Author Topic: When you say "Evil"  (Read 2477 times)

Legacy_HipMaestro

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When you say "Evil"
« Reply #30 on: November 11, 2011, 02:11:41 am »


               Since you (OP) are tryng to design an evil module, I believe you must first decide whether you want to define the explicit limits of evil in your module or just  spring it upon your audience as a subjective evaluation.

IMO, it is easier (though not necessarily more fun) to play an alignment-specific scenario if the guidelines are spelled out in detail beforehand., If not, and especially depending on the scripting, one can find themselves in a no-win situation because they have crossed a ideological threshold (module-wise, that is).  In other words, variables can be set that prevent a character from making further progress.

Ideally, there should be some broad guidelines, like an alignment consequence if the PC causes any harm to NPCs of a certain alignment (a designer-specific assignment), like all neutrals, for instance.  In a situation like that, there would need to be a method to predetermine a potential combatant's alignment (or orientation or beliefs... whatever terminology floats your boat).  As we all know, NWN does not provide any means to pre-determine this (not without opening up the toolset and examining all the NPCs alignments beforehand or memorizing an standard bestiary) so it would be an interesting creative venture to design encounters where this could be identified by the PC by a methodical means.  Hostile NPCs glow red, but that indicates nothing about the ehtical or moral orientation of a character, which should be important RP-wise.

As far as Aribeth goes, her ulterior motive has always been debated.  Evaluators base their opinions on conversations, actions and bits of gathered information that may or may not be based on absolutes.  What if a statement or action by an NPC was intended to deflect our discovery of the true value?  It would be much more difficult to evaluate... grey, rather than the black and white absolutes.  We all play within the scope presented to us in these games and must suspend our sense of realism in order to proceed towards the designed plot.  In that respect, we are playing with a stacked deck, stacked by the designer..  which is fine as long as the thematic tapestry is well-defined and we can immerse into it as players.

I particularly appreciate the point about the sampled environment, i.e. medievil vs. contemporary context.  It seems like an attribute that should be obvious, but often times is glossed over or just assumed rather than developed thematically.  Within that basic framework is where the scope of evil should first be sketched.

This the point where it can become a juggling act. Not all denotations of evil are obvious.  Some are vague and subjective.  The key is to make the design decisions consistent across the module so even though the determination can seem obtuse in one instance, when it reoccurs elsewhere, it supports and reiterates the designer's metric.

Sry to express these concepts in generalities but I am not writing the module... you are OP. '<img'>

BTW, I have no clue how this topic ended up in the HotU forum.  Must have been an act of congress and they must have been contemplating their next vacation rather than accessing the analytical thought processes. '<img'>

@ WhiZard:  It was the way Desther was able to meld into the righteous faction yet remain a scumbucket in nature .  His control-freak demeanor was a hint of what was likely to transpire but he remained well-concealed for a long time IMO.  Morag, Belial, Klauth, Brother Toras, Heurodis, Valsharess, Meph... the obvious villians... are easy to decide what recourse to take.    They all seem to exist on a plane separate from the PC while Desther is always within an arm's length and constantly influencing plot progress.

As an aside, I always suspected Grimgnaw's ulterior motivations based on his oddball religious bias but he was such a dedicated and worthy ally I decided would rather have him in my party than against it.  I was eventually proved right. '<img'>
               
               

               
            

Legacy_Vibrant Penumbra

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When you say "Evil"
« Reply #31 on: November 11, 2011, 05:26:09 pm »


               Good post, HM '<img'>

HipMaestro wrote...
<snip>
IMO, it is easier (though not necessarily more fun) to play an alignment-specific scenario if the guidelines are spelled out in detail beforehand., If not, and especially depending on the scripting, one can find themselves in a no-win situation because they have crossed a ideological threshold (module-wise, that is).  In other words, variables can be set that prevent a character from making further progress.

What I want to do is set up moral & ethical conflict on several levels (family,community, race) and set the PC free to find their own path (even a goody path '<img'>), but with special exploration of the cost/benefits of those actions commonly referred to as evil. As for guidelines, they will be limited to the blatant acknowledgement that this module is designed to um, make you save often and try many different approaches. I will not tell anyone how to play, simply provide encouragement to explore less traveled decision trees.

