Monday, 22 December 2008

Running an evil campaign

Right from the start, Mike wanted his characters to be chaotic. Back then, we used a random dungeon generator from the net, as I had no modules for preparation, and it named the dungeon the something or other of the Malevolent Malice. One of the rooms it generated was clearly a shrine of some sort.

The next session, Ben joined us and rolled some characters up. As Mike had found this shrine, we concluded the session and said that he had cleared out a temple of an old evil god that had been overrun and that his clerics worshipped it and it was the religion of the village they were from. That was how the Malevolent Malice was born and helped to tie together all of the loose disparate parts of what had happened and why his characters were chaotic.

A number of adventures later, which are fairly standard stuff in that the characters had might as well be good and not evil, and I'm reminding them that chaotic characters dont put themselves in harms way to save others, even if they are friends or companions. Theres a discussion about whether their characters should kill everyone in a village, as the characters are evil after all, to get some artefacts back for the High Priestess, that have been stolen. We leave that session with me stating that if they do, karma can be a bitch.

Which left me with a bit of quandary. The characters are all chaotic. Its perfectly reasonable for them to leave a trail of slaughter and destruction wherever they go. In the game sessions we had played, we hadn't played up the evil part of the characters at all. Giving it some thought, I decided, evil is the reverse of the coin and what are the reverse of the usual monster lot they fight? It would be good races such as men and elves and fairy folk. Sure, they can fight evil too (and they will be doign), but its not to get rid of it *because* its evil, it would be because it threatens them in some way. They would fight good *because* it is good. An interesting thought, I think.

The game session last night had the first truly evil act occur in it. They were responsible for the demise of one of the Angels of the West, a protector of the land. In the process, they have made enemies with the Druids that serve them. An evil themed campaign could be quite fun I think. It would really be all about power. They don't know it yet, but they are going to be rubbing out the guardians one by one til the Malevolent Malice is in a position to build an army to take on the Free Peoples. If they are successful, the game world will be a much, much nastier place. Maybe after that, they could roll up some good characters to try and put the mess right. But thats a long way off, the characters vary in level from 1-4 at the moment. This is going to be a very different kind of campaign.


David said...

I ran a campaign at one point where the PCs were orcs running a tribe of goblinoids (orcs, goblins, hobgolins, bugbears). They had to provide for their people, meaning food, water, and sport. There was constant discontent in the ranks, and the group would get bored sitting around and want to raid and start up trouble. That, and they allied with neighboring tribes that were more powerful, which led to conflict as well. Despite the fact that they would commonly slit the throats of commoner humans in their beds, and then loot the houses, the campaign was light and fun. Lots of joking and general stupidity.

In short, yes, it's feasible to run an evil campaign. Can be fun times.

The Recursion King said...

Thats very interesting. It's funny that you should mention evil aligned demi humans actually.

One of my players wanted to use a shapeshift that could become a Gnoll so I came up with a quick Gnoll class that could shapeshift into a man form as many times per day as levels he possesses and invented a light backstory that the Gnoll Shamans can become Men and act as go betweens the Gnoll tribes and the Free Peoples, perhaps for trade reasons. We've only played one session so far but an eight foot tall hyena headed monster hasn't ruined the game sessions so far ;-)

freyja3120 said...

I recently ran an evil campaign with my players. The most importantthing to remember is consequences. They always exist, even in a good campaign: if you kill the evil minion, the main evil guy knows you exist, and may come after you. The difference lies in usually being outnumbered when evil: if you kill an entire village (in a non-sneaky manner) then everyone will know, and all of a sudden small groups of adventurers think you're the new bad guy to kill. I allowed any evil alignment they wanted, but warned them that if they played the alignment "stupid evil", the odds of getting killed went up. The campaign was still a lot of fun, watching them lie, cheat, sneak, and frame others for deeds that they had done. Also, lots of undetectable alignment and change self.

The Recursion King said...

That sounds like a great campaign too. You've given me some ideas there. I like the idea of a "stupid evil" alignment type as a way to explain that every action has a consequence. The other downside to evil characters is that they don't look out for each other - so the next time one tries to save another from certain death, it just might not happen ;-)

Norman Harman said...

"If they are successful, the game world will be a much, much nastier place. Maybe after that, they could roll up some good characters to try and put the mess right."

Dude, that is such a freakin awesome concept. Would be good intro to evil campaign too, the good party just made world all unicorns and rainbows, evil powers seed the baaaad party to set things 'right'.

And dammit I have to quit finding cool blogs to read. I'm getting mentally encumbered!

The Recursion King said...

Thanks man!

We have another session tomorrow night so I'll no doubt put some more thoughts up shortly after :-)