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Paragon Badger
2008-08-30, 05:48 AM
...

......

.........

:furious:

There is more to being evil than two different flavors of douchebag!

It's either 'I'm so full of myself cause I'm 'witty' and have a charisma and/or intelligence score of 18 (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SmugSnake) or 'Is there an orphanage nearby? I'm hungry!!!1!11one (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Jerkass)

:smallannoyed:

Myshlaevsky
2008-08-30, 05:50 AM
...

......

.........

:furious:

There is more to being evil than two different flavors of douchebag!

It's either 'I'm so full of myself cause I'm 'witty' and have a charisma and/or intelligence score of 18 (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SmugSnake) or 'Is there an orphanage nearby? I'm hungry!!!1!11one (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Jerkass)

:smallannoyed:

Heh. Care to tell us the specifics that have brought this out?

Sinfire Titan
2008-08-30, 05:55 AM
Name them.

Paragon Badger
2008-08-30, 05:59 AM
Heh. Care to tell us the specifics that have brought this out?

Browsing this very forum for games that are recruiting, actually.

To be fair, these are just my judgement calls from both the players' demeanor and their character concepts... I shoulden't be so quick to condemn, but I certaintly don't want to be caught in a game where I'll just be so bored to tears that I'll lose interest and drop out. :smalleek:

Myshlaevsky
2008-08-30, 06:08 AM
Browsing this very forum for games that are recruiting, actually.

To be fair, these are just my judgement calls from both the players' demeanor and their character concepts... I shoulden't be so quick to condemn, but I certaintly don't want to be caught in a game where I'll just be so bored to tears that I'll lose interest and drop out. :smalleek:

Well, this goblin (http://www.myth-weavers.com/sheets/view.php?id=77105) is pretty comically evil, but he's supposed to be. When (if!) I'm playing him I'll shoot for being funny, slyly manipulative and a religious maniac. He's very much a small-time villain - the kind of bawdy tyrant who's the bad cop in a movie, but nothing like Kurtz or The Master. He might develop beyond this, but I don't know, and I often find playing a villain who is plausibly 'real world' in his actions disconcerting. I'm also recruiting for an Evil campaign, and, while some of the characters have quite similar 'generic' - take no offense, please - backgrounds, there are a couple who stand out.

To be honest, what is there is all you have to go on. You've got the choice to play or not to play, and it's yours to make.

If I were to really take a shot at playing a serious, dangerous evil character I'd look to fictional and literary examples. Kurtz, IMO, is a fantastic archetype to play off.

Tengu_temp
2008-08-30, 06:21 AM
A perfect illustration of one of the main reasons why Tengu doesn't play or GM games with evil PCs.

Tempest Fennac
2008-08-30, 06:36 AM
I have 1 evil character, http://mydndgame.com/?action=character-sheet&character=128 , who I based off Albert Wesker from the Residant Evil games. I mainly made him as the opposite of my first character, http://mydndgame.com/?action=character-sheet&character=104 . So far, Argent is the only character I've really used, but I don't think he's that evil. (He's main aim is to get enough money from treasure hunting to buy a lot of buisnesses in a reasonably large town so that he can gain political influence due to having a monopoly). I'm not that good at pretending to be evil, though.

Grey Paladin
2008-08-30, 07:06 AM
Evil people are just that- people.

They love, they hate, they laugh, they cry, they bleed, and they're a significant part of society, most likely at least a couple of your friends, siblings, or associates are Evil.

The slacker who has no interest in contributing to society, the cold-hearted Objectivist,The conquering leader who only cares for his own people,The soldier who volunteered to join the army merely to satisfy his thirst for honor, the pleasure chaser who's only care is his pursuit, the thief who steals to feed his family, The doctor who's fear of death serves as the main motivation, The greedy capitalist, the wealthy donor who performs good out of guilt, the child who refuses to share his candy, Me, all are evil.

Those who dub them monsters unworthy of compassion and companionship misunderstand a large part of what it means to be human.

Myshlaevsky
2008-08-30, 07:09 AM
Evil people are just that- people.

They love, they hate, they laugh, they cry, they bleed, and they're a significant part of society, most likely at least a couple of your friends, siblings, or associates are Evil.

The slacker who has no interest in contributing to society, the cold-hearted Objectivist,The conquering leader who only cares for his own people,The soldier who volunteered to join the army merely to satisfy his thirst for honor, the pleasure chaser who's only care is his pursuit, the thief who steals to feed his family, The doctor who's fear of death serves as the main motivation, The greedy capitalist, the wealthy donor who performs good out of guilt, the child who refuses to share his candy, Me, all are evil.

Those who dub them monsters unworthy of compassion and companionship misunderstand a large part of what it means to be human.

That's an exceptionally broad definition of evil. Several of these definitions could apply to both the neutral and the good. That said, your point is that Evil people are present in all walks of life and in all motivations, so I see where you're coming from.

SoD
2008-08-30, 07:16 AM
Evil people are just that- people.

They love, they hate, they laugh, they cry, they bleed, and they're a significant part of society, most likely at least a couple of your friends, siblings, or associates are Evil.

The slacker who has no interest in contributing to society, the cold-hearted Objectivist,The conquering leader who only cares for his own people,The soldier who volunteered to join the army merely to satisfy his thirst for honor, the pleasure chaser who's only care is his pursuit, the thief who steals to feed his family, The doctor who's fear of death serves as the main motivation, The greedy capitalist, the wealthy donor who performs good out of guilt, the child who refuses to share his candy, Me, all are evil.

Those who dub them monsters unworthy of compassion and companionship misunderstand a large part of what it means to be human.

My view on that list:

The slacker who has no interest in contributing to society: N. Possibly CN.
The conquering leader who only cares for his own people: LE.
The soldier who volunteered to join the army merely to satisfy his thirst for honor: LN, potentially LG or LE.
The pleasure chaser who's only care is his pursuit: Probably CN, possibly CE, depending on how far he's willing to go.
The thief who steals to feed his family: CG, possibly CN.
The doctor who's fear of death serves as the main motivation: LN, N, CN.
The wealthy donor who performs good out of guilt: Again, probably CN.
The child who refuses to share his candy: CN.
Me: I cannot pass judgement.

True, most of these could be justified as good or evil, and for each, we cannot pin an alignment on them from just that much, for, as you said, evil people love, good people hate. The evil person can still do kind acts, and may do them out of his own goodwill. Example: the donor. He does good acts, because he feels guilty. Does he feel guilty because he's so wealthy, or for a more shady reason? How did he amase his wealth? You can't judge from that small print.

Grey Paladin
2008-08-30, 07:23 AM
The way I see it, Good is putting the needs of others above yours, while evil is the opposite.

Sometimes, your selfish need is to care and love another, not for their sake, but for your own.

Tengu_temp
2008-08-30, 07:24 AM
Good is helping others for selfless reasons.
Neutral is putting your interest above that of the others.
Evil is putting your interest about that of the others to such an extent that you're willing to harm them to fulfill your goals.

I think you're mistaking neutral for evil.

Grey Paladin
2008-08-30, 07:31 AM
Neutral is trying to strike a balance between the needs of others and your own, avoiding sacrificing your own happiness for the sake of others while attempting to help them.

Tengu_temp
2008-08-30, 07:37 AM
That's good, or borderline good/neutral at least. You don't need to be a saint to be good, you just need to help other people for reasons other than personal gain.

Sinfire Titan
2008-08-30, 07:40 AM
That's good, or borderline good/neutral at least. You don't need to be a saint to be good, you just need to help other people for reasons other than personal gain.

The PHB disagrees with you. If you strive to find the balancing point between two things, you are neutral. If you actively go out of your way to help others get what they want, that's good.

bibliophile
2008-08-30, 07:46 AM
the cold-hearted Objectivist,..... evil.


I would say an Objectivist is the epitome of Neutral. The don't help anyone, but the don't help anyone either. They seem LN to me.




Evil people are just that- people.

They love, they hate, they laugh, they cry, they bleed, and they're a significant part of society, most likely at least a couple of your friends, siblings, or associates are Evil.

Those who dub them monsters unworthy of compassion and companionship misunderstand a large part of what it means to be human.


Indeed.

Destro_Yersul
2008-08-30, 07:48 AM
Yay! An alignment debate! To state my refutal, I shall pull quotes from Wikipedia, because it's convenient. Here's what they have to say on being neutral:


Neutral alignment, also referred to as True Neutral or Neutral Neutral, is called the "Undecided" or "Nature's" alignment. This alignment represents neutral on both axes, and tends not to feel strongly towards any alignment. A farmer whose only concern is to feed his family is of this alignment. Most animals, lacking the capacity for moral judgement, are of this alignment.

Some neutral characters, rather than feeling undecided, are committed to a balance between the alignments. They may see Good, Evil, Law and Chaos as simply prejudices and dangerous extremes. Mordenkainen is one such character who takes this concept to the extreme, dedicating himself to a detached philosophy of neutrality to ensure that no one alignment or power takes control of the Flanaess.

Druids frequently follow this True Neutral dedication to balance, and under Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules were required to be this alignment. In an example given in a D&D rulebook, a typical druid might fight against a band of marauding gnolls, only to switch sides to save the gnoll's clan from being exterminated.

Lara Croft, Lucy Westenra from Dracula and Han Solo in his early Star Wars appearance are Neutral.

So you're half right. Some neutral characters are like that. But that's a single definition of a broader alignment. It's entirely possible to have nuetral characters who, rather than striving for balance, simply don't care much either way.

Tengu_temp
2008-08-30, 07:50 AM
Just because it has "balance" in the description doesn't mean it makes me neutral. Am I neutral if I strive to eat a balanced diet?

Helping an old woman carry her heavy bags of groceries doesn't cost me anything, but is a very minor good act. If I perform acts like that, and no evil acts to balance them, I'm good.

If you have extremely high standards for good that only saints and martyrs qualify for, then you also should have extremely high standards for evil that only the most vile individuals meet. I don't think if being lazy makes me vile.

Morty
2008-08-30, 07:51 AM
Of course there is, it's just that most people seem to see only those two. Though in their defense, the descriptions of alignment in the PHB don't help overmuch. But it's perfectly possible to play an evil character who cooperates with good and neutral peoples, though rarely for the same reasons they do. To use a cliched example, maybe an evil adventurer travels with good and/or neutral group because he sees fighting monsters and other typical adventurer stuff as an easy way to gain money and fame without reprecussions.

Grey Paladin
2008-08-30, 07:53 AM
But isn't the act of not caring for the struggles and suffering of others evil all by itself? isn't murder by inaction still murder?

bibliophile: Not helping anyone but yourself seems like Evil leaning to Neutral to me.

Tengu_temp
2008-08-30, 07:55 AM
But it's perfectly possible to play an evil character who cooperates with good and neutral peoples, though rarely for the same reasons they do.

That is correct. A good example would be Jayne from Firefly (if you discount the Ariel episode). It's just that few people manage to pull off such characters well, and most act like Belkar. Bonus points if they whine "I'm just roleplaying my character!" if they get killed by the rest of their group for stupidly killing innocent people.


But isn't the act of not caring for the struggles and suffering of others evil all by itself? isn't murder by inaction still murder?


