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HMS Invincible
2014-11-23, 02:42 PM
My last session I ran, I sent in some brain washed children to fight the PCs. Half of them just fought normally at no disadvantage, but the other half had to really struggle to not kill the children. Afterwards, they complained about how it punished moral characters and/or roleplayers. We discussed it, and said there needs to be a session where evil players are punished, but not good ones. Except we couldn't think of any. Ideas?

Kid Jake
2014-11-23, 03:00 PM
Have you ever played the Fallout expansion Dead Money? You could set up a similar situation where by giving into their greed an baser instincts they doom themselves...but that's a little final.

I'm of the opinion that good should be hard though, doing the right thing is almost never the same as doing the easy thing. Instead of trying to find a way to punish evil, I usually try to just reward good in some minor way to stroke their ego. Have the surviving children come and break down in tears of gratitude for the players saving them, the local constabulary recognizes the risk they took and gives them a little leeway in the future or maybe the father of one of the children is the mayor and he gives them a deed to a nice plot of land.

Strigon
2014-11-23, 03:02 PM
Well, if they're really bad, you can send paladins after them.
Maybe have some sort of ancient guardian/being that performs a test of virtue, and those that pass are given a reward, but those that fail are cursed/attacked?


One other idea is to have a misguided, fallen Paladin attack the party. One who believes that, in order to atone, they must kill a lot of evil in the world. Give them a blade that does extra damage against evil characters, and set them loose upon the party!
Heck, if you wanted to be even meaner, have some sort of order of fanatical crusaders, dedicated to removing literally all evil from the world. Weapons and armour specifically tailored against evil, to whatever degree you deem necessary.

Of course, you'd probably have to have them attack the whole party, since they were travelling together. Maybe one warning before they attack, but no sympathy beyond that.

Kelb_Panthera
2014-11-23, 03:15 PM
Cripes, what happened to personal responsibility.

They -chose- to play good characters. Being good in a world of bloodly death, especially as a purveyor of bloody death, is -hard-. Don't punish the villains, reward the heroes. Let them have a boon from some paragons of good. A cleric, paladin, or (if you want to be a bit ham-fisted about it) even a celestial could get them alone and grant them a new item or lay an enchantment on them, or some other beneficial thing.

Comet
2014-11-23, 03:36 PM
So, by the end of combat, half the children were murdered and gutted while the other half was merely knocked out or restrained? And the good characters went: "man, dealing with those children without killing them sure was hard. You've got it easy, murderers."

There definitely needs to be a discussion. But it's going to be more like "oh god, you killed those children what kinds of monsters are you?" instead of "we're so jealous you don't need to bother with this not killing thing, now clean that stuff up".

The punishment of evil is that sooner or later they're going to run out of people that trust them or are willing to drag them out when they get too deep into their world of murder and betrayal.

NichG
2014-11-23, 03:40 PM
The issue may be that the kinds of things that punish good tend to be immediate, game mechanical considerations such as 'we have to get past these guys without killing them'. When those considerations come from moral tensions, Evil has the liberty to say 'this is inconvenient to me, so I will ignore the constraint'.

However, the things that punish evil tend to be more sociological and supervisory concerns. For example 'I heard you killed those brainwashed kids on the last job. While I understand your need to protect yourself, don't think you're ever going to work in this town again.' They also tend to be much stiffer punishments when people are found out, in order to dissuade all those other people who haven't been caught yet. However, for meta-game reasons, often those punishments either have to be effectively waived ('you will never work in this town again' makes it hard for the campaign to continue, or the party just goes to a new town and starts over; worse, the good characters have to pay the evil characters' punishment as well). Or, the punishments are ineffective because of the conceits of the setting (Lv 1 peasants: 'We are going to execute you for what you did'. Lv 7 mercs: 'Yeah right.'), or become rewards in their own right ('The paladins are after us again', 'cool, XPs and loot!')

Personally, I just tend to avoid overt mechanical punishments for this kind of thing. It is harder to be idealistic than it is to be pragmatic, and that's just a choice. But it helps to have players who see this as a form of 'challenging themselves' rather than 'being rewarded or punished for a character choice'. Since I've been gaming with the same group of players for awhile, there's an understanding now: e.g. if I present a campaign with really dark themes, my players know that the choice to play someone principled is going to mean they'll have a harder time, and if they choose to do that it's because they want the challenge.

That said, if you want to try to do it game mechanically:


In order to make evil not pay, you have to come up with rewards that everyone gets which grow with the continued approval of society, but which are reset or harmed by betrayal. Furthermore, you have to make sure that the penalty is not paid indiscriminately by the party, but is paid specifically by those who act in bad faith. So, for example, lets say the party is a band of adventurers. If the party as a whole has a shared reputation, then evil characters damage the entire party - you're asking the PCs to police that evil behavior themselves, which may well go in the direction of PvP. But now lets say that each hero of the adventuring party has their own, distinct reputation. In world this is hard to justify unless the party has camp followers who gossip and spread rumors, so this is already fairly constraining. But lets say you do all this.

You could institute a rule that whenever a PC does something in which its clear they're sacrificing personal safety/etc for the sake of morality rather than personal gain, they gain +1 reputation. When a PC does something dastardly, something which pursues personal gain to the detriment of those they're supposed to be sworn to or helping, etc then they gain -1 reputation. Now the rewards - services such as healing, item identification, curse removal, or even resurrection are provided for free to characters with a sufficiently positive reputation. They may also be provided with opportunities in civilization with RP perks - official positions, titles, etc which make NPCs behave differently to them. A high-rep character can stay at an inn without paying, visit the local wizard to receive a free buff spell before setting out, etc.

Characters with a sufficiently negative reputation will not be served at temples/churches (at least, none that exist publically); at extreme levels, public officials will not let themselves been seen meeting with such characters, meaning that they don't get to have a say in the party's negotiations. I'm leaving out deals with merchants because those are trivially transferable between characters. 'Here's some gold, buy me a +3 longsword' is easy enough that this is just an inconvenience, not a real penalty. However things like Raise Dead really do need to be performed on the actual target of the spell, so lack of access there is a real penalty.

