Have any of you played an evil PC before? My first character was a Lawful Evil warlock who served Asmodeus. In one session, while the rest of the party went forward to talk to a village of lizardfolk who served the dark cult bad guys, I hung back, sending my invisible infernal imp forward with them to watch. If they thought sometime bad was going to happen, they would say a keyword, and I’d deal with it. They did, backing away quickly, as I cast a fireball into the town, killing the whole threat before a fight could start. Which was kinda my motto, never fight a fight I didn’t have to. What was some of your evil PC stories?
I have to say, playing an evil character has been very few and far between for me. So much so that I can’t recall the escapades of those one to two characters. Doing an evil pc can be fun, but you REALLY have to have some stuff nailed down so it doesn’t become a complete and utter shit show. Sometimes I have a hard enough time dealing with ‘neutral’ characters that choose ‘neutral’ so they can do whatever the hell they want in order to escape some moral quandry.
Sure I have, hundreds!..if you count NPCs.
As a player though I’ve only played three.
The first was back in AD&D 2e I had an assassin who was evil because he had to be. I was planning a redemption arc for him but the game didn’t last that long. Come to think of it I’m not sure we played that one after the session where I hung a child…in my defense he had a real Damien from the Omen, tortured animals for fun and I was like 16. I probably save a lot of people in the long run. It started creeping me out as I worked up to it but I felt like I couldn’t back down. I avoided evil characters for a long time after that.
My second evil character was in the d20 based Song of Ice and Fire game. I was a noble that had tried to poison his older brother to gain power. He was given the option of joining the Night watch or execution. So he swore the oaths by the gods of the religion he didn’t follow and planned to escape the first chance he got. I’d gotten pretty far along in the plot even faking being a Captain Americaesque paladin like devote to the watch. He didn’t just want to fake his death and escape he wanted to leave a legend and people morning him in his wake. But the game went in an odd direction and then petered out before I could do it.
My third evil character was from a few years ago I played a Gunslinger/Rouge/Assassin in Pathfinder. It started in a Suicide Squad short of set up. I’d just seen the Dark Tower and decided to make “evil” Idris Elba. Since Idris’ character was named Roland mine was named Durendal “Dale” to his buddies. He was steaky and conniving and would take rounds in combat to rob the place they where “defending” but he was a team player. Loyal to his friends and picky about who he’d take a contract on, no kids, no women unless they where warrior/adventuring types. Basically he didn’t mind taking money to kill other scum bags.
Of the three Dale was the most fun I did a lot of outlandish stuff with him. That game started to sputter out but the GM realized it and gave us a satisfying conclusion.
Just once, and he was only “evil” from a certain point of view.
This was a long-term campaign that lasted a couple of years or so. I was playing a Druid character (Rolemaster). This was a big epic campaign, and at one point my Druid needed to leave the party for several months. I was going to handle his side trip with the GM separately, but I was going to bring in a temporary character for the weekly games in the meantime.
I decided it might be interesting to do something a bit different. So after discussing it with the GM, I brought in a Rogue (actually Nightblade) character, sent by the Emperor of the Eastern Empire. The group had been resisting the spread of the Empire into our lands, and had actually been something of a nuisance. So, the character was sent to infiltrate the group.
So…from a different faction, but not necessarily evil. Still, in the middle of one of the big fights against the Empire, when the Nightblade began attacking the group from behind (starting with the Mage, of course), I’m pretty sure the group considered him “evil”.
It was interesting and drove home the point about not necessarily trusting characters just because they’re PCs. Not to cause issues with future new characters, but just to encourage them to be a bit less blindly accepting.
All times I’ve been in a game with an evil player character, it has ended poorly.
Also I’ve never allowed them in my D&D games.
No judgement on those of you who enjoy playing/running these games.
The most recent 5e game I played in featured the players as party of a military squad - advanced scouts/specialist for a mercenary company operating in allied kingdoms.
I was dropping in and out due to other commitments but when iI was there I noticed the players were getting rather murder/hoboish - “we’re tougher than the town guard here - we can do what we want” .
When I had the chance to play more regularly I wanted to make sure to roll up a character who would not “interfere” with their ongoing activities.
I introduced a Warlock character as ranged support & troubleshooter (ie assassin), our enemies were fey and Diabolists so I went with Far Realms Pact - he’d delved into forbidden tomes, learned dark secrets that basically stripped him of any sense of morality - he just wanted more secrets and magic.
