View Full Version : Anti heroic, borderline villainous PC?

2013-08-01, 03:28 PM
New campaign and a playing style that I personally have never done before; I'm playing a neutral evil cleric(to a lawful evil god of death and corruption) who aspires to become a lich one day.
However, my dm wishes to avoid too much player to player conflict and as far as I'm aware, i'm the only one running an evil character. As such, in order to keep my character, i'll have to play him as an anti hero, some how.

Clerics of his deity generally serve as political advisers, usually keeping their true intentions hidden. Some are, rarely, rewarded with immortality in the form of undeath, which is my character's chief concern.

Given this, in what ways might i spin him as an anti hero and not as a true villain?

(Rishfal, the deity he worships, is best compared to the greek god charon. He's the keeper of tolls and the ferrier of the dead.)

Manly Man
2013-08-01, 04:07 PM
Playing as Lawful Evil is the easiest way to portray yourself as an evil character who still is not an entirely detestable rat bastard. Being Neutral Evil, you can still accomplish this, but it's a tad more difficult. Have him keep a code of honor, and find ways where doing the "right" thing, such as granting mercy, can be even crueler than just killing them outright, such as defeating a proud warrior and letting him live, leaving him to wallow in his shame. Otherwise, be ruthless, yet efficient and reasonable. Don't be afraid to sacrifice minions or other pawns for the "greater good", but try to remain likable (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AffablyEvil), in spite of the asshat you really are.

2013-08-01, 04:23 PM
You could easily do it with an Us vs Them kind of point of view. Your fellow PCs are allies, friends, and Real People - they're the ones that matter. Everyone else in the world is chattel, grist for the mill, etc. Thats not to say you constantly antagonize them - thats a waste of energy and they're often heavily armed chattel. Besides, you wouldn't like it if your PC friends destroyed or stole your things, so you shouldn't destroy their things (friendly NPCs that they like). That doesn't make those friendly NPCs important though, it just means you shouldn't go out of your way to hurt them since it'll piss off a Real Person (e.g. another PC, one of your friends). When there's some NPC who is in dire straits and your friends aren't jumping to the rescue, you just walk away and leave them to die. If there's a villain opposing the PCs? There's no mercy for them, no quarter, and no 'fair play' - they're just an object in you and your friends way.

Alternately, you could be the 'I do the things that need to be done that you're too soft to do' sort of Neutral Evil. You don't do anything for the evulz, don't go out of your way to commit atrocities, etc. Thats going to be too hard for your non-evil friends to ignore. Instead, when you guys have captured a prisoner from the enemy, you're the one who says 'Leave me alone with him for 5 minutes and don't ask questions, I'll get the information'. The 'don't ask questions' part is important - you want to keep the horrible things you're doing off-screen as much as possible, so the other PCs have no real concrete reason to object to your existence.

The most bland version but easiest to work version is, you're just a cleric who casts a lot of [Evil] spells and uses undead a lot. If not for being a cleric you'd be Neutral, but the energies you wield and powers you work with have tainted your soul, if not your actions.

2013-08-01, 04:28 PM
There is always the possibility of going completely underground about it. At the moment, I play an agent of the Cabinet of Faces impersonating another character for whom I have separate character sheets to hide my real ones in. The other players do not know a thing (and despite what I wrote in the "Things I May No Longer Do" -thread, the DM does). Do the other players (or at least their characters) *need* to have access to this kind of information?

Think of A'kin, the owner of the Friendly Fiend in Sigil. In his official AD&D stat block in Faces of Sigil, he is listed as NE despite acting the role of the most affable fiend you could ever hope to encounter. This has... implications. Especially regarding the free stuff he hands over. In a similar vein, your character may *act* nice but have his actions work towards a goal of greater evil slowly and unseen.

Warmongering can be justified using "the greater good" arguments for punishinging the enemy. This should mean more... business for your god, no matter who wins. Maybe planting minor necrotic trinkets here and there will cause a few more, oh so lamentable, deaths. But they might appear harmless or even beneficial. Heck - they might even be beneficial in themselves such as rare and expensive trinkets which just might have someone envious kill the poor beneficiary, triggering a chain of "unwanted" events.

2013-08-01, 06:37 PM
I faced the same issue when playing with my DM. I pretty much always play the same character (a CE Half-Drow Wizard of Vecna). I, too wanted to become a lich early on. My DM and I set up the agreement that 'I was on a path to redemtion'. I reluctently agreed, but I found it fun to be the loose cannon causing chaos and distress to the dismay of my teammates. Eventually, I changed my alignment to CN, began worshiping the Evening Glory and been rolling with my new and improved Half-Drow Wizard ever since way ever since.

Compromise is the key to getting along with your DM. It turns out it can make some of the best experiences. :smallsmile:

2013-08-01, 07:05 PM
No matter what you do, someone will feel like they need to be the good guy and bring you to justice. Even if you never act against the party, share their interests, make yourself useful. The goody two shoes of the party will always feel justified stabbing you in the back. So don't let your guard down. Mistrust your party at least as much as they mistrust you, but always with a friendly smile.

Then if it escalates to a plot derailing full out war, make sure you wipe them off the face of the map.

2013-08-01, 07:14 PM
The biggest obstacle I've faced so far is the barbarian in our group. To her, magic in general is bad juju, and necromancy is my bread and butter. But she's intelligent and can be reasoned with. She's also cn. She can be convinced at the very least that zombie bodyguards are useful, even if she sees them as unnatural things that shouldn't exist.

First time I really showed a hint of a dark side was when I used speak with dead. I had to prepare it on the spot, so that gave her time to destroy most of the bodies from the group of trogs that had ambushed us.

Most of the party are neutral, the only one i'm not sure about is the sorcerer. She's new to d&d...

2013-08-01, 07:17 PM
My opinion on evil PCs is that before one you need to determine two things;
1) Why would my character working with other PCs without plotting to backstab the rest of the party?
2) Why would my evil character not behave like a slasher movie villain whenever we enter a populated area?

One of my favorite answers to both questions amounts to having a sense of self-preservation; yes, Baron Evil von Puppyeater may enjoy casual slaughter, but he also enjoys not being chased by angry townspeople/local militia members/random paladins and being either arrested and/or killed.

2013-08-01, 07:31 PM
Just a bit about the setting and about him; they live in a world with a very unstable geology. Mountains can appear one week and move several miles over the course of the next.

Currently they are on a quest to investigate a mountain that appears to be sinking into the ocean. The area they are in depends on the mountains and on a safe ocean path, so this would really hurt their economy. This in turn would hurt Lander, my cleric, since he depends on people having fat coin purses for tithes and such.

So so far I've managed to play him as an affably evil anti hero, perhaps a little on the evangelical side and pretty easy to underestimate.

2013-08-01, 07:54 PM
Start out needing to keep to their goal.

Then learn to love your comrades, and they teach/convince you to not be evil through that. I've done it with some characters.