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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Eeeeviilllllllll!!! Do You Allow Evil PCs in the Campaigns You Run?

I'm not saying PCs can't or won't commit evil acts no matter their stated alignments. It's just been my experience that PCs with an actual evil alignment written on their character sheet are disruptive to group play.

It's kinda like "my PC is evil, so I get to play an asshole".

No, you don't get that "privilege". Least not when I'm running a game.

RPGs are a group experience, and if that experience is to be successful, we all need to be on the same page.

Besides, aren't PCs supposed to be heroes of some sort, even if they might be at the "Dirty Harry" end of the spectrum?

Maybe I'm off target. Maybe "evil" is a legitimate alignment in campaign play. Maybe they can work with good aligned characters.

Am I wrong?


24 comments:

  1. Just because you're evil doesn't mean you don't see the advantages of working in a group. For example, with apologies to Godwin, the Nazis were great at working in groups (as long as they got to pick the sides). Having your own self-interest as the first bullet point on your agenda shouldn't automatically mean betraying your party at every turn.

    And you can get along with those goody goodies, they're so gullible. Sure they might ruin some of your short-term fun, but you have to sleep sometime. Who do you want on watch? A noble Paladin? Or a pack of human sacrificing cultists?

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  2. I allow evil characters.

    I don't allow people to act like assholes and except some sort of protection based on pointing at their character sheet. Act evil, expect that other PCs may have an issue with this and kill your PC.

    At least two PCs in my current game self-identify as evil. Since my game system doesn't use alignments, it's a matter of debate if they really are. I think they're more amoral or criminal than evil, personally. But it's a player decision - be as nasty as you want, but accept the consequences.

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  3. An Evil campaign with an experienced, aware group is a thing of beauty. :)

    And hella fun!

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  4. I think people do often use the "evil" descriptor to be a douche, but you can have evil PCs who mix together. I most recently played a Chaotic Wizard in DCC that would suggest horrible things to the group over and over again. Things like, "If we set loose the zombies in this basement into town, we can blame the death of the family we just accidentally slaughtered on them and look like heroes!"

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    1. "If we set loose the zombies in this basement into town, we can blame the death of the family we just accidentally slaughtered on them and look like heroes!"

      There's a creative approach to problem-solving for you. I like.

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    2. Yep. The evil character has a legitimate function in a party, as the Tempter (proposing morally troubling ways to solve the party's problems; provides a way for good characters to prove their goodness) and the Troubleshooter (solving the party's problems by morally troubling ends, typically without the rest of the party's knowledge of the details).

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  5. Single evil characters in a good party can be disruptive, but as James said an entire party of evil characters can play together fine if they have a common goal. I played in a very fun evil campaign in college. We had one player who was douche evil, so we killed him and things went great from there.

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  6. No, not unless it's an evil group.

    My groups always have a Cleric of Pelor, or a Paladin and those types simply are not going to adventure with "evil" characters. According to the "Rules" everyone loves so much, they're not allowed to.

    So, how do you justify the group's make-up?

    Too much bother for me, the DM, just so one player can behave like a douche if he wants to. Nope. Not doing it.

    My players already ask me what their characters can and cannot so, simply because they can't be bothered to keep track of their own chosen Feats and Skills and now . . . this, too? Nope. Not doing it.

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  7. Yes. If they act like pricks, they'll probably be booted but by the party not the DM, that's true regardless of alignment. Spell casters also can't read alignment of people they know well, their personal feelings blur their reading. It can get tricky if a new PC is added, and they are a cleric or paladin, but none of my recent groups caused too many RP issues over it.

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  8. Not a problem in picaresque sandboxing. Certainly a problem if you want a cohesive group of heroes doing good and fighting evil. Evil PCs wouldn't work in my 4e Forgotten Realms campaign, but no problem with effectively evil and Chaotic PCs in my Yggsburgh and Wilderlands sandbox games.
    In general if the players don't know each other/aren't friends, then evil PCs are best avoided. All my Meetup campaigns have been basically good/heroic. If the players are friends and the campaign is an open one then evil PCs can work great; they tend to instigate a lot of fun action, being more proactive than good/Lawful characters.

