How to: Evil


Advice


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Hey guys! Hoping i'm posting this in the right place.

So, i've played for many years around the table and this question has always obsessed me: How to create, define and play an Evil Character?
Which are his goals? Why is he evil? How do you make that work within the party?

I've always played just good and neutral characters (well, at least that was my intention and was what i had written on my sheet).


Depending on the campaign, the first question you must answer is this: why doesn't he leave? Or avoid constant party in fighting (robbery/demon sacrifice/etc)?

This is an important question, because the evil character will often be forced to work with nonevil characters that might be against his desires, or competing evil creatures with their own agendas. And all of these other party members would be somewhat close in power to him, which makes it hard to turn them into obedient minions.

So this can either constrain the flavors of evil characters you can use, or at least require an anchoring point in the campaign on individual character that forces them to work with other people.

In terms of anchoring points, I personally like "[other party member] is my brother" myself. It provides a simple justification for sticking around, even if the other character might be a good two shoes. So this can require the evil character to 'play nice' and only occasionally "take care of the problem" (read: murder the baby goblins so they can stop arguing about it).


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To me the first thing you need to know is why is he evil? Is it because he doesn't care about killing someone for money, worships an evil diety, doesn't know any better etc. Another thing is what is the line they won't cross. Most of the evil character I've made don't like slavery, rape, or killing children. Evil doesn't mean you have to be on board with every evil thing its your actions or worldview that are twisted.
Working with a party is pretty easy if your smart. The key is an evil person will, if they are smarter than average, know that their behavior is not socially acceptable and would thus not throw their evil in peoples faces but rather would cut loose when they can justify to themselves and others that this is needed to get the job done.
You may volenteer at the orphanage and give to charity and be the otherwise nicest person but then you go and preach about how great your dark god is and how they will bring about a glorious age that to you is the best thing ever but others may be wary of.


lemeres wrote:
Depending on the campaign, the first question you must answer is this: why doesn't he leave? Or avoid constant party in fighting (robbery/demon sacrifice/etc)?

Nice question, lets assume that he doesn't leave because he's aware of his lack of power due to "his level" to say that "mechanically".

Assuming his goal could be "creating his own empire", he see he could use some help from the party to get more powerful and respected to start the basis for his empire.

lemeres wrote:
In terms of anchoring points, I personally like "[other party member] is my brother" myself. It provides a simple justification for sticking around, even if the other character might be a good two shoes. So this can require the evil character to 'play nice' and only occasionally "take care of the problem" (read: murder the baby goblins so they can stop arguing about it).

This could be one, requires another PC to work with you tho, and also is some kind of crazy bond to have for both parts involved.

Starting from the first level, where PCs don't know themselves and get recruited by a random NPC for a quest, in exchange of money (classic example of a start), the evil PC choose to work with the party for the money, right?
About goblin babies, no one seems to care about: i've seen even Paladins slaying them in a cold-hearted manner, "because they're babies yes, but they're evil monsters". Lets say everyone justify his action how they want, to pass for the good guy in any case.

Now assuming one goal could be "creating your own empire", playing evil how do you plan to avoid party-fighting? What could you do to set the basis for you empire? How do you recruit minions during the campaign?


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I play evil characters very simply. They are just like everyone else, except that at the end of the day, they are willing to go farther than everyone else, push the 'moral agenda' to achieve their goals. The difference between that evil and simple neutrality, is that the evil person will eventually justify his actions as inevitable and not focus on any guilt that might, or might not surface.

They have goals. They have friends. They have family and other loved ones that they would sacrifice for, and harm others for. However, at the end of the road, their own survival and happiness take priority. Whatever justifications they imagine, no matter how many lines they believe they won't cross, what separates evil from neutrality is how far they are willing to go.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

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There's a lot of ways to be evil, and to me the most compelling evil is the evil that thinks it's doing good. That has convinced itself of the rightness of its actions, and that anything is necessary, indeed, permitted, to achieve what may be a laudable goal.

Start with what your character wants-- usually not something over-the-top evil, but something sympathetic, relatable. It's not just 'I want all the money!!', it's "I grew up scrounging and scrimping and I've sworn I'm going to be rich so I can be comfortable, I have a right to a good life" ... or whatever.

Where evil comes in is when the character decides that other people's happiness/rights/safety/etc is a justifiable sacrifice for what they want. The person who's decided to get rich thinks it's okay to swindle, cheat, or steal from others, because they deserve that money MORE. (Or whatever other rationale they personally have.)

That's a small mundane scale evil. Another example is the healer who's treated plague victims all their life and has realized that the plague seems strongest in certain families, that there's a certain disposition of a certain bloodline to carry that plague. It would be one thing if the plague only affected the people of that bloodline, but it doesn't-- they just become vector carriers of a disease that ravages many innocent people. It's not hard to chart out the mental progression of a person who goes from 'I should offer my services to that family free in order to catch the plague in the bud' to 'it would just be so much better if they didn't have more children' to 'I'm going to slip them an extract in their 'medicine' that renders them infertile' to 'maybe they should just be killed... for the greater good.'

