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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Rules for Being Evil

    There really aren't any rules to playing an evil PC, just as there are no rules for playing a good one. "Don't drive the rest of the table insane" is a general game thing, not an evil player adherence, and the party paladin who forgot his character doesn't have to be as shallow as his sheet is thin can do it just as easily as the resident genocidal fiendlock.

    As others have said, it's about not being stupid and not forcing yourself into stereotypes. Don't screw over someone because you wrote evil under the alignment tab, and don't go only screwing over others. An evil character has his own goals and things he's fighting for or working towards, he's not just a murderous or kleptomaniac rogue. Even if your character's purpose is as simple as getting stinkin' rich no matter what, this can go about a lot more ways than five Sleight of Hand checks every minute. Or you might be out to kill a noble because you believe the nobility of the land must be purged for some reason (you're an anarchic, you think they're corrupt, you're a hitman), but you don't have to be rude and insult everyone noble you meet because they're purge-worthy. In these scenarios, doing that will almost certainly get you caught or gather suspicion, and these are serious obstacles to your seemingly simple endeavor.

    People tend to believe they need to "think evil" in order to play evil, but most of the time, that's not the case. Just because a character is evil doesn't mean he won't rescue the princess from the tower, or opt out of killing the beast in the woods that terrorizes the village. Usually, an evil adventurer is just like any other adeventurer. It's only when directly advancing their purpose or working around the reason they are evil that they have to think like that. Otherwise, they're in the same boat as anyone else, attempting to survive the adventure while furthering some cause. If anything, the evil parts need to be as discreet as possible, and what better way to be discreet than play along?

  2. - Top - End - #32
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Rules for Being Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by Greywander View Post
    And this kind of thing can be a lot of fun, but it can also go horribly wrong. It's much easier if you're playing with people you know and have been playing with for a long time, so that even when a twist like this occurs it feels more like a plot twist than a real-life betrayal.

    I guess, know who you're playing with. Some people will be okay with this style of playing, and others will not. If you don't know the players so well, or aren't sure if how they'll react, it might be better to be open with them about your character. Later on, once they're used to you playing a character like that, you might roll up another such character and keep it a secret.

    Keep the drama in the game and off the table.
    It worked, because I've known the DM and his wife for a while. The Wizard's player was new, but a good sport about it. And I don't think even the ones that were in on it expected the reveal to be quite as epic as it turned out being.
    Of course, revealing yourself to be a Fallen Aasimar and scaring the living daylights out of the Rogue (and teaching the DM a valuable lesson about Sneak Attack in the process) is gonna make quite the impact. The fact that he could shrug off most of what they threw at him made for a wonderful 'implacable man' scene that lingers in the minds of both me and the Wizard's player.
    He and I are good friends, and we even have a partnership between our new characters.

    Though that might be him subconsciously trying to keep such a betrayal from happening again..

  3. - Top - End - #33
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    Default Re: Rules for Being Evil

    I imagine the Evil Overlord List will be relevant to your savvy evildoer’s interests: http://eviloverlord.com/lists/overlord.html
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  4. - Top - End - #34
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Rules for Being Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by Malphegor View Post
    I imagine the Evil Overlord List will be relevant to your savvy evildoer’s interests: http://eviloverlord.com/lists/overlord.html
    I should re-read that, considering we're doing an Evil campaign that's focused on the 'Strongholds and Followers' thing by Matt Colville.
    It's quite a good read, and helpful tips for things to avoid..

  5. - Top - End - #35
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    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Rules for Being Evil

    I notice that a lot of these evil characters that work with the party would need to be intelligent and wise enough not to be stupid evil. So do not play an evil character with int 8 and wis 8.

    Light the lamp not the rat LIGHT THE LAMP NOT THE RAT!!!

  6. - Top - End - #36
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    Tanarii's Avatar

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    Default Re: Rules for Being Evil

    - Don't disrupt the game.

    Honestly, enough players seem to think that evil means doing things that will disrupt the game that I currently don't allow it,

    Quote Originally Posted by Conradine View Post
    All it takes is to have done even a single seriously Evil action and feel no remorse ( o very little remorse ).
    It's not even necessary to be a criminal for the law.
    That's not how alignment works in 5e. If a creature is evil it's because it generally & typically, but not always, behaves like one of the three Evil alignment behavior descriptions.

  7. - Top - End - #37
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    Default Re: Rules for Being Evil

    How to be Evil:

    1. read everything Red Fel writes;
    2. do everything Red Fel suggests.