Depends on the reason. Not stopping a murder because you aren't able to help in any way, or because you're too afraid, is neutral. Not stopping a murder because you can't be arsed is evil.

Sinfire Titan
2008-08-30, 07:57 AM
Just because it has "balance" in the description doesn't mean it makes me neutral. Am I neutral if I strive to eat a balanced diet?

Helping an old woman carry her heavy bags of groceries doesn't cost me anything, but is a very minor good act. If I perform acts like that, and no evil acts to balance them, I'm good.

If you have extremely high standards for good that only saints and martyrs qualify for, then you also should have extremely high standards for evil that only the most vile individuals meet. I don't think if being lazy makes me vile.

A single act of minor good does not make you good. It takes many such acts to shift alignment. Otherwise Sauron could have redeemed himself by caring for a stray puppy.

Morty
2008-08-30, 07:59 AM
That is correct. A good example would be Jayne from Firefly (if you discount the Ariel episode). It's just that few people manage to pull off such characters well, and most act like Belkar. Bonus points if they whine "I'm just roleplaying my character!" if they get killed by the rest of their group for stupidly killing innocent people.

If the designers of PHB could be bothered to describe Evil alignment in less "give me some babies, I'm hungry" way this could have been avoided. If I recall correctly, it's described that way in Eberron handbook, where it's specifically stated that evil people can be normal members of the society.

Sinfire Titan
2008-08-30, 07:59 AM
That is correct. A good example would be Jayne from Firefly (if you discount the Ariel episode). It's just that few people manage to pull off such characters well, and most act like Belkar. Bonus points if they whine "I'm just roleplaying my character!" if they get killed by the rest of their group for stupidly killing innocent people.

And those people are the reason we have the Chaotic Stupid trope.

kamikasei
2008-08-30, 08:02 AM
Helping an old woman carry her heavy bags of groceries doesn't cost me anything, but is a very minor good act. If I perform acts like that, and no evil acts to balance them, I'm good.

I think neutral should have more flexibility than that. If you think of alignment as a 100-point scale, neutral isn't just the exact middle but a range of 30-40 (depending on how you think alignments are distributed). So someone like you describe here is neutral, though good-leaning, in the same way that, say, an IQ of 105 is "average", though obviously above the actual mathematical average.

My way of thinking of it is that good people will tend to sacrifice their own well-being for the sake of others, while evil people will tend to sacrifice the well-being of others for their own sake. Neutral people will in general not go out of their way to either help or harm others, though this covers a range (simple self-preservation shouldn't push you from neutral to evil, which makes adjudicating the distinction tricky; at the same time, neutral people will have people for whom they will sacrifice, it's just not a general force in their behaviour). Nor need a good person be entirely self-effacing; if you do a lot to help people while also making sure you're not doing yourself damage in the process you're still good. It's a complex issue that doesn't admit of clean-edged, absolute pronouncements.

I have one evil character at the moment in a PbP whose chief evil tendency so far is that he's a sarcastic jerk. Of course as a PbP pace is slow, but I don't expect any backstabbing from him.

Tengu_temp
2008-08-30, 08:02 AM
A single act of minor good does not make you good. It takes many such acts to shift alignment. Otherwise Sauron could have redeemed himself by caring for a stray puppy.

Please point out where have I mentioned a single act, because my post states that you have to perform such acts constantly to be good.

By the way and not on topic, I also think that performing major good acts to balance your major evil ones (we're not talking kicking puppies here, but rather murdering villages), but without repenting for the evil ones and still continuing to do them afterwards, is evil. An AD&D druid who kills goblin raiders first, and helps them kill the innocent villagers later is evil, just deluding himself into thinking he's neutral.


I think neutral should have more flexibility than that. If you think of alignment as a 100-point scale, neutral isn't just the exact middle but a range of 30-40 (depending on how you think alignments are distributed). So someone like you describe here is neutral, though good-leaning, in the same way that, say, an IQ of 105 is "average", though obviously above the actual mathematical average.

Constant acts of kindness, without anything evil to balance them, make you good. Occassional acts of kindness keep you neutral.

Destro_Yersul
2008-08-30, 08:03 AM
But isn't the act of not caring for the struggles and suffering of others evil all by itself? isn't murder by inaction still murder?

Hardly. Murder is willingly causing the death of another. Failing to get in the way of one committing murder qualifies as assistance, at worst.


On a different note, I had an evil character once who wanted to become powerful enough to take over, but the current BBEG was in his way. So he tagged along with a group of decidedly good adventurers, lending a hand wherever needed, because he recognized that he wouldn't be able to take her on by himself. Once she was dead, his plan was to go back to quietly accumulating influence.

Viruzzo
2008-08-30, 08:32 AM
Hardly. Murder is willingly causing the death of another. Failing to get in the way of one committing murder qualifies as assistance, at worst.
Trying to save someone, even when failing, is a good action is you don't do it for your gains only. If you wouldn't do it but for some advantage, it's actually on the neutral/evil border, depending on the circumstances.
But when you don't even try, there are two possible scenarios:

A) you (more or less) want to help, but there is something restraining you (you fear something, someone could be damaged in the end, etc.). This is a neutral behaviour IMO, as you do not place good-doing before other considerations.

B) you actively avoid giving help, even if it would not cost you. That is clearly evil, because you don't do good even if you have nothing to lose.

sonofzeal
2008-08-30, 08:32 AM
I have three evil characters...

1) Tankli, a LE Dwarven Defender. Was exiled from Dwarven society for his impure ancestry and sadistic tendancies, and his entire goal in life is to prove himself "more Dwarven" than those who kicked him out, not so he can go back, but so he could throw it in their faces. In the mean time, he has a tendancy towards unnecessary brutality, torture, and generally antisocial behavior. Still, he's a Team Player(tm), at least when it comes to combat, and does his chosen job well. Has been known to intentionally disarm Prismatic Walls with his face.

2) Henry, a LE/LN Poison Dusk Lizardfolk Rogue. Less "evil" per se, than just adhering to a different moral system that includes summary execution for any serious breach of etiquette, and cannibalism. Absolutely pitiless and merciless, but not actively out to cause pain or suffering. Will attempt to keep cannibalism out of the public eye to avoid causing offence. Works well in groups, as long as everyone is suitably respectful.

3) Aunirak, a CE variant-Drow Barbarian/Warblade. Bitter, alchoholic, apathetic except when he gets to kill things or when someone compares him to surface elves (which usually leads to the former). Quite intelligent, but unlikely to accomplish anything much on his own outside of the context of an adventuring team. Again, he works suprisingly well in groups, as he'll generally go along with whatever the team decides, and retreat to the bottle rather than lashing out over most aggrevations.



So yeah, IMO none of those are Smug Snake, Jerkass, or Chaotic Stupid. Anyone looking for evil PbP characters? =D

valadil
2008-08-30, 08:54 AM
I've played an evil character but never in an evil campaign. It can work, if players are mature about it. As far as I can tell though, most evil campaigns are nothing more than a contest in verbal depravity.

I actually ran a game with some borderline evil characters a while back. The difference with them and the orphan feasting types, is that my PCs knew that evil characters still want to appear as upright citizens. Unless you're uberpowerful or simply monstrous, it is in an evil character's best interest to appear lawful good. Once you have players who understand that, you can do the evil game.

BRC
2008-08-30, 08:56 AM
My latest evil character was a Villain with Good Publicity who every time the party commited some new atrocity, started thinking up how he was going to spin it to the public. He would infiltrate a city and kill the king, then have his army storm the walls, then deliver a speech and convince the people to follow him (It was an epic campaign).

Tsotha-lanti
2008-08-30, 09:56 AM
Good evil characters:

You start with a goal, selfish or not.

You add at least one crippling personal flaw, like complete amorality.

You shake vigorously and let loose.

Evil for the sake of evil - that is, evil without a goal - ends up boring and stupid, trite and tiresome.

If the campaign is not player-driven, the DM needs to work with the players to tie their PCs' goals to the campaign.

Tengu_temp
2008-08-30, 10:10 AM
Time for more examples! This time, 8-Bit Theater.

Thief is an example of an evil character played well. He's a greedy, racist and amoral bastard that nevertheless cares for the well-being of his kingdom, and doesn't go out of his way to cause mayhem for no reason.

Black Mage is an example of an evil character played bad. He kills and destroys just for ****s and giggles, and has the common sense of a lemming on crack. He works as a character only because 8-Bit is a comedy webcomic.

Morty
2008-08-30, 10:14 AM
Black Mage is an example of an evil character played bad. He kills and destroys just for ****s and giggles, and has the common sense of a lemming on crack. He works as a character only because 8-Bit is a comedy webcomic.

It also makes it fun to see him constantly tormented, humiliated and abused.

Tengu_temp
2008-08-30, 10:19 AM
That is also true. Random violence stops being fun very quickly. The whole world existing only to make the perpetrator of random violence suffer? Never gets old.

Emperor Tippy
2008-08-30, 10:34 AM
flaw, like complete amorality.

Flaw? That's a trait man. And a damn good one. Being amoral is not evil.

Flickerdart
2008-08-30, 10:41 AM
Flaw? That's a trait man. And a damn good one. Being amoral is not evil.
In D&D, that's the definition of evil, I would say.

As for evil characters, they don't have to always do evil. They can take up arms against threats to their people just like any Good PC, but while doing so, their tactics will be a little bit questionable, if not worse. The end justifies the means for a truly evil character, and he won't have qualms about it. Evil characters can still be selfless, if they serve a higher power, of just want the Good PCs to like them better.

Tengu_temp
2008-08-30, 10:42 AM
Flaw? That's a trait man. And a damn good one. Being amoral is not evil.

If you're amoral, you have no moral restraints that prohibit you from performing any act, no matter how despicable. How's that not evil?

Shazzbaa
2008-08-30, 10:43 AM
Oh dear, I'm gonna jump on this tangent...


Depends on the reason...

In the end, it all comes down to this. Alignments are not actions, they're inner motivation. Really, I think alignment is more an indication of your worldview than anything; it's just that you'll tend to act a certain way based on how you look at life (however, it's hard to determine "worldview" from an outside perspective, so we're forced to judge the tree by its fruits, so to speak).

Though I do want to address the idea that "minor Good" actions make you good if there's nothing Evil to throw it off...

Typically such people are understood to be Neutral -- they want to do nice things, but they aren't willing to sacrifice a whole lot for it. But let me explain my reasoning here.
In the motivation/worldview system of alignment, I don't think it would be incorrect to say someone could do nothing extraordinary and still have a Good alignment, but the problem is this: if such a person's deepest convictions are never put to the test, there's never any way to know. In normal life, I think Good, Evil, and Neutral people would be extremely difficult to tell apart unless you knew the person particularly well, because normal society is set up to reward nice neutrality; minor goodness. If you're Neutral or Evil, you'll probably still want to be seen as Good. If you're Good, things rarely test you beyond the limits that a Neutral person would be willing to go to look Good. All of these people can take small good actions all of their lives for different reasons, and their alignment might never show through.