(Plague, in this case, is a mild red-herring stand-in for anything you like-- sorcerous powers, perhaps-- that can be suitably fear-inspiring.)

The point is just that evil's at its most compelling when it's wrapped in good intentions. The dictator who just wants absolute power is... a cartoon. The dictator who wants absolute power because he or she is legitimately convinced that the populace will be better and happier under their rule, and that any sacrifices are acceptable on that road, is terrifying.


Being evil is easy. Just be selfish. All evil is selfishness anyway, so do whatever benefits your character and don't give a damn who it affects others. Just try not to screw over your party.


Delightful wrote:
Being evil is easy. Just be selfish. All evil is selfishness anyway, so do whatever benefits your character and don't give a damn who it affects others. Just try not to screw over your party.

That seems contradictory, while I agree evil is generally selfish the distinction of not giving a damn except for these people i hang out with I guess. It feels like its not putting any effort in.


Corpi Hoppins wrote:

To me the first thing you need to know is why is he evil? Is it because he doesn't care about killing someone for money, worships an evil diety, doesn't know any better etc. Another thing is what is the line they won't cross. Most of the evil character I've made don't like slavery, rape, or killing children. Evil doesn't mean you have to be on board with every evil thing its your actions or worldview that are twisted.

Working with a party is pretty easy if your smart. The key is an evil person will, if they are smarter than average, know that their behavior is not socially acceptable and would thus not throw their evil in peoples faces but rather would cut loose when they can justify to themselves and others that this is needed to get the job done.
You may volenteer at the orphanage and give to charity and be the otherwise nicest person but then you go and preach about how great your dark god is and how they will bring about a glorious age that to you is the best thing ever but others may be wary of.

So, first thing is to define why is he evil, right?

Lets assume (i'm building everything right now :D) he's evil but he doesn't know to be one (is that possible?).
He want to build his own empire because he's tired that in his "nation" barbarian tribes are such destructive catastrophes and they pillage farmers and little villages, and he see that the current kingdom's army can't control them all or just don't care too much about.
Why is he evil? Well he's ready to do everything to achieve his goal.
Some line he wont cross could be: not killing rich men, but get them into slavery to build his own castle/city. Those men deserve to serve because they weren't able to help citizens or just didn't care about, caring just about their own wealth and money. Also killing them would be such an easy way to end their life.
He would probably use the law as a part to get this done, for example: he goes to the Rich man and he ask him to voluntarily surrend into slavery. The Rich man says no. The PC says he will harm his children if he don't voluntarily surrend. The Rich man refuses.
The PC pay someone to witness that the children is responsible for a crime. This could lead into the surrendering of the Rich man or the children paying for the crime.


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I feel like the thing to keep in mind is that everyone thinks of themselves as the hero of their own story, and never the villain. Everybody, even history's greatest monsters, believed that they were doing the right thing or at least making justifiable steps towards a desirable end goal.

Now evil people like this are easy to play in a game without any sort of objective alignment system (particularly ones without verifiable knowledge of what happens after you die.) The problem is, why do people in a world where here is objective alignment, and one can know where this leads, choose to be evil? Certainly there's the evil person who eventually learns the error of their ways, as more things become revealed to them, and eventually attempts some sort of redemptive arc, which is probably the easiest evil character for me to play. Someone whose actions are predicated on incorrect assumptions, who would behave differently if they had correct ones.

The other kinds of evil characters I've seen done successfully are ultimately nihilists in that only immediate gratification is worth pursuing, or people who are well aware of where "being evil" leads and are planning on subverting this somehow (by becoming immortal, say.) The kinds of evil people I tend to play when I have to are along the lines of just cynical, unpleasant, misanthropes who perceive a purity in their selfishness (i.e. "this is the only thing that works/the only honest way to live") but take no joy in wholesale slaughter, demon summoning, miscellaneous corruptions, or harming the innocent, etc. Someone who, after a bit of work, could be neutral.

If you're willing and able to throw away the "alignment is objective and people in the diagesis are able to know what awaits them after they die" then you can make a whole lot more evil characters work. But honestly, I don't think this is a great system for having fun playing "evil."


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You already asked the 3 big questions. Which are his goals? Why is he evil? How do you make that work within the party? Answer these and your done

1. Anything that anyone else would want. Evil is usually how someone achieves his goals not the end goals themselves.
2. Its just a difference in a set of values. Typically efficiency and the end goal over life and happiness. Most Evil is actually very easy to rationalize if you can avoid societies retribution. If you want to learn some interesting stuff look into AI research regarding utility functions
3. Once again pretty much the same as everyone else. Come up with one of the reasons that your in the party then limit the reasons your party would want you dead. See below for evil specific tips for that

The biggest problem I have with evil characters is not how well he works with the party, its how well the party works with him. Its not just about how to justify your character working with others. Its actually really easy to justify an evil character working with good characters. You also need to make sure the other players can work with you. Good has a much bigger problem with evil than evil usually does with good.

