D20 RPG Evil Campaigns - How to Begin
Evil based RPG Campaigns
Controversial though it may be one of the most entertaining role playing game campaigns I have been a part of involve playing evil characters. While there are several pitfalls for any DM trying to run such a game once you recognize the holes they can be filled and gaming with those characters can continue far into the epic levels.
One of the biggest pitfalls I ran across while trying to run such a game was in motivating the evil pc's. My players tried to roleplay their characters as best they could and in doing so realized that without proper motivation their evil pc's were never going to leave the comfort of their favorite hideout. There were more than one well penned adventures I had in mind that were either cast aside or ruined because of their selfish mindset.
I couldn't begrudge the players. They were truly thinking and acting like their diabolical characters. The problem arises when they have accumulated so much wealth. Good player characters do things for the right reasons. To save the world, land or kingdom while the evil pc's scoff at the idea of placing themselves in danger for anything less than immortality. Note, if a pc is already somehow immortal then forget it. You may as well fold up your tent and take your game home.
After two such failed parties I have finally decided to force my DM hand. The dungeon master has ultimate power, folks. If he decides he doesn't like a particular rule he can change it or ignore it, regardless of how much certain busy body players don't like it. Face it. There aren't a lot of games to get involved with so if they don't like it they can find some other game to play in. Good luck.
How does one force their hand in such a situation? I am going to post a game intro here that will highlight how you force a party of evil pc's to cling to a higher purpose. What you will do will give the gamers a clear guideline on what kind of creatures they can be and what sort of evil they can become. Firstly, the most important thing to note is if you want to control the game you must eliminate uncontrollable characters. These are first and foremost chaotic neutral and chaotic evil aligned characters.
Remember, don't just say it, present it in a clear guideline. The example below is of course based on my own campaign World/Universe. I have learned from the past that the bigger the picture your players will need to keep their evil generalized. What do I mean? If you live in a small kingdom with little real threats other than the occasional monsters or factions it is only inevitable that one of your players is going to incite a riot, mass murder or the burning of an entire town. This is evil but not the sort of diabolical evil you are looking for. This sort of evil will ruin your game and eventually bore the players and you.
Lastly, recalling every film, book and even cartoon you ever saw or read you might take note that evil conquers itself as often as good manages to do so. Therefore it is important to remember that although it is loads of fun having a marauding band of do-gooders chase your players around it is often an even greater evil that will be their downfall.
Coming soon to a Friday near you!
THE DAWN OF EXIAPRIS, LADY OF SHADOWS
The changes began nearly fifty years ago. The old Goddess of darkness was banished by the new Elder goddess of Kole and her replacement arrived in particularly dramatic fashion. Sending her image across the domain of shadow to all the varied lords and ladies she announced in no uncertain terms who the new order now was.
She was Exiapris. She was the personification of shadow in all its endless forms and she was the mistress of evil in its most diabolical incarnation.
The consummate beauty, all that looked upon her immediately foreswore old allegiances and promised their loyalty to her. She possessed the best aspects of all the domain’s races and soon all previous divisions among the people were extinguished. Since that time war has been non-existent. The races found a common ground and finally, now, they have turned their attentions outside of their own domain.
The teachings of the demon-hating goddess have been taken to heart and after having cleansed their own domain many now look to renew the hunt elsewhere. One Party of individuals requisitioned an official Spelljammer of the state of General Affairs in order to fulfill this purpose.
This is their story… Ok players, welcome to my game! As the story entails there is one single thing that is being asked of you during your character’s creation. Be a Demonslayer.
First; What does that mean? Just that you think and act like a person who has found a new purpose in life which is freeing the world from demonic influence. This does not mean you are not evil, on the contrary. You simply represent a higher evil that wants to unite the various dark races so they can leave the shadows and become the Kings and Queens of this world. They cannot do that with chaos. More and more evil beings are joining the coalition every day with only minor pockets of holdouts in the hardest to reach places of the realm.
Second; Think Spelljamming! Pirate prestige class anyone? Swashbuckler perhaps?
Choose from these races – Drow, Deurgar, Derro, Svirfneblin, Human, Orcish, Half-Orcish, Goblin, Kobold, Feral Halfling, Gith, Sentient Ape and/or any combination thereof. Specific Races desired by the Player may be suggested, there are plenty more of these dark races that I may accept, most notably Psionic races that are not mentioned here. You may not play a Chaotic Aligned PC.
Bonuses as a Demonslayer - +2 ToHit/Dmg vs Outsiders & +4 Vs Demons; Spellcasters Receive the same bonuses to their caster level as well. Yes, that’s a plus four to beat a Demon’s Spell Resistance!
Females Get an Additional Bonus – All of the above & the same bonuses to their saving throws vs Outsiders and Demons respectively.
No Barbarians or any other Chaotic based class or prestige class. Prestige classes must be taken while keeping the first paragraph of this page in mind. DM has Final Say.
Your character will be originating from a small nation once feared for its demonic goddess and her worshipers. Not everyone has heard that things have changed. The Shadow Hold has become a welcoming place for merchants of every race and creed.
It is up to you and your rogue Demonslayer crew as you take advantage of the recent advancement of Spelljamming to promote the good word of change that has spread to your homeland. You will represent Exiapris in everything you do, even if she is not your chosen goddess.