5E How to play an evil cleric

Bohandas

Explorer
Priest “What do you mean I cant cut the heart out of this sacrificial virgin?”

Adventurer “Well you cant, its EVIL!”

Priest ”Do you mean evil Evil or Evil Evil? You see My god wants to feast on the essence of a virgins bloody heart, then he will restore the Sun - you know its all about the greater good”

Adventurer “But the sun came up today just fine”

Priest ”well yes thats because we sacrificed 13 virgins over the Holy Days, our zealots got a good catch that week”

Adventurer ”No, no, you cant do that, the Holy Doctrine of my Church condems that kind of stuff” casts detect evil

Adventurer “um - you detect as Lawful Neutral?”

Priest “see - its all for the greater good and the sake of tradition, youre not going to condemn our native traditions are you?”
That's a good point. It WOULD make a difference if the ritual actually did make the sun come up. The deity themself is likely still evil though, unless the sacrifice is absolutely required to sustain them and not just something they're asking/demanding.
 

UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
You can interpret evil as kind of selfish without regard of other's feelings, belongings or life.
You could torture people because you want to gain knowledge of how the psyche and body of people will react to that.
Science people did that to animals. Some people also excavated dead bodies when it was heavily penalized. And without those experiments we might be a bit behind in what we know today. Those acts were back then and now regarded as evil. And if you experimented with humans, most people would think you are.
An evil cleric can be a helpful member of any party. And he might be so openly.
A cleric of umberlee can easily gain passage on a ship. I mean, who would want to arouse the anger of your goddess.
 

grimslade

Adventurer
You can interpret evil as kind of selfish without regard of other's feelings, belongings or life.
You could torture people because you want to gain knowledge of how the psyche and body of people will react to that.
Science people did that to animals. Some people also excavated dead bodies when it was heavily penalized. And without those experiments we might be a bit behind in what we know today. Those acts were back then and now regarded as evil. And if you experimented with humans, most people would think you are.
An evil cleric can be a helpful member of any party. And he might be so openly.
A cleric of umberlee can easily gain passage on a ship. I mean, who would want to arouse the anger of your goddess.
That is an interesting point about Umberlee. Not many people 'worship' Umberlee, but plenty of sailors of Faerun will sacrifice to her for safe passage. I could see a PC priest of Umberlee or other evil gods, terrified of angering the evil deity. She would not promote worship of her god, so much as following the holy rites to prevent bad things from happening.
"Did you just touch that symbol of the Spider Throne? I must take your hand in propitiation for the offense to Vecna."
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
This is why I never both going in with the intention of "playing an evil character". There's no point, and more likely than not you're going to end up playing against your own character in order to try and "be evil". Which ends up being completely artificial and usually against any rational character behavior that would be a part of an adventuring party.

Instead... just decide for yourself what your character believes in as a personal philosophy and act it accordingly. But there's no need for you to append it with the tag "evil" or "good"... that's for other people to describe you as. You do what your character does and leave the description to the outside world of what they think of you.

By doing that... you are much better equipped to still satisfy the main component of creating a party-based character-- making someone who would actually choose to work with the other members of the party and who they would choose to work with you. So long as you and the party finds a common ground and a mutually beneficial reason to work and adventure together and you all do so effectively without blocking each other's wants and needs... whatever your character does or believes on top of that doesn't matter. You do what you do and if it's considered "evil" by other NPCs... so be it.
 

Perun

Mushroom
That's a good point. It WOULD make a difference if the ritual actually did make the sun come up. The deity themself is likely still evil though, unless the sacrifice is absolutely required to sustain them and not just something they're asking/demanding.
To quote Pratchett's Hogfather:
"What would have happened if you hadn't saved him*? The sun would have risen just the same, yes?"
NO
"Oh, come on. You can't expect me to believe that. It's an astronomical fact."
THE SUN WOULD NOT HAVE RISEN.
...
"Really? Then what would have happened, pray?"
A MERE BALL OF FLAMING GAS WOULD HAVE ILLUMINATED THE WORLD.
* Hogfather, a Santa-Claus-like figure from Discworld mythology.

It's all wossname, quantum, anyways.

(It's a great book, though. And it explains, in a way, how you go from blood sacrifice in order to make the sun rise, to an offering of sausages.)
 
Ask 10 gamers about alignment and you'll get 10 different answers. Maybe more than 10.

I've eventually come to the rather simple:
Are you willing to harm yourself and make sacrifices in order to benefit others? If so, you're good.
Are you willing to harm others in order to benefit yourself? If so, you're evil.
Otherwise you are neutral.

Or alternatively:
Good-neutral-evil is about the line you are usually willing to cross.
If you seldom cross the line of harming others to achieve your goals, you are good.
If you don't consider the line, having no issues with harming others to achieve your goals, you are evil.
Oterwise you are neutral.

So, an evil cleric: You have goals and desires, same as everyone else. You work to achieve those goals and desires, same as everyone else. You just don't care whether achieving those goals hurts others or not.
 

Ogre Mage

Explorer
One interesting point is that in 5E there no longer is a rule that your cleric must closely match the alignment of his or her deity.

I have been interested in the idea of a LE cleric lurking in Mystra's church. She is very devoted to the preservation and development of magic but she does not care about the well-being of the common people. She wears a face of kindness for appearances sake but she has a scorpion's heart. Like most evil people she is primarily interested in gaining more power for herself. She uses the aura of respectability that the Mystran church provides to mask her evil intentions.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
One interesting point is that in 5E there no longer is a rule that your cleric must closely match the alignment of his or her deity.

I have been interested in the idea of a LE cleric lurking in Mystra's church. She is very devoted to the preservation and development of magic but she does not care about the well-being of the common people. She wears a face of kindness for appearances sake but she has a scorpion's heart. Like most evil people she is primarily interested in gaining more power for herself. She uses the aura of respectability that the Mystran church provides to mask her evil intentions.
You could have evil Mystran priest in 2E iirc.

I think in 3E with the one step rule Mystras alignment was NG(LN) so you could be one step of either alignment.
 

Coroc

Hero
One interesting point is that in 5E there no longer is a rule that your cleric must closely match the alignment of his or her deity.

I have been interested in the idea of a LE cleric lurking in Mystra's church. She is very devoted to the preservation and development of magic but she does not care about the well-being of the common people. She wears a face of kindness for appearances sake but she has a scorpion's heart. Like most evil people she is primarily interested in gaining more power for herself. She uses the aura of respectability that the Mystran church provides to mask her evil intentions.
Yes but that is a perfect example of neutral evil you have got there.
 

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