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I've read a few forum posts about the desire for there to be more playability for 'evil' characters, but I think it's worth considering how characters like this (and evil npcs) should be designed.

 

For, me too many evil characters in RPGs fall into a limited number of easily recognisable categories, some of which are rather tired and stereotyped:

 

Firstly, characters who loudly identify themselves with the forces of 'evil'. E.G - T'anarii and Baatezu  from Planescape, worshippers of evil gods, or whole races (Drow, for example) who essentially walk around proclaiming 'I am evil' with their every word and deed. 

 

Secondly, characters who are consciously amoral, motivated by greed or lust for power, and who again openly revel in their own perfidy. Edwin from Baldur's Gate would be a good example.

 

Thirdly, outright sociopathic characters, who will happily kill, butcher and steal without any underlying morality or motivation.

 

 

While each of these evil 'types' has its place, I would like to see some more nuanced 'evil' characters, with different and more complex motivations and character traits.

 

Some thoughts:

 

Many evil characters are not aware that they are evil, and would perhaps even characterise themselves or their actions as 'good' or at least 'necessary'. To use a historical example, many Nazis would fall into this category - committing evil actions whilst somehow believing that they are acting for the greater good.

 

Evil characters are just as capable of falling in love or developing deep and lasting friendships as any other character - not all of their relationships have to be based on cynicism and self advancement.

 

There are limits to 'evil'. An evil character might not have problem murdering a totally innocent adult man for profit or even for fun, but might balk at harming women and children. The same character might have no problem killing for pay, but might consider a religiously motivated human sacrifice to be an abomination.

 

Evil characters can be redeemable. It's interesting that a lot of RPGs have a mechanism whereby the player character's alignment can change, but very few (correct me if I'm wrong), have a way to change the alignment of NPCs. There are a number of perfectly feasible and realistic ways by which the alignment of an evil character could shift - religious conversion, falling in love for the first time, spending a lot of time with a powerful and charismatic 'good' character, a bout of introspective depression,  or even brain damage from one too many knocks on the head. It would be very satisfying for a 'good' player character to gradually, perhaps over the course of a whole game 'convert' an evil character to their way of thinking (or visa versa - an evil PC causing a good character to 'fall').

 

I sincerely hope that Project Eternity has some well thought out, complex and nuanced 'evil characters', rather than a few cardboard cut-outs with a penchant for killing and a maniacal laugh...

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Welcome to the forums Bojohnson, There's been quite a bit of discussion about this topic already. Though perhaps it would be a good thing to find them all and merge them all into a giant thread named "EVIL"

The problem, I think, is with the tag 'Evil" in the first place. Evil is a matter of perspective, and while there's majority held beliefs, that does not make them right or wrong.

I'd rather do away with 'good' and 'evil' altogether in this game, and let the player judge each character's motivations for him/herself.

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It's better to build a character using history, motivations, issues, prejudices, etc. Then, once you have answered questions about your character(how does Argu the half-orc feel about either side of his heritage?), then you can more accurately decide where his or her alignment lies. Alignment is a gamification, and should be one of the last things you decide when building your character.

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There's a sliding scale between a basic good/evil conflict and a conflict between two competing parties with no moral overtones, and I'd love to see Project Eternity more toward the middle of that spectrum.

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I rather PE not do the labeling for us but  rather just give us a wide range of choices with the  ending being the sum of the consequences of our actions. When involved in conflict saving the most lives may not mean making all the optimal decisions and may require you to allow certain atrocities to happen or inflict some yourself.

 

This is what got me big time about the new Torment game inXile is pitching up....they have an entirely new way to deal with character and splits it up in five shades without any one being clearly good or evil.

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Once again, P:E has already been described by Obsidian as eschewing the concept of black & white morality sliding scales/D&D alignment matrices.

 

Evil is subjective, most people who do evil things don't believe they're evil. Most individual acts of "evil" are typically driven by selfishness and, yes, a sociopathic lack of empathy. In the case of the Nazis, most of them were reticent and often even offput/disgusted by what they were doing, but they had been convinced by their superiors that it was for a greater good, which is a major factor in real-world acts of mass-scale, organized "evil," as has been found in psychological studies.

 

Another example: South African men who gangrape lesbians to "correct" them and "make them straight" believe they are the good guys, because the bible says homosexuality is bad, and rapists typically believe themselves to be entitled to have any woman they want.

