Evil & Good PCs working together

Laurel

First Post
In my current game we have a rich story line and a party that seems to mesh well. We have most of the group in kind of a grey mid point on the alignment spectrum and then one heading towards good and one towards evil. I have heard verbally from other gamers how it is impossible or 'just never seems to work' to have oppositions of that sort in one group.

So I wanted to poll a larger spectrum: Have you ever played in a group that was mixed evil and good alignments? How did things go? Do you have any suggestions on how to make sure it works?
 
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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
The way I usually work Good and Evil, it'd be kind of difficult for them to coexist peacefully. I tend to need Good to be very good, and Evil to be very evil. Evil isn't passive - if you aren't hurting folks, you aren't Evil. And anyone who has earned the Good probably won't be the type to allow the Evil one to continue hurting people.

My players, however, like being heroic, so Evil PCs rarely come up.
 

Shades of Green

First Post
My suggestions:
1) Try to avoid seriously "good-centric" (e.g. Paladin or most Clerics of good gods) or seriously "evil-centric" (e.g. Blackguards or most Clerics of evil gods) character classes, as these will tend to lead to constant conflicts, or will spend alot of energy (sometimes too much) on trying to convert characters of the opposite alignment to their alignment. Keep your divine spellcasters neutral or close to neutral.
2) Give the characters a common cause and/or a common enemy to band togather against, even if they'll band togather for different reasons (e.g. the neutral evil rogue wants to break into the opressive baron's castle in order to steal a prised grand gem for its cash value; the chaotic good bard wants to break into that castle in order to steal the baron's military plans for the resistance).
3) Remember (and remind your players if needed) that "evil" does not nescerily mean "unreasonable" or "anti-social"; in D&D it usually means "puts self interests abouve all else" and/or "has a 'dirty' modus operandi and thinks that the end justifies all means".
4) Also remember that evil is an alignment, not nescerily a strict political alliegance (sp?); just because the villian is evil doesn't mean that the evil PCs will have to cooperate with him. Actually, evil characters tend to be far more egoist and competitive than good ones; they'll probably covet the villian's power and/or treasure and/or to gain reputation by kiling a tough villian.
5) Plots with moral conflicts in them are going to be VERY interesting for such a group, but don't overdo them - too less and alignments won't be interesting, too much and you'll have an overgrown inter-PC conflict.
 
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Laurel

First Post
Umbran said:
The way I usually work Good and Evil, it'd be kind of difficult for them to coexist peacefully. I tend to need Good to be very good, and Evil to be very evil. Evil isn't passive - if you aren't hurting folks, you aren't Evil. And anyone who has earned the Good probably won't be the type to allow the Evil one to continue hurting people.

My players, however, like being heroic, so Evil PCs rarely come up.
This is kind of a first for us as we typically tend to be more heroic as well. This time the group shifted toward grey and we made a decision early on to be adventurers not heroes. Obviously things can change and we may become more heroic :)
 

Laurel

First Post
Shades of Green said:
My suggestions:
1) Try to avoid seriously "good-centric" (e.g. Paladin or most Clerics of good gods) or seriously "evil-centric" (e.g. Blackguards or most Clerics of evil gods) character classes, as these will tend to lead to constant conflicts, or will spend alot of energy (sometimes too much) on trying to convert characters of the opposite alignment to their alignment. Keep your divine spellcasters neutral or close to neutral.
2) Give the characters a common cause and/or a common enemy to band togather against, even if they'll band togather for different reasons (e.g. the neutral evil rogue wants to break into the opressive baron's castle in order to steal a prised grand gem for its cash value; the chaotic good bard wants to break into that castle in order to steal the baron's military plans for the resistance).
3) Remember (and remind your players if needed) that "evil" does not nescerily mean "unreasonable" or "anti-social"; in D&D it usually means "puts self interests abouve all else" and/or "has a 'dirty' modus operandi and thinks that the end justifies all means".
4) Also remember that evil is an alignment, not nescerily a strict political alliegance (sp?); just because the villian is evil doesn't mean that the evil PCs will have to cooperate with him. Actually, evil characters tend to be far more egoist and competitive than good ones; they'll probably covet the villian's power and/or treasure and/or to gain reputation by kiling a tough villian.
5) Plots with moral conflicts in them are going to be VERY interesting for such a group, but don't overdo them - too less and alignments won't be interesting, too much and you'll have an overgrown inter-PC conflict.
Thanks for the input, I'm actually the one going evil so I will definitely keep 1-4 in mind as I go. Number 3 is one I have heard tends to become the issue for internal conflict, but number 4 is a good distinction.
 

