Lashela's Guides to Roleplaying
Roleplaying a villain
Why RP an evil person?
Short version: because it's fun!
Long version: because it's damn fun!
The world of roleplay is full of cliches, characters that follow the guidelines. However, sometimes it's fun to break the stablished and play in completely different way. Even in a static world like WoW, you can play the way you want it. So, why spend all day long helping people in worthless quests when you can do whatever _You_ want?
Just have in mind that, when you are evil, there will not be many people around you. It's hard to find "evil friendship". For that reason, try to find someone to play with! You would not believe how many evildoers are out there, waiting their chance to be discovered!
Role-playing evil and doing a good job of it is very difficult. Too many people set up evil guilds or create evil characters which in all honesty are nothing more than idiotic thugs without reason nor purpose - anyone can be a thug, only a true master can role-play being really evil. Evil is not being mean, nasty, rude or confrontational nor does it require you to steal, maim, kill, #**@, pillage or generally act like a jerk. Anyone doing those things all the time would quickly become ostracized by the community in which they live. Unfortunately, the majority of folk being "evil" are actually just being downright annoying and bordering on harassment in my own experience. Like it or not, Alliance and Horde are essentially good thinking beings (not too sure about the undead of course). Evil people should therefore be in the minority - carefully manipulating things behind the scenes to further their own desires.
Allright, enough with the advertising. Now, to the main guidelines.
Evil character: definition
Evil is a term describing that which is regarded as morally bad, intrinsically corrupt, wantonly destructive, inhumane, or wicked. In most cultures, the word is used to describe acts, thoughts, and ideas which are thought to (either directly or causally) bring about affliction and death — the opposite of life. However, the definition of what counts as evil differs widely from culture to culture and from individual to individual. Some philosophers reject the idea of evil. Plato, for example, argued that that which we call evil is merely ignorance, and that which we call good is merely that which everyone desires. In some belief systems, evil consists of a willful deviation from a code of laws (written or unwritten) or moral standard, usually ascribed to a deity. According to this definition, people who, for example, reject a certain belief or engage in practices against this code are engaged in evil acts. According to other belief systems, evil consists of intentionally doing harm, and so-called "victimless crimes" should not be considered evil. It is important to note, however, that followers of the first definition believe that these "victimless crimes" do indeed have victims, usually the moral soul of the person committing the act. The duality of 'good versus evil' is expressed, in some form or another, by many cultures. Those who believe in the duality theory of evil believe that evil cannot exist without good, nor good without evil, as they are both objective states and opposite ends of the same scale. A similar term, malice (from the Latin malus meaning "bad"), describes the deliberate human intent to harm and be harmful. "Evil", by contrast, tends to represent a more elemental concept; a disembodied spirit that is natural and yet abominable. Whereas "malice" is specifically concerned with the act itself, "evil" is the cause of a malicious act.
Allright, you are evil. Now, how evil are you? It is not enough to go around and kick people randomly (that's being jackass, not evil). First, you need a reason. If you are wicked, why is it that you have become? Madman? When did you lose sanity?
Remember as well that evil people, truely evil does not see themselves as such. It's well known the saying "I'm not evil, just misunderstood". It's for a reason! When you are evil, it's you against the world. They are the bad guys, and you are just trying to find your way.
An evil character can be polite, can be very brave, honourable and may even be quite generous.
At the same time they can also be completely unmerciful, brutal and be possessed of something of a superiority complex, wishing to have little or nothing to do with those they perceive as being weaker than them.
An evil person doesn't have to be unlikable to those they perceive as their allies/comrades. An evil person can be valued by their party as skilled fighter or healer or magic user. They don't necessarily have to be a treacherous, back stabbing fool, but they may wish to place their own agenda above that of the group that could lead to heated debate at a later stage.
A heroic warrior may wish for nothing more than to amass the power and funds necessary to return to his home village, raze it, kill the inhabitants and sow the ground with salt so nothing may grow there again. He may have saved his companions countless times, put down his cloak in puddles for ladies to cross and stood alone against the horde. But this evil sod really, really, really despises the town he grew up in and wants nothing more in life but to one day go home and put an end to all the people who made his formative years a misery, like a well armoured petulent child. He's probably not justified in feeling the way he feels (though in his mind he is justified), but that's his psychological problem. [/quote]
After that, you need a playstyle. A Dark Arcanist? Assassin? Corrupt politician? It can be related to your character class... Or not! As long as it makes sense to you, and you like it, go ahead.
Final word on this: remember that there are as many roleplaying styles as roleplayers. Do not force your style on anyone. Instead, find people who like what you do, and play along with that. Something that you consider utterly silly may be the most exciting experience for another player.
