_M_O_B_'s Guide to Playing Evil in Narfell
Simple fact of the matter is, playing evil on Narfell is HARD.
Hence why we have this guide for you all This will be separated into two parts, a hints & tips section, and a real stories section, that will outline the lives of very successful evil characters on Narfell, so you know what can be done, and what can’t.
Poked and stickied!
Fraoch last edited by
Kerby posted this in another thread and I thought it was perfect to place it here where all the bad boys and "girls" can see.
Philosophies of evil
Evil characters offer a rich diversity of opportunities for roleplaying. They can be complex people tormented by failure to live up to good ideals, although some evil characters never bother to analyze whether their actions are good or evil. Others believe that the end justifies the means, and that good can ultimately come from evil acts; some are opportunists who serve no higher purpose than personal advancement.
When playing an evil character, some people have a tendency to view evil in black-and-white terms and to assume that the evil character in the party is looking for any opportunity to betray, rob or murder his companions. This is an extreme viewpoint.
Evil can manifest itself in many ways, not all of them so overt as stabbing the party's paladin in the back or tossing victims into the fiery belly of a brazen idol. While assault and murder are obvious manifestations of an evil character's behavior, ruthless selfishness can often be more potent expression of evil that the psychotic thief who murders his companions in their sleep.
A character can be evil and yet not seem to be evil; he can be evil yet consider himself to be the epitome of goodness; or his evil might only show itself under certain conditions. A character who has contracted lycanthropy, for example, might donate treasure to widows and orphans, build temples, slay dragons, and help old ladies across the street - but on the night of the full moon, he will hunt down and slaughter those widows and orphans and feeds the same old ladies to the dragon. Most of the time he is good, but his curse wipes out all the good he does.
A naturally good or neutral character might be driven to evil through the need to seek revenge, finding evil acts an easy way to accomplish her goals. Another might stray from righteousness and goodness by using evil means to justify good ends.
Of course, evil can be self-evident. No one is going to question whether the priest of Cyric is really a good guy at heart; he isn't - if he were, Cyric wouldn't grant him any spells. But just because he is evil doesn't mean he is going to slaughter his companions and steal their treasure at the first opportunity. If evil were really that self-destructive, good wouldn't have nearly as hard a time combating it.
At the same time, it can be hard to understand what would motivate a person to become evil. It is the rare individual who admits - much less embraces - being evil, and most people consider themselves, if not wholly good, certainly not irredeemably evil. Yet Faerûn is filled with irredeemably evil antiheroes, gods, and monsters.
So what is evil?
If you wish to play an evil character, you might act exactly as you would play a good character concept, except in reverse. Instead of going out to slay the red dragon that has been terrorizing the elf village, you go out to slay the gold dragon that has been terrorizing the orc village. However, if you are going to interact and perhaps adventure wit a party of good and neutral characters, you might need to explore your character's evil nature a little more deeply and try to find out what it is that defines the evil alignment you have chosen for him.
Various philosophies of evil are briefly discussed below. Each section provides tips for what sort of religion each philosophy follows; examples of organizations, deities, character types, or creatures that embody a particular philosophy; and the alignment or alignments commonly held by those who practice the philosophy.
Tradition / There is no evil
One potential cause for evil is simply following the norms and standards of your ancestors and society. Evil is defined by society, not by the inherent laws of gods or nature. What might be considered darkest taboo in one place might be perfectly acceptable practice somewhere else. For example, slavery is illegal in many parts of Faerûn but is fairly common in that, where even a good person might keep a slave or two simply because it is a societal norm. In some regions, the use of narcotics and hallucinogenic drugs is strongly discouraged, while in others it is an integral part of daily spiritual lives of the people.
