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In defense of the evil player character. - David Castro

Another great piece written by David Castro.

Your hulking half-giant barbarian takes no prisoners when on the battlefield, believing that they can buy their way into paradise with souls sent to feed their dark elder god. An elf razor girl gets the nod from her group leader and smiles, letting her hand razors extend just before the bloodbath begins. The party thinks you’re a wizard, after all you have the spellbook and you cast spells like the best of them, but little do they know that the book’s pages are definitely not the vellum that you told them it was, and that while they sleep, you’re reporting back to the source of your powers.

Being an evil character can be a very different role playing experience. Depending on the flavor of evil you decide fits your character best, it can let you explore things that you couldn’t with a good or even neutral morality character. That said, one has to remember that they are a part of a team, and the actions of any one player shouldn’t run counter to the party’s goals, and unless the whole group was okay with player versus player (or PVP) antics, being antagonistic to your fellow players is a terrible idea, which can lead to sour feelings both in game and outside of it.

Talk with your game master and group about the evil character you want to play, and what makes them evil. Are they merciless in battle, never taking any prisoners? Would they rather just kill a group of discovered raiders outright, rather than see if they would attack first? Do you entreat with dark powers, allowing evil beings like fallen angels, devils, or outsiders a greater foothold in this world? Are you merely a criminal, looking to steal whatever you can get away with?

By cooperating with your game master and the others in your party, you can work out a way for your evil character to still be true to themselves without getting in everyone else’s way. Perhaps you’re only with the group because their goals align with yours, or you’ve claimed them as yours, and thusly will do whatever it takes to protect them.Maybe your character is just amused at those ‘heroes’ and is tagging along to see what mischief they get up to, or your patron or the guildmaster has ordered you to work with them to whatever confusing ends they have.

That all said, some evil tropes can’t work well with a team. The true Joker type, pure chaos, can’t work on any team, and the backstabbing that is common to villainous characters can’t be allowed in a party setting. For whatever reason, the evil character(s) in the party have to work together to further the goals of the group. I had once written a one shot game for Dungeons & Dragons with a crew of all evil characters. I had the quest giver ensure the party didn’t backstab each other by making them automatically fail (and die) if they hurt each other before the mission was complete.

Playing evil characters can be great fun, and if done right, can make some of the most memorable games you’ll experience.

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