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Exploring something new (an attempt to do an evil playthrough)

JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 18,477
It's not easy to find something new in these games when you have hundreds of hours in. But I plan to come back to BG, as "the realms call, and you go."

So, I've had an idea. What if I attempt to put more PRing into the run, and RPing as an evil character. Inspired by good runs by @BelgarathMTH, @Arvia , and others, I've decided to create an unusual for me group of characters, and will try to make decisions according to their ethics.

The main character will be a necromancer who can only scribe necromancy spells. All other spells can be cast from scrolls only. For the first level, she went with Larloch's Minor Drain and Chill Touch.

The group which will support the necromancer (neutral evil) consists of:
- a blackguard (chaotic evil)
- a cleric of Talos (chaotic evil)
- an assassin with points into Set Traps (neutral evil)
- a sorcerer (lawful evil) whose spell picks are spells which can be looked at as "evil". I'm not sure about exact spell choices, but Blindness, Spook, Chromatic Orb descriptions suit the evil ethics. In the same way, clerics' Command literally makes enemies "die" (sleep)
- the final party spot will belong to NPCs so that I could complete quests

I won't use "good" cleric spells, such as Cure Wounds. So healing is only possible via potions and spells like Larloch's Minor Drain (thanks to @Tresset's quick fix from here). But I think I can use spells like Protection from Fear - evil characters shouldn't be affected by Fear (as the blackguard kit ability confirms).

If you have further ideas about how to pursue evil ethics in terms of spells, I'd be happy to listen.

Meet Mara, Czernobog, Eruína, Grim, and Nav'. All stats are taken "as is" - no adjusting, which helps create realistic stats. As a consequence, my blackguard will need Dex bracers, and my sorc has the second highest STR in the group.

With 50 points in Set Traps, Grim managed to set a trap next to Fuller. Mara saw the room was full of chests with potentially important weapons and Fuller carried a nice armour himself. A backstab from Grim failed, but Command worked, while Spook affected the Watcher nearby. Mara's Chill Touch finished the Watcher (because he was shredded to ice pieces all the items were lost), while Fuller didn't recover from his sleep.

I already can feel the difference - this is the first time ever I used Chill Touch! And the party reputation is 3.

Blindness helped against lone but hard-hitting animals.

Tarnesh failed his saving throw against Command, with Poison Weapon already activated by both Czernobog and Grim, and Spook flying his way.

No help for Joia. Turns out she says "I'll find help elsewhere" and just leaves, letting you loot her chests.

Marl hit hard in melee, so Eruína frightened him with Spook.

Party level: 1
Party reputation: 3
Reloads: 0
Mods: SCS (full), IWD voice sets: they are awesome, and provide a lot of lines suitable for evil characters. "The silent blade cuts best!"



  • StummvonBordwehrStummvonBordwehr Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 655
    Oh the humanity... I cant watch this. A party
    With no min maxed characters after hours of rerolling

    Have fun. And keep us updated.

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,342
    This sounds interesting and fun to read. Maybe it will bring a renewed flow of traffic to this sub-forum.

    Do you plan to continue if you have a reload? I'm guessing maybe so, since you didn't put this in the no-reload thread.

  • OrlonKronsteenOrlonKronsteen Member Posts: 681
    It's a lot of fun and I only wish I had the time to do so. I've jumped into the no-reload thread on a couple of occasions, but I couldn't keep up with the documentation of my runs along with all the reading - and playing, of course. I find this run particularly intriguing since I take it you're RPing in a way that's not characteristic to you?

  • ArviaArvia Member Posts: 634
    @JuliusBorisov , you have my highest respect for trying to really roleplay evil. I think it's much more difficult than lawful good. Especially the way how you limit your spells and keep your reputation so low is going to make the game quite a challenge, I think. And you probably won't have access to several quests.
    Good luck, and have fun. And steer clear of the paladins ;)
    I'm going to follow with great interest.

  • Ludwig_IILudwig_II Member Posts: 182
    In my opinion, what's even harder than roleplaying evil is stopping the urge to min max stats after rolling. I have never managed to accomplish that myself.

    Looks like your playthrough will be challenging and fun. I'll follow with interest too. And I definitely agree with you on IWD soundsets, they are amazing.

  • OrlonKronsteenOrlonKronsteen Member Posts: 681
    Ludwig_II wrote: »
    In my opinion, what's even harder than roleplaying evil is stopping the urge to min max stats after rolling. I have never managed to accomplish that myself.

    I also find it hard to stop myself from rushing through a lot of the dialogue options and quests, because I've done them so many times. I try to immerse myself in the world and the story, but sometimes autopilot takes over and I end up rapid firing through the game, which breaks the RP immersion. One of the leading causes of restartitis, I think.

  • Mantis37Mantis37 Member Posts: 949
    Pursuing an evil path will be very challenging, I want to focus on that mainly. I actually think it might be more difficult than just surviving in a no-reload playthrough. So if I need reloads, for example, to replay something to better embody this incentive, I will do them. I also want to "feel hooked" again, so stopping and starting anew because of the main character's death doesn't seem a correct choice.

    I certainly hope this vibe of sharing playthroughs will bring in more players.

    As a necromancer I quite enjoy devouring fellow party members' souls if I want a reload, so that's one way to justify it if that helps!

  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 18,477
    edited May 29
    A kinda 5.5 update.

    I've been impressed by how good Horror works when cast by a Necromancer (enemies have to save with a -2 save penalty), so I've been thinking more about my approach towards spells for this run.

    Should spells like fireball be considered evil? I'm against healing spells, but damaging spells are ... damaging. There's a chance to look at them as if the caster wants their victims to suffer (something along the lines of a pyromaniac). But then, you can look at it this way: elementals represent elements, and water/fire are neutral. But then again, a Priest of Talos has a special lightning ability and uses elements for protection.

