Author Topic: When you say "Evil"  (Read 2478 times)

Legacy_Vibrant Penumbra

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When you say "Evil"
« on: November 04, 2011, 04:17:33 pm »


                When you say "Evil", what do you mean in terms of play-style with NwN?

How do you act evil in game?

What actions by NPCs do you think exemplify evil?

Which NPC in the OC (through HotU) do you think was the most evil (not just brutal, but seriously (made your brain squirm and your tummy a bit queasy) evil)?

I'm toying with (because that's what I do ':devil:') an idea for a very evil little mod.
This part is called "market research". '<img'>

Oh! No spoilers, though '<img'> 
That should add a bit of challenge to the post '<img'>
               
               

               


                     Modifié par Vibrant Penumbra, 04 novembre 2011 - 04:19 .
                     
                  


            

Legacy_HipMaestro

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When you say "Evil"
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2011, 05:17:12 pm »


               

Vibrant Penumbra wrote...
 When you say "Evil", what do you mean in terms of play-style with NwN?

I will assume that you are attempting to separate the alignment choices from the action in-game.  If so, the interpretation can become extremely subjective.  For instance, though usually in NWN, looting an NPC's valuable while in plain sight is rarely considered an action that would be subject for an evil alignment shift or deemed an evil action, IMO is should be considered an evil act.  Lotsa extra scripting to do this though ala BG-type rules.

How do you act evil in game?

Pretty much any behavior which purposely goes counter to socially-acceptable mores, would be evil.  Like allying with a previously-established evil organization or entity.... evil.  However, even such behavior may be an intentionally covert action by a character planning to infiltrate the evil organization in order to bring it to justice.  So perceived actions may not necessaily reflect the true nature of the character.  That would take sufficient depth of understanding to evaluate it properly and fairly.

Also, a religious zealot may commit an outwardly evil act solely on behalf of their god's tenets, in which case they are like a soldier and plead that they are only following orders.  Are all soldiers evil because they kill others for their beliefs?  It can get grey when you start to consider true accountability.

What actions by NPCs do you think exemplify evil?

Those actions which cause a population to sustain unnecessary hardship and suffering or forcing them to live under an undesired or malevelant rule. 

Which NPC in the OC (through HotU) do you think was the most evil (not just brutal, but seriously (made your brain squirm and your tummy a bit queasy) evil)?

Desther, I suppose.  Any source of covert danger is unsettling because it causes one to doubt their perceptive abilities and force a closer evaluation of those they live and work with.  Cloaked evil is far more disconcertting than one that is well-established and identifiable, IMO.  Can't say Desther caused any physical reaction on my part but that comes from becoming numb to evil plots and characters perhaps... evil protrayed in all shapes and sizes.

Good luck with your project!
               
               

               
            

Legacy_Vibrant Penumbra

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When you say "Evil"
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2011, 05:50:06 pm »


               Oh! you darling!'<img'>

HipMaestro wrote...
I will assume that you are attempting to separate the alignment choices from the action in-game.  If so, the interpretation can become extremely subjective.  For instance, though usually in NWN, looting an NPC's valuable while in plain sight is rarely considered an action that would be subject for an evil alignment shift or deemed an evil action, IMO is should be considered an evil act.  Lotsa extra scripting to do this though ala BG-type rules.

Actually, I'm polling to see if people do consider common CRPG actions like looting corpses "Evil". If many do (as I suspect) then, why does their Paladin do it? Their cleric?  
Awefully fishy :-)
And fun to put little-thought of actions like that in with a hidden cost... Half-way down the path to victory, your god abandons you? NO spells return? Hehe, did that in PnP... was so much FUN!':devil:'

How do you act evil in game?

Pretty much any behavior which purposely goes counter to socially-acceptable mores, would be evil.  Like allying with a previously-established evil organization or entity.... evil.  However, even such behavior may be an intentionally covert action by a character planning to infiltrate the evil organization in order to bring it to justice.  So perceived actions may not necessaily reflect the true nature of the character.  That would take sufficient depth of understanding to evaluate it properly and fairly.

So running a family out of their home and harrying them toward the dark and dangerous forest would be evil. But not if you did it because that was the only way to move the stubborn clods out of the path of the rampaging orc invasion? (not fond of orcs. Too clumsy;))

But what sort of thing do you do that you think fits the bill? Kill indescriminately? Steal from the poor? Litter?

Also, a religious zealot may commit an outwardly evil act solely on behalf of their god's tenets, in which case they are like a soldier and plead that they are only following orders.  Are all soldiers evil because they kill others for their beliefs?  It can get grey when you start to consider true accountability.

