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Evil vs. Evil

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glorfindel
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Evil vs. Evil

Postby glorfindel » Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:05 pm

Hello,

As it came up over and over again, talking about, good and evil and their extremes. I wanted to throw this philosophical thing into the wild and see what other people think about it.

Currently I do see a lot of people being confused between 'black' and 'white'. I see a lot of people taking extremist stances (which is fine, don't get me wrong), but I wonder if people believe that there's 'one way' to be evil or good if you follow a certain deity.

For example, there could be a thief who makes a living of planting information in between friendly parties to distract them from a heist. Or a cleric of an Evil deity who reaches their goals rather through negotiations, false offerings, trickery and threats. Is that cleric any less evil then their counterparts who go and use raw force ? I do no think so, he's just a more cunning kind of evil. A even more difficult and more intimidating one then raw power can ever be.

Same goes for good. Someone who focuses soly on the protection of, say arborea, but does not care about the undead, is that person good ? Is he evil ?

And are those characters playable? I do get the impression everybody feels to be driven to the edges of the spectrum, which is totally ok to be fanatic about something and be on the extreme of good vs. evil. We need those characters and they add to the game. 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.

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Re: Evil vs. Evil

Postby Eluriel » Fri Dec 30, 2011 3:18 am

I always enjoy playing shades of grey, alternative types of chars. :) We could use more of them though! I think a lot of the game is tied to the gods and good vs. evil. Just the fact that followers of Sathonys and Lilith are automatically outlawed from the major cities contributes to the vilifying of evil characters, and when there are so many people that are MUST KILL EVIL! it kind of forces people to go to the extreme in response (You think of me as a monster? Fine, I'll be a monster.).

I do think that the shades of grey characters make things more interesting. Otherwise, you just see a lot of the same type of character repeated. I think that if people are dedicated to playing an extremist character, that's fine too. But I think one can still be a less fanatic follower of a particular god. Or people can have different ideas of what is the "right" way to follow their god. I am all for variety and would love to see more people across the spectrum.

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Re: Evil vs. Evil

Postby Delmon » Fri Dec 30, 2011 2:14 pm

I do not think there is one way to follow Lilith. I certainly play one simplistic type, but you can play others. It's hard to come up with neat "secretive" goals imo with the code. In terms of sathonys clerics and crusaders and rangers and taniel clerics, the code and incentives drive logical extremist play. You can't get away from sacrificing live people while smiling satanically, following the codex or commandments, etc (try bowing as a crussie heh heh). This forces you to be an extremist.

Even though you can't get away from being extremist, you can have interesting characters who try to bend the rules a bit, or some people who go about their business a different way, or look at something through a different perspective. I completely agree with you Glorfindel that this can be fun. For example, I tried to convert a taniel cleric into a sathonys follower with my sathos a couple years ago. Did it work? Not really, but there were multiple meetings and some interesting results. Let's face it, not may times do sathos and taniel clerics meet for debating!

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Re: Evil vs. Evil

Postby Rhavaniel » Sun Jan 01, 2012 4:32 am

I try not to talk about other characters, but I am pretty sure that was my old char. I strongly considered it but had to take a long break from Geas at the time. So sad. I think it would have been super awesome.

I also have a fondness for characters that bend the rules a little. I get tired of all the black and white. :D

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Re: Evil vs. Evil

Postby Olrane » Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:39 am

I think it's easy to succumb to the temptation to play an extraordinary PC or an extreme follower of any faction's ideals. The RP is enriched by having characters that represent the common or average member of each faction, and of course diversity in faction representation.

People often also get an idea that they'll play a "good" or "evil" character instead of building an organic character with preferences, fears, habits, etc. which dynamically determine his or her place in the world. Roleplay to me comes down to building a character who has consistency with his or her environment and within his or her ethos, but can and will be changed by encounters he or she has in-game.

Bottom line: really good characters outgrow their player's expectations because they become more than an extension of the player's self. By creating a personality instead of a to-do list, you'll have a more fun experience that is more determined by interaction with other players and game elements than your OOC ambitions.

Have fun, guys. :)

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Re: Evil vs. Evil

Postby Orodreth » Thu Jan 05, 2012 6:24 am

Not enough active players and nobody wants to be evil because you are alone almost 100% of the time.

