For example, there could be a thief who makes a living of planting information in between friendly parties to distract them from a heist.
Thief gets tagged as evil with the karma system.
There is absolutely no real way you can play a "good" thief in the system as long as the karma system remained as a core concept.
The karma system allows no other way to play the game in an IC consistent way.
This does have only little to do with extremist positions per se - it is a logical outcome of how the karma system was coded. Why should you be lenient with someone who is advocating actions that lead to direct messages and instructions from their deity at hand to "better" such a person?
Or a cleric of an Evil deity who reaches their goals rather through negotiations, false offerings, trickery and threats.
Ok, let's give an example... hmm. Which cleric tried that?
Which cleric went the PvP route?
All of them. Not always by their own choice but how it was forced upon them. If you know of an alternative, someone who played for a longer time, please give the specific name - I'd have the feeling that none of them did, and all of these mentioned (when they played) were involved in PvP.
And why are they enemies? Because the whole game was setup to become that way. You don't need much IC reason, you simply point out the fact that they must commit atrocities to please their deities (as the extremist different position).
I am not "judging" this by the way, I am simply stating how it is based from the code system that was implemented. I also don't state that the builder who added it was aware of all side-effects either, but there were many complaints in the past as well, and many of these complaints have not been addressed.
I do no think so, he's just a more cunning kind of evil
Ok you show me the clergy of Taniel who will have a happy chat with a cleric of Sathonys or a cleric of Lilith.
My character did not fit into how various wizards (and to a lesser degree, players) changed the clergy of Taniel. It just does not fit to be a happy halfling while you are supposed to break bones, shatter teeth, set someone on fire to better them.
You also can not easily play another role because:
(a) the powertrained characters totally dominate the game (and game staff wizards who do not play the game, completely change the balance of the game in wrong ways i.e. the trap miracle in its initial version)
(b) other characters can force conflict and PvP onto others (which is fine; it is their IC decision; the point I disagree with is that the game world itself encourages such behaviour; this was not the way in 2001)
(c) there is no real balance between roleplayers and PvP dominating characters anymore really. The skill system also intensifies on that, everyone wants to powertrain for the sake of powertraining and min-maxing, and in such a scenario the roleplay is left on the ground.
Add to this the fact that many parts of the game are not really worked out much - where are the guaranteed safe retreat zones? Even then, the example of PO Ronya shows that as a casual player with less time available, other players can decide on the fate of the character (I am not critisizing the decision, it was an IC decision; what I critisize is that there is a distinct lack of CHOICES and OPTIONS available in general. And this is the part I disagree with the most - I don't think other players should be given a way to prevent anyone else from playing the game. That also includes the whole judge system btw. And all NPC mercs, it is no fun to walk into insta-killing undead especially for semi-newbies - and this is not the fault of the players, it is the fault of the builder who added or changed the game into this way
But there should be room for 'shades of gray' and I think in our RP we should permit people to have that shade of gray. Sometimes those are the more cunning, harder to discern persons.
The karma system does not allow for shades of gray.
The moment you did something evil is the moment you are evil. Again this is not a statement how it should be or how I would want it to be, I simply describe how it is with the system at hand. I did not design this system at all.
Even without the karma syste, you become dubious if you are gray - can you be trusted? You can be friends with everyone but late at night you rob them blind wearing your fancy disguise kit. Did these players who did so - and some did - give any IC indication that their character(s) were lying or manipulative? Because giving such IC indications is a risk that gets you exposed, so the safe playing is to not run a risk, not give IC indication. Playing risky isn't rewarded well, so they play safe. Very understandable IMHO.
It's not rocket science how to improve on that either:
- Make more retreat and safety zones in general
- Reduce the amount of fighting NPCs and fighting NPC-like mercs (undead, watchtowers, mounts) or make them less powerful, less prevalent etc..
- Lower the gap between powertrained and less powertrained characters
- Provide more alternatives to powergaming (extend economical strength so that you can buy your way into towns as well)
- Reduce the overall polarization of the game (but do so in an IC consistent way, which means that first the OOC mechanics must be changed)
- Add to game lore extensively
- Add more ways to join guilds in general, including free clerics (meaning they are not in the guild anymore but can still request miracles; to retain balance, simply make their miracles significantly less powerful.)
But as long as you have a whole game setup the way to make playing a weak evil impossible, noone really will go that route.
Best race: halflings.