How to Play an Evil Character

Introduction

Tenaebrys is a world of Twilight where the balance of good and evil is essential to the continued existence of the world. As such it stands to reason that evil is as important as good in maintaining such balance. This means that Tenaebrys has Heroes who walk the darker path. These men and women are just as essential as their Good counterparts. This page is intended to give some advice on how to play such characters (if the GM allows it, of course).

The Most Important Part

Above all else remember that the most important thing is that everyone is at the table to have fun. Whether you play a good or evil aligned character do not forget this. If your motivation for playing an evil character is to be a constant thorn in the party’s side don’t play an evil character. At its heart the game is co-operative. If you can’t play an evil character as a team player, don’t play an evil character.

Why Play an Evil Character?

Evil characters can be interesting and literature is filled with them. For example we have Dexter Morgan (Dexter), Dr. Horrible (Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog), Spike (Buffy), The Punisher (Marvel Comics), Achilles and Medea (both Greek Myth). Evil characters are interesting in the understanding of their motivations and their actions. Playing an evil character should not be taken lightly, nor as an excuse to do whatever you like. Being evil is an attitude not a justification.
Another possible reason is redemption. Some players may wish to experience a rise from darkness if such a story appeals to them. Others may wish to play a character who, while evil, has a vast and multi-faceted personality.

What Does Being Evil Mean?

Evil can mean many things and can come across in many different ways. Most evil characters, however, are unlikely to admit to being evil or even know, for that matter. Often evil characters will justify their actions to themselves and others. There are many things that will be defined as evil and not all of them need be present. However usually the most simple way to explain evil is to have no concern for the lives or wellbeing of anyone outside your immediate circle of concern. This circle can extend only to yourself, your friends, an organisation or even as far as a nation or race. Alternately a character motivated largely by hate or selfishness would also be considered evil.
However these things existing alone may not be enough to qualify as evil. Even a hatred of a race or nation does not qualify such a character may be neutral or even at times good (Dwarves hate Goblins enough to get a bonus on killing them but are usually lawful good). However the defining trait of evil is how far you will take this: Good may be distrustful, Neutral may be Unfriendly or hostile, Evil would likely have little qualms about committing any crime against this nation or race.
Selfishness also some would argue to be ambition which is not inherently evil. Anyone can have a dream and no-one can fault them for wishing to pursue it. An evil character however is more likely to use someone’s misfortune to further their own ends. As an example if a plague were sweeping the land a Good Healer would charge only enough for their services to cover costs (and even waive them if people can’t afford). A Neutral Healer would charge at going rate while an Evil Healer would increase the price of their healing.
Sometimes however an evil character is a worshipper of an evil god and their faith is just as strong as those of any good aligned Cleric or Paladin and they may be quite willing to debate their philosophy and beliefs with anyone who asks. Ultimately they fail to see any evil

How Does an Evil Character Fit in a Party?

There are many reasons an evil character may join a non-evil adventuring party. Some may see it as a valid form of employment. Others may join the adventurers because their skills and abilities are needed by the group. In other cases it may be a case of "the enemy of my enemy is my ally" or that both are reacting to a greater threat. However in many cases it should not be ruled out that the characters are merely friends that have been through trying times together. Evil characters are still human (or elf or dwarf or whatnot) and can form deep and trusting relationships regardless of any alignment issue.

Archetypes

It may be easiest to give examples of evil characters that shouldn’t have too much difficulty in blending with a standard adventuring party. The list is by no means exhaustive.

The Bloodknight:

"My friends, it has often been said that I like war. Friends, I like war. No, friends, I love war!”
Adventuring parties by their nature tend to get into situations wherein combat is inevitable and killing necessary. This character has no qualms with this and in fact delights in the Slaughter around him. He talks with glee about fighting, enjoys killing and takes no prisoners. He may not even care for the treasure earned but is probably not going to turn down his share.

The Moral Crusader

” Their heathen ways inflame the people's lowest instincts, and they must… be… stopped!”
This character acts for the Greater Good he may likely worship a Good aligned deity and has genuine faith in his god. He has dedicated himself to rooting out corruption everywhere he sees it and he sees it everywhere except within himself. This character will use torture and murder and probably has no problem with suggestions of genocide. Such characters may perform genuinely good acts but only for those who they deem pure. They may be hypocrites engaging in the vice they abhor or they may genuinely act as a paragon of their own warped virtues.

The Legitimate Businessman

”I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse.”
This character is out to gain riches and is willing to step on a few toes to acquire them. He may or may not be a thief but his main desire is acquisition of wealth. He may deem friends beyond reproach even cutting them offers (and in an adventuring party should) but he will do what he can to turn a bigger profit, including the use of threats, violence and intimidation to ensure a better deal for himself. If this character is actually a merchant expect him to make competitors and suppliers offers they can’t refuse.

The Death Cultist

”Requiescat in pace”
This character is different from many of the others in that they don’t serve themselves but something higher. Be this a cause, an ideal, philosophy or god, the Death Cultist considers all life forfeit. They will kill those they consider enemies without a second chance they revel in death but unlike the Bloodknight are concerned with the product not the means. For them the death itself is a sacred thing. Such characters are highly compatible with a standard party provided the party allows them to observe their rites.

The Jaded

"You know what you get for being a hero? Nothin'. You get shot at. You get a little pat on the back, blah, blah, blah, attaboy. You get divorced. Your wife can't remember your last name. Your kids don't want to talk to you. You get to eat a lot of meals by yourself. Trust me, kid, nobody wants to be that guy. “
This character may have been good at one point in his life or maybe even just wanted to be. However after time and time again of suffering for it he has become embittered and Jaded with the world. He thinks people are ultimately corrupt and sees no reason why he should act otherwise. He won’t act out of kindness believing he will only suffer for it. He is a mercenary with no concern for the job he takes. He may kill children if the pay is good (they’ll just grow up to be assholes anyway) and use torture to do the job. This character is most prone to conversion as his reason for being evil is a conformity to his own jilted world view.

The Ultimate Pragmatist

"A world united in peace… there had to be sacrifice."
This character is not apparently in any way evil. Indeed she may be friendly and generally caring about others. However, when a decision must be made the ends always justify the means. No matter how extreme the means may be. Such a character may use conventional methods for the most part but when push comes to shove she thinks nothing of employing forbidden and evil spells. The Ultimate Pragmatist will target the family of their enemy to draw them out or weaken their position. In a party they will always be willing to offer an extreme suggestion but only if the suggestion would make the problem easier to solve. Many times stern opposition will cause her to back down from the course of action as the party conflict is not worth the trouble.

The Defender

"If you let my daughter go now, that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you."
This character has ultimately good intentions at heart. Like the Pragmatist they will rarely appear to be evil. They will often have a strong bond of friendship or family. It is in fact this love which powers the evil they possess. Should harm, or even potential for harm, come to their friends or family, they will react with often disproportionate retribution. They will kill torture and frankly have no regard for the life of those who would do them harm.

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