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Old 04-21-2002, 03:27 PM   #1
Chapel
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Angry

So then, how dark is dark?

I've played my share of heroes, as well as my share of villains, however I find a role I am in now very seductive. I am playing the leader of an entire land, more or less, and he has come from a lineage of extremely wicked people.

What is very nice about this character is that he isn't vulgar, he isn't base, he isn't destructive at all. He is calm to the point of madness. See, he is a Knight, and that means he has all the formal training of the court, he is polite, respects women, and is cordial when necessary. But beneath this calm and polite exterior burns a rage that spans many, many generations.

Thus far I have played him as a very polite person in public, he has not gotten upset with anyone, instead explaining things nicely and making "friends". Behind the scenes he has been doing some very dastardly things...

So, my question, as far as his future behavior is...how evil is evil. What should I set the limits at? If any?

...
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Old 04-21-2002, 07:33 PM   #2
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An interesting character - but what are his motivations? What is he trying to achieve? Does he want to conquer other lands as well, or is he content with what he has? Does he have enemies he'd like to destroy? Racial hatreds? Does he have dark and perverse desires which he sates in private, or is does he simply have no morals when it comes to getting what he wants? Perhaps he follows his own sense of "honour", or maybe he just shows a facade to the world so that people will trust him? Or maybe he really thinks of himself as a "good" person, doing whatever is necessary for the good of his people?

An interesting "evil" character I played in the past (in a pen & paper RPG) was *generally* a nice person. He was polite, generous, helped those in need, looked after his henchmen, and so on - but he was absolutely merciless with his enemies or those who inteferred with his plans. I find that its much better to create the motivations and beliefs of your character first, then base their behavior around that.
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Old 04-21-2002, 08:10 PM   #3
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I'm with KaVir on that one. I've found it much easier, and efficient, to come up with an overall history of the character, and then attach the personality to fit it.

I see it this way:

We have Jazuela, an evil wicked woman, hellbent on her selfish path to power, corrupt to the core. How did she get that way? Why is she so horrible? Does it matter why?

It matters why in an intensive roleplaying world. Our characters aren't two-dimensional. Not comic-strip characters or cartoons. They're living breathing people who exist in the reality of the fantasy, if you will. They didn't suddenly appear out of nowhere one day, naked and penniless in an alley with no intelligence, no history, no life before they arrived. They might have always been there, and you just didn't notice them til just now. Or maybe they came from just over the mountain. What they were before they showed up determines what they are now.

Just as you don't walk into your first day on the job, not knowing how to type, not knowing how to count, not knowing how to speak in your own native language, not knowing how to wear your clothes or eat food, or indulge in social conversation. You're new to the job, but not new to being alive. Existing. Experiencing.

So back to Jazuela. Turns out, she's a half-elf, spawn of a human who raped a female elf during the War. Her mother, weak-willed and ashamed, ran off to the mountains so no one would know about the rape. And to her shame, she whelped the babe Jazuela. She abandoned the child, a scrawny sickly breed, instead of killing it at birth as she should have. A human darklander happened by, and thought it might make a nice pet for his daughter. So he took the babe home and named it Jazuela. She grew up wearing a collar and a leash, treated only slightly better than the hounds that guarded the man's house. The man's daughter tortured her mercilessly, chopping her hair when it grew with a skinning knife, feeding it scraps that the dogs left after they ate, dragging her around by her leash..punching her when the girl's mother scolded her for not doing her chores.

Jazuela finally managed to escape, and made her way to the graylands. By this time she was already a young woman, used by the man's two sons and their friends for their own enjoyments, owned as chattel by the family. She decided to avenge her life, and find the man whose seed caused her existence in the first place - and destroy him.

It's stories like this that build such excellent opportunity for roleplaying an "evil" character. And no, I don't really have a character named Jazuela, I just made all that up here in this post
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Old 04-21-2002, 08:34 PM   #4
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One of the most irritating things for any RP administrator is a constant flux of players that are obsessed with playing to the stereotype: either noble, chivalrous heroes or dastardly, menacing villains. It's something both AD&D's alignment system and Hollywood have impacted upon the RP MU* community.

I once had a long conversation with Duke of Outremer about the importance of shades of grey when designing a world and theme for an RP MU*--the importance of no 'true good' or 'true evil' but rather ones of differing viewpoints.

