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Is doing an "Evil" play through worth it?


I'm debating on whether to start an Evil play through and was hoping to get some impressions on how substantially different it is from the Good one. Obviously, your party composition is going to be different as well as your dialog choices, but beyond that you're still essentially reenacting the same story, aren't you? Did you enjoy being "Evil" and do you think the game does a good job justifying that alignment choice? By that I mean, if all being Evil means is I'm going to just go around being a D*ck to people for no reason, just because I can, I'm not sure I see the point. Thanks.



  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 16,236
    Evil characters tend to be stronger as NPC's, but in terms of dialogue choices going evil (or low reputation) doesn't make too much difference. Especially if your party leader has good charisma.

  • Carl_LCarl_L Member Posts: 41
    @SionIV " really have to force yourself to do evil or 'stupid' decisions to keep your reputation low." That's basically my general opinion about playing evil characters in these types of games, namely that doing so seems too counter-intuitive to the general narrative to the point that it destroys any sense of immersion. Though I thought the Mass Effect series (with the Renegade option) did it about as well as I've seen it done, though some of Shepherd's dialog was a little too "cartoonishly evil".

  • Carl_LCarl_L Member Posts: 41
    @Blackraven You make some good points. Maybe my problem is I don't have enough imagination (or just choose not) to create something beyond the archetypal "Hero" narrative. I generally don't go so far as to create backgrounds for my characters (beyond what the game tells me, that is). I would still like to see a game where the actual plot revolves around "being bad" because otherwise it seems like your just creating "rationalizations" for your behavior.

  • SharGuidesMyHandSharGuidesMyHand Member Posts: 2,555
    SionIV said:

    While there are some great and colorful evil characters, you really have to force yourself to do evil or 'stupid' decisions to keep your reputation low. I enjoy playing with the Evil Characters but i couldn't play an evil run based on reputation, makes little to no sense and feels incredible forced.

    Carl_L said:

    That's basically my general opinion about playing evil characters in these types of games, namely that doing so seems too counter-intuitive to the general narrative to the point that it destroys any sense of immersion.

    You two have basically hit the nail on the head as far as I'm concerned.

    Playing evil is fun and interesting in spots, and allows you access to NPCs that you might otherwise not be able to use in a "good" playthrough, but I have trouble keeping it up for an entire playthrough, and it also prevents me from being able to "identify" with my character and his or her decisions. Plus, as you've said, it also contradicts the underlying narrative of the game, which is fundamentally good, despite the game's somewhat superficial attempts to make it seem even-handed. And of course, BG2 is hugely biased toward good-aligned players and decisions, literally right from the beginning.

    @Carl_L For someone in (y)our situation, I would suggest maybe playing as a chaotic neutral character - that way you can still perform "evil" acts (i.e: being hired to kill someone), but aren't solely evil, so that you can still justify going along with the general narrative and doing the occasional "good deed."

  • MivsanMivsan Member Posts: 139
    edited June 2014
    Actually, as this is in the New Players category, I'm not sure if I should just put my whole post in a spoiler or not, but please beware that below are some minor spoilers in regards to the BG1 villain and some companions you can get in both games.

    Jenzafar said:

    (...) I wish the evil NPCs were accepting of the idea that sometimes you can do 'good things' just to curry favor with people for your own benefit, and there's no reason to get pissy about it.

    That's a very interesting point I've thought about many times before.

    While it's understandable that some evil NPCs - Viconia for example - would have a problem with a party's rising popularity/fame (as a matter of fact, Viconia shouldn't really be pleased about being infamous either), it really doesn't make too much sense for someone like Edwin to be really upset by a party's high reputation. As a Lawful Evil character of high intelligence and decent wisdom, primarily interested in obtaining power, he should have no problems figuring out that CHARNAME's party gives him unparalleled opportunities in that field. Over the course of the BG saga, not only does Edwin gain a lot of "friends"/connections for later use, but also access to a lot of magical artifacts and items of power. It seems that performing a good deed here and there is a small sacrifice for such benefits. Where else would he get a better deal? After all, he wasn't doing so hot on his own...
    I guess a similar argument could be made for most other evil NPCs. The likes of Shar-Teel and Korgan probably wouldn't care, as long as they got their share of carnage. Eldoth and Kagain should be satisfied with the amount of riches the party gets, one way or another, etc.