    Done.
    Last edited by Cicciograna; 2019-05-18 at 10:32 AM.

  8. - Top - End - #38
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Rules for Being Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by Particle_Man View Post
    I notice that a lot of these evil characters that work with the party would need to be intelligent and wise enough not to be stupid evil. So do not play an evil character with int 8 and wis 8.
    You can try to go for the lovable psycho vibe in this case, like Thog the Barbarian ish. In this case, let other characters talk you out of things and or think of things that can pacify you during downtime(wine, songs of your deads, comfort food). Something like a violent, rage filled, happy drunk. If you cannot avoid disruption, try for entertaining. If your party finds your antics enjoyable, they will forgive some amount of derailment.
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  9. - Top - End - #39
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Rules for Being Evil

    Rules for being evil?

    "WWDVD"

    What Would Darth Vader Do?

  10. - Top - End - #40
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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Rules for Being Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by QuickLyRaiNbow View Post
    Don't play Stupid Evil. Your goals as an evil character shouldn't conflict with the party's. That means when they're thinking about doing small acts of Good, you're focused on the big Evil. If they're focused on a big, cosmic good, that's fine; make yourself useful enough and they'll tolerate lots of petty cruelties. There has to be a reason for a character to be Evil other than 'just because'.

    The Dragonlance novels are based on notes from module playthroughs, and they're a decent primer, actually. Raistlin doesn't fight the party; he doesn't work against them; he actively exerts himself and risks his life to help them succeed. He fills gaps that they absolutely need. But every step of the way he's focused - totally focused - on his own personal advancement. And, critically, at the point where his needs completely diverge from those of the party, he becomes an NPC. That's kind of important. Everyone at the table needs to be playing the same game, and often evil characters in a mixed-alignment party lead to situations where one player is trying to play a different campaign.

    (Yes, he's neutral through most of the novels, but part of the point is that he's perpetually on the precipice of falling to evil.)
    Came here to mention Dragonlance, and Raistlin specifically, as one of the best examples of how an evil character can work wonderfully in a D&D party.

    Raistlin is a jerk. He's constantly putting himself and his intellect on a pedestal above the common folk around him. What primarily motivates him isn't helping his friends or putting an end to the realm's troubles, but gaining power. He is capable of, and in fact does evil deeds to further his own ends.

    But there's also more to him than that. Without spoiling exactly who or what for those that haven't read the Dragonlance Chronicles, there are people that Raistlin cares deeply for, in his own way. His heart may be black and gnarled, but the circumstances that made him that way also make him unexpectedly sympathetic in ways that others might not be, though these are few in number.

    But that's precisely what makes him such a joy to read. He's an evil, self-important bastard, but in his own way he does have things he cares about. The party falls into this category on more than one occasion, Raistlin putting himself in danger for them.

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    It's especially telling how, in the final chapters of the first series, Raistlin cares so deeply for Tas that he kills a piece of his soul to save the kender's life.


    The best evil PCs have bonds and genuine cares for at least a few things, and the party would usually be one of then. If you haven't yet read Dragonlance and are interested, check them out. Raistlin himself basically carries the novels with the sheer force of his snark and personality, and it's fantastic. He might be an *******, but he's one you end up wanting to root for and empathizing with.

    Raistlin Majere is evil PC done right.
    Last edited by Armok; 2019-05-18 at 01:42 PM.
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  11. - Top - End - #41
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    Tanarii's Avatar

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    Default Re: Rules for Being Evil

    Raistlin stops being a PC when he goes from Neutral to Evil, and becomes an NPC. At that point, he starts doing unspeakably hideous things off screen. And later on, when the PCs start interacting with him again on screen, he's either the BBEG or an NPC who is driving the agenda for the PCs who are his unwilling henchmen.

    As much as he's probably my all time favorite character ever written (largely due to nostalgia I'm sure), he's not a good example of playing an evil PC.

    Edit: I'm not claiming he isn't a complex character at all points.

  12. - Top - End - #42
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Rules for Being Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by Angelalex242 View Post
    Rules for being evil?

    "WWDVD"

    What Would Darth Vader Do?
    Vader’s not a great example. He’d be a terrible party member. He’s able to get away with his horrible actions so much more powerful than the people around him. Party members of equal power would probably get sick of his crap pretty quickly.

  13. - Top - End - #43
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    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Rules for Being Evil

    I think this is a problem. There seems to be a divergence between evil characters in fiction and the competent, useful, non-disruptive, helpful, evil characters described in this thread. So when a player says they want to play an evil character are they asking to play evil as seen in works of fiction or evil as put forward in threads like this one? Because I assume that even gamers have had more exposure to fiction than to threads like this one.