With a reason, and a playstyle, your evil character can now come to life! However, you need to define some facts about this being, give him some personality. Follows a group of classical traits for evil masterminds:
- Nervous ticks: eyes blinking, mouth in a permanent rictus, repeating a set of movements (like fliping a coin), to mention some. Due to being under continuous hunt, evil people tends to relax little. Hence, they become highly stressed. Nervous ticks are a good way to show this.
- Paranoia: this is a good alternative to "nervous ticks", to show the stress your character goes under. After all, being paranoid does not mean you are not pursued.
- Overconfidence: when characters pursue power, they oftenly see themselves as god-like creatures, someone over the rest of "commoners", and make mistakes by underestimating their foes. Don't be afraid of making mistakes, they can be a wonderful character trait. And, of course, it can all be a part of your wonderful plan...
- Impulsiveness: perhaps by anger, perhaps by lack of thought, perhaps by pride, you can do things without considering later consequences. Who cares? Do what you want, and let no one to stand in your way.
- Distrust: when you are deceived in a common basis, you start losing faith in the rest of the world. Distrust everyone, because they can be after your victories, or perhaps they wish to take advantage of your powers, or skills.. Indeed, trust no one.
- Deceiving: as the opposite of distrust, you are the one who takes advantage of every situation, and manipulate everyone around you. Patience and discipline are your ways: you have all the time in the world to see your plans to completion.
Pick one, a few, or all of them, and you'll see how your character becomes perfectly shaped now.
A part that i think it must be deeply considered, as evil laughter is truly an attittude. Laugh if you want (after all, this is what the chapter is for), but a grim cackling can hit hard in the correct moment.
Some examples of evil laughter following:
If odds are good to you, laugh! If you have been defeated, send a nasty threat, and cackle! When your scheme starts getting into motion, laugh loudly! If there are storms, or rain, laugh loud! Laugh everytime you can, for laughing strikes fear into your foes' spirit!
Now that we have in mind the what, let's focus on the how. First of all, remember that being evil does not give you a special character beyond your skills. You cannot be an evil god from another dimension (you can say you are, though), and kill everyone using your demonic pointy finger of doom. It is allright having some skills as long as they make sense. I'll follow with a few examples:
Body Regeneration -
DO: After a battle, your wounds are healed, faster, or slower.
DON'T: Someone stabs you, and the wound instantly heals. This way, you always fight at the top of the skills: you are immortal.
Competence with weapons -
DO: juggling and balancing in middle of combat, you can aim a hit with extreme precision (aim, not hit).
DON'T: You can deflect arrows with your weapons, automatically disarm people, or fight five to one.
DO: using your sorcerous abilities for some effect. Have in mind, though, which are your skills. A warlock can curse or destroy, but not to heal. A mage won't be able to control demons, and a druid is not skilled with portals and arcane energies (Talking about your "RP Class", not your ingame. You could play a mage saying you are a Warlock, after all).
DON'T: cast if you are being trapped, stunned, hit, or anything that can break concentration. It is called "Art" for a reason. Remember that you need your hands free, as well as verbal communication.
I guess you get the picture.
Yes, they do exist! And probably, they are the most fun part of evil roleplay. If you, somehow, torture / kill / kidnap / blackmail someone, it will be noticed, sooner or later! People will start asking, will interrupt whatever you do. You will be followed, and many "good" players will confront you!
Easy: confront them back! If you with to keep your evil acts secret, make sure nobody discovers that it is you. But if you _are_ discovered, deal with it! A well known assassin cannot walk openly on the streets of a city. They must hide themselves, moving away from patrols, and avoiding direct contact.
It's all for fun
As last point, remember that this is a game, and the final true goal is enjoyment. If you are not having fun in what you are doing, stop immediately. And remember that the other characters of the environment are players as well, try to keep it fun for them.
This is mostly regarding "victory". In most histories, evil people lose. That is because, after all, we hope to have a good world, someplace enjoyable. And let's face it, things would not be fun if we all were slaves, eradicated from existance, or who-knows-what. For that reason, leave the good guys win! A history is made of several chapters, and if the evil side wins on every chapter, the history loses all interest. Asume compromises, you can even decide OOC the outcome of each chapter! (Hey, that's what i do).
That's all on my small guide to evil roleplaying. I will be improving it on the next few days, so please, post your suggestions to keep this growing!
- Added a couple of sections (Laughter and Traits)
- Corrected a few typos
- Gawain's thoughts on evil RP quoted.
- Sendraks explanation on "evil" quoted.
- New trait: deceiving. Thanks to Methia for the idea.
- Definition of evil, from Wikipedia - ***http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evil