I’m going to continue doing some articles hitting on lesser talked about things in Dungeons and Dragons. There’s a lot for building your character and campaign and I’ve talked a lot about them as well. There are less articles talking about things like death of…
Yes, I’m a bad guy, and I don’t have much reason for being a bad guy, but I wanted to be evil. That’s what Neutral Evil is.
A Neutral Evil character is going to be hard to fit into a party, unless the game is an evil game. While a lawful evil character is going to go along with the party if it helps their goal and a chaotic evil character is going to mess with everything, a neutral evil character just wants to be evil. So the second the rest of the party does anything altruistic the neutral evil character is just going to be out or going to stab them in the back and hand them over to the BBEG.
Now, that doesn’t mean that the Neutral Evil alignment isn’t one that you can’t play in a game. But they are going to have a desire to be the BBEG themselves and that would be their goal. And they would just focus on that versus anything else that the players are doing. So, even if the players are going to destroy the artifact that the BBEG needs for his power and our neutral evil character wants to claim it as their own, they aren’t going to be apt to step in and help on a side quest that is good. And while they might put up with it once in a while, they are going to leave the party, at least with normal motivations for a neutral evil character, and find their own evil party.
So, if you do want to play a neutral evil character, it’s going to be a lot of work for you, in a mixed party. You are going to have to come up with the reasons why your character is going to stick around, because it’s going to be hard for the DM to throw consistent hooks for you. Because the hooks are going to be basically the opposite for any good character. Whether that means your character sits back and stays out of combat as long as they can in a good cause, or don’t help negotiate the release of kidnapped children, or it means that your character just goes off to further their evil goals while those things happen, that’s going to be up to you.
For me, I think the way that I would make this work is to have my neutral evil character to be the researcher. So if I’m there, I can join the party on stuff, but otherwise, I’d send them away from the party during times of the party doing good to research what is needed to find that artifact or whatever the BBEG needs, so that we can further that line of the quest, because that’s what I would care about. It would also lead closer to the moment when I stab the party in the back so that I can enact the same plot.
As for what classes work? A fallen Paladin or a Paladin of an evil deity would make a lot of sense, someone who has been corrupted. The thief rogue who is in it just for themselves. But someone like an assassin rogue would work, and it could be that they just assassinate for fun or to get more money for their evil plan. But being an assassin in and of itself is more of a lawful role. Like all D&D alignments, all of them are going to be possible to use, even if some of them, like Cleric, don’t work as well.
Finally, just to drive home the point. A neutral evil character is all about the evil. They are going to have their evil goals, but the evil goals aren’t tied into some other thing, it is just about being evil. A lawful evil character might want to take over the lands because they think that they can get rich and revenge on someone who did them wrong, but a lawful evil character isn’t going to care about the end goal, they are going to care about being evil, so even if they don’t end up ruling the lands, if they get a sufficient amount of suffering into the world, that’s what they wanted anyways.
Would you allow a neutral evil character into your game with other characters who aren’t evil? Have you played a neutral evil character in a game with non-evil characters? What did you have to do to make that work?
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Now, you might recognize The Losers Club from It by Stephen King. That’s not what we’re going for in this case. Our Losers Club is going to be a specific mechanical thing that is going to make an interesting game and a lot of progression for the characters.
In this campaign, I have an idea that can be added into any campaign, plus a fun way that you could use it in a new idea. The idea of the Losers Club in some ways comes from the movie Mystery Men. The “heroes” in the movie are worthless to start out with, but eventually become actual heroes, kind of. And that’s what we want to show off here in this campaign, the hero going from no one into a hero.
The PC’s are actually going to be that rag tag group that isn’t all that good at what they are supposed to be good at. In fact, the requirement for character creation is that you put your worst stat into your class stat. It’s obvious for some classes what this is, but if a rogue has a 6, that goes into dexterity, if a wizard has an 8, that’s going into intelligence. We’re creating a real inept band of adventurers who are going to become heroes.
This is going to give the players a really interesting chance to roleplay, because you’re going to have some odd stats and odd ways that you need to play. Maybe you spend your stat bumps to make you into a normal character that is doing what’s expected, or maybe you have a tank wizard.
As for the actual campaign itself, I think that this group of inept adventurers is going to be trying to make a name for themselves, and you lean into their story of trying to defeat some evil organization that is out there. However, when they successfully take down a small gang, the city guard and mayor shouldn’t believe them that it was them because they are too inept and the guard/mayor didn’t see it. There was no one there to tell them that the adventurers had actually done it.
After this happens a few times, and you’ll have to give the players some strong hook into the adventure so that they don’t leave the town. I’d give them some family in town or some love interest, something like that. You can also have them, after a few successful battles, have the end of a fight witnessed or something like that, so the players start to have their characters get recognized.
I’d do a fairly over the top villain for this campaign who isn’t really inept, but likes to monologue and comes up with extremely complex plots. This is going to create a lighter and funnier feel to the game, so when the players aren’t getting noticed, it can have that goofy, over the top feel as well. In fact, I’d have some fights where the city guard shows up seconds after the fight has ended, but just missed it.
Alright, one funny fight idea, in the streets, probably evening when there aren’t as many people out and about, the players fight some gang of the BBGE’s. The city guard is out in the street, but they are helping an old lady get her cat out of a tree a block away. They are so focused on that, that they miss the whole fight, and you can narrate at the start of each round how the city guard are not seeing what is going on.
Like I said, I think you could slap this idea onto any campaign idea that you have. However, keeping it lighthearted will probably make the game seem better in the eyes of the players. You don’t want to have a very serious game where most of the time they have to run away from a fight because they aren’t strong enough and have to grind their way up.
What do you think of this idea? Would you want to play in a game like this?
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