What part of 'evil is impractical' is to hard to understand?

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No I am not about to preach, more like yell, but not preaching whilst yelling.

So you have a player that wants to act evil, play evil, be evil, do evil acts or just enjoy an 'evil campaign'. What part of that is impractical in the extreme is too lacking self evident to comprehend?

God I am sick and tired of reading about people needing to be evil in a game designed for heroic deeds. Are you dense?

Levels 1 through 10, ever wonder why they call it the 'Heroic tier'? It's because your PC is attempting to become a hero.

Not a selfish, greedy little snot, only interested in themselves, certainly not the group. It's not about
'what's in it for me', it's about save the day, the damsel in distress, the world even maybe.

But nope, some people seem to be so incapable of grasping what should be bloody obvious.
If you need to play a self centered power infatuated me centric persona, maybe you should play Vampire or something designed for it eh.

So you have an 'evil' PC and you don't like the doo gooder Paladin wanting to kill you... tough! Deal with it.
So your players want you to rescue their idiot evil PCs. Tell them sorry, I just run the game, I'm not actually in it, or responsible for your ill advised decisions.

I'd only have one thing to tell a player wishing to play evil in one of my games. Enjoy your PC, it's on it's own and I won't be doing thing one to ensure it survives the session. Dumb is dumb.

I won't go out of my way to save a PC and I won't go out of my way to kill one.
I'm just the referee. I keep the game honest. Nothing else.

Evil is a stupid choice in 4th edition regardless of what alignment system is inside the game's mechanics. And no I don't care if you CAN run an evil game, it won't change the fact the game was not designed for it.
I don't play 4th edition D&D for Wizard's sake I play it for my sake.
I sometimes run a purely evil campaign just to satisfy those bloodlust players. But I won't tolerate a mixture of both at the same time. Why can't 4e be played with evil characters at all? The mechanics don't restrict it. In fact, paladins can be evil if they want to or even total opposite of their god and still have their powers. 

If you are frustrated, why not just houserule your campaign that no evil or even unaligned PC are allowed.  
If I recall, the alignment is "Evil", not "jackhole".  I hate players that think being evil is a license to be a jerk.  I like players who realize "evil" means you can actually function in the world of "good". 

My next campaign will actually revolve around how The Raven Queen is actually actually "evil" and Orcus is "good."  He is trying to dethrone her because SHE is the one that is messing things up.  SHE usurped his throne.
Action Points - Tips and ideas for 4e D&D DMs and players. Extended Rest - The unpublished stories of heroism.
What's scary is all the "Is this evil?" topics that pop up from time to time. If you have to ask, then chances are the answer is YES.
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Of the two approaches to hobby games today, one is best defined as the realism-simulation school and the other as the game school. AD&D is assuredly an adherent of the latter school. It does not stress any realism (in the author's opinon an absurd effort at best considering the topic!). It does little to attempt to simulate anything either. (AD&D) is first and foremost a game for the fun and enjoyment of those who seek the use of imagination and creativity.... In all cases, however, the reader should understand that AD&D is designed to be an amusing and diverting pastime, something which an fill a few hours or consume endless days, as the participants desire, but in no case something to be taken too seriously. For fun, excitement and captivating fantasy, AD&D is unsurpassed.As a realistic simulation of things from the realm of make-believe or even as a reflection of midieval or ancient warfare or culture or society, it can be deemed only a dismal failure. Readers who seek the later must search elsewhere. - Gary Gygax. 1e DMG.
I find myself both amused and confused by the people who insist evil PC's are inherently impractical and don't fit the game.  It all seems very Pollyanna with her knickers in a twist.  So really, are you playing D&D or The Sound of Music?

If I recall, the alignment is "Evil", not "jackhole".  I hate players that think being evil is a license to be a jerk.  I like players who realize "evil" means you can actually function in the world of "good". 

My next campaign will actually revolve around how The Raven Queen is actually actually "evil" and Orcus is "good."  He is trying to dethrone her because SHE is the one that is messing things up.  SHE usurped his throne.

I love this idea. Especially since 4e no longer has alignment shift penalties and Detect Evil/Good powers.

Although I do miss being able to punish Lawful Good PCs for not being jerks. Generosity? Neutral or Chaotic act. Standing up for the weak? That's what the Law is for, so the weak can stand up for themselves. Being tolerant of others' differences? That's how evil creeps into the world. Non-evil free-willed Undead? Gotta be a trap of dark powers. Infernal Pact Warlock? Expect to meet an unfortunate accident.

I hope the OP sees where this is going.
You do not need to be playing an evil alignment to be a "jackhole".  What I find more amusing are the rationalizations that people put on the actions of their characters to show how they are not "evil' or "good".
People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf. --George Orwell There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people. --Howard Zinn He who fights with monsters must take care lest he thereby become a monster. --Friedrich Nietzsche Devil\'s Brigade
I find myself both amused and confused by the people who insist evil PC's are inherently impractical and don't fit the game.  It all seems very Pollanna with her knickers in a twist.  So really, are you playing D&D or The Sound of Music?


QFT.

I agree that the game may not have been designed for evil characters, but there's tons of concepts the game was not specifically designed for but handles quite well. I also have a hard time believing that the devs didn't know that players would want to play evil characters. There's nothing inherently wrong with it.

It's not evil characters that ruin games, it's douchebag players that don't know how to play evil characters. And on that note, there are probably almost as many players that don't know how to play lawful good either.
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.
I find myself both amused and confused by the people who insist evil PC's are inherently impractical and don't fit the game.  It all seems very Pollanna with her knickers in a twist.  So really, are you playing D&D or The Sound of Music?