 

Real world examples, note that while the rapists interviewed don't see themselves as doing anything wrong, at the same time, they wouldn't want their female family members to be raped:

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/101east/2013/03/201335205155725918.html

Edited by AGX-17
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Good-Evil is a damnable legacy from AD&D that stalks both PE, Dragon Age and I bet will stalk Torment as well. As characters no longer have the concept of alignment, they become way more flexible to shape. Yet the other extreme is as bad IMO. I mean "everyone grey" concept. It may lead to dangers of "templating" the characters - this started to aapear in Dragon Age Origins and  and culminated in DA2.

 

I think there should be those, who could be redeemed and those, who will not change their beliefs\ideologies that players may be willing to change. Personality should shape how PC will view character - as evil or not.

It is hard to justify some deeds, like childkilling, rape, slavery, but it could be done. A matter of perspective.

I support charcters different from standart "goody-two-shoes" we see in every single game. Travelling and interacting with ruthless, mercyless, selfish, brutal and violent NPCs would be rich experience.

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Once again, P:E has already been described by Obsidian as eschewing the concept of black & white morality sliding scales/D&D alignment matrices.

 

Evil is subjective, most people who do evil things don't believe they're evil. Most individual acts of "evil" are typically driven by selfishness and, yes, a sociopathic lack of empathy. In the case of the Nazis, most of them were reticent and often even offput/disgusted by what they were doing, but they had been convinced by their superiors that it was for a greater good, which is a major factor in real-world acts of mass-scale, organized "evil," as has been found in psychological studies.

 

Another example: South African men who gangrape lesbians to "correct" them and "make them straight" believe they are the good guys, because the bible says homosexuality is bad, and rapists typically believe themselves to be entitled to have any woman they want.

 

Real world examples, note that while the rapists interviewed don't see themselves as doing anything wrong, at the same time, they wouldn't want their female family members to be raped:

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/101east/2013/03/201335205155725918.html

The problem here is that you still limit your understanding to conventional soapy norms of good. There are real situations where saving the most actually does mean having to let some die for example and there are a lot more situations with similar notes. The way I see it the problem is a lot less about how people see their own actions....this is merely a symptom not the real problem. The real problem is the broken norms and definitions we have. People are not taught to think and reason but to blindly follow and obey....do this, never under any circumstance do that, etc.......nothing is ever as simple as that and every rule has an exception.

 

The issue of rape is really getting pathetic....all a woman has to do is start crying and automatically the guy is guilty without much of an investigation and law differs from state to state and country to country.....in some places touching the inner thigh automatically constitutes rape and there are a million more complicated and unbelievably insane circumstances where the vilified "rapist" did next to nothing.

Edited by Darth Trethon

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The issue of rape is really getting pathetic....all a woman has to do is start crying and automatically the guy is guilty without much of an investigation and law differs from state to state and country to country.....in some places touching the inner thigh automatically constitutes rape and there are a million more complicated and unbelievably insane circumstances where the vilified "rapist" did next to nothing.

 

It's also a lot more complicated than you- by claiming that the alleged rapists are the victims- are making it out to be, but... let's just not go there.

Edited by mcmanusaur
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The issue of rape is really getting pathetic....all a woman has to do is start crying and automatically the guy is guilty without much of an investigation and law differs from state to state and country to country.....in some places touching the inner thigh automatically constitutes rape and there are a million more complicated and unbelievably insane circumstances where the vilified "rapist" did next to nothing.

 

It's also a lot more complicated than you- by claiming that the alleged rapists are the victims- are making it out to be, but... let's just not go there.

Neither case is 100% but parading the issue of rape without considering both sides to get some point across isn't the way. And there are a lot of societal factors that really blur the issue....like clubs and alcohol, the number one passtime of human beings. You know, where both genders go a drink themselves until they black out and then wake up having done things neither remembers. The whole mentality revolving around schoolboy heroics and protecting the damsels in distress is really getting silly.....in more cases than not when it comes to rape allegations a solid case can be made that both are at fault while there aren't nearly as many cases as we think where it actually is what people think it is or the "victim" is throwing a show....hell we live in a society that encourages people to feel victimized rather than accept responsibility and that goes both ways.

 

There is A LOT more to be said on the issue but it ties into other things like culture and religion and so on so I rather not open that can of worms.

 

Suffice to say that no, nothing ever that simple or clear cut. The movie Watchmen(preferably the ultimate cut if you can get your hands on it with the tales of the black freighter) makes a wonderful case for the shades of gray between the wildly held cliche views of good and evil.

Edited by Darth Trethon

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What exactly does any of that have to do with people who think that they can turn lesbians straight by raping them?

