Tag: Paladin

Total Party Kill – What can you do about it?

Total Party Kill – What can you do about it?

You’ve had a long running campaign. The players were really into the story. They’d spent a bunch of time planning on how to infiltrate this tower. You’d told them the wizard in it was too powerful to fight. Everything is going to plan… LEEEEEEROOOOOOOOOY JENKINS!…

PvP in D&D

PvP in D&D

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…

D&D Alignments – Chaotic Evil

D&D Alignments – Chaotic Evil

We’re wrapping up our D&D alignments today with your most evil character as we look at Chaotic Evil. Now, I say most evil, but I don’t think that it has to be, I think that when people want to play that really evil character, though, in an evil campaign, this is often what they’ll change. Though, I think you could argue that Neutral Evil might be more evil.

When people play Chaotic Evil, they generally play it, since they are chaotic that they have a get out of jail free card. Basically, I’m the hero of my own story, therefore, I can do whatever I want and the DM will make it work out in the end. Much the mindset of the Chaotic Neutral character who is actually Chaotic Evil. So your Chaotic Evil character is going to go around stabbing people and generally causing as much trouble as possible, and you should get away with it.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

In an evil based game, even, that mindset isn’t going to work. You’re going to have the law after you at some point in time. Someone like The Joker who just does bad stuff for the sake of it still gets beat up by Batman and then arrested. And that is likely to happen to your character as well. I think that The Joker is a fairly good example of what you might do as a Chaotic Evil character however.

Mainly, The Joker doesn’t go around stabbing everyone, even though he’s not above it. Instead he’s just trying to create as much havoc as possible, and when there is havoc, he feels like he’s succeeded. So, in an evil campaign, you can take it that direction by going for more and more chaos and destabilizing of an area, versus just leaving a trail of bodies in your wake. That doesn’t mean that you might not stab someone along the way, but it isn’t the modus operandi of a good Chaotic Evil character or of the Joker. If we look at The Dark Knight, we see how the Joker makes Batman make choices, but then lies about what the different options actually are, just to mess with Batman, that’s very chaotic evil.

Let’s talk quickly about what classes might make the most sense for a Chaotic Evil character. Again, most of them are going to work, with things like a Paladin or Cleric being the hardest to fit into there, and I think that a Monk or Druid would be tricky as well. Bot of those classes lean into discipline or harmony with nature, so there would have be some event that you’d need to lean into that causes them to be that way. If you do just want to be the murder character, the Barbarian is going to make a lot of sense, and a Rogue would be very effective at it as well.

If I were to play a Chaotic Evil character, I would play a Wizard, personally. The reason for that is that an illusionist Wizard would have a fun tool bag to mess around with. And with a character like that, you don’t have to murder everyone, but can instead make someone feel like they are going insane, which is probably worse than just being murdered. But as a player, I would feel better playing that versus just a random character who wants to murder everyone. Other spell casters would work well for this as well. It’s almost like Loki can be, with the story that Thor tells in Thor: Rangorak, where Loki turned into a snake and then back into himself to scare Thor, something like that.

But even with that, I would be careful about playing a chaotic evil character. I actually be careful about playing with someone who really wants to play a Chaotic Evil character. There are plenty of ways with any evil character to go very dark, and Neutral Evil and Chaotic Evil are going to be more apt to go that direction.

Have you played in an evil game with a Chaotic Evil character? Have you played in a good game with a Chaotic Evil character? How did that work for you and the rest of the party?

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D&D Alignments – Chaotic Neutral

D&D Alignments – Chaotic Neutral

Here’s a hot take, I don’t like Chaotic Neutral, and I don’t think most people who play a Chaotic Neutral actually play a chaotic neutral character. Now, time to explain myself, and explain how you can play it better. My issue with Chaotic Neutral is…

D&D Alignments – Chaotic Good

D&D Alignments – Chaotic Good

We’re onto the last column of alignments, and we’re looking at those chaotic characters. I think, and on the Total Party Thrill podcast they talk about this, chaotic good should be the default position for most adventurers. When you think about it, most adventurers don’t…

D&D Alignment – Neutral Evil

D&D Alignment – Neutral Evil

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.