Really?

D&D is set in a world where the characters are heroically fighting for the survival of civilization against the forces of an opposing force that care only for conquest and wealth. Why would a character in a group feeling empathy for the enemy and working against the other characters not be a problem?

The Sound of Music? A musical that is about a failed Nun being a governess to rowdy children in Australia in the 1930's. A sappy film that has won 5 oscars and has absolutly nothing to do with D&D. What exactly are you trying to say here, that the group wants to all play the "goody two shoes" Paladin or that the DM should not care about OOC arguments durring the game?

Maybe one would think that more mature players would be able to play evil alignments and still get along with the group, but most that play a character of an evil alignment uses that alignment as an excuse to work against the group and do things that serve no other purpose than to benifit the character instead of the group or the people they are trying to help. That is neither helpful nor fun for the other players.

Look the PHB for a second. The Good Deities are there, but there is only a brief passing over of the evil ones. This is just one example of the slant for Players to play a "heroic" group of characters.

The Sound of Music? Really?
Terms you should know...
Show
Kit Build - A class build that is self sustaining and has mechanical differences than the normal scale. Started in Essentials. Most are call their own terms, though the Base Class should be said in front of their own terms (Like Assassin/Executioner) Power Points - A mechanic that was wedged into the PHB3 classes (with the exception of the Monk) from the previous editions. This time, they are used to augment At Wills to be Encounters, thus eliminating the need to choose powers past 4th level. Mage Builds - Kit builds that are schools of magic for the Wizard. A call back to the previous editions powering up of the wizard. (Wizard/Necromancer, for example) Unlike the previous kit builds, Wizards simply lose their Scribe Rituals feature and most likely still can choose powers from any build, unlike the Kit Builds. Parcel System - A treasure distribution method that keeps adventurers poor while forcing/advising the DM to get wish lists from players. The version 2.0 rolls for treasure instead of making a list, and is incomplete because of the lack of clarity about magic item rarity.
ha ha
56902498 wrote:
They will Essentialize the Essentials classes, otherwise known as Essentials2. The new sub-sub-classes will be: * Magician. A subsubclass of Mage, the magician has two implements, wand and hat, one familiar (rabbit) and series of basic tricks. * Crook. A subsubclass of Thief, the Crook can only use a shiv, which allows him to use his only power... Shank. * Angry Vicar, a subsubclass of warpriest, the angry vicar has two attacks -- Shame and Lecture. * Hitter. A subsubclass of Slayer, the Hitter hits things. * Gatherer. A subsubclass of Hunter, it doesn't actually do anything, but pick up the stuff other players might leave behind. Future Essentials2 classes include the Security Guard (Sentinel2), the Hexknife (Hexblade2), the Webelos (Scout2), the Gallant (Cavalier2) and the Goofus (Knight2). These will all be detailed in the box set called Heroes of the Futile Marketing. (Though what they should really release tomorrow is the Essentialized version of the Witchalok!)
I find myself both amused and confused by the people who insist evil PC's are inherently impractical and don't fit the game.  It all seems very Pollanna with her knickers in a twist.  So really, are you playing D&D or The Sound of Music?




Please tell me you're not serious...

This sounds like those people who think EVIL is the right way to play. Read : team jerk is the right way, if you're not "EVIL", you're a goody two shoes.

One of my former players whines to no end about how D&D is meant for evil players, and that hasbro "bowldlerized" the game by making it heroic

You remind me of the people who rage on about "moral***" on certain messageboards :/
My campaign is set in a world where the characters are heroically fighting for the survival of civilization against the forces of an opposing force that care only for conquest and wealth.


Fixed that for you.

Why would a character in a group feeling empathy for the enemy and working against the other characters not be a problem?


Why would he have to feel empathy for the enemy? If anything, I would expect good characters to feel more empathy for the enemy, especially if your villains are not 2D cartoon cutouts.

Maybe one would think that more mature players would be able to play evil alignments and still get along with the group, but most that play a character of an evil alignment uses that alignment as an excuse to work against the group and do things that serve no other purpose than to benifit the character instead of the group or the people they are trying to help. That is neither helpful nor fun for the other players.


It may not be helpful, but depending on the group it can be a lot of fun. And douchebag players come in all varieties, not just evil. There are plenty of disruptive chaotic neutral, unaligned, and good players. However, when those instances come up, people just say the players isn't playing their character correctly. When an instance of a disruptive evil character comes up it's (ZOMG EVILZ PCs! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOUR DM YOU CAN'T HAVE EVIL PCS IN D&D!!!!!"
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.
Please tell me you're not serious...

This sounds like those people who think EVIL is the right way to play. Read : team jerk is the right way, if you're not "EVIL", you're a goody two shoes.

One of my former players whines to no end about how D&D is meant for evil players, and that hasbro "bowldlerized" the game by making it heroic

You remind me of the people who rage on about "moral***" on certain messageboards :/


He can feel free to jump in and correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think that was what he was saying at all. He wasn't saying evil is the only right way, just that why should is it that someone who earns his living as a graverobber can't possibly be doing it for selfish reasons instead of chasing gold because he wants to save the world? That's my take on the matter, at least. After all, this is a game that generally functions around the concept of "kill people and take their stuff."
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.
The marketing strategy of 4th edition will eventually dictate that evil themed supplements be produced. I guarantee it!
I find myself both amused and confused by the people who insist evil PC's are inherently impractical and don't fit the game.  It all seems very Pollanna with her knickers in a twist.  So really, are you playing D&D or The Sound of Music?

