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TL;DR at the bottom

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In Tyranny, evil isn’t some otherworldly demon that only wants to cause suffering. Instead, it’s the kind of evil manifested in bureaucracies, ignorance, and ‘the greater good’. It’s the evil of getting to work one morning and finding out that a group of executives you’ve never met have decided it’s now your job to fire several employees. But as an agent in an authoritarian empire, I’m not just handing out severance packages.

I’m handing out death sentences.

- PCGamesN


As many have already pointed out, the "evil" path in Early Access is of the psycho killer variety, with the Tieflings and Halsin offering a substantial reward over Minthara and the goblins that almost every player, good or no, would be more inclined to accept. There is room here to expand this path to be more calculatingly evil so it is more appealing. For this, I want to suggest looking at Tyranny. In that game, players are incentivised to make "evil" choices because the world around them always leaves room for nuance in player decision making and gives your character a lot of agency to make subtle moral choices. You could, for instance, sway all the primary antagonists (the leaders of each faction) to your side and unite them under your banner. The "evil" path in BG3 makes you feel like you are in for the ride with someone else's campaign, namely Minthara's, only for that to be thrown out the window at the end. Even if you talk her out of betraying you, she discards the goblins and disappears out of the story completely. Meanwhile the Tieflings are seemingly set to travel with you all the way to Baldur's Gate. Minthara also appears to not be nuanced in her evil (until you read her mind after having sex with her when you get a hint at a deeper personality for her, but then she also goes away).

You are in no way encouraged to antagonise the Tieflings in the first place. In fact, the scene where you betray Zevlor plays out like a cartoon; you stand there grinning menacingly as Minthara sends her army of goblins to slaughter Tiefling men, women and children. Nowhere is there an option for you as a character to take control of this situation. You stumble upon Minthara's plan and decide on a whim to go with it, leading to a mass killing of innocents which you gain nothing from, not even from a narrative perspective. On multiple occasions you are also told and shown that the Absolute, in so far as the player character understands it, cannot possibly be real. Tadpoles crawl out of True Souls Eodwin and Gut's eyes, Lae'Zel sees this and comments that the whole thing must be an Illithid trick, Halsin later explains that Ketheric Thorm is responsible for the corruption at Moonrise and may be involved with the tadpole's shadow magic etc. with there surely being more examples that I missed. Here we come back to the idea that only a psycho killer / chaotic neutral cartoon villain would take the Absolute seriously, let alone side with their nebulous promises even if it means aiding excessively evil people in committing senseless violence. This also makes Minthara's motivations unclear; she is "cleansing" the grove for the Absolute, but why? You, being a passenger in her story on this path, never get to question the wisdom behind this mission, considering she would just murder you for even putting it forward.

Right now the evil path needs incentives so other evil characters that are not cartoonish in their evil ways might consider it. For that, it needs nuanced hooks and more room for player agency. While there is something to be said for that the player character is a random nobody to Minthara and should not be included in her plans in any way, that begs the question why this path is even an option to begin with. In my opinion the evil path as it stands right now is you stepping into Minthara's story as a side character, while the good path is all about you actively helping a group of innocents. This is made apparent in the two different celebration scenes, where in the good path the Tieflings are partying with you and in the evil path the goblins are partying despite you, with dead bodies added for extra cartoonishness. Making the evil path more appealing would thus mean giving more agency to the player and taking that away from Minthara, the protagonist of this path. If there is no room for the player to fit into this path other than as a henchman to Minthara then there is a seriously discrepancy between the good and evil paths here, as with Zevlor you are definitely not doing his "bidding".

The main problem with fixing the evil path is that as it stands right now, bringing nuance and player agency into it like with Tyranny seems very diificult. The player in Tyranny has a very important role and a lot of tools to assert their autority over other characters, perhaps not unlike the Illithid power dialogue option. The option to use that power also seem to be limited mostly to interactions on or on the way to the evil path such as the goblin ambush in the blighted village and the path up to their camp. The difference between Tyranny and this game's evil path however is that everyone who knows about the illithid power screams at you that you need to get rid of it as soon as possible. As far as I know every dialogue option you have with your companions where you can say "I like the power, I want to harness it" only exists to piss them off. Here again Minthara is the only one who reacts positively to you embracing it, but none of the Absolute's forces you meet know about the tadpole. Gut even tries to imprison you once you tell her about it. If they are all convinced that their power has nothing to do with mind flayers and we know for a fact that it does, why would we ever want to side with them? This does not seem to be a metagaming problem either, all of your companions remember vividly how they got their parasite and are more unpleasantly surprised by the caveats that come with it than they want to see where it goes. Same with Halsin and, even more egregiously, with Omeluum. It seems like everyone knows the parasite is bad news except for the people who deny or are ignorant of Illithid involvement with the Absolute. Unfortunately, all of these people are on the evil path.

