D&D 5E Greyhawk: Player Options for a Campaign Setting

Parmandur

Book-Friend
There seems to be mechanical support in core 5e D&D for evil PC concepts.

The PH has an assassin subclass.
You can have a PC concept of selling your soul to devils for power. Or be a Cthulhu/Old Ones/Mythos cultist.

I found this quote in the DMG, page 92:

"Class Options. In addition to the class options in the Player's Handbook, two additional class options are available for evil player characters and NPCs: the Death domain for clerics and the oathbreaker for paladins. Both options are detailed at the end of this chapter."

Paladins no longer need to be good the way they were in older editions. They can be any alignment.

I have not gone through the Ravenloft book player options in depth yet but I would not be surprised to see something that could support an evil PC concept.

As for the future and what they will or will not put in the books compared to what they have been putting in, we will see.

For a Greyhawk setting book it would not surprise me to see evil cleric or fiend warlock suggestions for Horned Society and Iuz followers or the Great Old One pact for Tharizdun cultists.

I don't particularly think new options are all that needed to do Greyhawk though, the Scarlet Brotherhood monks are core evil monks, not close to monk mystical martial artists that require different rules to capture unique aspects of the SB. Would you give them political adviser things like a focus on intimidation and persuasion? The monster breeder stuff from the 2e sourcebook? More 1e style powers? Make up completely new stuff for them?
PG-13 is the name of the game: you can be an infernal Warlock, sure, but the game funnels players towards using those powers in spite of the evil origins. A little edge lord, but within appropriate PG-13 parameters.
 

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Hussar

Legend
Yeah. Let’s be honest here. A playable Nazi just is not in the cards for a WotC product. Not going to happen.

Home game? Knock yourself out. Heck my current Dragonborn character is racist to dragons. In a Hoard of the Dragon Queen game, it’s certainly come up.

But officially supported option? No. Just no.
 

Emirikol

Adventurer
Those of us who have run evil campaigns (or one shots in my case) can vouch for the fact that evil crosses a line.
Evil = all the worst crimes. "Not evil" doesn't cross that line.
I don't care to ever repeat the experience of dming Scarlet Brotherhood from the bad guys point of view. Consider it a life lesson that I'll clarify with a parallel thought below.

I think there's this thought that acting badass or bullying is somehow evil. Meh. Off limits characters exist in many forms.

The Great Kingdom is a neutral evil kingdom. It has been described that its peasants are neutral exhausted. Somehow people there--on the scale of human decency--statistically will commit all the worst crimes opportunistically right?
In the scheme of what Gary described in the DMG1e as humanocentric norms being the basis for a campaign (and cultural CHOICE hostile to human norms/goodness as being evil), evil kingdoms sound like really naughty word places--places rife with great opportunity to NOT be evil.

Some DMs allow players to play out sick fantasies as evil characters--usually because they don't know how to say no f'ing way.
Other DMs seem to be in league with this thinking that evil just isn't that bad.
It could be played that way.
In my groups I don't have that option--evil is a line that is crossed in regards to norms. Its not a mental illness. Its not an excusable thing. It's the WORST stuff and it's not cute or misunderstood or cool or badass or chaotic neutral. Its inexcusable crap like premeditated stuff and personal violations to people of all ages that even in a game of combat, evil acts still are a line to be crossed. In Greyhawk gaming its clear to all but the least civilized players that places like Iuz's court, Scarlet Brotherhood's experimentation and eugenics pods, or Tourrish Mak's half-orc-breeding slave pens are not misunderstood or badass or anything less than horrific--and to portray them as anything less so shows a failing of a DM's concept of "evil." Shades of evil? Nope. There is a line. Playing and describing that stuff out in a game doesn't have to be told or roleplayed or inflicted without the X-card, but make no mistake, evil is a line that is crossed in Greyhawk quite clearly from its inception in societies and creatures. Items being evil? Nerull's scythe? Vecna's hand? Well, that's interesting isn't it. We can ponder that all day in Greyhawk discussions.

Societal alignment seems to be a useful tool for some aspects of the game, but it has as much to do with statistics of acts and allowances.

Will you find evil towns (statistically) on Nyrond? Sure and I find use in the descriptions put forth by Roger Moore, Gygax, and the bold moves of Carl Sargent, but characters from evil places (in regards to comparison with human social norms) arent allowed to be "evil" in regards to my gaming tolerance--and I would seriously question how many minutes a sick player needing to get-off on that as entertainment would be allowed to remain in my home.

Regarding political correctness (and the other terms we use) with words for the wandering culture of the Rhennee, I can tell when a player's intentions are sour on this and I don't flip out with archaic language (unless thats is rhe intended result). That said, I think it is perfectly possible to have the Rhenn and not use the G word or references to Chocolat the movie with Johnny Depp in a mass produced game like dnd.