    It all comes down to the stiff implementation of the reputation system, which is why a lot of players voiced some complaints about it over the years. Oh well, there are always rep manipulation techniques or the Happy Patch component of BG Tweaks ;+).

    Not to be totally off-topic here, I'd have to agree with Blackraven - though the story doesn't change that much when you're evil, it's all about what's in your character's mind. I don't play evil, but I always imagined it to be more of a fight for power instead of the good of the world, with an evil CHARNAME thinking similarly to Sarevok. Spilling blood and obtaining great power in order to embrace their heritage and replace Bhaal as the next Lord of Murder. There's a lot more possibilites for a creative mind.

    Post edited by Mivsan on
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    Evil is often silly in DnD, since most of us are aware the system usually rewards 'good deeds' far better. It doesnt help that in PnP most people play anti-social rather than evil, ie Stupid Evil. The games directly or indirectly all seem to make evil playthroughs fairly absurd.

    In BG, you generally should end up slightly less powerful itemwise, but Soul Reaver is hardly bad despite not being Carsomyr. If you play evil and dont meta-game I mean. This is solidly offset by the sheer power of the evil NPCs, so it shouldn't be much harder. Many quests we all do probably shouldnt be done while playing evil, unless you are very mercenary... but even then, since most such quest givers arent offering a concrete reward (xp isnt really concrete), an evil PC should turn them down.

    A crazy Stupid Evil low rep run is a very different experience though, and worth trying if you're comfortable, and capable of stomping the Flaming Fist groups out to get you. The law wont like you, and eventually it becomes hard to purchase things without using temple donation in a kind of cheesey fashion.

  • JurisJuris Member Posts: 113
    edited June 2014
    Yes, you should do an evil playthrough - those NPCs are great

    Yes, you sometimes have to play 'stupid evil'... or 'occasionally lose your temper evil' - like generally doing the 'good' thing most of the time because it's expedient to have people like you, but occasionally you murder one of those arrogant nobles that talk down to you (think Christopher Walken)

    Post edited by Juris on
  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 16,236
    Juris said:

    Yes, you should do an evil playthrough - those NPCs are great

    Yes, you sometimes have to play 'stupid evil'... or 'occasionally lose your temper evil' - like generally doing the 'good' thing most of the time because it's expedient to have people like you, but occasionally you murder one of those arrogant nobles that talk down to you

    Especially Lord Binky.

  • mysterymeepmysterymeep Member Posts: 33
    I recently did an evil run of Baldur's Gate 1, with a Blackguard and all, and was actually surprised by the depth of it and how they made the evil half interesting. Besides, sometimes it's nice to be able to do things like have Shar-Teel chunk Eldoth and wait for Skie to start complimenting her later.

  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 21,908
    elminster said:

    Especially Lord Binky.

    And Noober. A right way to deal with him.

  • dunbardunbar Member Posts: 1,601
    I think the beauty of any RPG is that it gives the player a whole new dimension to explore - his or her own mind, which in this instance could mean looking at the perceptions and motivations of good and evil (or in my case thinking too much, getting confused and playing CN).

    In short I would say yes, it makes you think, it's fun!

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    You actually bring up an interesting point, that reputation may result in greater fame... csn't recall which book, but I remember one mentioning that in DnD, an NPC that is evil must have commited evil acts, be they summoning fiends, creating undead, murder, etc, or they arent evil. Heck, good or neutral characters will often commited minor evils, unless they areva Paladin. Thus, it probably is very obvious to Xzar or Kagain thst there are people they have crossed, or family thereof, and high rep might be getting too much attention. Xzar really doesnt want certain Elves' family members to find him, and who know who Kagain betrayed for coin. Edwin, Dorn and Viconia all are evil, and all are from a very disreputable background. They dont want to stick out!

    Low rep btw need not be as common knowledge as high... the law needs to know, shopekeepers might worry about you scaring off customers (or, you know, stealing?), and as such charge more. Unless you are 3 or below rep, most probably couldnt name many specific crimes you commited, but have 'heard' of you.

    still, the bipolar rep swings gets old fast.

    JuliusBorisov[Deleted User]
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited June 2014
    The user and all related content has been deleted.

  • abazigal5abazigal5 Member Posts: 290
    Do you mean, who do I *think* it is, or who *is* it? That may sound weird, but, from what you were saying, I'm not sure what you're asking.

  • The user and all related content has been deleted.