I'll put it this way: in ten years of playing D&D, during which I've met at the table with literally hundreds of players, I've met one guy who could play an evil character successfully (played along with party goals without sacrificing his own motives, kept his treachery subtle and his intentions suitably opaque).

One.

That makes the ratio of orphan-executing, party-murdering jackholes to successful, non-disruptive evil PCs about 50:1.  The problem isn't that the game can't support evil PCs, it's that evil PCs almost never know how to support the game.
The marketing strategy of 4th edition will eventually dictate that evil themed supplements be produced. I guarantee it!



Wizards has been steadfastly against this idea for this new edition. They were reluctant in the previous edition, and 3pp published some materials that supported the darker side of things. Right now, the GSL is stated in such a way as to make those previously released materials not be acceptable in the new edition.

I think your guarantee isn't one to be forfilled.

Terms you should know...
Show
Kit Build - A class build that is self sustaining and has mechanical differences than the normal scale. Started in Essentials. Most are call their own terms, though the Base Class should be said in front of their own terms (Like Assassin/Executioner) Power Points - A mechanic that was wedged into the PHB3 classes (with the exception of the Monk) from the previous editions. This time, they are used to augment At Wills to be Encounters, thus eliminating the need to choose powers past 4th level. Mage Builds - Kit builds that are schools of magic for the Wizard. A call back to the previous editions powering up of the wizard. (Wizard/Necromancer, for example) Unlike the previous kit builds, Wizards simply lose their Scribe Rituals feature and most likely still can choose powers from any build, unlike the Kit Builds. Parcel System - A treasure distribution method that keeps adventurers poor while forcing/advising the DM to get wish lists from players. The version 2.0 rolls for treasure instead of making a list, and is incomplete because of the lack of clarity about magic item rarity.
ha ha
56902498 wrote:
They will Essentialize the Essentials classes, otherwise known as Essentials2. The new sub-sub-classes will be: * Magician. A subsubclass of Mage, the magician has two implements, wand and hat, one familiar (rabbit) and series of basic tricks. * Crook. A subsubclass of Thief, the Crook can only use a shiv, which allows him to use his only power... Shank. * Angry Vicar, a subsubclass of warpriest, the angry vicar has two attacks -- Shame and Lecture. * Hitter. A subsubclass of Slayer, the Hitter hits things. * Gatherer. A subsubclass of Hunter, it doesn't actually do anything, but pick up the stuff other players might leave behind. Future Essentials2 classes include the Security Guard (Sentinel2), the Hexknife (Hexblade2), the Webelos (Scout2), the Gallant (Cavalier2) and the Goofus (Knight2). These will all be detailed in the box set called Heroes of the Futile Marketing. (Though what they should really release tomorrow is the Essentialized version of the Witchalok!)
I'll put it this way: in ten years of playing D&D, during which I've met at the table with literally hundreds of players, I've met one guy who could play an evil character successfully (played along with party goals without sacrificing his own motives, kept his treachery subtle and his intentions suitably opaque).

One.

That makes the ratio of orphan-executing, party-murdering jackholes to successful, non-disruptive evil PCs about 50:1.  The problem isn't that the game can't support evil PCs, it's that evil PCs almost never know how to support the game.



This is a good post.

It takes a really good player to pull off a successful evil PC, it also takes a good group of players and a good Dm to pull it off well.
There are so many things wrong with the notion that characters must be good that I scarcely know where to start.

Firstly: the game is not about being heroes.  We've all seen D&D played before.  Being heroes is a ruse, it's a cotton-candy veneer that gives players an excuse to kill enemies and take their stuff.  This is basic fact.  Very few players actually opt to incapacitate an enemy they drop to zero hp.  They could do so very easily, taking them back to face justice like proper heroes, but they don't.  Many players don't even care about preventing conflict as long as they think they'll survive it.

Secondly, addressing how evil is lightly represented as character options: just because the game books were written to encourage people to play good characters doesn't mean thats the only way to play the game.  The books explicity encourage groups to play the kinds of games they personally find more fun or rewarding.  The fact that good is encouraged most likely comes from the fact that D&D has been misassociated with devil worship in the past.  It's a PR move, and it's part of the veneer of heroism that lets characters kill things and take their stuff in a consequence free way ("I'm a hero not a psycho.", as if saying it makes it true).

Thirdly, naming conventions: Seriously?  Okay, if you want to play that game we can go there.  Heroic tier definitely has a good aligned flavor to the name.  Paragon and epic however, do not.  By your logic, characters only need to be heroic until 10th level.  Have you seen the warlock's Infernal pact?  It literally means a pact with hell/devils.  Nope, nothing evil there .  Good/evil is flavor and fluff.  An evil capaign could easily just call the first 10 levels Villanous Tier.  They're just names, get over it.

Forthly: If you don't step in to save characters that's fine, as long as you apply it across the board.  If you decide that you refuse to step in to save an evil character (because choosing to be evil is dumb to you) when you would otherwise throw a bone to a good character then you are putting your own prejudices into the game.  Doing that is a hallmark of a bad DM.  If you have this kind of prejucie in your games, both you and your players are better off with you just not letting anyone play an evil character.  Your players will either understand, or they'll find a DM willing to run the kind of games they want to play in.  Please note all the If's.  I don't know you and have no experience seeing you run a game with evil characters in it.