In difficulty, they'll be pushed to the limits of their alignment. Challenging circumstances make a person decide what's truly most important. Do you really believe that doing good is its own reward, and that all evil will eventually fail? Or do you think that, given an opportunity for power/love/riches/influence/fill-in-the-blank you'd better grab it no matter what you have to do? These sorts of character-defining actions just don't show up all that obviously in normal life.

Since your alignment is not determined by your actions ("I did 10 Evil acts -- suddenly I'm Evil!" is not how it works; rather, if you behave evilly then we determine that you must have had an Evil worldview), I don't think the hypothetical old-lady-bag-carrier is necessarily Good just because she hasn't done any Evil. She might be Good, but we'll never know unless she's given the opportunity to prove it. We call her Neutral simply because her alignment has never been put to the test. A person's potential to do good or ill is pretty much between him and God, so the average observer won't be able to tell most people's true alignment.

In a D&D adventurer's life, though, you're supposedly pushed to your limits every day, so alignments should, in theory, show up a lot more prominently and identifiably in D&D characters. Sure, you'll carry an old lady's bags to her car, but when real crisis strikes are you willing to take action? If you're in a D&D party, you clearly took action for some reason, so your alignment should stand out more strongly. Thus, it's not quite fair to apply D&D alignments to an average person's day-to-day life. D&D alignments are more extreme -- it takes a lot more sacrifice to be Good, for example, then you'd ever run across in your average life -- but you're in extreme circumstances in D&D.

Grey Paladin
2008-08-30, 10:57 AM
Shazzbaa: So, if we roll 3D6, and cannot see the result, we should assume its 10.5 because thats the average?

Emperor Tippy
2008-08-30, 10:59 AM
In D&D, that's the definition of evil, I would say.

As for evil characters, they don't have to always do evil. They can take up arms against threats to their people just like any Good PC, but while doing so, their tactics will be a little bit questionable, if not worse. The end justifies the means for a truly evil character, and he won't have qualms about it. Evil characters can still be selfless, if they serve a higher power, of just want the Good PCs to like them better.


If you're amoral, you have no moral restraints that prohibit you from performing any act, no matter how despicable. How's that not evil?

No moral restraints. Not no restraints. You can be a perfectly law abiding person who performs random act's of kindness and be completely amoral.

AmberVael
2008-08-30, 11:00 AM
Shazzbaa: So, if we roll 3D6, and cannot see the result, we should decide its 10.5 because thats the average?

That's how statistics works. :smalltongue:

Tengu_temp
2008-08-30, 11:05 AM
No moral restraints. Not no restraints. You can be a perfectly law abiding person who performs random act's of kindness and be completely amoral.

The only things that stops an amoral person from performing various evil acts are the inconveniences it would cause for them, and lack of benefit from them (or the risks/inconveniences outweighting the potential benefits). That's evil, just not evil for its own sake.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-08-30, 11:12 AM
No moral restraints. Not no restraints. You can be a perfectly law abiding person who performs random act's of kindness and be completely amoral.

That... seems odd.

No moral restraints isn't just neutral, it is rejecting any form of external morality for your internal motivations. That is the definition of Evil (in Traditional D&D anyhow) because you do not consider the morality of society to be your morality.

Now, you can range from LE (external morality has no sway on me, but the rules made by the guys with swords do) to CE (no rules or regulations matter to me; I'll do what I want!), but you're going to be Evil.

Moral Neutrality (LN, N, CN) does not imply a rejection of morality, but rather that such concerns are not of binding import. Generally speaking you recognize the morality of society and follow it, but if you must act immorally for some greater purpose, you will. For LN, that is typically "following the law," for N it is typically "preservation of self" while CN is typically "preserving my freedom."

Neutrality is always a question of degree. It is aware of both Good and Evil (or Law and Chaos) and it will follow what is most convenient at the time. Evil always puts their own needs first and foremost and does not hesitate at violating morality to do so. Good follows morality first and foremost, and will not do an Evil act willingly.

EvilElitest
2008-08-30, 11:18 AM
I think everybody assumes that evil are just monsterous people and that isn't true. Evil people just do evil things, some of them are awful, some aren't



But look throughout history, most people in history are in fact D&D evil or neutral. Napoleon would be lawful evil to the bone but he was a very nice person, charming and most people liked him (as well as having a crowing moment of awesome when he returned)

The thing about evil unlike neutral and good is that there are no limits on waht you can do. An good person has a list of "can't do" in order to stay good, an neutral person has a smaller list but has one non the less, but an evil person can do what ever he wants as long as he doesn't repent for the evil things he has done
from
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Oracle_Hunter
2008-08-30, 11:24 AM
The thing about evil unlike neutral and good is that there are no limits on waht you can do. An good person has a list of "can't do" in order to stay good, an neutral person has a smaller list but has one non the less, but an evil person can do what ever he wants as long as he doesn't repent for the evil things he has done

Very true... and that's one of the problems with "evil" campaigns. Evil just doesn't do "teamwork" very well, because there is little to stop them from killing off their fellow teammates who have Outlived Their Usefulness (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness), and they are generally prone to You Kill It You Bought It (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/YouKillItYouBoughtIt) thinking, which can result in backstabbing fellow PCs who have too much power.

You can run Evil campaigns, of course, but they are inherently unstable because of the way that Evil operates in D&D... and IRL. It's one of the reasons why I don't care of them (the other being that I'd like to do Heroic things in a Heroic Fantasy setting. I leave my antisocial RPing for Shadowrun :smallamused:).

Tengu_temp
2008-08-30, 11:27 AM
Remember that evil people can still have friends, loyal allies, lovers, and other people they are willing to take risks for. If you manage to forge your evil group into something like that, you're set.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-08-30, 11:30 AM
Remember that evil people can still have friends, loyal allies, lovers, and other people they are willing to take risks for. If you manage to forge your evil group into something like that, you're set.

Yeah, but Evil is also fickle. Unless you're LE, "loyalty" isn't something that Evil is known for. Lovers and allies are constantly being abandoned for imagined slights, greater lovers or allies, and the like. If you work very, very hard at creating a PC party where everyone has deep bonds with the others, it works out better, but first and foremost, Evil is all about Me - hence the inherent instability.

EvilElitest
2008-08-30, 11:31 AM
Very true... and that's one of the problems with "evil" campaigns. Evil just doesn't do "teamwork" very well, because there is little to stop them from killing off their fellow teammates who have Outlived Their Usefulness (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness), and they are generally prone to executing Klingon Promotions (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/KlingonPromotion) if one of the PCs is doing particularly well and taking all of the glory.

You can run Evil campaigns, of course, but they are inherently unstable because of the way that Evil operates in D&D... and IRL. It's one of the reasons why I don't care of them (the other being that I'd like to do Heroic things in a Heroic Fantasy setting. I leave my antisocial RPing for Shadowrun :smallamused:).

you misunderstand. I don't think evil games are silly or even implasable, and certainly not anti social. I just think it requires a certain level of maturity. Evil people can love each other, believe in things, and work for a cause. They just believe in something that is considered evil by the D&D alignment system. Evil people can work for goals just like good people, its just like real life
from
EE

Emperor Tippy
2008-08-30, 11:33 AM
Amorality is not the definition of evil in D&D. Read the definitions (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/description.htm#alignment).

Morals are for people who won't think for themselves.

Right and Wrong. Good and Evil. Moral and Immoral. All of those are just for people who won't think for themselves.

Shazzbaa
2008-08-30, 11:36 AM
Shazzbaa: So, if we roll 3D6, and cannot see the result, we should assume its 10.5 because thats the average?

Uhh... I'd say assuming the average is more likely to be close to the truth, even if it's not exact.
Assuming that this is how you're interpreting my logic, let me clarify...my argument isn't that we should assume a person is Neutral just because we can't tell what they are (though I think this is pretty much what we do. We say "most people are neutral," but how do we know that? We just assume so, because the average person never takes any steps outside of neutrality). My thoughts were more intended to be that day-to-day life doesn't tell us anything, because most day-to-day actions don't show anything more than Neutrality.

The truth is that this need to guess doesn't come up much in actual D&D. The players are in their character's heads, have stated their character's alignments, and know what they're ultimately capable of doing, and the DM is the omniscient god of his world who knows what his NPCs are ultimately capable of.

Which is why it's easier to use alignment for your own creations than it is to assign it to fictional characters or real people -- you know the moral and psychological limits of your own characters, but with characters that you're seeing from the outside, it's always a guess based on what they've shown, and some people are easier to guess than others.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-08-30, 11:44 AM
Amorality is not the definition of evil in D&D. Read the definitions (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/description.htm#alignment).

Morals are for people who won't think for themselves.

Right and Wrong. Good and Evil. Moral and Immoral. All of those are just for people who won't think for themselves.

Well it sure as hell ain't Neutral:

People who are neutral with respect to good and evil have compunctions against killing the innocent but lack the commitment to make sacrifices to protect or help others. Neutral people are committed to others by personal relationships.

I'll make a finer point then.
Amorality is the rejection of the objective moral code of D&D, so the question is what you will replace it with. If you replace it with an "always look out for #1" moral system, you are Evil, because while you don't believe in the objective morality of the world, you are now acting with regards to your own personal happiness only - the suffering of other random people is irrelevant.

On the other hand, if you reject the objective morality, but then decide to "give to each what they are owed" then you are Neutral. This is a purely reactive state that, while it "rejects" objective morality, essentially acts like someone who is just trying to get by.

Of course, you can also reject objective morality and then decide to do random acts of kindness and assist those in need. That is Good, even if you don't believe in it.

So, in this sense, claiming "amorality" like this is a smokescreen. "Amorality" merely describes the rejection of the objective moral code - it does not say what you have replaced it with. If you replace it with a "Good" moral code, then you are Good; if you replace it with an "Evil" moral code, then you are Evil. If you decide to just give each what they deserve, then you are "Neutral."

Shazzbaa
2008-08-30, 11:46 AM
If you work very, very hard at creating a PC party where everyone has deep bonds with the others, it works out better, but first and foremost, Evil is all about Me - hence the inherent instability.

The aforementioned deeply-bonded evil party is something I have to say that I'd *really* like to see, or be a part of. That would be extremely challenging, but very cool.

Tengu_temp
2008-08-30, 11:49 AM
Amorality is not the definition of evil in D&D. Read the definitions (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/description.htm#alignment).

Morals are for people who won't think for themselves.

Right and Wrong. Good and Evil. Moral and Immoral. All of those are just for people who won't think for themselves.

So amorality (which is evil in the way you describe it, just deluded evil) is superior to good? What a load of bull. Would you rather live among amoral people, who will kill you the moment they see the benefit in that, or among good and neutral ones?

As someone who tries to live a decent life and takes pride in that, I would find your statement offensive if it wasn't so out of touch with reality.

TheCountAlucard
2008-08-30, 11:51 AM
The aforementioned deeply-bonded evil party is something I have to say that I'd *really* like to see, or be a part of. That would be extremely challenging, but very cool.

Well, actually, I've got one of those...

The LE, carefully-plotting Dread Necromancer and the NE Cleric of Nerull are good friends. The submissive CN Rogue is attracted to the Dread Necromancer's dominant personality. The impeccably-groomed CN Barbarian personally saved the Cleric's life twice.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-08-30, 11:53 AM
The aforementioned deeply-bonded evil party is something I have to say that I'd *really* like to see, or be a part of. That would be extremely challenging, but very cool.

