Friday, August 28, 2009

Evil Player Characters - What to do with 'em?

An earlier game journal post or two detailed the ordeal of Agnal, an evil cleric who was outed by NPCs to his fellow PCs. Agnal was interrogated, bound, and carried by horse and under guard some distance from where he was discovered, left weaponless and with little hope of returning to the center of game play.

I'd never been challenged before by a player who had chosen an evil alignment for a PC in a party of neutrals and lawfuls, and though I'm slightly haunted by the feeling that I might have railroaded his fate, in the end it feels justified as he was just too much of a sore thumb sticking out for the others not to notice.

Since then, nearly all of the original party has died. Agnal still lives, and I'd left open the possibility that he might return to play at some point in the future. New characters have been rolled up, and (perhaps because of Agnal still living and my offer being known) alignment choice for the new characters have been either evil or neutral. We're now looking at the possibility of a new party composed of evils and neutrals, possibly led, but at least accompanied by the elder creep Agnal.

While the traditional dungeon certainly still holds allure for PCs of this persuasion, I'm curious what others have done in similar situations. What types of adventures have your party's evil characters engaged in... did you write up scenarios with their evil alignment specifically in mind? Are there even published materials which you've used (perhaps with modification) for this? I'm just looking for a little extra inspiration here.

I fondly remember the time (as a young teenager) my beloved Winkle Ellapote (6th level CE Elven thief) ravaged the Village of Hommlett with my friend's 9th level Assassin and a host of hirelings. It was all wrong, but a lot of fun. Now that I'm on the other side of the table, my mind is racing with options and to be honest, I'm a little nervous about where these new, evil characters may venture!


Timeshadows said...

Yeah, be prepared to be ambivalent about the actions of the evil/neutral party.
--Laughing at heinous acts can make one feel odd inside.

I often play really...Aberrant characters (in a Palladium Alignment-sense), and my GMs in those cases look on at me with shocked, almost queasy faces.
--One PC in my game decided to play what he thought was a crazy killer, but was just a messy, stupid killer. I had the character left behind when the other PCs skipped town, and another player flatly explained: 'Your character was creeping us, as players, out. Make a new character.'

So, there you have it.
-Proceed with due caution, and if things get uncomfortable, nix it.

My two-bits.

Don Snabulus said...

Hide the treasures in a room full of kittens, a room full of 6 year old children, and a room full of nuns. The treasure doesn't appear until all inhabitants are dead. If they cannot survive these preliminary rounds, they cannot play an evil character.

(Tongue was in cheek here)

Anonymous said...

Evil PCs aren't much different than others in my experience. They should have friends, family and/or causes to keep them going. The game I ran centered on a LE church and the Anti-Paladin that served it. Other characters, a mage, a gladiator, another fighter and so on who fortunately just sort of fell in line. Along the way, they made other "friends", as it were and found their own individual callings: power, revenge, wealth or whatever. One of them even found love. With self-created motivations, adventures eventually come along. Otherwise, evil always seems to be serving some one/thing, so you can go with that.

Anonymous said...

Something else I forgot. If your PCs are too evil or really obviously evil, someone's going to want them dead. If they can't do it themselves, they can get someone else to do it for them. Bounty Hunters, vigilanties, lynch mobs - all of them (and more) can provide all kinds of adventure activities. It can also provide a lesson for why evil really hasn't conquered the world; it just won't stand for it.

I suppose that may have something do do with why evil masterminds' fortresses are located in such unhospitible places. It keeps the bad bad good guys away.

Rusty said...

It is difficult to have long-term mixed alignment parties (mixed as in good and evil hanging out together). Years ago, I DMed a party of evil characters that included a PC norker and xvart (I had just purchased the original Fiend Folio). They attacked an orphanage run by nuns and ate the children and nuns (and likely any kittens that were found). Not something that a paladin or even neural characters would tolerate. On the flip side, the friend who played two of these characters has fond memories of their exploits (his a missionary pastor in Alaska). We just talked about this a few weeks ago.

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