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  9. Yeah I did, back in high school.

    But around college I started enforcing a "no evil PCs" rule. Want to play an evil character, well let's pull out Vampire and talk about it.

    I also don't let people play Chaotic Neutral as crazy. Nihilists maybe, but I worked in a mental health facility as a QMHP for too long to be impressed or amused at a role-player's idea of what crazy is.

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    1. I've got the same experience, and I too have little time for "crazy." On a related note, I've found it much harder for me to play out an insane NPC as well. It tends to work out better if the character is recurring, since I then have time to play out schizoaffective elements or deeper delusions.

      While on that topic, one of my favourite madmen in fiction is the crazy Irishman from Braveheart.

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    2. Well, there's "ha, ha! Dave is crazy!" crazy , and "sweet mother of God, what's wrong with you?" crazy.

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  10. If I had more of a sandboxy game, I'd probably allow evil PCs again, but I make it clear that I don't like them. The last evil PC we had in the party was played very well, but it was still a bit disruptive. In the end, I like running a game where the characters are doing heroic things for heroic reasons or at least reasons that easily align with heroic reasons.

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  11. I am pretty sure my DM in high school was evil.

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  12. Yup Evil PCs are fine and dandy, they just have to deal with the truth that evil consumes it's own. If anyone thinks there is an advantage to being evil, they haven't stopped to wonder why the evil dudes are living in holes in the ground.

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  13. I usually allow a player to have an evil alignment if they explain to me the character's concept and they promise not to use it as a reason to be disruptive. For example, I've had someone play a Lawful Evil character who basically acted like a more brutal version of the honorable knight. He had a code of honor and worked well with a party of mostly good adventurers, but he would do some rather evil things.

    However, I will not let a player use Chaotic Evil. I'm sure someone can pull it off, but I've found time after time that a large amount of players use the Chaotic Evil alignment as an excuse to be insane assholes who will try to burn down every town they walk into and constantly screw the party over. So, I just nip it in the butt before the problem arises.

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  14. It depends on the players. For example, I know my current group of players well. If one of them would play an evil character, the other players would accept that he or she might betray them. Also, the person playing the evil character would understand the risks, that if he or she gets caught doing evil they might find themselves rolling up a new character in short order.

    I have also had groups where I know some of the players would not deal well with this kind of thing, so I didn't allow it.

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  15. I STRONGLY discourage it. If someone wants to play an evil character, I point out the following: "Evil monsters will still attack you if you're evil, and on top of that the good monsters will too. And a lot of the good monsters can really wreck your shit. Do you still want to play an evil character?" Usually they don't.

    Generally speaking I will give the players a list of fairly compatible alignments (usually CG, CN, N, and NG - I don't really see adventurers as lawful types) and highly recommend all characters in the party be one of those alignments. I find that it really cuts down on alignment-based debates.

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  16. No.

    Lots of reason and qualifiers that I don't feel like typing out but in the end the answer is still "no."

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  17. Since I am not an alignment oriented guy, I don't mind if players are against the system. And as long as the person is not being immature or a 'griefer' I don't mind if they have some nefarious plots bubbling behind the scenes. A while back I played with a group where we were all pretty much as evil as they come. It was a lot of fun. We were very good at it. There were times when we potted against one another, but it never disrupted play and we all had a great time.

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  18. The real issue here isn't the "evil" alignment. the real issue is the jerkiness of this individual. I would never play any game with jerks or idiots.

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  19. We're running Law/Neutral/Chaos for our campaign with a very strong Moorcock/Warhammer feel. However, the main alignment for the players is Don'tBeADick. So, if you're aligned with Chaos it brings headaches (er, opportunities) but no more than being aligned with any of the other powers. Plenty of room for morality and roleplaying is the winner on the day.

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