Tl;dr:

- the evil path is cartoonish (mass murdering innocents, sex reward)
- feels like Minthara's story and you are a passenger in it (no room to ask her questions about anything or she tries to kill you)
- Absolute faction appears to be ignorant of Illithids to the point where the player has to willfully ignore the Nautiloid section (You, your companions and everyone on the good path knows about the tadpole, evil character are tadpole denialists who murder you for even bringing it up)*
- To make evil better, it needs player agency and nuance like in Tyranny (this could be accomplished by a "Fatebinder" type role the player gets in the form of being a True Soul)


* I believe Kevin VanOrd said on his stream that the intro section was added very late into EA development so this could be the reason for the narrative disconnect. If that is true, the entire Absolute faction needs to be aware of Illithid involvement in their powers. I mean, they literally see the Nautiloid crash, lol

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If they wanted us to do the evil path maybe they should have dedicated more time into actually writing it. There is literally no story there. Only task: go kill the tieflings. Even if you compare it to bg3 good path, aside from the fact the good path has two major outcomes instead of one ( fight helm's deep style or go kill the leaders), the druid grove actually feels like a place with its own intrigue and struggling factions. The evil leaders don't even interact with each other. Why even create the hobgoblin guy? He doesn't do anything. Gut is no better, with a quest that literally leads to dead end. And Mintara is an mmorpg quest giver with benefits.


Larian's Biggest Oversight, what to do about it, and My personal review of BG3 EA
"74.85% of you stood with the Tieflings, and 25.15% of you sided with Minthara. Good outweighs evil, it seems."
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And Mintara is an mmorpg quest giver with benefits.


Minthara is not offering the player enough when you first meet her, then when you let her order you around she suddenly offers herself to you, only to then try to kill you.

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Originally Posted by Vhaldez
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And Mintara is an mmorpg quest giver with benefits.


Minthara is not offering the player enough when you first meet her, then when you let her order you around she suddenly offers herself to you, only to then try to kill you.

Honestly, the quest bugged on me after I slaughtered everyone in the grove so I didn't get so far, but as we established, I just don't feel incentivised


Larian's Biggest Oversight, what to do about it, and My personal review of BG3 EA
"74.85% of you stood with the Tieflings, and 25.15% of you sided with Minthara. Good outweighs evil, it seems."
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Honestly, the quest bugged on me after I slaughtered everyone in the grove so I didn't get so far, but as we established, I just don't feel incentivised


What happens is that
The goblins drag all the dead Tieflings into your camp and party there, Minthara demands to have sex with you and you get a check to read a vulnerability in her mind after the sex. If you pass this check, you learn that she is afraid of something. AFAIK if you fail, she tries to kill you right then and there. The next morning she tries to kill you (again...) which you can talk her out of and then she tells you of a "quite mad" person she knows who can navigate past the shadow curse in the mountains around Moonrise. This is when she buggers off out of the game, but not before telling you all the goblins are hostile to you from there on out because you were supposed to die. I find this last part very amusing because in almost every other outcome besides you passing all the checks I assume you are forced to kill Minthara before she gives up that information about the guy in the mountains and at no point do you feel like you gained an ally. The evil path is the path where you do something dumb and get backstabbed, but at least you get drow poon.

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Let's maybe keep in mind that the premise for most of the game in Tyranny's was for your character to be in the service of the Big Bad, and them expecting you to follow orders and make their wishes reality - or else.
It was the player character's call on how exactly to do that and how to navigate those tasks, but that framework is what I think made being evil in Tyranny particularly "interesting", especially when you made sure you used every bit of wiggleroom to do 'good' things- relatively speaking - and thus, btw, deconstructed the ugly "I was just following orders" excuses for abysmal behavior during every period of human history.