Of course, but it'll look more like a "relationship game" than a D&D game. Or a tyranny.

Two ways I see it:
1) Blood Oath.
A party of LE characters swear undying allegiance to the party leader, and follow him around. It's a Tyrant's Game, but the shared oath of brotherhood should keep them from killing each other.

2) Soap Opera.
Alice and Bob are NE siblings who are incredibly close. CE Carl has taken Alice as his lover and intended under the urgings of Carl's mentor, Dana, the LE leader of the party and a former comrade-in-arms of Bob. Meanwhile, they're all working with NE Egon, a wizard who is seeking Absolute Power and who has promised each of them their true heart's desire after he becomes a God.

It can work, but a similarly complex party structure works just as well with non-Evil PCs, and you don't have to worry about Carl rejecting Alice for someone prettier, or Alice & Bob deciding to betray Egon and go off for a better life.

EDIT:
Obviously, the types of alignment in the party determine it's stability. From most unstable to least:
CE>NE>CN>N>LE>LN

I think if you have more than one CE member of the party, you're screwed no matter what. I ranked NE above CN, BTW, because Evil always keeps an eye out for the Greater Me and a NE character will betray anyone if the price is right. CN, while less beholden to structure, would only betray their friends if it seemed absolutely necessary - they don't like screwing over people they like.

Yahzi
2008-08-30, 11:57 AM
Flaw? That's a trait man. And a damn good one. Being amoral is not evil.
Amoral means "without morality." Animals are amoral, because they are not moral agents.

Sentient, self-aware creatures who evolved to survive in social groups are, by definition, moral agents. They have the capacity to be moral, so they, again by definition, must be moral. If they choose not to be moral, then they are immoral.

Human beings can only be moral or immoral. They cannot be amoral, unless they are brain-damaged to the point that they lack human intelligence and personality.

The difference between good and evil is the difference between being fair and being unfair. What we call "wrong" is not so much an act (example: killing people is wrong, except for all the times when it isn't), but a perspective (if you would choose to kill a person for a crime, before you knew if that person was you or someone else - then you have chosen fairly, which is to say, morally).

Here's my alignment test:

What motivates your character to perform a difficult and/or dangerous action? Alternatively, what motivates your character not to perform a selfish act (like keeping a purse of gold)?

NE - simple amusement
CE - fear of punishment
LE - desire for reward
CG - peer approval (honor)
LG - social contract (it's whats best for my kingdom/country/society)
NG - Universal Rights (it's whats best for everyone)

If your answer is NE, you're so immoral as to be self-destructive. Which is a decent description of your average sociopath.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-08-30, 12:03 PM
Here's my alignment test:

What motivates your character to perform a difficult and/or dangerous action? Alternatively, what motivates your character not to perform a selfish act (like keeping a purse of gold)?

NE - simple amusement
CE - fear of punishment
LE - desire for reward
CG - peer approval (honor)
LG - social contract (it's whats best for my kingdom/country/society)
NG - Universal Rights (it's whats best for everyone)

If your answer is NE, you're so immoral as to be self-destructive. Which is a decent description of your average sociopath.

Hmm... NE isn't quite right. NE is more "fear of being caught" because it worries about the law only as much as the law can get them. I think CE is more "displeasure of the stronger" since they don't care about being caught or disapproval, but merely being hit by someone they cannot defeat.

From the SRD:

A neutral evil villain does whatever she can get away with. She is out for herself, pure and simple. She sheds no tears for those she kills, whether for profit, sport, or convenience. She has no love of order and holds no illusion that following laws, traditions, or codes would make her any better or more noble. On the other hand, she doesn’t have the restless nature or love of conflict that a chaotic evil villain has.


A chaotic evil character does whatever his greed, hatred, and lust for destruction drive him to do. He is hot-tempered, vicious, arbitrarily violent, and unpredictable. If he is simply out for whatever he can get, he is ruthless and brutal. If he is committed to the spread of evil and chaos, he is even worse. Thankfully, his plans are haphazard, and any groups he joins or forms are poorly organized. Typically, chaotic evil people can be made to work together only by force, and their leader lasts only as long as he can thwart attempts to topple or assassinate him.

Yahzi
2008-08-30, 12:06 PM
Right and Wrong. Good and Evil. Moral and Immoral. All of those are just for people who won't think for themselves.
Just to respond to this: morality is actually our cultural heritage from hundreds of thousands of years of thinking about things. If you want to see what a society without morality or social structure is like, go live with the Neanderthals. Because that's what it was like.

Saying that learning morality is for people who don't think for themselves is like saying learning calculus is for people who can't be bothered to derive it all for themselves. It ignores the fact that morality is a way to live, specifically in social groups; and like everything else, finding better ways to live has benefited from study and thought.

You can go out in the woods and start from scratch if you want. Maybe you need to have your head kicked in by a guy twice your size simply because he wants what you have, but I don't. I've read enough history to understand that I prefer to live in highly moral societies.

Yahzi
2008-08-30, 12:13 PM
Hmm... NE isn't quite right. NE is more "fear of being caught" because it worries about the law only as much as the law can get them.
No, if you're worried about the consequences of your actions, your CE or LE. The truly evil people (i.e. psychotics) aren't particularly concerned about the consequences to anyone - including themselves!


I think CE is more "displeasure of the stronger" since they don't care about being caught or disapproval, but merely being hit by someone they cannot defeat.
Yes, that's exactly what I meant.

But yes, I've switched NE to be the worst (just as I switched NG to be the best). Pure Evil and Pure Good are the two ends of my scale. It just makes more sense to me; although I suppose it would also make some sense to switch back:

CE
NE
LE
CG
NG
LG

My problem with this scheme is that Law/Chaos becomes a straight modifier on level of goodness (Chaotics are less good and Lawful is more good), instead of a difference of process (whether you extend the circle of respect to your friends or your society).

Ganurath
2008-08-30, 12:15 PM
My IRL campaign is presently evil. Here's what we have to work with:

Drunken Dwarf Fighter: Ax Crazy Jerkass, spends his time either not paying attention to the dialogue or trying to attack something. If the DM hadn't houseruled that castin Create Water inside his armor could stun him before he could try to swing at the king...
Psycho Human Barbarian: Literal Ax Crazy, thinks he's the ax puppeteering a braindead barbarian. His violence commited against people he shouldn't hurt is a concious decision (on the player's part.)
Half-Orc Cleric of Santa (healing and War): Exactly what it says on the tin. The DMPC exists mainly to be a healbitch, but makes a point of collecting and stuffing everything we kill to give to the children... Including their parents. Jerkass #3.
Glomling Sorceress: The DM's wife IRL, she struggles to keep people alive long enough to get useful information out of them. Odds are she'd be a Smug Snake if she had even an illusion of control, but her present position is Chronic Facepalmer.
Human Cleric of Boccob (Knowledge and Trickery): Working toward Malconvoker. I'll let you ponder the implications of a Malconvoker in an evil party.

Emperor Tippy
2008-08-30, 12:16 PM
Moral's are "it's right or wrong because it is".

The reason for the belief has to do with the majority believing so. But anyone who believes that the majority of people think for themselves is a fool.

Many morals can be justified and following them is in the best interest of the individual and society.

@Yahzi

Go look up antisocial personality disorder. You can be perfectly sentient and survive in a social group while being amoral.

Shazzbaa
2008-08-30, 12:17 PM
No, if you're worried about the consequences of your actions, your CE or LE. The truly evil people (i.e. psychotics) aren't particularly concerned about the consequences to anyone - including themselves!

Problem with that is that "NE" doesn't necessarily mean "I'm so Evil that I don't even have any other alignment!" It might just mean that you have the selfishness required to be evil, with a fairly balanced tendency between order and spontaneity. In which case, you're not psychotic. You'd take a risk for personal gain, and you'd avoid a risk to avoid punishment.


Moral's are "it's right or wrong because it is".

The reason for the belief has to do with the majority believing so. But anyone who believes that the majority of people think for themselves is a fool.

Hey! Keep your own Alignment out of this! :smalltongue: It's hard enough to be objective about something like alignment without people suggesting opinions derived from their own worldview.

Trizap
2008-08-30, 12:21 PM
what I think everyone doesn't realize, is that evil =/= cartoon villains.

really its hard to create a non-cliched evil guy cause thats the only portrayal we get most of the time, I think it would be a great challenge on the players part to come up with evil characters that have depth.

TheCountAlucard
2008-08-30, 12:25 PM
Of course, I have had the other kind of evil PCs in other groups in the past... does it mean anything if all their players were WoW-heads?

Oracle_Hunter
2008-08-30, 12:27 PM
No, if you're worried about the consequences of your actions, your CE or LE. The truly evil people (i.e. psychotics) aren't particularly concerned about the consequences to anyone - including themselves!

It's not being worried about the "consequences of your actions;" it's being worried about whether someone will catch you and punish you for what you did. NE doesn't care about killing people for profit, but they will restrain themselves if doing so would "bring down the heat" more than they'd like to have.

Using the pouch of gold scenario:
LE: "If I take this gold, will I seem dishonorable? Is a superior around to call me out for violating the Code, or can I take it without losing the respect of my superiors?"

NE: "If I take this gold, will I get caught? Let's see, nobody can see my face, but there's some guards around the corner who might be able to see it. I'm pretty quick, and even if I have to knife that shopkeeper first, I should still be able to outrun the guards. Let's do this."

CE: "Hmm... gold. I can take the shopkeeper, I can take those guards, and nobody around here seems like they could take me. That wretched Paladin in his Golden Fortress isn't going to stir his shiny ass even if I kill the guards and the shopkeeper, and I can't think of anyone else who'd care. Yoink!"

Ganurath
2008-08-30, 12:30 PM
what I think everyone doesn't realize, is that evil =/= cartoon villains.

really its hard to create a non-cliched evil guy cause thats the only portrayal we get most of the time, I think it would be a great challenge on the players part to come up with evil characters that have depth.Now, now, no need to dismiss the cliches (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TropesAreNotBad) entirely.

EvilElitest
2008-08-30, 12:38 PM
evil people can work together and be normal humans beings. Look at human history, most of us were evil by D&D terms. heck, look at the book Shogun
from
EE

bibliophile
2008-08-30, 01:00 PM
Moral's are "it's right or wrong because it is".

The reason for the belief has to do with the majority believing so. But anyone who believes that the majority of people think for themselves is a fool.

Many morals can be justified and following them is in the best interest of the individual and society.

If society or another authority were the determiner of morality, Hitler would be right, and Rev. King would be wrong.

Something is never right or wrong because a certain person said so. Not because society said so. Something is right or wrong because it is inherently right or wrong. If I see a woman walking down the street alone, raping her is wrong no matter what some else says.




Go look up antisocial personality disorder. You can be perfectly sentient and survive in a social group while being amoral.

Heroin addicts also survive in society, but what kind of life is possible for them?


There is a difference between surviving and living, between living, and living well.

Grey Paladin
2008-08-30, 01:11 PM
Tippy: Being amoral means having no morals, not rejecting the morals of a certain society.