  • GallowglassGallowglass Member Posts: 3,356
    Returning to the topic ... @Carl_L‌ - there are two styles of Evil run (unlike a Good run, which is always high-rep).

    You can do "Smart Evil" which is high-rep (but keeping it down to max. 18 rep), representing a protagonist who is evilly-motivated but wants people to like him so that he can take advantage of them (like Sarevok, for example, who wants a high rep because he's trying to get elected), or you can do "Crazy Evil" which is low-rep, representing a rampaging psycho-killer who doesn't care that everyone knows s/he's a bad guy (like Shar-Teel, for example, who simply loves bloodshed and often says so).

    Playing Smart Evil isn't terribly different from playing Good, you just need to be careful about rep management to avoid going over 18 (which causes your Evil companions to walk out). So it's quite fun, just like playing Good is fun, but marginally trickier. Some meta-gaming knowledge is likely required for rep management.

    Playing Crazy Evil is a significantly different game, making very different choices from the Good (or Smart Evil) protagonist. If you're used to playing Good, it can be quite difficult to remember to make Crazy Evil choices instead, but at least you don't need to keep watching your rep stat. Some of the plot and quest options may make a little less sense from a Crazy Evil perspective, since the game was mainly designed to be played as Good ... but hey, at least the devs did allow you the choice (which not every game gives you) to play it (and win) as Evil if you wish! Different things will happen in the game, such as being hounded by guards and so on, and you'll sometimes have to take actions (such as donating to a temple) to boost rep when you need to buy something (because prices go sky-high when your rep is very low, and ultimately shops will outright refuse to sell to you at all). Instead of buying, you rely much more on stealing, so you need someone with a high Pick Pockets skill (which isn't nearly so important for Good guys). Again it's fun, but quite different, and generally tougher (although certainly possible) to get through everything.

    Of course some people will play a mix'n'match middle course between Smart Evil and Crazy Evil, but the two extremes illustrate the possibilities.

    So yes, playing an Evil run is worth doing. Some people always play Evil, but personally I find it more natural to play Good most of the time, and just do an Evil run occasionally.

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    Sergio said:

    Who do you think it is. I know who is the villain in BG2, but I wonder if everyone thinks he is the "real" villain

    I think a strong and progressive-ish message could be found in examining BG2 from the perspective of excessively harsh social structures. While Irenicus is evil, and deserved punishment, taking away his identity is unnecesssrily cruel, and as we see, not only counterproductive, actually created a greater evil, and caused more suffering all around than the initial punishment. There was some explanation of hoping to 'show the error of his ways', but this cant happen if no effort is made to offer guidance. Irenicus probably didnt see himself ever being accepted again, hence his brutal vengeance.

    There is the obvious parallel with many sociatal punitive systems, both formal and informal. Irenicus is very much a social outcast, and like outcasts occaisionally do, he, right or wrong, went 'shooter', to use our modern terms.

    It is also in the same vein as many prison systems that take soft criminals and create more violent and dangerous ones.

    A great many people play RPGs as neutral evil with good PR. Powergamers do this by default, hence the hilarious line in the XP tome in IWD2: Face it, You're Actually Neutral Evil.

    JuliusBorisov[Deleted User]
  • SuperFeatureSuperFeature Member Posts: 35
    I actually can't remember the last time I didn't play as evil. The freedom to do whatever is pretty good. Plus you get interesting and powerful characters, banter & ease of play.

    However it's all about how you want to play.

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  • CaloNordCaloNord Member Posts: 1,808
    Is it just me, that can start an evil party and be all "RIGHT! LET'S DO THIS!" and then by the time I get to Beregost I feel awful for being bad to so many random pixel peasants and adorable gnomes?

  • Carl_LCarl_L Member Posts: 41
    @CaloNord No... it's definitely not just you. I haven't done an Evil BG play through so I can't speak to that specifically, but most games where they have some kind of evil option I can never hang with it. I guess because my main character ends up becoming somebody I don't want to "spend time" with. Plus, like I wrote earlier in this thread it just seems counter intuitive to the overall aesthetic of the game, as being evil is some kind of extra feature they "forced" into the game, just to say that option exists. The only series I've finished an "evil" play through was Mass Effect, but in those games your character is not so much evil as he/she has a different (more the ends justify the means) philosophy on how to go about doing things.

