Trimalcio’s Guide to EVIL
Last Update Jan. 5, 2007

Character Creation

Character creation is arguably the most important aspect of playing an evil character. When you think evil, you think of old men, hunched over, black robes, scarred faces (if you can even see his face) and loads of minions to do his bidding. There are two versions of thought to this stereotype when playing an Evil character.

Some role-players like to adhere to the stereotype of an Evil character. This will often make newer players take note of you, stay out of your way, and even may intimidate them into thinking your character is more powerful than they are. However, the first time you actually use your character directly in a session, they will learn that you are not as powerful as they originally thought. The key to developing this type of Evil character is to not get directly involved in anything that will show your weaknesses. (More about this in another article.)

I, on the other hand, like to impress upon my DM’s and other players that evil does lurk around every corner. For example, Trimalcio is the most evil character I have ever played. He is evil to the point that he killed another PC upon first meeting him because he wasn’t given the "respect" that he deserved. Trimalcio, unless you worked directly with him, appears as a kindly gnome, not out to hurt anyone or to cause a stir. Yet at the drop of a hat, Trimalcio can and will backstab you and take your belongings for his own. He wears a brightly colored robe, and gets right in the "thick of things". One moment he will save another PC from a monster, the next steal his money and belongings while he is unconscious. Many role-players forget the chaotic nature of pure evil. For the best Evil role-playing experience, open your minds to the possibilities of your character. Don’t give in to the stereotypes! Keep your other player characters on their toes!

The Laugh

Evil, Out of Place, or just Plain Strange

Ok. You have the basic character that you want to play. The next step is to start looking at and determining how your character will act.

In movies, we can all see who the bad guy is, because of that evil laugh. Some laugh like a maniac, others a gently laugh knowing they are smarter than the good guy. What you choose in you laugh will define your character. Be sure and practice your laugh and use it. Nothing unnerves other PC’s than your laughter.

Personally, I like the "laugh at inopportune times" style of evil laughter. For instance, my character may laugh at the little boy getting spanked for stealing a piece of food from a merchant. Or double over in laughter and mimic the fighter who misses wildly on his foe. This type of laughter always keeps the other PC’s wondering why you are laughing.

The only thing to remember with this style of laughter is you better have the balls to back up your laugh. That fighter may come after you, so always have a spell ready to ‘zap em’ if they decide you are too funny for your own good.

Take a look at AFI’s top Villians and how they laughed. You may find exactly what you are looking for.

Dr. Hannibal Lecter

Norman Bates

Darth Vader

The Wicked Witch of the West

Nurse Ratched

Choosing how EVIL to be

Choosing alignment is very critical, because it will help you to set your character up. I say this because either having morals or lacking them is crucial to the way the character will lead his life.

Lets take a look at a few of the AD&D style Evil alignments. Here is probably the best description I have found about alignments. Take a look, and choose for yourself.

Degrees of Evil

Lawful evil characters believe in using society and its laws to benefit themselves. Structure and organization elevate those who deserve to rule as well as provide a clearly defined hierarchy between master and servant. To this end, lawful evil characters support laws and societies that protect their own concerns. If someone is hurt or suffers because of a law that benefits lawful evil characters, too bad. Lawful evil characters obey laws out of fear of punishment. Because they may be forced to honor an unfavorable contract or oath they have made, lawful evil characters are usually very careful about giving their word. Once given, they break their word only if they can find a way to do it legally, within the laws of the society. An iron-fisted tyrant and a devious, greedy merchant are examples of lawful evil beings.

  1. Always keeps his word of honor.
  2. Lies and cheats those not worthy of his respect.
  3. May or may not kill an unarmed foe.
  4. Never kills an innocent but will harm, harass or kidnap.
  5. Never tortures for pleasure but will to extract information.
  6. Never kills for pleasure - always has a reason.
  7. May or may not help someone in need.
  8. Respects honor and self-discipline. Has no time for the law.
  9. Will work with others to attain his goals.
  10. May take dirty money.
  11. Never betrays a friend.
Neutral evil characters are primarily concerned with themselves and their own advancement. They have no particular objection to working with others or, for that matter, going it on their own. Their only interest is in getting ahead. If there is a quick and easy way to gain a profit, whether it is legal, questionable, or obviously illegal, they take advantage of it. Although neutral evil characters do not have the every-man-for-himself attitude of chaotic characters, they have no qualms about betraying their friends and companions for personal gain. They typically base their allegiance on power and money, which makes them quite receptive to bribes. An unscrupulous mercenary, a common thief, and a double-crossing informer who betrays people to the authorities to protect and advance himself are typical examples of neutral evil characters.

  1. Will not necessarily keep his word to anyone.
  2. Lies and cheats indiscriminately.
  3. Will happily kill an unarmed foe.
  4. Will harm and use an innocent, killing if necessary.
  5. Uses torture to extract information. (And enjoys it! May torture for pleasure).
  6. May kill for sheer pleasure.
  7. Feels no compulsion to help others without some sort of tangible reward.
  8. Works with others if it will help achieve his personal goals.
  9. Will take dirty money, etc. without hesitation.
  10. Will betray a friend if it serves his needs.
  11. Has little respect for others' lives.