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Re: Evil vs. Evil

Postby Delia » Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:21 am

It is not "let us all group hug together and bash evil" in the goodie-land either but I do see your point. I understand how it can get lonely as one can easily get lonely being the neutral/good character as well depending on your affiliations.
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Re: Evil vs. Evil

Postby luminier » Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:26 pm

I like Olranes post. Characters would certainly be a lot more interesting if they had what he described.

I think initially everyone should try to be just normal (maybe a little good or bad since people are generally just this way). Once you start to get more experience or have people screw you over... you should make your choice from there. Perhaps even having a motivation from the start like... i want to get lots of gold... or learn something... is also an excellent start point.

Playing evil is tough. I know for me going from one of the most popular goodies to playing an evil character that was alone most of the time was really boring. Grinding can be fun sometimes but i know i especially come to roleplay and talk with people... if no ones around I usually just log off.
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Re: Evil vs. Evil

Postby fernao » Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:33 am

The problem with the dynamically adjusting is that once you join a guild, the dynamics are pretty much gone. Leave them, and they hunt you and other guilds will generally shun you like a vampire shuns daylight.
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Re: Evil vs. Evil

Postby Olrane » Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:37 am

fernao wrote:The problem with the dynamically adjusting is that once you join a guild, the dynamics are pretty much gone. Leave them, and they hunt you and other guilds will generally shun you like a vampire shuns daylight.

Then again, if you get stuck in a static character, you have few or no "whoops, that was amazing" moments.

Playing a dynamic character means getting involved in conflicts and having them matter to the character. In doing so, you generate roleplay - the only real reason to play a low-tech game in this day and age, honestly.

Does this lead to stress for you and your character? Absolutely. Is it sometimes enough that you want to quit the game? Absolutely.

It was worth it for me every time. Letting my characters' hotheadedness, doubts, moral quandaries etc. seriously throw them off their set paths was what made my years here fun and still worthwhile to me. I honestly just wish I had been more involved when I did have the time to play.

Do it for yourself and for all the other people you play with. Let your character take the reins.

OT: Good/evil becomes a lot more interesting when you realize that your character doesn't fit in a D&D alignment and has preferences and rules, irrational or rational, that make him act in a certain way. People aren't usually evil because they want to be eeeevil, they're just greedy or ambitious. Often people seen as "good" are just as egoistic but cultivate a positive reputation or do acts of good to help foster an otherwise lacking sense of self-worth. Understanding your character's motivations is more important than choosing his or her guild when it comes down to making a memorable play experience.

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Re: Evil vs. Evil

Postby glorfindel » Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:43 pm

I do think that good/evil is really an ooc view of the world as is any scale you might apply. Good generally describes people who have more altruistic dependencies and do frown from certain actions (but that heavily depends on your personal upbringing and morale, let's not delve into this, it leads us off topic here) whereas an 'evil' character is prone to be ego centric and cares for his/her environment for different reason. Of course, you can make the same type characters on both sides of the good/evil line with only a minimum of changes, but that doesn't point it.

My original intention with this thread was to stir thinking in people if there might not be the one or other flaw or the or other good deed they want to add to their character or if deciding a new one, if it really should dwell of the extremes of any scale you can think off. There are many chars out there who do stick in the gray, but for me it feels we do have a lot too well defined fronteers and people generally expect a person of 'guild foo' to behave a certain way. Or a person of elvandar, or a person who is a human. I would certainly like these boundaries rather to be the 'summon of the common' then the 'ultimate law'. To elaborate further: "If you go up to a shaolin to ask him for help removing a group of undead" it should rather be "Normally, any shaolin would be willing to help you to remove a group of undead". Again, not saying everybody should now steer from the path their characters, it's really a philosophical thing to me.

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Re: Evil vs. Evil

Postby glasp » Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:34 pm

I generally agree that adding flaws to your character is a good thing. Too often we have seen neutral/evil characters who take their alignment as an excuse for doing anything they want, since nothing restricts them. This hurts the game on a general level. The idea of trying to play a character without flaws/restrictions is a very bad one. Especially in combination with skills/stats/brute force as the only means of solving problems.

Concerning extremist stances: While these are always a bit tricky, I'd like to add that there's sometimes a bit of confusion what an extremist character is. Usually it seems to means someone who is a "zealot" goodie because they burn people on a cross. While that is of course evil and terrible by IRL standards, it's perfectly good in the game. In fact, it's an advantage if you want to be good. The 'extremist' stance in GEAS would be the person who does not care so much about gods or tries to live unaffected, without them.