That said, the same is true in creating a character. KaVir's list of questions for you seems very inclusive, but let me post a couple other additions:
An 'evil' character will only see himself as 'good'.
The actions of an 'evil' character will most likely be unlawful and perhaps even unethical, but will be done by the 'evil' character out of neccessity.

If you define a character by his past, his present and future objectives and his 'tool box' of actions to achieve these, you'll be golden. Avoid the pithole of 'roleplaying evil'.

And last but not least, take a breath. Let your character evolve as he will and let the interactions with other characters help to change and sculpt him. Never at any point should you feel pressured to set an ultimate pathos border.

Best,
Ed
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Old 04-21-2002, 09:13 PM   #5
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real unrefined evil is when your a necromancer and you need to slay a baby for a spell i wouldnt think twice... thats CE
now ont he other hand my Paladin is LG and wouldnt hurt a fly unless it was evil fcourse
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Old 04-22-2002, 02:10 AM   #6
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When trying out another mud with an alignment system, I found that this alignment described him near perfectly:

"Aberrant characters, quite literally, value honor above all else.  They
are perfectly willing to use force and intimidation to reach their goals,
and they are capable of backing up their threats with action when necessary.
They do not enjoy the act of killing in itself, but do find pleasure in
killing for the sake of revenge or honor.  Aberrant people tend to be
very fair and loyal friends, but are swift and harsh when dealing with those
who are against them.  They make the greatest allies, and the worst enemies."

Basically, as someone said, evil characters don't see themselves as evil, so he is, of course, always doing "the right thing", no matter how horrible it may be.

"You do what you must, but only when it is necessary."

"... is extreme, and utterly calm."

In public, he is charming and amiable, a true noble.  Yet his actions outside the public eye can be horrific, and truly sickening.  If something needs to be done, he gets it done, with little regard to how harsh his actions are.  In fact, the harsher the action, the more affect it will have on someone, so perhaps this way of dealing with things is preferred.

People do know of the actions of his family in the past, and recent events have been linked to him as well, so there is already a sense of fear and tension when dealing with him.  I truly loved the conversation with Duke Llywarch.  You both did a great job at getting your true beliefs and intentions across without breaking the sort of "silent rules" of the nobility.  So, he can be evil and noble at the same time. *grin*

He is aware of the fact that people do not think highly of him and his actions, though he still remains cordial.  He doesn't see his actions as "wrong", merely beyond the norm.  Most people will be wary around him, even when he is acting obliging, pleasant, and helpful.  In the future, he will inevitably let his true colors show.  He will expect others to treat him differently, to hate and despise him.  And if they warrant his wrath, he will let them taste it.  Otherwise, he's a pretty nice guy... right?
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Old 04-22-2002, 10:34 AM   #7
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Quote:
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So, my question, as far as his future behavior is...how evil is evil. What should I set the limits at? If any?
This is a tricky question - and many of the answers given so far, in my opinion, are correct (as far as they go).

But, the fact is, as with the extremes of heroism, how far you should take it depends on how willing you are to accept the ultimate consequences of your actions, from an OOC perspective.

If you play a particularly dastardly individual who delights in harming people, and develop a reputation for it in the IC world, don't get all bent out of shape when people start trying to kill you.

This also holds true for those who play particularly virtuous heroes who delight in foiling the schemes of bad guys.

Too often, in either case, those at the extremes get such a case of the "invincibles" that they launch into OOC hissy fits when their nemeses finally get the drop on them.

So, the short answer: If you can handle the consequences of your actions, you can play it as extreme as you like.
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Old 04-22-2002, 11:19 AM   #8
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I once squished a bird with a mace when playing AD&D

However, I wouldn't mind to play a person who is evil because it suits him most. Like a mercenary who simply doesn't have another way to make a decent living. Been looking at OtherSpace for something like that, but that MUD looks WAAAAY to complicated for my little brain to grasp
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Old 04-22-2002, 03:17 PM   #9
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But, the fact is, as with the extremes of heroism, how far you should take it depends on how willing you are to accept the ultimate consequences of your actions, from an OOC perspective.
Agreed.  In addition, you'll also need to consider the OOC responses from other players as well.  I'm a firm believer in the ideology that IC and OOC events should remain seperate from each other, but unfortunately, this doesn't always happen.

