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Thread: Tips on Evil?

  1. #1

    Tips on Evil?

    Well, I'm going to start DMing a group soon, and the player's decided they wanted to try being evil characters for a change of pace. Some of the player's are very experienced, so I trust them to be able to handle it without going overboard, but some other's are a little new to the game.

    I was wondering if anyone else out there has run an evil campaign before and might have some pointers on helping keep the group together a little without mass executions over treasure or boredom.

    If they all kill each other, we decided we'd just go back to a good campaign afterwards, but after investing a lot of time into a storyline, I'd like to see it not fail after 2-3 sessions.

    Thanks in advance if anyone has some tips.

    Note: I understand Chaotic Evil will most likely result in the above scenario, but there are some neutral evil working with chaotic neutral characters working pretty much towards some evil ends, and the question is more how to get those kinds to work together a bit and not succumb to self-serving intrests completely. I know it's a challenge, but that's why I'm asking for help.
    "Excellence can be attained if you Care more than others think is wise, Risk more than others think is safe, Dream more than others think is practical, and Expect more than others think is possible." - Author Unknown.

  2. #2
    Wow, what a tough scenario, at least it would be for me, I have trouble thinking along evil lines.

    However one thought did occur, if there was a higher being that was controlling them through fear of a real hell and suffering should they fail to help each other succeed that might be enough. Evil doesn't always have to be self serving above all else.. or maybe it does. In this case self serving may be surviving long enough to serve the master, and surviving means sticking to a team plan.

    Good luck.

    -D

  3. #3
    Being evil doesn't mean they're homocidal maniacs. Only Chaotic Evil characters are truly prone to randomly killing. Evil is more about morals and ethics rather than laws. It doesn't necessarily have to be "blatantly" evil either.

    Evil characters can stick together while it serves their purpose. They may use each other as pawns, but they may also form bonds and levels of trust. Their motives in the end, however, are at odds with society. Despite that, it
    s not hard to twist "Good" adventures into "Evil" adventures, or let the players do it themselves. Evil characters will try to turn situations to personal benefit, rather than "doing what is right." Sometimes, they will 'do what is right', if they can find a way to profit from it - rescue the princess, but instead of bringing her back to the king for a reward, ransom her back for much more, or take her to a nearby kingdom. The reward must be worth the effort. Evil characters aren't necessarily lazy, but that doesn't mean they'll pass up opportunities that they don't see as useful.

    Evil is not necessarily stupid. They will not wantonly break laws or do things that announce that they are evil.

    Evil characters' motives may be personal, or they may be grander; they may server a master, in which case their decisions are based on carrying out the desires of their master.

    Have you ever played Paranoia? One could say that every Paranoia character is inherently evil, even if just by necessity rather than by nature.

    Above all, make sure that they get punished for their actions; this serves two purposes. First and foremost, it forces them to be crafty and blend in. Second, it makes them judge risk vs reward more carefully; not only do they have the risk of the immediate adventure, but potential side effects for angering the wrong people.

  4. #4
    Aye, thus are exactly the viewpoints that I have on evil, MaineCoon. And those are the feelings of at least one of my players as well. I'm hoping that the other, newer players can understand that as well.

    I've never played Paranoia, or heard of it, sadly. Wish I had so I'd understand the reference.

    I'm going to keep all these suggestions in mind, I think that could prove rather invaluable. Thanks for the tips, and if anyone else has any ideas I'm still open to suggestion!
    "Excellence can be attained if you Care more than others think is wise, Risk more than others think is safe, Dream more than others think is practical, and Expect more than others think is possible." - Author Unknown.

  5. #5
    All you have to do is switch the tables, instead of the players being the heros and saving the wench from the evil dragon, the players are now the evil doers who have captured the wench and are holder her ransom - their opponants will be "heros" trying to save the wench.

    Think along those lines. Think up a plot - just insert the characters as the bad guys.

    Instead of protecting the bank, the players are the bank robbers!
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  6. #6
    Yeah, the question just becomes how do the bank robbers not get back to their hideout and then klill each other for all the loot? lol My wife is a vicious person who wants to be an assassin and it's becoming difficult to explain to her she doesn't need to kill everyone in the universe or she'll end up dead herself from making too many enemies.
    "Excellence can be attained if you Care more than others think is wise, Risk more than others think is safe, Dream more than others think is practical, and Expect more than others think is possible." - Author Unknown.

  7. #7
    Hi, all...new to the boards (and the program).