Also Know that every table has an invisible line of sand for morality that is just not acceptable even from evil characters. I would start small then slowly edge your way there. Not only does this make it less likely the other players and characters will want to murder you, it also makes for a nice character development phase even for established evil characters

Brilliant post DeathlessOne

@Possible Cabbage. One of my favorite theories on afterlife goes as follows. The evil planes aren't actually meant to be a punishment for the dead. Merely an environment that individuals of that particular alignment would thrive in. Ex: LE: a giant bureaucracy made to screw people over through lawful means. CE: an endless pit of doing whatever you want in a kill or be killed environment. Same thing applies to neutral planes.

Alternatively if they see themselves as a hero they could easily see it as a heroic sacrifice. I will save the world even if it means my eternal damnation. Can think of plenty of great villains with such a line. Tarquin from order of the stick also had a fun rational. Yes I'll get a horrible end. But in the meantime I get to live like a god for 40 years.


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Thief guide leader who has a lots of NPC followers working for him. For one noble goal, the group will die for him. Have him be the most tactical person ever. He will order his men to die whenever they need to survive the mission. Each time someone died, he blames himself a lot. In his men's perspective, he is the greatest. He suffers and still take the responsibility to achieve their goal. In reality, he knows he is evil. What's the point of saving a few when so many have died. But he is the smartest person in the whole group, he knows there is no other way.

NPC 1: Leader, enemies are coming, we will get wipe out.
Leader: My friend, you will die here. This is an order.
NPC 2: With pleasure, look after my son for me.
NPC 3: NO! DAD!
Leader: All unit move out, don't let him die in vein.
NPC 2: *Draw enemies away* COME AT ME BASTARDS!
*When group is safe*
NPC 3: You ordered my father to die! It should have been you!
Leader: ... I'm sorry, he died so we can live.
NPC 3: I will kill you for my father!
Leader: Knock him out.
NPC 4: Yes, Sir!
*NPC 3 knocked out*
Leader: Take him to a holding cell until he comes to his senses.
NPC 5: Yes, Sir!
*Leader went somewhere alone*
Leader: G+~ D*%N IT! WHY AM I SO USELESS!?!?!

It will make a very good villain PC. Make sure no one in your group is part of your guide, make sure you do whatever you need to do to make other PCs help your character achieve your goal, bribe, blackmailing, force. Whatever you need to do, do it. Then when you show the PC his soft side, other PCs will be speechless.

Bonus: Have him remember every single person that died for him.


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Here are some useful guides I found on le interwebs.

Compliance Will Be Rewarded: A Guide to Lawful Evil

By NE means necessary: A Guide to Neutral Evil

No Limits, No Regrets: A Guide to the Chaotic Evil Alignment


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

To follow up on Double's comment above...

By making an evil character that they can relate with, folks will be more understanding of the extreme measures they may be taking.

Depending on the measures, the party may even VOLUNTEER to help with them. Even if they're good people.


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Dastis wrote:
Brilliant post DeathlessOne

Well, thank you. I'll let you judge the 'brilliance'. I suppose I was able to properly convey my meaning to at least one person then? :)

Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
By making an evil character that they can relate with, folks will be more understanding of the extreme measures they may be taking.

Yes! This is how a proper evil character is portrayed, at least one that fits well into a group of adventurers. The most insidious evil is the one that worms its way into your mind under the guise of understanding and justifiable actions. When you can make people FEEL that your actions are understandable and they pause in their attempts to condemn your actions harshly, you have successfully overridden their ability for reason, at least for the moment.

Remember, real EVIL is all about how it FEELS, taken to the extreme. It is why we have such a hard time understanding the motivations of real evil. We try to approach it from a logical, thoughtful, reflecting manner and that kind of thinking (especially the thoughtful) is hard, coarse ground for the seeds of evil to take purchase. However, sometimes real evil finds purchase even there and a clever enough mind can turn that kind of thinking to more sinister directions. Evil with purpose is the most dangerous.


@PossibleCabbage: Still defining how the PC will work, but i'm pretty sure he wont be the "guy seeking for redeem himself", i'm more oriented on the "guy who thinks he's doing the right thing".

@Dastis: You got a point there, the biggest problem is how good works with you!
Nice example on OOTS!

@DoubleBubble: Nice example. I'm more oriented on some kind of King-like PC, not a thief, someone with some kind of honor, mostly following "laws".

@Asmodeus' Advocate: Nice guides! I'm reading them right now thank you.

@Wei Ji the Learner: I agree, i'm more on the King-kind of PC. He wants to reign with laws and order.


DeathlessOne wrote:
Dastis wrote:
Brilliant post DeathlessOne

Well, thank you. I'll let you judge the 'brilliance'. I suppose I was able to properly convey my meaning to at least one person then? :)

Remember, real EVIL is all about how it FEELS, taken to the extreme. It is why we have such a hard time understanding the motivations of real evil. We try to approach it from a logical, thoughtful, reflecting manner and that kind of thinking (especially the thoughtful) is hard, coarse ground for the seeds of evil to take purchase. However, sometimes real evil finds purchase even there and a clever enough mind can turn that kind of thinking to more sinister directions. Evil with purpose is the most dangerous.