This said, while your holy book says that you need to spit into your enemy's fit when captured, that would only be an ideal and perhaps not all that realistic. It's understandable that people might admire those who manage, but 99% won't be able to do that when about to face death. A person is a complex thing and while it's his dream to live up to this, it might not always be possible due to flaws in the charcater. The most important thing is probably to not make the game too easy on yourself and ask yourself what your character would do in this situation, rather than try use your "OOC brain" and achieve the perfect result.

Another extremist stance would be to try to induce "futuristic" elements into the game such as democracy, freedom of speech, equality of men and similiar "easening" of the game. In fact it is very undesired. While you can technically "invent" it with a character, it is not one of things that are really legitimate or desired. The game is a medieval in more than just a technological level, There are contrasts and hardships in the game for a reason.

Yet another extremist stance is that of a person who always take the easiest path, without regard to any values or ideals that the person might hold. Such people don't exist in real life (except for perhaps psycopaths) and usually people are mostly held back by themselves in some way.

In many ways I agree that you should just play your character and let the world affect you as things come to you, rather than to force an ideal and then try to make everything fit to it. It is probably the most personally enjoyable way of playing the game. But the mapping of what is "good" vs "evil" is not one that goes 1:1 with real-life. It is very much different and the art of adjusting to that is a part of the game.

Flaws, restrictions in characters are very much necessary for a dynamic roleplay. Within guilds and in general. Hardships, contrasts and conflicts are wired into the setting and background of the game to provide a platform for roleplaying (there aren't too many, but we can nurture the few we have). That said it'd be an equally big mistake to translate the conflict wired into the background of the game immidiately into a conflict rather than use it rather as a base/stage for playing out the story.

In many ways I think boils doing to "roleplay your character consistently", including the bad parts that give you a "disadvantage". The other part is to not try and neutralize the game setting because it is "unnecessary".

There are of course many ways to be evil and perhaps the most interesting ones in my opinion are those that don't really seem so evil, and even in fact might seem friendly. On the flip side one of the more interesting ways to play good characters are those that might seem evil, although have well-founded reasons. It's all a gray spectrum, but on that scale - all out in either direction is probably not that interesting without a big mass of 'gray scale' people already present. Characters need a "human touch" in terms of flaws, contradictions and compromises.

Sorry if I'm ranting. But I'm talking at least.

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Re: Evil vs. Evil

Postby Delmon » Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:47 pm

Too often we have seen neutral/evil characters who take their alignment as an excuse for doing anything they want, since nothing restricts them. This hurts the game on a general level. The idea of trying to play a character without flaws/restrictions is a very bad one. Especially in combination with skills/stats/brute force as the only means of solving problems.


I'm not sure who you are talking about here that we see "too often." Are you talking about Sathonys characters or pointing a finger at carte blanche characters like Delmon? What restrictions do you suggest?

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Re: Evil vs. Evil

Postby glasp » Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:58 pm

Nah, I'm not pointing a finger at anyone in particular. I'm just saying the way it was, even before Delmon existed. Its been like "yaaay, I'm so evil - cooool" and therefore then can kill anyone just for wearing the wrong colored hat. Zero depth.

Restrictions are given by the game already, and while they are not complete, characters must find their own. I'd prefer that they are partly imposed by the setting, but there must always be some responsibility taken by players regardless of how you view it. The alternative would be that the wizards need to force characters into having them and act consistently on them, because I'm sure nobody wants a world without problems with only perfect people in it.

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Re: Evil vs. Evil

Postby Olrane » Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:01 am

Great posts, Glasp.

I'll second that character consistency is the most essential element, especially in regards to restrictions on character action. Even well-done dynamic roleplay doesn't erode these restrictions as much as redefine them...a paradigm shift does not equate to a lack of paradigm.

Roleplay is hard work (and I'm no expert myself), but when people put in a lot of effort it always pays off.

