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    Question Evil vs. Being a ****

    So, I've been the DM for a while in a campaign with my friends, and we usually get along all pretty well, except for one thing.

    We have a chaotic neutral rogue and a paladin in our party. As players, they are about as opposite as you can get, and the paladin always complains about the things I let the rogue get away with for the terms of breaking laws or just being mean. You see, the rogue has a tendency to steal from the party (Which we do by him rolling where I can see while others aren't looking and me rolling the other character's opposing checks), steal things from anywhere he can get them (Including a temple to Heironeous once), and just overall being a **** to the Pally and somewhat to the party.

    The paladin has always argued I should make the rogue have an alignment shift, but I don't see these acts as evil. They are simply things he does out of greed, not out of malicious intent.

    This wouldn't be a problem, except for the fact that the reason the pally is like that is his father, who is a D&D vet (Been playing since Red Box first came out) has made him think this way. Said father is going to be our DM for a campaign we're starting very soon, where I and the rogue plan to most likely both be chaotic neutral.

    So, two questions:

    1. Is there a fine line between being a **** or having a lust for money and evil?

    And 2. How do I explain or justify it to our resident Paladins (His dad played a Pally whenever available)?

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    Default Re: Evil vs. Being a ****

    Evil is (among other things) selfish acts that benefit the person at severe cost to others, without their consent. Someone who is greedy but not evil might frequent casinos, hoping to win big, or take on dangerous and shady jobs that promise a big pay-out. Stealing from your comrades in arms isn't just evil, but downright stupid, because they have no reason not to eject the rogue from the party (and into a prison cell).
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    Default Re: Evil vs. Being a ****

    I wouldn't say he's acting totally out of alignment. Is the questionable behavior confined to just theft? If it is I wouldn't worry about it to much even at just theft it would be safe to say its bordering on neutral evil.
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    Default Re: Evil vs. Being a ****

    Is the New DM taking over the current plot? If yes, discuss this with him beforehand, that the gods of your setting draw a line between "Selfish" and "Evil", where "Evil" means "Malicious intent". If not, play your characters like you want to. If he alignment changes you from N to E, roll with it. Don't argue, that's how his setting works. You'll save a lot of time and aggrivation.

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    Default Re: Evil vs. Being a ****

    The word 'antihero' comes to mind. The rogue is stealing out of self-interest or perhaps his own reasons, not the intent to cause harm.

    That said, stealing from the party is not a wise thing to do.

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    Default Re: Evil vs. Being a ****

    The only problem isn't theft. I'm having troubles thinking of some examples, but he does things that would piss other people off, while not necessarily being evil.

    I can think of a single example:
    Once, in another campaign, he weakened the leather straps on the fighters armor so when he put it on, it fell off. It was for a joke, and I didn't consider that evil. However, if were to have done it and then not help the fighter when he was in battle, I would have considered it evil, as he is causing the fighter's death.

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    Default Re: Evil vs. Being a ****

    Quote Originally Posted by Acanous View Post
    Is the New DM taking over the current plot? If yes, discuss this with him beforehand, that the gods of your setting draw a line between "Selfish" and "Evil", where "Evil" means "Malicious intent". If not, play your characters like you want to. If he alignment changes you from N to E, roll with it. Don't argue, that's how his setting works. You'll save a lot of time and aggrivation.
    Seconding this. Arguing with the DM is not a good move, generally speaking.
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    Default Re: Evil vs. Being a ****

    In a setting like D&D that has far more serious evils, I'd consider mere theft Chaotic Neutral. Stealing from party members is closer to Chaotic Stupid, though. If he's ever discovered, he will lose the most valuable thing he has: his allies.

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    Default Re: Evil vs. Being a ****

    Why, if he's being such a D-bag, do the other members of the party put up with him?

    I understand why the players put up with the rogue's player; they're all friends (presumably) and there to have a good time; but it makes no sense for people to put themselves in life-and-death situations with someone they cannot trust.

    I'd've called out the player, OOC mind, for douchy behavior by now.