Fifthly, regarding the myth of design: The game is designed to accomodate a variety of styles of play.  Yes, this includes playing evil characters.  If the devs wanted people to only play good characters, then players wouldn't be able to choose evil alignments and there wouldn't be rules for playing as moster races that are of evil alignment.  The game is designed to have as broad an appeal as possible, and that includes appealing to the segment that likes playing in evil capmaigns.  I get that you don't like it, that that's not your thing, but there is no evidence at all that the game was designed to exclude evil characters.  It just chooses not to focus on them for the aforementioned PR reasons.

Sixthly: Many players do have a hard time competently playing evil characters.  A lot of players use being evil as an excuse to do things that are disruptive to the game or to otherwise be an obnoxious jerk.  I have also seen this behaviour from good aligned characters though.  A paladin is just as much at rish of being a haughty, self-important bastard as an evil character is.  There's nothing like being "on a mission from god" to make you think it's okay to treat other people like crap.  A jerk is always a jerk, regardless of whether they rush into battle with the symbols of Orcus or Pelor on their armor.
Now that I look at it, being a "jerkass" is more a matter of etical alignment than moral one.  The only real difference between a "Jerkass Good" character and a "Jerkass Evil" character is that the party feels obliged to help the good aligned one, whereas they can rationalize letting the evil one die.  It seems to me that the answer is don't let players make characters who are "Jerkass Good", "Jerkass Neutral", or "Jerkass Evil".
There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

I find myself both amused and confused by the people who insist evil PC's are inherently impractical and don't fit the game.  It all seems very Pollanna with her knickers in a twist.  So really, are you playing D&D or The Sound of Music?




Please tell me you're not serious...




Yes I am.  There is no particular reason why the characters should agree philosophically, share the same motivations in their quest, or even especially get along.  Conflict and intrigue within the party offers great story telling and role play potential.  If a player is using evil alignment as an excuse to do vile and stupid things and/or be a counter-productive dick, that's a player problem, not an alignment problem.

For examples of evil characters contributing to the story consider Belkar in Order of the Stick or Richard in Looking for Group.


The Sound of Music? A musical that is about a failed Nun being a governess to rowdy children in Australia in the 1930's.



If you're going to talk about something, you should maybe know what you're talking about.

See: Austria 
I think most people wanting to play evil fail to understand or grasp the idea of evil, and are actually just looking for a form of play that doesn't require them to adhere to structure of actions.

When you are limited in providing a solution to the problem, because your actions are limited not by finite rules, but by a concept of structure, especially if you have no personal experience to which to make those judgements, most players find themselves at a lose for what to do.

In other words, you can't rely on game mechanics to direct your actions, but yourself.

The idea of good and evil is a man made invention. We certainly don't attribute it to the natural world. That's because for most of our society, we separate man from nature. We place ourselves some where between the physical world and the divine world. With the goal being to move towards the divine.

And not to debate the existance or non-existance of a divine or spiritual world, the truth is, we are fully part of the natural world.

So again, in our world, evil is man made. Nature doesn't concern it's self with what happens is good or bad. It's a cycle. And we are part of that cycle. Born, live, die.

No one can argue that death is evil. How about death on a large scale? Would that depend on the how the death happened? Take the Holocaust, 6 million murdered. But what about something like the Black Death killed 30-60% of Europe's Population, which took a century and a half to recover from.

One was an act, ordered by a government, an act of genocide, the other was the course of nature. So was one good and one just nature? Are we defining evil as that of a conscious act over the natural course of events?

If we decide that evil is a concious act, then evil is whatever we define it to be. Morals and values are ever changing in our human definitions. You can't even say that the Holocaust is universally considered a great act of evil, because there are people that see it as a good thing, because of what the morals they hold unto themselves.

And certainly even now, those that see the Holocaust as evil, will never see any good from it. But considering the over population of the world, had those 6 million people hadn't been murdered, what would the state of Europe be like population wise? What would 3 generations of people, from the 6 million that died do to the current society?

Time has a way of erasing what we think of as evil. In say 200 years, how will the Holocaust be viewed? Who knows what could happen between now and then? Evil as we define it, in our reality, has not permanent effects.

So, what is evil? I think for the game, it gets easier, if we think of evil as a real presence, just as we think of good as a real presence.

In game terms, evil can have permeate lasting effects, if we accept, in the game that it is a tangible force, and that entities are driven to act in an accordingly appropriate manner towards evil (or good, if that is there alignment).

In game terms, it's also possible to attribute certain acts to either side, and commiting those acts, is an act of evil. And of course the opposite is possible too, certain acts are good.

So, for the game, I think it can much easier for people to deal with good and evil, if they approach it from that standing.

The Sound of Music? A musical that is about a failed Nun being a governess to rowdy children in Australia in the 1930's.



If you're going to talk about something, you should maybe know what you're talking about.

See: Austria 


Internet debating at its best!
People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf. --George Orwell There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people. --Howard Zinn He who fights with monsters must take care lest he thereby become a monster. --Friedrich Nietzsche Devil\'s Brigade

The Sound of Music? A musical that is about a failed Nun being a governess to rowdy children in Australia in the 1930's.



If you're going to talk about something, you should maybe know what you're talking about.

See: Austria 


Internet debating at its best!



i dunno about you but i'm thinking of SoM right now and replacing everyone's accents (and the context of the film, of course) with 1930's autralia and it kinda makes me giggle.
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So really, are you playing D&D or The Sound of Music?



The Sound of Music? ...  What exactly are you trying to say here,



I'm saying, does the OP want to play in a believeable world with genuine character behavior and motivations where much of the action is focused  on killing intelligent beings and taking their stuff, or is he looking to play a sanitized, wholesome family game where everyone gets along and the characters treat each other with New Age sweetness and light?