  • CaloNordCaloNord Member Posts: 1,808
    @Carl_L‌ that's an interesting point. I was really keen on Knights of the Old Republic saying you could be Sith! I was like MAD!!! SITH! Then you get it and it's like, no, you can fall to the dark side but if you do so EVERYONE wants to kill you. You can't be Sith, your just the emo jedi no one likes.
    Mass Effect I liked a lot. I just started another play through of that yesterday. I like the more ethically based alignment system a lot. You make some very good points!
    Being evil in BG really has very little effect on the story as far as I can tell. You're still going to end up beneath Baldur's Gate fighting Sarevok. No matter how you get there, being a goodly halo'ed paladin or leaving a trail of badly mutilated pixel gnomes.

  • TsugiraiTsugirai Member Posts: 1
    Sergio said:

    [Other thoughts about being evil]

    People told me that that playing "evil" is hard. But how is it like that?

    The truth is that this game twists your mind - and the very thought of good and evil is like imprinted on your mind like if it was a sort of mark that you have to adhere to.

    That's why it is hard to play Evil. I was one of these people, I have to be sincere. But I'm no more. Why playing Evil? Because it gives you awareness about your surrounding.

    I see people not complaining about the stuff that happens in your game. Do you think it is fair that you get ambushed by harpists? I do not understand why people are so damn forgiving. They would have butchered you. Tell me one time that Elminster genuinely helped you. One time. There isn't. Tell me if one apologized. Just one person.

    And you don't even have any debt with Elminster because he always told you stuff you already knew - and he doesn't even apologize about what happened with harpists. Ah no, sorry he is busy making riddles around and calling himself "TERMINSEL" because he can. Even people on this forum judge harpists as inherently good because your father was part of them or because Elminster is good or because they read lore around.
    The harpists did nothing but using you. And who knows if even Gorion knew you would have been the child that could have ascended and took you on purpose instead of Sarevok.

    And now, I ask you. Which character do you think I like the most? For which one I feel the pain?
    And which one I hate the most?

    Uhm, I thought this was a SPOILER-FREE thread for NEW players?

  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 16,236
    @Sergio can you at least throw that stuff in a spoiler tag?

  • SharGuidesMyHandSharGuidesMyHand Member Posts: 2,555

    I have little experience with going evil (only one NE charname who died in a no-reload run in Chapter 2 in SoA), but like you I want to play one again soon.
    My advice would be to think what type of evil and what kind of person you'd like your character to be. As you mentioned, you're still reenacting more or less the same story, since you're stuck to the game's plot. However, if you bring your Charname to life, his/her motivations will be very specific, sometimes even unique. For example: you could play a Blackguard or an evil Cleric whose actions are directly dictated by an interventionist evil deity, or a LE mercenary type Bounty Hunter or Assassin who accepts all jobs and makes sure to get them done. Myself I'm going to play a NE Barbarian/Druid who is (or considers himself to be) in constant contact with the spirit world. He gets messages from his ancestors and reads messages in all kinds of encounters, objects, conversations etc. And these messages inspire him to act in the (evil) ways he does.
    All these distinct Charnames will have very different motivations to take on the Iron Throne, different from one another and very different from those of a good-aligned character who wants to make the Sword Coast a safer place or those of an indifferent TN character that simply hopes to achieve peace of mind.
    In sum: I think your imagination is going to play a big part in how special or different your evil playthrough is going to be, apart from obviously different dialogue choices and party members.

    I must admit, as someone who had previously expressed dissatisfaction with playing evil in this thread, your post has made me rethink some of my original notions.

    I think my mistake has been that I typically play, as someone else in this thread termed it, "stupid evil" - i.e: being an antisocial jerk. Consequently, I have always felt like I am fighting an uphill battle against the game's underlying narrative - there are dialogue options that basically force you to admit that the monks of Candlekeep have been an inspiration to you, and even some fellow evil NPCs like Montaron and Xzar can be difficult to recruit if you aren't willing to be at least a little friendly. It doesn't help that the game doesn't provide you with many examples of evil NPCs who aren't flagrantly brutish or psychotic (i.e: Shar-Teel, Montaron, Korgan, etc.), with Eldoth perhaps being the closest example of a "charming" evil character.

    I like your idea of playing as a more subtly evil assassin - someone who may be ostensibly charming, but is deceitful and unscrupulous beneath the surface, like a slightly more cold-hearted Safana.

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