Evil & Good PCs working together

TheAuldGrump

First Post
Nightfall said:
Well there's pragmatism and then true evil, Auld. I mean it wasn't like you ENJOYED killing him for no reason.
I suppose it all depends on what extent the ends justify the means. If you torture the bad guy for information then it is still evil in my book, even if it allows you to further the ends of good. (I.e. rescue the jolly old toymaker from evil Baron Middenheap...)

The Auld Grump
 

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Nightfall

Sage of the Scarred Lands
Well I'm about .002% on the ends justifying the means. :) So if you killed an evil person, even if you were supposed to let him live, I can semi-live with you not being evil, but certainly far from good.
 


Meloncov

First Post
My current game has one evil charecter, with the rest split evenly between neutral and good. There haven't been any problems so far, as they are fighting for the survival of the human race. The good charecters fight to save humanity, the neutral charecters fight to save the people and things that they personally care about, and the evil charecter fights out of desire for vengance.


There have been a few debates about means, but in most of them, the uber-Lawful Samurai was the dissenter, not the evil charecter.
 

IceFractal

First Post
What gets me is that if you asked "Could a LG knight and a CG ranger work in the same party?", most people would say they could. In fact, most people would say that a LN monk could work with a CN barbarian. But ask about good and evil characters in the same party and it's not uncommon to hear "it'll never work", or at least "expect trouble" (although this thread isn't too bad in that regard). Good/Evil parties can work fine, as long as they have a goal/purpose that isn't exclusively good or evil. Such as, for instance, protecting a kingdom. The good character is doing it to keep the people safe, the evil character is doing it to gain recognition and noble rank, but they're both working towards the same end, and could very easily be doing that together.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Vegepygmy said:
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.

I am not sure what Stalker0 meant. I meant, effectively, is that Evil is what Evil does - if you don't do evil things, you don't remain Evil.

Alignment is supposed to be the result of your activities. So, if you don't act, you don't hold the alignment. If an Evil character restrains himself, he will eventually become Neutral. Same goes for Good - if you don't fight the good fight, you don't deserve the title.

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:

What this says, to me, is that you and your DM had different ideas of what constitutes "evil". You played what you felt was Evil. But your definition, or what's written on the sheet, isn't the final judge - the DM is. DM didn't think you were evil, or didn't care, or he'd have called for a change on the sheet. So, my first guess is that you were not nearly as Evil as you thought.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
IceFractal said:
What gets me is that if you asked "Could a LG knight and a CG ranger work in the same party?", most people would say they could. In fact, most people would say that a LN monk could work with a CN barbarian. But ask about good and evil characters in the same party and it's not uncommon to hear "it'll never work", or at least "expect trouble" (although this thread isn't too bad in that regard).

I think this is basically because in most player's and GM's minds, the Good-Evil conflict is more harsh and important than the Law-Chaos conflict. Good vs Evil is about people getting hurt, and everyone has a good handle on that. Law vs Chaos is a bit more slippery, and is a theme less thoroughly probed by our fictions and entertianments.
 
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SMDVogrin

First Post
I think it very much depends on the group. If you've got a good group, that really roleplays, and can work out in-party problems without massive PC-on-PC killoffs, then it can make for a really fun group. If your group is not particularly good at resolving such problems without an NPC-less TPK, then you're not going to have much fun.

My previous group was a really good one. We had a couple players that would occasionally play evil characters (or otherwise non-group friendly types), and we generally managed to work them in and have fun. It led to some really good roleplaying moments.

On the other hand, you have my latest D&D group. Our GM wanted to run an Epic campaign, and asked us to come up with characters independant of each other. I didn't know what anyone would be playing, so I made up a fairly neutral guy who could get along with pretty much anyone - a mercenary general/cleric of the Goddess of Strategy. He tended good, but could deal with pretty much anything as long as it was done intelligenly.

Come game day, and the other two characters were introduced: a very goody-goody Elven archer-wizard-something, and an unrepentant Red Wizard of Thay. Being played by Players who, frankly, didn't score well in social skills. Yeah, THAT lasted about 4 sessions (my character finally ended up killing both after being driven batty by the stupidity of their repeated attempts to kill each other).

The Players definately make the game if you're trying something like this.
 

WayneLigon

Adventurer
IceFractal said:
What gets me is that if you asked "Could a LG knight and a CG ranger work in the same party?", most people would say they could. In fact, most people would say that a LN monk could work with a CN barbarian. But ask about good and evil characters in the same party and it's not uncommon to hear "it'll never work", or at least "expect trouble" (although this thread isn't too bad in that regard).

That's because few people are going to come to blows over their approach to order or disorder, but will kill each other over the good-evil axis. they may argue about it a lot; having a strongly lawful and strongly chaotic person in the same party can be a heck of a lot of fun for that reason. I couldn't give a fig about the difference between a law-and-order type and an anarchist but if I saw someone do something genuinely evil I'd at least turn them in if I couldn't stop them myself.