Other situations are not so obvious. Sorcery, for example, is forbidden in some regions for no other reason than that the people distrust it. Anyone practicing sorcery in such a place might well be called evil by the region's judges and sheriffs, while just across the border, sorcery is an honored profession. In civilized lands, violent retribution or revenge is the exclusive domain of the civil or religious authorities. The rule of law is meant to protect the innocent from hasty judgment by a grieving father or angry mob. If you are harmed and you lash out in retaliation, your actions might be seen to be as evil as the crime you are avenging. But in border regions and lawless areas where a person has to rely on his own devices, personal acts of revenge are the norm and are considered no more evil than an act of self-defense. Evil can often be defined not by an individual's acts or personal philosophy, but by the culture in which he is acting at the time.
Characters might use this philosophy to justify their actions, and they could very well be correct, depending on their individual circumstances. A half-orc from the Spine of the World or a drow character from the Underdark might have a much more liberal interpretation of what constitutes evil compared to someone from Silverymoon or Cormyr.
In any case, either the player or the DM must assign an alignment to the character, if for no other reason than the fact that alignment plays a critical role in how certain magic works - forbiddance spells, or damage reduction that is overcome by a certain kind of aligned weapon, for example. Morally, ambiguous characters can be assigned the same alignment as their patron deity, if no other solution presents itself.
Religion: Characters holding this philosophy are attracted to small regional or cultural religions and cults.
Example: Cult of the Dragon
Common Alignments: Neutral evil, chaotic evil.
I am not evil
Some people recognize that evil exists in the world, but they do not in any way think of themselves as evil, no matter how depraved their actions might be. The Eldreth Veluuthra (discussed on page 78 and further detailed in Lord of Darkness) is a perfect example of an evil organization that thinks its every action is in the service of good.
A character with this philosophy must still be assigned his correct alignment, no matter what he thinks of himself, for the same reasons as characters who believe in the Tradition/There is not Evil philosophy. Either the player or the DM should assign alignment according to the preponderance of the character's actions. If he occasionally does good things but most often resorts to evil ends to justify his evil means, he should be given an evil alignment, no matter his objections.
Religions: Characters with this philosophy often worship gods of good.
Example: Eldreth Veluuthra [An elven organization that believes the humanrace is a plague to be wiped out].
Common Alignment: Lawful evil.
The character has become evil through some magical agent - a curse from a god, a disease such as lycanthropy, through contact with an artifact or another form of powerful magic. In some cases, his outlook with respect to law and chaos does not change. The curse is usually resisted at first, but the longer it is in effect, the more likely it is that the character will give in to the curse's evil characteristics.
Religion: The character might attempt to retain his former religion, but will gradually gravitate towards a religion that most closely matches his alignment or that welcomes him for what he is now.
Special: Good paladins and clerics under an evil curse usually lose their divine abilities.
Common Alignments: All.
The character has been lured with promises of power, glory, wealth or pleasure into performing evil acts. He is not proud of his actions, but his desire for these rewards outweighs his dislikes of what he has become. He might even come to accept his evil nature and relish it. A character can be magically seduced through powerful enchantment spells or by being awed in the presence of an evil god. Seduction differs from an evil curse in that the character is not opposed to what is happening to him. He might not at first even realize it, he doesn't seek to change his ways.
Religion: The character is usually active within an evil religion, since it is most often the religion, or his association with it, that has seduced him.
Common Alignments: All.
Driven to evil
A character could be driven to evil in several ways. His life or circumstances might have been so harsh that he had to commit evil acts just to survive. He might be seeking retribution for some unimaginable wrong done to him or those he loved. He might be fighting fire with fire, so to speak, driven to evil just to keep worse evil at bay.
Unlike the character who doesn't accept that he is evil, this type of character often doesn't see himself as truly evil - but he doesn't deny that what he has done in the past could be taken that way. Often, he has some grandiose intention to make up for what he has done; of course, by that time it might be too late for him to change his ways.
Religion: Any. This sort of evil is not associated with a particular religion.
Examples: Many a thieves' guild is filled with these types of character.
Common Alignment: Neutral evil.
