We’re going to be starting a new 5e game for D&D tonight and, for the first time, I will be playing a character who is not either Lawful Good or Chaotic Good. I will be playing an assassin who is Lawful Evil.
Now, the DM told me that he was hoping to avoid intra-party conflict and I assured him that I planned on being exceptionally fond of and loyal to all of my party-mates. I was just going to be an assassin who was fond of using poison and that that was, pretty much by definition, evil.
Then we got into a light digression of Poison Theory. His take was that poison was no longer necessarily “evil” and that assassins were no longer necessarily “evil” either and so while I probably couldn’t get away with being Lawful Good, I didn’t have to be *EVIL*. My take was along the lines found in The Book of Vile Darkness (highly recommended, by the way) and, as such, poison use was *ALWAYS* going to be evil. It’s, effectively, a single-target chemical/biological weapon.
I mean, we have Geneva Conventions that talk about this sort of thing.
Saying something like “okay, but what if I took mustard gas and put it in a form that only affected *ONE* goblin?” doesn’t reduce the moral price of doing chemical weapons. Heck, the fact that this much haggling is going on indicates that there are some serious shenanigans going on.
Now that I think about it, isn’t “poison cloud” or “cloud kill” a spell that “good” wizards should avoid using?
I digress. Anyway, my idea is to play a character that presents almost identically to Lawful Good, except for a heavy reliance on poison (and sneak attacks).
Heck, we’re fighting against bad entities, right? And I’m fighting on a team, right? And if I can kill the goblins fastest before they do damage to my teammates who are fighting for good, then I am helping the entire planet, right?
Am I not then *OBLIGED* to put some Purple Worm Poison on the tips of my crossbow bolts? I am protecting my fellow fighters, clerics, thieves, and mages. It seems silly to say that it’s okay to bop them on the head like some Little-Bunny-Foo-Foo but beyond the pale to use a crossbow at a distance that merely happens to quicken things.
Why, it could easily be argued that giving some owlbear a better chance to open the paladin from gizzard to gullet would itself be morally wrong.
Whose side are you on, here? Why in the world are you trying to avoid tipping the scale when it’s us against the owlbear?
And so on.
So I’m looking forward to that.
We’re also doing a thing where we’re starting with Level 5 characters instead of grinding our way up from Level 1. (I swear. I have approximately 100 level one characters in my past, approximately 20 level two characters, approximately 3 level 3 characters… and, tonight, I’ll be fighting with my *FIRST* level 5.)
So… what are you playing?
(Picture is HG Wells playing a war game from Illustrated London News (25 January 1913))