I'm not saying the characters can't or shouldn't get along, just that they don't always have to.  And there's no reason a character can't support party goals for selfish or less than noble reasons.



My longest running party that I ever played in was composed of three neutral evil PCs.


We got along just fine, without going OOC a tiny bit.  You know why?

Because the alignment is neutral evil, not stupid evil.  Evil people have friends too.  Evil people have goals.  Evil people can and WILL work with others to achieve those goals.

A good PC's goal might be to save the world.  An evil PC's goal might be to conquer it.  In both cases, there are things you need to do, adventures to go on, bases to set up, etc.

Think of mobsters or gang members.  In D&D terms, these people are evil.  However, they work with others.  The reason they're classified as evil is that they don't care about anyone outside of their own circle.  I've seen plenty of 'good' PCs in my day slaughter innocent beings in the name of righteousness, or because they're beyond redemption, or because the player was in a bad mood and wanted to go kill some orcs.

There's nothing wrong with playing evil.  There is, as always, an issue with playing a character who doesn't fit with the party; but that's not restricted to evil.  A pacifist (and I mean a REAL pacifist, not the cleric build) would be just as out of place in the average adventuring party.
The difference between madness and genius is determined only by degrees of success.
There are so many things wrong with the notion that characters must be good that I scarcely know where to start.

Firstly: the game is not about being heroes.



I mostly disagree, and it seems the game designers mostly disagree with you as well, as the books are writen saying just that. They strongly advise against letting players be evil, and only then if the player has experience, and after a conversation with the DM where there is an understanding, and as long as it doesn't disrupt the group.

That's not to say they have completely forbidden it, but it's clear, the game is far more geared towards being brave hereos, not a group of adventures.

Thirdly, naming conventions: Seriously?  Okay, if you want to play that game we can go there.  Heroic tier definitely has a good aligned flavor to the name.  Paragon and epic however, do not.  By your logic, characters only need to be heroic until 10th level.  Have you seen the warlock's Infernal pact?  It literally means a pact with hell/devils.  Nope, nothing evil there .  Good/evil is flavor and fluff.  An evil capaign could easily just call the first 10 levels Villanous Tier.  They're just names, get over it.



Names are important, because words are what everyone uses to communicate. If names weren't important, then instead of Ranger or Warlock or Rogue, you would have Striker 1, Striker 2, Striker 3.

Paragon has connotations of good to the definition, which is why they used that word, instead of another word. Same for epic. All three have connotations towards good and virtuous. Which is why they were used. You generally don't say, Oh he is an Epic evil wizard! That is black knight is a Paragon of his church.

You can, but it gives the wrong impression and is cross purpose to trying to describe the evil you want to get across.

Names matter.

Forthly: If you don't step in to save characters that's fine, as long as you apply it across the board.  If you decide that you refuse to step in to save an evil character (because choosing to be evil is dumb to you) when you would otherwise throw a bone to a good character then you are putting your own prejudices into the game.  Doing that is a hallmark of a bad DM.  If you have this kind of prejucie in your games, both you and your players are better off with you just not letting anyone play an evil character.  Your players will either understand, or they'll find a DM willing to run the kind of games they want to play in.  Please note all the If's.  I don't know you and have no experience seeing you run a game with evil characters in it.



If your characters aren't doing any quests that involve heroic deeds, then what are they doing? Just going into dungeons and looting? That's fine, and yes the game can be played that way. Even the game designers say that eventually gets boring.

That doesn't mean a DM can't design an campaign for evil. All it really takes is giving the players a goal, and oppurtunities to achieve that goal. Or getting a goal from the players. Otherwise, it's really just back to the dungeon crawl mentality.

Fifthly, regarding the myth of design: The game is designed to accomodate a variety of styles of play.  Yes, this includes playing evil characters.  If the devs wanted people to only play good characters, then players wouldn't be able to choose evil alignments and there wouldn't be rules for playing as moster races that are of evil alignment.  The game is designed to have as broad an appeal as possible, and that includes appealing to the segment that likes playing in evil capmaigns.  I get that you don't like it, that that's not your thing, but there is no evidence at all that the game was designed to exclude evil characters.  It just chooses not to focus on them for the aforementioned PR reasons.



Again, I mostly disagree with you. There are so many powers that require one player having to take heroic actions to get the effect. Powers that protect and self sacrifice. How many powers do harm to achieve that end? How many powers do harm to an alley to achieve that end? Very few.

The design of the powers has clearly been geared towards working together, or sacrificing some part of yourself to the greater good of the group. The design of the game is to create harmony amongsts the players, rather then division. That hardly sounds in line with evil, as humans tend to atribute evil.

Sixthly: Many players do have a hard time competently playing evil characters.  A lot of players use being evil as an excuse to do things that are disruptive to the game or to otherwise be an obnoxious jerk.  I have also seen this behaviour from good aligned characters though.  A paladin is just as much at rish of being a haughty, self-important bastard as an evil character is.  There's nothing like being "on a mission from god" to make you think it's okay to treat other people like crap.  A jerk is always a jerk, regardless of whether they rush into battle with the symbols of Orcus or Pelor on their armor.



Now I agree with you. A jerk is a jerk, regardless of alingment.
AD&D was created with S&S influences. Most of the heroes were anti-heroes. Not sure when it started to be all about heroic heroes with big chin, blonde hair and sparkling white teeth. Also, an rpg shouldn't be too confined with alignment playstyle. 