Chaotic Evil characters are the bane of all that is good and organized. Chaotic evil characters are motivated by the desire for personal gain and pleasure. They see absolutely nothing wrong with taking whatever they want by whatever means possible. Laws and governments are the tools of weaklings unable to fend for themselves. The strong have the right to take what they want, and the weak are there to be exploited. When chaotic evil characters band together, they are not motivated by a desire to cooperate, but rather to oppose powerful enemies. Such a group can be held together only by a strong leader capable of bullying his underlings into obedience. Since leadership is based on raw power, a leader is likely to be replaced at the first sign of weakness by anyone who can take his position away from him by any method. Bloodthirsty buccaneers and monsters of low intelligence are fine examples of chaotic evil personalities.
  1. Rarely keeps his word. Has no honor.
  2. Lies and cheats anyone.
  3. Most certainly attacks and kills an unarmed foe (those are the best kind!).
  4. Will hurt and/or kill an innocent without a second thought. (Or for pleasure).
  5. Uses torture to extract information and pleasure.
  6. Will kill for sheer pleasure.
  7. Is likely to help someone only on a whim.
  8. Despises honor and authority and self-discipline. Views them as weaknesses.
  9. Does not work well in a group. Constantly vying for power and/or command.
  10. Will always take dirty money, etc.
  11. Will betray a friend. After all, you can always get another friend.
  12. Associates mostly with other evil alignments.
"Evil Geniuses always have an Evil Plan, and their primary weakness is their arrogant overconfidence in that plan. Arrogance is almost never useful, and when exercised to a villainous degree, it makes inherent weaknesses and flaws virtually invisible to Their owner. Evil Geniuses cannot comprehend that their Evil Plans might be flawed, nor can they entertain the possibility of a fatal weakness in their own abilities. Knowing this is the key to defeating the Evil Genius."

Reread the paragraph above. Letting even other PC's know your weakness will get you killed. No matter how much you think you can trust them, not matter how "good or evil" they are, never EVER let anyone see your weakness.

How can you do that? Simple, if you are no good at something, avoid it! Sounds easy, doesn.t it? We all know that it isn't that easy though. Let's look at some examples.

You are sitting in a bar minding your own business. The inevitable bar fight breaks out, and you are pulled into the middle of it. Your magic can defend you against just about everything. Too bad you came to the bar just after defeating a large monster that drained most of your spells. At a regular hand to hand or melee weapon fight, you will get a## kicked. Do you really want your PC friends to know that? What if they wait until they know you are almost out of spells and then force you to return that golden goblet you stole from the king? Or worse yet, kill you for being "evil". It.s your action, what do you do? Throw what magic you have left at them, hoping that will be enough to scare them away from you? I wouldn't. This is again showing a weakness that you rely too heavily on your magic.

Evil doesn't always mean that you need to kill. Humiliation sometimes works just as well as killing when that "small little magic user" can best a fighter in melee combat. What? How am I going to do that? First off, remember that he probably has had more than you to drink (if you ever let your evil character drink, never give him enough to loose his edge.) You are probably smaller, lighter, and more dexterous than him. This is a time for finesse and judgment to take a hold of your evil little self.

A well placed acrobatic roll to when the "big bad fighter" tries to grab you can cause him to grab a chair, a friend, or just look very silly missing wildly. Make sure that you comment on this with a laugh, joke, or other stinging comment. Keeping him mad while you keep your cool is the final key to winning this encounter. If you can, on tumbling roll or if you can get a good action on him, take a swipe at him. Not to hurt him physically, but mentally. A well placed shot to the rear end with a laugh always gets cheers from the crowd.

If things start to get a little hairy, you have another choice to make that could mean winning and losing to your character. Either choice can bring you out the winner, it depends greatly on the DM and how your character is perceived by the others in the area. You can either move the fight from the "big bad fighter" and you to another person, or you can unleash some magic to "shock and awe" all in the vicinity.

Moving the fight can be very effective if you take moments to glance around and see what the other people in the area are doing. Find someone who is not only enjoying the fight, but is rooting for you and maybe even clenching his hands and teeth. Slowly move the fight towards this person, and wait for a good opportune time to "help" your opponent fall into this person you have observed. Chances are high that he will join the fight, and you will be able to make a quick escape without being noticed. Another tactic that is very effective for keeping PC's and NPC's guessing (usually on the side of underestimating your capabilities) is to run behind the same type of NPC that we identified as an ally and make comments such as "Help me Help me! The Big Bad Fighter is scaring me!" Remember to keep not only air of lightheartedness to your voice, but also of urgency. This may be a good way of stopping the fight using other NPC's (or PC's!) if you so desire.

You may also want to unleash some of your magic "power" to finalize the fight. Again, I wouldn't want to show all that you are capable of, but maybe just a glimpse. For example, I ran into a Barbarian that just didn't think much of my Fire Elementalist Mage. I egged him on, doing just as I had described above. Unfortunately, there weren't enough people in the place to pick out someone that could help my cause. Finally, after a few rounds the Barbarian PC was able to capture me in a bear hug. Keeping my cool, I used Burning Hands to Ignite the oil I always carry with me, and bellow at the top of my lungs "I am the Dwead Piwate Woberts." (O.k. have fun with our movie quotes also) He quickly dropped me, and I cast invisibility quick enough that no one new what happened, except that I erupt in flames and was gone. Now, what a great story about that character when he reappears the next day in the bar as if nothing happened.

With all of these, the main thing is be aware of your characters weakness, and avoid ways to show the other PC's and your DM those weaknesses. It really is harder to role-play an Evil individual than a good one, as you need to always "look over your shoulder."
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