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Old 10-18-2019, 10:18 AM   #21
thastygliax
 
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Default Re: Evil Player characters/PvP games

For me, the biggest problem with evil PCs is the ease and glee with which many players jump to the conclusion that, "I'm evil, therefore I must screw over the other PCs every chance I get." That's stupidly short-sighted. A well-designed evil character will have their own agenda, sure, but it's one that they can pursue in the company of allies who may or may not be evil (i.e., the other PCs).

In one campaign that my wife GMed, one of the players proposed playing an evil character, but one that needed the rest of the party to reach his own goals. His ultimate goal was finding a way to cheat death and become immortal--a sort of alchemical lich--but for that he needed to work with other adventurers in order to survive long enough to accumulate the vast resources (and personal power and experience) he needed to attain his goal. As long as the other PCs didn't directly oppose his long-term goal, he had zero reason to turn on them, or even to reveal his secret agenda or alignment. In fact, it made him the most dedicated team player in the party.

In a game where the core conceit is going on adventures as a team because nobody can accomplish everything solo, enlightened self interest demands that PCs of ALL alignments learn play well with others, or else everyone suffers. But not all players can be trusted to understand that idea, much less lean into it, so it's often easier to just ban evil PCs and save yourself a massive headache.

OTOH, nominally good and neutral characters can be massive jerks, too. I've met far too many PCs, in both in organized play and home games, who I'd gladly trade for a polite, well-behaved devil in a heartbeat...
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Old 10-18-2019, 10:29 AM   #22
The Colonel
 
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Default Re: Evil Player characters/PvP games

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Originally Posted by khorboth View Post
As I see it, you're playing with three sliders.

1) Group cohesion. I generally stipulate at character creation that this will be mandatory. Occasionally, I will allow for moderate strife but overwhelm it with outside forces that make characters cooperate. My group doesn't do well with outright combat between characters, and I like a cooperative table.

2) Campaign tone. How dark are the themes? Are there R-rated or X-rated themes of grim-darkness? I like to explore these themes more than my current group. At some point, I will get a chance.

3) Character morality. How morally upright are the protagonists? Are we villains bent on genocide? How much are the characters willing to sacrifice to meet their ends? To me, the genuinely reprehensible protagonist is unrelatable enough to be a gimmick character and not good for long-term campaigns, but can be fun for short-term. Others have fun long term, but it's not for me.
There's also the whole "values dissonance" thing - there's an uneasy tendency to apply modern western values (for want of a better term) to contexts where they don't apply - hence you can have wierdnesses like slavery being a hallmark of "evil" cultures only, despite it being pretty much ubiquitous amongst humans until really quite recently. And that's not even going into the old OD&D thing about poison use being chaotic/evil...
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Old 10-19-2019, 05:29 AM   #23
Anders
 
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Default Re: Evil Player characters/PvP games

I'm just saying I wouldn't be comfortable with a player playing Jeffrey Epstein.
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Old 10-19-2019, 03:25 PM   #24
khorboth
 
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Default Re: Evil Player characters/PvP games

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Originally Posted by The Colonel View Post
There's also the whole "values dissonance" thing - there's an uneasy tendency to apply modern western values (for want of a better term) to contexts where they don't apply - hence you can have wierdnesses like slavery being a hallmark of "evil" cultures only, despite it being pretty much ubiquitous amongst humans until really quite recently. And that's not even going into the old OD&D thing about poison use being chaotic/evil...
This is true. We played an 1890s era horror game where my character had progressive-for-the-time ideas about race which would be completely unacceptable today. High fantasy tends to skirt around that with handwaving, but in the context of evil... it's hard to pin down.

In my homebrew world, various cultures have variously opressive views about women and there is a slave-owning country. The High Elves are working on raising the standard of living for Humans by taking those in their care and curing them of all ills both physical and mental. Mental illness includes being unhappy with the clearly superior Elves being in charge.

I hadn't thought of this in the context of evil players, but it really does muddy the waters.
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