D&D General I can't help it - every pure wizard I ever make has turned or will turn "evil" (even if only in my own mind).

ph0rk

Friendship is Magic, and Magic is Heresy.
Where evil is the selfish me-first sort of evil.

So, set entirely aside the problem of backstabbing the party. I never do that - that's not fun (unless that's the point of the entire campaign), and I have never and will never turn mid-fight or steal resources or anything like that. D&D is a group game, and I as a player fully recognize that and have and will always abide by it.

Ok, that aside - whenever I play a pure wizard, the higher they get in levels the more capital-E Evil they become (although never chaotic stupid or extreme murder hobo, but often very, very selfish). And, come to think of it this is really just wizards, never when I have played a warlock or sorcerer, although warlocks can easily trend morally grey/neutral - and multiclassed or dual classed characters never really have the same sort of trajectory. At some point it just becomes blue and orange morality, but it goes through me-first "evil" before it gets there.

It starts, often, with a bit of necromancy - because of course it does. Then come the fiends, and before too long its all about extending life and acquiring more power to extend that life - vampirism, the unholy lich-grail, deals with ruinous powers, etc. More spells, more spell books, more powerful items. Once you can hop the planes, the local matters on whichever planet you happened to hail from seem trivial. Oh? That city will be wiped away? Oh well, can't win em all. Maybe you'll help the party out because it feels a little bit like a family/class reunion of sorts, but then it's back to planewalking. Some of it is how much Jack Vance is still in the wizard spell list - even today, and some of it is just old tropes; hero to Raistlin in just 15 or so levels, right? Along the way they stop agreeing (if they ever agreed) to do things for free, and of course "for the experience" isn't really a motivator with much verisimilitude.

Because of how wizards acquire their powers, this seems like the natural progression for most of them, and the more power they acquire the less the small things seem to matter for them. Other classes don't seem to progress in quite the same way, and I am having trouble putting my finger on why. It's been a long time since I have played a sorcerer, but being so good at the social game makes them more embedded in social structures to my mind - plus the spells known problem makes some of the more bizarre stuff wizards can do too costly in terms of resources. Warlocks are flat out constrained by their list, as are Bards to a certain extent; although a particular kind of murderclowngod bard could very much go down this route, too.


This is such a common turn of events I try to plan against it with backstories and so on, but it never lasts. Some time around levels 9 or 11, they start turning to the dark side. And, again, this is really only wizards. Warlocks? No problem at all. I'm starting to think I should set a "become evil NPC by" date for them when I make them up.
 

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DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
IME it isn't that wizards are evil per se, but more that with the power of their spells they seem to cause wanton damage to so many monsters I have a hard time often reconciling the idea of mass slaughter by a "good" person. At least against non-casters, I often feel many foes have a "fighting chance", however small... But once the power of casters (wizards in particular) reaches a certain point, only truly powerful foes seem to have a chance. 🤷‍♂️
 

Stormonu

Legend
Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely?

Can’t say this has happened to me when playing, but I tend towards more martial characters (and especially Paladins) than wizard-types. I generally get more altruistic as I get up in level with characters.
 

ph0rk

Friendship is Magic, and Magic is Heresy.
I play a pretty even mix of martials and casters, and my martials tend to be more grounded in local cultures and issues (and local morality; unless they're from somewhere else) while the casters can be less so - but none as detached as the wizards all tend to be.

Hey, @TheSword is this you in disguise?

Nope!
 



Where evil is the selfish me-first sort of evil.

So, set entirely aside the problem of backstabbing the party. I never do that -
funny thing... my evil aligned PCs are LESS likely to stab the party in the back, because when I am out for ME ME ME I often realize that the best path to power is having powerful people owe me favors... and PCs are normally powerful, so I help them because then they will help me...

mean while when I am good and it is all about helping others I often find MY idea of how to help others is in contest to what others in the group think and it is too easy to see the 'other side' as evil...


as for your particular about wizards, yes something about them does lead to being more corruptible, you know power and all
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
I'm TheSword! And my wife's TheSword too!
1652207946704.png
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
This is such a common turn of events I try to plan against it with backstories and so on, but it never lasts. Some time around levels 9 or 11, they start turning to the dark side. And, again, this is really only wizards. Warlocks? No problem at all. I'm starting to think I should set a "become evil NPC by" date for them when I make them up.
I guess my response to all this is:
1) Does this bother you?
2) If no, carry on. But if yes, then stop.