When I ran an evil campaign, players weren't being jerks at all. They were more into evil philosophy and all. Having the Book of Vile Darkness is a guide too. 

Like someone said, evil does not equal jerk. In a real world, a law abiding citizen in a democratic country is not evil in alignment but he can be a jerk.

I can understand why D&D wants to focus on heroic than evil, due to public mainstream perception, but this is more of a maturity issue and kids are the main target so they downplay talking about exploring evil persona and have them act as pure monsters to be rid off instead. 
I think most people wanting to play evil fail to understand or grasp the idea of evil, and are actually just looking for a form of play that doesn't require them to adhere to structure of actions.

.......




I decided to play a halfling rogue/ shadow assassin in an upcoming pargon tier campaign.  At first I thought he would be unaligned, and morally ambivolent about killing others.  He took no enjoyment in killing, his kills were either obstacles or targets.  But then I thought about a character who did enjoy killing.  That, in my opinion makes him evil.  I don't want to play beyond the "strictures of action" I just want a pc who enjoys killing.  He is a faithfull defender of halflings and a worshipper of Avandra, prays for good luck a lot.  But he has made a career robbing, killing and extorting.  He doesn't believe in killiing "civilians" or "innocents", but enjoys killing his marks especially villianous enemies of the halfling people or those who have betrayed himself or his people. 

Really in my opinion, 4e is more built arround morally ambiguos game play than ever before.  There are no alignment based powers, no protection against evil/ good.  The introduction of unaligned for the numerous role palyers that see alignment as a moral ethical straightjacket.   More than ever DnD is less about Good v. Evil than it is about letting gaming groups decide for themselves what is heroic fantasy roleplaying. 

Nobody can argue that Conan is a heroic fantasy character.  But I would argue that Conans motivation and actions were often less than heroic.  Recently I finished playing God of War III and Kratos a modern fantasy hero is far from heroic in action and motivation.  That could be said for many of fantasy literatures many protagonists heroic or otherwise. 

Heroes and Pcs are motivated by many things beyond fighting the good fight against evil.  The thing is deposing despotic rulers, slaying evil dragons and destroying evil liches can be very profitable.    Also, evil villians also tend to make many vengful enemies.  Profit and vengence is a big motivation for less than heroic and down right evil Pcs to team up with a few good doers in crusading against a campaign's evil nemesis. 
AD&D was created with S&S influences. Most of the heroes were anti-heroes. Not sure when it started to be all about heroic heroes with big chin, blonde hair and sparkling white teeth. Also, an rpg shouldn't be too confined with alignment playstyle. 

When I ran an evil campaign, players weren't being jerks at all. They were more into evil philosophy and all. Having the Book of Vile Darkness is a guide too. 

Like someone said, evil does not equal jerk. In a real world, a law abiding citizen in a democratic country is not evil in alignment but he can be a jerk.

I can understand why D&D wants to focus on heroic than evil, due to public mainstream perception, but this is more of a maturity issue and kids are the main target so they downplay talking about exploring evil persona and have them act as pure monsters to be rid off instead. 

Probably about the time Hannah-Barbera started producing shows like Galtar of the Golden Lance and Herculoids, and Masters of the Universe and Visionaries came out. All in all very Comics Authority-approvable content; evil is blatantly obvious and punished (but never destroyed) in a fifteen-page comic or a twenty-minute episode with the good heroes only having to make unreastically simple simple ethical decisions. Good characters have one stock set of behaviors, evil characters have another one, and there is no middle ground.

Anybody care to figure out which of the main characters in Code Geass is the evil one, by the way?
No I am not about to preach, more like yell, but not preaching whilst yelling.

'a lot of preaching'

Evil is a stupid choice in 4th edition regardless of what alignment system is inside the game's mechanics. And no I don't care if you CAN run an evil game, it won't change the fact the game was not designed for it.


I disagree and your sermon has not convinced me otherwise.  The game is perfectly designed for morally ambiguos game play.  4e offers more than good v. evil game play, order v. entropy, divine v. primordial, civilization v. savagery. Far Realm v. the Cosmos.  There are no longer protection from Evil or even detect evil prayers or spells.  All these things free a campaign from the good v. evil paradigm.

Also the current alignment structure is also more open than before.  With only five alignments instead of nine, what is evil, or even good, can be more broadly defined.   The authors of DnD, since 1e,  suggest playing characters that are not evil, or at least with conflicting alignments. I think that the spirit and openess of the current alignment scheme, allows for Good and Evil aligned players to co-exist in a campaign.  But nothing in 4e is designed arround pcs being good, that is why they offered "unaligned" as an alignment.
Really in my opinion, 4e is more built arround morally ambiguos game play than ever before.  There are no alignment based powers, no protection against evil/ good.  The introduction of unaligned for the numerous role palyers that see alignment as a moral ethical straightjacket.   More than ever DnD is less about Good v. Evil than it is about letting gaming groups decide for themselves what is heroic fantasy roleplaying.

That in itself isn't the best of arguments. You could make a case that Detect Evil and Protection from Evil were removed more because they could be reversed to make enemies the PCs couldn't easily deal with.

Although I don't see how people could see alignment as anything but an ethical straightjacket. That was the whole point of it from day one.
....

Although I don't see how people could see alignment as anything but an ethical straightjacket. That was the whole point of it from day one.


Then I have playing it wrong for 30+ years.  I always so alignment as a guide, never a straightjacket.  Then that may be do to my experience with Dms who also viewed alignemtn as a guide to a characters moral ethical view point. 