I'm not sure if the same kind of premise can be used in a more 'free' RPG where your character is basically their own boss from the very beginning.

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I'm not sure if the same kind of premise can be used in a more 'free' RPG where your character is basically their own boss from the very beginning.


The evil path really hammers on the "you are going to use the tadpole to control everyone" options that you get almost exclusively while interacting with evil characters anyway. I understand that BGIII does not allow for clean moral dilemma settings where you are an arbiter of things because that is not the role you are given in this story, but then the question is where the player's agency really lies. Like I said in the OP, you are not working with Minthara, she just orders you around like a minion. There are even many different scenarios where she either forces the information she wants out of your brain and you fight her in the temple or you double cross her by Helm's Deep-ing the entire goblin army at the gates of the grove. All the while the player is working with denialist lunatics who either aggressively withold or are unaware of information the player has right from the start. If you let Gut "cleanse" you she just captures you so she can observe ceremorphosis up close and you are saved by a
minion of Raphael?
but then when you kill her, a tadpole crawl out of her eye socket and everyone reacts to it?

We and our companions all know exactly that the Absolute is at the very leasy harnessing stolen Illithid tadpoles or is an Illithid construction in totality. None of the Absolute's people seem to be aware of this. I think this is due to the tutorial being made last, but I am not sure if that is true. Either way it creates a huge disconnect between us and all the evil characters when they keep trying to kill me if I tell them they are being deceived.

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The Tadpole is the perfect tool for an evil player. Authority.

You should be able to assert yourself as leader, your tadpole is more tadpoley than Minthara's. This path should either lead to you usurping the absolute, or *something*.

There's also a huge missed opportunity with Minthara dialogue wise, she seems like she could be a much more complicated character

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You should be able to assert yourself as leader, your tadpole is more tadpoley than Minthara's. This path should either lead to you usurping the absolute, or *something*.


This. Even if Act 1 does not have room for that, there should be more opportunities for you to concretely gain power in the midgame and lategame. DOS2 was really good in that regard, I enjoyed fighting my friend over becoming the Divine in the end. I know that we will be able to
become a vampire through Cazador and maybe become a werewolf through the leaked Helia companion
later on in the game, but that does not mean that in this act we should be stuck with an objectively good path for everyone and a murder hobo path for idiots.

EDIT Re: usurping the Absolute I think it is pretty clear that
the Absolute is something separate from the Illithid tadpole that she stole
but for some reason none of the evil characters recognise this. They leap at you when you mention the tadpole and that makes them look like morons compared to the player and his party. We have information they do not have or are denying, even though they saw a Nautiloid crash in the opening.

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There's also a huge missed opportunity with Minthara dialogue wise, she seems like she could be a much more complicated character


100% agreed. You get a tiny snippet of character development from her at the very end of the evil path and then she just up and disseappears. What a shame.

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Lots of good feedback here, I agree with most of it.

Minthara absolutely (pun intended) needs fleshed out more. Sure she's an evil cleric and wants to do evil things, why tho? Goblins are transparent that they love looting and partying and cruelty, but she just seems to have a blind faith in the absolute, despite being a Lloth sword drow. She betrayed a controlling, manipulative spider god, is she desperate because she was thrown out of DE society? Did she MEET the absolute and was converted? Does she really hate teiflings because one stole her lunch money?

We need a little more of who she is, even her armor says basic bitch to be honest

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She betrayed a controlling, manipulative spider god, is she desperate because she was thrown out of DE society? Did she MEET the absolute and was converted? Does she really hate teiflings because one stole her lunch money?


We never find out anything about this, even when you do everything right and sidestep the dozens of forks in the road where she betrays you. Not to mention that you have no incentive to side with her to begin with / the discrepancy with the information we get from the Nautiloid. I might make a separate thread about that last bit later as I really want to know how much of the EA content was written without the intro being finished, none of the Absolute's followers should be this antagonistic when faced with a fact the player finds out about in the opening cinematic.

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The whole premise of the evil path is wrong. It's going out your way to do bad at potentially great expense. It's just full Chaotic Stupid. The obvious hook for an evil path would have been Kagha, siding with her because her way of defending the grove didn't involve you fighting your way through a goblin camp. And for two of the leaders in the goblin camp there is no dialogue options that produce a result significantly different to just attacking them on the regular path.