This still isn't all that great - much of it is just tied to wealth, which can be redistributed - which means the entire party pays the price unless they have strong internal rules about 'your wealth is yours, mine is mine'.

Edit: I'm going to echo the suggestion above, about having the truly good characters be rewarded in non-transferable ways. At Lv11 when they become legendary, a minor celestial shows up to the high-rep PC and says that it has been sent to be a go-between between the PC and the heavens, for the PC is one of the pre-eminent beacons of Good in this world; that PC now has a contact in the upper planes, and occasionally gets favors or even has celestials show up to help if things get very bad.

HMS Invincible
2014-11-23, 04:50 PM
The issue may be that the kinds of things that punish good tend to be immediate, game mechanical considerations such as 'we have to get past these guys without killing them'. When those considerations come from moral tensions, Evil has the liberty to say 'this is inconvenient to me, so I will ignore the constraint'.

However, the things that punish evil tend to be more sociological and supervisory concerns. For example 'I heard you killed those brainwashed kids on the last job. While I understand your need to protect yourself, don't think you're ever going to work in this town again.' They also tend to be much stiffer punishments when people are found out, in order to dissuade all those other people who haven't been caught yet. However, for meta-game reasons, often those punishments either have to be effectively waived ('you will never work in this town again' makes it hard for the campaign to continue, or the party just goes to a new town and starts over; worse, the good characters have to pay the evil characters' punishment as well). Or, the punishments are ineffective because of the conceits of the setting (Lv 1 peasants: 'We are going to execute you for what you did'. Lv 7 mercs: 'Yeah right.'), or become rewards in their own right ('The paladins are after us again', 'cool, XPs and loot!')

Personally, I just tend to avoid overt mechanical punishments for this kind of thing. It is harder to be idealistic than it is to be pragmatic, and that's just a choice. But it helps to have players who see this as a form of 'challenging themselves' rather than 'being rewarded or punished for a character choice'. Since I've been gaming with the same group of players for awhile, there's an understanding now: e.g. if I present a campaign with really dark themes, my players know that the choice to play someone principled is going to mean they'll have a harder time, and if they choose to do that it's because they want the challenge.

That said, if you want to try to do it game mechanically:


In order to make evil not pay, you have to come up with rewards that everyone gets which grow with the continued approval of society, but which are reset or harmed by betrayal. Furthermore, you have to make sure that the penalty is not paid indiscriminately by the party, but is paid specifically by those who act in bad faith. So, for example, lets say the party is a band of adventurers. If the party as a whole has a shared reputation, then evil characters damage the entire party - you're asking the PCs to police that evil behavior themselves, which may well go in the direction of PvP. But now lets say that each hero of the adventuring party has their own, distinct reputation. In world this is hard to justify unless the party has camp followers who gossip and spread rumors, so this is already fairly constraining. But lets say you do all this.

You could institute a rule that whenever a PC does something in which its clear they're sacrificing personal safety/etc for the sake of morality rather than personal gain, they gain +1 reputation. When a PC does something dastardly, something which pursues personal gain to the detriment of those they're supposed to be sworn to or helping, etc then they gain -1 reputation. Now the rewards - services such as healing, item identification, curse removal, or even resurrection are provided for free to characters with a sufficiently positive reputation. They may also be provided with opportunities in civilization with RP perks - official positions, titles, etc which make NPCs behave differently to them. A high-rep character can stay at an inn without paying, visit the local wizard to receive a free buff spell before setting out, etc.

Characters with a sufficiently negative reputation will not be served at temples/churches (at least, none that exist publically); at extreme levels, public officials will not let themselves been seen meeting with such characters, meaning that they don't get to have a say in the party's negotiations. I'm leaving out deals with merchants because those are trivially transferable between characters. 'Here's some gold, buy me a +3 longsword' is easy enough that this is just an inconvenience, not a real penalty. However things like Raise Dead really do need to be performed on the actual target of the spell, so lack of access there is a real penalty.

This still isn't all that great - much of it is just tied to wealth, which can be redistributed - which means the entire party pays the price unless they have strong internal rules about 'your wealth is yours, mine is mine'.

Edit: I'm going to echo the suggestion above, about having the truly good characters be rewarded in non-transferable ways. At Lv11 when they become legendary, a minor celestial shows up to the high-rep PC and says that it has been sent to be a go-between between the PC and the heavens, for the PC is one of the pre-eminent beacons of Good in this world; that PC now has a contact in the upper planes, and occasionally gets favors or even has celestials show up to help if things get very bad.

We ended up talking over all these points, and we never got to a satisfactory answer. The players are forced together, so it ends up punishing the odd man out. At best, maybe a free resurrection to anyone who is a good person? Or an axiomatic buff?

Note: This is an E6 campaign, No Teir 1-2.

NichG
2014-11-23, 05:34 PM
We ended up talking over all these points, and we never got to a satisfactory answer. The players are forced together, so it ends up punishing the odd man out. At best, maybe a free resurrection to anyone who is a good person? Or an axiomatic buff?

Note: This is an E6 campaign, No Teir 1-2.

Well, one way you can resolve that in the next campaign is to ask the players to talk about what kind of characters they want to play and what kind of story they want, so it's established from the start whether it's going to be about being noble and working together to share that difficulty, or if it's going to be a shades-of-grey thing, or something darker. That way you avoid the metagame 'well, we're both PCs, so we have to travel together despite the fact that based on your behavior I wouldn't trust you within a mile of a morally complex situation'.

However for the present campaign of course you probably can't really do that.

For E6, the celestial would be very over the top, but you still have things that the 'goodwill of society' can do for adventurers. A lot of it depends on the specific storyline/context of your campaign - are the PCs members of a guild or army, mercenaries, just wandering troubleshooters, individuals out to resolve their particular ambitions but thrust together by fate, etc? If the PCs belong to an organization that cares about looking good, you can simply have it be that each time the PCs do a job, they can each pick one item from the organization's vault to help them in their mission. The gp value is set by each PC's reputation within the organization, which is lessened by taking actions which make the organization look bad.

