Episode 19 – evil player characters
by Dan Repperger

Before every show, we go through a dysfunctional routine which we describe at the start of this episode.  We also talk about the market penetration of podcasts in the gaming community and one of the few fixtures of gaming life we haven’t yet discussed: junk food!

Our main topic is evil characters and evil parties, though we didn’t realize just how big the subject was until we started talking about it.  This is one we might revisit in more detail at some point in the future.

At the end of the show, we announce our next contest.  This one is the exact opposite of our “freak show” contest.  To enter, head to our forums and look for the “contests” topic area.  In 500 words or less, give us a deep and interesting character whose race/class is as boring as possible.  We want to demonstrate that interesting characters have nothing to do with concept, so blow us away with your secretaries, garbage collectors, farmers, and the like! The prize is a $30 gift code for GeekLabel.com.

Hosts: Adam, Chad, Dan, Dawn

Comments (3)

willJuly 9th, 2012 at 6:46 pm

An evil character I made was blackmailed. His family was taken and he was told that if he didn’t carry out an invasion, they would be killed. Generally before this point he lived his life as he saw fit with no regard for any who was not family or useful. He is generally satisfied with living with his kin and not caring if the rest of the world lives or dies. While he may have held a particular hatred for various groups, he had no particular motivation to put in the effort to destroy them. However, with the motivation to save his family from the kidnappers, he wwas then forced to go on a campaign of destruction and conquest across the lands. There is no desire for power. His motivation was actually the pursuit of something good by means of something horrendously evil.

parallaxAugust 14th, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Still got fliers or a banner add I can put on my blog?

RedMay 1st, 2015 at 12:43 pm

Evil parties can work and I don’t find them at all shallow or the story uninteresting. I felt that the treatment of evil characters in this talk was more generally black-and-white archetypical thinking that Fear the Boot usually steers clear of; to be fair, players are notoriously bad at playing evil characters.
1. The plots are not always about getting power. I think that actually a surface level reading of an evil character plot. It can be, but it does not have to be. I think it is shallow when the plot is something like “I want to rule the world, oppress people and kill children.” That is simply a shallow motivation integrated in a possibly interesting character. You could easily take that same motivation and make it much more interesting by combining it with self-deception and want to rise through the ranks for some greater purpose, justifying his actions with an ‘end justifies the means’ type schpiel.
2. Evil characters can easily have good motivations, and carry out those good motivations incorrectly or through an evil fashion. An evil character may certainly want to save the kingdom, kill the dragon, and save the princess. Too many players think ‘I’m evil. I probably want to burn something down and kill everyone, and run at the first sign of trouble to myself.’ Evil characters might be motivated to help the party out of simple friendship, loyalty, or sense of duty.
3. Only in the rarest occasions do people actually consider themselves evil. Most people are the heroes of the own story, and blame their evil acts on a combination of necessity, uncontrollable circumstances, or that they possess a unique self-justification that overrides the general moral code.

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