I've encountered players who will have (or cause) problems with their characters and then act as if they don't have full control over them. I had one player for whom this was causing distress. I kind of wanted to reach out and shake them (it was an online game). They didn't easily respond to my telling them that they're the one in full control, not the PC. If they didn't think something was in character, fine, but if they made that in vs out of character issue problematic for the table, they had to wrap their brain around fixing it.
So I'm hoping that your title is a bit tongue in cheek about not being able to help it or at least you mean you do it, but you're OK with it. Because if you are distressed by it, you're really in control of it, not the wizard.
 

ph0rk

Friendship is Magic, and Magic is Heresy.
1) Does this bother you?
Not really, other than (at times) it gets increasingly difficult to reason out why the character would bother to help the party with their problems. You can meta-game anything of course, and I decide what the character does after all, but it is an interesting tendency I've noticed.

Not every table is comfortable with characters being retired early (and that's fine), so sometimes that metagaming needs to happen. Not a big deal, I make the decisions. Sometimes those decisions involve create undead, infernal calling, or a planar binding/magic circle/summon greater demon medley.
 


Sounds like your issue is that you have a very limited view of what a wizard is / can be / should be / or what you want them to be. Broaden your view, envision a paladin with magic. Driven by a code of righteousness and/or pure love for others. Remove the selfishness from your character vision and they will have no reason to turn to evil.

Or don't and accept your vision of power corrupts.
 

Sounds like your issue is that you have a very limited view of what a wizard is / can be / should be / or what you want them to be. Broaden your view, envision a paladin with magic. Driven by a code of righteousness and/or pure love for others. Remove the selfishness from your character vision and they will have no reason to turn to evil.

Or don't and accept your vision of power corrupts.
yeah but thats hard... it's way easier to just let power corrupt (this is a joke)
 

GuyBoy

Hero
I play a pretty even mix of martials and casters, and my martials tend to be more grounded in local cultures and issues (and local morality; unless they're from somewhere else) while the casters can be less so - but none as detached as the wizards all tend to be.



Nope!
Perhaps I should explain, and I love the “I’m the Sword” references btw!
@TheSword and I have been part of a face-to-face group for many years, with he and I sharing the DM-ing.
He’s an awesome DM and player, but we have a running joke that his spellcaster characters always start as decent enough, but always slide inexorably towards the sinister. The incident with the blanket springs to mind or the cutting off of the thumb or Gaunty in general.
Whilst my own characters are, of course, noble, decent, upstanding and honest, and I have a bridge to sell you!
 



ph0rk

Friendship is Magic, and Magic is Heresy.
Sounds like your issue is that you have a very limited view of what a wizard is / can be / should be / or what you want them to be. Broaden your view, envision a paladin with magic. Driven by a code of righteousness and/or pure love for others. Remove the selfishness from your character vision and they will have no reason to turn to evil.

Or don't and accept your vision of power corrupts.
I don't see why any such code would survive learning how to bend the multiverse to your will.

And, they don't all start selfish, in fact I've gone out of my way to give them reasons not to be but... dude, there's a multiverse out there! Also I can make copies of myself without free will to do things for me. And, of course, undead labor. See also: fireballs as war crimes. And how do we think the spirits we summon to die for us feel about it?

Also: yes, I too am TheSword (but I'm not, I'm a fork!)
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
I don't see why any such code would survive learning how to bend the multiverse to your will.

And, they don't all start selfish, in fact I've gone out of my way to give them reasons not to be but... dude, there's a multiverse out there! Also I can make copies of myself without free will to do things for me. And, of course, undead labor. See also: fireballs as war crimes. And how do we think the spirits we summon to die for us feel about it?

Also: yes, I too am TheSword (but I'm not, I'm a fork!)
Hm. So someone attempted to cast The Sword, then ph0rk was cast, copying it on the stack...oh sorry, that's a joke only someone who plays an obscure children's card game would get.
 

Azzy

KMF DM
I haven't had this issue, myself. The only wizard I played that went through an alignment shift became good. Fun character, that.
 

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