the party.

Even if the party is not strong enough, someone in the world has to be.

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