His only bond/ties were to the Mercenary Company - so he’d help & save his fellow soldiers - but otherwise I played him as having no sense of right or wrong - he’s just trying to get more magic.
I played him as fully supportive of the groups aims, but with no limits at all.
Enemies holed up in a building with hostages?
"Simple - Block the exits and set fire to the building…ohh - you want the hostages to be rescued? "
“Just their bodies back or alive?”
“All of them?? Really? Ok what is the acceptable losses factor - some of them are kids and they tend to run screaming & don’t listen when I get started…”
“Ok - I’ll do my best - but no promises.”
“Don’t worry - the demon I summoned can’t kill me when I have a fresh blood circle up - I have some homeless people locked up in the basement so I always have a fresh supply.”
“You? - of yeah - I’m going to loose control of it in a few seconds - you might want to run.”
“We’re fine - we can just eat the villagers once supplies run out…”
Just quietly, calmly, creepy evil.
I completely support my party and do whatever they want me too.
As I expected - when confronted with MY disturbing suggestions they steered away from their murder/hobo activities, mainly as a way to keep me in line.
Half the fun in that game for me was watching a bunch of CN types move towards NG/LG just to keep my warlock from collecting “fresh eyeballs from the children before we leave town”.
I was honestly shocked they never killed Creel off in his sleep.
Oh - I don’t allow them in my games either - and aside from Creel above I have never wanted to play one - I started off with Creel as crazy, but made him creepier as I noticed it made the others actually steer away from their own amoral behaviours.
I’ve never played an evil character, but I’ve been in a few games where other players did. It seemed like they choose that option more for mechanical reasons: to either just play an assassin character (it was an AD&D game) or an evil cleric so they could control undead. They really didn’t play their characters as really evil. To me, evil is EVIL - performing truly horrible and despicable acts that I really don’t want to describe. I really think most people don’t have it in then to play a character truly that way, and I definitely wouldn’t want to be in that game if they did (nor do I think anyone else would want to). At they’re worse, I think most players really would only be classified as chaotic neutral.
I just read @Rweston’s post as I’m writing this, and I think he makes my case much better than I did.
What was disturbing was that the party were descending into evil - the bland “might makes right”, “who cares about the little people”, tyranny of the strong sort of evil. City guard says “you can’t come in” - trash them all & march into the local mayor house and commandeer whatever you want.
The other players were starting to talk like “we are really just a like a biker gang - we should take over this town”.
So I upped the ante in a quiet, disturbing way.
I didn’t need to have the character actually perform horrific depraved acts, I just had to suggest them and every ones else screamed “No!!” and tried to actually act like heroes.
From that point on the real character arc I saw for him was death at the hands of his own party.
I mean an amoral crazy warlock drawing on Cthulhu powers?
Probably not the healthiest of choices or viable for a long term campaign - I think I took to the character from a DM point of view (what would this sort of person be like) and I wanted to see how warlocks under the 5e rules worked.
I was clear with the DM about what I was doing, how I was going to run him & why, and I made it clear on several occasions after a game session that I was amazed the party hasn’t killed him yet.
Frankly as a DM I don’t like concept of Warlocks as PC’s that 5E uses - I mean come on… Diabolic & Cthulhlu pacts - that stuff screams “look at my evil PC!!! Woo I’m bad and cool.”
Rory - who should stick to Dming & not playing…when the quarantine lifts…
In a D&D 2E/3E campaign I played in, our DM announced at the halfway point we were going to split our playtime between our main characters and a second group. The PCs of the second group was a villainous group who opposed our main PCs. While these new PCs were definitely evil, they were still well-rounded characters and we helped to add a great deal of depth to them, even while knowing their successes made the lives of our main PCs more difficult. We finished the campaign exploring the story from both points of view, a fun exploration of the different kinds of evil and the importance of point of view.
In the end, the two groups were forced to face each other and it was an emotional scene. Neither side could achieve their goals while the other survived, one side had to fall. The DM allowed us to choose which side we were going to play in the encounter. While it was quite difficult, we choose our main PCs, the ones we started with. Our victory was hard-fought (we spent half a campaign teaching our DM how to get the most out of our evil characters) and bittersweet. We finished the campaign with the side we choose and defeated the greater evil but we still felt the loss of the other group. The DM used those emotions well as the story played out. Dave (our DM) was a master storyteller and an inspiration to me. It was one of the greatest campaigns I ever played in.