'Evil' characters may be drawn to activities that have the potential to emotionally affect OOC players.  Scenes dealing with explicit violence, torture, rape and even character traits such as excessive use of curse-words or IC harassment should be looked at with a scrutinous eye, especially if you're playing in a game that allows minors.

It's always best to check with players through OOC means before engaging in a graphic scene and the administrators of a game should always be notified as well.

Granted, a rape might produce interesting drama and roleplaying, but it is the consequences of an act that will intrigue, not the act itself.

So be aware of how far you want to take it, but also be sensitive to how far other players will take it as well.  And if you're unsure, a game's administrators will have a hearty helping of advice for you.

Best,
Edward
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Old 04-22-2002, 05:41 PM   #10
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Have you ever read any of the Coldfire Trilogy by C.S. Friedman? There is a central character in the three books, Gerrald Tarrant, who perfectly (in my mind) embodies the idea of Noble Evil.

He was a Neocount, the Prophet and founder of a great faith dedicated to Good, but born flawed, doomed to die young. Unwilling to miss the growing evolution of his creation, the Church, he desperately sacrifices his humantity to gain a sort of undead immortality, sacrificing his family. His pact with the Darkness makes sunlight deadly to him, renders him unable to wield or affect anything related to fire, but gives him terrible power. However, in order to preserve his soul, in order to keep the Darkness from completely consuming him and turning him into a mindless pawn, he lives his life by a strict code of honor. His promises are more important to him than the lives of thousands, because if he ever breaks his code, he risks losing himself. And if he does Good, he dies and goes to Hell. So he terrorizes, Hunts, and creates a dark land of terror and horror, but lives his life with honor and truthfulness, making alliances with human cities and offering even the weakest victims of his the chance to escape him and be free of his power forever.

Despite the fact that he disembowels, maims, and hunts women regularly, drinks blood, and feeds off the fear of others, you can't help but like the guy. He's cultured, refined, genius, and always honest.


Personally, I'm no good at playing Evil characters. I always slip up and do good things for people. When I play Good characters, I tend to be too selfish or ambitious. I prefer human characters
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Old 04-22-2002, 07:52 PM   #11
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How evil is evil do you ask?
Perhaps ask yourself..
..how evil is Grey..?

If you wanna see some evil, log on Seasons of Almadyn and we can have a long chat.
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Old 04-22-2002, 09:27 PM   #12
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Or, here's an idea, Grey:

Why don't you actually contribute to the discussion here as the topic requests, rather than just hawking your game? No offense, I'd hate to start being that guy, but I spelled out in the forum introduction that there are times and places in the RP forum for pitching your game. This isn't one of them.

That said, I'd love (as I'm sure the other forum attendees would) to hear your take on the pitfalls and pleasures of roleplaying an evil character.
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Old 04-23-2002, 07:01 PM   #13
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So when you say you are evil, are you the "kicking dogs" type of evil, or the "kill a fellow noble and hang him from a gate, kill another noble and impale him on a pike, and cook another noble's daughter in a stew and serve it to the populous" type of evil?

*laugh*
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Old 04-23-2002, 07:44 PM   #14
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Angry

Whoa! I didn't expect the replies, thank you everyone. I suppose I should be a bit more clear with the character.

He is the scion of a disgraced family. His great grandfather, many generations removed was publically hung, quartered, stripped of land and titles and spread through history as the foul beast that co-mingled with goblins and orcs and caused the misery of the majority of the land.

He spent his entire childhood in exile, learning the ways of nobility while in hiding. He trained as a Knight, and as such has certain strands of honor and chivalry, however, deep inside is a pure and unbendable hatred for those that thrust him into the life he now lives.

He joined with a group of soldiers, the hereditary guards of his family in secret, and trained. In time he grew into a man of steel and skill and was well known by all. During this time, when he mingled freely with society under a false name, he master-minded the death of three noble figures (maybe four).

