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    Default Compliance Will Be Rewarded: A Guide to Lawful Evil

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    I have been told, upon occasion, that my skill at communicating my alignment of choice borders on the unnatural. That my uncanny ability to explain why someone would choose Lawful Evil, in such a manner that people seriously consider pursuing it, is creepy and mildly sociopathic. That I might very well be the incarnation of Asmodeus himself. I would like to dash these rumors, once and for all.

    The next person to repeat one of these rumors will be summarily executed.

    There! Rumors dashed.




    Compliance Will Be Rewarded
    A Guide to Lawful Evil


    "The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants."
    - Albert Camus


    I. Introduction

    As of this writing, at least two such guides exist; one for Chaotic Evil, one for Chaotic Good.

    Obviously, this one will prove itself superior in short order. That's easy when you have superior subject matter to cover.

    The goal of this guide is to give a broad overview of the nuance, value, and entertainment to be found in the Lawful Evil alignment. Whether you are a DM hoping to make your villains more compelling, or a player who wishes to learn how to make a helpful yet sinister player character, this guide will offer you advice and tools to help construct complex, well-rounded Lawful Evil characters.



    II. What is Lawful Evil?

    Wizards of the Coast has defined the Lawful Evil alignment as follows:
    Quote Originally Posted by Lawful Evil, "Dominator"
    A lawful evil villain methodically takes what he wants within the limits of his code of conduct without regard for whom it hurts. He cares about tradition, loyalty, and order but not about freedom, dignity, or life. He plays by the rules but without mercy or compassion. He is comfortable in a hierarchy and would like to rule, but is willing to serve. He condemns others not according to their actions but according to race, religion, homeland, or social rank. He is loath to break laws or promises.

    This reluctance comes partly from his nature and partly because he depends on order to protect himself from those who oppose him on moral grounds. Some lawful evil villains have particular taboos, such as not killing in cold blood (but having underlings do it) or not letting children come to harm (if it can be helped). They imagine that these compunctions put them above unprincipled villains.

    Some lawful evil people and creatures commit themselves to evil with a zeal like that of a crusader committed to good. Beyond being willing to hurt others for their own ends, they take pleasure in spreading evil as an end unto itself. They may also see doing evil as part of a duty to an evil deity or master.

    Lawful evil is sometimes called "diabolical," because devils are the epitome of lawful evil.

    Lawful evil is the most dangerous alignment because it represents methodical, intentional, and frequently successful evil.
    Ordinarily, I say that Wizards of the Coast doesn't know the first thing about alignments. In this case, though? It's a start.

    But let's continue with a few guidelines. Here are some points that Lawful Evil should keep in mind.

    1. Power. Power is everything. Evil is all about power - who has it, and over whom. Lawful Evil is all about how you use it. Power is control. The only way to gain power is to take it or exchange it. All things come down to power. Leadership is an exchange of power - you hold power to command your followers, but they hold power to command your loyalty. Friendship is an exchange of power - you grant your friends power over you, and together you have more power than you possess alone. That's how the Lawful Evil mind works. It all comes back to power.

    2. Rules. Lawful alignments deal with rules. Lawful Evil's sense of rules is part of what makes it the most respectable, approachable Evil alignment. You need to define those rules. Perhaps your character has a pronounced sense of honor or fair play. Perhaps he never breaks a promise or contract. Perhaps he never harms the truly innocent, only those who, in his mind, deserve it. Whatever his principles, keep them in mind in all things. Your character's principles are a major part of what makes him truly compelling. And should your character ever truly violate those principles? Nothing should give the world worse nightmares than that thought.

    3. Respectability. You may fear Lawful Evil. You may hate it. But no matter what, you can't help but respect it. Consider this: The Church of Hextor is one of the only canon Evil religions that operates openly. How can it afford to do so? It creates order. It eliminates crime, poverty, and chaos. It promotes a regimen of physical fitness and ethical obligation. In many ways, it makes the lives of those within its iron grip better. Those who seek to liberate a city from the Church of Hextor must acknowledge the fact that, without it, the lives of those citizens would be chaotic, brutish, nasty... And short.

    After a brief recess, we'll discuss a few of my favorite archetypes.
    Last edited by Red Fel; 2015-10-06 at 09:37 PM.
    My headache medicine has a little "Ex" inscribed on the pill. It's not a brand name; it's an indicator that it works inside an Anti-Magic Field.

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    Default Re: Compliance Will Be Rewarded: A Guide to Lawful Evil

    III. Archetypes


    In this section, I shall discuss some of the more colorful characters you're likely to encounter as you plumb the depths of the alignment spectrum.

    1. The Prince



    "You're far too trusting. Dantooine is too remote to make an effective demonstration - but don't worry; we will deal with your rebel friends soon enough."
    - Grand Moff Tarkin, Star Wars

    The Prince is a leader of men. His principle virtue is the unity he inspires in his underlings. He is cool and collected, and his presence is an inspiration to his forces and a chilling grip on the hearts of his foes. He views all he surveys with a covetous eye, and tolerates nothing less than total success. What distinguishes him from ordinary leaders is, among other things, his alignment. He is LE with an emphasis on the E; powerful and ruthless, but not above petty cruelty and shows of force. Unlike those who promote strength through order, he does it through fear, taking pleasure in the destruction and terror he leaves in his wake.

    However, he is no petty brigand; he is a man of rank and stature. He holds counsel, respects the advice of those who serve him, and carries himself with a fitting demeanor. This does not mean he is above having them savagely executed for their mistakes, or cracking the whip when they produce anything less than perfection.

    Despite the name, the Prince need not be royalty. He could be a general, or any other leader of men. He gravitates naturally towards positions of leadership, however.

    2. The Bureaucrat



    "Every evil tyrant has a plan to rule the world. The good people don't seem to have the knack."
    - Havelock Vetinari, Discworld

    The Bureaucrat is the necessary Evil. His principle virtue is that he is indispensable. Although he may not want it, and although others may not want it either, he is the best man for the job, and he feels enough obligation to do it. He is LE with an emphasis on the L, although the E will often creep in, whether it involves him taking a bit too much glee in sentencing a man to death, or making a harsh observation about others as he goes about his duty.

    One of the more fascinating facets of the Bureaucrat is just how good he is at his job. He may take pleasure in few things, but he takes pride in doing his work well. His work can be anything, too; the Bureaucrat need not be a paper-pusher. He may be a leader in his own right, or simply an underling. But whatever the case, the unique thing about this character is that he doesn't necessarily want the power he possesses. Not every LE needs to have great, lofty ambitions. Despite what he wants, however, the Bureaucrat does what he needs to do.

    3. The Dark Knight



    "No, she couldn't. Never. And sooner or later, Glory will reemerge and make Buffy pay for that mercy, and the world with her. Buffy even knows that, and still she couldn't take a human life. She's a hero, you see. She's not like us."
    - Rupert Giles, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    The Dark Knight is one of the most playable LE character concepts. His principle virtue is his comradery, for there is no truer friend than the one who would literally go to Hell for you. And that's precisely who the Dark Knight is - a person who, in pursuit of the loftiest ideals, is willing to plunge into the depths of immorality. His principles are what separates him from the monsters, and as such, he is LE with an emphasis on the L. He may be willing to get his hands dirty, but he won't cross certain lines.

    Dark Knights are a wonderful choice in a party, even a party of Good characters, because they tend to put others before themselves. One would think this a fairly un-LE trait, but arbitrary alignment being what it is, it works. To make such a character even more compelling, consider making him a gentle soul, inwardly mourning each step he feels he must take to protect that about which he cares.