Such a party can work but it's difficult; there would have to be some interesting circumstances involved (The evil guy is from the only bloodline that can do X, or we need someone pure of heart to get us past the Y -- but that only works until you don't need that person anymore.. ), but sooner or later there's going to be trouble. Eventually the evil guy is going to do something the good one can't ignore/rationalize. (Or the Good one will -- "Benny.. did I or did I not tell you to whack Ginolli's kid?") Now, if there is a great power disparity between them he may not be able to do anything about it, but he'll be working at cross purposes to the evil guy in hope of bringing him down. Or he'll just leave.
 

Mallus

Legend
I have to ask, why do these debates get bogged down in discussions of the respective characters? The characters are fiction, their players are fact. This has nothing to do with the characters and everything to do with the people playing them.

Players (including the DM) who agree to work together to make the game enjoyable for all participants can make any alignment combination work. The real question is "Can the players respect each others character choices, and find ways to enjoy the game that don't come at the the expense of others doing the same?"

The choice to work together and respect other people's choices is made first and foremost by the people playing the game. Everything else is secondary, and in the worst-case scenario, its players hiding behind their characters alignments/ethoi. Either you spend energy rationalizating ways for the group to work, or you do the opposite.

Let me say it again. It's not about the characters.

The game I currently run started with an elegant, aristocratic samurai, a flith-covered, insane, homeless street-shaman, an arrogant, bigoted, pyromanic alchemist, and an actual would-be hero. A recipe for campagin self-destruction, right? We're just around the two-year mark. It worked becuase the players were willing. If the players wanted to find reasons for their characters to behead, incinerate, and otherwise not work together, I'm sure it wouldn't have been difficult. Of course, the campaign strains credulity with some regularity, but find me a long-running D&D game that doesn't.

(You can read about their exploits in the Story Hour in my sig.)
 

shilsen

Adventurer
Mallus said:
I have to ask, why do these debates get bogged down in discussions of the respective characters? The characters are fiction, their players are fact. This has nothing to do with the characters and everything to do with the people playing them.

Players (including the DM) who agree to work together to make the game enjoyable for all participants can make any alignment combination work. The real question is "Can the players respect each others character choices, and find ways to enjoy the game that don't come at the the expense of others doing the same?"

The choice to work together and respect other people's choices is made first and foremost by the people playing the game. Everything else is secondary, and in the worst-case scenario, its players hiding behind their characters alignments/ethoi. Either you spend energy rationalizating ways for the group to work, or you do the opposite.

Let me say it again. It's not about the characters.

The game I currently run started with an elegant, aristocratic samurai, a flith-covered, insane, homeless street-shaman, an arrogant, bigoted, pyromanic alchemist, and an actual would-be hero. A recipe for campagin self-destruction, right? We're just around the two-year mark. It worked becuase the players were willing. If the players wanted to find reasons for their characters to behead, incinerate, and otherwise not work together, I'm sure it wouldn't have been difficult. Of course, the campaign strains credulity with some regularity, but find me a long-running D&D game that doesn't.

(You can read about their exploits in the Story Hour in my sig.)
Three words: What. He. Said.
 

tzor

First Post
First of all I think a lot depends on how extreeme the various members of the alignments are to each other. Even a LG Paladin and a CG anarchist might wind up parting ways after a few days. It also depends on how important the goals are. Sometimes you have to work with people you personally don't like.

A lot also depends on how you view good and evil. Often we get confused between the acts and the reasons why those acts are done in the first place. Evil does evil acts in order to reach their own personal goals, typically those of more power! Good does good acts to help others. So the motivation of evil (self) and good (others) has to be aligned in order to get them to work in the first place. This is half of the problem.

Given that, evil needs to tone down on the evil stuff because annoying the good will only hurt their chances of getting the goal which benefits the evil person. Good needs to tone down on the demands of the evil because without the evil the chances of getting the goal which benefits the others will not be accomplished. The result, typically is a mutual agreement in a murky neutrality. Also good needs to restrain from sidetracking into various acts of goodness.

The same stuff applies to law and chaos as well. Chaotic characters might have to take more consideration with local laws or matters of discipline than they would normally prefer, "You mean we can't stop for several meals on our froced march to the battle?"

Necessity often makes strange bedfellows. On the other hand, in order for any group to work there needs to be elements of compromise on all of the parties involved. If the players can find areas where all the characers can compromise somehow, the game should go well.
 

Someone convince Malvosin that good and evil characters can work together in the same party, so I can flip my arrogant aristocratic paladin into an arrogant aristocratic blackguard in our Shackled City game here! :)

(Strangely enough, I don't think he'd even have to stop being a follower of St. Cuthbert, since he won't think of himself as evil, merely being a stern force to reassert the divine order on an out of control city.)
 

