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Friday, September 6, 2013

It's Good to be Evil (Option 1)

The gods of Chaos and Order are fighting for supremacy.  Both are, at their core, inimical to life.  In a truly, purely, ordered universe, nothing would change.  Life requires change.  In a universe taken to it’s absolute entropic endpoint, there is no order, no progress, or in other words, no life.

Life, however, finds a way.

The Eternal Emperor, may he live forever, has ruled the nation of Hallering for the last thousand years.  It has not been an era of peace, but neither is it one of conflict.  It seems to have been an era of normalcy, as far as that is concerned.

When a man who has lived for a thousand years occupies the throne, some in the nobility feel that he is out of touch.  One such noble has gathered together a small group of evil minded individuals.

Heroes, in general, need a good reason to go off and upset the status quo.  They need a tyrant.  They need the common folk oppressed.  They need a cause they can get behind and feel, well, heroic in supporting.

Villains, however, need no such reasons.  Give them an incentive (money, blood, and mayhem are often enough) and they’ll jump to any task you present them.

This will be an extended adventure length story for characters of level 1+.  We’ll be using some variant of the D&D system.  It will likely either be Pathfinder or D&D Next (I have the playtest materials).  Both of those are free materials, so there would be no buy in cost.  

House Rules:
Magic:  I should be getting the Spheres of Power playtest materials before this begins so we will NOT be using the standard Vancian magic system of D&D.  The Spheres of Power system is supposed to let you play the magic you want as soon as you start, not at level 6 or higher.  We shall see.

Races: Evil races and even monster races allowed.  We’ll be using the Pathfinder race rules.  You will start in XP debt equal to the number of levels your race confers.  For non monster non standard races, it is 1 level  per 10 RP rounded up.  Debt is only incurred for values greater than 1.  Because of problems with monster races the last time we did this, you will start at a level equal to the CR as your race.  When debt + cost of the next level has been paid, you will gain your first class level.  Yes, this basically means you are multiclassing.  Yes it means you get ‘free’ levels.  You will pay for these over the course of play.  You also ‘pay’ for these in other ways, as you are a multiclass character.  Round fractions for CR down.  The DM reserves the right to disallow any race choice if it would be too unbalancing. ABSOLUTELY NO IMPS, DEVILS, OR OTHER INFERNALS.

Alternative options:  As there are some people in the group who have a problem with playing evil characters we could alter this to being It’s Good to be Neutral.  All of the characters would need to be True Neutral, or in other words devoted to the balance between good and evil/Law and Chaos.


AZ RUNE said...

I would not be interested in an evil game. Although I like the premise a great deal.

Richard Craig said...

That would be part of the reason that I offered the neutral option. Here is the longer definition of True Neutral from Wikipedia :)


Neutral alignment, also referred to as True Neutral or Neutral Neutral, is called the "Undecided" or "Nature's" alignment. This alignment represents Neutral on both axes, and tends not to feel strongly towards any alignment. A farmer whose primary overriding concern is to feed his family is of this alignment. Most animals, lacking the capacity for moral judgment, are of this alignment since they are guided by instinct rather than conscious decision. Many roguish characters who play all sides to suit themselves are also of this alignment (such as a weapon merchant with no qualms selling his wares to both sides of a war for a profit).
Some Neutral characters, rather than feeling undecided, are committed to a balance between the alignments. They may see good, evil, law and chaos as simply prejudices and dangerous extremes. Mordenkainen is one such character who takes this concept to the extreme, dedicating himself to a detached philosophy of neutrality to ensure that no one alignment or power takes control of the Flanaess.

Druids frequently follow this True Neutral dedication to balance, and under Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules were required to be this alignment. In an example given in the 2nd Edition Player's Handbook, a typical druid might fight against a band of marauding gnolls, only to switch sides to save the gnolls' clan from being totally exterminated.

Lara Croft, Lucy Westenra from Dracula and Han Solo in his early Star Wars appearance are neutral. The true neutral outsiders are known as the Rilmani.[citation needed]

Jayson said...

"Those who do not stand for somehting will fall for anything."

Is there anything wrong with playing "Its Good to be Good"? Or "You know I'm be Good"? After playing a year of evil characters I am ready to be good...Convent Good. I would still have fun playing this game, though, if we decided to go this way. Go big or go home, so we would have to be ULTRA bad, not soft core like Niko. I heard a similar adventure like this, didn't end so well, though. Apparently, one player (playing a diabolically evil character) TPK'ed the whole group by cutting their throats in their sleep....

I would play a conniving troll that uses rapiers like throwing knives and toothpicks.

Richard Craig said...

In the PBP version of the game, the group ended up murdering a number of people for the fun of it in a little hamlet and then getting out of town one step ahead of the constabulary.

Then they killed the proprietor of an inn. So, he and his family were cursed to become ogres at night...