I would appreciate if you guys could give me some examples of this kind of evil :)!


I always think of evil as incredibly selfish or petty. (or both) sacrifices need to be made but not by me etc.


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The character I'm currently playing is Lawful Evil and this is how I was able to justify her in an adventuring group.

*She is a guard from a devil worshiping tyrannical nation and thus respects people who make use of their strengths (eg. if you don't have the strength/cunning/willpower/etc. to pull yourself out of your situation, then you deserve to be there).

*The law is very important to her and will do everything in her power to uphold it which had the result of the strongest friendship in the party being between my Lawful Evil Fighter and the Lawful Good Paladin as they both hold order and justice in very high regard. where they differ is in the "how" and they often debate the merits and flaws between merciful and brutal justice (eg. show mercy and they'll just do it again tomorrow vs. being heavy handed will only make them learn to hide it better).

I have a small list of punishments for her to use sparsely that are almost tests of will. Like nailing the hand of someone that tried to bribe her to a post and giving them a claw hammer to free themselves, if they have the will it can be done in under a minute, if not then they can be there for days as a message to anyone else who might consider doing something similar. I don't touch this list often and only used it once so far as to keep the shock value when it is used.

The goblin children question mentioned earlier actually came up in the campaign and my character waited until the paladin was in another area before I killed all the ones I could find. The best part was I didn't have to justify myself to everyone else when they all found out as the Cavalier in the group immediately saw my reasoning (eliminate the tribe completely, thus breaking the cycle of revenge) and he was the one that settled the paladin down who was freaking out about the child slaughter that was committed.

While not being much of a character study of evil like the others here are providing, I thought it could be useful as an example of an evil character that is working well within a mostly good aligned the group. This also seems to fall in line with what Dastis was saying about the focus being on methods, reasons and values.


And it was @Gajavi, thank you!


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I might comment a little more later on, but I'll quote a related post, I did some time ago about playing an Evil alignment in a mixed alignment group.

Kjeldorn wrote:

Playing an Evil person doesn't really have to lead to conflicts with party members of different alignments, unless the player specifically plays the character in a backwards, conflict seeking or just plain old stupid way.

If you have an Evil character in a party of mixed alignments then a good way of being Evil is simply to help the party along, while making sure that every collective action taken, by the party, profits you. When ever an argument is presented as favouring a Good solution, you present the same general argument, but twist it, to make sure you gain something from it. Whenever you help someone, make sure that they feel indebted to you or that they need you, so that they will cut you some slack at a later time.

The best kind of Evil, in my opinion, has never been the baby eating, cat kicking, stealing from beggars kind. It's more rewarding to be the necessary kind of Evil, the kind that helps but at a price, the kind that makes a difficult choice easier and the kind that seems to care for the very same thing, that you do, while slowly subverting, changing or eroding them.

It's very rarely about Evil with one swift blow, it is about Evil by incrementalism.


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

One example of an evil character in a morally mixed party is Galen from Rogue One.

spoiler:
Galen kills an allied informant rather than risk his capture. He kills a partisan rebel as readily as storm troopers to accomplish his goals. We may be sympathetic to his ultimate goal (fight for the rebellion), yet he is willing to do many dark acts to get there. All this, and still works fairly well in a group of people of mixed alignments.


@Kjeldorn: everything helps! I'm trying to figure out how to play and create an evil character, since we are starting a new campaign (actually we're playing one since 5 years) with my group of players (i'm a player, i'm not the GM) and since we know us very well i wanted to propose an evil character because i'm sure we can have fun roleplaying around and helping each other the party working!

@KestrelZ: I don't see Galen killing partisans honestly (haven't seen yet the movie completely, but having seen him dying i'm assuming he wont kill anymore), did he do that in the movie?


dien wrote:

{. . .}

The point is just that evil's at its most compelling when it's wrapped in good intentions. The dictator who just wants absolute power is... a cartoon. The dictator who wants absolute power because he or she is legitimately convinced that the populace will be better and happier under their rule, and that any sacrifices are acceptable on that road, is terrifying.

The dictator who just wants absolute power is . . . actually quite common, and includes some of Earth's most heinous dictators, and is terrifying enough. For public relations reasons, they usually advertise that the populace will be better and happier under their rule, but it's usually pretty obviously lies.


UnArcaneElection wrote:
dien wrote:

{. . .}

The point is just that evil's at its most compelling when it's wrapped in good intentions. The dictator who just wants absolute power is... a cartoon. The dictator who wants absolute power because he or she is legitimately convinced that the populace will be better and happier under their rule, and that any sacrifices are acceptable on that road, is terrifying.

The dictator who just wants absolute power is . . . actually quite common, and includes some of Earth's most heinous dictators, and is terrifying enough. For public relations reasons, they usually advertise that the populace will be better and happier under their rule, but it's usually pretty obviously lies.