Just plain mean
The character is incapable of controlling his violent or anti-social impulses. He might be kind, intelligent, and perfectly capable of completing a task, holding a conversation, and working successfully at a craft. But when something sets him off, there is no telling what he'll do. There is no way of knowing from one day to the next what will ignite his fury; he usually blames his outbursts on others and doesn't accept that he has done anything wrong, nor does he feel and regret or remorse.
Religion: Any. This sort of evil is not associated with a particular religion.
Examples: Fighters, thieves, and barbarians.
Common Alignment: Chaotic evil.
Natural born evil
The character has been brought up in a society in which evil is the rule of thumb, and he knows no other way of life. He was born on the battlefield or in an orc den, learned to deceive almost before he learned to talk, and probably committed his first truly vile act before he was ten years old.
This type of evil character is the most likely to undergo an alignment shift once exposed to other cultures. He is also the most likely to hate and fear anything that is different from himself.
Religion: The character prefers the shamanistic religion or cult in which he was raised.
Examples: Monster societies
Common Alignment: Chaotic evil, lawful evil.
Mad, I tell you
Because of some psychosis, obsession or overpowering phobia, the character is driven to perform acts of incomprehensible evil. Even characters dedicated to the philosophies of evil or evil gods often find this character's actions beyond the pale of acceptable behavior. Depending on the nature of the madness, the character could feel remorse for the things he does, but he cannot stop himself from repeating them. Another character might delight in the things he does, or might not even be aware of what he is doing.
Religion: Depending on the madness and how it manifests, the character might be incapable of participating in organized religion of any type, or he might be a leader of an evil religion or cult. He might even be a patron of a good religion. But underneath he hides a terrible secret, and impulse that drives him to do things that would horrify a demon. On the other hand, some evil religions and organizations could welcome him after discovering his madness so that they can manipulate him and make use of his particular talents.
Examples: Bane, Cyric.
Common Alignment: All, especially those with chaotic tendencies.
The character's race dictates that he is evil. This is usually only the case with certain monster races, especially undead and outsiders.
Religion: Monster religions, if any.
Examples: Night Masks.
Common Alignment: Any evil.
For some reason, the character has chosen to act in an evil manner, one that he admits is evil and for which he feels no remorse. His reasons might be selfish, he might be bent on revenge by any means possible, or he might be driven to complete a task or achieve a goal, and will let nothing stand in his way. On the other hand, he could simply be a sociopath equally capable of acts of extreme good or extreme evil, neither of which move him emotionally or spiritually, and in which he is incapable of seeing any contradiction. Characters of this bent find it easy to conceal their alignment and move about in polite society.
Religion: Any religion that serves his selfish purpose, including good-aligned ones.
Examples: Iron Throne, Arcane Brotherhood
Common Alignment: Lawful evil, neutral evil.
Better to rule in hell than serve in heaven
This character is actively opposed to good, finds goodness to be repellent in every form, and thinks being good is a sign of weakness of character. He is driven by hate and lust and revels in thwarting of goodness as every turn.
Religion: The most active and radical evil religions and organization attract this type of character.
Examples: Cyric, Bane, Shar.
Common Alignment: Any evil.
The end justify the means
This path follows a slippery slope. The character seeks some greater good, perhaps the overthrow of a heinous villain or the establishment of a good church or organization in the face of adversity; nothing will stop her from achieving this goal, even if she must do evil to accomplish it.
Religion: The character might belong to any religion, but good-aligned deities rarely look with favor upon evil acts.
Examples: Mystra, Shaundakul, Oghma.
Common Alignments: All.
Provided by another long time evil doer on Narfell
Evil, is just difficult to play well and for long. I found the best way to play evil is not to start out evil, but you go down a certain path and you end up evil.
Never, never play the Mwhahah evil.. its just does not work.
As said before make friends and never ever double cross those friends. You be surprised how much these life long friends will cover for you.
Join a guild or organisation. This gives you people to fall back on. Try and join a neutral guild. Trying to join a good aligned is almost in possible as you will just get DE as part of the joining process. Joining evil guilds is the quickest way to get outed. Ask anyone in the Church of Bane.
