View Full Version : PCs as the "villains"?

2011-06-25, 04:46 PM
Anyone ever tried to play a game in which the PCs where the villains? Either part of an evil organization, or sect, or just some ruthless mercenaries and they had to fight (or just oppose) a party of NPC "heroes"? :smalltongue:
I think it's a cool idea and good opportunity to bring some adult themes into a game ('couse the PCs would most probably be evil).
EDIT: I am not speaking about PCs being BBEG, more like minions/lackeys, but more significant.

Darklord Xavez
2011-06-25, 04:53 PM
You mean like the BBEG's lieutenants?

2011-06-25, 04:57 PM
My group is doing that right now actually. They are part of a mafia trying to take over a large city and become the new thieves guild in town.

Since there's a couple of other mob families in the city, they are working on taking out the other families, taking out random heroes who are getting in their way, doing mob hits and protection fronts in order to get money and just generally being all sorts of evil.

I set up a Journal. You can read about it here: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=189659

2011-06-25, 05:02 PM
You mean like the BBEG's lieutenants?
Yeah, something like that.

Temet Nosce
2011-06-25, 05:13 PM
I've done evil games in basically every method I could dream up, and in general I find that it makes for more self motivated and interesting characters (either that or it tends to attract people who favor action).

That said, you seem to be specifically inquiring about the PCs as part of a larger evil. I've done two games like that, one kind of sputtered out, but the other was excellent. It was a kind of over the top evil game where the party was working for a Tiefling empire (in Dawnforge if you're familiar with the setting). It was definitely different than the average game, and involved a lot more... Not quite sidequests, but more along the lines of "We'll do basically what we want so long as we eventually get around to what we're paid for."

I have particularly fond memories of things like cooking an innkeeper who annoyed the party, poisoning the resulting food with hallucinogens, and feeding it to the rest of the guests before stealing all their belongings, blocking all the exits, and burning the inn to the ground. It was great fun.

On the other hand, I don't believe I've done precisely what you're looking for (which seems to be a more regimented version of serving a greater evil), and I'm unsure as to how well it would work. Since one of the benefits of an evil game is generally a high degree of self determination, whereas in the kind of setup you're positing the players would seem locked into an NPCs plans (kind of like an army game honestly). Still, it might be interesting to use it to examine the kind of casual brutality you can see historically in war or the like. I'd play in such a game I suppose.

2011-06-25, 05:16 PM
Yeah, I've played in a campaign that did that.

We were going to be good, but we entered this 'celestial city' on earth and they treated us horribly..so we decided it was time to take the city out.

The entire campaign was spent building forces to attack the city (since it had angels, solars, etc. Oh, and a group of NPCs at our level, but good aligned--governing).

So the whole campaign was player driven, accomplishing goals to consolidate power for the eventual conquering of this city. Pretty cool concept.

I was big on undead--so I sought to create an undead army to conquer the city. I ended up seeking out a vampire to change me--then killed all of them. Then found a minotaur tribe and turned them.

Unfortunately the campaign ended before we could lay siege to the city.

I had a flying fortress loaded with uncontrolled zombies I had made. They all were crafted with Destructive Retribution--so dropped from a certain height would cause them to explode, basically creating negative energy bombs..

2011-06-25, 05:18 PM
Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer lets you play as a really evil character.

2011-06-25, 05:24 PM
Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer lets you play as a really evil character.

In the same vein, Baldur's Gate
lets you eventually become the God of Murder.

2011-06-25, 07:11 PM
If you want recurring heroes, remember that the PCs are often more savvy than your average villain. They probably won't bother with elaborate slow death traps when just shooting the hero will do, for example.

2011-06-25, 07:20 PM
I have played a lot of evil games, though never in the manner you described. Usually if I am playing evil I tend to make the world domination types who prefer to be giving orders rather then following them. I suppose such a campaing would be interesting to me if I could play "the starscream," though. There WAS one campaign where I played a character who served a greater evil, but the whole party did not and said greater evil was a sealed evil in a can that ended up being the last BBEG. The best part was at the point when the rest of the party found out their actions had all helped aid my character's evil plot to free said sealed evil and before said sealed evil was unleashed the DM allowed me a short PVP battle with him and some minions pitted against the party. Needless to say it was a blast, even if he ended up becoming an NPC in the end....though in his defense his NPC-hood also granted him deity status in a later game in the setting(as he has taken the sealed evil's powers for his own after it's demise...all the characters became big fixtures, though. One of them became emperor, another became a good deity ect...)

2011-06-25, 07:22 PM
You mean an evil campaign?:smallconfused: These aren't that uncommon.

2011-06-25, 07:50 PM
Hm. I know "evil campaigns" are common here, but most of them seem to be "go around and be evil everywhere" or "take over the world" or something. How often do people try something like being Whatever Evil characters, but are still also fighting someone evil, than the forces of good? Like, they're not nice people by any measure, but the BBEG is out to rule or destroy the world and, them rather liking this world, opposing him on general principle.

