Should you play an evil player in D&D? There are three types of ‘evil’ as defined by the player’s handbook.
“Lawful Evil (LE) creatures methodically take what they want, within the limits of a code of tradition, loyalty, or order.”
Neutral Evil (NE) is the alignment of those who do whatever they can get away with, without compassion or qualms.”
“Chaotic Evil (CE) creatures act with arbitrary violence, spurred by their greed, hatred, or bloodlust.”
In short, not caring about others as long as you get what you want. To contrast this, the good alignments can be summed up as ‘doing the right thing.’
This is so vague that many paladins can be considered evil. Why did they help the poor? To help further their god’s name and gain positive word of mouth for them and their god? Evil, since they are doing this to benefit themselves or their own interests.
Evil isn’t the only bad alignment out there. To be an evil player in D&D be useful, care about the party, have a reason to be evil, and make it a good thing.
My point is that people are not ‘purely altruistic.’ Most people fall into many different states of alignment. With this in mind, let’s look at how an evil person can be viewed in a positive light while a good person can be viewed as a horrible human being.
The good paladin
Sir Kaldon joined the holy order of Tyr in order to rid the world of evil. If he sees it, he dispenses justice quickly and swiftly. If that person is a citizen, then it is his custom to send them to jail for trial if possible. Sir Kaldon only takes jobs that try to help people, and is lawful good. How could this be wrong? Let’s look at his deeds from another perspective….
Sir Kaldon’s first mission was to eradicate a nest of goblins. These goblins were displaced from their homes and decided to make their living in the city’s sewers. They were not a bad group, just took in some scraps on the street here and there but a goblin had been seen. He didn’t tell his other goblins, and Sir Kaldon came and massacred these goblins who only took the scraps from society. They pleaded for mercy, but Kaldon slew them. He did not understand or care about what filth would say.
Kaldon’s next mission was to dispatch bandits who were robbing caravans. These bandits were merely refuges from a war-torn country and tried to make their living by asking people for food. They did not get any food, so they tried to make their way by taking food from caravans. These bandits knew that what they were doing was wrong but always made sure to never hurt anyone. They just needed a way to survive since no one would help or hire them. Kaldon came and slew them without mercy.
As you can see, Kaldon can do some pretty bad things. Are these acts ‘good?’ That is up to you, but we can all see that the world is not black and white.
Black and White
A tyrant is a terrible thing to have, right? Kaldon and his party thought so and went to depose the tyrant. The party’s sponsor told them of how the tyrant was cruel and always sent prisoners to die in an arena. In order to save a country and stop
Kaldon and his party kill the tyrant and are lauded home as heroes. Quite black and white correct? Only one problem, that tyrant saved the country he lorded over. The tyrant’s country had a massively inflated economy, starving citizens, and the quality of life was worse than death before the tyrant ruled. The people loved the tyrant and even loved the gladiator games since they could find fame and glory. The prisoners being sent to fight were always given a choice to fight for freedom, or pay their debts to society.
The national war? Kaldon’s home country was about to go to war with the tyrant since he stopped the previous rule’s corrupt dealings. These previous rulers now are free to come back into power, and make the country become the lapdog of Kaldon’s country forcing a whole nation to starve and decay for the sake of a few.
Is stopping war evil? If not, then the sponsors who sent
Evil isn’t evil
As you can see, most people do not view themselves as evil even if their deeds can be seen as such. The tyrant might have done some unsavory things, but he was just trying to make his country a better place. An evil noble might not care about making society better. The noble might
Evil characters go by this creed.
“The ends justify the means.”
No truly evil character sees themselves as evil. If you do, then you are a Disney/childish
How would he get society to listen to him? The tyrant had no royal blood and no claim to the throne, but he needed to get a hold of the country in order to fix it. Therefore, he ended up creating a civil war killing thousands. To keep order, he had to create a sort of ‘thought police’ and make sure that the citizens didn’t disrupt the fragile peace that the nation had.
This tyrant ruled the lives of the citizens in order to make the country and world a better place in their eyes. Evil people try to accomplish a goal and
Playing an evil character
So now that you know evil characters can be as good or bad as good-aligned characters, should you play one? Really, it depends. Why do you want to play an evil character? If it is to just be ‘evil’ then get out. As described above, a good evil character never views themselves as evil.
If you are playing an evil character, you must have a few ground rules.
Evil player in D&D Rule #1
Don’t kill other party members. Use them as assets.
Most evil people will not keep liabilities around and either ditch or dispose of them. Your party is a group of people who are as strong as you. These associates have different skills than you and can help you achieve your goal.
Use them, don’t abuse them. In fact, you can be extra nice to them. When dividing up the gold, take a lesser share if your goal isn’t money. This way, you can use that leverage later. Save their lives since they help you, and now they are indebted to you. When a crime comes to light, your associates might end up becoming accomplices. Isn’t that a great turn of events for you?
Evil player in D&D Rule #2
Don’t be obnoxious.
This is why most people play evil characters. They want to be ‘that guy’ who does a host of unspeakable acts. Murder, pillage, even rape seem fun or edgy. Don’t be this guy. No normal human would do this, and if you are trying to be a mass murderer be smart about it. If you are dumb, you should and hopefully will be caught and killed. Just, don’t be that guy.
Evil player in D&D Rule #3
Being evil is not an excuse.
This rule is tied to #2, but sometimes players use the evil alignment as an excuse. This is along the same lines as ‘but that is what my character would do.’ Hafling expertly points out why this idea is just plain stupid. You are part of a group, don’t be that guy or use some excuse to be ‘that guy.’ For those wondering, that guy is a term for a player who just makes the game horrible for everyone. Don’t be ‘that guy.’
Evil player in D&D Rule #4
Have a goal.
As stated before, good evil characters are not just evil for the sake of being evil. They are trying to achieve something. That something can actually be a bit noble, or completely selfish. Either way, you need to have a goal in order to motivate your character. If there is no goal, there is no character. Have an overall goal that you want to achieve.
Evil player in D&D Rule #5
Your party is an investment, and you need to make them need you. If you do not, they should kick you or do even worse to you. Be useful.
Evil player in D&D Rule #6
Don’t ruin other people’s fun.
If you are the source of constant issues, then you are most likely not being useful. If you are being useful but still ruin people’s fun, then that negative outweighs your positive. Since you are no longer an asset, you are breaking a few other rules. Don’t make people regret playing with you.
Evil player in D&D Rule #7
Be a person.
eople can be evil and have friends. You can be evil and not be a murder hobo. You can be mature when you are evil, even if you like combat. Point your destructive urges towards useful things, and be a real person. A very simple rule that has been explored a little bit, but it needs to be said so that people remember it.
Evil player in D&D Rule #8
The problem is with the player.
If you are playing ‘evil’ wrong it has nothing to do with the alignment. It is always the player. Earlier we went over a few stories about how evil and good alignments don’t really mean too much. A good person can do bad things, and a bad person can do good things. If there is a problem, it is with you. Don’t lump evil into a bad category, just realize that the player did not follow the rules and are at fault.
Evil player in D&D Rule #9
Make the game better
Whew, last one. This is a comprehensive rule that is important. If you are playing evil just to be evil, don’t play. If being evil adds something to the game, then you can have evil player in D&D. A very simple rule, but you should enhance the game by being evil instead of making it worse.
As we can see, good and evil are subjective. A good person can do bad things, and a bad person can do good things. Most things are not black and white, so do not treat them as such.
If you are an evil player in D&D, follow the 9 rules listed above.
If you are interested in a full evil party, Angry GM has you covered. I just warn you that he is a little crass in his writing.
This has been Wizo and keep rolling!