    "It's how my character would act" is not a valid reason for this sort of behavior. It's just an excuse, and a flimsy one at that. You choose your characters' actions. He cannot choose them for himself, because he doesn't frakking exist. Choose less douchy actions, or he will have an unfortunate accident.

    The above paragraph is what I'd say to your player, word for word, if I was in your place.

    On the original question though, the line between d-bag and evil d-bag is whether or not you're knowingly and willfully causing harm to others with your thefts.
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    Default Re: Evil vs. Being a ****

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    Why, if he's being such a D-bag, do the other members of the party put up with him?

    I understand why the players put up with the rogue's player; they're all friends (presumably) and there to have a good time; but it makes no sense for people to put themselves in life-and-death situations with someone they cannot trust.

    I'd've called out the player, OOC mind, for douchy behavior by now.

    "It's how my character would act" is not a valid reason for this sort of behavior. It's just an excuse, and a flimsy one at that. You choose your characters' actions. He cannot choose them for himself, because he doesn't frakking exist. Choose less douchy actions, or he will have an unfortunate accident.

    The above paragraph is what I'd say to your player, word for word, if I was in your place.

    On the original question though, the line between d-bag and evil d-bag is whether or not you're knowingly and willfully causing harm to others with your thefts.
    Right, it’s the player being a “richard’ not the PC. Stealing from the party is pretty bad. D&D is a cooperative game.

    Just tell the player to “stop it”.
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    Default Re: Evil vs. Being a ****

    Quote Originally Posted by Acanous View Post
    Is the New DM taking over the current plot? If yes, discuss this with him beforehand, that the gods of your setting draw a line between "Selfish" and "Evil", where "Evil" means "Malicious intent". If not, play your characters like you want to. If he alignment changes you from N to E, roll with it. Don't argue, that's how his setting works. You'll save a lot of time and aggrivation.
    It's his own campaign, but I'm just trying to help my friend out. I don't have a problem with the shifts, but I want to get the two (Evil and dickhattery) sorted out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    Why, if he's being such a D-bag, do the other members of the party put up with him?

    I understand why the players put up with the rogue's player; they're all friends (presumably) and there to have a good time; but it makes no sense for people to put themselves in life-and-death situations with someone they cannot trust.

    I'd've called out the player, OOC mind, for douchy behavior by now.

    "It's how my character would act" is not a valid reason for this sort of behavior. It's just an excuse, and a flimsy one at that. You choose your characters' actions. He cannot choose them for himself, because he doesn't frakking exist. Choose less douchy actions, or he will have an unfortunate accident.

    The above paragraph is what I'd say to your player, word for word, if I was in your place.

    On the original question though, the line between d-bag and evil d-bag is whether or not you're knowingly and willfully causing harm to others with your thefts.
    I have no problem with the player doing as much, and it's not something he does every day. The party has taken action back against him and all, and I tend to let my characters do as they please in the terms of role playing.

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    Default Re: Evil vs. Being a ****

    Quote Originally Posted by ABEW19043 View Post
    So, I've been the DM for a while in a campaign with my friends, and we usually get along all pretty well, except for one thing.

    We have a chaotic neutral rogue and a paladin in our party. As players, they are about as opposite as you can get, and the paladin always complains about the things I let the rogue get away with for the terms of breaking laws or just being mean. You see, the rogue has a tendency to steal from the party (Which we do by him rolling where I can see while others aren't looking and me rolling the other character's opposing checks), steal things from anywhere he can get them (Including a temple to Heironeous once), and just overall being a **** to the Pally and somewhat to the party.

    That, right there!
    The rogue player is being the typical d*****bag a**hole I-can-do-anything-because-I'm-chaotic-neutral. Playing a rogue does not give you license to steal everything not nailed down and take out the nails of things that are. Tell the a**wipe to knock it off or don't come back. His fun does not take priority over anyone else's. He controls his character. The character does not control him. The player is choosing to be a f***tard. If he is incapable of changing his behavior, allowing for retiring his rogue and play a new character without requiring him to be a saint, then kick his tuchus out the door, and I wouldn't say no to doing that literally.