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Re: Evil vs. Evil

Postby glorfindel » Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:59 am

One of the reasons I started this post was, that I was feeling that things are go wrong with stereotypical good/evil things. For example even if you're a deathpriest you should have room not to be a 'kill everything because am evil' type of character. Sure you'll sacrifice every evrenite you come across, that's sort of part of your clergies goals, but apart of that... making someone your minion and spy might be better for you then slaying everything in your path. Seemingly giving way might be better, even helping 'neutral' people occasionally would be in order, should they let you. Sure that guild aims for world domination, but does it need to be apparent and blunt? I don't think so.

As for the 'neutral' character, I think a zhakrinite is the best example of that. They do good and evil deeds but they are having their own niche in the world. They maybe do things that seem good to aid their goals, they maybe do evil to help others (thief backstabbing somebody to save them from torture ? ). There's much that can be set for a neutral character but am very pro for the char that can't do everything they want no matter on which scale they are.

Regarding for the 'burning' of people at stakes by the crusade. I think glasp gave an excelllent example there, it's something that needs a lot of work. Yes burning people at stakes is taniel/evren good like on the upper part of the scale. Tanriel/Evren forgive sins by being burned at the stake from what I understand so this is something a 'good' char who knows to have done a big evil should submit to. There are many chars who rise their noses at burning because it's 'evil' from our modern perspective. I am partly guilty of that one as well but I've tried to work my char towards a mixed stance regarding it, he thinks nowadays it's a sin to end that life by fire, but if it cleanses the soul and allows the resurrected being (if they are resurrected) to return to soceity and into the arms of Evren/Taniel, a neccersary evil. He'll never be liking it, but he won't frown upon a crusader doing it unless it's done without need (which he himself can't judge). I think oocly though it's part of the world and therefore should treated as such. A 'good' char should probably hail it's doing or congratulate the 'cleansed' char for being resurrected after cleansing and wishing them a better life for now on.

As for variation, this is where I am at. You're a unique person, so should be your char. I love those chars that are unpredictable most. Like you can't tell if you'll be aiding you or be sticking a knife into your back. Like you don't know in advance what they'll do in a situation, or only to a certain point. Like a crusader should burn every evil they find, but maybe they let somebody slip away for a reason. A thief who ignores a big treasure because he thinks the person who has it does need it more then himself, then goes to steal from the next noble. On the other hand steals then from a poor person because he doesn't like them. I'm not sure if that paragraph makes sense to everybody, but it's depth and uniqueness am talking about. I really hate to say a char is a 'cleric of foo', 'follower of blah', a thief, a shaolin, a crusader and knowing exactly how that char will behave.

just my 2cc

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Re: Evil vs. Evil

Postby luminier » Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:45 am

on Luminier I like to do as you said. Burning someone at the stake is the most holy thing a Crusader can do and is always celebrated when a successful purification/burning takes place.

sadly there are those that goad us into burning them and act like it has no consequence. its at that point i don't even care if i capture them to bring them to the castle and burn them, i just kill them. thats not fun for anyone.
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Re: Evil vs. Evil

Postby Olrane » Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:41 pm

glorfindel wrote:As for variation, this is where I am at. You're a unique person, so should be your char. I love those chars that are unpredictable most. Like you can't tell if you'll be aiding you or be sticking a knife into your back. Like you don't know in advance what they'll do in a situation, or only to a certain point. Like a crusader should burn every evil they find, but maybe they let somebody slip away for a reason. A thief who ignores a big treasure because he thinks the person who has it does need it more then himself, then goes to steal from the next noble. On the other hand steals then from a poor person because he doesn't like them. I'm not sure if that paragraph makes sense to everybody, but it's depth and uniqueness am talking about. I really hate to say a char is a 'cleric of foo', 'follower of blah', a thief, a shaolin, a crusader and knowing exactly how that char will behave.


While I absolutely agree that each character should have personality and nuance, don't undersell the importance of people who roleplay characters as vanilla representatives of their faction. With such a small playerbase, these characters are needed to uphold the basic social and political structures of the game environment that allow for others to play the more bizarre roles.

I am a huge advocate of people playing mundane characters as faces of the environment and/or faction; it's especially appreciated when such would be considered boring or tedious.

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Re: Evil vs. Evil

Postby glorfindel » Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:56 pm

I wasn't planning to downsize any of those 'typical' characters, I agree we need them and it's good to have them. It's just that I think that not the whole guild should be like that.

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Re: Evil vs. Evil

Postby lanyara » Fri Mar 28, 2014 9:05 pm

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?

None.

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.
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