The Evil Campaign

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I had a group of players beg to play an evil party. They talked about it for years so I finally started a campaign where the PC's played evil characters in service to a mysterious and malevolent outer planar being who had been imprisoned centuries ago by epic wizards of various races. Each wizard retained an object key that would be needed to release the evil and it became the PC's job to locate and steal each key item.
Throughout the story, the PC's were promised positions of power if the evil being was freed. This dark power called himself Lord Requiem and was able to grant powerful gifts and abilities to the party as they accomplished certain deeds. One PC was killed and became a Death Knight, another was was painfully transformed into a fiendish Drider/Bebilith cross-breed, and the third was a six-armed Half-fiend/Half-dragon Spellfire Channeler. The PC's enjoyed the "super" powers and had a blast running rampant against the forces of good.
What surprised me was as the PC's went to get the final key from an Epic Gold Dragon, they actually parlayed with the Great Wyrm and reflected upon their past evil deeds. The dragon offered them a chance to atone for their sins and the party accepted.
I was shocked and completely unprepared for this turn of events. I was fully prepared to unleashed the fury of this powerful dragon upon them and they decided that evil wasn't all it was cracked up to be.
I was curious if there were any other DM's out there that have ran evil campaigns, and has anyone else run across this strange phenomenon of evil PC's turning good mid-campaign?

Can you hear the silence... so deafening?!?!

Two motivations for your PCs to do that:

1) They didn't want to get their butts kicked by a great wyrm gold dragon.

2) They didn't want to *actually* release the evil being they've been working for (the usual deal with those evil extraplanar beings is that they backstab their "allies" once they're free). Whether or not your Lord Requiem was actually going to reward them or not, they didn't want to take that chance.

The underlying motivation behind your players being evil was that they just wanted really sweet powers and an excuse to use them whenever they wanted. They ran with it as long as they could, but getting trashed by a dragon kind of defeats the badass image.

It seems to me that many gaming groups need to run one of these campaigns just to get it out of their system.
I have DM'd two campaigns with such a theme.

The first lead the party into the Underdark where they made the coice to team up with a Drow Blackguard that had started a small group of male drow opposed to Lolth's rule. Killing sprees followed and eventually one of the players made a pact with some Illithids to lure the remaining players into slavery.

The second campaign, which is still in progress, allowed the players to make their own choices about "good and evil". Only one of the four has not turned out evil through 15 levels, and I'm pretty sure its because he doesn't want to conform to the rest of the group's tyranny.

The worst part about the evil campaign, in my opinion/experience, is that the players end up turning on each other and not really accomplishing anything in the long run.
Thank you for the keen observations. I intentionally ran that campaign to give the players an indepth look at the motivations of many villans they face. I wanted them to understand that while the bad guys do evil things, sometimes they are forced or misled into their roles. I can honestly say that each of those players came away from the campaign with a new outlook on the villans they faced. Now they find themselves asking if this bad guy is actually more than he seems.
I agree, every gaming group should run one of these type adventures just to give an objective perspective on the opposition they typically face.

Can you hear the silence... so deafening?!?!

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