So for E6 for example, maybe normally the freebie item is anything reusable up to 2500gp or consumables up to 500gp, but that gp value drops by 10% every time the PC does something that'd look bad to the rest of the world.

Free buffs in town is another good one. You go to the local cleric or mage and say 'we're going to do this dangerous thing for everyone's sake, can I have a long duration buff cast on me before I go?', and for people who have retained a good reputation they can always get that for free. Endure Elements, Magic Vestment, Delay Poison, and Protection From Arrows are all good examples since they last up to 6 hours (in E6) and those spell slots are normally fairly dear for a 6th level character so they're things you wouldn't end up having otherwise. Protection from Energy and/or Resist Energy are max 1 hour, but may still be long enough duration if the party is doing things in town.

Ninjadeadbeard
2014-11-23, 05:40 PM
Cripes, what happened to personal responsibility.

They -chose- to play good characters. Being good in a world of bloodly death, especially as a purveyor of bloody death, is -hard-. Don't punish the villains, reward the heroes. Let them have a boon from some paragons of good. A cleric, paladin, or (if you want to be a bit ham-fisted about it) even a celestial could get them alone and grant them a new item or lay an enchantment on them, or some other beneficial thing.

9/10 Post. Would RP with.


We ended up talking over all these points, and we never got to a satisfactory answer. The players are forced together, so it ends up punishing the odd man out. At best, maybe a free resurrection to anyone who is a good person? Or an axiomatic buff?

Note: This is an E6 campaign, No Teir 1-2.

What sort of world are you running? E6, I get. So it's more realistic? More gritty?

What I'm saying is: Is this more like Faerun or Greyhawk? In either case I would never punish my players for roleplaying their characters, except where their characters have become the BBEGs. And even then, I prefer Greyhawk style games, where the PCs are always considered Heroes, and so are given leeway on certain things. Killed some of the children? Well, can't promise a grieving father won't pull a knife, but the guards will look the other way since you saved them all from that Balor attack. Burned down the Mayor's house during the battle? Well at least the dragon's gone. River's poisoned for miles? We got beer, and now there aren't any ghouls.

Punishing players mechanically is a very bad idea, and it will cause resentment.

Thrudd
2014-11-23, 08:02 PM
The moral characters weren't technically "punished", they just had a more difficult encounter.
I do think reputation needs to be taken into account in order to reward heroic characters in the long run (if that's what you want). If you use a mechanical system of reputation points, it should be transparent to the players. Just make a secret roll or secretly add the reputation modifier to their social rolls when it applies. Note, only acts which are witnessed should affect their reputation. So in town, heroic players who have favorable reputations will have an easier time getting what they want. They may get discounts from grateful merchants. They have a better chance of getting that favor from the prince or the guard captain or high priest. As mentioned before, free stays at the inn. People with notorious/evil reputations will be shunned in town. If it gets bad enough, people will refuse them service, ask them to leave town, or even have law enforcement attempt to arrest them or bounty hunters sent to capture/kill them. If you are serious about doing this, you need to plan your adventures accordingly and don't try to force them on rails which will negate your attempts at having consequences for evil behavior. If it breaks up the party, so be it. That's what happens when you have characters of opposed alignments (without railroading), eventually either somebody shifts to more compatible alignments, they go their separate ways, or they end up as enemies and PvP.

Knaight
2014-11-23, 08:12 PM
Reputation is the big thing here. People are going to react better to the people who they've known to consistently behave in a good manner than in known murderous psychopaths. You'll have some amount of people going out of their way to be helpful. There will generally be better access to information simply because the non-muderous-psychopaths will actually be willingly talked to by people who know what they are like. So on and so forth.

Tengu_temp
2014-11-23, 08:20 PM
Actions have consequences. As soon as the locals find out what the PCs did, the ones who nonlethally disabled the children will be praised as heroes, receive gifts from their parents and discounts at local shops, while the ones who killed them will be treated as dirt. Also, show them the grieving parents, make them feel guilty for what they've done.

Also, do you have roleplayers and non-roleplayers together in the group? Because, despite decades of tradition of doing that (due to scarcity of players more than anything else), it's generally an awful idea.

Lord Torath
2014-11-23, 08:34 PM
Have good consequences follow good actions, and bad consequences follow evil actions. Some of the kids who witnessed the good characters trying to not hurt them may become level-1 cohorts/followers/henchmen. Or they tell their parents who reward the good characters with benefits: money, good home-cooked meals, minor magic items (a water-proof, bug-repellant sleeping bag, or a hot-rock for heating up their morning tea), special long-lasting (until the end of the next combat, whenever that may be) Bless spells from the local priest, etc.

If the group ignores a handful of bandits robbing an old couple, the bandits will ambush the party later (after stashing anything they got from the old-timers, so there's no treasure to be had for surviving the ambush). The reputation thing isn't a bad idea either.

Knaight
2014-11-23, 08:45 PM
Have good consequences follow good actions, and bad consequences follow evil actions.


If the group ignores a handful of bandits robbing an old couple, the bandits will ambush the party later (after stashing anything they got from the old-timers, so there's no treasure to be had for surviving the ambush). The reputation thing isn't a bad idea either.

This idea can easily end up getting into contrived morality tale territory, and that example fits right into it. There are a lot of results that make sense as the responses of other actors within the setting, and they're generally preferable precisely because of the believability.

veti
2014-11-23, 09:17 PM
This is an intra-party problem, and I don't see why the DM should even get involved.

The trouble with "reputation" is that, to most people who weren't actually present, there's just this monolithic group ("the party") who murdered a bunch of kids. The ones who didn't do the actual killing? Well, they're still hanging out with the ones who did, so their moral horse can't be all that high...

I'd make it clear that the whole party's reputation has taken a hit, and then leave it to the players to work out what to do about it. Perhaps they could bully the guilty into donating their wealth and/or goods to the bereaved families (weregeld), or doing some kind of penance. Or perhaps they can't, in which case they'll have to come up with their own means of working out justice. That's up to them.