Hah. In general, I'd say you'll find precious little zealotry that isn't evil. Its the nature of the Beast.'=]'

What actions by NPCs do you think exemplify evil?

Those actions which cause a population to sustain unnecessary hardship and suffering or forcing them to live under an undesired or malevelant rule.

So necessary hardship and suffering is not evil? Or allowing them the choice of living under one (lesser) tyrant removes the evil of the regime?

Which NPC in the OC (through HotU) do you think was the most evil (not just brutal, but seriously (made your brain squirm and your tummy a bit queasy) evil)?

Desther, I suppose.  Any source of covert danger is unsettling because it causes one to doubt their perceptive abilities and force a closer evaluation of those they live and work with.  Cloaked evil is far more disconcertting than one that is well-established and identifiable, IMO.  Can't say Desther caused any physical reaction on my part but that comes from becoming numb to evil plots and characters perhaps... evil protrayed in all shapes and sizes.

Betrayal of loyalty is one of those things I wish to, um, explore '<img'> 

Where there is clear choice in your actions, there is really no choice in your actions. You will choose that which your nature dictates. 

But when clarity does not exist, when you must choose between betraying a lover or betraying a city, which do you choose? Which is the greater evil (I think we can establish betrayal as being included in the superset "evil" '<img'>)?

Good luck with your project!

':kissing:' If I'm half the drow I believe myself to be, luck will only matter to the victims of my mod ':devil:'
               
               

               


                     Modifié par Vibrant Penumbra, 04 novembre 2011 - 05:53 .
                     
                  


            

Legacy__six

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When you say "Evil"
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2011, 06:25:07 pm »


               

Vibrant Penumbra wrote...

Where there is clear choice in your actions, there is really no choice in your actions. You will choose that which your nature dictates.

This is a bit random, but that is possibly the best thing I've heard all day.

It might seem a contovertial choice but I am actually most offended by Aribeth's betrayal. Desther was a fraud through and through and held loyalty to no one in the first place, but Aribeth went against not only her god but the entire city she once served for the death of one man.

That said I only finished the OC once (after a couple starts up to act 2b) before I got totally hooked on community mods so I might just have forgotten her reasoning.

So necessary hardship and suffering is not evil? Or allowing them the choice of living under one (lesser) tyrant removes the evil of the regime?

Good/Evil isn't a binary system. Evil can be greater or lesser. Personally I believe true evil is merely varying levesl of selfishness, as random acts of evil that serve no purpose are completely illogical. And if you're making decisions without logic (even if flawed or missing perspective) then you're probably merely insane. And is that necessarily your fault? Et cetera.

Personally I get very frustrated by games that give the player an advantage for being good. If you're playing a good character that should be the reward in itself, and evil should provide plentiful rewards. Though a come uppance in the finale is never bad.
               
               

               


                     Modifié par _six, 04 novembre 2011 - 06:31 .
                     
                  


            

Legacy_Vibrant Penumbra

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When you say "Evil"
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2011, 06:44:01 pm »


               *admiring look*

_six wrote...

Vibrant Penumbra wrote...
Where there is clear choice in your actions, there is really no choice in your actions. You will choose that which your nature dictates.

This is a bit random, but that is possibly the best thing I've heard all day.

It might seem a contovertial choice but I am actually most offended by Aribeth's betrayal. Desther was a fraud through and through and held loyalty to no one in the first place, but Aribeth went against not only her god but the entire city she once served for the death of one man.

Hear, hear! *Somebody* who doesn't worship her! Nice '<img'>

That said I only finished the OC once (after a couple starts up to act 2b) before I got totally hooked on community mods so I might just have forgotten her reasoning.

Not unless I did, too '<img'>

So necessary hardship and suffering is not evil? Or allowing them the choice of living under one (lesser) tyrant removes the evil of the regime?

Good/Evil isn't a binary system. Evil can be greater or lesser. Personally I believe true evil is merely varying levesl of selfishness, as random acts of evil that serve no purpose are completely illogical.

My name says how much I agree with you [smilie]http://social.bioware.com/images/forum/emoticons/smile.png[/smilie]

And if you're making decisions without logic (even if flawed or missing perspective) then you're probably merely insane. And is that necessarily your fault? Et cetera.

Wheels within wheels, Sahib. '<img'>

Personally I get very frustrated by games that give the player an advantage for being good. If you're playing a good character that should be the reward in itself, and evil should provide plentiful rewards.

