Keeping Evil Characters Quiet
A Discussion for seasoned Game Masters. Handling a hyper Player can be draining but handling a hyper Player with an evil Character insistent on harassing the NPCs, causing destruction and so forth could cause your game to go in a direction you do not want it to go. How do you, as the Dungeon Master, handle such Players while not taking away their 'freedom of play'?
Note: There is another Thread about Evil Characters, the difference of this Thread is the focus on helping a Player understand how a game can only run smoothly if there is a limit to what they want to do without it becoming solo play or one directional. In other words, quiet down and play as a team.
I'm an Army trained sniper, I usually just off the player and then take over the character as an NPC! Okay, that was bad. I've found that the best way to handle this is using a rewards and consequences approach.
I once had two campaigns going on simultaneously, one was good and one was evil. The good one was serious and the evil one was strictly for fun. In the good one there was a player who played a decidedly evil character and I'd keep giving the other players small experience boons and he'd keep losing things and his stuff would break. Eventually he got the idea and decided to use his evilness for the good of the party. If there was some evil git who needed killing but there really wasn't anything the good aligned character could do, he'd sneak in, plant some evidence of a murder and then the character could be the good guys and bring him to justice.
In the evil campaign I had a player who, different guy, who insisted on playing a Paladin. Yeah, he didn't get along well with a group who just wanted to have fun in a no holds barred campaign. Needless to say, he was extremely unpopular. He died somewhere or another and he was reincarnated as something I can't remember… but with a memory of its past life and the ability to speak. He took this creature in a whole new direction and joined the fun.
Such is the life of paratroopers trying to blow off some steam! |B).
Every character can be evil as well as good. When they are trying to take the game into another direction sometimes I go with it to see where it takes the characters. I try to give all a fair chance but sometimes you just can not lead a horse to water so let it find its own way.
If a character starts committing evil actions, there will be an impact. Exactly what depends on what has been done, but among the more likely responses are a band of adventurers hired to hunt the character down. In extreme cases, they might be composed of paladins devoted to a god of justice. Most characters aren't exactly likely to take such in stride, even if they'd been willing to ignore the evil PC's offenses.
I'm not going to just slap someone down just for playing their character, but all actions have consequences, and some actions have consequences likely to encourage some level of discretion.
Its one thing to have a chaotic evil character in a game but what about if the whole party wants to be chaotic evil, could a Dungeon Master really handle that or should it be his right to insist no one is evil?
I wouldn't run a campaign where the whole party was chaotic party unless I was specifically making a campaign for that. I also don't think I would entertain the idea unless we were all game for every wicked evil act there could be out there and I'm not the type.
That scenario requires an entirely different sort of campaign than the usual.
A Dungeon Master is well within his rights to not choose to run that sort of campaign, and to insist that people not be evil. But if he does so when an entire group is wanting an evil party, I'd be suggesting that another Dungeon Master be found. Not because the first one is a bad choice, but because there's a disconnect between what he and his players want out of the game.
Has anyone ever stopped to consider what's behind the mind who chooses to play an evil character? You ask most people and they prefer to say they are the hero of the day but then you get the odd one that not only loves being the villain but has a pleasure of having no morality making it easy to steal, rape, plunder and kill. Is it that some people have a dark side that they need to free every now and again? I can't imagine trying to keep a character or a player like that 'quiet' unless its their wish to play the part of silent killer.