Could he be an interesting character to play or better focus on something else?


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

Whoops. My mistake - meant to say Cassian, not Galen in the above post.

One example of an evil character in a morally mixed party is Cassian from Rogue One.

spoiler:
Cassian kills an allied informant rather than risk his capture. He kills a partisan rebel as readily as storm troopers to accomplish his goals. We may be sympathetic to his ultimate goal (fight for the rebellion), yet he is willing to do many dark acts to get there. All this, and still works fairly well in a group of people of mixed alignments.

To answer Genetic Flood - Yes, during the fight on the planet Jedha between partisans ambushing an Empire tank and storm troopers.

spoiler:
As Jyn seeks cover behind a tank, Cassian sees a partisan about to throw a grenade at the tank. To save Jyn (who is important to the mission), Cassian kills the grenade bearing partisan without hesitation.


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In my opinion, the best way to play an evil character is to bind them to the party through strong yet selective morals. This works best if you have someone else in the group you can make a character with, as your evil character can then assume the role of this other character's protector.

The idea is simple, either the party as a whole or a specific member is your family. Everyone else can go screw themselves. You will do anything, cross any line, commit any atrocity to see your family safe. Now the reasoning behind this commitment to your party can vary from game to game, but it makes for a very interesting character who is willing to go above and beyond for the party's safety.

What makes this particular brand of evil easy to play is that you do not need to be a dick to your other party members or random strangers. You do, however, just need to murder the heck out of anything that threatens your family. So most days your party sees you as just another members, with your alignment a little weird for your personality. Then you get into combat and calmly coup-de-gras surrendered folks, torture prisoners, burn down entire fortresses with people still in them, slaughter your way through law enforcement to break someone out of jail, commit regicide, and happily sacrifice entire kingdoms for the safety of your friends.

Its the idea of being a selective monster that makes this so interesting, like Amos in Leviathan Wakes, especially if you allow maybe one person in the party the ability to call you off your roaring rampage. If that member dies or is captured, well, it gives you room to really let loose and show your monstrous side.

However, its important to have lines even you won't cross, for instance no sex crimes or no killing children. Having these lines helps you be more relatable outside of your other monstrous activities. Also, the reason you have those limits can make for interesting character moments. It makes the moments when you toss a begger down on their luck some money feel really special, and keeps the party guessing at your character's limits.

Basically, I'm advocating for the blood knight LE archetype that is talked about in OOTS. However, I believe it can be played by any Evil alignment, not just lawful evil. Even chaotic characters have their own code of conduct, if a more malleable one. So you can be a blood knight and be Chaotic Evil, just means you don't give a damn about the local laws.

To sum it up: Best kind of evil characters in a game are strongly attached to the party with no plans to betray them, and are willing to literally invade heaven and hell to keep the party safe.


KestrelZ wrote:

Whoops. My mistake - meant to say Cassian, not Galen in the above post.

One example of an evil character in a morally mixed party is Cassian from Rogue One.

** spoiler omitted **

To answer Genetic Flood - Yes, during the fight on the planet Jedha between partisans ambushing an Empire tank and storm troopers.
** spoiler omitted **

Oh well yeah Cassian would sacrifice almost anyone for the cause he believes in (everyone except Jyn and the funny Terminator friend).

@ShroudedinLight: well everyone's is saying "not killing childrens", i already pointed out he wont kill a children (he will cut his hands off, make him guilty of a crime the child didn't commit, he could let him die probably if is a poor child and pushing stuff like that, but he wont kill him).
Sex-crimes are no sense for this PC, love burn like flames in his heart, and part of the "enjoying" is to seduce women for sure, no sense raping them.

I don't plan at all to work vs my party. No way, i don't like to do such stuff, and either i don't wanna create a crazy monster or murderhobo PC.
Just an Evil convinced that his actions are done for a good pourpose, like creating/re-conquering his own realm (writing the background i made him be a part of a noble family who was king of the realm. His father was a "Good King", too good that he free all slaves and use crown's found to help people. He was murdered from local nobles family, who seek the power and want to return at their "Rich" status, while some close reign was afraid from that king because they believe slaves in their realms would have the same freedom as the Good King's ex-slaves and become riots, they helped nobles to kill him. Some other Realms could use this weakness (king too kind) to attack for conquer)


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If you see Farscape, there is an evil character that works with the group because

Spoiler:
He wants to destroy an evil race entirely. He's just evil because he will literally do whatever that takes. So he cooperates, assists, and takes it upon himself to deal with what the others can't.


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No one has mandated a goatee yet, you're all disappointments.


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I have a few evil characters.

Lauren got preached at a lot about the afterlives awaiting the wicked. She was aware of her own evil impulses, and planned on living a quiet life as a clerk. She got press-ganged by pirates, though. At that point, she figured the only thing to do was go all-in. If you can’t avoid being hunted for centuries on the blasted plains of Abaddon, you might as well make sure you’re going in with as powerful of a soul as possible. The party consists of people useful enough for her to make herself useful in return.

