Working for the Baddies


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion


Working for the baddies can be an interesting plot hook (e.g. The Black Company, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, Fezzik and Inigo, etc.). However, getting the players to take the job can be tough. Whether it's a case of "my alignment says I must smite" or a neutral PC deciding that the risk isn't worth the reward, making a suitably tempting offer as a DM can be hard work.

Since it's the job of every guy-behind-the-screen to cause drama though, I ask the GMs out there this question: Have you ever successfully tempted your players into signing on with the villains? What incentives and threats did you offer?

(Comic for illustrative purposes.)

Silver Crusade

DRD1812 wrote:

Working for the baddies can be an interesting plot hook (e.g. The Black Company, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, Fezzik and Inigo, etc.). However, getting the players to take the job can be tough. Whether it's a case of "my alignment says I must smite" or a neutral PC deciding that the risk isn't worth the reward, making a suitably tempting offer as a DM can be hard work.

Since it's the job of every guy-behind-the-screen to cause drama though, I ask the GMs out there this question: Have you ever successfully tempted your players into signing on with the villains? What incentives and threats did you offer?

(Comic for illustrative purposes.)

Paizo ran a special at Gencon in 2015 where you were members of the Aspis Consortium. I'd love to see an AP that does something like that for 2E.


I had a GM that accomplished this by simply making literally everyone we could possibly work for a terrible person. It was a "pick your poison", only we didn't know any of them were poison.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
DRD1812 wrote:

Working for the baddies can be an interesting plot hook (e.g. The Black Company, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, Fezzik and Inigo, etc.). However, getting the players to take the job can be tough. Whether it's a case of "my alignment says I must smite" or a neutral PC deciding that the risk isn't worth the reward, making a suitably tempting offer as a DM can be hard work.

Since it's the job of every guy-behind-the-screen to cause drama though, I ask the GMs out there this question: Have you ever successfully tempted your players into signing on with the villains? What incentives and threats did you offer?

(Comic for illustrative purposes.)

I've done this sparingly over the (more than I'd like to admit) years of GMing. The trick is for them not to know they are working for the baddies until it's too late. Sometimes it is easy, if they are the type of group that gets a quest, then takes a quest, then cash in then a dungeon craw and a home invasion can look very much the same.

Other times, using a high level wizard or roguish fellow who can impersonate a well known positive figure to make a request of the heroes is a good way to go about it. I successfully did this before that resulted in killing many innocents (who they thought were evil invaders who took over the joint) and stealing an object all because the party thought they were helping out a well known (but not personally by them) friend of a friend. They only found out what happened after the person they were supposed to meet had wondered why they didn't show up and now they were on the run from the law

All-in-all unless it is an evil, or at least morally gray, group I've found tricking them to be the best option. This is especially easy with groups full of video gamers as they tend to just take whatever quest is given at face value. If that isn't the type of group you have, then more inventive ways are needed.

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

An AP where you can have extremely Good and extremely Evil PCs legitimately cooperate and fight together to prevent the end of Golarion as they know it would be awesome IMO.


How about a reverse Suicide Squad?
Next time a TPK is possible "rescue" them, but have them wake up Invigled, in the thrall of a BBEG.

Let them work off their life debt, but leave space for escape of course.

An old saw is to make them the focus of a summoning spell.
They might be, fighting,partying or sleeping, and poof, transported to another plane to do battle on behalf of some mage.
If they die or the spell expires, the find themselves back on their own plane, but time has passed.
Or it hasn't, either way, the real threat is that mage sharing this spell with others, which could lead to an eternity of fighting for someone else.

Bonus points if one or more of the summoned players are themselves summoners and the fey,elementals, etc have turned the tables


The Raven Black wrote:
An AP where you can have extremely Good and extremely Evil PCs legitimately cooperate and fight together to prevent the end of Golarion as they know it would be awesome IMO.

I would gladly play in that game.

As the dude frequently trying to help paladins and necromancers play nice together, it would be nice to have a canon example of a "mixed party." Otherwise it's always a crap shoot interpreting lines like "a paladin can ally with evil associates, but only to defeat what she believes to be a greater evil."


A campaign where you play bad people is only going to be satisfying if it gives you the chance to betray (and in doing so seriously harm) the jerkholes you're working for, IMO.


Most of Pathfinder's baddies are so repellent - racists, slavers, gleeful sadists and murderers - that I really can't imagine any satisfaction in it.

Scarab Sages

James Jacobs has suggested an adventure where the PCs are all Red Mantis Assassins. That sounds interesting to me, although maybe as a Standalone Adventure rather than an Adventure Path.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
NECR0G1ANT wrote:
James Jacobs has suggested an adventure where the PCs are all Red Mantis Assassins. That sounds interesting to me, although maybe as a Standalone Adventure rather than an Adventure Path.

I think Night of the Grey Death doing well could lead to a Red Mantis versus Razmir adventure. It’s too cool to pass up.

The potential for standalone high-level adventures that can really impact the setting is fun.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Second Edition / General Discussion / Working for the Baddies All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.