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Hands-On Evil Bosses

Fauchard1520

Explorer
This one's a question for all the evil PCs out there. When you’re taking orders from an evil deity, mob boss, or Cthulhu-esque cosmic horror, being a good team player can be tough. How do you handle it when you have a “hands-on” evil boss? Do you try to resist their baleful influence, or are you stuck in the role of demoniac yes-man for the duration of the campaign? And if you do try to remain loyal to your big bad evil boss, how do you avoid sudden-but-inevitable-betraying your own party?

Comic for illustrative purposes.
 

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It's tricky to find the right balance between your orders and your personal desires. In my current campaign there's an NPC with the party they recently discovered has been betraying them the entire time. He has one very specific order (party cannot arrive at location with McGuffin), but freedom to choose how to make it happen. He's based on the backstory of one of the PCs, who used it as the premise for a YA romance story she was writing, so I take no responsibility!

He has a history with one of the PCs, whom he seduced and betrayed, leading to her parent's death, and the theft of a holy relic they guarded. However, in an unforeseen twist, he actually fell in love with the PC, so he doesn't want to directly harm her in the process. The originally betrayed PC has been keeping him alive in the hopes that she can get information from him about the stolen relic, but for whatever reason she keeps putting it off. Now he's desperate, because while he loves the PC, he's under a magical curse that will kill him if the party succeeds. He's been sowing discontent among the party and NPCs, and went so far as to set up the death of the ship's navigator to prevent them from being able to return home after retrieving the McGuffin. They've discovered his duplicity and are trying to decide what to do about him in the next session*.


*the last plan discussed was cutting his hands off to prevent him from doing anything, while still being able to speak
 

Hand of Evil

Adventurer
Epic
Define the 'powers' wants and wishes, what does 'it/he/she' want from you, when does it have to be done, how does it have to be done?

Flow chart & Random Rolls- Yes or No with simple rolls, number of reactions based off alignment (if used), more for chaotic, less for lawful. You can add a Time Table if needed, example; Did you kill the cleric? By the blue moon? Each can have a result that will please or displease, based on that result could impact time checking the flow chart. YES, the cleric is dead, roll d6; 1-2 pleased, 3-4 very pleased, 5-6 reward, plus +1 to Next result roll. NO, the cleric is not dead, roll d6; 1-2 displeased, 3-4 very displeased, 5-6 Punishment plus -1 to next result roll. Was it done by the Full Moon? YES, roll d6; 1-2 pleased, 3-4 very pleased, 5-6 reward, plus +1 to Next result roll. NO, roll d6; 1-2 displeased, 3-4 very displeased, 5-6 Punishment plus -1 to next result roll. You can make this flow chart as complexed as you want.

Soapbox: define what evil is in your games.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
This one's a question for all the evil PCs out there. When you’re taking orders from an evil deity, mob boss, or Cthulhu-esque cosmic horror, being a good team player can be tough. How do you handle it when you have a “hands-on” evil boss? Do you try to resist their baleful influence, or are you stuck in the role of demoniac yes-man for the duration of the campaign? And if you do try to remain loyal to your big bad evil boss, how do you avoid sudden-but-inevitable-betraying your own party?

Comic for illustrative purposes.
First off, this assumes I've put myself in a position where I'm taking orders from someone else; and that in itself is unlikely. :)

But, let's assume it's the case anyway, and that I've voluntarily put myself in this position (as opposed to being charmed or otherwise compelled), and proceed.

Do I try to resist the baleful influence? In general, no. Do I resist micro-management by said baleful influence? Yes, strenuously. Tell me what you want me to do and then trust me to find the best means of getting it done. In fact, leave me alone as much as possible in general if only to reduce the risk of your blowing my cover. Just let me know how to contact you with reports-updates.

How do I avoid the sudden betrayal of my own party? Simple answer: I don't. If betraying the party is required in order to carry out my orders, then betrayed they're gonna be. That said, if I can swing it such that said betrayal can be accomplished without blowing my cover (or better yet, if I can frame someone else for it!) so much the better.

Further, I'm going to be looking out for my own interests no matter what; for example if the chance arises to better myself by betraying (or overthrowing!) my boss I'll seriously consider it: perhaps my own end-game becomes to somehow arrange things such that my party and my boss throw down against each other in hopes that the survivor(s) will be weakened enough that I can finish them off... :devilish:
 

Whenever I play an evil PC, I try to find a way for that character to work alongside neutral and good PC's. An evil character that takes orders from some cosmic entity or a mob boss, would conflict with that. It would take away agency from me as a player to control how my character interacts with the group. It would give the DM the freedom to corner my character and force him to betray his party, and I don't ever want to be put in that position.

Betraying my party is never my goal. The goal is to find a way for that character to co-exist with the rest of the party, while still honoring his evil tendencies. So I don't write flaws into my character's background that would force him to betray his party, and/or take marching orders from some entity outside my control as a player. I would always play either lawful evil or neutral evil, and give that character strong reasons to work with the party. No strangling of puppies in front of the lawful good paladin, just because my evil deity told me to.

One way to play such a character, would be to make him a character who is not afraid to do unlawful things when necessary or asked to. I would make sure the party is always aware that he is a character capable of evil acts. He wouldn't be doing evil acts behind the party's back. Instead, he would seek the approval of the party before commiting such an act. "Do you want this prisoner to talk? I can get him to talk."
 
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aco175

Hero
What makes you say that? Is it the natural conflict between trying to control the uncontrollable?
Traditionally people that can work in a code of law can get things done and work together. There can be evil people in groups like soldiers or police or politicians that work with the rest of the people in these groups. Chaotic evil has tendencies and impulses that make it harder to work with others in a system. I would think that there are few people that are CE and can be many that are LE.

There are also discussions that can be had about countries and the overall alignment of the people. I tend to find that other countries decide on what they are though. A country ruled by a necromancer may be seen as evil by other countries. I would also think that all countries would think that themselves are good.

I was trying to stay away from giving real world examples.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I tend to find that other countries decide on what they are though. A country ruled by a necromancer may be seen as evil by other countries.
In the game I play in a PC Necromancer was a while ago given title to a swath of land and a few villages, along with a keep (result of a Deck of Many Things pull).

My not-entirely-a-joke joke since has been that she's set herself up to be what the next generation of adventurers will have to go out and deal with: the Necromancer in her castle on the hill. :)
 

Eltab

Hero
One of the 3e books (I think a DMG) had some Codes of Conduct for non-Paladins. One was a Samauri-based oath, another a "Mob Code" (don't snitch &c).
If my sponsoring BBEG has no such 'rules of the road' I am interacting with the wrong BBEG. I do not want him over my shoulder all the time; I want to know what he expects to get done, and go do it.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
One of the 3e books (I think a DMG) had some Codes of Conduct for non-Paladins. One was a Samauri-based oath, another a "Mob Code" (don't snitch &c).
If my sponsoring BBEG has no such 'rules of the road' I am interacting with the wrong BBEG. I do not want him over my shoulder all the time; I want to know what he expects to get done, and go do it.
Agreed.

There's also the real-world Pirates Code - not sure if that made it into any 3e publications.
 

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