evilbastardIn all of this talk recently of playing the evil character, there has been very little conversation about how the game master should run an evil campaign.  Three episodes of two highly rated podcasts have been dedicated to the subject of playing the bad guys.  These villains won’t GM themselves after all.  Though they’ll try.   Oh yes, they’ll try.

There was a great deal of attention paid to nuancing the evil character.   It would follow that it’s similarly as challenging to GM the darker side, right?  Right?

Perhaps a little GMing advice is in order?

First off, let me say that there is absolutely no difference between running an evil alignment campaign and a good alignment campaign.  The GM should always be seeking ways to challenge not just the character’s ability to overcome the odds in melee combat, but also the character’s identity and convictions.  This is true of all characters.

For a good-to-neutral group of characters, I will set up scenarios that compel the character’s to question their beliefs and values.  The path of least resistance and surety of success may lie in betraying a trust, endangering people dependent on them.  I will make this path tempting with a semblance of enrichment as well as a healthy dose of good-of-the-many philosophy.  I tempt the good characters to the wrong by compromising their principles.

Likewise, I will tempt the evil characters to the good.  This is often managed by introducing someone the evil character can love.  A romantic interest, or a child will often do the job nicely.  Manipulating the non-player character’s interaction can yield interesting results where the bad guy finds himself performing good deeds for no reason other than it pleases the object of his affection.  This in and of itself can be the motivating factor for a villain to join an otherwise “good” party of adventurers.  After a long enough period of doing good acts, doesn’t one eventually become good?

Long story short, the game master should be engineering value-challenges for every character their players create.  Push them on the concept.  Make the character chew on his values.  A generous dollop of suffering is good for player characters!

That’s good game mastering.

Or is it evil game mastering?

I get the two confused.