Laurel

First Post
Nightfall said:
I'd still like to know the make up of this party...if there is any.
Sorry wasn't again till now... The party has a neutral good barbarian, a neutral cleric, a neutral good wizard, a neutral favored soul technically. The last two members are rogue/assassin type who is sliding fast towards the E realm and a witch who is trying to climb back up the good ladder. The evil PC has been skirting the edge for awhile now (making sure others have jobs to do then torturing the prisoners for info, using poisons on blades and such while hidden from view, gone into a bunker of sleeping foes and killed them) The witch going good has been seeing the lean of the group toward the fast and easy way to end conflict or get information and is now conscientiously moving towards getting everyone back to good.

I should mention we are treat alignments on a more sliding scale line that changes based on actions over time. One evil act does not make you evil, but watching someone torture and kill babies and saying nothing about it will cause you to shift evil.

So far we have been able to avoid conflict since the now Evil PC keeps as much as she can hidden from the group, and the good PC is currently worried about the group choices then what she can't see.

Before choosing to go the evil I talked with the DM and chatted to other people about mixed groups. The DM and I both liked the possibilities, and both knew it would not be easy. And I was stoked, but as I said I asked others and got quite a few responses of 'it never works'. This was a little discouraging to say the least, as I like to think it can work if everyone wants it to.

Again sorry on the late response :)
 

Laurel

First Post
IceFractal said:
What gets me is that if you asked "Could a LG knight and a CG ranger work in the same party?", most people would say they could. In fact, most people would say that a LN monk could work with a CN barbarian. But ask about good and evil characters in the same party and it's not uncommon to hear "it'll never work", or at least "expect trouble" (although this thread isn't too bad in that regard).
This is why I wanted to start the thread.. and I must say I am very happy with the responces so far. Most seem to think 'hard' or 'may have issues' instead of 'impossible' or 'will never work'
 
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Laurel

First Post
Mallus said:
Only if you choose to make it difficult.
More difficult in that it's my first evil PC so keeping evil in the way I want and not just bloodthirsty out to kill every living thing no matter what evil. At the time the part was neutral, and most getting closer to the evil side of neutral....
And some in the group haven't played together before, so not sure how players will be. I like to think both players can handle the RPing, but I also want to try and keep the story intact.
 
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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Mallus said:
Players (including the DM) who agree to work together to make the game enjoyable for all participants can make any alignment combination work. The real question is "Can the players respect each others character choices, and find ways to enjoy the game that don't come at the the expense of others doing the same?"

This is true if and only if part of the working together includes possible redefinition of the terms "Good" and "Evil", or in some cases redefine the personalities of existing characters, or in one case (Paladins) redefining the rules of the game. This rather gets into the realm of, "Sure, you can fit a square peg into a round hole - if you are willing to employ a chisel."

Stressing what can be done rather glosses over the question of what should be done. Sometimes, it is appropriate for a given game for folks to flex to allow this sort of mixing, and sometimes it isn't.
 

WayneLigon

Adventurer
Mallus said:
I have to ask, why do these debates get bogged down in discussions of the respective characters? The characters are fiction, their players are fact. This has nothing to do with the characters and everything to do with the people playing them.

As much as I despise people who disrupt campaigns with the phrase 'but I was just playing my character', the characters motivations and experiences and outlook matter. If you create a Good character, and he repeatedly witnesses another PC doing evil acts, there will eventually be conflict between them without some over-riding outside force preventing it.

You can juggle it around however you wish, but if that's the situation the Good character's choices eventually come down to (1) conflict with the evil character, (2) leaving, or (3) he himself becoming non-Good.

And depending on the evil characters action, the outside ovveriding force may not hold for long. At some point, the Good character is going to say 'you're either going to stop what you're doing or I'll stop it'.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Much depends on the history between the characters.

My old game had at its core a couple of Good Clerics, a Cavalier who eventually became a Paladin, another Cavalier, and some Neutrals - the wizards and a Fighter or two. Yet the longest-serving character in this campaign (or any other I've thus far been involved in, for that matter) was...an Assassin!

How did this happen? Simple. The Assassin, Judah, came in early as a simple Fighter and hid his real class; as a Dwarf, he could pull off the fake-Fighter bit well enough, and nobody looked much further. By the time his real class was revealed, years later, he was one of the senior members of the party - and someone the other PC's knew they could count on to do his share. In short, they knew they could trust him with their lives. What he got up to between adventures was another question entirely; the Good-er PC's eventually learned to just stay with him as much as possible, and for the most part things went OK.

By the time the Cavalier Kalvin (Sir Kalvin of Hobbes, great name!) got his Paladinhood, he'd already run with Judah for many adventures; sure, they disagreed about lots of things, but stayed together as a team because both knew it simply worked better that way. And so the theoretically impossible happened - a Paladin and an Assassin ran together for about 8 adventures, and saw the campaign through to its end.

Lanefan
 

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