But you are right, of course.  This is a design decision that should be made before anything else... and that's why this thread '<img'>

<snip>
so it would be an interesting creative venture to design encounters where this could be identified by the PC by a methodical means.  Hostile NPCs glow red, but that indicates nothing about the ehtical or moral orientation of a character, which should be important RP-wise.

I agree that there should be ways to indicate certain things that in RL we just know. I have some ideas the bf says should be doable.

But I want a very clear demarkation between *known* faction/alignment/alliances and unknown. 

<snip>
We all play within the scope presented to us in these games and must suspend our sense of realism in order to proceed towards the designed plot.  In that respect, we are playing with a stacked deck, stacked by the designer..  which is fine as long as the thematic tapestry is well-defined and we can immerse into it as players.

Definitely. The designer builds "paths" into his module that herd PCs like the chutes herd cows to the slaughterhouse, one labled "Good" and one labled "Evil". To jump the fence and run across unfettered range (impossible, of course) breaks the system. As designer, wanting to clear the chutes completely, I am limited only to expanding their scope, building more "sandbox" morality & ethic into that which is possible.

And consistency of the thematic elements is essential, especially when I desire to kick the underpinnings of conventional thought out from under them '<img'>

I particularly appreciate the point about the sampled environment, i.e. medievil vs. contemporary context.  It seems like an attribute that should be obvious, but often times is glossed over or just assumed rather than developed thematically.  Within that basic framework is where the scope of evil should first be sketched.

Yes. And I'm still digesting that point.'<img'> That was probably the most thought provoking response I've had in this thread.

<good stuff snipped>
Sry to express these concepts in generalities but I am not writing the module... you are OP. '<img'>

Damn straight, Skippy!'<img'>

BTW, I have no clue how this topic ended up in the HotU forum.  Must have been an act of congress and they must have been contemplating their next vacation rather than accessing the analytical thought processes. '<img'>

Simple. I asked them to move it. It was proving too difficult for people to refrain from spoilers, so I asked them to move the post to a forum that specifically warned about spoilers. And, as I wanted the largest scope for those spoilers, I targeted this forum. They agreed :-) So now we can discuss the evil actions of all the NPCs through HotU without worrying...

Be free, Little Campers! Be free!
               
               

               
            

Legacy_Mystery X

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When you say "Evil"
« Reply #32 on: November 11, 2011, 08:20:55 pm »


               When looking for examples of compelling, complex evil characters, I can't find much in the D&D-related games.  For most villains we don't have a back story, and they seem either evil because they were born that way, or for the simple power-hungry motivation.

I've been playing the Baldur's Gate games since they went on sale cheap on GOG a few months ago.  Sarevok finally becomes interesting when one finally learns his full back story in Throne of Bhaal.  The source of his hatred for Gorion is understandable (Gorion left him as a child to die), and the source of his obsession with the player character is clear (through undeserved, random chance, the player character received protection, stability, and a chance for a successful life that were denied Sarevok). It creates a tough question- are you (the PC) so great and mighty, while Sarevok is so evil and defeated, merely because of one instance of dumb, random luck?  If Gorion saved Sarevok instead of you, would Sarevok by the hero and you the evil villain?  Does Sarevok deserve any sympathy or forgiveness for the evil he spread?  I think Sarevok's story is a compelling one, and it's too bad it doesn't get tied together until Throne of Bhaal.

That contrasts to the ultimate back story revealed for Irenicus- supposedly he was once good and turned to evil.  But really, he was just power-hungry when he was good, and when being good didn't work to amass power he turned to evil, so good or evil he's really just a power-hungry jerk.  Ho-hum.  I suppose the story for Irenicus uses the fall of Lucifer as a story template, but there just isn't any depth to it.