    Some people may desire a bit less moral ambiguity for a character like this. That's fair; as I've mentioned, much of what qualifies him as Evil is simply the arbitrary nature of D&D morality. By almost any other metric, he comes across as more of a tragic hero or anti-hero. If you wish to remove that ambiguity, the easy solution is simply to follow the rationale of "those who fight monsters." Have him take just a little too much satisfaction from resorting to dirtier methods, or have him use violence as a first resort, rather than a last one. That readiness, nay, desire to get his hands dirty is what pushes a character like this from Neutral into Evil.

    Now, you may take issue with my use of Rupert Giles in this illustration. I would agree that, generally, the character is more G than E, and frequently more C than L. However, what I chose to illustrate with the above quote is that particular moment in the character of Giles; the particular mindset illustrated in that brief window of time. Giles is ordinarily a character who wants to do good by those in his charge, by his Slayer and those for whom he feels a responsibility. That's the L. In that moment, however, he does so by murdering a helpless target in a cold, pragmatic, and deliberate fashion. That's the E - that willingness to do the worst possible thing for the best possible reason.

    4. The Dragon



    "What is thy bidding, my master?"
    - Darth Vader, Star Wars

    The Dark Knight serves a lofty ideal, or his friends. The Dragon serves a greater Evil, and does so with slavish obedience. Like the Dark Knight, he is LE with an emphasis on the L, but unlike the Dark Knight, he will not hesitate in his duty. He may feel some compunction about what he does, but ultimately, his faith is in his dark master.

    The Dragon is a perfect example of how LE need not be the biggest, baddest thing in the room. Some Dragons are quite content to serve, deriving satisfaction from having a function. They can be played as cold, emotionless automatons, or as tragic figures, enslaved to their fate. They can even be played as confused innocents, happy to serve, and uncomprehending of their callous acts. Unlike many on this list, because the focus of their character is on obedience, they can be quite prone to switching sides when it is revealed how ill-placed their loyalty can be. And while some on this list have been known to betray, the Dragon is one of the few who may switch alignments as a result thereof.

    5. The Executive



    "Revenge, as they say, is a sucker's game."
    David Xanatos, Gargoyles

    The Executive is rather unique on this list. Being exceedingly ruthless, rational and self-interested, he seems LE in name only. Many Executives can come across as more LN, or NE, or even TN at times - sometimes even in the same character. Again, part of what makes him LE is simply the way arbitrary alignment works.

    The Executive values the three R's - ruthlessness, rationality, and results. The Executive doesn't indulge in stupid plans for petty reasons. He's not some sort of cartoon villain who engages in plots "for the evulz." When he does something, he does it without mercy or hesitation, but only after being quite confident in its ability to achieve his desired results.

    What makes him Evil is just how ruthless he can be. This isn't a casual failure to appreciate his immoral results, but a smirking glee at the fact that people will suffer when he gets what he wants. Similarly, what makes him Lawful is the fact that he is extraordinarily consistent. He will do what is in his best interests, and can be relied on to always be acting towards that end. This makes him surprisingly useful in a team-up, because as long as the success of others is tied to his own, you can be sure that he will invest heavily in their success.

    6. The Zealot



    "Of course you can. Just make a contract with me. And become a Magical Girl."
    - Kyubey, Puella Magi Madoka Magica

    Much like the Dark Knight, the Zealot is devoted to a cause. Indeed, that idealism is one of his chief virtues, sometimes tragically so. Unlike the Dark Knight, however, who may feel compunction about the lines he has to cross, the Zealot is remorseless to an extreme, with one of the biggest Ls on this list. His fanatical devotion to his ideal justifies all possible actions.

    Not all causes need be Evil, either. He could be devoted to saving the planet by enslaving all intelligent life. He could be devoted to preserving the memory of his people by stealing souls and using them to fuel the engine that simulates a virtual world for a dead race. He could wish to enslave a goddess to use her power to rebuild the world, having become convinced that the current world is corrupt.

    Whatever his cause, the Zealot is truly inspired by the idea. Whether his fanaticism compels others to follow him or not, it tends to make him one of the more dangerous LEs on this list. It also makes him harder to function in a party, as his devotion must remain at the forefront of his mind. Wise players are encouraged to make his cause something manageable and palatable to others.

    It is worth noting that this concept bears strong similarities to a more Chaotic concept, an extremist or radical. The important distinction between the two is that the radical will pursue his cause and passion to the exclusion and violation of other principles. For the Zealot, his cause is his principle. More than that, however, his devotion to his cause requires him to hold himself to standards. In service to his ideals, he has created a set of rules that satisfy them. For example, the Zealot who seeks to annihilate all life in order to "save" it will not allow himself to engage in needless, wanton acts of cruelty, because he believes that his goals require him to be "merciful." This is a key distinction, and one which makes the Zealot both palatable - in that he has rules - and frightening - in that you can find yourself almost sympathizing with him as a result.

    7. The Rival



    "I've no plans to call on you, Clarice. The world is more interesting with you in it."
    - Dr. Hannibal Lecter, The Silence of the Lambs

    When is an enemy not an enemy? When he is more interested in saving your life than ending it. The Rival is chivalrous, and another example of LE with an emphasis on the L. Perhaps he has decided that he is the only one who will kill you, perhaps he feels that true Evil cannot exist without true Good as its counterpoint in a sort of mystical whole, or perhaps he simply enjoys your company from time to time. Whatever the reason, the Rival doesn't want you dead.

    That doesn't mean he's not a threat.

    The Rival doesn't want to spend his time babysitting you. He may throw threats in your direction, knowing (or believing) that you can handle them. Or perhaps he'll send you clues that propel you into danger, as he takes pleasure in watching you squirm.

    The point of the Rival is that, unlike most LE characters on this list, he actually wants to see you succeed. He wants to see you overcome challenges. In some ways, he equates you with himself. You are his light reflection, the opponent he has marked as his equal. If you excel, he has an admirable challenge to overcome in facing you. If you fail, it was his mistake to assume you were worthy, which reflects badly on him. His frustration arises when you are anything less than your best. This can create a very fascinating party dynamic, where the Rival will offer praise to a capable combatant or one who shows a keen mind, and derision and abuse to those who seem to slack off. (Although, when it comes to other party members, try to keep the abuse to a minimum, as a general rule.)

    Sometimes, it's better to have an enemy as an enemy, rather than as a friend.

    8. The Cartoon



    "Curses! Foiled again!"
    - Snidely Whiplash, Rocky and Bullwinkle

    Not all LE needs to be mustache-twirling caricatures. But that doesn't mean it can't be. There is a place for everything. Perhaps your campaign has a goofy tone. Or perhaps it just needs a recurring joke antagonist. Whatever the reason, the Cartoon is there to remind you how absurd Evil can be. He is LE with an emphasis on the E, but instead of your usual "murder and pillage" Evil, he tends towards convoluted plans, elaborate traps, and absurd perils. He eagerly gloats when he is convinced that the time of victory is upon him, turns his back at the perfect moment to turn the tables, and perpetually escapes to fight another day.

    But what makes him Lawful? Well, that's easy. There are rules in cartoons. When the hero challenges you to a fair fight, you accept. When you set out to kill somebody, you use an easily escapable trap. When you have your enemy at your mercy, you explain your plan in intricate detail. You don't do the easy thing or the expedient thing. You focus on what's important. Conventions! Standards!

    Presentation!

    He is two-dimensional and ridiculous. And sometimes, that's precisely what you need.

    9. The Alien



    "Mortal brute. Whatever your past, whatever your future, know this: I am Mab, and I keep my bargains. Question my given word again, ape, and I will finish freezing the water in your eyes."
    - Queen Mab, The Dresden Files

    I just told you about how cartoonishly Evil characters have a place. I'd like to break another archetype - the Fey. Let me be clear - the actual Fey in D&D are almost universally Chaotic. But in literature, that's not always the case, and that's what I'm discussing here.