If you must use game mechanics, isn't this what "alignment" is for? When the ruthless characters next show up in a temple for services, the priests will look dubiously at them, charge them higher rates and maybe not cast that Remove Curse at all.

Knaight
2014-11-23, 11:33 PM
The trouble with "reputation" is that, to most people who weren't actually present, there's just this monolithic group ("the party") who murdered a bunch of kids. The ones who didn't do the actual killing? Well, they're still hanging out with the ones who did, so their moral horse can't be all that high...

That applies to the one particular event, sure. I'd expect there to be a fair more than that one event though, and in places where there actually are witnesses the reputation starts being more relevant.

Milodiah
2014-11-24, 12:27 AM
What I'm hearing is "those people roleplay differently than us and must be punished for their insolence."

If you'd rather deal with killing children mechanically than through in-character/in-game events, then that's too bad, because there's nowhere in the stat-blocks of sentient creatures that says "DM Aesop (Ex): If you kill a juvenile of this creature type, the DM will punish you in some contrived morality tale."

Looks like in-character it is, then.

Also, have your players even thought about the idea that Lawful Good is kinda hard? If a player wants to be LG, good on him/her. But I would rather kick that person out of the game than accept a suggestion that everyone else be forced to adopt the LG's morals through DM intervention. Morality is a difficult thing, after all...like the German U-boat crew who towed a lifeboat full of orphans and ended up getting strafed by American fighter planes, your players are gonna have to accept the fact that going above and beyond the call of duty to be a good person involves...going above and beyond. Who woulda thought?


EDIT: To clarify, I'm all for organic in-story consequences for things like this; there will always be consequences to my PCs' actions. Parents form a lynch mob if they find out half their kids were killed because some of the rescue team literally couldn't be arsed to rescue them, magistrate orders a hearing to determine whether or not that constitutes murder, etc. etc. But I'm not about to send down a celestial to wag its heavenly finger at them for being naughty.

Xuc Xac
2014-11-24, 01:09 AM
The moral characters weren't technically "punished", they just had a more difficult encounter.


If only there were some way to reward more challenging encounters. Perhaps challenges could have some sort of rating that affects XP? If you take shortcuts and do things the easy way, you don't improve your skills as much as you do when fighting with a handicap.

NichG
2014-11-24, 01:21 AM
Also, have your players even thought about the idea that Lawful Good is kinda hard? If a player wants to be LG, good on him/her. But I would rather kick that person out of the game than accept a suggestion that everyone else be forced to adopt the LG's morals through DM intervention.

I think the problem that the OP's players have is that the system appears to present 'LG' and 'CE' as equally valid character options, and yet in practice sticking to the one causes characters to face direct and immediate difficulties, whereas they aren't seeing equivalent difficulties manifest for the other type of behavior.

So, from the mechanical point of view the complaint is 'the alignments aren't balanced - how can we fix that?'. It wouldn't be that everyone is forced to be LG, but the observation is that right now the system, or at least the way the DM is running it, is biased in favor of E - so the OP is asking what reasons exist in the game for people to not be evil?

Now, I think the problem has more to do with the out of game factors than anything else. The party has a mix of very incompatible ideals - if these weren't PCs, the party would split up or kill each-other, and then it wouldn't matter if E has it easier than G because everyone would end up being on the same side of that, so they wouldn't have an inbalance between the players. However, since they're PCs, kicking Jim's character out of the party and forcing him to reroll because he put an 'E' on his sheet and everyone else decided to be 'G' can create some bad feelings outside of the game. That meta-game pressure is what's feeding the in-game problems and preventing them from resolving themselves.

Knaight
2014-11-24, 02:40 AM
Now, I think the problem has more to do with the out of game factors than anything else. The party has a mix of very incompatible ideals - if these weren't PCs, the party would split up or kill each-other, and then it wouldn't matter if E has it easier than G because everyone would end up being on the same side of that, so they wouldn't have an inbalance between the players.

This is part of that - there's a possibility that there's a particular reason that this group is staying together in character, but there was a definite whiff of the reason being that they are all PCs to me. It also mitigates some of the results that would normally come from the party being good - they'd be judged by the company they keep, and all the benefits of generally being someone who can get along in society fade away in the light of that company.

icefractal
2014-11-24, 03:39 AM
Now, I think the problem has more to do with the out of game factors than anything else. The party has a mix of very incompatible ideals - if these weren't PCs, the party would split up or kill each-other, and then it wouldn't matter if E has it easier than G because everyone would end up being on the same side of that, so they wouldn't have an inbalance between the players. However, since they're PCs, kicking Jim's character out of the party and forcing him to reroll because he put an 'E' on his sheet and everyone else decided to be 'G' can create some bad feelings outside of the game. That meta-game pressure is what's feeding the in-game problems and preventing them from resolving themselves.Pretty much this. I don't think that mixing evil and good characters in the party does work, generally. 90% of the time, it means that either you have this kind of stalemated intra-party strife, where the party probably should split apart, but they don't because "PCs". Or, at least one of the sides waters down the character's personality until it doesn't matter. A very few times, it actually works out. Not even close to the majority of them.

Honestly, when people claim "Any characters can work together, you just have to not be a stick in the mud about it!", what I hear is "Any characters can work together, if you don't care about the personality and just want to use them as playing pieces." Which is fine if you're into that, but hardly universal.

So when I run, I go with one of the following:
A) PCs can't be inherently in conflict. We'll decide the skew of the group at the start of the campaign, and everybody needs to be compatible with that. No Paladin allowed in the morally dubious mercenary group. No armoral cutthroat allowed in the heroes of light. And no behavior in game that would make the party kick you out (like stealing from each-other).
B) PCs can be in conflict. They're not guaranteed to get in or stay in the party. If things reach a point where the PCs fight each-other, or split apart and go separate ways, then that's what happens. I'll follow the primary group in that case, others can make new characters.