    Light the lamp not the rat LIGHT THE LAMP NOT THE RAT!!!

  14. - Top - End - #44
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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: Rules for Being Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Raistlin stops being a PC when he goes from Neutral to Evil, and becomes an NPC. At that point, he starts doing unspeakably hideous things off screen. And later on, when the PCs start interacting with him again on screen, he's either the BBEG or an NPC who is driving the agenda for the PCs who are his unwilling henchmen.

    As much as he's probably my all time favorite character ever written (largely due to nostalgia I'm sure), he's not a good example of playing an evil PC.

    Edit: I'm not claiming he isn't a complex character at all points.
    Actually, as far as im aware, Raistlin is a relatively mild evil compared to some other D&D evil archmagi out there (ie like, all of the ones in the Forgotten Realms). He's ruthless, selfish and ambitious, but he never does evil just to prove his evil cred, everything he does has some greater purpose to it, and he uses violence as a means to an end rather than as an end unto itself.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

  15. - Top - End - #45
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    Default Re: Rules for Being Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    but he never does evil just to prove his evil cred,
    Yes he did. Repeatedly. So did Dalamar. They absolutely had to prove their alignment cred.

    What the books did right is they didn't show you the unspeakable evils they did to prove their evil cred. The characters just refer back to it in exposition. It is after all written for teens.

  16. - Top - End - #46
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    Zombie

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    Default Re: Rules for Being Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    - Don't disrupt the game.
    I would add "too much" but this rule applies to all alignments. My experience over the years has been that good characters can be just as much or more of a pain for the rest of the players to deal with than the evil ones.
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  17. - Top - End - #47
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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: Rules for Being Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Yes he did. Repeatedly. So did Dalamar. They absolutely had to prove their alignment cred.

    What the books did right is they didn't show you the unspeakable evils they did to prove their evil cred. The characters just refer back to it in exposition. It is after all written for teens.
    Ive read the books pretty extensively, and I have absolutely no recollection of any "unspeakable" evil acts attributed to Raist, not counting that whole "destroys the universe in an averted future" thing. Youre going to have to be more specific.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

  18. - Top - End - #48
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    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Rules for Being Evil

    I don't know about evil characters, but I always roll my eyes when people say any variation of, "well, my character is kind of rude to everyone."
    Last edited by rlc; 2019-05-18 at 10:10 PM. Reason: typo

  19. - Top - End - #49
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    Default Re: Rules for Being Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Raistlin stops being a PC when he goes from Neutral to Evil, and becomes an NPC. At that point, he starts doing unspeakably hideous things off screen. And later on, when the PCs start interacting with him again on screen, he's either the BBEG or an NPC who is driving the agenda for the PCs who are his unwilling henchmen.

    As much as he's probably my all time favorite character ever written (largely due to nostalgia I'm sure), he's not a good example of playing an evil PC.

    Edit: I'm not claiming he isn't a complex character at all points.
    He stops being a PC when he leaves the party. His alignment changes, in spirit if not in actuality, in Silvanesti, in Lorac's nightmare.

    And that, IMO, is the most important lesson for people who want to play Evil characters. You have to, like, get along with the other characters enough that they want you to be there. Otherwise, the other players are going to ask you to roll something else and your DM will pull you aside for a quiet chat.

  20. - Top - End - #50
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Rules for Being Evil

    In general. I think evil characters are frequently modeled off an evil character the player thinks is cool.

    "I'm going to be an evil trickster cleric...and I'm played by Tom Hiddleston!"

    "I'm going to be an Oathbreaker Paladin played by Hayden Christiansen..."

    "I'm going to be a rogue played by Heath Ledger..."

    And then you always get that guy embracing his inner sociopath...

    "And while you guys are in the bar, I'm gonna go torture somebody to death for lulz."

  21. - Top - End - #51
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    Default Re: Rules for Being Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by Cicciograna View Post
    How to be Evil:

    1. read everything Red Fel writes;
    2. do everything Red Fel suggests.

    Done.


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  22. - Top - End - #52
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Rules for Being Evil

    I'm running an "evil campaign" right now, where the players all agreed to make evil (or neutral, with a dark / evil bent) characters and work towards evil goals. I'm tasked with creating the forces (good and evil) which will oppose them and some which will become their allies.

    My one requirement for the players: You are responsible for party cohesion and for helping others tell the story they want to tell, as well as making the game fun for others. It's not my job or anyone else's to give you a reason to stick with the party or share their goals.