If you all are interested in the campaign setting as it stands, I could make a couple of modifications so we could do a regular run of it. Let me know. I am flexible. More I enjoyed the possibility that this world represented than anything else.

It looks, though, like we have two people already, and not necessarily the people I would have assumed, saying no evil.

I can appreciate that.

How about a slight modification of intent then: Wait...we're the BAD guys?!

A group of heroes has been pressed into service by a selfish noble looking to capitalize on information she has about the Immortal Emperor.

They have two months to retrieve an object for her or she will visit 'consequences dire' upon each of the heroes.

Jayson said...

That last part is even more intriguing. I love a good race against the clock. Trying to accomplish something that is destardly at its core, but being bound to principled means would be quite challenging. I do question the System for the full group. Are you flexible with the system?

Richard Craig said...

Of any system with an alignment, I've always preferred D&D. It allows for a lot more flexibility and interpretation, even for two characters of the same alignment.

Sure, some of this interpretation comes into play for Palladium, as people don't fit into boxes, but...

Take Lawful Good for example. Do you support the laws of wherever you are, no matter how evil they are? Do you support the law of justice? Do you allow for mercy when it is warranted? Do you bend the law to protect the worthy?

There is an inherent conflict between Justice (Lawful) and Mercy (Good) that would be played out in every character according to their conscience.

To a certain degree you only get 'pure' anything when neutral is paired as the other axis: Lawful Neutral is the embodiment of Justice applied without mercy for example.

Richard Craig said...

Point being, that I might change systems, but the story being told requires something unique to the D&D system...and D&D is really not that hard to learn.

Jayson said...

How easy would it be to adopt the same D&D alignment system with a Palladium backbone? Does the alignment system affect the dice mechanics in D&D? I know they don't in Palladium. It is just a barrier that limits role-play, which is very subjective. I know I messed this up with Chris' Coon character in the last campaign, where I sort of prevented him from shooting a guy who technically "unarmed". Instead, I should have allowed it. Then gave consequences later from it (e.g. Revenge from the victim's buddies, changing their alignments to be more dark, requiring save vs insanity in stressful moments that if failed would enact a 10-20% penalty to the skill being performed, etc.)

Richard Craig said...

True, we could do it that way. Is there a particular issue you have with D&D?

I know, traditionally, it has been a miniatures driven game, but there is more of a 'theater of the mind' feel to the latest incarnation of the D&D next rules...

Anyway, we could use any game system really and just tack on the alignment system from D&D, if people did have an issue with the system.

Jayson said...

I suggest this to give your idea the best chance of getting votes. I think this concept has merit however we spin it. I know, though, that the group as a whole will be a little more resistant to playing from a new system. Think back to the initial disputes regarding Fate. Then consider the Dead Reign campaign. Lastly, I tried to run a Palladium game riddled with house rules. Each led to a lot of disputes (my pride prevents me from calling them 'arguments'). However fun each of these concepts were, the hours of disagreements took away some level of that fun. We are all savvy to this, now. Therefore, a good idea like this might be put down, ONLY because it opens the door for future disputations.

You were the one who introduce me to Fate. The whole group knows that I am a huge proponent for it now. But I don't think I will run a Fate campaign anytime soon because the sour tatse is still on their palates. Give it time. The group will come around.

Richard Craig said...

From discussions with others in the group (Rob and Victor) I know that they appreciated the Fate system. Rob played in my second game, and that is part of the reason that I better understand the system now.

That being said, D&D is not a new system for me. I played my first D&D game in 1990. I played in the original D&D system and have played and DM'ed AD&D, AD&D 2nd edition, D&D 3.5, Pathfinder, D&D 4e, and D&D Next (two play test sets)

So, different than Fate, this is something that I have run a lot. It is a simple system to learn, and I have some hope that we would be able to get in and playing really quickly.

Zenvis said...

I haven't played D&D nor Pathfinder so I would be a new babe in this.It would be interesting as there has been a lot of contriversy on the game as of late and with D&D Next coming out it might be worth a look.

Jayson said...

On a Kickstarter ad I saw on Obsidian Portal called Accursed, I saw a cool angle that we could totally take with this campaign. In that story, he play a monster character struggling to find redemption. Once denizens of the Dark, we now fight for the Light against the dark. If we did something like this, we would get the flavor from all the spectrum, while still be uniting towards the same goal. Thoughts?

AZ RUNE said...

If I had to come up with a character, I would need to know more about our world, races, choices. Political powers that be (monarchs, guilds, businesses, churches) to make a decision. If I am evil then I would be that way because of life experiences and environment. Much prep need be done. Again the premise is not bad, just very involved.

Richard Craig said...

The involved nature of the concept is part of what would require prep time, which is part of the reason I pushed to get us to pick early ;)

killervp said...

I would be very up for a neutral Pathfinder game! Would be a true departure, and I think it would be fun, as long as there is no PvP.