Bide your time, you will never rule narfell. You might get to a high position in a certain town, but you will never rule Narfell like some over lord.
Be prepared to be outed. You just hope its done when you can handle yourself in a fight.
Don't take stuff happening to your char OOC. This is one of the hardest parts to pull off when playing evil. Trust me its almost impossible.
Have fun. When its not fun, have a break.
8 ) Never talk about your evil god out in the open. Have a cover god. Don't walk into a room and say "By Cyric" like some fool once did with a room full of LG.
(Provided by another anonymous that we all know too well)
Three types of evil. Open, Hidden, Dual life.
Open Evil is the most difficult to accomplish, hard to do at first. Need to have some kind of way to keep people from just going after you (example, Aspera Chillwind as a Magistrate). Important to not to anything evil so blatantly that it allows people to bring you down.
Hidden is difficult to do, you need to keep your evil from being found out while at the same time shouldn't be going over the top with the "goodness" either. The key isn't to act "good" but to act "normal", as trying to be overly "good" may end up causing people to be suspicious. Dangerous because the moment you screw up even once the entire thing can unravel.
Dual Life is very hard to pull off because it relies on people not metagaming and being extremely careful. Create a second persona, complete with backstory and alternate clothing. This will require your evil persona to always be helmed to assure that people can't claim to have seen both. Points in Bluff or Perform to explain the ability to use a different sounding voice in both persona's. This is extremely important to not be seen entering wherever you tend to do your persona switch as one and leaving as another. Invisibility and extreme caution is important.
Evil Groups: Evil tends to want to join together in Narfell because the odds are stacked so high. The issue with this however is multifold. You're putting your ability to stay hidden as evil not just on yourself, but now every person your in a group with. If one of them screws it up there's nothing you can do. Establish "evil groups" with extreme caution.
Sethan last edited by
When creating an evil PC, it can be useful to consider types of evil, in terms of motivation and how they will deal with other PCs.
Supernatural Evil - Some creatures are supernaturally evil. Demons, devils, other lower-planar creatures, and many intelligent undead fall into this category. Their being is suffused with evil to an extent that it doesn't just color their actions - it drives them. They will actively search for options that will cause maximum pain, death and destruction, while accomplishing their goals, and in most cases their short or long-term goals will be causing maximum pain, death and destruction. Players will almost never play a PC who is supernaturally evil. Paladins may attack these creatures on sight, and may be in peril of losing their good standing with their deity if they choose to negotiate with said beings.
Evil by Nature - Goblins, orcs, ogres and other creatures of non-PC races whose alignment is defined in the monster manual as evil are evil by nature. Their perspective on any issue is going to be such that they will actively search for options that will cause maximum pain, death and destruction, while accomplishing their goals. If such a creature were raised away from any evil influence, they would still make evil choices. Unlike Supernatural Evil creatures, their goals will not necessarily always be evil, and it is possible for them to work with non-evils on short or long-term non-evil goals. Consider them evil opportunists. It is possible for an individual PC of a normal player race to be evil by nature, though this can be difficult to RP while maintaining the PC as a viable character in Narfell. Such a PC will have a difficult time becoming (or staying) good aligned even if they want to, as their natural inclinations will be towards evil. Paladins may attack these creatures on sight without fear of censure, though the normal strictures against attacking defenseless creatures may still apply in the case of noncombatants and children.
Evil by Nurture - Some creatures are evil by nurture. This means that although the creature is not defined as evil by race, and does not have a natural inclination to evil, their upbringing or circumstances led them to evil. Half-orcs raised by orcish parents (or maltreated by human society if raised by their human parent), rogues who grew up in the slums, or people who found that being evil was the only way for them to survive are good examples of this. PCs with this sort of background will generally continue being evil (as it is what they know), though it is certainly possible for them to change, given the right environment and examples. Many evil and some neutral PCs fall into this category.
Evil by Design - People who are evil by design may have also been evil by nurture - but whatever their background, they have since chosen evil. In degree, this can be as minorly malicious as the merchant who uses dishonest weights to measure the goods he sells or as overwhelmingly evil as a demonologist who uses live sacrifices to seal his contracts. Many evil PCs fall into this category.