    The Alien is a being whose actions seem mad and incomprehensible to us. It appears to most observers quite Chaotic in nature. But this could not be further from the truth. The Alien is in fact bound by extremely strict rules. It is simply that these rules are so bizarre and alien as to seem random at first blush. Nonetheless, this character is so intrinsically tied to its rules and regulations that it is in many ways severely L.

    The illustration is of Queen Mab, from The Dresden Files. Fey in Dresden are precisely as I describe. They are intrinsically Lawful creatures, formed from and bound by rules which govern their existence. They cannot freely cross thresholds without certain penalties, they cannot break vows or contracts, and they absolutely cannot tell lies. Nonetheless, how they interpret what they can do is what makes them appear so mad and chaotic. This is the Alien, in its simplest essence. Its rules are absolute, but its logic borders on the incomprehensible.

    Now, as applied to LE, you simply add a level of cruelty or apparent caprice. Arrogance is a common trait here. Another method is that of the destructive helper - the one whose "aid" tends to do more harm than good. A smirk is almost ubiquitous. The ideal Alien is one whose presence, whose very awareness is enough to cause nervousness, because the worst thing you can do is draw its attention. After that, life will become a lot more complicated for you. Even if you think you understand its rules. Even if you can work around them.

    Especially then.

    10. The Bad Cop



    "Oh, you won't need any ink."
    - Dolores Umbridge, Harry Potter

    The Bad Cop is a subspecies of the Prince. Like the Prince, the Bad Cop is an abuser of power, LE with an emphasis on the E. Unlike the Prince, who is a natural and commanding leader, the Bad Cop is in many ways a follower, attaching himself to the authority in power as a means to vent his sadistic tendencies. Being a follower of the hierarchy grants him the protection and license he needs to hurt people. Despite the name, he is not necessarily employed by police. You'll find him employed running the king's torture chambers, enforcing contracts a bit too vigorously, and even running local educational institutions.

    Superficially, the Bad Cop seems to have a lot in common with the Bureaucrat. The big difference is in the emphasis. While the Bureaucrat is LE with an emphasis on L, the Bad Cop is LE with an emphasis on E. A Bureaucrat might take no particular pleasure in disemboweling a captured prisoner. For a Bad Cop, that was the reason he took the job in the first place. Done poorly, a Bad Cop will devolve into The Cartoon. Done well, a Bad Cop's evil will be visceral, intensely personal, immediately recognized ... and backed by the full force of society and law.

    It is worth noting that, unique on this list, the Bad Cop is unlikely to have any redeeming qualities, which may make him a poor choice for a player character, but an exceptionally hate-able choice for a villain or underling. At best, you could argue that, in his own twisted way, he promotes his unique view of the public good - albeit through wanton cruelty and heartlessness.
    Last edited by Red Fel; 2015-10-08 at 08:57 AM.
    My headache medicine has a little "Ex" inscribed on the pill. It's not a brand name; it's an indicator that it works inside an Anti-Magic Field.

    Blue text means sarcasm. Purple text means evil. White text is invisible.

    My signature got too big for its britches. So now it's over here!

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    Default Re: Compliance Will Be Rewarded: A Guide to Lawful Evil

    IV. Motivations



    "I see only despair..."
    Ghaleon, Lunar: Silver Star Story

    What makes a man a monster? In this section, we'll explore that question, in frightening detail.

    1. Ambition. This is by far the easiest, and one of the most iconic, among Lawful Evil's motivations. Evil covets, that's part of its nature. The Lawful Evil character with this motivation possesses an overwhelming desire, the ruthlessness to pursue it, and the orderly mind to plan for its acquisition. Most of the other motivations you'll see have some flavor of this blended into them.

    2. Vengeance. Vengeance is another classically Evil trait. Unlike retribution, which may be Good or Evil but tends to be about proportionate punishment and consequence, revenge is specifically Evil. It is the pure, selfish desire to inflict suffering on those who have wronged you. The Lawful Evil character with this motivation sets down a long, cold path with a target in his sights, and does not stop until his revenge is complete. While other flavors of Evil may have varying takes on what constitutes revenge, however, Lawful Evil's methods tend to be more methodical - and more comprehensive. Breaking your enemy physically is for amateurs. Destroying his spirit by tearing his life down around him, that's the sort of holistic plan that Lawful Evil can get behind.

    3. Loyalty. Yes, Lawful Evil can have noble motivations as well. Adequate Lawful Evil characters can stand alone, but truly great Lawful Evil characters stand with others. A leader is defined just as much by his own abilities as by those of the forces at his disposal. Why do you think the Church of Hextor can operate openly? It's because, in a strange way, it lives in symbiosis with the citizens under its thrall - it offers them protection and order, and they in turn provide it with support. Remember again, however, that loyalty doesn't just mean to followers. A Lawful Evil character can be loyal to a leader, or to his friends. This virtue can also make the character more compelling, raising him to a level of nobility some PCs lack. It's worth noting, however, that loyalty is also a shortcut to vengeance, when the subject of your loyalty is hurt or becomes unworthy of admiration.

    4. Love. Yes, Evil can feel love. In some ways, Evil feels love more profoundly and more painfully than other alignments, because love is about sacrifice and selflessness, concepts that don't come easily to Evil. So when Lawful Evil feels love, truly surrenders to it, it is with the understanding that the emotion carries with it a profound danger and vulnerability. When love is threatened, Evil is likely to respond with ruthless, disproportionate force. When true love is lost, Lawful Evil's response may well be the sort of thing associated with cataclysmic natural disasters.

    5. Duty. This is particularly true of archetypes like the Bureaucrat, Dark Knight, and Dragon - sometimes Evil is simply what must be done. Some Lawful Evil characters will feel joy or job satisfaction in the execution of their duties, while others - particularly the Dark Knight - may feel only grim futility. This is a perfect motivation for a character who favors his L to his E, a devotion to doing the right thing, even when it means doing the wrong thing. Especially then.

    6. Madness. Insanity isn't the sole province of Chaos. Nor is it only expressed in cackling and bouncing about inanely. Sometimes, madness is the cold, cruel mindset of one who can no longer see reality for what it is, but rather for what he wishes it to be. Some go mad from loss, others from frustrated idealism. Whatever the cause, madness taints the thoughts, clouds the eyes and judgments, and convinces the character that what he is doing is right, or even righteous. This doesn't make him unplayable or difficult to get along with, necessarily - a character whose delusions about the world merely color his thoughts, as opposed to compelling his hand, can still play nicely with others, provided those delusions remain unthreatened.

    7. Hatred. Everyone has their own prejudices from various sources. But when prejudice meets Evil, it becomes something more severe - hatred. Hatred may have its reasons - for example, vengeance, above - or it can be completely senseless. But much like love, hatred can motivate one to act. Hatred for a race, hatred for an ideology, hatred for heroes or criminals or dissidents. Lawful Evil will take this hatred and direct it towards a productive end, for certain definitions of "productive." In the hands of a character, it can actually establish the basis of surprisingly effective, if Lawful Evil, heroes. It's a fairly simple motivation, but with the right explanation - the right heartache, the right history, the compelling characterization that brings it all together - it can make for a very compelling character.

    8. Sadism. As has been mentioned, Evil is known for taking things to excess. Leave it to the Neutrals to impartially sentence a man to execution; the Evil character will let him suffer before he dies. A layer of this excess, of cruelty, underlies much of what an Evil character does. The Evil character motivated by sadism takes particular pleasure in this excess, wringing joy out of his everyday acts of cruelty. How much joy - and whether he makes obscene faces or sounds while experiencing it - may vary, but there is always a degree of, at the very least, satisfaction. However, sadism alone does not a satisfying motivation make - at least, not for a major villain. For lesser characters, however - minions and henchmen and the like - it can be tremendously satisfying. Picture, if you will, the recurring antagonist who shows up in the heroes' lives just long enough to make them distinctly uncomfortable, before laughing his way into an exit, stage right. That level of hedonistic pleasure - the character motivated solely by his desire to cause others to suffer - is distinctly Evil, and with the right characterization, can be focused in a Lawful direction as well. A sadist is likely to be manipulative - enjoying not only physical pain, but emotional discomfort and disturbance - and manipulators do fit in nicely with the Lawful paradigm.