    The DM needs a smack upside the head as well for enabling such behavior.

    I've long since lost any patience with such players. They get no respect from me.

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    Default Re: Evil vs. Being a ****

    In the wise words of one poster here:

    Quote Originally Posted by Krellen View Post
    Remember, Evil isn't "selfish". It's Evil. "Look out for number one" is a Neutral attitude. Evil looks out for number one while crushing number two.
    Taking a larger share of treasure, playing harmless but unappreciated pranks, and stuff like that which benefits you but doesn't actually harm other people is a neutral thing to do. Stealing from your friends for the lulz, playing jokes that can actively get people killed, and stuff like that which benefits you and harms others is definitely an evil thing to do.

    Now, performing lots of minor evil actions doesn't necessarily make you an evil character. A fine, honorable, upstanding person with a kleptomania problem won't drop from LG to CE for stealing a few purses. Someone who commits these acts knowingly, repeatedly, and unrepentantly, however, should expect to see an alignment shift.
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    Default Re: Evil vs. Being a ****

    Every single word that Kelb Panthera said. And several other users, but Kelb put it pretty much like I also would have said it.

    Whether officially D&D-sanctioned "evil" or not, that Pally or in fact anyone else would have my blessing to knock that Rogue into the middle of next week... in parts.
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    Default Re: Evil vs. Being a ****

    I've always had a huge problem with players using their PC's alignment as a justification to be awful people.

    Our games at home have had some very very similar circumstances, particularly with a player ganking an entire level's worth of wealth from the party and hiding it from them.

    I love playing an evil character because it feels a little more realistic to me, but there's always a way for an evil PC and a good party to get along just fine. Arguements and conflicts can show the evil distinction without shafting the party or wrecking the plot/game.

    In the case of a greedy PC, I usually play them as covetting their share of the loot, refusing to spend money helping someone else, offering to loan it to another PC with some interest if needed, going the extra mile to loot things (prying sconces off the walls, etc). Not stealing from the party.

    The way I explained it to our resident klepto was like this: Taking money from the party puts them at a disadvantage on their WBL, making future encounters unnecessarily more difficult if not nearly impossible to overcome. It weakens the entire party, meaning it puts your PC in danger, no matter how he spends that money. Completely ignoring the OOC side of life, where it's totally a **** move, IC it's only going to hurt you in the long run.

    His reply was that his PC followed his own god, Greedocious, and the next session his PC snuck off in the middle of the night to join the bad guys as an NPC, taking all the wealth he stole from the party with him. As he spent literally 45 seconds explaining this to everyone, he smiled and whipped out a new character sheet, already completed, (and this really galled me) at the new level of the party, who'd just gained a level, with the full WBL for the new level.

    Needless to say, he doesn't play with us anymore.

    I've had a lot of experience playing an evil character amongst good-guys, and I've never had a problem with stepping on [Good] toes, there's always a way around it, and any action in the world can be justified from every single spectrum of the alignment. As I and many others have said many times (even in this thread), "It's what my character would do" is never an excuse. Unless it's the specific purpose of the game in question, players playing [Evil] as "I kill/rape/defecate on/steal from/insult everything with a pulse and many things without" always strikes me as...sad.
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    Default Re: Evil vs. Being a ****

    Quote Originally Posted by ABEW19043 View Post
    It's his own campaign, but I'm just trying to help my friend out. I don't have a problem with the shifts, but I want to get the two (Evil and dickhattery) sorted out.



    I have no problem with the player doing as much, and it's not something he does every day. The party has taken action back against him and all, and I tend to let my characters do as they please in the terms of role playing.
    I understand where you're coming from. I really do. You don't want to be "that control freak DM."

    I'm pretty laid back as a DM myself. Very much an almost anything goes kinda guy in general really. But there are some things that are outright unacceptable.

    Stealing gear from the party, unless you were in on one of my evil DM kicks (they always get their gear back in the long run, btw), is simply not to be tolerated.

    Generally playing a wholly unlikeable character is borderline at best.