Restrictions are a weakness in an individual, but when found in a group they are strength and the foundation of society.

No matter how much you may wish it to be so, an individual cannot outperform a society- the amoral must lives as parasites to succeed and are themselves a product of Society even if they reject it.

Bibliophile: Agreed on the second part, Animals survive- Humans live.

chiasaur11
2008-08-30, 01:25 PM
If society or another authority were the determiner of morality, Hitler would be right, and Rev. King would be wrong.

Something is never right or wrong because a certain person said so. Not because society said so. Something is right or wrong because it is inherently right or wrong. If I see a woman walking down the street alone, raping her is wrong no matter what some else says.




Heroin addicts also survive in society, but what kind of life is possible for them?


There is a difference between surviving and living, between living, and living well.


True.
As the good Captain (Not to be confused with any other captain, such as the captain of Captain and Tennel, or The Captain formerly known as Captain &*^*) said "I don't want to survive, I want to live!"

Shazzbaa
2008-08-30, 01:56 PM
Restrictions are a weakness in an individual, but when found in a group they are strength and the foundation of society.

Something is never right or wrong because a certain person said so. Not because society said so. Something is right or wrong because it is inherently right or wrong. If I see a woman walking down the street alone, raping her is wrong no matter what some else says.
GreyPaladin, that seems to be a Lawful argument. Bibliophile, that sounds like a Chaotic Good argument. And Tippy's comments strike me as a Chaotic Neutral argument.
Seriously, if we discuss right and wrong, or what is the best way to run a society, it's going to be very influenced by our respective worldviews. Good and Evil are D&D terms, different from right and wrong. What is a "weak" or "foolish" stance to take is going to look different depending on who's eyes you're looking through, which is part of the challenge of roleplaying -- taking what you believe is right, wrong, good, evil, and separating that from what your character, based on his worldview, believes is right, wrong, good, or evil. He may not even believe there is any such thing as right or wrong.

****

Just to expand on my comment earlier about NE not necessarily being "pure" evil... this is how I see alignment.
The dots are my characters, just to show you how I'm imagining this thing working.http://shazzbaa.foskie.com/alignment.jpg
No matter what alignment you are, you can be varying strengths of any component of your alignment, depending on how much it matters to you. If you're neutral, you may well have a leaning one way or another.
This would make it really hard to say "Lawful Evil people are like this, Neutral Evil people are like this" because you can be anywhere in that box and still fall under the specified alignment. For example: my character Hasza'rothe, as you can see here, is Neutral Good, but he's not ... very Good. He's certainly not "pure Good." He's just slightly more Good than Neutral, and not quite Lawful enough to be Lawful.

Emperor Tippy
2008-08-30, 02:13 PM
If society or another authority were the determiner of morality, Hitler would be right, and Rev. King would be wrong.
Hitler would be believed to have been right if he had won. Rev. King would have been demonized if it was in the best interests of society for him to be so demonoized.


Something is never right or wrong because a certain person said so. Not because society said so. Something is right or wrong because it is inherently right or wrong. If I see a woman walking down the street alone, raping her is wrong no matter what some else says.
Right and wrong are entirely subjective. I personally find rape to be abhorrent, most of society does as well. The second part makes it immoral (society finds it to be wrong).


Heroin addicts also survive in society, but what kind of life is possible for them?


There is a difference between surviving and living, between living, and living well.

Guilt has nothing at all to do with living. Guilt, fear, hate, zealotry, stupidity; they are all worse than useless.

---
People can be trained to believe anything. Seriously, anything.

Flickerdart
2008-08-30, 02:34 PM
Guilt has nothing at all to do with living. Guilt, fear, hate, zealotry, stupidity; they are all worse than useless.
Are you mad? All those things are very useful, at least to those who would control others. Hate, fear and zealotry also unites us against a common enemy, very valuable indeed.

AmberVael
2008-08-30, 02:48 PM
Guilt has nothing at all to do with living. Guilt, fear, hate, zealotry, stupidity; they are all worse than useless.

Zealotry and stupidity I'll grant you- hate is boderline, but guilt and fear are so far from useless that it isn't even funny.

Negative emotions are not necessarily bad emotions or emotions that you should not have. They serve their purpose and have their reasons for appearing- mainly so you can avoid the kind of behavior or situation that provoked them in the future (and in the present).

If they are inappropriately dealt with, they can become problems, but otherwise it is quite healthy.

Setra
2008-08-30, 02:55 PM
Guilt and Fear are what keep me from killing people I don't like when I get mad :smallconfused:

I don't think they're useless.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-08-30, 03:03 PM
Cowardice and superstition prevent me from defeating the Batman :smalltongue:

Lord_Asmodeus
2008-08-30, 03:07 PM
I like making evil characters, but I can never tell how good they are at being non-conventional evil. Like my latest character: Enter Nreguz Nighthacker (http://www.myth-weavers.com/sheets/view.php?id=78136) He's evil, he's mean, and whats more he's downright sadistic. But is he cliche? I can never tell...



Drunken Dwarf Fighter: Ax Crazy Jerkass, spends his time either not paying attention to the dialogue or trying to attack something. If the DM hadn't houseruled that castin Create Water inside his armor could stun him before he could try to swing at the king...
Psycho Human Barbarian: Literal Ax Crazy, thinks he's the ax puppeteering a braindead barbarian. His violence commited against people he shouldn't hurt is a concious decision (on the player's part.)

These guys sound like twins. The second would actually be interesting if it really was a sentient/demonic/possessed axe puppeteering a stupid human :smallwink:



Half-Orc Cleric of Santa (healing and War): Exactly what it says on the tin. The DMPC exists mainly to be a healbitch, but makes a point of collecting and stuffing everything we kill to give to the children... Including their parents. Jerkass #3.

Well he's a Cleric of Santa (I assume you are talking of jolly ol' Saint Nick) and if he's evil this seems sort of in-character... of course that doesn't really excuse his actions, but its pretty funny :smallbiggrin:


Glomling Sorceress: The DM's wife IRL, she struggles to keep people alive long enough to get useful information out of them. Odds are she'd be a Smug Snake if she had even an illusion of control, but her present position is Chronic Facepalmer.

This sounds like an actual interesting character, at least for the party she's in.


Human Cleric of Boccob (Knowledge and Trickery): Working toward Malconvoker. I'll let you ponder the implications of a Malconvoker in an evil party.

Don't you have to be evil to be a Malconvoker, or is he just working WITH an evil party?

Piedmon_Sama
2008-08-30, 03:09 PM
The TV shows Firefly and Samurai Champloo both have good examples of evil characters operating in good-to-neutral parties, and not only surviving but making invaluable contributions. (The characters I'm thinking of are Jayne and Mugen, respectively). I based a CE Fighter/Assassin on Mugen one time--he was basically a violence-addicted hedonist--but he worked out fine in a party that included a NG Fighter and a LN Cleric. I'm not saying they were knocking back drinks at the tavern like best buds after a concluded mission, but even the most sadistic bastards can rein in their tendencies if it's necessary, and he kept the darker aspects of himself well-hidden. Just like a lot more people do in daily society than I think optimists want to believe.

Settings where you have to be a cold-blooded murderer, or an over-the-top arch-villain in order to earn an Evil alignment bother me. Don't get me wrong, if that's the DM's style I'm up for playing, but it feels unnatural to me. Something about that kind of world is too clean, too easy--it doesn't smack of real life to me, where even the kindliest people have assholish moments and more than a few of us can do it full-time; and like I said above, I think a lot of us repress some pretty nasty feelings and desires. Just because we don't act on them doesn't mean we wouldn't if we could get away with it, or that it doesn't stain the soul.

I know some of you don't think "being an *******" is enough to remit an evil alignment. With respect to the rules of this forum, I want to bring just a bit of theology and paraphrase C.S Lewis. It's not the big sins that bring people to the devil, or only very rarely is it the big sins. 99% of the time it's the small ones--jealousy, backbiting, lustful thoughts, sloth, ingratitude, gossiping, being judgemental--things we're all guilty of, every day. They don't mean much individually, but they can add up. And we don't even think of them as worth mentioning or thinking about, most of the time. I don't expect most people to agree with that view, but it's mine and in a world "where objective good and evil is in the rulebook" as some love to harp, I find it pretty fitting. (I hate it when people harp on it though, so I won't).

sonofzeal
2008-08-30, 03:21 PM
I generally rate alignment on 5-point scales as opposed to 3 point, adding "vile", "exalted", "anarchic" and "axiomatic" to the mix. Here's how I see each playing out....


Exalted - I actively seek out as many opportunities to do good as possible; evil is anathema!

Good - I do good when I see an opportunity; I believe evil is wrong and do my best to not it

Neutral - I might do some good if it's not inconvenient; I think evil is probably wrong, but I'm flexible to what the situation asks for.

Evil - I have no desire to help anyone unless I get something out of it; I don't buy into the whole "good vs evil" opressive mentality.

Vile - Good is anathema; I spread terror and destruction in my wake and that's how I like it.



Axiomatic - The LAW is paramount; disorder is anathema!

Lawful - I do my best to live by the rules; disorder is unsettling (or inefficient) and I dislike it.

Neutral - I try not to get in trouble either way

Chaotic - order is stiffling (or gets in the way of my agenda/beliefs); I like to push boundaries.

Anarchic - Wooo! Anarchy! Party time! Down with the status quo (because the status is NOT quo)!



Note that sometimes it's possible to belong to two different catagories (there's a bit of both Lawful and Chaotic in me). In that case, average the two (so I might be Neutral), or put down both if they're adjactent. Someone could be AxG/N, meaning they're Axiomatic, and hover between Good and Neutral.

Jerthanis
2008-08-30, 03:49 PM
I feel like Good and Evil aren't sufficiently defining to be useful in any respect. Morality as a means of defining a character's personality or goals is completely insufficient, and I'm going to talk about Superman to illustrate my point.

Superman is not 'good', and I'm not referencing Superdickery.com, or any other comical interpretations of his character. He does not wake up in the morning and decide, "I'm going to put on my costume and fight supervillains because it's the right thing to do." he does it because he feels like he has found a place where he belongs. A savior of the weak and helpless, paragon of trustworthiness. For a lost son who has always felt just a little out of place among humans, this place of belonging is so important that he will fight for it. He doesn't lie, not because he feels some moral compulsion not to lie, but because he's expected not to lie by the people who have accepted him.

In that way, Superman is really doing heroics not out of altruism, but out of selfishness. Your character is no different. This is why I don't think there should be a moral system in RPGs as a tool to express personality or goals, because morality has very little to do with either, in my opinion. Instead, when I think of a character, I think, "What is important to this character, what makes him tick, and how is he motivated to action?"

If those things get him defined as an evil character, I'm playing an evil person.

Ganurath
2008-08-30, 03:57 PM
Don't you have to be evil to be a Malconvoker, or is he just working WITH an evil party?The Malconvoker PrC stipulates non-evil. I think every evil campaign should have at least one Malconvoker-esque character, if only to break the mold.

snoopy13a
2008-08-30, 04:04 PM
Mob fiction is a good source for evil archtypes.