    A couple of thoughts:
    It's human nature (or whatever is passing for human in your game) to do what's in one's own best interest. If you want the group to work together, despite the inevitably chaotic makeup of the group, then find a way to make it in their best interest to do so. For instance, the most unruly, chaotic-evil character knows to respect greater strength/power, and will not compromise the party's goals (or individuals) if that greater strength/power threatens to thoroughly trash them if they misbehave. Of course, it's better to work with a character than against him. For example, the only time I ever played an Evil™ character, a rogue, was entirely by accident (he picked up something he shouldn't have...long story). In order for him to remain with the predominately Good™ group, I decided he needed them to help him gain his wealth (I planned to start skimming a bit from the loot).

    Another thought you might consider is from a story that I'd heard before. A group decided to play an Evil™ game, just for a change of pace. They raped, looted and pillaged like a good Evil™ group is expected to. Then when they went back to their normal campaign, their good characters had to chase down the very group they had just played, following the trail of rapes, lootings and pillagings that they had themselves (sort of) perpetrated.

  8. #8

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    Sir Baylard, I have run evil campaigns before, I don't do so anymore because I find them boring as a DM. As I am not the type of DM who railroads players down plot paths, I tend to spend a fair amount of time being bored while the characters ensure their eventual doom.

    You have put your finger on the issue already with evil characters even if they are not all bloodthirsty psychopaths there is a tendency to: 1) Kill each other off - because well it can be *so* tempting and easy to just kill that other character and loot his/her stuff - and after all, *I* am evil. 2) Not be very bright and make enemies who will kill them off just because they are evil - and have proved conclusively they need to be killed, negated or imprisoned.

    The above problems mean that instead of following your plot line there is a tendency for the characters to self immolate. This is even more likely if some of the players are not as mature or experienced.

    My advice to make the campaign successful is to run a very tight plot with the characters under the thumb of something powerful and lawful evil. Make it clear that this entity will simply kill the PCs if they act stupid and ruin the entity’s plans which require, more or less, each of the character types though not necessarily that specific character. Bear in mind the entity does not have to be an NPC it could be a church, government, greater devil or some other organization.

    I ran a very successful long term Paranoia campaign because I managed to tone down some of sheer randomness of the players killing each other by having “The Computer” frown on the loss of it’s valuable computer property – the troubleshooters themselves – there still was no tolerance for commie or mutant traitors but the PCs had to make a decent case they were actually killing one or they would be executed themselves.

    You can do this in your evil campaign also, just have the “boss” kill characters who kill other characters unless they’ve got a good story how it helped the “boss”. You probably won’t stop the characters from killing each other but you will stop the random, spur of the moment killings which are most likely to derail the campaign. I mean the characters are evil, and it’s not an occasional well planned murder that is going cause trouble but the thoughtless random killings.

    Edit: Oops, misread the above and now I see you never played Paranoia - still you should still be able to get the point I was trying to make. Note that in Paranoia every last troubleshooter (PC) *is* a traitor.
    Last edited by Griogre; January 19th, 2007 at 08:08.

  9. #9
    Oberoten's Avatar
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    * Truly Evil people are seldom aknowledgeing that they are even to themselves. There is always justifications and always reasons no matter how thin they might seem to someone else.

    * Even monsters can love just look at Bonnie & Clyde, Adolf Hitler & Eva Braun. And most certainly, even monsters can keep friends that are useful and even show kindness and caring to those around them. I think that perhaps Evil can be more defined as caring only for yourself and those closest to yourself while the rest of the world be damned.

    That evil always turns on itself is a convenient cliche in fantasy books. But in real life, evil seems to prosper by being the easier path. People choose it not because that it is a quick path to power, but because it is less of a hassle. Easier to close your eyes when they come for your neighbours in the middle of the night than get involved and be taken too.

    A few people will take a corrupt administration etc as a career oportunity, but they would not be so reviled and/or reknowned if they were truly common.

    Just my $ 0.25
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  10. #10
    I don't think the setting for evil party should be that different from a good one. No good person spends all his time donating to charities and evil characters do not have to spend every minute they can spare murdering innocent passers-by. The motives of the characters are often different, but not necessarily. Both the good and the bad try to survive. Both have somehow reached the age they start adventuring so they are probably not going to get killed because of thier malice right the first moment they set off for a campaign (if the players aren't extremely childish). Short-sightedenss is not a necessary condition for being considered as evil by the general moral code

    I'd say that concentrating in the character backgrouds might be more essential in an evil-aligned campaign, so put some pressure on your players to do their part.

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