Incidental Evil - Similar to evil by design, someone who is incidentally evil may become evil through actions that are incidental to his goals. A healer who purchases slaves and then vivisects them (cuts them open while they are alive) to find out how to become a better healer, or a mage who contracts with lower-planar creatures or undead to complete his research can be examples of this. While evil is not the primary goal of either of these examples, their willingness to use evil methods to achieve their goals can cause them to become evil. PCs are often seen in this position, though few RP it as such. While it is possible that someone who is incidentally evil may actually believe their actions serve the greater good, and that the ends justify the means, their beliefs make their actions themselves no less evil.
Example 2: An excerpt from the webcomic "Order of the Stick" (http://www.giantitp.com/index.html) (Thanks Kallethen for this idea!)
(edited by Kallethen because the site doesn't allow hotlinking)
Example 1: Tancred Husteem, played by M_O_B
Tancred Husteem was a creation of mine, I really wanted to play an evil character, but one like no one has ever done before. So after looking at some deities and places in FR, I came up with the idea of Tancred Husteem, a displaced Waterdhavian noble, a worshiper of Gargauath, come to Narfell to carve out his own part of the land.
Naturally, Tancred wasn’t built for combat. He had high mental stats, and was only semi decent with a rapier, traditional weapon of a noble. Even though he was Neutral Evil, he was a noble, and thus very polite to everyone he met, making him quite liked in Peltarch. Of course, that didn’t do much to further his ultimate goals. I then turned to the idea of merchanting for Tancred, selling exquisite clothing imported from Waterdeep, clothes that I made up in the toolset. This was my way to make money and influence with Tancred, since he was no fighter, he couldn’t go kill goblins for gold, he had to find another way, and this was it. So for a while, I made him a merchant, my plan being, to wait for enough money and influence to start his own grab to power, most likely as a Peltarch Senator.
But then the N’jast war happened. Seeing the opportunity for power, I quickly made efforts for Tancred to help N’jast in their war, in return for his own land as spoils of war, once it was won. At first, he hired mercenaries, Ibn Hafsun & his man, and put them on the side of Narfell’s heroes, even though they were actually sabotaging the Narfellian efforts, especially at the defence of Jiyyd. This continued until Ibn Hafsun and his men were killed by the Legion in a failed ambush.
Tancred still had his cover however, taking great care to cover his involvement with Ibn Hafsun up. Then the chance came to Tancred to enlist the forces of Undead Eastlanders onto his side. While he was caught doing this by Marty when he attempted to kill her, he ended up coming back with a different skin. The Undead Eastlanders, under Tancred’s command, continued to be a thorn in the side of the heroes, both in battle and in Peltarch, assassinating a magistrate.
While it went so well, even the takeover of Peltarch, where Tancred placed his foul undead allies into the lake to flank the defenders successfully, we all know the war ended up turning against N’jast and her allies, including Tancred and his undead, leaving Tancred to flee the land forever, his army truly dead forever.
So, while Tancred wasn’t completely successful, the impact he made on the war was massive, and was very successful for an evil PC, especially considering people had no idea what he was up to until he was caught by Marty. Also, the opportunity arose perfectly for him, and he took it just in time.
Hints & Tips
• Playing evil on Narfell is hard, very hard
• You NEED to be patient. Instead of trying to murder whole towns at level 1, bide your time. Make friends, look like you’re a decent person, it’s all part of the game, the trick is to wait for the opportunity, instead of jumping the gun (as will be shown later on)
• Don’t be a jackass. Just because you are evil, doesn’t mean you have to be rude to everyone you meet, the successful evil characters are polite and pleasant to all
• Don’t get IC & OOC feelings mixed up.