Michael Corleone- Lawful Evil. He values tradition, family, and respect. However, he is willing to commit any deed necessary on behalf of these values (especially as he runs a crime empire). While he values his family, he will not forgive being betrayed (Carlo, Fredo).

Other lawful evil characters from The Godfather are Vito Corleone, Luca Brasi (a good example of a lawful evil underling), and Tom Hagen (lawful evil advisor). Another good example of a lawful evil underling would be Furio Giunta from the Sopranos, a soldier with loyalty, respect for tradition, a touch of class and manners, yet a very brutal side.

Tony Soprano- Neutral Evil. He cares for his immediate family but that is about it. He has no qualms in killing anyone else for money. His organization is much looser then the Corleones and he runs into problems with subordinates as a result.

Sonny Corleone- Neutral Evil. He is a bit tough to classify as he is a loose cannon (chaotic) but he is loyal to and cares about his family (more lawful). He is loyal to his father and brothers and is protective of his sister (to his downfall). Yet, his main response to adversity is force, often without thinking (Michael or Vito would have had Carlo shot, Sonny's solution was to try and kill him personally). This, of course, leads to his death. His interesting mix of lawful beliefs in family and tradition combined with chaotic actions leads to a neutral classification in my book.

Tommy Devito from Goodfellas- Chaotic Evil. Classic bully and thug. He kills a lackey (Spider) over a joking insult (he also provoked Spider). He has no compunctions about killing anyone and shows no remorse. Note that even a stereotypical thug like him cares about his mother as kisses his mother goodbye before going off to what he thinks is a ceremony to get "made" (they kill him instead).

Another good example of Chaotic Evil is Ralphie Cifaretto from the Sopranos

Mark Hall
2008-08-30, 04:05 PM
I find evil to be most fun when played in a good party. If everyone is evil, well, you get situations where you're close to being wiped out from a fight, and the wizard simply bashes your brains in because you can't stop him, and your stuff is valuable. If everyone is good, well, you go have heroic adventures together.
However, if one person is evil in an otherwise good party... they have options. They're the guy who hires the thwarted assassin to go kill the person who originally hired him. They're the one who sells out the party's mission to someone more aligned with the individuals goals (currently: Bartering 3rd generation Robotechnology and information about protoculture engineering to a Russian warlord... because he's a good leader and will make Russia strong again). They're the one who says "Sure" when offered a deal with the devil.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-08-30, 04:06 PM
A handy way I've found for regarding the Alignment Axises for D&D is the following dichotomies:

Law v. Chaos = Many v. Self
A Lawful person looks to the thinking of others when making decisions; a Chaotic person regards only themselves. Laws, as found in organizations, are a way of expressing how the many believe things should be done and so a Lawful character often refers to them first, before considering what he would do himself. Chaotic people know about laws but consider them irrelevant for guiding personal choices - if anything, a Chaotic person will look at the laws to see what kind of penalty his choice of action will bring, so that he can prepare for it.

Neutral people seek the path of least resistance. If the will of the many doesn't impede their course terribly, they'll follow the herd. If the will of the many goes sharply counter to their wishes, they may consider forging their own path.

Good v. Evil = Welfare of Others v. Welfare of Self
A Good person considers first the effects his actions will have on others, and considers their well-being highly. An Evil person cares first and foremost about the effect his actions will have on himself - "other people" are a secondary concern, if that.

Neutral people again seek the path of least resistance. If affronting people will turn out poorly for them, they will be polite. But if someone is preventing them from doing what they must do, then that person's well being may become secondary.

I frame the Axises in these terms because alignment does not function well as an arbiter of personal morality - LG does not mean you're a teetotaler anymore than CE means you eat babies - but as a basic framework for how your character sees the world. Does he generally care about the well-being of others, or can they all just go to hell? Would he consult the authorities first, or would he do what he thinks is right?

This is how I've found D&D alignment most useful; as an aide to RP, not as a straight-jacket.

quillbreaker
2008-08-30, 04:10 PM
Funny to see this thread, I was having some epiphanies regarding evil campaigns the other day.

One of the most important things about any roleplaying game is that the world and the characters have to sync to a degree. The actions of the characters have to make sense within it. This is easy when playing the heroes. The game setting is built for heroes. You will start off in a town at level X, and there will be a level X+1 challenge just across the road and a level X+2 challenge down the street from that. Being heroic is the way to jump through the hoops - the world is made for you to be heroic in.

An evil character in a good group is an interesting roleplaying challenge, but take an entire party of evils and they are not going to jump through the hoops, and they are going to look silly not doing it. When the world is built to reward a hero, the dastardly just look foolish. Why be evil when being good nets you a pile of treasure and respect of the community?

I'm reminded of Miko. Miko's outlook, and actions, would have made sense in a campaign several shades darker.

If you want to have an evil campaign, you have to build a campaign world, setting, and game where it makes sense to be evil, where the world practically demands it. Where the character's intended outlook synchronizes with the way that people treat them. Unless you are playing someone who is simply insane, you don't become evil because good things happen to you. You become evil because bad things happen to you, and the bad things should keep happening to you, until you've picked a side and that side is "yours" and you can't say you didn't give the world a chance.

The evils of the characters should seem justified as a response to the surroundings.

snoopy13a
2008-08-30, 04:11 PM
Anyway, talking about good and evil from a non-game viewpoint is not really the best idea. It just leads to philosophical arguments that are unwinnable.

From the alignment standpoint:

Good- believe that people should demostrate altruism towards each other

Neutral- many believe that people should be responsible for themselves but that they shouldn't cheat or exploit others. Some may pay lipservice to the good viewpoint but don't carry it out. Selfishness doesn't make someone evil from a game standpoint as long as they don't exploit people. A rich merchant who made their money fair and square is likely neutral.

Evil- are willing to exploit and/or harm others for their personal gain.

AmberVael
2008-08-30, 04:13 PM
I find evil to be most fun when played in a good party. If everyone is evil, well, you get situations where you're close to being wiped out from a fight, and the wizard simply bashes your brains in because you can't stop him, and your stuff is valuable. If everyone is good, well, you go have heroic adventures together.
However, if one person is evil in an otherwise good party... they have options. They're the guy who hires the thwarted assassin to go kill the person who originally hired him. They're the one who sells out the party's mission to someone more aligned with the individuals goals (currently: Bartering 3rd generation Robotechnology and information about protoculture engineering to a Russian warlord... because he's a good leader and will make Russia strong again). They're the one who says "Sure" when offered a deal with the devil.

Or, in my case, they're the person who kicks the party rogue's corpse into a harbor (note- no, I didn't kill the other character. I'm not a player killer. I just took all of his loot and then dumped him off into the water without any sense of loss at all. :smalltongue:)
It is pretty fun playing the evil character in the good party, but you DO have to make sure they'll cooperate and not just turn out like Belkar. My method for achieving this with the character noted above was to make him quite lawful and loyal (if in a strange way). He may not be a good guy, but he's trustworthy. You get him to make a promise, he'll keep it.

Grey Paladin
2008-08-30, 04:14 PM
Quil: Explain the real world, then.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-08-30, 04:16 PM
The evils of the characters should seem justified as a response to the surroundings.

Hmm, a fine point indeed! An evil party that operates within Latveria (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latveria) is going to have a very different path to power than the same party hanging out in Faerun (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faerun). :smallbiggrin:

EDIT:

Quil: Explain the real world, then.

Um... the real world doesn't work that way? I thought we were talking about Alignment within D&D. :smallconfused:

sonofzeal
2008-08-30, 04:19 PM
I feel like Good and Evil aren't sufficiently defining to be useful in any respect. Morality as a means of defining a character's personality or goals is completely insufficient, and I'm going to talk about Superman to illustrate my point.

Superman is not 'good', and I'm not referencing Superdickery.com, or any other comical interpretations of his character. He does not wake up in the morning and decide, "I'm going to put on my costume and fight supervillains because it's the right thing to do." he does it because he feels like he has found a place where he belongs. A savior of the weak and helpless, paragon of trustworthiness. For a lost son who has always felt just a little out of place among humans, this place of belonging is so important that he will fight for it. He doesn't lie, not because he feels some moral compulsion not to lie, but because he's expected not to lie by the people who have accepted him.

In that way, Superman is really doing heroics not out of altruism, but out of selfishness. Your character is no different. This is why I don't think there should be a moral system in RPGs as a tool to express personality or goals, because morality has very little to do with either, in my opinion. Instead, when I think of a character, I think, "What is important to this character, what makes him tick, and how is he motivated to action?"

If those things get him defined as an evil character, I'm playing an evil person.
You suppose an aweful lot about Superman's motivations, without much evidence. In most canon descriptions, Superman really does care about people and try to protect them as best he can, and avoids lying even when it'd be convenient and nobody would ever know. Also, your whole argument depends on Kal-El requiring the Superman identity to fit in, and he very much doesn't. He has Clark Kent, a person who has no massive social expectations resting on him, and who STILL does the right thing when he can, and who has been accepted into society and provides Kal-El with all the belongingness he should need.

No, Kal-El really DOES wake up in the morning and decide to wear that costume and fight those villans, even though it's personally inconvenient and potentially dangerous. He really is that good.

Now, Kal-El is a fictional character and does not have an exact version in the real world. However, I personally know several people who have a nice acceptable life and yet still choose to volunteer their time doing difficult and damaging and dangerous work with the homeless, sex workers, drug abusers, and/or the mentally ill, because they sincerely believe it is the right thing to do. They are not doing it to "fit in", or out of societal expectation, or because it makes them feel all sparkly (they're often more likely to feel stressed and frustrated and saddened), but they keep doing it. Selfless, caring, GOOD people do exist in the real world; why shouldn't they exist in fantasy as well?

snoopy13a
2008-08-30, 04:20 PM
If everyone is evil, well, you get situations where you're close to being wiped out from a fight, and the wizard simply bashes your brains in because you can't stop him, and your stuff is valuable.

That is always a possibility. However, if the player kills you then he has to find a replacement that is willing to travel with an evil player. If the wizard returns to the fence/merchant alone with tons of treasure, questions will arise in the evil adventuring community and the player may not ever find another group (this would even occur if the player doesn't betray the group but is simply the last one standing). Since evil people are trying to exploit others, they aren't the most trusting sort and any rumors of a confirmed betrayl could mean avoidance.

Plus, there's also OOC deterents to that behavior.

Funkyodor
2008-08-30, 04:32 PM
I really liked a friends rogue that befriended another players paladin and honestly convinced the group that he wanted to do good and switch to the lawful side of things. Through many adventures he strived to do "the right thing", honest splits of treasure, even lead the paladin to believe he wanted to be one too, and such. So that when he finally betrayed the group, set up a coup, Framed them for the assassination of a minor feudal lord, and set himself up as the new Lord (via. agreements with the Chancellor) toward the end of the campaign conclusion, they really felt it. It's not good to trust the diplomacy rogue, even if you think he's "One of the good guys".

It definately set up the next campaign, "GET THAT DAMN ROGUE!"

quillbreaker
2008-08-30, 04:38 PM
Quil: Explain the real world, then.