    Seriously, If I was that paladin I'd've ganked him myself by now, falling be-damned. (assuming I couldn't get the other PC's to just ditch him in the woods one night.)


    Ultimately though, this is an out of character problem that should be handled out of character.
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    Default Re: Evil vs. Being a ****

    I should probably note that the Rogue doesn't steal ALL their gold.
    He usually does enough so they end up being like 10 or 20 gp short of the item they wanted, and he generally lends them that with a little interest. Also, he never spends the gold he gets extra, and really does help the party.

    I feel like I was only showing the bad sides of him. He does it simply and only to be a ****, just for the fun of it.

    He has also on multiple occasions, bought another party member new equipment (albeit with their gold) and gave it to them on the incentive of doing something stupid or demeaning (Which especially gets funny with the Paladin)

    He makes sure no one is hideously underequipped, but, like I said, steals for the fun and the jokes

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    Default Re: Evil vs. Being a ****

    Quote Originally Posted by ABEW19043 View Post
    1. Is there a fine line between being a **** or having a lust for money and evil?
    2. How do I explain or justify it to our resident Paladins (His dad played a Pally whenever available)?
    1. No, it's actually a pretty broad line. You can lust for money and evil and be absolutely charming. And you can be "good" and still be an obnoxious jerk.

    2. You can't. Would you hang out with someone who stole from you and played the kind of "jokes" the rogue does? Would you go into combat or similarly risky situations with that person? Why should the rest of the party (not just the paladin) do so?

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    Default Re: Evil vs. Being a ****

    Quote Originally Posted by ABEW19043 View Post
    I should probably note that the Rogue doesn't steal ALL their gold.
    He usually does enough so they end up being like 10 or 20 gp short of the item they wanted, and he generally lends them that with a little interest. Also, he never spends the gold he gets extra, and really does help the party.

    I feel like I was only showing the bad sides of him. He does it simply and only to be a ****, just for the fun of it.

    He has also on multiple occasions, bought another party member new equipment (albeit with their gold) and gave it to them on the incentive of doing something stupid or demeaning (Which especially gets funny with the Paladin)

    He makes sure no one is hideously underequipped, but, like I said, steals for the fun and the jokes
    Then the player is playing a very dangerous game both in and out of character.

    People will only take so much of this sort of behavior. I'd wager the paladin's player has more than had his fill, judging by the fact he's trying to get the guy tagged as evil.

    Is there nothing in the way the paladin phrases his argument that says, "I want to smite the crap out of this jerkwad, but he's not evil and I might fall."? I bet if you read between the lines, you'll find that very message.

    The bottom line is this; if everybody's cool with it, then it's fine. If anybody's not cool with it, it's a problem that needs to be addressed. You know your players better than I do, so you'll be the one to have to make that call, but I strongly advise you to be honest with yourself and your players on this matter, and if there is a problem to deal with it firmly before it blossoms into a genuine conflict between your friends.

    I've got a friend like that, my best friend in fact, but I'd put a stop to this sort of behavior from go. The inter-personal strife it causes isn't worth it just for him to get his jollies.
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    Default Re: Evil vs. Being a ****

    Quote Originally Posted by ABEW19043 View Post
    I should probably note that the Rogue doesn't steal ALL their gold.
    He usually does enough so they end up being like 10 or 20 gp short of the item they wanted, and he generally lends them that with a little interest. Also, he never spends the gold he gets extra, and really does help the party.

    I feel like I was only showing the bad sides of him. He does it simply and only to be a ****, just for the fun of it.

    He has also on multiple occasions, bought another party member new equipment (albeit with their gold) and gave it to them on the incentive of doing something stupid or demeaning (Which especially gets funny with the Paladin)

    He makes sure no one is hideously underequipped, but, like I said, steals for the fun and the jokes
    Now, while I dislike stealing from all and sundry ... it is a chaotic (read: anti-law) act, and not an evil act.