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The obvious hook for an evil path would have been Kagha, siding with her because her way of defending the grove didn't involve you fighting your way through a goblin camp.


So apparently this is an option? I have to try it out myself but I have read multiple people's accounts now saying that you can side with Kagha. This makes me wonder if;

- The reminiscence scene on the boat will refer to this as its own option (and not just "you remember their screams as you slaughtered them all" like with the goblins)
- Doing this is possible without inciting a race war (without goblin support this time, making this a harder path than Minthara's)
- It is not a failsafe bug path which is triggered by aggroing the Tiefling faction out of character (from what I've read the "the druids have gone mad! run for your lives!" race war outcome is the most likely)

All in all this sounds like an even worse evil path than that of the goblins because you have to do everything yourself. Helping what is essentially a druid hate group seems like a bad idea anyhow. Not to mention Kagha still potentially kills a child the moment you meet her.

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Well said.

Tyranny was so good at the morality thing. Start out as an enforcer for an overlord, then experiencing doubts of the regime as you progress. They had different brands of evil tho depending which faction you chose (anarchy, facisism, bolshevism) and ultimiately the game was about the persuit of power and what it means ... similar to DoS2 in that way I suppose.

That doesn't really translate into usual DnD stuff, in this story anyways, as the meta-narrative leans more towards themes of being manipulated/enslaved/controlled and how to break free from that. So evil in this narrative would be *embracing* that - the mindflayer powers, the devils deal, seeking the favour of the absolute.. so with that logic the evil choice would be siding with either the Gobbos or Shadow Druids, and rejecting liberation/self determination.


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Originally Posted by Klawz

That doesn't really translate into usual DnD stuff, in this story anyways, as the meta-narrative leans more towards themes of being manipulated/enslaved/controlled and how to break free from that. So evil in this narrative would be *embracing* that - the mindflayer powers, the devils deal, seeking the favour of the absolute.. so with that logic the evil choice would be siding with either the Gobbos or Shadow Druids, and rejecting liberation/self determination.


Okay, but then why are we told next to nothing about what the Absolute concretely has to offer?

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Minthara should absolutely explain the absolute to you. She should understand that you're from the ship and see you as a gift, she should give you the sales pitch on the religion. She should tell you WHY the absolute is building an army. She should show us the humans who are living in harmony with the absolute. Instead of murdering all the tieflings, you should kill their leaders and the rest should be given the choice to join or die.

Even Lolth's drow don't massacre everyone when they take an area. They take slaves, soldiers, etc. The Absolute should be a *less chaotic* force of evil than Lolth, and we should have some reasons why we do things. "Evil!" isn't good enough, that's not a motivation


Since Minthara does none of these things right now, the player and their party know things about the true nature of the Absolute that none of the evil people seem to want to acknowledge and you could feasibly reach Minthara without using the Illithid powers once (after my meme super evil run I stopped using the tadpole and just went by Omeluum to boost it to max power immediatly) why would you ever go completely against the established narrative and quit searching for a cure? The game also punishes you for doing this quite harshly if you have seen Shadowheart's dialogue after the fact. You can also get murdered by Minthara every step of the way. What is the point then, besides mindless killing and self-sabotage?

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Originally Posted by Vhaldez
All in all this sounds like an even worse evil path than that of the goblins because you have to do everything yourself. Helping what is essentially a druid hate group seems like a bad idea anyhow. Not to mention Kagha still potentially kills a child the moment you meet her.


If you play an evil character, why do you care if Khaga "kill" a child you don't even know?

And technically she doesn't kill the child, her snake do and you can say the snake should be punished for it.

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Originally Posted by Vhaldez
TL;DR at the bottom

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In Tyranny, evil isn’t some otherworldly demon that only wants to cause suffering. Instead, it’s the kind of evil manifested in bureaucracies, ignorance, and ‘the greater good’. It’s the evil of getting to work one morning and finding out that a group of executives you’ve never met have decided it’s now your job to fire several employees. But as an agent in an authoritarian empire, I’m not just handing out severance packages.

I’m handing out death sentences.