HMS Invincible
2014-11-24, 11:56 AM
I think the problem that the OP's players have is that the system appears to present 'LG' and 'CE' as equally valid character options, and yet in practice sticking to the one causes characters to face direct and immediate difficulties, whereas they aren't seeing equivalent difficulties manifest for the other type of behavior.

So, from the mechanical point of view the complaint is 'the alignments aren't balanced - how can we fix that?'. It wouldn't be that everyone is forced to be LG, but the observation is that right now the system, or at least the way the DM is running it, is biased in favor of E - so the OP is asking what reasons exist in the game for people to not be evil?

Now, I think the problem has more to do with the out of game factors than anything else. The party has a mix of very incompatible ideals - if these weren't PCs, the party would split up or kill each-other, and then it wouldn't matter if E has it easier than G because everyone would end up being on the same side of that, so they wouldn't have an inbalance between the players. However, since they're PCs, kicking Jim's character out of the party and forcing him to reroll because he put an 'E' on his sheet and everyone else decided to be 'G' can create some bad feelings outside of the game. That meta-game pressure is what's feeding the in-game problems and preventing them from resolving themselves.
Bingo. Right now one player is just going to be less good. The other good player is continuing to be good personally but won't lecture others. It works, but its not ideal.
We already split the party once. Can't break it up more. The evilish players felt justified and said they would do it again if more children attacked them. The players don't want to reroll either.

jedipotter
2014-11-24, 03:02 PM
Except we couldn't think of any. Ideas?

Sure, there ways to punish evil characters:

1.Living the Good Life Trap the evil folks in a mostly good world. So the evil folks have to ''pretend'' to be good to get anything. And evil folks hate that. For example, bandits steal the bank vault of 20,000 gold...and the group goes to get it back for a reward of 2,000. But they have to give the 20,000 back once they get it, if they want to stay in the good graces of the area. The same way they might risk their life for a ''priceless item'', but only get a tiny reward.

You also get things like The Temple of Good is not going to help a character that does not at least ''put on the face'' of doing good. So the character can be evil all day long, but as long as they help do good, the temple can ''overlook the evil'' and cast a helpful spell on them. A good shopkeeper might even refuse to help an evil person.

There are tons of things money can't buy, and tons of things that make allies and friendships of great value. But to get those things, you need to not be so evil.

2.Evil Items For the most part, an evil character is not going to find evil or even shady items in the good lands. Only evil people have evil items. A typical good wizard has no use or need for a necromancy item. So the only place they are going to find evil items, are killing other evil folks or maybe buying from them
. But this puts a limit on how much ''cool evil stuff'' they can find.

3.Evil allies Having an evil ally is always a bit of a chance. they will only be an ally as long as there is something in it for them. Or you can keep them scared enough. Or trick them long enough. But no matter what there is no trust and no bond. It's just what it is that day. You can't ask any evil person for help for nothing, it will always be a trade at best. And you can't even trust an evil person to do what they agreed too. An evil fence in an back alley will sell you a ''sword of sharpness'' that is really a wood sword in a second. No evil person will ever be ''nice'' or ''helpful'', unless they have something to gain.

4.Watching your Back The evil person has both the good and bad (and neutral) folks always coming after them. Plenty of good folks are just fine with hunting down the evil folk, even if he did save the town. An evil person can never fully trust a good person. The good person might at any time arrest, harm or even kill and evil person. And plenty of good folks will turn in an evil person without a thought, so Joban the Alchemist will let the guards know how much poison Vlad bought.

And with evil it's even worse. Even more so if the evil person is dealing with evil persons in the first place. You can't trust anyone evil...

Deep Dark Evil An evil character might be willing to just ''kill whatever'' or ''do whatever''......but most evil people have a point. That point where evil is no fun anymore. Sure evil is a non-stop party, until someone or something wants you to go too far. And the twist is...''going too far'' is the path to more power....but will the evil ''fun'' person be willing to take that step. And once you start down the path of Pure Deep Dark Evil, you loose and chance of good folks ''looking the other way''. A good cleric might over look that an evil person steals a bit as long as they save the temple....but they won't look the other way when the person is transformed into a half demon...

Take the TV show Once Upon a Time: To cast a powerful evil curse you must kill the thing you love the most. So first off the evil person must love something to even cast the curse, and then they must be willing to kill it. It's a huge price to pay.....

Milodiah
2014-11-24, 03:35 PM
OP, now that I think about it more, would you be willing to give us a little more information on the situation? Some of the things that I've been thinking of, and other people have been suggesting, might be a bit circumstantial and I think we'd be more helpful if we knew said circumstances. One thing I'd like to know is if there were witnesses, where this fight happened, etc. Not saying it'd change the morality of the situation, but if it was in the county dark-evil-bad-guy-lair the details might be a bit blurry to the townsfolk, whereas if it was in the town square then everyone knows what happened and who is to blame.

Because if I were the Evil player here, the first thing I would do is lie my ass off about what happened, and obviously the nature of the coverup will change the way people react to what happened.

icefractal
2014-11-24, 05:00 PM
Bingo. Right now one player is just going to be less good. The other good player is continuing to be good personally but won't lecture others. It works, but its not ideal.
We already split the party once. Can't break it up more. The evilish players felt justified and said they would do it again if more children attacked them. The players don't want to reroll either.I think that "nobody wants to reroll" is the problem here, and it's an OOC problem. The next step is to get the group together and discuss the issue, as players, not as characters. Maybe some people change characters (not necessarily mechanically, but in terms of personality). Trying to solve it with IC consequences isn't going to work, because the most logical IC consequence (the good characters stop associating with the child-murdering ones) has already failed to happen.

Steward
2014-11-24, 09:52 PM
That applies to the one particular event, sure. I'd expect there to be a fair more than that one event though, and in places where there actually are witnesses the reputation starts being more relevant.

I'm not sure that really means much though. If good-guy Jim spends every day hanging out with, cooperating, and assisting Serial Killer Sam I don't think anyone is going to care too much about the fact that Jim, personally, avoids murdering people unless he has no choice. The fact that he never restrains Sam or avoids him makes it seem as if he is at the very least OK with Sam's actions, at least in the eyes of people who don't really know them except by their deeds.