    Even so, I've worked to make the world in such a way that it allows their goals to align rather than diverging. I think party conflict can be a fun thing to have if everyone is on the same page, but my group in particular is bad at handling conflict between players.


    Also, at my table, if you try to harm, steal from, or otherwise do something bad to an ally, the player controlling that character decides how to resolve the attempt. He might call for an attack roll, or he's allowed to say "your attack misses and I ignore it." That is, players get to decide whether or not to opt into conflict if they think it'll be fun.

    And the most important part; if he says "your attack misses, and I ignore it" then that's it. You (the player) need to drop it and move on, or else you're creating PLAYER conflict and that's not allowed at my table. You might say "my rogue tries for several minutes to backstab you, failing hilariously each time, then gives up."
    The Stormwind Fallacy, Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa.

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  23. - Top - End - #53
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    Default Re: Rules for Being Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by Hail Tempus View Post
    Vader’s not a great example. He’d be a terrible party member. He’s able to get away with his horrible actions so much more powerful than the people around him. Party members of equal power would probably get sick of his crap pretty quickly.
    Yeah Vader's pretty much the epitome of 'split off from the party, go on a mad beserker spree through the enemy, come back and get annoyed when they tell you it was a diplomatic mission and you weren't meant to space the teddybears'


    My own personal rules for evil are:

    1. Don't get high on your own supply. Keep a level head, remember what your goals are, and stick to your convictions.

    2. When in doubt, just leave. Heroes aren't worth your time, you don't need to explain anything, and you can just start again if they hassle you, somewhere where the law is more... lenient.

    3. Deep sea bases SOUND cool, but YOU DO NOT BREATHE WATER. And you know the Hero will destroy it. Screw it, have your base in the open as soon as you are powerful enough.

    4. You should strive for legitimacy. Nothing better than when the local authority supports you. If you are the local authority, try to get the do-gooders on side, not with promises of 'ruling together', but with actual legitimate concessions. "Okay so I won't destroy the atmosphere, but this really needs to be done for X reasons. How can I comprimise this to get what I want and you get what you want? Can I have a designated land to breed superorcs? How do you feel about me spending time using my power to defend a location of yours in exchange for one evil act of equal value?" Once the Church(es) are on your side, there's a lot you can do to corrupt them to slowly see you as their messianic figure.

    5. In the event that the Hero is trying to romance you, just reject them. It seldom works out well and while it may be nice at the time, the emotional baggage isn't worth it for future encounters.
    Last edited by Malphegor; 2019-05-20 at 03:15 AM.
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  24. - Top - End - #54
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Rules for Being Evil

    Evil can be played just fine as long as the group recognizes that evil PCs aren't a license for PvP. PvP typically kills gaming groups.

    Next, evil is typically not openly tolerated in civil societies. Therefore expect to be opposed if you act in an evil way in these places. The "but it's what my character would do!" excuse if fine, as long as they realize there are consequences. Also evil often consorts with evil. Which means anyone who does tolerate you is evil, too, and probably has plans for you that are ... evil.
    Last edited by darknite; 2019-05-20 at 07:18 AM.

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    ClericGirl

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    Default Re: Rules for Being Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    - Don't disrupt the game.
    This is good guidance, but the number of people who can't separate the character from the player remains high enough that your choice not to run evil is a sound one.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    I'm not claiming he isn't a complex character at all points.
    He's a well written narrative character, but he's not an actual D&D PC.
    Quote Originally Posted by Angelalex242 View Post
    In general. I think evil characters are frequently modeled off an evil character the player thinks is cool.
    Yeah, there's that problem too.
    Quote Originally Posted by Malifice View Post
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  26. - Top - End - #56
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    Default Re: Rules for Being Evil

    After thinking about it for a while, I came up with a concept for, not only an evil character, but an actual devil PC. Mechanically, he is just a Lawful Evil tiefling, not sure what class.

    An office drone in the Souls Receivable department, a mix-up on his part led to two souls being sent to the wrong afterlife. A slimy lawyer ended up in Celestia, while a pure-hearted princess wound up in Baator. By the time the error had been noticed, she'd already assembled a troupe of small woodland creatures for a tea party and was playing Truth or Dare with some of the weaker devils who were unable to resist her charm. The archdevil of that particular circle was now also sporting some very nice braids.