- PCGamesN


As many have already pointed out, the "evil" path in Early Access is of the psycho killer variety, with the Tieflings and Halsin offering a substantial reward over Minthara and the goblins that almost every player, good or no, would be more inclined to accept. There is room here to expand this path to be more calculatingly evil so it is more appealing. For this, I want to suggest looking at Tyranny. In that game, players are incentivised to make "evil" choices because the world around them always leaves room for nuance in player decision making and gives your character a lot of agency to make subtle moral choices. You could, for instance, sway all the primary antagonists (the leaders of each faction) to your side and unite them under your banner. The "evil" path in BG3 makes you feel like you are in for the ride with someone else's campaign, namely Minthara's, only for that to be thrown out the window at the end. Even if you talk her out of betraying you, she discards the goblins and disappears out of the story completely. Meanwhile the Tieflings are seemingly set to travel with you all the way to Baldur's Gate. Minthara also appears to not be nuanced in her evil (until you read her mind after having sex with her when you get a hint at a deeper personality for her, but then she also goes away).

You are in no way encouraged to antagonise the Tieflings in the first place. In fact, the scene where you betray Zevlor plays out like a cartoon; you stand there grinning menacingly as Minthara sends her army of goblins to slaughter Tiefling men, women and children. Nowhere is there an option for you as a character to take control of this situation. You stumble upon Minthara's plan and decide on a whim to go with it, leading to a mass killing of innocents which you gain nothing from, not even from a narrative perspective. On multiple occasions you are also told and shown that the Absolute, in so far as the player character understands it, cannot possibly be real. Tadpoles crawl out of True Souls Eodwin and Gut's eyes, Lae'Zel sees this and comments that the whole thing must be an Illithid trick, Halsin later explains that Ketheric Thorm is responsible for the corruption at Moonrise and may be involved with the tadpole's shadow magic etc. with there surely being more examples that I missed. Here we come back to the idea that only a psycho killer / chaotic neutral cartoon villain would take the Absolute seriously, let alone side with their nebulous promises even if it means aiding excessively evil people in committing senseless violence. This also makes Minthara's motivations unclear; she is "cleansing" the grove for the Absolute, but why? You, being a passenger in her story on this path, never get to question the wisdom behind this mission, considering she would just murder you for even putting it forward.

Right now the evil path needs incentives so other evil characters that are not cartoonish in their evil ways might consider it. For that, it needs nuanced hooks and more room for player agency. While there is something to be said for that the player character is a random nobody to Minthara and should not be included in her plans in any way, that begs the question why this path is even an option to begin with. In my opinion the evil path as it stands right now is you stepping into Minthara's story as a side character, while the good path is all about you actively helping a group of innocents. This is made apparent in the two different celebration scenes, where in the good path the Tieflings are partying with you and in the evil path the goblins are partying despite you, with dead bodies added for extra cartoonishness. Making the evil path more appealing would thus mean giving more agency to the player and taking that away from Minthara, the protagonist of this path. If there is no room for the player to fit into this path other than as a henchman to Minthara then there is a seriously discrepancy between the good and evil paths here, as with Zevlor you are definitely not doing his "bidding".

The main problem with fixing the evil path is that as it stands right now, bringing nuance and player agency into it like with Tyranny seems very diificult. The player in Tyranny has a very important role and a lot of tools to assert their autority over other characters, perhaps not unlike the Illithid power dialogue option. The option to use that power also seem to be limited mostly to interactions on or on the way to the evil path such as the goblin ambush in the blighted village and the path up to their camp. The difference between Tyranny and this game's evil path however is that everyone who knows about the illithid power screams at you that you need to get rid of it as soon as possible. As far as I know every dialogue option you have with your companions where you can say "I like the power, I want to harness it" only exists to piss them off. Here again Minthara is the only one who reacts positively to you embracing it, but none of the Absolute's forces you meet know about the tadpole. Gut even tries to imprison you once you tell her about it. If they are all convinced that their power has nothing to do with mind flayers and we know for a fact that it does, why would we ever want to side with them? This does not seem to be a metagaming problem either, all of your companions remember vividly how they got their parasite and are more unpleasantly surprised by the caveats that come with it than they want to see where it goes. Same with Halsin and, even more egregiously, with Omeluum. It seems like everyone knows the parasite is bad news except for the people who deny or are ignorant of Illithid involvement with the Absolute. Unfortunately, all of these people are on the evil path.

