How to Play an Evil Character in Dd

How does one play an ‘Evil’ character in Dungeons & Dragons? Well, you have to decide right off the bat what kind of ‘evil’ you’re going to play and how to ensure that your PC survives his first adventure. Remember that its always a bad idea to betray your party members within the first few minutes of a dungeon crawl. A truly evil PC needs to be able to get along well with others at least some of the time or he’ll be left for dead. Either that or he needs to learn to adventure solo with only a few henchmen to back him up.

Assuming you don’t go in for lonely forays into the depths of the underworld, your best bet is to play either a Lawful or Neutral Evil PC. Envision a goal for your PC. You’re basically out for yourself. You crave money, power etc but don’t go to the lengths of slitting your ally’s throat the moment they turn their back upon you to do so. Remember, even The Villain thinks he’s Righteous. So too must your Evil PC be Righteous to get ahead in the world. He’s correct, by Hades, and he will do as he well pleases as long as it furthers his goals! Your fellow adventurers are a means to an end, though you may actually develop friendship with them if you’re Lawful Evil.

Now that you’ve got a basic idea of your anti-hero, you have to pick a class for him. Assuming we’re not talking 3.X or 4E, your options are somewhat restricted. As an old timer, I prefer 1st Edition, so I’ll keep with that. Paladin, Ranger and Druid are right out as their alignment restrictions preclude being evil. However, that still leaves a whole plethora of playable classes. These range from Any Alignment types such as Fighter, Cleric, Magic-User, Illusionist and Thief to those that specify Non-Good like Thief to Evil Only like Assassins. Then there is the martial arts inspired Monk which can be Lawful Evil. Once you have your basic idea of what you want from the gaming world and have picked your class, your ready to go. 

One rule that is supreme above all, especially for evil PCs who go in for solo adventuring: Do not betray your Henchmen! They can be the difference between you coming out of a dungeon with cartloads of loot and an ignominious death at the hands of some monster. Some of the most famous personages to emerge from the early history of Dungeons & Dragons, when it was still both the Blackmoor and Greyhawk Castle campaigns, were originally mere henchmen to actual player characters.