Well, it's hard to make any comparison between a roleplaying game and the real world. In the real world, almost everyone is presented a social contract - 'get a job, pay your taxes, live in a box, pay for things with this green papery stuff' - which we are taught to accept and generally do. Thus, our good actions, like say removing some road debris before someone hits it, or our bad actions, such as screwing over your boss so he gets fired and you have a shot at his job, take place within the social contract we've accepted.

The very first thing an adventuring party does, good or evil, is cast aside the social contract and set sail for the mad shores. The difference for them is that there is a place for them to do so, whereas I have found no nests of kobolds to go kill with my friends.

In a good campaign you get your reward for slaying the kobolds. In an evil campaign the guy who offered to reward you skipped town before you got back, and the kobolds had some allies in town who are your new secret enemies. In the real world, there are no kobolds, so the results of our actions in killing them are moot.

Or is there some specific aspect of the real world you wanted me to address?

Draco Dracul
2008-08-30, 05:22 PM
evil people can work together and be normal humans beings. Look at human history, most of us were evil by D&D terms. heck, look at the book Shogun
from
EE


I would say that most people in history where nuetral and the ratio of exceptionally good and exceptionally evil people is about 1:1, in my view there is a Gandi for every Hitler.

Grey Paladin
2008-08-30, 05:45 PM
Is there some specific aspect of the real world you wanted me to address?
Our world is just another (No-magic) setting- the challenges offered are different but just as viable. My point is that a good setting can easily host both Good and Evil simultaneously without the need to twist it to fit a certain alignment.

When it comes to game design, I try to follow God as much as possible.

Piedmon_Sama
2008-08-30, 06:04 PM
Is that a way of putting a hella positive spin on "railroading?" =p

sonofzeal
2008-08-30, 06:21 PM
Is that a way of putting a hella positive spin on "railroading?" =p
"Nobody minds railroading if the view from the car is nice and the destination is awesome town."

Tengu_temp
2008-08-30, 07:25 PM
"Nobody minds railroading if the view from the car is nice and the destination is awesome town."

Seconded. A campaign that's fun, but requires subtle railroading from the DM here and there, is much better than a game where players have unlimited options, and all of them equally dull.

quillbreaker
2008-08-30, 08:20 PM
Our world is just another (No-magic) setting- the challenges offered are different but just as viable. My point is that a good setting can easily host both Good and Evil simultaneously without the need to twist it to fit a certain alignment.

When it comes to game design, I try to follow God as much as possible.

Good point. But I'm thinking of setting on a much smaller scale - city to city or region, or even just "what happens to the players". The location of the game, the people they interact with, the places that they go to, and the things that they do.

Paragon Badger
2008-08-30, 09:35 PM
Yargh. I leave my thread alone for 14 hours and it's 4 pages long and has become an alignment dispute! :smallsigh:

Then again, this thread may or may not have been my cleverly hidden attempt at prodding the forum for players who are interested in doing an evil campaign the right way. :smallwink:

I was whining about evil characters, not the alignment system, folks. :smalltongue:

bibliophile
2008-08-30, 09:43 PM
Hitler would be believed to have been right if he had won. Rev. King would have been demonized if it was in the best interests of society for him to be so demonoized.

The key word here is believed. Hitler would be wrong, and Rev. King would be right no matter what people think.



Right and wrong are entirely subjective. I personally find rape to be abhorrent, most of society does as well. The second part makes it immoral (society finds it to be wrong).

So you obey any law that society makes, because society made it? Why? People are just as fallible as you are. Or do you not? How do decide how to act?


OTE=Emperor Tippy;4820941]People can be trained to believe anything. Seriously, anything.[/QUOTE]


That doesn't have any impact on what is or is not the nature of morality. What people belive, only impact's how they act, not what is True. I can convince you that 2+2=5 but that still is not true, even if you are in room 101 of the Ministry of Truth*. What people think does not determine reality.


*If you don't understand these references, read Orwell's 1984, It's an excellent book.

Destro_Yersul
2008-08-30, 10:00 PM
So you obey any law that society makes, because society made it? Why? People are just as fallible as you are. Or do you not? How do decide how to act?

I do what I believe is the right thing, for the most part. Luckily my idea of right follows along with society's for the most part. Personally I don't give a damn what society thinks, but I follow their rules because those are my rules as well. What does that make me?

MCerberus
2008-08-30, 10:13 PM
Evil still has an overriding restraint, unless they grow a mustache and try to tie ladies to railroad tracks. Just because you're evil doesn't mean you're the evilist evil man that ever did evil. Subtlety means survival for evil, and if you aren't subtle you're a caricature with a short life span.

My 2cp.

chiasaur11
2008-08-30, 10:42 PM
In a good campaign you get your reward for slaying the kobolds. In an evil campaign the guy who offered to reward you skipped town before you got back, and the kobolds had some allies in town who are your new secret enemies. In the real world, there are no kobolds, so the results of our actions in killing them are moot.

Or is there some specific aspect of the real world you wanted me to address?

Yes.
The lack of Kobolds.
Why aren't there any Kobolds?

Ryuuk
2008-08-30, 10:47 PM
Yargh. I leave my thread alone for 14 hours and it's 4 pages long and has become an alignment dispute! :smallsigh:

Then again, this thread may or may not have been my cleverly hidden attempt at prodding the forum for players who are interested in doing an evil campaign the right way. :smallwink:

I was whining about evil characters, not the alignment system, folks. :smalltongue:

I was actually waiting for someone to want to start one too. Afterall, it worked for the party of Worgs a while back.

Jerthanis
2008-08-30, 11:41 PM
You suppose an aweful lot about Superman's motivations, without much evidence. In most canon descriptions, Superman really does care about people and try to protect them as best he can, and avoids lying even when it'd be convenient and nobody would ever know. Also, your whole argument depends on Kal-El requiring the Superman identity to fit in, and he very much doesn't. He has Clark Kent, a person who has no massive social expectations resting on him, and who STILL does the right thing when he can, and who has been accepted into society and provides Kal-El with all the belongingness he should need.

It's not so cut and dry as all that, but my position is basically that while Superman chooses to do 'good', his motivations aren't exactly, "Because it's the right thing to do", and that good is a perspective, not an absolute. What makes Superman special is that when he wakes up, he decides to do good because he's a lost, lonely boy looking for acceptance from a people who will never truly understand him. The rest of us are special because we wake up and do 'good' based on our own characters. No one wakes up and says, "I'm going to do evil things today toward an evil end, just to know there is suffering in the world." unless they're 15 and think they're cool to say things like that.

With that in mind, that's how I think Evil characters are best portrayed, as people waking up and saying to themselves, "The first good thing I'm going to do today is to kill the local wizard so his evil magics don't corrupt the world any further." regardless of the objective state of magic's corruptive powers, or the Wizard's intent in the matter. A person who sees his own actions as positive, if not in the short term, than in the long term.

Yahzi
2008-08-31, 01:26 AM
Superman chooses to do 'good',
First off, we all do good things for selfish reasons. And this is a good thing. A person who acts with no consideration for themselves is not only scary, but dangerous. And barking mad.

To desire to be accepted by others is part and parcel of morality. Morality is, after all, about your interactions with others.

What makes Superman good is very simple: he treats everyone the same. He is as careful to respect Lex Luthor's rights as he is to respect Lois Lane's. What makes Lex Luthor evil is that he only respects his own rights, and no one else's.

Increasing morality is largely about extending the franchise on who gets to count. Nazis were generally nice to each other; it was just that, in their eyes, the rest of the planet didn't count as human.

The way I portray evil characters is by who they include as equals:

Neutral (pure) Good treats everyone the same.
Lawful Good privileges members of their society.
Chaotic Good privileges their friends over everyone else.
Lawful Evil privileges themselves over all others, but still stays within some bounds of consistent behavior.
Chaotic Evil privileges themselves, without worrying about consistency.
Neutral (pure) Evil privileges themselves in the most immediate sense, sometimes even to their future detriment.

Tsotha-lanti
2008-08-31, 02:33 AM
Flaw? That's a trait man. And a damn good one. Being amoral is not evil.

"There is no right and wrong" is a pretty unpleasant moral trait, if you ask me. For instance, a person with antisocial personality disorder (a "psychopath", colloquially) is amoral by definition. Most people will acknowledge that committing murder or theft is immoral, but an amoral person does not think it is wrong (because they do not believe in, or do not understand, concepts like right and wrong).

So yeah, in this context, it's a flaw. It's one of many possible traits that turn a character like any other into an interesting evil character.

I'll grant that, for intance, Nietzschean views can be called amoral and would, in D&D, qualify as Neutral or some variety of Chaotic (even Chaotic Good), but that's a pretty specific use of the term.

Mind, I personally find philosophically amoral characters more interesting than ones with a personality disorder. "Right and wrong are artificial cultural concepts, and irrelevant to those with the power to ignore them. Might makes right. If I can do it, and I want to do it, then I should do it." Ethical egoism, more or less.


As for evil and teamwork - that can work out just fine. Evil can still have friends and family who they genuinely care about and even trust. To use a classic example, the Nazi concentration camp guard - or Nazi scientist performing deadly human experiments - does go home to a loving wife and child in the evening, and is a good father. Fickleness is a Chaotic trait more than anything, and even then is not a requirement. Real human beings - and real characters - are not emotionless betrayal machines, even if they are thoroughly evil. (Except, again, the amoral-by-way-of-disorder ones.)

SmartAlec
2008-08-31, 03:13 AM
Dropping in an example that hasn't been touched on yet, an Evil party in an Evil society can work very well, even teamwork-wise. Even though you can't trust anyone, it is useful to have people whose interests mostly co-incide with yours, doubly so if you make a habit of journeying to other lands where the 'Great and the Good' rule.

Was involved in a campaign like this for several years, and the dynamic that formed was pretty good as far as my perception of an 'evil' party went - there were two chaotic madmen in the party, a classic evil-psychopath CE skeletal Fighter and a CE Doppleganger Shifter with multiple personality syndrome (many of which were mean), but they were held in check by a loose contract between the other three party members, a LE Blackguard, a NE Necromancer and a NE lycanthropic Shadowdancer. The three of those united were a stronger force, more or less, than the other two, who though dangerous were also too different to be able to work together properly. As the plans of the blackguard, necromancer and shadowdancer usually led to gold, prestige and a good fight, though, the skeleton and the doppelganger usually went along with it.

There were disagreements, there were arguments, and occasionally the party came to blows, but party members never died from it (a dead ally is not a useful one). The players themselves were pretty good about it, and after a while, a certain esprit de corps formed; an unspoken 'us vs. the world' feeling. As the individual goals of each party member were subtly different (Blackguard - furthering the cause of her God; Necromancer - arcane lore; Shadowdancer - money; Skeleton - a good slaughter; and the Doppelganger, depended on what form it was in at the time) there was rarely the kind of squabble over spoils you might expect, though there was a tendency among the party to be scrupulously fair over division of loot - because most of them could see no long-term advantage to breaking up the team over something so petty.

That sensible approach to things, and eventually that 'esprit de corps' are, I think, two factors that allow evil parties to function.

Trizap
2008-08-31, 11:54 PM
I generally rate alignment on 5-point scales as opposed to 3 point, adding "vile", "exalted", "anarchic" and "axiomatic" to the mix. Here's how I see each playing out....