    V. Methods



    "We've all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That's who we really are."
    - Sirius Black, Harry Potter

    Lawful Evil isn't merely a state of mind. It's a way of life. And like any lifestyle choice, you're going to need to walk the walk if you plan to become a card-carrying member.

    Or am I mixing my metaphors?

    1. Force. Evil is about power, and about using it. That means employing force to get what you want. But Lawful Evil doesn't merely employ brute strength. It can, mind you, when it's called for, but force is so much more than that. Force can be political influence, calling in favors and outmaneuvering opponents. Force can be social influence, influencing people by influencing those around them. It can be economic influence, such as trade, bribery, or boycotts. Whatever your chosen means, Lawful Evil must be willing to flex its iron fist, even when that fist wears a velvet glove.

    2. Cruelty. Cruelty is about doing more than is necessary. To a certain extent, this is something that distinguishes Evil from Neutral. Neutral does what it needs to, but Evil goes beyond that. Or, to paraphrase what others have said, Neutral puts Number One first, while Evil puts Number One at the expense of Number Two. Cruelty is therefore about excess. You don't need to be constantly sadistic - in fact, cruelty can have little if anything to do with causing physical pain, or even pain at all. Consider a scene in Doctor Who, in which David Tennant's Doctor, infuriated by the actions of Harriet Jones (Prime Minister), decides not only to punish her, but to completely end her career - a career which, previously, he had observed marked the beginning of a golden age for humanity. In six words, no less. Consider a later Doctor Who scene, in which Matt Smith's Doctor, having defeated the forces of an entire military base, orders the commander to order, not retreat, but "Run away," that history will always remember and mock him as "Colonel Runaway." That's what cruelty is. Lawful Evil can often employ cruelty - excessive violence, cutting observations, and so forth - both as tools and as reminders. Tools, in that few things deter an enemy more than the knowledge that retribution shall be disproportionate; reminders, in that sometimes, your party needs to remember that this character is indeed Evil.

    3. Arrogance. While frequently associated with Evil, and particularly Lawful Evil, it is imperative that you either do this right, or not at all. Arrogance can be one of the most grating and obnoxious character traits to possess. There are two rules that you absolutely must follow if you intend to play this. First, don't lord over the other player characters. Doing so is fine for an NPC, but a player character cannot survive after alienating himself from his colleagues. If you must lord over the other player characters, have your character evolve to respect them, quickly. Second, have the skills to back up the hype. Consider Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z (and the Abridged series). Although he is a poor example of Lawful Evil, he is a fine example of this second point. He frequently alternates between being a glorious badass who absolutely is the hype, and being an absurd caricature who arrives on the scene with great self-exultation, and is promptly thrashed. Repeatedly. Mercilessly. And while it is gratifying to see an ego like that deflated, it makes for poor character development to have someone with such an irrationally inflated opinion of himself.

    4. Loyalty. I cannot emphasize this enough. For a player character, Evil means being under constant scrutiny. Whether it's out of a sense of self-preservation, a sense of duty, or genuine fondness for your fellow partymembers, be loyal. Be helpful. Be productive. Be the one who can be relied upon to get things done. If you're cynical, it guarantees that the fools with whom you adventure will work to your benefit, and protect you. If you're not a complete sociopath, it means that your friends won't be forced to choose between you and your shared quest. Similarly, a Lawful Evil character should show loyalty to his underlings. Yes, he is their better and they his inferior, that's why he's on top and they are on bottom. They should be honored to serve. But a certain noblesse oblige is at play, here. You are strong when your underlings are strong. Although it is their duty to serve you, you should still endeavor to be worthy of that right. And no leader inspires underlings quite like one who recognizes and rewards their achievements, one who protects them just as they protect him.

    5. Approachability. Like Loyalty, this is an extremely valuable method. The deal-doling devil needs to come across as friendly enough to deal with, not hostile and abrasive. The leader of armies, though severe, must be able to hold counsel with his generals. And in a party, you need to be able to get close to people, whether it's to corrupt them, to destroy them, or to make an asset of them. Lawful Evil, being somewhat more predictable and reliable than its Chaotic and Neutral cousins, is and should be more approachable than they are. Moreso, since being Evil means being under the ever-watchful eye of Paladins everywhere. Remember also that your charm - and I don't mean Charisma, I mean general affability - is a tool, like a sword or a spell or an incriminating photograph, that can be applied to almost any person with just as much effectiveness.

    6. Trustworthiness. One of the classic examples of Lawful Evil is the contract devil. It's so iconic, so obvious, that I didn't feel the need to make an archetype of it. You all know it. It's not news. But what makes the contract devil work, as an archetype? Simple: The rube knows that you can be relied upon to carry your side of the bargain. Maybe he's a particularly clever rube, and expects you to twist your way through some loopholes, but he knows that any agreement with you will at least be respected on its face. He trusts you. Your word is your bond. That reliability is vital. Even the Bad Cop makes good on his threats - they're not just threats, they're promises. Whatever you do, whatever you say, carry through on it.

    7. Presentation! I love the style of Evil. Good can wear whatever, but the villain always wears something that just screams classy. Even studded leather looks classy when a real villain wears it. Lawful Evil is generally preoccupied with appearances. In most cases, it's the appearance of power, influence, or confidence. Not just physical appearances, either; overall presentation, from how you speak to how you carry yourself, everything matters. The Dark Knight is a unique case, but even there, he manages to convey the appearance of menace and cruelty to his enemies. Evil desires power, and just like you need money to make money, you need power - or the appearance of power - to acquire more power.

    8. Apologies. They're not your thing. Let me explain. Lawful Evil is about having convictions. What you're doing may be morally wrong, but in your mind, you have to justify it. It has to be "right" to you. And you should never have to apologize - at least, not sincerely - for doing the "right" thing. Now, that's not to say you won't try to soothe the hurt feelings of friends, or pay lip service to a rube to get what you want from him. But a sincere apology means saying, "What I did was wrong, and I will endeavor not to do it again." And that should be a rare commodity for Lawful Evil.

    9. Dingus. Don't be one. It's true of any character, but particularly true of Evil characters. There is a great temptation to be a clever backstabbing manipulator, or to join forces with the strongest baddy in the room even if it means betraying the party, or to snark until your lips can't move anymore. Temper your desire to do so. One of the biggest thrills of Lawful Evil is being able to earn the respect, admiration, and even love of those around you, all while openly being a terrifying monster. And you can't do that when you go around being a dingus.
    Last edited by Red Fel; 2018-05-23 at 02:12 PM.
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    VI. Relationships With Other Alignments



    "Charles Xavier did more for mutants than you will ever know."
    - Magneto, X-Men

    Not everyone can appreciate the true quality and nuance of Lawful Evil. But at the very least, you can appreciate them.

    Sometimes, as cannon fodder.

    Lawful Good: Honestly, Lawful Evil can respect Lawful Good. They both have an adherence to order, tradition, and honor. Lawful Evil is Evil designed around stability, and even though they may be morally at odds, Lawful Good is about stability, too. But while Lawful Evil may respect Lawful Good, that door doesn't necessarily swing both ways; Lawful Good may be too overcome by its precious moral ideology to appreciate all of the "good" a strong tyrant can do.

    Neutral Good: Wishy-washy idealistic fools, the lot of them. Neutral Good is the alignment of pure altruism and benevolence, concepts quite unnecessary to Lawful Evil. You can't even respect them for having firm ethics, inasmuch as they don't dedicate themselves to Law or Chaos.