I'm not much of a fan of anime, but I did happen to get caught up in Death Note.  The transformation of noble, idealistic Light into treacherous, evil Kira through incremental use of great power is well-done.  Each step he takes toward more and more destructive deeds comes with a completely rational and indeed noble justification that flows naturally from his last act, and remains perfectly framed in his idealistic goal for a world free from crime and violence.  I mention it because I think it provides a great example of how, for a module, you could subtly nudge a player trying to be good down a path to evil before the player realizes it.
               
               

               
            

Legacy_HipMaestro

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When you say "Evil"
« Reply #33 on: November 13, 2011, 02:45:49 pm »


               Here's a quick notion, one that I have been considering in a current writing project:  the Nature of Evil.

Since Good is totally dependant on Evil to have any relevance (i.e. the standard Heaven/Hell rationality), it is the level/amount of "goodness" that can be corrupted by a counter action that determines how evil the perpetrator of the act can be and propose potential acts that would fulfill this criteria.

What this infers is that in order to stylize an evil faction, the good faction must first be clearly established.  At least that is the way it is evolving within my own project.  The dynamic is like a weighting problem... create an overtly benevolent source or power and the counter always writes itself.  The evil character itself is less important than the interaction of the polar forces, though an interesting background can be developed to substantiate the personality (i.e. the referenced BG MysteryX description).... put some flesh onto the bones.

...just a thought.  Hopefully, it may make the development process easier or at least more organized.
               
               

               
            

Legacy_Vibrant Penumbra

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When you say "Evil"
« Reply #34 on: November 15, 2011, 08:12:01 pm »


               I like how you think, hipster '<img'>

HipMaestro wrote...
<snip>
Since Good is totally dependant on Evil to have any relevance (i.e. the standard Heaven/Hell rationality), it is the level/amount of "goodness" that can be corrupted by a counter action that determines how evil the perpetrator of the act can be and propose potential acts that would fulfill this criteria.

What this infers is that in order to stylize an evil faction, the good faction must first be clearly established.  At least that is the way it is evolving within my own project.  The dynamic is like a weighting problem... create an overtly benevolent source or power and the counter always writes itself.

Every candle casts a shadow, every shadow clings to the light. Only in the cold, cold depths of Nothing is there neither. Yup. 

Ties into something the bf is working on. "Multi-ordinal vector whatsis and matrix recalculation hoozits" I think he said.  

Anyway, the idea, as I almost get it, is to have some *third-party* icons/ideals/idols who occupy places in a three-axis space. One axis is love-hate, another respect-contempt, third is... I forget.
Actions detrimental/beneficial to individual elements are related to the icons and relationships adjusted based on a three-way... um, oh, powder-puffs!
*pouts*

Anyway, the N/PC's actions are examined from a 3rd PoV rather than one on one.

The evil character itself is less important than the interaction of the polar forces, though an interesting background can be developed to substantiate the personality (i.e. the referenced BG MysteryX description).... put some flesh onto the bones.

...just a thought.  Hopefully, it may make the development process easier or at least more organized.

Actually, this all grew out of me asking him to find some way to impliment the old fiend-folio personality traits... or was it the old DMG? Arduin?
*a frown line almost appears between her blue, blue eyes*
Don't remember ':?'

I'm thinking too hard. Need Chai!'<img'>

Ciao!
               
               

               
            

Legacy_cds13

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When you say "Evil"
« Reply #35 on: January 12, 2012, 10:24:33 pm »


               Well, answering to the original questions: I feel uncomfortable when I bully the citizens to get money from them and then I slay them all the way, that happens when I play a chaotic evil character. As a lawful evil I would get money from them but would not kill them.

The most evil NPC in the OC? Boddyknock... the way he stabs you in the back is really wicked.... Apart from jokes I found the Priest of Vixthra in HoU as really evil. False protection given to terrified servants which live with the terror of being sacrificed without trying to escape is the most wicked behavior I found through the game
               
               

               
            

Legacy_AstoundingArcaneArcher

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When you say "Evil"
« Reply #36 on: February 16, 2012, 07:39:14 pm »


               Whar about sociopaths that have no moral compass inside them? Can be called evil or are they only acting without knowledge of Good and Evil? I would read up on some of the morality tropes on Tv Tropes, especially Blue and Orange Morality.