Kyoni is committed to hedonistic indulgence with only token regard for others. Having escaped death before (rakshasa reincarnation or possessing an innocent, depending on the version), she is confident in her own strength. The party consists of enjoyable people, who may not be aware of what she’s willing to do when she doesn’t have more moral people to make a good impression on.

Loro’s adopted people (he’s a turned werewolf) have been hunted down and killed. Somebody needs to be the one to make the dark deals for power to save them all, and he won’t shy away from that. The party consists of people desperate enough to rely on him, and he won’t let them down.


Nice examples!


Now i've setted Ideals etc as follow:

Character: I pretend respect from those who i deal with and i wont tolerate any affront to my honor.

Ideals: My word is my reputation and i will always honor it.

Bond: I will do anything necessary to take back what belongs me by right.

Flaws: Here's my issue. I don't want a "classic" flaw, i want to find something "original", fitting and interesting.


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Genetic Flood wrote:

@PossibleCabbage: Still defining how the PC will work, but i'm pretty sure he wont be the "guy seeking for redeem himself", i'm more oriented on the "guy who thinks he's doing the right thing".

@Dastis: You got a point there, the biggest problem is how good works with you!
Nice example on OOTS!

@DoubleBubble: Nice example. I'm more oriented on some kind of King-like PC, not a thief, someone with some kind of honor, mostly following "laws".

@Asmodeus' Advocate: Nice guides! I'm reading them right now thank you.

@Wei Ji the Learner: I agree, i'm more on the King-kind of PC. He wants to reign with laws and order.

Have him to be the next king. Everyone will try to kill him. He needs to be the next king the make the country right, but in order to do that, he has to bribe, blackmail and kill off other nobles. He has no magical power, not a fighter. His men will lay their lives for him, and he will sacrifice them when he has to. It pains him, but he know what must be done. To reach his goal to become the next king, he will have to lose everyone he holds dear. Your GM is going to love a villain that he can't hate. So noble, so godly, so righteous. Yet, so evil.


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It's sounding like your character is almost there and I'm certain we'd love to see the final result.

If you have a few hours to spare then I recommend looking at the Alignment series by Dawnforged Cast, particularly episodes 6 (Neutral Evil) and 7 (Lawful Evil). Episode 3 (Chaotic Evil) might give you some ideas as well, but it sounds like you're leaning more towards LE or NE.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiuLkFVCHGE&list=PLTgwt_ewEFeP-XVoWcYRJ caEyYcf4p1WR

MageHunter, Farscape's Scopius is by far one of my favorite villains because despite his physical prowess, he favours using his intelligence and charisma to reach his goals.


Gajavi wrote:
MageHunter, Farscape's Scopius is by far one of my favorite villains because despite his physical prowess, he favours using his intelligence and charisma to reach his goals.

It's still pretty fun when that doesn't work and he loses his $#*%.


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Genetic Flood wrote:

Now i've setted Ideals etc as follow:

Character: I pretend respect from those who i deal with and i wont tolerate any affront to my honor.

Ideals: My word is my reputation and i will always honor it.

Bond: I will do anything necessary to take back what belongs me by right.

Flaws: Here's my issue. I don't want a "classic" flaw, i want to find something "original", fitting and interesting.

How about this for a flaw? Feels genuine regret for the wasting of a life, not out of respect or sorrow for that life, but because that life is no longer available to be used as a tool towards their ends. Talk about sending all the (wrong) "right" signals.


Unique flaw:"MELVIN: Oh no, I'm late for a children's card game. This somehow prevents me from simply lowering my arm and murdering you. Punctuality, my Achilles' heel." Yugioh abridged episode 43


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Darth Vader's extreme self-loathing is a pretty interesting flaw that makes him complex.


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I always found that trying to twist the group's goals to suit your own ends makes playing an evil character in a good/neutral party quite easy. Even if I can't twist around current goals I tend to justify continued involvement by having my character tell himself that these characters have served him well in his rise to power and throwing away useful tools is bad practice.

If people start doubting your evilness, you just need to remind them. Evil spells and demon summoning to win fights helps, but occasionally a juicy opportunity will pop up and you should take it. One that worked well for me, the party was fighting a Draco-Lich and it had just dropped the Dwarf Fighter below 0 HP. I followed that by somehow opening up a bottomless pit under my LE Enchanter. Being unwilling to die, I responded by casting a spell to swap places with the unconscious Dwarf saving my own skin and condemning him to death. The party objected but eventually accepted because odds were that dwarf wasn't going to survive anyway, and I kept a powerful spell-caster on the battlefield. Resurrection was an option anyway. Nobody doubted I was playing an evil character after that.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
MageHunter wrote:
Darth Vader's extreme self-loathing is a pretty interesting flaw that makes him complex.

It depends on WHICH Darth Vader one gets.