Kid Socrates

First Post
I played the evil member of a largely good party a few years back. In a group with a cleric/rogue of the nature god, bookish wizard of the holiest of the holy gods, paladin of the same holier-than-thou god, and a bard of the annoying god, I played a sorceror from the Blood War trapped in this realm due to a planar mishap. To keep the group working from day one, my character, Christian, had an amulet that hid his alignment, which kept the paladin from kicking me out immediately. We did, however, butt heads on pretty much everything.

When I started playing Christian, though, I had the plan to have him redeemed before the game's end. So while he was evil, it was more casual evil, than pure baby-killing evil. Lawful Evil; Christian was prone to entering in agreements with unsavory characters, like the vampire baron, and then finding loopholes with which to double-cross him. He went about the same goals the party had via other means.

An elven village was under attack by the undead. Christian's latest conquest was an elven priestess, and to his chagrin, he didn't want anything bad to happen to her. While everyone else's plan was to make a stand in the village and fight off the undead, Christian's first idea was to burn the forest down around them so the undead couldn't approach, but keep the fires from spreading to the village itself. Mildly evil, yeah.

Important; the GM and I worked out ahead of time that, while Christian would do things his way, I would make a conscious effort not to screw the group over, and they'd do the same for me. If my plan for Christian would be completely against what they were doing, Christian would be talked out of his plan, or his imp familiar would report back that the rain would prevent them from making a good barrier, something like that. We never let this get adversarial, because then it's not fun. The only-with-words party conflict between Christian and the paladin, though, was great fun for its character development and creative insults.

So yes, I do agree with good common goals as a great way to tie things together. I always find it awesome when mortal rivals have to team up together to stop an even greater threat (the first thing I think of is Goku and Vegeta in Dragon Ball Z, honestly). I'd also make sure the characters don't plan on coming to blows (unless that's part of the point), and then think about where you'd like for them to end up, as far as development goes, and see what you can do to help with that.

But above all else, make sure you all have fun with it!
 

Mallus

Legend
Beyond Good and Evil...

This is my take on the matter. Its pretty simple.

Either you have players that try to make the game work, or you don't. The alignment of their characters has precious little to do with it.

Tim Gunn (from Project Runway) has some terrific advice for RPG players, though I bet he doesn't know it,... "Make it work!"
 

Allandaros

Explorer
My 2 cp on the matter - evil people CAN form friendships, even with good people. And in a survival situation, where everyone is needed to escape $badness, friendships can form while evil's working together with good.

*shrugs* I dunno.
 

A ruthless but trustworthy party member can certainly be Lawful Evil (they can even be a blackguard!). Evil doesn't mean you chortle madly while twirling your mustache and tying orphans to the lightning rail tracks -- evil characters, for the most part, have aims that are very similar to the aims of good characters, they just go about them in a ruthless manner that cares little for the objections of others.

Honestly, Chaotic Neutral player characters are more of a hassle in my experience.
 

Kurotowa

Legend
As long as everyone's first loyalty is to the party there shouldn't be any trouble. If you have the same goals, consider each other allies or friends, and know you can trust each other then good/evil alignment differences shouldn't be any worse than lawful/chaotic ones. The evil PC can suggest torturing prisonsers for information because it's easier, just like the good one will argue for helping people in need even if there's not much reward for it. Just agree that no one's betraying anyone else and you both stick with the plan the group decides to go with.
 

Shemeska

Adventurer
Laurel said:
So I wanted to poll a larger spectrum: Have you ever played in a group that was mixed evil and good alignments? How did things go? Do you have any suggestions on how to make sure it works?

Evil people can have friends too. Unless you're a full blown fiend (and even then there can be other concerns) you're not a slave to your alignment above and beyond anything else if you're playing them as an intelligent and complex character. But depending on the type of evil and the type of good involved here, it's very situational if it can work or not.