Really in my opinion, 4e is more built arround morally ambiguos game play than ever before.  There are no alignment based powers, no protection against evil/ good.  The introduction of unaligned for the numerous role palyers that see alignment as a moral ethical straightjacket.   More than ever DnD is less about Good v. Evil than it is about letting gaming groups decide for themselves what is heroic fantasy roleplaying.

That in itself isn't the best of arguments. You could make a case that Detect Evil and Protection from Evil were removed more because they could be reversed to make enemies the PCs couldn't easily deal with.

Although I don't see how people could see alignment as anything but an ethical straightjacket. That was the whole point of it from day one.



I think removing things like protection from evil/ good were removed from the mechanics of the game to free game play from the good v. evil paradigm.

I think the OPs problem is equating "Evil" with "Disruptive Player" because Disruptive Player's favourite method of justification is "it's my alignment, so I can stab the Paladin in the back and steal his stuff.  See, says right here under motiviations 'stabbing paladins because a paladin kicked my puppy when I was a kid' so I can do it."

There's a reason every PC I've ever made is Unaligned, alignment and good vs evil is subjective and the whole distinction is silly when you're mature enough to reflect on it seriously.  It's a great guide post for some games and I don't think it should be abandoned, but I abandon it. 

In 3.5 my players found detect spells to be unreliable - because they told you what you thought of the creature you detected.  Good and evil was subjective, and so were the results of the detect good/evil spells and the protection from etc etc.  It wasn't so complicated for my game because once I told the players that they just stayed away from those things because they weren't as cut and dry useful as they are by RAW. 

In 4.0 I don't even have to do that, players know from the get go I don't subscribe to "good vs evil" (most agree) and we play the game and focus on motivations and plot, and don't pay any heed to who is good or who is evil because it's subjective anyway. 
Then I have playing it wrong for 30+ years.  I always so alignment as a guide, never a straightjacket.  Then that may be do to my experience with Dms who also viewed alignemtn as a guide to a characters moral ethical view point. 

Probably. All I can remember from characters shifting alignment at all was the massive (and I do mean massive) XP penalties characters would suffer. I think they would end up having to earn like 50% more XP for the next level for each first partial shift (for example, from chaotic good to neutral-chaotic good) on the sixteen-spoke alignment wheel from the 1e PHB.

That and some classes would be lost permanently with even a one-space shift. I know Paladins did that.
Then I have playing it wrong for 30+ years.  I always so alignment as a guide, never a straightjacket.  Then that may be do to my experience with Dms who also viewed alignemtn as a guide to a characters moral ethical view point. 

Probably. All I can remember from characters shifting alignment at all was the massive (and I do mean massive) XP penalties characters would suffer. I think they would end up having to earn like 50% more XP for the next level for each first partial shift (for example, from chaotic good to neutral-chaotic good) on the sixteen-spoke alignment wheel from the 1e PHB.

That and some classes would be lost permanently with even a one-space shift. I know Paladins did that.



No one mentioned shifting alignment. It's not that his players were LG one day and CE the next day. Alignment is just a guide for a player on the PC's philosophy, npc reactions etc. A useful roleplaying tool actually. The ones that are straightjacket'd are actually class abilities like the paladin but had good reason which is to reinforce strong archetypes.

Also, if they didn't like the alignment they are playing in, why chose that in the first place? Choose an alignment that fits how you want to roleplay.
And I would argue that the removal of detect good/evil as more so because often those were used to cause group friction.

Just like the paladin restrictions that would cause him to loose his paladinhood.

So, on one hand, we have the arguement that by decreasing the role of alignment in the game, it indicates that the game developers are less concerned with players being heroes.

Yet, the books are written to encourage being heroes. Powers are interactive and co-operative, everything is geared towards group harmony, and harmony between group and DM.

If you've read any of the thought process about designing the game, or any of the videos, much of the mindset going into 4E was removing not just game rules and mechanics that slowed things down, but also those area that caused player conflict.

Alignment has always (and clearly still is) one of those areas. I've been in games where a paladin would always try to detect evil on certain party members because he suspected them of being evil. Order of the Stick had a running gag about that.

So yes, the game is geared towards players being heroes. Partially because it's easier to achive party harmony when one can't use something like "I'm evil" to cause disruption.

The game isn't so geared towards that, where you can't have evil players, or an evil campaign. It just takes more work, and a DM that can think outside the box.
No one mentioned shifting alignment. It's not that his players were LG one day and CE the next day. Alignment is just a guide for a player on the PC's philosophy, npc reactions etc. A useful roleplaying tool actually. The ones that are straightjacket'd are actually class abilities like the paladin but had good reason which is to reinforce strong archetypes.

Also, if they didn't like the alignment they are playing in, why chose that in the first place? Choose an alignment that fits how you want to roleplay.


As was already pointed out, it wasn't just class abilities that straightjacketed characters. Characters actually lost XP for shifting alignment, even unintented shifts like certain cursed items that would change the user's alignment against their will. And it's not unheard of for characters to want to change alignment. It's called character development. Characters change and grow over time, and sometimes those changes will justify a change in alignment.
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The most fun I've had in 4e was running a game for a mostly evil party.  As long as you lay some ground rules, I think it's fine.  The firt and most important rule is "Don't be a douche" and as long as everyone keeps that in their mind while playing, you can be ostensibly evil without destroying everyone else's fun.  You can have an evil party do heroic things. There was a quote from Buffy The Vampire Slayer, I don't remember the exact words, but someone asked Spike (evil at the time) why he was helping them save the world if he was evil, and his response was "I like the world.  I keep all my stuff here."  Evil has lots of reasons to fight evil; it doesn't usually get along with itself.
Wrote my OP comment as a DM, just to make that plain.

