Roleplaying Evil (Written by Moloch)
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Since some people play evil just to be cool, or play evil characters that do nothing other than stand around the market and look boring; here is a small guide to help people design, develop, and play effective and entertaining evil characters.
Much of this information comes directly out of the Book of Vile Darkness printed by Wizards of the Coast; and I strongly recommend people playing evil characters buy this book, or find a buddy who owns it and read his or her copy.
**Evil in Arabel
The Objective Approach
Evil is judged objectively. The evil nature of a creature, act, or item is not relative to the observer; it is simply evil or it is not evil. Evil is not a creation of subjectivity or philosophy, if you want to know what is evil watch who is smote by the holy smite spell.
Evil implies hurting, killing, and oppressing people. Evil creatures have no compassion; some pursue evil for sport or out of duty to some evil monster or deity.
The objective approach is a necessity for an MMPORPG. Evil is a thing that a hero can point at and know he must fight or stand against. This means that we can avoid most ethical and moral quandaries. If the adventure revolves around fighting drow and killing them, we do not need to debate the morality of killing dark elves.
Intent and Context
Does this mean that the ends can justify the means? Sometimes. If a mad man decides to kill Lord Lady Lahl and succeeds, then he has committed an evil act. If a Pit Fiend tricks a holy knight into thinking Lahl has been replaced by an evil doppleganger, and that knight then kills Lahl, he has not committed an evil act. However, if he learns the truth of his actions-he may still lose his paladin powers and be forced to make amends.
To make the situation more complicated what if a friend of the paladins learns the truth? Is it evil to kill the knight to stop him? What if the paladin is locked in combat with several good guards trying to defend the Lord Lady? Is killing the Knight justified to save the guards lives? The answer is yes; killing to save innocent lives is acceptable.
There are still gray areas, if two good kingdoms are at war, is it evil for a good character to kill another good character? That is a gray area, and how a character handles himself during the conflict will determine if his actions are good or evil.
These are straightforward, lying; cheating; theft; betrayal; murder; vengeance are all considered evil acts.
Again, watch for the gray areas. Lying, cheating, or theft can all be used to further good-if the harm done is outweighed by the good done. Robin Hood was a thief, but a good man.
Betrayal and murder are clearly evil. Vengeance is often a mockery of real justice, or at least a gross hyperbole of it.
Worshipping an evil god is evil; however, many good people still make offerings to evil gods out of fear. However, a good person who has Shar as their deity, will slowly find himself or herself corrupted by that worship; as it is intrinsically different from making small offerings out of fear.
Animating dead is evil, unliving corpses are a mockery of life and purity. Consorting with demons or fiends is evil.
Along the same lines, greed, bullying innocents, bringing despair, or tempting others into any of these acts are evil actions. Joking or making light of these actions can often be the first steps down darkness as well.
There are several archetypes among villains. Keeping these archetypes in mind will allow you to create a believable villain.
The Boorish Thug: the simplest of all villains. The boorish thug is a simple bully who takes what he wants without concern or care for who he hurts. Do not expect the boorish thug to fare well in Arabel.
The Tyrant: The tyrant is a megalomaniac. He wants to rule all he can see. They are scheming, and often act through others to accomplish what they want; provided the others realize their inferior place to the tyrant. The tyrant can fare well in Arabel, but realize you still start out at level one and try to keep your image in mind. The tyrant will not rescue Shiraï¿½s dog, or chase chickens for Sanders. Refrain from feeling the need to power game the tyrant to high levels. Power can be measured in friends, respect, and intelligence as much as spells and weapons can measure it.
The Scheming Liar: The scheming liar is a slippery silver-tongued devil. They are schemers who trick others into doing what they wish. A scheming liar is often a political foe; they do not work against the law, but seek to use the law to their own advantage. They are difficult to defeat, and even more difficult to even detect. A scheming liar may feign to be a good wizard and organize a society of good wizards into protecting one another from harm at the hands of Sharrans; all in an effort truly designed to convince the wizards to destroy a Sharran temple so the liar can find and retrieve an unholy artifact hidden in the crypts below. This kind of villain will thrive in Arabel; many Red Wizards should fit this profile.
The Psychopath: The psychopath revels in evil, he finds killing to be a thrill that nothing else compares to. They are often mass murderers, serial killers, or evil monsters. Some can be subtle, some can be blatant. Regardless, the psychopath rarely fairs well on Arabel, and the most blatant types are likely to be quickly banned if they turn to griefing. If you play a psychopath, be sure to always communicate with other players and make sure you are providing other players more entertainment than you are deriving from the situation.
The Sophisticate: The Sophisticate is a foppish rogue or noble leader. They enjoy fine wines, the company of beautiful people and act without conscience. They present an air of nobility and friendliness, and often their dark crimes will go totally unnoticed by many. The rogue who seduces women and steals their fortunes, or the noble who secretly has his political foes murdered fall into this category. This type of villain will do well in Arabel.
The Misguided Fool: Not every villain thinks they are a villain. A mad man, or a fanatic holy man bent on a quest to destroy evil that will not shirk even from using torture or killing innocents to rid the world of evil is still a villain. A foolish villain may even know he is using evil means, a paladin that accepts gifts and aid from a demon in order to promote the cause of good is still evil and will quickly fall from grace.
The Monster: The monster is worse than the psychopath is. He drinks the blood of his enemies, and they are beyond redemption by any means. The monster is best suited to NPCs and PCs will not fair well in Arabel at all.
**Warnings for people playing evil.
There is a fine line between playing evil and being a griefer.
We allow PvP on this server, we expect that people will kill each other on Full Damage or loot corpses. However, be considerate and contemplate working out the details before anything is done that you can not undo with the other party. If you intend to FD someone, try to warn him or her ahead of time. If you intend to loot their corpse, warn them ahead of time-the same applies if you intend to mug a character for a certain item or even for their gold. This is not mandatory, as long as your actions are in character its not griefing-but it is polite and can help you avoid unnecessary conflicts ooc.
If you intend to do any of these actions, it will behoove you to send the DMs a warning at the very least so we know you're not a griefer.
Why is your character a villain? Except for drow, tieflings occasionaly, and druegar, people are not born evil villains. Something happened that convinced them to change their ways, look at Darth Vader and Sauramon, or even Sauron. The most believable champions of evil had motivation that drove them into their own eventually damnation and destruction. This is the fascination of villains.
Finally, why are you playing a villain? Do not play a villain to justify your desire to power game, or to bully other players. Playing the villain requires responsibility. If you wish to play a villain, it becomes your responsibility to keep the heroes entertained, give them someone to match wits against, and be prepared to lose and lose often.
The following link may be helpful for those who hope to engage in PVP as evil characters: PvP and Evil!********