    Chaotic Good: People have this mistake impression that Lawful Evil must despise Chaotic Good, given that they occupy opposite corners of the alignment grid. But that's simply not true. Chaotic Good may hate everything that Lawful Evil stands for, and rightly so, but Lawful Evil sees use in Chaotic Good. Chaotic Good characters tend to be revolutionaries, anarchists seeking positive change, or simply those operating outside of the law, but with good intentions. That means they can be directed. Chaotic Good may hate Lawful Evil, but it can serve Lawful Evil's ends - sometimes, you need a well-intentioned revolutionary to operate outside of your realm of influence. And because they are Good, you can appeal to their morals.

    Lawful Neutral: Out of all of the alignments on this list, I would go so far to say that Lawful Evil gets along most consistently with Lawful Neutral. Lawful Neutral is the most regimented, the most firm and severe, the most orderly and honorable and utilitarian of alignments. Lawful Neutral can fold almost instinctively into the service or aid of Lawful Good or Lawful Evil. Every organization needs its enforcers, its paper-pushers, those who perform the rote, mechanical roles, and those who ensure that rules are complied with. Lawful Neutral can do that, and often will without hesitation or compassion.

    True Neutral: These cretins are both unpredictable and useless. Let them seek their precious balance in their wilds and hermitages; some of us have countries to run.

    Chaotic Neutral: Anarchists and fools, the lot of them, but easily manipulated. The Chaotic Neutral character seeks freedom for freedom's sake. While they loathe Lawful alignments, they can be used, much like Chaotic Good. Unlike Chaotic Good, however, they're not above getting their hands dirty. It's dangerous to maintain an extended relationship with them, but for specific tasks, they can be employed with great results.

    Lawful Evil: Lawful Evil is a curious thing - it is either its own best friend or its own worst enemy. For the sort of Lawful Evil that constantly has one eye on the face it's crushing beneath its heel and the other on the boot crushing it - that is, LE with an emphasis on the E - being around fellows of your alignment means keeping on your toes. They keep you sharp, but that's only because you know they're waiting for the chance to pounce. For the sort of Lawful Evil that adheres to structure and hierarchy - that is, LE with an emphasis on the L - it's like being in an office filled with people who think just like you. It's a wonderful, comfortable work environment, where everyone promotes the collective benefit, albeit at the cost of others.

    Neutral Evil: Dangerous. Naturally ruthless and self-interested, qualities Lawful Evil can respect, but at the same time not bound by ethical concerns along the Lawful-Chaotic spectrum. They are mercenary at the best of times, and dealings with them should be kept brief and to the point.

    Chaotic Evil: To those who think that Chaotic Good is Lawful Evil's worst enemy, I say you, "Look here, and behold." Chaotic Evil is all of the anarchy of Chaotic Good and Chaotic Neutral, with none of the manipulable idealism. Good can be channeled towards ostensibly Good ends; Neutral can still be channeled through its love of freedom and self-expression. But there is no leash that can restrain Chaotic Evil's mad, brutal passion, no structure or agreement that can bind them to your will. Kill them on sight; nobody would begrudge the loss of another demon.

    VII. Relationships With Other People



    "Everything that you wanted, I have done. You asked that child be taken, I took him. You cowered before me, and I was frightening. I have reordered time, I have turned the world upside down, and I have done it all for you! I am exhausted from living up to your expectations of me. Isn't that generous?"
    Jareth, Labyrinth

    Lawful Evil people are still human, after all. (Or Elves. Or Dwarves. Or Dragons... You understand.) As such, they still seek relationships. They still enjoy the company of friends, the warmth of a loved one. But there's a distinct way in which they see those relationships, a unique lens that colors them all. Here are some illustrations of how a Lawful Evil character may see another person.

    1. Friends: Friends are a rare commodity for Evil characters. That's not to say they don't have friends, but rather that the concept of friendship - pure, altruistic, genuine friendship - takes on a very different tint. Certainly, a Lawful Evil character can have comrades and colleagues, people he respects, even admires, and would gladly stand beside. Still, the concept of friendship, in a non-utilitarian respect, is strange. It's that concept of which I'm speaking - not the friend who is a co-worker, or another person in your field, but the friend you met at the coffee shop or in the library. A person with whom you have little in common, but have nonetheless struck up a genuine rapport.

    It's not that this is so incomprehensible to Lawful Evil. As I've mentioned, a Lawful Evil person is still a person. Rather, it exists outside of most of their operative paradigms. A colleague, friend, or lover serves a function, even an emotional one. But making a friend of a stranger serves no real function - it is a purely social action. This is an opportunity to humanize a Lawful Evil character. Consider the scene where the villain of the story meets a random person, offers them money for a cab, or to buy them a drink, or just sits and talks and listens. This is called a "Pet the Dog" moment, and illustrates the depth and complexity of an Evil character.

    That said, at the end of the day, Lawful Evil values utility. And while he will protect those that matter to him - often with disproportionate force and terrifying conduct - one of these "mere" friends, who serves no other function, is more easily abandoned than a person to whom he has sworn true loyalty. Oh, his rage and grief will be terrible, but he can still shut his heart off long enough to turn a cold shoulder to their pleas for aid. At that point, he goes from empathetic to dreadful and tragic.

    2. Lovers: Love, like friendship, isn't completely alien to Lawful Evil, but it is a challenge. Being in love means opening yourself up to great pain. Lawful Evil characters bask in their power, and the protection it offers them, but it is much easier to protect yourself than to protect someone else, particularly someone with an independent and sometimes disobedient mind. There are many ways that Lawful Evil can address this concern, some disturbing, some heartwarming.

    For example, one demonstration of love could be overprotection that borders on slavery. Think of how the uber-paranoid TO-level Wizard protects his spellbook. That spellbook is the most important thing in the world to him. It's the source of his power and his greatest weakness. Now, imagine that the spellbook was a person. This form of love is embodied by the Witch in Rapunzel (or Into the Woods), who expresses love and a desire to protect her loved one by sealing her away in a tower far from anybody else. Another method amounts to using mind control to turn the loved one into an obedient and easily protected puppet, although this is frequently followed with a "What have I done?" realization.

    Another demonstration, and a particularly cheery one, is the idea of loving someone as they are. This is particularly true when Lawful Evil falls in love with an opposing alignment, such as Lawful Good or Chaotic Good, but can be equally true of Lawful Evil and Lawful Evil. The beautiful thing about this relationship is that it enables the Lawful Evil character to truly appreciate the other's merits, even if they stem from a different mindset. Now, this character will still demonstrate his love in a way fitting of his alignment; the Prince will use shows of force and wealth, the Bureaucrat will bend the rules in his beloved's favor from time to time, the Dark Knight will dive headfirst into the Hells. And if his love is threatened, his fury will destroy kingdoms.

    Again, a way to turn love into tragedy is to show consequences. Lawful Evil characters make enemies. Sometimes Lawful Evil must choose between love and victory. And depending on how thoroughly you've humanized the character, you may see surprising outcomes.

    3. Underlings: Power begets followers. People flock to those with apparent power. Perhaps it's because they're sheep, perhaps it's because they're parasites, or perhaps they're backstabbing cheats hoping for a quick piece of the pie. Whatever the reason, it is the natural inclination, and the divine right, of those in power to command others. Lawful Evil should recognize that, by merit of its strength and achievements, it has earned their respect, their loyalty, and their obedience.

    That does not mean, however, that stupid abuse of minions is encouraged. Certainly, they are beneath you. Certainly too, they owe everything to you, and your ownership of them is complete, mind, body, and spirit. But do you destroy your table in a fit of pique? Of course not. It is a perfectly good, functional furnishing. So, too, should you treat your underlings as you would your worldly possessions. Just as you protect and keep your treasure, so too should you protect and keep those pledged to your name. They lay their lives and souls at your feet, you owe them nothing more and nothing less than proving worthy of that sacrifice.