My current group of PCs is largely various flavors of neutral, but they have an NG cleric and a LG fighter (cohort to the cleric) in the same party as an NE half-ogre mercenary with Blood War experience, an N (verging on NE) half-fiend/half-celestial, and an NE tiefling who worships Shar.

If you're evil and your deity has you sacrifice living intelligent victims, don't do it in front of the party. Better yet, don't tell the party about your extracurricular activities in specific. Tell the cleric of a good deity that you "worship a deity of loss" and leave out "and we're sacrificing innocents this weekend". Unless we're talking a hound archon trying to make a party work with a glabrezu, mixed or opposite alignment PCs can still work so long as they're motivated by more than money, they have higher shared goals, and if they're friends beyond just having common goals.

You need to have a seriously competant group to pull some things off though. If your group is filled with immature hack'n'slash orc baby killing paladins, you probably don't want to have alignments vary too much among the group. But if your players like non-one dimensional characters with complex motives and personalities, it can be a vehicle to some amazing RP opportunities.
 

Stalker0

Legend
Umbran said:
The way I usually work Good and Evil, it'd be kind of difficult for them to coexist peacefully. I tend to need Good to be very good, and Evil to be very evil. Evil isn't passive - if you aren't hurting folks, you aren't Evil. And anyone who has earned the Good probably won't be the type to allow the Evil one to continue hurting people.

QFT. Evil is supposed to be a rather extreme alignment, people who are evil DO EVIL THINGS. Now, I can understand that during the adventure the evil guy keeps himself in check...for a while. But eventually they got to get their fix. Someone gets hurt, tortured, killed, whatever.

As umbran said, evil is not passive. An evil PC would do evil things, and then try to cover them up to prevent the party from finding out...but he's not going to stop doing them.
 


So evil people are insane? You're describing a serial killer there. While I can certainly understand characterizing them as evil, it seems strange to redefine evil (which takes up three of the nine alignments in D&D) so narrowly.

There are real-world political leaders that history shows us were pretty clearly evil but who didn't spend their time torturing the peasants, "just to get their fix." The daily newspaper shows me a host of evil people who aren't serial killers and whose evil is enacted in the marketplace and elsewhere.

It's perfectly valid to say "in my world, every evil person is a serial killer," but it seems a little limiting to me.
 

CRGreathouse

Community Supporter
I've done it, but there's often tension. The good and evil characters often seek the same ends, that's not a problem -- it's the means. The evil characters almost always have an 'easier' or 'faster' method to their goals, but the good characters don't want to throw their morals out the window.
 


Vegepygmy

First Post
Stalker0 said:
QFT. Evil is supposed to be a rather extreme alignment, people who are evil DO EVIL THINGS. Now, I can understand that during the adventure the evil guy keeps himself in check...for a while. But eventually they got to get their fix. Someone gets hurt, tortured, killed, whatever.
I couldn't disagree more. What you are describing is suggestive of an addict, as if an Evil person will start getting "the shakes" if he goes two or three days without kicking a puppy or something. IMO, Evil can be much more subtle than that.

FWIW, I've played Evil characters who worked alongside Good PCs with no problem whatsoever. Once, I had it in mind to play an Evil character in a group that believed it was "impossible" for Good and Evil PCs to work together, so they banned Evil PCs. I wrote "Neutral" down on my character sheet and then proceeded to play him exactly like a Neutral Evil character. No one ever noticed the difference. :heh:
 

Nightfall

Sage of the Scarred Lands
*has nothing against smart evil characters* But I would like to know more of the party make up to make sure I'm not giving bad advice here...
 

TheAuldGrump

First Post
Hmmm, I have seen the 'Evil supporting Good' work well in play. For that matter the Evil character may not even think of himself as 'evil', merely 'pragmatic'.

The Auld Grump, mind you, if the party Good Guy ever finds out what happend to the evil Baron Middenheap then it could go badly for our pragmatist...
 

Nightfall

Sage of the Scarred Lands
Well there's pragmatism and then true evil, Auld. I mean it wasn't like you ENJOYED killing him for no reason.
 

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