Tl;dr:

- the evil path is cartoonish (mass murdering innocents, sex reward)
- feels like Minthara's story and you are a passenger in it (no room to ask her questions about anything or she tries to kill you)
- Absolute faction appears to be ignorant of Illithids to the point where the player has to willfully ignore the Nautiloid section (You, your companions and everyone on the good path knows about the tadpole, evil character are tadpole denialists who murder you for even bringing it up)*
- To make evil better, it needs player agency and nuance like in Tyranny (this could be accomplished by a "Fatebinder" type role the player gets in the form of being a True Soul)


* I believe Kevin VanOrd said on his stream that the intro section was added very late into EA development so this could be the reason for the narrative disconnect. If that is true, the entire Absolute faction needs to be aware of Illithid involvement in their powers. I mean, they literally see the Nautiloid crash, lol


I personally loved Tyranny but it was a commercial failure. Any ideas as to why?

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I kind of agree that there is no satisfying way of going the evil route, and I want to use as example of that issue the way we interact with Evil Queen Lae'Zael.

There is little to talk about with her. She is by herself, she's strong and independant, and only accept to be part of the group because we are a means to an end.
BUT
After successful battles, when she notices that not only do we hold our own, we don't even go down, but sometimes we DO get her up, she doesn't pick up on it. She doesn't seem to notice our martial prowess. When blatantly ignoring or outright despising the problems of others in order to prioritize our own need to get that parasite out of our skull, she doesn't seem to notice either.

I think there is something to say about things that affect our relationships with companions that aren't either:
- dialog
- good/bad decisions

I think combat could be taken into account. Maybe our level of strength/dex/constitution and how often we pick those in discussions? How often we fall to traps and so on and so forth...

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I personally loved Tyranny but it was a commercial failure. Any ideas as to why?


Personal opinion:

Gameplay: not much variety in builds, enemies, strategies, combat too easy. Same as PoE but worse.

Exploring: no hidden legendary enemies or artefacts or levels or anything.

Worldbuilding: Too depressing, no humor, most people like to play as heroes, not as some minor henchman in an autocratic state on his way to become the local warlord.

Story: Incomplete, Game ends on the first act.

As an example of how diverse evil can be: Excellent reference hehe

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I liked tyranny but i didnt really feel evil in it. I felt like kind of a jerk occasionally, which i suppose is a change of pace from the cartoon villain evil. We somehow have arrived at this situation where good is the single minded selfless optimist and we are all ok with this but the inverse is just blase and needs to be more nuanced. I think this is because if we looked at the good archetype with as much scrutiny we would lose any sort of frame of reference and be forced to realize its all ponderous grayness.

The problem we have here with act1 of this game is how would we, in this situation, distinguish good and evil action? Your character believes it is in danger of becoming a mind flayer at any moment. They are effectively a time bomb of evil, one of a number in close proximity at that. For all you know through most of act 1 you could have a group of 6 mind flayers suddenly appear to terrorize the entire region. So is it evil not to stop to help along the way when you are on a time sensitive mission to stop something bad from happening? It is appropriate to be self centered here because helping yourself not become a mind flayer is also helping everyone else not have a mindflayer trying to enslave them. Both good and evil characters would act more or less the same way here varying only perhaps in the surface character of how they interact and appear, not in what they really do. The main difference boils down only to internal motivation. An evil character might not care about some indirect deaths or hardships, whereas a good character might lament not having the opportunity to help but realize there are more pressing matters.

So the companions, for the most part, who are apparently the 'evil' or lets say 'less good' companions we are given, tend to for the most part (with exception) approve of expediting a resolution to this tadpole problem, this seems to be framed as evil. I played through trying to roleplay as a fairly neutral character, reasoning its best for all involved to simply get healed as fast as possible. This disposition pleased all the bad guys. Did i do an evil playthrough?

Honestly it seems shadowheart is the most evil simply because shes running an errand for an evil god. In a setting where good and evil are actual cosmic forces then 'serving cosmic evil' is about as solidly evil as you can get. But shes honestly kind of a softy and not so bad. Some evil.

A real evil choice would be something like expelling the refugees, agreeing to 'guard' them, and then clandestinely using the opportunity to abduct some of the stragglers and framing the goblins for it, using plot magic to force the worms into them instead, wait for them to turn into mind flayers, then drop some rocks or something on them. An example of an evil resolution to the tadpoles.

Last edited by Katj; 21/10/20 07:04 PM.
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