Help me out please. My players are /very/ interested in playing an evil character oriented campaign, and I'm super interested in giving it a shot. Any advice? I'm having trouble creating quests and plot arcs. Thanks much!
So I’m gonna be honest… evil is not really my cup of tea. Hell, I have to psych myself up just to roleplay someone not nice.
That being said, I have thought of how I might approach an evil campaign. And I took a lot of inspiration from the most fun I’ve ever had playing a bad guy, Saints Row.
I think a more sandbox style game would work great for an evil campaign, because without the constraints of morality, you’re actually free to run around and wreck shit. Now, this doesn’t mean your campaign has no structure, but it does mean designing your world with more open ended challenges. Here are the things you have to consider:
1) The Goal
Evil for the sake of evil is no fun. Your players need a goal. And that goal needs to be broad enough to
A) allow for a variety of motivations behind it (to accommodate your various players) and
B) require multiple steps towards completion, through a variety of avenues.
I think the first thing you need to decide is whether this is going to start as a low level campaign, or as a high level campaign. In the case of the former, your characters will likely start out just making a name for themselves, earning respect, resources, power, or some combination of the three. In the latter case, your players should start out with plenty of resources, but the challenge comes more from how they choose to manage said resources in pursuit of their larger goal.
Here are some ideas for possible goals:
- Domination (of the city, the state, the world, etc)
- Industry (getting a monopoly in your chosen field, driving out all rivals, doing whatever it takes to get filthy rich)
- Evangelization (forced conversion of as many people as possible to your religion, ideals, political party, etc)
- Possession of Item of great power (that is not yours)
- Quashing a rebellion
- Waging a war campaign
- Resurrecting an evil god or force
Perhaps the players have their own more personal goals, and are serving a greater evil in exchange for power or a boon. A Deal with the Devil kind of thing. If this is the case, they just need to make sure they are motivated enough to reach their own goals that they’re willing to do almost anything.
Evil is not prone to getting along with others. Allies maybe, but largely your players should have more foes than friends. Their adversaries don’t need to all be Good, per se, but if you really want to do an evil campaign, than your players can’t be heroes. They’re going to have to fight and hurt people who don’t deserve it.
Ideally you’ll have multiple groups of adversaries. Maybe some are rivals; they’re against you because they want the same thing as you. You might work with them for a time, but ultimately they’ll have to be taken out.
Some adversaries should exist with the purpose of opposing your goal. Think law enforcement, the Rebel Army, or even a team of heroes. whoever they are, give them a compelling leader. This will basically be your evil campaign’s version of the Big Bad. (The Great Good?)
Finally, some adversaries will arise as a natural consequence of the characters’ decisions. Basically, they’re gonna piss people off, and you need to use that.
3) The Rewards
I think to make evil feel fun, you need to focus more on the satisfaction of getting what you want than the fallout from hurting innocent people to get it. I loved Saints Row, but I think I wouldn’t have been able to play it if the game kept pointing out exactly how evil I was being. So try and keep the moralizing to a minimum, and really let your players relish their victories.
They’re not here to learn a lesson. They’re here to fuck shit up and win!
Anyway, I hope that was helpful. Good luck!