    The more I thought about it, the more difficult it seemed.

    Maybe I should use the approach such as - if a lich uses these or those spells, I can use them as well, as there can be only a few more evil creatures than liches. But a lich uses such spells as Stoneskin, i.e. totally protective.

    All Illusion spells (which you can imagine a wizard could use to trick their enemies, eg. with Improved Invisibility) are not available to necromancers. Are they evil? Are they good?

    Of course, such spells as Imprisonment and all kinds of demons suit the run.

    In end, this is my conclusion: I should first pick spells that are directly evil, eg. on the 4th level, it would be Contagion (Necromancy), or Emotion: Hopelessness, or Confusion. Then I should pick spells that more or less tricky, eg. Fireshield (not only protection, but also damage to those who attack), or different spell turning spells. Then I should pick other spells that are not entirely protective.

    What do you folks think? And what difference should be between a Necromancer and a Sorcerer in this regard? So far, I've been using only necromancy spells from memorization by Mara. Should I use sequencers?

    Post edited by JuliusBorisov on
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 18,477
    edited May 29
    Great support, keep these ideas coming. The challenge for me right now is figuring it out.

    What about another aspect: evil and good clerics in IWD have completely different spells to choose, and there are also neutral spells available to all alignments. See here -

    Post edited by JuliusBorisov on
  • OrlonKronsteenOrlonKronsteen Member Posts: 681
    IWD clerics: I don't play IWD, but I think it's safe to assume that the same applies. You could use any spells provided they were for self preservation or to further your goals - or the goals of your deity. So I suspect an evil deity would be fine with you using benevolent spells in the right circumstances. There is probably a bit of a scale of acceptability depending on the deity. My Forgotten Realms lore is really weak, but hypothetically a really vile and chaotically evil deity would likely be less tolerant of one of their clerics using benevolent spells than a more neutral or calculatingly evil deity.

    There is also the type of evil you're playing, to consider. Again there's a scale from demon-worshiping, bloodthirsty psychopath to milder incarnations (like a greedy politician who wouldn't kill people, but is willing to use bribes, etc.). The D&D alignment system doesn't really help IMO, as it's not really based on any scientific understanding of psychology, and is incredibly limited in it's ability to profile people in real life. For what it's worth, I pretty much ignore it. My paladins, for instance, while generally good, have darker sides to them. Theirs is a vengeful brand of justice, and they're not afraid of breaking rules for the greater good. This isn't in accordance with the description of Lawful Good in the Player's Handbook, but I think it makes for more 'realistic' and interesting play (not to mention justifying Jan Jansen's shoplifting sprees when your pc is a pally). ;)

    I think the most important question to ask is this: who is your character? This is probably best answered during character creation. When you know their background, personality, and goals, it's easier to make decisions that are consistent from a RP standpoint. If they're a vile, demon-serving crew they'll be much less likely to behave in a benevolent manner, and will generally sow chaos and misery. If they're only mildly self-serving, they'll be more likely to do good things on occasion, and be more sympathetic to their comrades. If they're clerics, they'll presumably follow less evil deities, too.

  • ArviaArvia Member Posts: 634
    I ask myself how the difference between lawful evil and chaotic evil would influence the decision on spellcasting.
    Your chaotic evil cleric would probably use anything that works for him, no matter the cost on others. Protective spells on himself are probably justified because he will use anything to his advantage, but protective spells with a group effect?
    Your lawful evil sorcerer will maybe follow their leader and therefore also cast protective spells on the group, because it helps them reach their goals.

    I think there are many spells that can't be put into a good or evil category. Illusions, like Improved Invisibility?
    You can use them to sneak in and kill everybody quickly (evil), or you can use them to scout ahead and avoid unnecessary fights (good).
    Some spells aren't good or evil per se, it depends on how you use them.

    Also, if many spells, like Blindness, or Horror, look cruel and seem evil, does it mean a good-aligned character shouldn't use them? Again, it depends more on the situation and the reason why you use them, not on the spells themselves.

    And I wonder if chaotic evil persons could really stay part of a team for a longer time.

  • OrlonKronsteenOrlonKronsteen Member Posts: 681
    I hope your run is still going! But if you're like me you abandoned your current play through(s) to upgrade SCS. :)

  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 18,477
    No, I didn't abandon it - but at the same time didn't have time to play. I'd wait before upgrading the SCS mod probably till BG2 (if I reach it) - as I got accustomed to the characters.

  • ArviaArvia Member Posts: 634
    Still hoping to read more of Mara and her team in the future! Although I would immediately try to Smite your party if I met them, of course! 🙂

  • ArviaArvia Member Posts: 634
    I like your explanations why and how you make your decisions, especially because you're roleplaying something against your nature and must therefore always think about the options. It must be quite challenging!

    Unfortunately, the dialogue options sometimes leave little choice. They weren't all written with roleplaying options in mind. In my paladin run I have a similar problem. If the wording doesn't fit at all, I'm not going to accept some quests. And sometimes you only get two dialogue choices, and both of them are kind of silly and force you to choose something you wuld never say.

  • ElysianEchoesElysianEchoes Member Posts: 324
    A most very interesting thread!

    I'm a bit late to the conversion, but as for healing spells, even an evil person would bind their wounds. IMO, someone that wouldn't avail themselves of a means of healing their injuries is just a masochist, and someone that would rather spend gold on potions than use a spell that their *evil* god makes available for free is just a spendthrift. Live to kill another day, eh? Just my take.

    That said, I love what you're doing here, and appreciate you take the time to share it.

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