Exalted - I actively seek out as many opportunities to do good as possible; evil is anathema!

Good - I do good when I see an opportunity; I believe evil is wrong and do my best to not it

Neutral - I might do some good if it's not inconvenient; I think evil is probably wrong, but I'm flexible to what the situation asks for.

Evil - I have no desire to help anyone unless I get something out of it; I don't buy into the whole "good vs evil" opressive mentality.

Vile - Good is anathema; I spread terror and destruction in my wake and that's how I like it.



Axiomatic - The LAW is paramount; disorder is anathema!

Lawful - I do my best to live by the rules; disorder is unsettling (or inefficient) and I dislike it.

Neutral - I try not to get in trouble either way

Chaotic - order is stiffling (or gets in the way of my agenda/beliefs); I like to push boundaries.

Anarchic - Wooo! Anarchy! Party time! Down with the status quo (because the status is NOT quo)!



Note that sometimes it's possible to belong to two different catagories (there's a bit of both Lawful and Chaotic in me). In that case, average the two (so I might be Neutral), or put down both if they're adjactent. Someone could be AxG/N, meaning they're Axiomatic, and hover between Good and Neutral.

sonofzeal, thank you, thats my new alignment system

Viruzzo
2008-09-01, 07:00 AM
Down with the status quo (because the status is NOT quo)!
:smallbiggrin: "These are not the hammer..."

chiasaur11
2008-09-01, 12:57 PM
:smallbiggrin: "These are not the hammer..."


It looks like the only signature he needed... was my fist.

With a pen in it.

Maurkov
2008-09-11, 07:35 PM
There is more to being evil than two different flavors of douchebag!Campaign idea: Evil party where each character has an emphasis in one of the deadly sins. You really only need 6 players because Sloth stays home a lot.

It sounds like you're tired of Pride and Wrath, but I think the others have some interesting potential.

BloodyAngel
2008-09-12, 11:20 AM
I rather enjoy playing evil characters... especially in non-evil groups. The trick is not to play them as cartoony evil. The trick being, if you show an evil character a baby... he should not be stabbing the baby for no reason, just because it's an evil act. That is the mark of a psychopath who gets off on being violent and evil. There are plenty of reasons that an evil character could justify to himself to stab that baby. It's a member of a despised race that will grow to cause him harm. It's an enemy's child and finding it dead will demoralize him (that one, prone to backfire). It is a vital part of a ritual to gain some sort of power. But there DOES need to be a reason. Evil acts performed just for sick thrills aren't entirely unrealistic... but they tear apart games more often than not, and should be avoided.

My personal favorite evil character, I think, did evil VERY well.

His story, spoilered for length. In one campaign, the setting was a very, VERY altered forgotten realms, in which the Drow had somehow organized into a powerful and unied force, and had begun claiming the surface at an alarming rate, using a lot of slaves beasts and warriors, and magical do-dads aplenty. The game took place in one of the remaining cities of the forces of good, led by an elven king who was a good, kind man... but who was not well-suited to be a war leader. He was an aristocrat, and a very fragile man ever since his wife had been assassinated by the drow a few years back. He played strong for the people though, and they loved him.

Enter our group. For the purposes of this, only two characters matter. One was mine, a sun elf shadow mage of noble birth with a fairly hefty ego who was, in actuality, Neutral Evil... and a Lawful Good Bladedancer of the drow moon goddess (who's name I eternally misspell, so I won't even try). She was big on the fact that despite the war, some of the drow could be redeemed, and that the bloodshed would never stop until the elven race was whole again. I was more of a "Ends justify the means" type... coldly racist towards non-elves, and ambitious. He was also, for his failings... very patriotic and dedicated to winning the war.

Through the game, my character decided that the king, while a good, moral man... was too weak to succeed in the war. Knowing in character that the king was somewhat infatuated with our bladedancer (who was quite popular with the people as well, oddly enough), I lured her into my confidence with (false) concern for her cause, and over the course of pillow talk one night, convinced her that the kingdom would have far, far more morale should the king have a capable woman like herself as his wife... and that even though I loved her, it was in the best interest of the kingdom that she marry him. She had been fond of him as well... but put off that he still pined for his dead wife. I then advised the king of the same... "for the good of the people".

The marriage was a happy occasion, and the kingdom gained a bit of hope. I resigned myself to position as a general and advisor, and bided time. Battles were fought. The campaign continued. Until one night, when I decided it was time to make a move. Over the course of the game, and the many battles we'd fought... the bladedancer HAD gained a convert. A drow man who was tired of being under the crushing hand of the females. He was hardly good-aligned, but he hated them more than us for some reason, and the bladedancer was just thrilled to have someone to point to for her "the drow can be redeemed" ideals. We never found out if he would have, really... as I came to him one night, in the visage of his matron... and ordered him wait until the stroke of midnight, then to slay the king and queen in their bedchamber, or I would kill him in gruesome ways. I topped it with a suggestion spell, just in case. I knew the queen would not be present, because she had asked to meet with me that night in private. She didn't handle the stress of being in charge very well, and I liked to be supportive. (Cue evil laugh)

In short... the king was slain in his sleep... the queen returned to her chamber to find him dead, and his assassin waiting for her. She fended him off and managed to kill him, just like I knew she would. But seeing someone she'd dared to trust betray her, murder her husband and try to slay her was a bit too much. The irony was, she came to me for comfort, and cried herself to sleep in my arms.

I got the girl back up on her feet, for the sake of the kingdom... telling her they needed her to be a strong leader now more than ever. Still, she was fairly broken after that. She didn't trust that the drow could be saved anymore... or that all beings had a spark of good in them. She was a far more joyless person, and often depressed. She started to rely on me more and more for emotional support, and to lead the armies against the drow. Old bonds re-grew, and over the next few months... entirely on her own, she decided to propose marriage. The people needed a king... I was a well-known and successful war leader... and she still had feelings for me.

Thus did Lord Amarith manipulate and scheme his way into royalty, in the backdrop of a brutal war against the forces of evil. The entire campaign took place over almost a year of real time... and until it ended, the other players had no idea that I was the one who had the king killed. Despite being evil, I didn't screw over the group... I acted kind and polite to my allies, because I needed them... and a reputation for valor and heroics makes you more popular than one for brutality and evil. I was good to the kingdom and the bladedancer, and he even genuinely regretted having to kill a good man to get himself to power and ensure that someone capable was leading the war. Arrogant? Yes. Evil? Certainly. But in a way that made the DM dub me a magnificant bastard... rather than some ax-crazy, violent psychopath.

Had the game not broke up due to our DM moving... I've been told the climax of the campaign would have involved the group finding out about my deeds. I'm actually sorry they didn't. It would have been cool for karma to catch up to me. Then again, my wizard was very persuasive... He may have been able to convince them that it WAS in fact, for the best. Or they would have killed me, which I would have been just as happy with for an end. I was, after all... an evil, manipulative bastard.

Blackfang108
2008-09-12, 11:41 AM
Plus, there's also OOC deterents to that behavior.

We call it "The Obedience Stick."

Also, I've found threatening to call in debts owned as due to be an effective deterrent.

Lycar
2008-09-12, 04:28 PM
I
My personal favorite evil character, I think, did evil VERY well.

His story, spoilered for length. *snip*

*sniff* Bravo, this was.. beautiful. In an evil way of course but... wow.

Yes, this is exactly what evil should be about. Not about bringing grief and suffering into the world for git and shiggles but to be ... ruthlessly efficient. To do what your character believes must be done, no matter what.

That is what i liked about the old Werewolf the Apocalypse game so much: You were saving the world, dammit. And if that means, some (or many) humans have to be culled, then be it. Yes, you can be the savior of the world and still be a total jerk. Or asshat. Or mass-murderer for that matter. Of course, it also made playing a character who at least tried to be good(ish) so much more worthwhile.

But that is the problem i have with the new setting. The new wolves are pretty much just doing what they have been doing since the beginning of time: They hunt. That their hunting just happens to keep the balance between the worlds is just a beneficial coincidence. No heroics for you. :smallannoyed:

Lycar

Draz74
2008-09-12, 06:22 PM
What makes Superman good is very simple: he treats everyone the same. He is as careful to respect Lex Luthor's rights as he is to respect Lois Lane's. What makes Lex Luthor evil is that he only respects his own rights, and no one else's.

Whatever. Lois is Superman's main weakness; there is no way he treats her similar to the way he treats anyone else. He will risk many human lives to save Lois. (Of course, with the comic being what it is, said risk will never turn out to be a loss -- he'll manage to save them all. But he still risked them for Lois's sake.)

Not that this invalidates your greater point. Superman, even though I don't like him, is a Good-aligned character. You can have a moral weakness (e.g. having Lois be more important to you than your Good principles) and still be, overall, a Good character. And having partially-selfish motivations for good acts is, indeed, a sign of sanity and doesn't keep those acts from being good.


Campaign idea: Evil party where each character has an emphasis in one of the deadly sins. You really only need 6 players because Sloth stays home a lot.

It sounds like you're tired of Pride and Wrath, but I think the others have some interesting potential.

Awwww, but Sloth is the most fun! :smallfrown:

No, actually, that sounds like it could be pretty entertaining. Although personally I have a hard time seeing an otherwise-good character defined by a crippling Gluttony as "Evil" rather than Neutral.

chiasaur11
2008-09-12, 07:21 PM
Whatever. Lois is Superman's main weakness; there is no way he treats her similar to the way he treats anyone else. He will risk many human lives to save Lois. (Of course, with the comic being what it is, said risk will never turn out to be a loss -- he'll manage to save them all. But he still risked them for Lois's sake.)

Not that this invalidates your greater point. Superman, even though I don't like him, is a Good-aligned character. You can have a moral weakness (e.g. having Lois be more important to you than your Good principles) and still be, overall, a Good character. And having partially-selfish motivations for good acts is, indeed, a sign of sanity and doesn't keep those acts from being good.



Awwww, but Sloth is the most fun! :smallfrown:

No, actually, that sounds like it could be pretty entertaining. Although personally I have a hard time seeing an otherwise-good character defined by a crippling Gluttony as "Evil" rather than Neutral.

What about someone who favors all seven?

MartinHarper
2008-09-13, 05:32 AM
I have a hard time seeing an otherwise-good character defined by a crippling Gluttony as "Evil" rather than Neutral.

Gluttony uses too many resources, hurting others. She buys the town's entire harvest, because she wants dinner, and leaves the rest rotting in a barn while the townsfolk starve to death. She burns a forest to the ground, because it interferes with her view of the hills.
In an adventuring group, she spends all the party's treasure on Ale and Whores, leaving them unable to pay to cure Sloth's disease. When they find a wand of lightning, she uses up all the charges on the dungeon wall, because she likes the sound it makes.

Paragon Badger
2008-09-13, 05:51 AM
Campaign idea: Evil party where each character has an emphasis in one of the deadly sins. You really only need 6 players because Sloth stays home a lot.

It sounds like you're tired of Pride and Wrath, but I think the others have some interesting potential.

Actually, I think that's a good idea...

Don't be surprised if you see that in the recruitment forum anytime soon. ^_^

I'm not so much tired of pride and wrath so much as villiany for its' own sake, or smugness for its' own sake.