    But this clarification shows that he is not stealing for the money. He is stealing specifically in order to hurt people. He finds pleasure in the suffering of others. That's evil.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post

    "It's how my character would act" is not a valid reason for this sort of behavior. It's just an excuse, and a flimsy one at that. You choose your characters' actions. He cannot choose them for himself, because he doesn't frakking exist. Choose less douchy actions, or he will have an unfortunate accident.
    The problem with "it's how my character would act" is it imposes meta-gaming friendship limitations on the other players. If a character is caught stealing from his party-mates, then, from a role-playing perspective, the other characters can either punish him, expel him from the party, or leave the party themselves. The sole reason the players' characters cannot do these actions is because the other player, not the character, would have a fit. It is essentially using metagaming to have your cake and eat it too.

    In this instance, the paladin cannot walk away from the party, which is what a goody-goody two-shoes paladin would probably do, because of real-life friendship.

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    Default Re: Evil vs. Being a ****

    Quote Originally Posted by snoopy13a View Post
    The problem with "it's how my character would act" is it imposes meta-gaming friendship limitations on the other players. If a character is caught stealing from his party-mates, then, from a role-playing perspective, the other characters can either punish him, expel him from the party, or leave the party themselves. The sole reason the players' characters cannot do these actions is because the other player, not the character, would have a fit. It is essentially using metagaming to have your cake and eat it too.

    In this instance, the paladin cannot walk away from the party, which is what a goody-goody two-shoes paladin would probably do, because of real-life friendship.
    I very much get that. The paragraph you quoted was me speaking as a DM, not as a player. Unfortunate accident, in this case, means "rocks fall....." or "of the damndest luck, a rogue meteroid the size of a golf-ball impacts the very spot your character is standing. No ref save because you're flat-footed and you take 1345d6 damage. Everyone else is blown clear with only minor scuffs and bruises."

    Edit: now that I read it, I suppose the latter option there is still effectively rock falls.
    Last edited by Kelb_Panthera; 2012-10-24 at 08:34 PM.
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    Default Re: Evil vs. Being a ****

    My personal favourite is still tossed up between a 'random' encounter purely and solely going for one target (bounty hunter, assassin, etc) and the good old lightning strike.

    Edit: Or possibly convincing ythe rest of the party to betray him. Eg. "I found a trap? I step back and let [party member] go right over the pressure plate."
    Last edited by Kane0; 2012-10-24 at 09:09 PM.

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    Default Re: Evil vs. Being a ****

    I'm against dm's taking a stance in a meta way in their game. Then again if there are npc's that are affected then it's realistic to have them take precautions and then take action when necessary.

    I also don't think that the other pc's would be wrong to take precautions when stuff goes missing.

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    Default Re: Evil vs. Being a ****

    Your problem player is expecting the other players to put up with his character's shenanigans because "that's how my character would act."

    The thing is, laying down the law regardless of personal friendship is absolutely how a Paladin would act. I wouldn't bet a dime that the player would be okay with his character getting thrown in jail, if it came to that.
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  26. - Top - End - #26
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Evil vs. Being a ****

    Quote Originally Posted by Telonius View Post
    Your problem player is expecting the other players to put up with his character's shenanigans because "that's how my character would act."

    The thing is, laying down the law regardless of personal friendship is absolutely how a Paladin would act. I wouldn't bet a dime that the player would be okay with his character getting thrown in jail, if it came to that.
    Just for the record, he has and would. He's perfectly fine with the consequences of his actions.

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Evil vs. Being a ****

    Any chance you could get the problem rogue to throw a spin on what he does? Basically, he steals from party members, but returns it later. Inbetween however, he basically asks 'what do you/we do if x thing happened/was taken'? Basically, to think like a wizard. If I am getting alignments right, neutral may sometimes 'just talk' ahead of time and sometimes 'just do it'. Lawful being the 'just talk' route and chaotic being 'just do it' route.
    Last edited by animewatcha; 2012-10-24 at 10:18 PM.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Felyndiira's Avatar

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    Default Re: Evil vs. Being a ****

    Coming from this problem in a very different angle (free-form roleplays), it is very much possible for one character to not be cooperative with the rest of the party and for the entire table to still have an enjoyable roleplaying experience. It really depends on what the players at your table is looking for: inter-party conflicts can lead to a bad gaming experience if your players just wants to roll some dice and kill some monsters, but character development and a richer RP experience can result from such in-context acts if all of your players (including the rogue player himself) are willing to do so.