Darn straight, if you add that none of the rewards should come without cost, hidden or otherwise '^_^'

Though a come uppance in the finale is never bad.

 The "Happily Ever After" paradigm? I disagree, there. The "never" part. Cathartic release is usually good, but sometimes an ambiguous or contradictory ending can be both powerful (ala Natural Born Killers (but now we are talking insanity again [smilie]http://social.bioware.com/images/forum/emoticons/tongue.png[/smilie]) and/or deep.

 But I'm interested in other opinions. OP, in fact '<img'>
               
               

               
            

Legacy_Sarielle

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When you say "Evil"
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2011, 10:23:27 pm »


               Heh, I talked about this a little on the Valen thread, but I'll expand a bit.

There are several ways you can play evil in this game: you can be stupid evil/chaotic stupid, with is of course just senseless, kick the dog sociopathic behavior. I don't find this particularly interesting, however. When I play evil, I prefer affably lawful evil with a set of his or her own virtues.

I typically create a cautious-yet-powerhungry type who can be counted on to keep a bargain, but will not go out of their way to help those in need unless it benefits them in some way. They're intelligent enough to not bite the hand that feeds them (or go on killing sprees in the street when they'd likely be arrested/killed by the city guard, say). This often leads the game to think you are playing a good character! I find the times I throw the innocent under the bus/walk away because there's nothing in it for my character don't tend to counterbalance speaking pleasantly and not committing senseless murder. Sure, they'll kill...but only if it's most expedient, and will (the character thinks) solve more problems that it will cause.

The one thing I think I can say of any evil character, however, is that they will never take the high road when they believe no one will see/will ever find out. Characters' true...uh...character comes out when they believe themselves unobserved.


EDIT: I did not include my "big evil" NPC because it's been too long since I've played the series to feel like I remember well enough to make a fair judgement '<img'>
               
               

               


                     Modifié par Sarielle, 04 novembre 2011 - 10:37 .
                     
                  


            

Legacy_HipMaestro

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When you say "Evil"
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2011, 09:44:54 pm »


               Rather than embed multiple layers of quotes, I'll give an example that illustrates why acts themselves are not inherently evil, it is only the intent that can be evil.

Suppose a driver was observed swerving a vehicle, hits a little old lady trying to cross the street, maims or kills her and keeps on going. Was this an evil act?  It depends on the intent. Any outside observer can only hazzard a guess as to the personal impetus that caused the observed action. 

It could have been that the driver was temporarily distracted, over-steered at the last moment, hit the woman, then in panic, left the scene.  Or the little old lady may have poisoned their 3 children to death, escaped prosecution and the roadside incident presented an opportunity for revenge.  Or the driver may have been under emotional distress unaware of its surroundings, never should have been behind the wheel and only realized later on that the dent near the headlight must have been caused by some unknown collision with an object of some sort.  Or the driver is a pure psychopath that hunts down little old ladies on Tuesday evenings for giggles.

Overt acts distill down to establishing intent to decide if it has an "evil" basis.

In general, it takes the evaluation of many of these candidate acts to determine if there is an identifiable pattern.   Then, it could be extrapolated that the perpetrator of these acts was indeed an evil presence that should be prosecuted.  You may tag it "evil" if you like but is departmentalized and polar thinking, if you do.

Taking life, in itself, is a not an evil act unless a malevelant intent can be established.  More often than not, only the "evil-doer" really knows the underlying cause.
               
               

               
            

Legacy_WhiZard

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When you say "Evil"
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2011, 11:48:22 pm »


               

HipMaestro wrote...

Rather than embed multiple layers of quotes, I'll give an example that illustrates why acts themselves are not inherently evil, it is only the intent that can be evil.


Then I am suprised you chose Desther.  Desther is true neutral (by game description), and the game justifies this in quite a few ways.
1) Desther fails to carry out the explicit orders of Morag by giving a slow and selected spread of the plague rather than the expedient mass contamination that the cult wished.
2) Desther's "false helmites" do not consist of blood thirsty villains (like the typical employees of the cult), but ordanairy people hired to put on an act.  One of the PC's quests in beggar's nest reveals their more human side of grieving another member's death.
3) Desther uses considerable means to protect the identity and reputation of his hired underlings.  There is no evidence of Desther using threats to hasten productivity within his ranks.
4) Desther acts as a mercenary rather than a devoted underling.  He has his own agenda and morality which he doesn't want the cult to interfere with.  He values acting by his word significantly, even if it means a tangled truth as opposed to a well concealed lie.

If we were looking at medieval governments, I guess "Desther" could be replaced by any rag-tag mercenaries hired for espianage or terrorism.
               