• Don’t go blabbing to everyone about how evil and twisted you are. It doesn’t get you anywhere except shunned from every society in Narfell
• Along with that, pitch black armour with lots of spikes may look really cool, but it’s not subtle at all
• Make friends, even if they are temporary
• Talk to players who have played evil characters before, who have seen it done (People to talk to would be me, Dorakhan, Coaan, Zyphlin, Arulric, and plenty others)
• Even if a paladin detects evil on you, doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. Talk your way out of it, ignore it, whatever. Making a big deal about it doesn’t help your case.
• Remember, other PCs aren’t the only population in Narfell, NPCs do exist as well
(the following hints are provided by anonymous)
- 'Plan realistically, your level 1 isn't going to take over Nerfell, neither is your level 10 likely to'
- 'Evil often works best as the third party in conflicts. Instead of you actively killing X, you get Y to do it or help them do so'
- 'Have a plan, then have three back ups for that plan becuase the first won't work'
- 'Don't risk everything on a short term gain. Sure, stealing 100 gold might be nice now, but if the pally in the party catches you you are fudged forever with that pally'
- 'Good guys are often better allies then evil guys and cost less'
- 'Lying outright is often easily discovered, forgetting details is understanable'
(from a different anonymous evil)
Plan for 7 things to go wrong. After 3 do, abort. You may need the extra padding to escape without detection (or at worst, just to escape).
Always have a fall guy. While it can be aesthetically pleasing to use an innocent for this, the fall guy is worse than useless if he can believably provide an alibi. Often the best fall guy is someone who already has a bad reputation. Better still if they can't be found. Note: Be careful to avoid becoming someone else's fall guy.
Remember also that dead men -do- tell tales (if their bodies are ever found).
Reputation is everything. Being a pickpocket is well and good - but if you are ever caught, or if someone works it out (by noticing, for example, that they had 30 gold before meeting you alone in the wilderness and after you got close to them they had none when they got back to town), you'll be forever pegged as a thief and untrustworthy. Likewise if you are regularly looting spawns while in a party, yet never seem to have much (or anything) to turn over when it comes time to split loot, people will notice - and you will become correspondingly unwelcome in parties. Get caught doing something evil by the wrong people, and word of it will be everywhere in a few days.
Obvious evil at low levels almost never works, unless you are with a group of like-minded people.
Clandestine evil at low levels also does not work, if you are unfriendly or do not play well with others. The first paladin to do a DE on your PC will tell other good and neutral PCs, which will reinforce any dislike they already had of your PC. Actively friendly and helpful evil PCs will sometimes be given the benefit of the doubt by good PCs even in the face of an unfavorable report from a paladin, as PCs will tend to cut people they like some slack.
Petty evil is almost never worth the consequences of being caught. If you are going to drown puppies or murder innocent commoners for kicks, make sure that either no one ever finds out, or that the only other people who know are in as deep as you and have just as much to lose if it is ever discovered. Better still if some or all of those other people can become fall guys (see above) if the worst happens and it comes to light.
Big evil is also almost never worth the consequences of being caught (unless you are planning to retire the PC and go out with a bang). Take all possible precautions to avoid your plans being discovered, or to ensure that the person behind them is not discovered (or is misidentified) if someone does discover the plot.
Having friends and allies is important - particularly ones who will cover for your evil alignment and/or raise you. Ideally, avoid having the following people as friends and allies: Obviously evil PCs/NPCs (unless you are obviously evil yourself, association with them will taint your reputation), people who will talk about evil things they have seen you do (again, unless you are obviously evil, this is bad), and bumbling idiots (who will expose you in one fashion or another, often unintentionally).
If you have minions, take steps to ensure their loyalty. Magical compulsions can work (though they can also be broken), but raising them when they fall and otherwise treating them well (provided they are not bumbling idiots) can be even more effective, particularly when they are rewarded for success.
If you have minions, purge them of bumbling idiots. Your surviving minions will thank you for this.
You can be as evil as you want IC, so long as you are prepared to deal with the consequences to your character and don't break the server rules. However, if you are unpleasant OOCly to other players or DMs, you are going to have issues OOCly that will prevent you from achieving any legitimate goals with your PC.