EDIT:

This is something that might be... pertinent.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

I'm not normally the one that says a straight, 'don't do....', normally is it a 'yes,but' or 'go for it, but try this alternate...'. Playing an evil character in a campaign not designed for evil characters is not worth it. I admit, I say this because I have never 1) seen it played well, so as to cooperate well, and/or 2) seen it received or played with well by the others at the table. Honestly the biggest problem is the second one. Any group that has both good an evil characters in it almost always, at some point, requires the good character to jump through unrealistic rp hoops to justify not pvping or some other in-game hostile action to stop the evil character. It puts a huge strain on the group that is just not worth it.

Though I have many anecdotes, my personal anecdote is when I played an evil aspiring crime lord. I collaborated and worked fantastically well with the group ensuring that I was not stepping on anyone's toes or ruining anyone's fun. Sure enough there was a victim of my evil, the GM. The GM couldn't handle the sheer bloodthirsty evil that I drove the entire party to.

I desperately want to play an evil character again, but am waiting for an opportunity to play either Hell's Vengeance or Way of the Wicked. Were I to play an evil character in anything else would be a selfish way to play.

Again I reiterate, please don't ruin other people's fun just because you want to try playing an evil character. It is truly not worth it


@DoubleBubble: Yes, that's pretty much his background right now. He was the 4th son of 8 brothers. But since during the murdering of the king 4 died, and recently the first son died of disease, at this point of his background (where is gonna get enslaved by some kind of creature - help needed if you wish to -) he's the legitimate heir to the throne.

@Gajavi: thanks for the videos, they're awesome! I subscribed aswell.

@Magehunter: Reading about that character, thank you (never seen the series).
What i see about Darth Vader is that (talking about EP I-II-III) he's in some way a kid, burning of emotions and easily manipulable. He can't see his Paranoia about the possibility that past events are repeated is killing the ones he loves and dragging him on a road of power seeking.

@Deathless One: This one could be a cool one, really. Should he, maybe, pray for the victim's soul? Or maybe confess himself in a church everytime? Send money or stuff to the family?

@Hark: Thank you, that example is aswesome really. "How to smart evil".

@Wei Ji The Learner: Reading the list ehehe!!

@Saashaa: "A campaign designed for Evil characters", what do you mean with that? An evil party?
I've seen PvP in the past and i can assure you nobody of them were playing an evil character. I believe PvP happens because of the players: depending more on personal feelings, metagame, lack of roleplaying, or just bad days.
Also lets remember that even Good and Neutral can perform Evil actions.

This said i believe that where Evil gives the major opportunity for a nice roleplay combo, from all the players and GM, is in a mixed alignment group.
I think people just focus too much on "Good" and "Evil" as concepts: like a Good people spot the Evil alignment of someone else "Ahh, for the sake of Goodness, i'm gonna kill you with my sword", this sounds funny to me.
Good and Evil are personal views imho.
Example: The Necromancer, born in a cemetery (ehehehe) and raised/teached from his own mother on how to get some help from the people that once were alive, will raise corpses [Evil Act].
With those he's helping people of a village with the rebuilt of it after a big catastrophe destroyed it, with no personal advantages [Good Act].
So, me the good paladin of good goodness, am i gonna kill/imprison the Helpomancer?

My group is playing together since 5+ years, i'm pretty confident we will roleplay this out.
Collaborating and avoiding PvP are my first goals.
Anyway you can play extremely selfish characters without being Evil at all (i've seen many).

Ruining other people's fun isn't my intention; i believe you had crazy bad experiences at the table for being so scared about this.


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Saashaa wrote:

I'm not normally the one that says a straight, 'don't do....', normally is it a 'yes,but' or 'go for it, but try this alternate...'. Playing an evil character in a campaign not designed for evil characters is not worth it. I admit, I say this because I have never 1) seen it played well, so as to cooperate well, and/or 2) seen it received or played with well by the others at the table. Honestly the biggest problem is the second one. Any group that has both good an evil characters in it almost always, at some point, requires the good character to jump through unrealistic rp hoops to justify not pvping or some other in-game hostile action to stop the evil character. It puts a huge strain on the group that is just not worth it.

Though I have many anecdotes, my personal anecdote is when I played an evil aspiring crime lord. I collaborated and worked fantastically well with the group ensuring that I was not stepping on anyone's toes or ruining anyone's fun. Sure enough there was a victim of my evil, the GM. The GM couldn't handle the sheer bloodthirsty evil that I drove the entire party to.

I desperately want to play an evil character again, but am waiting for an opportunity to play either Hell's Vengeance or Way of the Wicked. Were I to play an evil character in anything else would be a selfish way to play.

Again I reiterate, please don't ruin other people's fun just because you want to try playing an evil character. It is truly not worth it

An evil character can easily derail things if the player isn't careful in their design for the character and how they play them. Which is why we're helping Genetic Flood flesh out their character so they can have someone that probably won't cause too many RP hoops to jump. Evil characters just needs more thought put into them in order to avoid the issues you mentioned than most other alignments.