    Meanwhile, in Celestia, the lawyer had already reviewed the contract between Heaven and Hell that places limits on each and pointed out some loopholes the celestials could exploit. The celestials were beginning to rethink sending all lawyers to Baator (threatening the devils' monopoly on good lawyers) when the lawsuits started to fly. Turns out being the only lawyer in Celestia was, shall we say, an opportunity waiting to be exploited. Things came to a head when Bahamut got served up a class action lawsuit for "flashing" most of Celestia (platinum is very reflective, and Celestia is very bright. Also dude doesn't wear clothes).

    As a punishment, and part of an agreement between Celestia and Baator to resolve the issue, the original devil who made the mistake was stripped of most of his power and exiled to the Material Plane. As penance, he must commit seven Deeds of True Good, after which he will be allowed to return to Hell and resume his job as an office drone. However, this is more or less a permanent exile, as it is near impossible that any being, no matter how Evil, could commit so many Deeds of True Good without ceasing to be entirely Evil, and even a single such Deed would put one at risk.

    TL;DR, office drone devils screws up, sends souls to the wrong afterlife. As punishment, he becomes essentially a mortal and has to commit seven good deeds to get back into Hell and become a devil again.

    As per the silliness of the backstory, the sort of evil acts he'd likely commit would be things like telling someone their cooking is bad (if it is, Lawful and all that), or conning an elderly person out of their pension. Not exactly murdering random people for no reason. This also sets him up beautifully for either a redemption arc (where he does all seven deeds and ceases to be Evil/a devil), or a fall into further evil where he finds a way to fulfill the letter of the punishment and then seek revenge against the devils and angels that punished him.

    Why is he with the party? Well, adventuring is some pretty nasty business, rife with opportunities to perform "good deeds", or to indulge in his evil nature if that's what he's feeling like that day. The party merely facilitates him being able to travel around and either corrupt innocents or find a way to fulfill his punishment. He has no reason to harm them or deal falsely with them. Likewise, any Good party members are invested in his possible redemption, and being very helpful in pointing out opportunities to do good deeds.

    Hmm, I actually really like this. Time to roll up a tiefling. Still not sure what class to go for, but this feels like the perfect set up for a Fiend warlock.

  27. - Top - End - #57
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    Default Re: Rules for Being Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by blackjack50 View Post
    So I figured we might post up some good ideas on how to be evil and what are some rules that one should adhere to. Especially in a mixed group of alignment.

    Rules:

    1) Do not harm/injure the party.
    2) Your backstory and motives should explain why you are with the party.

    I’d say that is a good number one and 2. What else?
    Much the same as any gentleman's agreement.

    You are here to have fun. The others at the table are also here to have fun. Your fun is not more important than the fun of the others. Ensure that both you and the others can and do have fun.
    Last edited by Kane0; 2019-05-21 at 12:37 AM.
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Rules for Being Evil

    One more thing to say from me, be flexible, and that goes for any alignment. Good, bad, law, and chaos can all create a range of behavior, don't get stuck on one course of action, keep your options open.
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    ClericGuy

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    Aug 2014

    Default Re: Rules for Being Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by Armok View Post
    Came here to mention Dragonlance, and Raistlin specifically, as one of the best examples of how an evil character can work wonderfully in a D&D party.

    Raistlin is a jerk. He's constantly putting himself and his intellect on a pedestal above the common folk around him. What primarily motivates him isn't helping his friends or putting an end to the realm's troubles, but gaining power. He is capable of, and in fact does evil deeds to further his own ends.
    Raisltin was CN in Dragonlance. As long as he was wearing the Red Robes. That's when he was a Jerk. He was self absorbed, acerbic and mean spirited without being overly violent and murderous.

    When he donned the black robes (Legends onwards) he was a murderous, backstabbing monster. He literally murdered the Gnome who fixed the time travel device in cold blood, betrayed his brother and Tasselhoff numerous times either leaving them to die, or actively seeking to have them killed, and abandoned Christania the Cleric in the Abyss to die (they were all fellow PC's). He created tortured life, engaged in necromancy and worse, destroyed souls and worse.

    Red robes Raistlin didnt betray his friends.

    Black robes Raistlin would do so in a heartbeat.

  30. - Top - End - #60
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    monkey3's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    Default Re: Rules for Being Evil

    Having ended up in the wrong end of this, metagame like crazy. It is a social game, and you have to make sure everyone is having fun. If only you are having fun, and other people are feeling cringy or uncomfortable, then it will build on itself, and the campaign will fall apart, or you will have to pull out for the sake of keeping the game from breaking apart.

    Read the room. All the time. It was actually pretty exhausting with my crew, because a few of them had a harder time separating fantasy and reality more than others

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