               

               
            

Legacy_Vibrant Penumbra

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When you say "Evil"
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2011, 07:59:45 pm »


                @Sarielle: A  thinking villain? How revolutionary! *winks*

@HipMaestro: No clearcut, black & white? We're lurking in the same shadows, dear.

@WhiZard: I disagree.
Oh, not with the thrust of your post, but with the description (there are a few errors in the game '^_^') that **** was true neutral.

Lawful evil, I'd say, simply because
*snip!*
(Oops, no spoilers, W! ouch)':blink:'

Ciao!
               
               

               


                     Modifié par Vibrant Penumbra, 06 novembre 2011 - 08:34 .
                     
                  


            

Legacy_jmlzemaggo

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When you say "Evil"
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2011, 09:11:06 am »


               First, I didn't read everything here, so I might go OT... which is a very convenient short for both...
Now, I found very interesting your idea about "lawful".
I recently played my favourite NWN series, the one in my signature. One intriguing story, one which shouldn't fit you as it seems to be written for "goody two shoes" like myself only, but with the evilest possible ending.
To the point: I chose, in less than a second, to play it as a paladin, a class I usually never play. Because it seemed, for being a lawful one, like the only one able to carry a true personal involvement about such crucial human decisions.
The reason why I agree with playing evil as lawful. Otherwise, why bother...
Assassin being also one of my classes at heart. Not only for being the best "medical kill spot".
As it's got something to do with freedom, or free will... 
Lawful, meaning to yourself. 
               
               

               


                     Modifié par jmlzemaggo, 07 novembre 2011 - 09:18 .
                     
                  


            

Legacy_Mystery X

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When you say "Evil"
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2011, 08:02:23 pm »


               The Dungeons and Dragons concept of alignment is a game mechanic, not a complex philosophical framework.  If you want a more nuanced understanding of morality in your game, you should probably toss the game mechanic.

Further, if you want more nuanced morality, you have to decide how much you want modern scientific knowledge and modern philosophy to influence your perception when applied to a game that is at least loosely based on a medieval setting.

A lot of acts that are considered evil by Dungeons and Dragons standards would today be considered evidence not of evil, but of mental illness.  Torturing and killing others for the fun of it are evil in Dungeons and Dragons; modern psychology would consider it psychopathic, not so much the product of evil intent as it is the product of mental defect, and something that could even be cured not so much with moral lessons but with drugs.

A lot of things that are acceptable as good in Dungeons and Dragons are morally objectionable in our modern world.  There certainly is a lot of racial profiling and stereotyping in Dungeons and Dragons which are perfectly acceptable (in the absence of information to the contrary, we can assume that orcs and gnolls and hobgobins are evil).  There are good kings ruling over a good kingdoms, though the feudally-based kingdom thrives on a caste system which is contrary to what we now generally accept about equality as a human right.  To even play a game based on swords and sorcery, we have to really go the extra mile to find all kinds of justifications as to why killing can be still consistent with a good act.

The game gets a little weird when mixing modern morality with the medieval setting.  Medieval times were extremely sexist, and the idea that women were human beings in the same way men were was just a foreign concept.  Introducing sexual equality to such a setting is like introducing quantum mechanics into such a setting- there is just no foundation for it.  In so many of these games, you have the lower classes emulating traditional, medieval patriarchal family structures, but suddenly when it comes to the military or ruling classes, there are a lot of women who are strong leaders (though their soldiers remain overwhelmingly male).  How is that possible from a sociological standpoint?  I understand it from the game standpoint- not a lot of women are going to have fun playing a game set in a misogynist world.  But it demonstrates the difficultly in balancing the authenticity of the medieval setting with modern social and moral viewpoints.

Personally, I don't like the alignment system.  As Dungeons and Dragons has evolved from one providing for rigidity archetypal characters to allowing complex and individualized characters, the alignment system should have been dropped.  Where some character types (paladins, assassins) were once governed by alignment, they should instead be governed by codes of conduct.  (When Dungeons and Dragons moved from second to third addition, my gaming group switched from D&D to the Hero System's Fantasy Hero and never looked back.)

Alignment points in NWN modules are really more of an annoyance than anything else.  It's hard for me to play an evil character, because I don't want to play a psychopath.  It might be interesting to play a selfish character who has no problem hurting others to get what he wants, and interesting to explore what a person might and justify to acquire power.  But there are cases in which alignment points punish me for not being a psychopath, or punish me for helping someone in a case where helping that person actually has a greater benefit for me than not helping that person.