That said, I know not everyone has an experience like that when it comes to evil characters. I’ve also seen it go very, very poorly. But I will always remember that campaign fondly and know it is possible to do it right with the right DM/GM/Storyteller and the right players.
No desire to play a truly evil character. However… I don’t generally play games with alignment buttoned down, and I love selfish / morally gray / damaged / self-destructive characters with complicated and sometimes selfish or unpleasant motivations. Like to play them, and welcome them in the games I run. Though I will admit I often have a redemption or doomed-to-die angle for the darker concepts.
I played an Ithorian healer in a Force and Destiny game that was concerned about being able to keep his friends safe. Eventually, he used his healing ability to literally damage someone’s internal organs to save his friends, and he fell to the dark side.
My entire point in doing this is because I WANTED to have a redemption arc with the character.
Instead, I had one party member use their Force abilities to control my character “for my own good,” and another one that shot me with stun blasts when I hadn’t even done anything that would harm the party, because they were afraid I was getting “too aggressive.”
I wasn’t playing the character as being hostile to the rest of the party at all, but no matter how many discussions we had on a meta-level, people just did not want to give him a redemption arc, so he hitched a ride on his new pet rancor and traveled off into the sunset.
I was very frustrated with that game.
I’d feel the same way.
Had a PC who was an evil Warlock who masqueraded as a cleric of Odin in an Avalon game that my buddy @Kevthulhu ran. I was not a nice person and the rest of the PCs had no idea (in game, the players all knew as I wanted to be sure they were cool with it). It was a lot of fun to play and everyone had a good time. Helped that most, if not all of the PCs were not nice people.
Also played an evil gnome once who wanted to be a necromancer and stared collecting bits of his foes and eating them. Got into some trouble when he finally tried to take “just a bit” off an unconscious PC and got caught. My gnome was, of course, killed by the rest of the PCs at that point. I was prepared for such an outcome, as were the other players, and we all had fun with it.
Also, in pretty much EVERY Vampire game I ran was basically all evil PCs. Hard to be a blood sucker with a dark monster inside you and still be good.
Brett ran the last 2E campaign I was in, and I believe all the players were evil. We took on the Temple of Elemental Evil by getting recruited and infiltrating the cult. I still cringe thinking of some things we did to extract information from cultists.
Jay! Didn’t know you’d joined! Awesome to see ya man!
Hey look, he passed his sneak!
This is a session zero thing to me. Groups of mixed moral codes can be fun if everyone knows what their in for. In my early days, when I played in groups with wildly mixed alignments it rarely worked. Some one would mess with someone, feelings would be hurt and game the would end.
Recently, I started a Blades in the Dark game. In session zero everyone knew that is was a morally ambiguous game and it has been a blast. Even though they are a Shadow crew, read assassin/thief types they have a code. They don’t take jobs that mess with the little guy, but anyone else is fare game. They are definitely not good and do evil things, but in this context is works. I guess it’s evil by degree. On one side there is the Joker and the other is his lackey. Pulling a heist is one thing, randomly killing a stadium full of people is another.
Personally, I have only tried it once in a game D&D where everyone was evil. I find that I like the style and the trappings of evil characters. You know, all the dark and brooding stuff, hiding in the shadow, etc. However, when it came to first person roleplaying evil, I did not dig it. I can run it, but not play it. What that says about me, I don’t know.
Maybe it’s the latent religionist or moralist in me, but I tend to be very uncomfortable roleplaying evil as a first-person character (of course other characters—NPCs, predominantly—are evil, but that’s a different matter; that’s a reflection of the world or reality). The concept brings to mind what fantasies I have heard have been entertained at adolescent gaming tables—never at mine. Even as an adult, when such… directions have arisen at my game table, I sometimes have found it necessary to claim, “You know that doing such things in fantasy have a corollary to reality, right?”
Obviously the interaction is more complicated than this. To refer to Playing Pretend, children try out a variety of roles: they are cops, and they are robbers. I am convinced that, when a child reads a story, they are in almost equal measures all the characters therein.
But there is something that gets to me when adults engage in these fantasies.
I chalk it up to one of my personal Lines and Veils.