The first, the Duke of Gelathia, was impaled and displayed on the north gate of the free city of Stonegate. The second, the young Baron of Riverdale, was hung and displayed from the south gate of the free city of Stonegate. The third, and perhaps most gruesome, was the young daughter of the Baron of Karathos, Katerina. She was abducted, bound, killed, and then cooked into a stew. At a great feast in the city of STonegate, this stew was served to the nobles, including the Baron and Baroness of Reiger.

Now, with regards to Katerina, I'm sure she wasn't molested in any way...Stephen is a Knight afterall, but that doesn't negate the fact that she was killed and cooked.

His goals, I imagine, would be primarily to re-establish himself into the nobility, restore his lands and title to what they should be, and to secure the lands and wealth of his people and children. He is fiercely loyal to those that follow him.

His secondary goals, I imagine, would be the utter shame and destruction of those that thrust his ilk into exile. Outwardly he is the epitome of a gentleman, inwardly he is a raging inferno.

How should he progress?

...
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Old 04-24-2002, 12:26 AM   #15
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Quote:
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His goals, I imagine, would be primarily to re-establish himself into the nobility, restore his lands and title to what they should be, and to secure the lands and wealth of his people and children. He is fiercely loyal to those that follow him.

His secondary goals, I imagine, would be the utter shame and destruction of those that thrust his ilk into exile. Outwardly he is the epitome of a gentleman, inwardly he is a raging inferno.

How should he progress?
Looks like you've got your own answer, my friend. Take those objectives, find out what is the highest priority for your character and then begin forming tactics and actions to fulfill those priorities.

If you're open to influence from other players and you stay true to your character's values over the character's preservation only good roleplaying can come as a result.

Best of luck,
Edward
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Old 05-10-2002, 04:26 PM   #16
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My nickname for the brand of evil that I think thwarts most people's attempts to play a successful evil character is "Team Evil". These are the guys that, for all intents and purposes, are exactly equivalent to your local band of paladins, except they agree to fight good-aligned people instead of evil. They share property freely, get really angry if anyone on Team Evil does something mean or self-serving, risk their lives for their evil pals, etc.

If I had to summarize the nature of evil in an RPG very briefly (not really possible, but here goes..) it's "Evil. Not anti-Good." Evil characters need their own set of motives and goals, and often the key differences aren't in the goals themselves, but rather in the methods used to attain them, and the sacrifices they are willing or unwilling to make to get there. Joe Good and Joe Evil might both want to be king, but only Joe Evil is likely to resort to bribery, the murder of innocents, theft, deception, and the like to try to get there. On the other hand, he's also probably too concerned for his personal well-being to try things like building trust among his allies to have a coalition brought to power, or making and keeping promises to the people that would restrict his (assumed) future power.

Killing for pleasure is one brand of evil, but it's probably a better indicator of insanity. Evil folk more often do dastardly deeds to get somewhere- waylay that innocent elf because he has valuables on him that you want, or because the elven nation has declared war on your kind, not just to kill elves. And, as someone else mentioned on this thread- evil folk usually don't think of themselves as evil, and may indeed view their foes as such, even if a more objective view would be otherwise.
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Old 05-10-2002, 05:00 PM   #17
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I think Falconer got it just right, if he's saying what I think. Don't create an evil character. Your guy isn't evil. He's just doing the right thing, that's all--and if you can't see that, he'll have to roast you alive. Nothing personal, but if you're against the guy doing the right thing, then _you're_ the one who's evil!

Same with the Jazuela (sp?) example. She's hunting down some rapist, responsible for all the horror of her life. This is a good thing. Now, if you get in her way, maybe she'll cut out your liver ... but that's only because you got in the way of her noble quest. You do that, you're no better than an accomplice to the vile one she's hunting.

And did someone say 'go as far in your villany as you would in heroism?' I think that's imporant, too ... because they're the same thing, from your character's perspective. Maybe he knows that people will hate him for burning an orphanage full of innocent children ... but, dammit, he's a hero, and heros overcome adversity! So if that's what he's got to do to prevent the victory of the Rebel Army, then so be it. It's on the Rebel's hands. They should work in the slave mines like everyone else ... to further the glory of the Empire. I mean, it's -obvious-!
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Old 05-26-2002, 12:48 PM   #18
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There is a central character in the three books, Gerrald Tarrant, who perfectly (in my mind) embodies the idea of Noble Evil.
I've read that series. I agree that Tarrant is a damn good example.
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