Monday, June 28, 2010

Ever DM'd a Campaign Where You Limited the PC's to Non-Good Alignments Only? How did it work out?

I'm getting ready to start up a new AD&D 1st ed. campaign, and I'm simply not interested as a DM in having the characters rescue the princess or save the village. I want characters who are selfish and greedy. I want the primary motivations to be gold, glory, magic, and power. I'm telling the potential players this up front. Within that context, it will be sandboxey and open-ended.

Has anyone ever imposed alignment/personality/thematic restrictions like this in a campaign? How did it work out?

13 comments:

  1. It worked very well in my Alder King campaign. It started With the this fey king having assembled the party to spy on the humans in the forest and possibly stop their expansion. The starting city was Greznek which I transported from Rappan Athuk into the Dangerous Forest of the Wilderlands of High Fantasy (Lenap map). I fully expected the characters to turn in the king, or take over the goblin city, or take over a human settlement. I also had a lizardmen war prepared and the party ended up orchestrating the battle at level six, weakening all sides. This initial mission by the king served as a good and open starting point.

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  2. I've never had to intentionally limit my usual group of players to non-good alignments. If most of them pick good it's because they are filthy liars. They usually end up becoming clearly not good.

    One campaign involved several sessions of the PCs transporting prostitutes into a war zone and providing protection for a cut of the profits and it was all their idea. That was one of the more polite incidents of the campaign.

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  3. I have actually played and DM'ed such campaigns a few times over the years and had alot of fun. It's nice to do something other than the "rescue the princess" from time to time. I also ran an all humanoid party once. The party had a blast playing a band of humanoid Raider/Adventurers.

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  4. Not in DnD. Enlightened self interest can be very interesting, since Doing No Harm can be a completely Self Interested Motivation.

    Players skilled with Ethics can uncover a lot of inconsistencies in alignment behavior: when framing what is good or what is "evil" more logically.

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  5. Everyone starts true neutral and then play decides the alignment drift.

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  6. Once, after getting tires of my then current group of players running selfish, greedy, evil bastards, all the time, I started a new campaign and imposed a "good" alignment on everyone. It lasted a few sessions, then we went back to our usual mayhem by popular consensus.

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  7. thanks for the input guys. i'm shooting for the swords and sorcery feel, rather than the dragponlance/2e/story/goody-two-shoes feel. hopefully i can pull it off.

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  8. We had an evil party that lasted until 2nd-3rd level and then they killed each other after burning down the entire town of Restenford. Fun while it lasted.

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  9. Did it indirectly once in an all thieves AD&D 2e campaign.

    I said, everybody is a thief in a band of thieves in a tightly controlled city. Humans may multi class as long as one class is thief. Go.

    OK technically NG was allowed but it worked great.

    I have no idea how it might work with a party of delvers though...

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  10. Recently started playing a homebrew without the alignement system. I'm not suggesting you rewrite the game, but not having "GOOD" written at the top of our character sheets actually had some of the effect you're looking for. For instance, the paladin felt more comfortable playing like a stern inquisitor type rather than just being a really nice man with a sword. Not having good alignements might make your players act more to your liking, whether or not they're aware of it.

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  11. I was a player on a AD&D 2nd. edition game where the DM asked us to create evil mid-level characters. It didn't take too long for us to capture a hamlet and turn everyone we killed in undeads, then moving to a small village, then moving to a large village...

    ...when we reached a town we had to securte it from the armies of clerics and paladins charging against us, but using undead children was a plus on the battle.

    Now, if anyone asked me to DM such adventure I'd decline. It's not my cup of tea.

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  12. For me, it was the first part of a viking-themed campaign I ran and everyone chose chaotic-something or neutral-whatever, none of them good.

    It was briefly crazy and ultimately unsatisfying. They pissed off all the local authorities in their own nation, then succumbed to so much backstabbing and infighting they ended up wiping themselves out. Since everyone was out for themselves' they had no group cohesion, and it was unsustainable as a campaign.

    There's a reason real and fictional criminal organizations have strict rules and rigid top-down command structures. You need a Stalin or a Tony Soprano or a Megatron to keep a team of goons and backstabbers in line. And what do you do about that as the DM? They won't like having an NPC Boss threatening them with death if they don't kidnap the princess, and it won't go well if one of the players gets chosen to shove everyone around.

    Mutual respect and teamwork, which are necessary for a group of equals playing an RPG, aren't traits of the evil alignments.

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  13. We have never had non-good alignment restrictions, but hell yes we have had games where all the PCs were expected to be selfish treasure hunters or the like. It's worked out fine, though it may require some new ways of thinking for players not used to it.

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