Sometimes you also have to trust your readers not to concern-troll everything you do. Creating controversy where there is none intended or when it isn't ignorantly stated isn't beneficial, but it does stir something primordial in us with a feeling of the threat that right and wrong--a line--is being crossed.
 

Hussar

Legend
@Emirikol - I'm sorry, but, I've just tried to parse what you wrote three times, and I still can't really make heads or tails of what you are trying to say. It's been a bit of a long day at work, I think, but, I'm sorry, I really don't understand what you're trying to say here. What does the movie Chocolat have to do with anything?

I'm really confused.
 

Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
I must confess that I don't understand this whole tangent. Yes, WotC isn't going to promote fantasy nazis as a playable option nor are they going to present "evil" stuff in general. In our own games, we can do as we please, of course. Personally, I dabbled with evil characters as a teenager, but I have no interest in playing one now.

But what is the origin of this debate here? The fact that Greytawk Grognard has some Scarlet Brotherhood options in his fan-made PDF?
 

I must confess that I don't understand this whole tangent. Yes, WotC isn't going to promote fantasy nazis as a playable option nor are they going to present "evil" stuff in general. In our own games, we can do as we please, of course. Personally, I dabbled with evil characters as a teenager, but I have no interest in playing one now.

But what is the origin of this debate here? The fact that Greytawk Grognard has some Scarlet Brotherhood options in his fan-made PDF?
someone suggested making a scarlet brotherhood monk subclass which falls into the evil is cool trope which I hate for good reason.
thus I return to my question what other than backgrounds does greyhawk have going for it that is player-facing?
as I am the only non-dm here so I am the best you got.
 

Shiroiken

Legend
I do not think the scarlet brotherhood should ever have a playable option as they are honestly completely evil.
So? You can play a character that has fiendish blood (Tiefling) who sold his soul to an Archdevil for arcane power (Pact of the Fiend). That's also completely evil, yet front and center in the PHB. The assassin class exists, also in the PHB. They're no worse than being a cleric of Iuz or paladin of Hextor.
 

So? You can play a character that has fiendish blood (Tiefling) who sold his soul to an Archdevil for arcane power (Pact of the Fiend). That's also completely evil, yet front and center in the PHB. The assassin class exists, also in the PHB. They're no worse than being a cleric of Iuz or paladin of Hextor.
it is complicated, devils are well not real, racial supremacists are for a start.
The second person who sold their soul for power but uses it for the good guys is a minor trope.
even merlin has been said to be a part demon in some tellings thus these have long-lasting reasons to work.
 

Hussar

Legend
someone suggested making a scarlet brotherhood monk subclass which falls into the evil is cool trope which I hate for good reason.
thus I return to my question what other than backgrounds does greyhawk have going for it that is player-facing?
as I am the only non-dm here so I am the best you got.
Ok, sure. Let's get back on this, because, frankly, the tangent is a bit weird and I don't think it's terribly productive.

Now, by "player facing", what exactly are you looking for? New classes? Races? Feats? Mechanics? Since I assume "player facing" isn't really setting lore and that sort of thing. Remember, that Greyhawk hasn't actually had any serious development in about 20 years, since before 4e and no real official material since the 90's, so, there isn't a whole lot of mechanics to draw on.

So, here's my quick list:

Narratives - backgrounds that are tied to character level a la Primeval Thule (and other settings as well) that grant various ribbons based on the setting - so, a narrative might grant followers for example.

Domain mechanics - honestly, I think the whole "let's build a castle" thing really could make a home in Greyhawk. Having actual decent set of mechanics for this I think would be a good way to go. Higher level politics between the various states does seem to be a Greyhawk thing.

Whelp, that's about all I've got off the top of my head. Again, though, I think that what sets Greyhawk apart is largely theme and tone much more than mechanics. The hobby is more than big enough to have more than one fairly vanilla setting, so, I'm not seeing the huge need for mechanics.
 

Yaarel

He Mage
Narratives - backgrounds that are tied to character level a la Primeval Thule (and other settings as well) that grant various ribbons based on the setting - so, a narrative might grant followers for example.

Domain mechanics - honestly, I think the whole "let's build a castle" thing really could make a home in Greyhawk. Having actual decent set of mechanics for this I think would be a good way to go. Higher level politics between the various states does seem to be a Greyhawk thing.

Whelp, that's about all I've got off the top of my head.
Heh. I want to point out. Your alternatives to backgrounds are more backgrounds.

It brings up the point that backgrounds need to continue to add new options while leveling, such as allowing the character to establish some form of institution around level 9.



1e has psionic feats. But these too probably work well as a background, especially a background feat.
 
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