If a module designer wants to present me with nuanced moral challenges, I can appreciate them without having to worry about gaining and losing alignment points.
               
               

               


                     Modifié par Mystery X, 07 novembre 2011 - 08:03 .
                     
                  


            

Legacy_ffbj

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When you say "Evil"
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2011, 12:36:31 am »


               Many good points here, which is one of the reasons these sorts of discussions are mainly academic.  In that you really have nothing to compare what is considered evil except your own views which have been instilled by society, parents, country, teachers, religions, etc..or your non-acceptance of those views.  It's all fantasy as in fantastic.  So start from that premise and make your own determinations about what's evil or not.  To the goblins in their cave, that you invade with the sole purpose of killing them and taking their loot, you are evil. Sorry, but I just find these sorts of threads rather pointless and silly.
               
               

               
            

Legacy_Sarielle

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When you say "Evil"
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2011, 01:36:45 am »


               

Mystery X wrote...
Alignment points in NWN modules are really more of an annoyance than anything else.  It's hard for me to play an evil character, because I don't want to play a psychopath.  It might be interesting to play a selfish character who has no problem hurting others to get what he wants, and interesting to explore what a person might and justify to acquire power.  But there are cases in which alignment points punish me for not being a psychopath, or punish me for helping someone in a case where helping that person actually has a greater benefit for me than not helping that person.

If a module designer wants to present me with nuanced moral challenges, I can appreciate them without having to worry about gaining and losing alignment points.


I can definitely get behind both of these statements. As for alignment changes, all I can say is "that's what the console's for."

I don't typically "cheat" in RPGs but since code isn't nuanced enough to read motive, I have no issues tweaking it to what it should  be if it means the game broke my character because of it. I find the alignment system is a good basis to start discussing characters from, but I don't like how alignment affects class so much in a cRPG. Ggame code isn't smart enough for that.
               
               

               


                     Modifié par Sarielle, 08 novembre 2011 - 01:37 .
                     
                  


            

Legacy_jmlzemaggo

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When you say "Evil"
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2011, 09:36:32 am »


               'makes me think there is that so easy to use: 
*29) Alignment Manager, by Gangster No.1
(1° list in my signature.) 
               
               

               


                     Modifié par jmlzemaggo, 08 novembre 2011 - 09:36 .
                     
                  


            

Legacy_olivier leroux

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When you say "Evil"
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2011, 02:11:38 pm »


               

Vibrant Penumbra wrote...

_six wrote...
It might seem a contovertial choice but I am actually most offended by Aribeth's betrayal. Desther was a fraud through and through and held loyalty to no one in the first place, but Aribeth went against not only her god but the entire city she once served for the death of one man.

Hear, hear! *Somebody* who doesn't worship her! Nice '<img'>


Actually I could never relate to all the people worshipping Aribeth either. What makes her so special? In fact, as a player I found her rather unsympathethic and phony in her relation to Fenthick and the events of the OC. So, I don't know about the most evil character in the OC, but Aribeth is certainly the one I felt most strongly about (in a bad way).

I didn't read the whole thread, but for me the most interesting and devious evil would probably be sweet betrayal. To win the trust and love of other people and then abuse it. Ideally in a way that doesn't compromise yourself; so not, as is often the case in fantasy RPGs, like a villain finally showing his true face, so everyone can go after him, but instead in a way that only the betrayed (if at all) would know about your deeds and noone could prove you are guilty. I guess this is what would evoke pure hate from the other party, being powerless before the veiled evil and the villain playing the nice guy with the confident knowledge that he's untouchable.

Even more vile when instead the innocent or "good" guy is accused of being the bad one, or when he's forced to commit an atrocious crime without his knowledge, involuntarily or because he is mislead or seduced - maybe even a crime against his allies or loved ones. When a villain causes something like this without necessity, not as a means to a goal, but only to show that he can, that he has no scruples and that he takes a sadistic pleasure out of his triumph, that might be pure evil then. Not the most believable sort maybe, but the most aggravating. '<img'>

I don't condone such behavior, naturally. :innocent:

Looting bodies in NWN is not considered evil as long as noone ever takes care of them; there are no grieving families, no burials etc. If there were and the module author offered the player a decision to loot the body before someone took care of it, now that would be different. It's like in those action movies where lots of people working for the wrong side are killed without another thought and the main character is still the hero, but once you'd show a grieving family of the deceased "collateral damage" (like "Austin Powers" did to mock the genre),  it becomes more ambiguos.
               
               

               


                     Modifié par olivier leroux, 08 novembre 2011 - 02:15 .