Image Source: Forgotten Realms

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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D&D Alignment – Lawful Neutral

D&D Alignment – Lawful Neutral

I debated what direction I wanted to go. Did I want to go across the top and do all of the good ones, or down the side and do all the lawful ones, or be chaotic and just randomly pick the next one to do.…

D&D Alignment – Lawful Good

D&D Alignment – Lawful Good

We’re starting in the top corner of the alignment matrix. Just a quick reminder, the alignment matrix goes from Lawful to Chaotic on the horizontal axis and Good to Evil on the vertical axis. So let’s talk about what a lawful good PC is like,…

D&D Alignment – What is Alignment?

D&D Alignment – What is Alignment?

I think this is the last big character creation piece that I haven’t touched on. I’ve previously done series of articles on the Classes, Backgrounds, and how to develop an interesting backstory. But I’ve only touched on the various alignments in passing. Some of that is because the alignment system can be somewhat controversial and can be used as a reason to be a jerk while playing. What I’m hoping to do with this series of articles is go through and show how you can use alignment in your game to inform your characters decisions.

Image Source: Wizards

So, let’s start, what is alignment?

Alignment is the moral touchstone for your character that has been laid out in Dungeons and Dragons and used some in other role playing systems to give you a better idea how to play your character. There are two axis for alignment, from good to evil and from lawful to chaotic, with neutral between both pairs, so you end up with nine different alignments.

When you create your character, you select one of these nine different alignments for your character. You can use that alignment as a filter to make the decisions for your character. And it’s possible during the game that your alignment will change, but that will be up to you and possibly your Dungeon Master if that happens. In most cases, going up from Neutral to Good or Evil to Neutral will be informed more by your Dungeon Master, but if you have a character that falls from Good to Neutral that’s something that can come from either direction.

How do you pick an alignment?

I personally think that it ties into what you want to do for your backstory a lot. The story you will create will help inform if you are a law abiding character or a character who is out to cause trouble. Your class can also determine some of that as well, though there are both Paladin and Cleric sub classes that allow you to play a fallen or evil version of both classes. However, normally both will align with Good or at least Neutral and generally both will lean more lawful while someone like a Rogue would be more chaotic.

If you don’t have an idea for a backstory, the Dungeons and Dragons backgrounds can help you pick out your alignment as some of the items that you roll, personality traits, flaws, bonds, and ideals will help inform that decision and give suggestions base off of which one you pick from the list or randomly roll.

But what does alignment really mean?

Image Source: D&D Beyond

This is where alignment is controversial. Some people use it as a crutch for their character to be a jerk. Something like a Chaotic Neutral Rogue stealing from party members would be an example of this. It might annoy everyone at the table, but if they can’t roll a high enough perception to catch her as she stealth’s and steals, there’s nothing that the players can do. Or the dumb Barbarian who gets bored as a Chaotic Neutral character and randomly picks fights, and then in the presence of the king decides to pick a fight. Players at time will say something along the lines of “It’s what my character would do because I’m chaotic neutral.” But really it’s more about wanting to play that jerk character and have the spotlight. The same can be the case for the Lawful Good Paladin who won’t go into the tavern because they don’t drink, who will stab anyone if they do anything wrong, but then will also refuse to go along with any plan that might be a little bit morally grey. Or it would be the true neutral druid, so neutral on both the lawful and chaotic scale as well as the good and evil scale, who then refuses to get involved in anything and won’t latch onto they are neutral and just at peace with the world.

But that’s the extreme. When alignment works well, you use it to inform some decisions and a touchstone for your character in the long run. That means that your Chaotic Neutral rogue might not steal from the party, though borrowing something from someone they don’t like and forgetting to return it, that’s a possibility. Or a Paladin might look the other way when the rogue does steal a bunch of money, and even take a share that they then donate to the church. But those are all fairly specific examples still, I think more generally, alignment is what you use when you aren’t sure which of two options or more that your character would take. Instead of agonizing over a long time, if you can’t come to a fast decision, you look at see which options aligns most closely with your alignment. Using it that way, you can have a fully developed character, as even in real life, some people might be lawful good when it comes to one area and chaotic neutral in another area of their life. So don’t let your alignment stop you from playing like you want.

So what’s coming next in this series on alignment?

We’re going to go through the nine different spots on the alignment matrix. I’m going to do an article on each one of those so you can get a better idea of what they mean and how you can use them in your role playing.

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D&D Party – Congo Alignment

D&D Party – Congo Alignment

Final topic for things to think about with a party. We’re going to try and figure out what alignments you should have in your adventuring party. Probably a trickier subject because some people really don’t want an evil character with their good character, or they…