Actually, in a way, it'd be a lot like a normal campaign, except the PCs would steal from and kill innocents when convenient and they would...

Okay, actually, it's just be like a normal campaign, except the players are honest about their character alignment.

2011-06-25, 08:01 PM
Does a party count as 'villains' if they're the unwitting pawns of an evil that is in itself the unwitting pawn of a greater evil that is of course the pawn of an even greater evil?

'Cuz if so, then my players' party is full of horrible, horrible people.

2011-06-25, 08:03 PM
I've been in a game based on the Druchii from Warhammer Fantasy. We were horrifically evil bastards, but with one (very successful) exception most of our endeavours were to gain power against other Druchii.

Works well. However, you need a nasty, conniving DM and at least one nastier, more conniving player for it to work.

2011-06-25, 11:19 PM
I once DMed an evil campaign where the PCs were Zhents. They worked directly under this lower level military commander type and were commanded to sail out and overtake a Thayan slave ship and bring the slaves back. Then they were sent across the Moonsea to butcher some clerics of the Suffering God that were espousing anti-Zhent sentiment.

If it had progressed, they would have sailed back to Zhetil Keep to find it in a full blown riot- the commander they answered to was leading a group of Cyric insurgents and the PCs would have been suspected of being accomplices of his.

In a true moment of evil: The party left the severed head of a cleric of Ilmater on a table full of food the clergy had been providing to the refugees.

2011-06-26, 12:19 AM
In the same vein, Baldur's Gate
lets you eventually become the God of Murder.

You get a lot more evil options in Mask of the Betrayer than in Baldur's Gate.

2011-06-26, 04:27 AM
I've played one game where the PC's were villains, and it was fantastic :P

The DM wrote up the setting, human dominated world, big threat to the human nations were the demon/devil incursions that happened every century or so.

The PC's were all the flunkies of the demons/devils, and were meant to go around and destabilise the various nations, with a year dead line to achieve stuff before our master would check up on us.

I found the PC's were more driven than normal, and it was great trying to bring down entire nations filled with vastly more powerful NPC's than we could deal with directly.

Sadly a DM/Player dysfunction killed the game off, it's very tempting to hit the DM and try to get it going again....

2011-06-26, 04:44 AM
This could be interesting because, especially in fantasy stories, antagonists tend to be more proactive. Why did Frodo walk into Mordor? To destroy the One Ring to stop Sauron. Why did Jim Eckert as Gorbash fight the dragon Bryagh? To stop the Dark Powers who were planning to invade an England.
It would have to be quite sandboxy to really work, not that that is a bad thing at all.

Milo v3
2011-06-26, 06:44 AM
In one Pokemon TTA I played as the antagonist to the rest of the PC's it was great and I had two NPC lackeys.

I as even the rival of one of the other PC's. It was awesome. Saddly people stopped posting so it had to end prematurely.

2011-06-26, 07:31 AM
I ran a mafia-ish style game as well, but I determined the head honcho the PC's worked for wanted revenge against the existing mafia. Head Honcho was a kid of the old mafia family before the new one snuffed it out to take over.

I didn't tell the PC's this till they got their feet wet and proved their value/trustworthyness to the Head Honcho. Head Honcho is working for the BBEG as one of his LT's to take out all the other LT's and the BBEG. Eventually the PC's will be about as powerfull as an LT and the Head Honcho can take on the BBEG mano-a-mano and his revenge will be complete.

The fun part as a DM was writing down all the mistakes the PC's made / evidence they left behind that the good guys can use to build profiles and make wanted posters for. It was a fun adventure to have the PC's see crappy drawings of themselves wanted for something they didn't know they committed.

2011-06-26, 04:18 PM
I think it does provide a much more proactive game on the players part, without being bat-$h1+ crazy and try'n to 'rape the cattle and stampede the woman folk' type of game.

The DM doesn't have to provide the 'fetch the McGuffin' or 'Save the princess' type hooks. The PC's make up what their characters want to achieve, hopefully in a group manner; Advance their political, business, information (spy), slaving, banditry, etc... standing.

The party does not have to be themed on 'battle the good-guys'.
Finding and disrupting another faction's plan too, with the goal of reducing their rival's standing and maybe raising yours:
PC's find out their rivals plan a raid on a border country's settlement. Party (disguised) gets to the settlement first and offers to defend it.
- PC's get paid for knocking rivals down in the eyes of their mutual superiors.
- Maybe focus on taking out their rival's lieutenant who's leading the raid to reduce a rival factions leadership/ power.
- Get info on settlement's defenses, maybe cause those defenses to suffer greater casualties, for the PC's to attack the settlement in the future.