    Towards that end, the wise Lawful Evil is encouraged to reward success, as well as to punish failure. The carrot is just as motivational as the stick; moreso, at times. Those who act in order to avoid punishment will do just enough to succeed at that, but those who act to earn reward will do whatever it takes. Not all Lawful Evil characters are this wise, of course. Particularly petty ones may dole out harsh consequences on a whim. But such conduct veers towards Chaotic territory. Further, in a player character, it shows an appalling lack of people skills that won't win friends among the party.

    4. Superiors: Not every Lawful Evil character needs to be on top. Lawful Evil respects power, even as it covets it. Some characters are content to be second to someone greater. The Dragon is a classic illustration of this concept. To those who earn his respect, the Lawful Evil character's loyalty will be undying.

    That said, the sort of Lawful Evil character who would swear himself to another holds both himself and his master to a lofty standard. If he fails to meet his master's expectations, his self-punishment will likely exceed anything his master would care to do to him. But if his master fails to meet his standards, or worse, if his master betrays him, the Lawful Evil servant's rage is that of a caged beast suddenly unleashed. Lawful Evil's willingness to serve stems from a combination of respect and honor, and a desire to be as close to power as possible. The primary reason that he does not indulge the latter by deposing his master is due to the presence of the former; when that respect disappears, there is only a ravenous hunger, which will likely have grown with time.

    Somewhat ironically, those who overthrow their corrupt masters don't always seek the throne themselves. Some do, of course, but others may be put off of the entire thing after seeing their master's decline.

    5. Rivals: First, let me distinguish something. The Rival, as an archetype, is a Lawful Evil character defined by having an opponent against whom to put himself. But any archetype can perceive a person as a rival. It can be a friendly rivalry, with each trying to outperform the other; a respectful rivalry, with each appreciating the other's abilities but determined to exceed the other; or a vicious rivalry, with the Lawful Evil character out for blood. How Lawful Evil characters approach the concept of rivalry is distinct, however.

    As a rule, Lawful Evil considers itself above many things. That's not to say all Lawful Evil characters are elitists who never get their hands dirty, but attendant with the idea of power is the idea of station, the idea that your power makes you better. So before a Lawful Evil character can consider someone his rival, he must first consider that person to be more than scum, which may be an accomplishment in and of itself. Some archetypes, such as the Prince or Bad Cop, are often so burdened by arrogance that they may never consider a person worthy of being viewed as a rival, but merely as a nuisance.

    Assuming the person reaches above-garbage status, it is then important to understand the basis for their status. For example, if a person has consistently thwarted the Lawful Evil character's plans, their rivalry may well stem from the Lawful Evil character's appreciation of the other's ability to get in his way. Conversely, if they're on the same side, that rivalry may stem from their common pursuit of goals.

    Ultimately, how Lawful Evil treats his rival depends on what's at stake. If it's another competition, one of many, he may well see the sport in it. If he finds that his rival's constant efforts are causing injury to his reputation, he may feel a need to end the nuisance in a more permanent fashion. And if his rival stands between him and his desired goal, unless he is particularly fair or honorable, he may well simply attempt to kill his rival outright.

    6. Enemies: Few people will take greater joy in tearing your world down around you than the Lawful Evil. If your goal is a quick, relatively painless death, simply offend one in a mild fashion. But if you truly desire suffering, make an enemy of the Lawful Evil.

    Disproportionate retribution is something in which Lawful Evil can take particular pride. As I've mentioned repeatedly, the appearance of power - particularly unassailable, absolute power - is important to Lawful Evil. It's not enough to simply stop your enemies, or avenge yourself upon them. Their punishment must leave a scar upon the world, a gash so deep and bloody that all history will remember the mistake that one enemy made, and nobody capable of any rational thought will ever endeavor to repeat it. This is how Lawful Evil handles its enemies. Think of Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. "When it is done and Gotham is ashes, then you have my permission to die." Lawful Evil doesn't simply annihilate those who have risen to the level of enemy - it destroys them, emotionally, spiritually, piece by piece. It crushes their faith, poisons their love, burns their world, and rends their flesh before it gives them the sweet release of death.

    And it enjoys it.

    7. Nobodies: This will likely be the vast majority of people. Lawful Evil is, in many ways, a numbers game. You've heard the quote, "When one man dies, it is a tragedy; when a million die, it is a statistic." Lawful Evil sees the statistics. It sees the vast, teeming masses of humanity, desperate for order. It doesn't see persons, it sees people. A whole people. It sees a mass of people, like an ocean or a fungal colony. And it wants to give them shape, structure, strength.

    Lawful Evil can't reshape the world, or a kingdom, or even a society, if it goes around seeing the vast majority of people as actual people. It sees them as things, and in doing so it can countenance virtually any action taken on their behalf, or against them. It is only those exceptional few who rise to the level of personhood - those who excel in your service, those who earn your love or your hate, those who command your respect or wield power. Those are people.

    The rest? They're nobody.
    Last edited by Red Fel; 2016-07-18 at 11:28 AM.
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    VIII. Illustrations and Resources



    "The best thing about being me... There are so many 'me's."
    - Agent Smith, The Matrix Reloaded

    There are many lovely resources for Lawful Evil. It would seem futile for me to attempt to list them all.

    Nonetheless, I do have some favorites.

    1. Books. Great villains are as old as the written word, and in some cases older. Here are a few literary sources that can give you an exceptional mindset.
    • Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes. Hobbes is classically presented as opposed to John Locke. Whereas Locke asserted that the rights of men derived from nature, and that they exchanged some of those rights for the security of civilization, Hobbes proposed that all rights descended from the absolute monarch, and that the state of nature so loved by Locke was little more than barbaric anarchy, staved off by the ruler's absolute law.
    • The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli. You all know the quote, "it is far safer to be feared than loved if you cannot be both." Machiavelli's literary classic sets down the ruthless mindset with which a ruler must execute his duties, and advises that sometimes immoral methods are both expedient and effective.
    • Paradise Lost, John Milton. The Satan described in the book is a glorious exultation of the tragic hero turned villain. Here is presented a character who, because he is not perfectly Good, ultimately becomes Evil. Dedicating himself to vengeance, he brings about not only the fall of his fellows, but of a fledgling race. Yet, throughout, you can see his pain, frustration, and raw feeling of betrayal. An excellent illustration of how to make your villain - even a truly iconic one like this - more compelling.
    • The Dresden Files, Jim Butcher. There are many kinds of villains in this series, but as I mentioned above, the Fey are among the most Lawful. Not to give away too much of the story, but their conduct is strictly controlled by their nature, and they carry with them a dark and profound duty beyond what is known of them. Indeed, it is the darkness that they must endure that makes them, in turn, so monstrous and alien. Another Lawful Evil exemplar is crime lord "Gentleman" Johnny Marcone, a mobster who takes over the Chicago criminal underworld - and becomes the only ordinary human to be recognized by the supernatural community - through a combination of cleverness, ruthlessness, and utilitarian ethics. He is a classic Executive of the highest order, yet surprisingly understated in some ways. There are a number of other great examples of many kinds of Evil, but particularly Lawful Evil, in this series, but I don't want to go too deep into spoilers.
    • Les Miserables, Victor Hugo. Javert. Need I say more? Okay. Javert is a classic example of a sense of duty - typically LN - being driven to an Evil extreme. The book goes into far more depth about Javert's past and his character, how he renounced his parents, how he sought vengeance against Valjean, and ultimately how he could not reconcile his duty to the law with the idea that the law was unjust. If you ever wanted to create a Dragon or Zealot with a cold, vicious streak, you could do no better than Inspector Javert.
    • The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Victor Hugo. Archdeacon Claude Frollo (not to be confused with Tony Jay's awesome depiction in the animated film) is torn between fanatical devotion to the church and burning lust for a woman. Here is a classic illustration of a conflicted person, torn between two horrible choices - take a woman by force, or turn her over for execution? He is at the same time compellingly tragic and revolting. His is also a solid illustration of the ability to abuse power, as Frollo is Archdeacon of Notre Dame, a powerful and iconic church.
    • Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling. Most of her villains are cliched and trite, barely worthy of mention on this list, save one - Dolores Umbridge, the revolting toad-faced woman who graces the Bad Cop archetype. This character is a perfect illustration of a person who adheres himself, like a lamprey, to the underbelly of power, in order to inflict his sadistic whims on others. This character is arguably the most hated in the entire fandom, and for good reason.