I personally see the evil alignments as a "get GM permission first" thing because many aren't willing to take the chance, but have the potential of being memorable with how different playing evil can be. Chaotic Neutral I see as more common of a problem as it's often used as an excuse to do anything.


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Genetic Flood wrote:
@Deathless One: This one could be a cool one, really. Should he, maybe, pray for the victim's soul? Or maybe confess himself in a church everytime? Send money or stuff to the family?

Well, my idea was more along the lines of "blacksmith's favorite tool has been broken beyond repair and the remorse he feels is just that for a lost, useful tool". If you want your evil character to go through extra steps to keep up the masquerade, by all means. Money will cease to be much of a problem the further you get into the game (at least as far as normal, non-adventuring folk consider).


DeathlessOne wrote:
Well, my idea was more along the lines of "blacksmith's favorite tool has been broken beyond repair and the remorse he feels is just that for a lost, useful tool". If you want your evil character to go through extra steps to keep up the masquerade, by all means. Money will cease to be much of a problem the further you get into the game (at least as far as normal, non-adventuring folk consider).

Oh yeah, i see, i can play this stuff in two ways

1)Humor/Sarcasm - "Ohh poor loved Jeremy, he could still have done so much for me".
2)Masquerade of serious regret - Sending money to the fam, giving his wife/childs a job (related to my King-Reign storyline) and stuff like that.

@Gajavi: Agree. My GM gave me permission to do so.
And agree again on CN. I've seen so many people using the CN excuse to do whatever they wanted to do, good or evil acts, law or chaos, everytime to enhance themselves.


Use subjective evil. Say if you dealing with noblemen, use your stats to squeeze everything out of them. Take their maids through blackmailing and cleverplay if they are good looking. Then go to the them to persuade them to serve you. make the noblemen make false move like ordering assassins but you are so far ahead of them and pay the assassin to false report your death. Then appear when he was boasting about how he got you killed. It's hard to play evil right, you need to work with your GM a lot. It's easy to go evil with the whole team, but to use subjective evil while the team are not is hard.

King: Children, I can't have you risk your lives for me.
Children: It will be our honors.
King: Very well, tell your names to my servant, she will record. You shall all be known as heroes.

Party member 1: That's evil.
King: You think I don't know that? How else are we going to get out of this mess? How many more will die if I don't become king?
Party member 2: I rather die than let children take my place!
King: And many more will suffer! I will become king, you hear me? I will end this! And nothing will stop me!

It's going to be hard. But there are evil characters that are even harder to play. Play an evil rogue that never killed, everything thought he is the most brutal hero that killed many and saved many more. The truth, he killed no one and saved no one. All part of his plan.


@DoubleBubble: I agree with you! Harder but also more funny imho!
Thanks for sharing that example!!!

I'm finishing the background (will post it asap) so people can say a word about/advice.


I had an accidentally evil wizard, so lets chart his progression

Rise of the Runelords, came in at level 7 due to PC death.
Backstory: As a child found a page of a spellbook, accidentally summoned a Daemon that killed his family/village.

Conjuration school focus NN Wizard to start, with a loathing of Daemons, would summon allies in combat, but never daemons.

Eventually as the campaign goes on, battles against certain species show they are as destructive as Daemons, but worse, because they are more numerous and rallying into an army and getting organized. It is my job to prevent them from laying waste, just like Daemons would.

After slaying a vicious general, I saw a tool and put him to use. Having a Skeletal Champion on hand is handy, necromancy isn't so bad, besides I'm allowing a warrior a second chance to win glory on the battlefield, so I was doing him a favour.

Eventually, I was OP, so the DM had Pharasma come down and lecture me on Necromancy, but lo and behold, she takes away my Skeletal Champion, my tool to save the world, I have a job to do here!

I'm Pragmatic, I won't pick a fight with a god, yet, so now I turn to other tools that will help me save the world... devils who won't mind helping me save the world for a price, I can trap souls, I may as well trade them, AND I prevent those enemies from being resurrected, making the world even safer!

I didn't end the campaign True Neutral.

I was a villain because I had a cause, limits and justifications- Sure, I was a necromanctic Genocider BUT it was to save the world AND I never summoned a Daemon, so how bad could I really be?

Did I cackle when I eliminated a whole family? Of course, but that was only a hobby: I had a job to save the world, and I did, using every tool available, except for Daemons.

To me, I was a hero, to others I was a terror, to some I was a villain. To my party I was an asset. And thats how you be accidentally evil.


@Proley: Thank you for sharing!

So, Backstory in a few words: Born in the noble family in charge of power, the king, his father get murdered because he was ruling with weakness.
A revolt breaks out in the city. Some of his brothers and the queen die, the firstborn is saved, they escape and they all divide.
He acts as a squire to a paladin of an order. He becomes a knight.
The firstborn dies and he becomes heir to the throne.

It becomes clear that he is willing to do anything to get what is due to him and is routed from the order.
Joins an X (no idea which one could fit :D) order to get support and means to achieve the necessary power to create an army aimed at reconquering his kingdom.

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