I think that "nobody wants to reroll" is the problem here, and it's an OOC problem. The next step is to get the group together and discuss the issue, as players, not as characters. Maybe some people change characters (not necessarily mechanically, but in terms of personality). Trying to solve it with IC consequences isn't going to work, because the most logical IC consequence (the good characters stop associating with the child-murdering ones) has already failed to happen.

I think that makes sense. Honestly, most of these issues should be resolved OOC. It doesn't make sense to allow evil characters in a game if you aren't comfortable with it (or vice-versa, I guess).

(Un)Inspired
2014-11-25, 12:11 AM
I agree with a sentiment that has been avoiced a littel on this thread which is that good deeds should be their own reward. If acting morally is always rewarded and acting immorally is always punished then both good and bad as moral terms loose their meaning.

Thats being said, I think you should have the bodies of the children that were killed rise as undead in the night, sneak into the evil characters tents and bite off some of their fingers.

Fingers are important. Players know this and will instinctively feel disadvantaged to have some of theirs bitten off.

gom jabbarwocky
2014-11-25, 01:19 AM
As some one who has played characters all over the moral spectrum and GMed games where the morality of the PCs have diverged pretty severely, oddly enough, I don't think I've ever had this problem where players of characters considered "good" complained that the "evil" characters had it easy. Still, maybe my experiences can offer some insight, so I'll throw in my two cents.

There's kind of a mantra that has become a running joke in my group, which goes pretty simply; "You can't murder all of your problems." This little bit of common sense joke actually implies something else though - murdering your problems will only create more problems in the long run. This doesn't mean that you can't murder at least some of your problems, just that methods of dealing with problems that don't result in bloodshed are probably going to lead to a more profitable outcome. Some problems have to be killed, of course, but even an evil character can see that generally they have more to gain by not killing than they do otherwise.

For an example, I played a character who, for some reason, decided at one point vehicular homicide was the fastest way of fixing an inconvenience. That character sure had a fun time then meticulously destroying all the evidence and subsequently "silencing" the witnesses and resulted in him expending the upper limit of his powers to do it all before the cops could catch him. As a player, it was fun as hell to run this guy ragged like this, but even though the character got away with it scot-free, the experience embittered him and destroyed his reputation, all because of he took the "easy" way out. He ended up a broken man, and the other PCs, all generally stand-up guys, refused to lift a finger to help him.

In this brainwashed children of the corn scenario, I think only provides proof that no matter your alignment, killing the children is not optimal. Sure, dealing with that immediate problem was easier, but are you prepared to hide the bodies? Were there any witnesses who might become a problem later? There could be other evidence at the scene as well. At the very least, you'll have to flee that community for a while afterwards. And the evil characters cannot depend on the good characters to help them. Do the good characters still feel like they got a raw deal because they had to take the more difficult route in dealing with the immediate problem? I'm sorry, I though that being a good person was easy, contrary to conventional wisdom. Being a murderous butthead ain't exactly a picnic, either. The easiest way to punish evil characters for their actions is by the pure fact that felons generally don't have an easy time getting away with it. Some players may relish the challenge, but others may wish they at least played along with the goodies.

The Insanity
2014-11-25, 01:40 AM
They made their choices. They have to live with them. That goes for both the Good AND Evil characters. Actions have consequences. Being Good might be harder, but ultimately you'll be rewarded (in fluff by going to "heaven" and in-game by getting some stuff from the DM [if he's not a jerk]). Being Evil might be easy, but it's also hard if the DM runs his world even remotely "realistic".

Kelb_Panthera
2014-11-25, 08:50 AM
I agree with a sentiment that has been avoiced a littel on this thread which is that good deeds should be their own reward. If acting morally is always rewarded and acting immorally is always punished then both good and bad as moral terms loose their meaning.

Thats being said, I think you should have the bodies of the children that were killed rise as undead in the night, sneak into the evil characters tents and bite off some of their fingers.

Fingers are important. Players know this and will instinctively feel disadvantaged to have some of theirs bitten off.

Bah. Now I'm reminded that slaymates are a thing. Libris mortis has 'em. Creepy little bastards.

Jay R
2014-11-25, 11:15 AM
My last session I ran, I sent in some brain washed children to fight the PCs. Half of them just fought normally at no disadvantage, but the other half had to really struggle to not kill the children. Afterwards, they complained about how it punished moral characters and/or roleplayers. We discussed it, and said there needs to be a session where evil players are punished, but not good ones. Except we couldn't think of any. Ideas?

I oppose the notion. Moral tests are harder on people with morals. That's the point of using brainwashed children in the first place.

The only thing that should punish evil characters is that the society is basically good. (If there were as many thieves as honest people no society is possible.) They should usually have to hide what they are.

In this case, the good characters should make it harder on the evil ones. They must try to protect the blameless children from the evil characters. In my current game, the druid has almost come to blows with the CN bard who kills animals that might be threats.

Contrariwise, in a game in which I was playing a Neutral Good 2E elven thief/wizard, I had to keep reminding my DM that, no, my character was not Lawful or showing Lawful tendencies. He just never dared to break the law while traveling with a paladin.

But I admit that I have no experience with this, because my friends don't generally want to play evil characters (and I adamantly don't want to run them).

icefractal
2014-11-25, 08:34 PM
Thats being said, I think you should have the bodies of the children that were killed rise as undead in the night, sneak into the evil characters tents and bite off some of their fingers.

Fingers are important. Players know this and will instinctively feel disadvantaged to have some of theirs bitten off.:smallbiggrin: For some reason this just cracked me up.

Actually, given the odd party situation, it would be interesting to see what happened if angry ghosts showed up. Usually the party pulls together on things like that, but since the characters don't seem to actually like each-other ...

DeadMech
2014-11-27, 11:34 PM
A few of the others have already nailed it. Being good means having to live with your choices. The same as being evil means you have to live with your choice. The same for neutral as well.

At the very least in this situation, the surviving children are going to witness this so it stands to reason that the families and the rest of their community are going to hear about it as well.

