Well then. It looks like we’re gonna need another catgirl. I guess that’s the cost of doing business with Evil. When your would-be employers leave a murderous calling card, lead you a merry chase, and then “test” your skills in battle, you know you’re dealing with some grade-A bad hombres. That in turn raises a question: Are you willing to work with these guys? 

This is an issue more or less designed for Neutral PCs. You’re not morally obliged to smite on sight. You aren’t necessarily a villainous nogoodnik yourself. All you’ve got to do is some adventurer cost-benefit analysis: Are the risks worth the reward?

In the category of “risks,” you’ve got your standard hero hazards. These are the traps, monsters, and generally likelihood of death you’ve got to deal with in every adventure. That’s de rigueur though. When you’re dealing with bad guys, you’ve got additional worries on top of that. For example, there’s the possible hit to your reputation. Are you alienating your goodly allies? Will anyone else ever hire you again? And then there’s the high likelihood of getting betrayed. Even if it’s not an outright stab in the back, nobody wants to get Lando’d.

As for “rewards,” Evil has plenty to offer. Piles of gold, premium magic items, and your literal heart’s desire are all on the table. As with the risks, these are the standard goods and services that come with all flavors of successful hero-ing. When you’re getting the goods from the baddies though, additional caveats apply. Namely, are the incentives high enough to sign on with the black hats? Is it worth going against your personal code? Maybe even an alignment shift? And even if your rogue doesn’t happen to have a heart of gold, you’ve still got to ask yourself whether you can afford to say no. Coercion is more than a Magic card, and skelemans in black armor tend not to take rejection well. In that sense, the implicit reward of “won’t have to roll initiative against BBEG” is tough to ignore.

It remains to be seen whether the surviving members of Team Bounty Hunter will accept this nefarious commission (or even what it may be). But I confess myself curious about the rest of you guys. Has your party ever signed on with the villains? Did things turn out OK in the end, or were your wicked ways summarily punished? Tell us all about the shady AF quest givers in your life down in the comments!

 

ADD SOME NSFW TO YOUR FANTASY! If you’ve ever been curious about that Handbook of Erotic Fantasy banner down at the bottom of the page, then you should check out the “Quest Giver” reward level over on The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. Twice a month you’ll get to see what the Handbook cast get up to when the lights go out. Adults only, 18+ years of age, etc. etc.