For one you're not looking at the real problem....you won't be able to teach those men differently or convince them otherwise unless you recognize and address the real issue which is their culture and religion. Then even if you somehow did convince them otherwise the problem remains that there are likely another 100 extremely wrong things done in the name of that religion that you are ignoring or unaware of. You can't treat the symptom without curing the disease. This is sort of an extreme example but nuances similar is varying issues can be found in all cultures.

 

But alas this is NOT the topic, this thread is about the way we perceive and define what is evil rather than about rape or men raping lesbians to turn them straight.

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And what does any of that have to do with women who pretend to be victims of rape?

 

And who says no one is looking at the real problem? The person who brought up the issue of people trying to turn lesbians straight by raping them used it as an example of people doing bad things while thinking they're doing good. No one said that it wasn't a result of culture or religion. In fact, the OP specifically stated that religion was a motivation. Regardless, the point wasn't an exploration into why people may think doing something bad is good, just that people do it.

 

It seems like you're just making a pointless non sequitur, arguing a point no one brought up.

Edited by Giantevilhead
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And what does any of that have to do with women who pretend to be victims of rape?

 

And who says no one is looking at the real problem? The person who brought up the issue of people trying to turn lesbians straight by raping them used it as an example of people doing bad things while thinking they're doing good. No one said that it wasn't a result of culture or religion. In fact, the OP specifically stated that religion was a motivation. Regardless, the point wasn't an exploration into why people may think doing something bad is good, just that people do it.

 

It seems like you're just making a pointless non sequitur, arguing a point no one brought up.

The issue of good and evil is far more complicated than what people think they are doing. For every person that wrongly think they are doing good there is another who is right and wrongly judged by society. Talking about the lesbians raped is irrelevant, that's one tiny aspect of a much larger problem that  needs to be addressed and solved.

 

At the end of the day it is irrelevant what anyone thinks....we are hardly anything other than a virus spreading on the face of this planet destroying species by the thousands and wearing out the resources of this planet. Look up the global population growth and a little something called exponential growth. Beyond that it really takes a lot of gall to presume one is good when we feast on butchered animals on a daily basis....the amount of misery and suffering we create without thinking anything of it is insane. What we perceive as good are merely foolish ideas based on nothing other than wants and needs....same with our relationships. There are a hundred worse and more urgent situations like murders being

committed in the name of that religion so why focus on the lesbians being raped? People focus on what they care about.....someone is afraid of a relative being raped they'll start crying for rapists to all be jailed....if someone is gay/lesbian they'll focus more on lesbians being raped rather than rape in general....to think of how horrible it is not to be able to scream your sexuality to the world.  :-  Nevermind the murders....nobody I give a damn about falls under the religious criteria for being killed on sight, nevermind the issue of priests of the world's largest religion raping children, I'm not taking mine to church anyway. And on and on and on....we sure love to think of ourselves as good and whatever else but ultimately that is all we ever do....think of ourselves....and too few see the real problems and should they say anything about it they are vilified. Talking about religion is taboo by law....god have mercy on you if you offend somebody's beliefs.

 

At the end of the day most people are sexually insane regardless of gender or orientation....sex is a lot less about reproduction and a lot more about satisfying instinctual animistic desires we really do not comprehend....or for that matter care to comprehend. This too is a core problem that is probably much larger than religion or politics. Everyone is busy playing victim after they or someone close suffers something and even then they are unwilling to look at address the real diseases. It's like trying to make fever illegal without trying to even look at even one of the hundreds of disease that cause fever or how these diseases are contacted.

 

The biggest problem of all as I see it is how self righteous humans are in their nearly infinite ignorance.....how certain we are that we know right and wrong. It's pathetic really.

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Some concern has been raised on the topics here - while I understand the underlying point being made (that evil is relative term), some of the examples used to illustrate the point are a little.. troubling.. Please keep the discussion within reason and remember that you are currently discussing this on a public board where kids and young people frequent. So keep it light guys or use the PM service.

Fortune favors the bald.

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@DarthTrethon

 

You sure seem to like to talk a lot about the evils or religion...

 

 

That said, you are right when you say that "evil" and motivation (what makes one person do X) is a complex issue. It is.

Infinitely so.

 

 

 

The biggest problem of all as I see it is how self righteous humans are in their nearly infinite ignorance.....how certain we are that we know right and wrong. It's pathetic really.

 

That's partially because of self-validation and the need to actually have a firm stance on some things.

All of us MUST have some firm footing, some fundamentals that we can cling to. And this extends more than just the physical (like laws of physics).

* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

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Evil characters can be redeemable. It's interesting that a lot of RPGs have a mechanism whereby the player character's alignment can change, but very few (correct me if I'm wrong), have a way to change the alignment of NPCs. There are a number of perfectly feasible and realistic ways by which the alignment of an evil character could shift - religious conversion, falling in love for the first time, spending a lot of time with a powerful and charismatic 'good' character, a bout of introspective depression,  or even brain damage from one too many knocks on the head. It would be very satisfying for a 'good' player character to gradually, perhaps over the course of a whole game 'convert' an evil character to their way of thinking (or visa versa - an evil PC causing a good character to 'fall').

 

Well I don't think it's that uncommon. I can't really point to a good example of a "true" npc (i.e. not your companion) that changes it's alignment in a realistic ways (there are lots of instances where it is done, but unrealistically "Oh my god what have I done, you are right I'll be good now"). However I can point to few examples where I think it was done at least not terribly: Viconia in BG series can be persuaded to be good, as well as Sarevok. Also, few of the companions in KOTOR2 can change their alignment to match yours. That's from the top of my head.

You rise a very interesting point however. I guess it all boils down to the quality of writing. It's much easier to create obviously over the top evil wizard character, and much harder to show his good sides too and provide you with a dilemma.  That's what I liked about the "evil" Theyrn in DA:O for example. I think there should be sort of Witcher-like morality choices, where sometimes no matter what you choose it's never 100% good, sometimes neither of the options is even 50% good. 

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@DarthTrethon

 

You sure seem to like to talk a lot about the evils or religion...

 

 

That said, you are right when you say that "evil" and motivation (what makes one person do X) is a complex issue. It is.

Infinitely so.

 

 

 

The biggest problem of all as I see it is how self righteous humans are in their nearly infinite ignorance.....how certain we are that we know right and wrong. It's pathetic really.

 

That's partially because of self-validation and the need to actually have a firm stance on some things.

All of us MUST have some firm footing, some fundamentals that we can cling to. And this extends more than just the physical (like laws of physics).

Religion...haven't even started really, there's A LOT more where that came from but it's not all roses and butterflies so I'm not going there. As for the need to have a firm stance....that's perpetuated by the misguided self righteousness.....imagine the embarrassment(and in many cases punishment) for being the only one that doesn't know/accept/tries to break the status quo.....it's a cycle that feeds itself.

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You misssed my point.

 

One has to have some sense of stability, some anchoring point, some sense of direction.

You need to have up and down, left and right, right and wrong.

We just need it to function in this world and stay sane.

 

 

If I asked you if killing children is right or wrong, what would you say? You have a stance on thing. All of us have. On on some things you will have a very strong stance, a undeniable conviction.

 

 

And yes. Do not start harping on religion. It's a recepie for doom and thread closure. And also for earning my hostility.

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* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

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Editing went wrong and post went away.....all in all life is not easy and letting others tell you what to do is a very bad idea.....but history seems to be lacking examples as do the news.

Edited by Darth Trethon

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I think I'm beginning to lose sight of the point certain people are trying to make in this thread... Are we trying to argue that there is no such thing as good and evil, or that we can never know what true good and evil are? Or are we just ranting about our lives?

Edited by mcmanusaur
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I think I'm beginning to lose sight of the point certain people are trying to make in this thread... Are we trying to argue that there is no such thing as good and evil, or that we can never know what true good and evil are?

We're only expecting the devs to resolve issues that we as a species haven't resolved yet. Nothing more difficult. Edited by Sacred_Path
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I think I'm beginning to lose sight of the point certain people are trying to make in this thread... Are we trying to argue that there is no such thing as good and evil, or that we can never know what true good and evil are?

We're only expecting the devs to resolve issues where we as a species haven't resolved yet. Nothing more difficult.

Devs? One already said examples weren't welcome and there have been none after....beyond that there is no further issue with the discussion afaik. Some people have been really sheltered and some of the less pleasant details of reality may be shocking. 

 

And the answer to the good and evil question is that the worst thing we can possibly do is presume we know it.

Edited by Darth Trethon

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I think I'm beginning to lose sight of the point certain people are trying to make in this thread... Are we trying to argue that there is no such thing as good and evil, or that we can never know what true good and evil are?

We're only expecting the devs to resolve issues where we as a species haven't resolved yet. Nothing more difficult.

Devs? One already said examples weren't welcome and there have been none after....beyond that there is no further issue with the discussion afaik. Some people have been really sheltered and some of the less pleasant details of reality may be shocking. 

 

And the answer to the good and evil question is that the worst thing we can possibly do is presume we know it.

I find it interesting how you assert that "the worst thing we can possibly do is presume we know [good and evil]", when you present your own account as revelations of objective "reality". Seems legit.

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