    2. Films. Sometimes, a performance can elevate a character concept into a work of art. Since performance is a big part of RPGs, seeing a well-acted villain will probably offer you some valuable insight into improving your own ability to convey Evil.
    • A Few Good Men. The film, based on an Aaron Sorkin play, revolves around the court-martial of two marines charged with the killing of another marine. In its most iconic scene, the protagonist confronts Colonel Nathan Jessup (masterfully played by Jack Nicholson), who explains that his authority should be unimpeachable. In a tense and well-written scene, Nicholson's Jessup asserts that the necessity of his role in defending the nation gives him a status verging on the sacrosanct, such that any misconduct on his part is excusable. It is an exceptional illustration of power, cruelty, and a cold pragmatism that borders on sadism.

    3. Theater. Before it was on screen, it was on stage. Some of the best illustrations of Evil were written to be performed in a packed auditorium. Some even involve music!
    • Damn Yankees. Satan-analogues are a staple of Lawful Evil depictions, but one of the most stylish ever was Mr. Applegate, the singing, wise-cracking contractor in this musical comedy. Initially offering the protagonist the chance to become a world-class baseball player in exchange for his immortal soul, Applegate is hoisted by his own petard when his would-be rube demands that the contract feature an opt-out clause. As with many such depictions, Damn Yankees is heavily inspired by Doctor Faustus, but its delightfully affable villain renders it a uniquely cheerful take on the classic.

    4. Television. Yes, the small screen has its fair share of amazing villains, as well. Here are a few notable examples.
    • Magic Knight Rayearth. In addition to being an anime that watches like a self-aware RPG, this series features an amazing antagonist, Zagato. He embodies the Zealot, Dragon, and Dark Knight archetypes, blended beautifully into a single tragic figure. Here is someone whose sense of duty is torn. On the one hand, his loyalty and love for the Princess. On the other, his duty to preserve and serve the kingdom. As the series evolves, he alternately paints a sympathetic and terrifying picture. For some of his minions, service to him means a place of safety and peace. For others, it means enslavement, physical and mental. And for one, it means agonizing unrequited love. This is a man who, despite a profound sense of grief and duty, is willing to let the entire world burn to grant the woman he loves a moment's peace. I defy you to watch it and not cry at the outcome.
    • Disney's Gargoyles. Despite being 90s cartoon in Disney's afternoon animated block, Gargoyles was almost Shakespearean at times in its storytelling and characterization. This is intentional; one of the creators was an English teacher with a background in the literature, two of the writers also worked on Batman: The Animated Series, and the stories themselves drew heavily from Shakespeare and Scottish history. Many of the characters, particularly the antagonists, demonstrate remarkable complexity of character. But no discussion of Lawful Evil would be complete without mentioning series regular David Xanatos, illustrating the Executive archetype, above. Xanatos was present from the very first episode, and his continued presence - even when he was not actually present in a given episode - would hang over the characters. Here was someone with a profound development arc. He could be charming, as shown in virtually every scene; genuinely affectionate, as shown in scenes between him and his wife (and eventually his son as well); cruel and calculating (as shown in his creation of a race of human-cat-eel-bat hybrid mutants). And it wasn't merely a single trajectory - he alternated between these qualities. Even when he was honorable, he was ruthless; even when he was cruel, he was sympathetic.

    IX. Final Notes



    "I am the hype!"
    - Vegeta, Dragon Ball Z, The Abridged Series

    A few quick thoughts before you put pen to paper.

    First, remember the rule of fun. The goal is for everyone to enjoy themselves at the table. Whether you're playing an LE character or running an LE NPC as DM, you need to make sure that you're keeping yourself in check. Yes, Lawful Evil has the potential to be the most awesome thing in the room at any given moment. Nonetheless, restrain yourself. Don't hog the spotlight - it will come to you naturally, at the best possible times. If you play your character well, with charm and subtlety, the handful of times you decided to stand out will be among the most memorable moments of the campaign.

    On a related point, and I mentioned this earlier, don't be a dingus. Evil is tempting. There's a natural inclination to wave off any misbehavior as "Well, my character is Evil." Hold yourself to a higher standard than that. I don't mean your character, I mean you. Police your character's behavior. Yes, your character should behave in a suitably Evil fashion, but there are lines. Don't cross the other PCs, unless it's that type of game. Don't do things that you know will make things harder for everyone, unless you have a remarkably good reason. Leave the lunatic murderhobos to the people who put G on their character sheets.

    Lastly, one area into which I haven't delved is that of actual character and personality. Although I've suggested some methods and motivations, there's really no such thing as a "Lawful Evil personality." Lawful Evil characters are people, like any other. They have their tendencies, but are hardly monolithic. Even the archetypes I proposed above are general concepts, mere suggestions; your character could embody one of them, combine several, or fall neatly into none at all. What's important is that you flesh out your character as a person. It's entirely possible that, once you've given life to your creation, LE isn't the best fit. That's fine. The key is that you create a whole, comprehensible, enjoyable person to play.

    Lawful Evil is more than an alignment. It's an obligation. There have been so many amazing Lawful Evil characters, in various media and throughout history. When you create a Lawful Evil character, you're adding your own creative flourish to that legacy.

    Make us proud.
    Last edited by Red Fel; 2015-12-21 at 02:48 PM.
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    X. Acknowledgements



    "Do you comprehend the triumph which you have contributed, the secret glory that it affords? Do you understand my shame at so inadequate a reward?"
    Ozymandias, Watchmen

    A few words of thanks to those I stepped on to get where I am today.

    • To Thealtruistorc and ThinkMinty, for starting this stupid trend, which resulted in me finally getting up off my evil throne to do this thing.
    • To everyone in Snowbluff's "GITP Regulars As" threads, for indulging my knack for the naughty.
    • To Seto, for encouraging me to clarify the Giles quote.
    • To Telonius, for the Bad Cop archetype, and the excellent Umbridge quote and image. You monster.
    • To T.G. Oskar, for helping me to clarify the Dark Knight archetype.
    • To ILM, for suggesting that I distinguish between the Zealot and a common CE radical.
    • To phlidwsn, for pointing out that The Dresden Files has more to offer than just the Fey.
    • I think this line's mostly filler.
    • And to you, for reading and commenting!
    Last edited by Red Fel; 2015-10-09 at 08:26 AM.
    My headache medicine has a little "Ex" inscribed on the pill. It's not a brand name; it's an indicator that it works inside an Anti-Magic Field.

    Blue text means sarcasm. Purple text means evil. White text is invisible.

    My signature got too big for its britches. So now it's over here!

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    I am feeling so much hype right now.
    Dark Green, the color of Chaotic Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    Altruistorc is leaving me deeply disturbed and intrigued at the same time...

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    Default Re: Compliance Will Be Rewarded: A Guide to Lawful Evil

    *heavy breathing*

    I can't wait to see this one when you've finished!
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    Default Re: Compliance Will Be Rewarded: A Guide to Lawful Evil

    How dare you interrupt the Fel Lord when he's working?!

    Oh wait, I'm doing the same thing. Oh yeah, I'm doing it because I'm in the midst of writing a Chaotic Neutral handbook, purely because of how nonsensical such a thing is.