I have played all manner of personalities in rolegames, but, I'm sufficiently intelligent and mature enough to distinguish the difference between pointlessly juvenile me centric selfish self centered self interested self absorbed immature attention grabbing miscreant behaviour, and 'evil'. And unlike the one person commenting, I haven't met even the first person that could portray actual evil in a credible fashion.

But then I likely have played with plenty of friends sufficiently smart enough to realise the game was never designed for 'evil' as the focus.

As for family grade comments, please. Don't insult your intelligence by offering those silly remarks.
They are silly remarks you know.

Evil is many things (in game terms). It's the person that has deep hidden motives that are expertly masked by incredible acts of goodness all designed to make the true evil nature nearly invisible to even magical methods of detection.

Players that do despicable acts, likely might be partially capable of portraying chaotic evil, but lawful evil is something that most players simply don't have the moxy for. Sorry, but I've been playing too many years, I can say that and mean it Because lawful means an great interest in rules, regulations and order. And the last thing most players will want to indulge, is anything that forces them to obey strict rules and guidelines.
That's why most people play paladins for the perks, but have no concept of what devotion means. Paladins to most players are just fighters with better powers.

It's as transparent as transparent gets for the most part. Most people claim to want to play evil, when really, all they really want, is the freedom to be pointlessly juvenile me centric selfish self centered self interested self absorbed immature attention grabbing miscreants.

That's not evil, thats being what it is, and nothing else.
And most players likely won't like being told, it might be because THEY are pointlessly juvenile me centric selfish self centered self interested self absorbed immature attention grabbing miscreants either.
But occasionally the truth is just what it is.

As the DM, I am only interested in running the game though.
I won't tell a player they can't be a pointlessly juvenile me centric selfish self centered self interested self absorbed immature attention grabbing miscreant with their PC, just so long as they don't mind me treating their PC as one (pointlessly juvenile me centric selfish self centered self interested self absorbed immature attention grabbing miscreant).

I've always been a big fan of cause and effect.

If your NPCs never live and they always get treated like worthless pawns that have no future, never get any of the glory not enough of the loot.
If the enemy you fight is always killed to the last individual, no surrender ever.
Well rapidly your party gets a negative reputation as being a death sentence and your opponents always fight a bit harder a bit meaner and if a group member goes down, he's dead meat. No quarter means just that eh.

'Their cleric is down, finish him off, they ain't living till the end of the day this time'.
'Target their wizard, take him out anyway you can. See that he's dead ASAP.'

Show your players the truth of what evil really looks like.
I don't play 4th edition D&D for Wizard's sake I play it for my sake.

As was already pointed out, it wasn't just class abilities that straightjacketed characters. Characters actually lost XP for shifting alignment, even unintented shifts like certain cursed items that would change the user's alignment against their will. And it's not unheard of for characters to want to change alignment. It's called character development. Characters change and grow over time, and sometimes those changes will justify a change in alignment.



Which I think is why they changed this for fourth edition.  They made it so alignment could be an RP tool like it should have been all along.  It also puts the power to "punish" players if the story dictates based on alignment; the paladin doesn't lose powers, but if he starts acting more like a follower of Zehir than Pelor his fellow followers might just come after him.  In droves.  No in-game mechanics needed to punish the person who just went from light lover to follower of darkness.  It becomes a part of the character's story, and gives the DM a good character hook.

I like the fact that alignment, and the evil part of the spectrum in particular, stayed in the game.  I also fully support evil PCs with the caveat that, as noted in both the PHB and the DMG, The DM can decide who gets to be evil and who gets to be good.
"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." --Bill Cosby (1937- ) Vanador: OK. You ripped a gateway to Hell, killed half the town, and raised the dead as feral zombies. We're going to kill you. But it can go two ways. We want you to run as fast as you possibly can toward the south of the town to draw the Zombies to you, and right before they catch you, I'll put an arrow through your head to end it instantly. If you don't agree to do this, we'll tie you this building and let the Zombies rip you apart slowly. Dimitry: God I love being Neutral. 4th edition is dead, long live 4th edition. Salla: opinionated, but commonly right.
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quote author=56832398 post=519321747]Considering DnD is a game wouldn't all styles be gamist?[/quote]
My longest running party that I ever played in was composed of three neutral evil PCs.


We got along just fine, without going OOC a tiny bit.  You know why?

Because the alignment is neutral evil, not stupid evil.  Evil people have friends too.  Evil people have goals.  Evil people can and WILL work with others to achieve those goals.

A good PC's goal might be to save the world.  An evil PC's goal might be to conquer it.  In both cases, there are things you need to do, adventures to go on, bases to set up, etc.

Think of mobsters or gang members.  In D&D terms, these people are evil.  However, they work with others.  The reason they're classified as evil is that they don't care about anyone outside of their own circle.



I think this is a misunderstanding of the current alignment system. Being selfish isn't evil. Gang members aren't evil. These things are unaligned.

Demons are evil. Mad cultists are evil. People corrupted by the Far Realm are evil. Evil in D&D is not just everyday nastiness. Evil in D&D is unforgivable, irredeemable, self-destructive, and fundamentally wrong.
"So shall it be! Dear-bought those songs shall be be accounted, and yet shall be well-bought. For the price could be no other. Thus even as Eru spoke to us shall beauty not before conceived be brought into Eä, and evil yet be good to have been." - Manwë, High King of the Valar