    Take the paladin, for instance: does he ever catch the rogue in his actions? If he does, and knows/infers that this has been happening repeatedly behind his back, this could lead to an in-context philosophical argument between the rogue player and the paladin. Even if the paladin doesn't notice normally, if both players would be okay with it, you can give him or other members a Spot = YES check once or twice to make sure this comes to the attention of someone else so that the roleplaying can initiate.

    From what you described, the rogue player is okay with going to prison for what he's doing. This shows that he's not just a selfish player and is more than willing to play out the consequences of his actions. If this is the case, and if the party is willing to go along with it, I don't see any problems with resolving this entire situation in-game.


    As for the evil discussion, one thing to remember is that Robin Hood is generally considered to be chaotic good despite stealing from the rich and giving it to the poor. In the rogue's case, consider the following:

    • Is he willing to, in full conscious and with full awareness, steal the last stocks of food from a starving peasant? THIS is an evil act, as it shows callous disregard for another human being.
    • How much does he steal from the party. Does he take so much that the others have trouble buying necessary equipment? If so, does he acknowledge this when confronted, and doesn't care about his actions? This is a bit more questionable, but can very easily be construed as evil.
    • Does he steal like a few GP here and there to buy drinks? If this is the case, consider robin hood as an example; the rogue may have decreased the quality of life for his party members by a bit for selfish purposes, although even Robin Hood takes a share of his spoils. It's not an act that callously disregards life.
    • Does the rogue understand the consequences of his actions?


    Now, D&D is a bit more silly about evil (for example, casting death watch or protection against good is apparently an evil act despite harming no one), so I could easily see minor stealing being construed as an evil act despite it not being anywhere close to a callous disrespect of life. However, stealing a few GP from an otherwise wealthy party or stealing stuff from a likely very wealthy temple (good god or not) is NOT showing a callous disregard for human life; it's selfish, but not destructive, so ultimately does not concretely fall within the realm of an evil act.

    A GM is free to interpret stealing as evil, though; I would make sure the players know about the new DM's disposition towards this so that there aren't any GM-player hostilities, although as long as you're the DM, the evilness of simple stealing is not set-in-stone at all.

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Medic!'s Avatar

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    Default Re: Evil vs. Being a ****

    Stealing could fall just about anywhere on the alignment checker-board, depending on circumstances and motivation.

    Guy walks into a man's shack, opens his top dresser drawer, takes out a pouch with some gold in it, walks out the door.

    He was:

    Lawfully collecting back-taxes

    Chaotically...well....walking into a mans house, going through his undies drawer, and taking his money

    Evilly depriving a poor man of his bread money for the month

    Good..ily? taking the man's salary to go buy food for him before the recovering alcholic squanders it all on hookers and blow. Again.

    Neutral....meh
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  30. - Top - End - #30
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Evil vs. Being a ****

    So: The rogue isn't being evil, no. Many people seem not to like this character out-of hand. I can say, this type of role-play works great in the right group(see: me and my group. I rob them blind in character, but the DM and I don't hide it from them, and then they stick it to me in character and we all have a great laugh.)

    However. Keep in mind that the Rogue has a GREAT excuse in-character to rob the group blind. he's a selfish character. Play him that way. Keep in mind, however, that his group is made up of seasoned veteran adventurers. These kind of people have learned that their life is on the line ALL THE TIME. As a DM you should keep in mind, the Rogue may not be Evil, but that doesn't mean that a seasoned neutral character isn't going to expel him from the party or flat-out coup-de-grace his ass the first night he's sleeping after they catch him. He's a liability, not a help.

    If the rogue can reasonably role-play being an ass to the party, the party can reasonably role-play that there is no way they as characters would be caught dead with said rogue.

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