    Wild card, bitches! *hops on a five-wheeled moped and bounces away Pinkie-Pie style*
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    Default Re: Compliance Will Be Rewarded: A Guide to Lawful Evil

    Sadly, you'll not be seeing any more work tonight. Red Fel needs sleep badly. But feel free to leave comments, suggestions, and things you'd want to see, and I'll see if I can squeeze them in when I'm slightly more conscious.

    Adulation and offers of money, power, or undying loyalty will also be taken into consideration.
    My headache medicine has a little "Ex" inscribed on the pill. It's not a brand name; it's an indicator that it works inside an Anti-Magic Field.

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    Default Re: Compliance Will Be Rewarded: A Guide to Lawful Evil

    Sweet baby jesus. This will be my bible.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    But feel free to leave comments, suggestions, and things you'd want to see
    I'm not sure what your "methods" section aims at but I would love for it to contain some general easy-to-use pointers to start own character's plans. And maybe some heads up on how to create and stay in a standard "good" party that furthers your goals and wouldn't dare to hamper you.
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    Default Re: Compliance Will Be Rewarded: A Guide to Lawful Evil

    Spoiler: FOR THE WEAK OF HYPE
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    I follow a general rule: better to ask and be told no than not to ask at all.

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    Default Re: Compliance Will Be Rewarded: A Guide to Lawful Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Sadly, you'll not be seeing any more work tonight. Red Fel needs sleep badly. But feel free to leave comments, suggestions, and things you'd want to see, and I'll see if I can squeeze them in when I'm slightly more conscious.

    Adulation and offers of money, power, or undying loyalty will also be taken into consideration.
    I've got a spare soul to sell. What can I get for it?
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    Default Re: Compliance Will Be Rewarded: A Guide to Lawful Evil

    I don't know where this will lead, except to glory. I'm not certain I'll comply with it all (my only Lawful Evil character was Chaotic Good), but I'm quite glad this exists.
    Last edited by OPG; 2015-10-06 at 10:25 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    The next person to repeat one of these rumors will be summarily executed.
    For the sake of sticking one in the face of Evil: Red Fel probablyalmost certainly is an Avatar of Asmodeus.


    Also, I feel the need to point out that WotC's parenthetical asides about Lawful Evil getting around its own rules by methods such as "having underlings slaughter the children" is pretty far from what Lawful Evil is like, at least from what I've seen. You do seem to cover this with 2. Rules though, so points for you there.
    Quote Originally Posted by AmberVael View Post
    Seriously though. I just don't want to see another setting with the same uninspiring oatmeal polytheism blend.

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    Default Re: Compliance Will Be Rewarded: A Guide to Lawful Evil

    I think I'm already having an evilgasm. This is the guide I've been looking for, and right now it's only a planted seed. May the ground be well watered with the blood of those not worthy. I offer my service, dread Lord.

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    I am ready for all the cool Lawful Evil info to come this way.

    Ready to defend myself with a Chaotic-aligned weapon, if necessary!

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    Kyubey, and Xanatos and Leckter and Ventinari all serving as Archetype examples.... This is going to be so awesome.

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    Default Re: Compliance Will Be Rewarded: A Guide to Lawful Evil

    Yup, if Xanatos doesn't get mentioned I'm going to be very disappointed. xD

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    Default Re: Compliance Will Be Rewarded: A Guide to Lawful Evil

    So how much of this guide is going to be purple?
    Last edited by DarkSonic1337; 2015-10-07 at 12:59 AM.

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    Default Re: Compliance Will Be Rewarded: A Guide to Lawful Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by tadkins View Post
    Yup, if Xanatos doesn't get mentioned I'm going to be very disappointed. xD
    God i feel so old, and outdated, just by realizing that i know who that is and that im happy that other people do too.

    That said, i too look forward to the completion of this. My 2c though? Snidely Whiplash isnt really LE, he is a CE that thinks he is LE.
    Last edited by Ellowryn; 2015-10-07 at 01:09 AM.
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    Default Re: Compliance Will Be Rewarded: A Guide to Lawful Evil

    Whooohoo, this is promising ! (and the Giles quote alone makes my day. But do you actually slap a LE tag on him ?) I've never actually played a LE character, but this is a good place to start.
    In the wake of the three existing Handbooks, I'll probably try my hand at True Neutral. But now I gotta find a Camus quote for that, too.
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    Default Re: Compliance Will Be Rewarded: A Guide to Lawful Evil

    And on the eve of an evil campaign, Eno did look unto the forums, and saw there a guide to playing Lawful Evil.

    Having clicked upon the title--his curiosity piqued, his needs potentially met--and having allowed the page to load, he did tremble in the utter anticipation and terror any mortal must feel,

    Must feel when the Crimson Lord speaks unto the world.

    (Basically: hype. All of the hype. Looking forward to seeing this done)

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    Quote Originally Posted by red fel View Post
    adulation and offers of money, power, or undying loyalty will also be taken into consideration.
    WORSHIP HIM!

    WORSHIP HIM!


    Side-note to the worship, you said dark knight instead of dragon at the end of the dragon's description. The part about switching alignment.
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    Neutral Evil is Evil untainted by concern over Law or Chaos. It is Evil in its purest form, much like NG is Good in its purest form, LN is Law in its purest form, and CN is murderhoboing in its purest form.


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    Default Re: Compliance Will Be Rewarded: A Guide to Lawful Evil

    So, I may have just had an evilgasm at work reading those archetypes. You really did nail all of them, with fantastic media examples (and I even knew most of them)
    I follow a general rule: better to ask and be told no than not to ask at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seto View Post
    Whooohoo, this is promising ! (and the Giles quote alone makes my day. But do you actually slap a LE tag on him ?)
    Well, let me clarify this one. I'm not saying that Giles is LE. In fact, I'd ordinarily consider him CG-NG. Rather, I'm using this particular moment of Giles to illustrate LE. This moment illustrates the Dark Knight mentality - willing to do Evil things for an overwhelming cause or loyalty.

    I'll try to clarify that in the text when I get back to do more editing.

    Yes, there is more to come.
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    Default Re: Compliance Will Be Rewarded: A Guide to Lawful Evil

    I always knew this day would come, but it's finally here... I just can't believe it!

    Now I want to do one of these for LG; honestly, they need some love.
    People need to learn that it doesn't always mean being a self-righteous lecturer, dagnabit!
    That's all I can think of, at any rate.

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    Default Re: Compliance Will Be Rewarded: A Guide to Lawful Evil

    I'd suggest another archetype:

    The Bad Cop



    Oh, you won't need any ink.
    - Dolores Umbridge

    Bad Cops are very much interested in law and hierarchy, because it grants them the protection and license they need to hurt people. Their targets might be a particular group, or they might just enjoy dealing out pain generally. Despite the name, these people are not necessarily employed as police. You'll find them employed running the king's torture chambers, enforcing contracts a bit too vigorously, and even running local educational institutions.

    Superficially, the Bad Cop seems to have a lot in common with the Bureaucrat. The big difference is in the emphasis. While the Bureaucrat is LE with an emphasis on L, the Bad Cop is LE with an emphasis on E. A Bureaucrat might take no particular pleasure in disemboweling a captured prisoner. For a Bad Cop, that was the reason he took the job in the first place. Done poorly, a Bad Cop will devolve into The Cartoon. Done well, a Bad Cop's evil will be visceral, intensely personal, immediately recognized ... and backed by the full force of society and law.
    Last edited by Telonius; 2015-10-07 at 08:53 AM.

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    Default Re: Compliance Will Be Rewarded: A Guide to Lawful Evil

    Let me second Telonius's archetype suggestion. Dolores Umbridge is one of the most hatred-inducing LE characters ever written, and goes into territory that should have its own archetype.
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