The parents of the dead children, are going to be upset and want the party members who killed them punished.
The parents of the living children are going to be eternally grateful to the party members who spared their kids.
And everyone else is going to draw lines depending on how they answer the question of "what would I have done in their shoes?"
Some people are going to think it was regrettable but necessary. Others will be demanding justice form the local officials.

Thrawn4
2014-11-28, 05:06 AM
The way I see it, good and evil are different ways. Sometimes one is better, sometimes they are equal. But there is no gurantee for punishment/reward. Sometimes its just the characters being themselves, without any karma working. It's not what you are underneath, but what you do, that defines you. If there is always a consequence, it is kind of unrealistic.

Also, I am not sure whether fighting for your live is actually evil. Who would condemn someone for killing in self-defense (assuming that the fight was dangerous)?

Jay R
2014-11-28, 12:10 PM
Also, I am not sure whether fighting for your live is actually evil. Who would condemn someone for killing in self-defense (assuming that the fight was dangerous)?

That depends on details we don't know. If I'm attacked by a mind-controlled child, and have a choice between killing him and locking him in a closet and getting help, then most civilized people would condemn me for killing in self-defense.

Was there some equivalent here? I don't know; we don't have the details.

But the original issue wasn't about whether anybody would condemn the PCs - merely that good PCs would have difficulty killing innocent children even if it's necessary.

hamishspence
2014-11-28, 12:13 PM
That depends on details we don't know. If I'm attacked by a mind-controlled child, and have a choice between killing him and locking him in a closet and getting help, then most civilized people would condemn me for killing in self-defense.


That's because if you can lock him in a closet - killing him is not necessary in order to survive yourself (even if he did start attacking).

Sartharina
2014-11-28, 05:43 PM
I'd rather reward Good for the greater struggle they have to go through. Action/Hero points are great for this.

tomandtish
2014-11-28, 10:12 PM
I think the problem that the OP's players have is that the system appears to present 'LG' and 'CE' as equally valid character options, and yet in practice sticking to the one causes characters to face direct and immediate difficulties, whereas they aren't seeing equivalent difficulties manifest for the other type of behavior.

So, from the mechanical point of view the complaint is 'the alignments aren't balanced - how can we fix that?'. It wouldn't be that everyone is forced to be LG, but the observation is that right now the system, or at least the way the DM is running it, is biased in favor of E - so the OP is asking what reasons exist in the game for people to not be evil?

Now, I think the problem has more to do with the out of game factors than anything else. The party has a mix of very incompatible ideals - if these weren't PCs, the party would split up or kill each-other, and then it wouldn't matter if E has it easier than G because everyone would end up being on the same side of that, so they wouldn't have an inbalance between the players. However, since they're PCs, kicking Jim's character out of the party and forcing him to reroll because he put an 'E' on his sheet and everyone else decided to be 'G' can create some bad feelings outside of the game. That meta-game pressure is what's feeding the in-game problems and preventing them from resolving themselves.


Bingo. Right now one player is just going to be less good. The other good player is continuing to be good personally but won't lecture others. It works, but its not ideal.
We already split the party once. Can't break it up more. The evilish players felt justified and said they would do it again if more children attacked them. The players don't want to reroll either.


Sounds like you recognize the problem. It may not help you this game (since you are already in it), but will the next game.

I've been playing this game in various forms for over 35 years, and one thing I've seen enough that I'm very comfortable presenting it as a near universal truth: 95% of table problems are due to poor communication. They happen because the group doesn't get together as a group ahead of time and discuss a few very relevant points. And the players need to have input into this as well as the DM.

What type of game are we playing? Is it heavy on roleplay or hack and slash? Do we want humor? Romance? Dark and grim? Politics? High or low magic? Is PVP an option (or an expectation)? If people walked in expecting one type of game and got something different that they donít enjoy, you may have problems.

Characters will usually need to be discussed ahead of time. I'm not talking every detail, but what is everyone playing? Can these characters actually work together? (Translation: Are all the players going to be able to play them in a way that everyone has fun)? Why would that CE Wizard and that LG Paladin adventure together? I've seen groups where the wildly differing alignments can work, but it does take skilled players. Negotiation may be required, but the final results need to be something everyone can have fun playing with.

Speaking of alignment, make sure everyone is aware of what you (as DM) feel the various alignments mean. No one should ever be caught totally off guard and discover that what they though was a true neutral act is one their DM thinks is CE. And all of us probably have differing views on the alignments. If anyone is playing a class with alignment restrictions or a code of conduct, try and make sure the basics are hammered out. Can a Paladin kill a surrendering prisoner (and does it matter where/who they are)? The CE rogue who has spent the entire campaign fighting the bad guys, and hasn't murdered, kidnapped, or robbed anyone (and hasn't even jaywalked). Is he really going to be CE?

Backstory: Some players like it, some don't. Depending on what type of game you are running you may need to require it from your players or give them fair warning. In my games that stress roleplaying, the default is "You need to give me 3 paragraphs of backstory that mention at least 3 living people, significant past events, or current organizations that are important to you. If you don't, I reserve the right to create something myself. (This happens because I have two players who actually prefer improvisation, so they prefer I throw the backstory surprise at them so they can play off it).

I started using these guidelines in college in the late 80s, with a little refinement here and there. I've only had one significant problem since (where we grossly misjudged the personality of a newcomer to the group). It can make things so much nicer, especially when adding new people.

HMS Invincible
2014-12-05, 11:40 AM
We talked it over and decided on throwing an inevitable at the evil players. It'll come be to a judge jury and punisher for the crimes of killing kids. I'm thinking slay some evil demon or something similar. Either way cr9 if they resist cr 7-8 if they cooperate.

One funny note, nobody has an issue with using landmines, killing women or the elderly. Even the good players are OK with it.

