Best part of this image is the Chaotic Good teacup. “Look, Mama! I’m bathing in the blood of tyrants! Tee-hee!”

And the kettle’s all like, “Get back here, young man! Have you any idea how much scrubbing it takes to get bloodstains out of table linens?”

Exeunt stage right.

As we watch the china disappear into a puff of public domain fairytale nonsense (or legally protected parody, depending on the advice of our lawyers), I would like to direct your attention to Succubus’s facial expression. That is the constipated look of Evil ignored. Not vanquished. Not foiled at its schemes, defeated in battle, or even beaten in a fiddle contest by an upstart antebellum bard. Rather, this is Evil overlooked. Swept under the rug. Treated like a fart at a fancy party: embarrassing to be sure, smelly as The Beast before bath day, but pointedly unacknowledged. I would argue that this is a bad thing, both for Evil and for your game. Allow me to illustrate with an example.

When I was a young GM, one of my first ever games was a Warhammer Fantasy mashup. The party was a mixed bag of cutthroats and weirdos, and they had no business partying with one another. There was a black-hearted skaven assassin. A pious Sister of Sigmar. A wandering Bretonnian knight, a recently-turned vampire spawn, and a big dumb orc. Anyone familiar with the setting can tell you that this was an experiment doomed to failure. Yet it’s the orc rather than the party dynamic that I’d like to talk abut today.

I described him as “dumb” before, but that’s underselling the situation. Dude was driven out of his WAAAGH! for being too dumb, and that should tell you everything you need to know. He liked eating rocks and hitting things, and that’s about it. All of which made him a bad choice for the mission du jour: helping to defend a besieged monastery from bandits.

I’d imagined Seven Samurai in my head. A bunch of disparate weirdos band together to help save a community. Some do it for coin, some for honor, some because they want to hit things and eat rocks. It was a classic quest hook for a mixed party, so I figured it would work.

“You have a day to prepare before the bandits return. They’ll be expecting their tribute. What do you do?”

Most of the party behaved themselves. The Sister of Sigmar tended to the wounded. The knight trained the few meager troops. The skaven and the vamp had a competition to see who could out-edgy the other, poisoning sharpened stakes and ‘taking sustenance’ from the mortally wounded of the town. The orc decided to cook.

“You said dey waz hungry, right?”

“The handful of defenders do appear malnourished. It looks as if the bandits have taken most of their supplies, and these people are on the brink of starvation. Would you like to try foraging?”

“Yeah. Someth’n like ‘dat.”

Dude proceeded to find a big iron kettle, fill it with water, and start to simmering.

“Yer said ‘der were bodiez everywhere. I grab some uv im.”

It was at this point that I realized hijinks was afoot. It was also at this point that my inexperienced GM brain kicked into “save the session” mode.

“Oh,” commented the abbot. “You friend has elected to help with our sanitation problem. We’ve had no time to see to our dead properly. I must say, he is an uncommonly helpful sort of orc.”

“I’z not be’n subtle ova ere,” says the orc, shoving a load of murdered villagers into his cauldron.

“Everyone is too busy with their defense preparations to notice what you’re cooking.”

“Ere yer go, Abbot. How’s ‘dat taste?”

“Where ever did you find wild boar at this time of year? I’d thought the countryside picked clean!”

This would have been all well and good if I’d intended a comedy bit. But the fact is that I was outright ignoring the commotion my orc player meant to cause. Sure it’s a bit disruptive on the player’s part. That’s his prerogative though, and I should have enforced appropriate consequences. The party should have been kicked out of camp, witnessed the sack of the town from a distant hillside, and possible had the opportunity to save a refugee or two fleeing from marauders. Instead, I get to live with the sad puppy-dog eyes of my orc player for the rest of my life: “Yer mean ta say no wun notices dey’re eat’n people?”

Not my finest hour. But it’s not so uncommon as you might believe. Anyone who’s ever been in an unexpectedly bloodless pirate game can relate. Same deal with thieves’ guilds that skew unexpectedly Robin Hood or assassins expected to befriend the target mid-assignment. Discovering that the world wants you to be a good guy is a weirdly off-putting experience, and has a way of undermining an Evil player’s agency.

And so, for today’s discussion, what do you say we share stories of Evil PCs that didn’t quite get to do their thing? How did circumstances (and GMs) conspire to turn you Neutral? Did you feel like your bad guy never quite got to strut their black-armored stuff? Tell us all about your own bad intentions frustrated by good deeds down in the comments!

 

ARE YOU A ROLL20 ADDICT? Are you tired of googling endlessly for the perfect tokens? Then have we got a Patreon tier for you! As a card-carrying Familiar, you’ll receive a weekly downloadable Roll20 Token to use in your own online games, as well as access to all of our previously posted Tokens. It’s like your own personal NPC codex!