Frozen_Feet
2014-12-05, 12:33 PM
The funny bit about being Chaotic and Evil is that half he things you're likely to do are branded as crimes by every Lawful or Good society. The "or" bit is actually significant - the Lawful Evils won't let Chaotics and Neutrals do whatever simply because they want to stay in power. As I put it to one of my players: "Have you considered the only difference between you(r characters) and the Blood Emperor might be that he "won the game" first?"

Now, karma still isn't automatic. It evens out in the long run, not instantly. So there will be scenarios where being Evil will be easier or more profitable, and the player characters will be able to get away with it. This is as it should be. Just remember to mock the so-called heroes about their antisocial behavior. :smalltongue::smallwink:

In any case, Evil characters will eventually find themselves shunned, pursued or even attacked on sight. They will find that violence isn't just an option, it's the only option they have left. Or even if it isn't, the only people willing to follow them are themselves evil, backstabby cut-throats, with all the treachery this implies. :smallbiggrin: I will also note than in case of pressing alignment conflict, fighting amongst party members should be allowed, even encouraged. In no case should it be disallowed due to some asinine dogmatic take on "don't split the party" etc.. Nothing punishes evil characters better than the good characters booting them out or otherwise sanctioning them - as would realistically happen. Kindly remind your players that having a character kicked out or removed from play doesn't have to mean the player is kicked out. And of course, if you can handle it, you can allow the evil members to keep adventuring separately, even becoming rivals to the good group.

ReaderAt2046
2014-12-05, 04:28 PM
I would like to echo the opinion that the best way to punish evil and reward good is through fluff and IC changes. Characters who do good things consistently get a reputation for doing good things, and people treat them accordingly. Capture the brainwashed children instead of killing them--> get the thanks of the parents and the goodwill of the local law enforcement. Conversely, those who consistently choose evil over good should suffer the appropriate IC penalties. They become infamous. Towns close their gates to them, access to shops and ressurections and whatever is denied them, etc.

The best mechanical way I've seen to punish evil is the way the Dresden Files system does it. If you break one of the Seven Laws of Magic (directly kill a human with magic, enter the mind of a human, interact with the Outsiders in any fashion, etc.), you must immediately take a Lawbreaker power. Now, this actually grants a bonus on spellcasting rolls that would violate whichever Law you broke, but, like every other power, it costs Refresh. Refresh is essentially the representation of your free will. The more Refresh you have, the more you are in control of your own fate and the less the GM can railroad you (the DFRPG has actual written rules for the GM railroading you, and low Refresh makes it easier). More importantly, if your Refresh ever drops to 0 or below, your character becomes an NPC. So if you indulge in Evil a bit too much, you could easily lose your character altogether.

Similarly, the Star Wars Saga RPG has Dark Side Points. Evil acts earn you these points, they're very hard to get rid of, and if you ever have as many Dark Side Points as your Wisdom score, your character falls under GM control.

Bob of Mage
2014-12-07, 07:53 PM
We talked it over and decided on throwing an inevitable at the evil players. It'll come be to a judge jury and punisher for the crimes of killing kids. I'm thinking slay some evil demon or something similar. Either way cr9 if they resist cr 7-8 if they cooperate.

One funny note, nobody has an issue with using landmines, killing women or the elderly. Even the good players are OK with it.

You might try sending the town guard, or other local law enforcement first. If they fight back (for their sake they better not go full lethal) then send the inevitable to deal with such powerful rule breakers. (why would an outsider be doing the job of the town guard if they could hopefully do it themselves? Also the inevitable could be one that deals with those that avoid justice which is fitting for powerful PC, instead of random child murders, which are a dime a dozen.) This way the players will understand that the more they fight (and thus do evil) the worse it gets. This is part of admiting they did something wrong, and thus reforming.

I would also like to point out that doing evil act might not get you any favours from evil people (evil subtype outsiders don't count). Any evil parent would be the type that would try to have the PCs killed regardless of the context (they got punhished in another way or there were good enough reasons). On the flip side the "good" parents would be the most likely to forgive such an act cause that's what good people do. With law and chaos it all depends on the local law overriding personal views (LG would put them to death if the law said so and CE would try and kill them even if the law outright said it's okay to kill mindcontroled kids).

One type of IC thing that could happen is that PCs seen as evil have a much higher rate of spit in their soup, and always seem to find they can only book passage in the baggage section (which of course is where they carry the sick vomiting pig, which is right next to their cot). They also get the inn rooms with a broken lock (of course the inn keeper forgets to mention this fact) and the local thieves just happen to try and rob thier room. There's the option of the town guards treating them like the cops in the USA seem to treat black people. Nothing says evil doesn't pay like being threatened and hassaled by every other town guard. Even better if they react badly they can expect ever great reactions. Nothing is stopping a local lord from classing an clearing evil PC on a rampage the same as a rampaging dragon (in other word a sack of gold to the first person to bring me its head).

As said if you want to be evil make sure no one catchs you or else even the the other evil people will be after you.

Lacuna Caster
2014-12-10, 04:15 PM
One funny note, nobody has an issue with using landmines, killing women or the elderly. Even the good players are OK with it.
Are they brainwashed women/elderly?

Kelb_Panthera
2014-12-10, 04:20 PM
We talked it over and decided on throwing an inevitable at the evil players. It'll come be to a judge jury and punisher for the crimes of killing kids. I'm thinking slay some evil demon or something similar. Either way cr9 if they resist cr 7-8 if they cooperate.

One funny note, nobody has an issue with using landmines, killing women or the elderly. Even the good players are OK with it.

The children are our future but old people are almost dead anyway.

I actually agree with the women thing though. If men and women are equal then so is killing them.

Angelalex242
2014-12-10, 04:29 PM
Play a Star Wars game. Evil will be punished by Evil itself.

You don't know the POWER of the Dark Side?

...no...you really don't. The Dark Side will corrupt you into being more evil then the character ever wanted to be. I doubt Anakin Skywalker's player was planning on murdering a bunch of younglings in the Jedi Temple when he pledged himself to Sidious. But he didn't understand just how evil he'd be.

The trick is to make the character do things so Heinous their own player gets squicked out.

Alternatively, play Ravenloft. Same thing happens, courtesy of the Dark Powers.