I really like the idea of evil campaigns, though I often think they do fall into the cliche type of evil and more into just the physical violence aspect. People often forget that the best villains aren't the ones you often times truly see as villains, they are the people that are liked or even inspire loyalty in those that follow them. They may do evil acts and be evil, but being evil/villain, doesn't mean that one has to be a murdering psychopath. It doesn't necessarily even mean that one can't have some good qualities about them, but that is just me since I don't like to follow the black and white diagrams of systems. That is one reason why I often did away with the alignment system when running evil or even good guy games. Just cause one is a hero, doesn't make them a good guy, just like being a villain doesn't make them an all together bad guy, they have there shades of grey and human sides to them.
The most compelling villains to me are the ones that are human and you can see what made them the way they are, that they aren't just bloodthirsty crazed villains. That they goals, alliances, followers, people they may care about, and even a warped sense of ethics or code of honor that they follow. That they are still human and that they might be saved, but never will be because they are intentionally evil, but they give you that hope or that sense of the tragic life that lead them to be what they are. Though this goes with my belief that no one is born evil or good that we are forged into who we are by what has been done to us and what we have done. That maybe one is evil not because they are truly that evil, but merely oppose the heroes and thus had been put down and then turn evil since they have nothing left.
Another thing people often over look is that killing/murdering what the "good guys" typically do all the time under the right light could be evil. All you have to do is give the villains or bandits a backstory and make them more than faceless npcs that are just there to die. They have lives and families and things they have to do and the "good guys" often just go in and whole sale slaughter them without batting an eyelash. Killing is grey and shouldn't be what defines an evil character what makes one evil is not the killing but their thoughts and what they see in the bigger picture. That they are smart and calculating and would rather take a village and make it loyal to them, as why just burn it down when you can have minions that will help protect you. That you can do some good acts so the general populace will allow you to do great evils and they support you and even come to your aid. That evil is far more insidious and hidden that it can hide and crawl into every corner of someone and they can look like a good guy, but really be evil.
One more important aspect of this is that good and evil often change depending on what side you are on. That not all evil doers see themselves as evil, but instead as good guys that are trying to help in the way they know how. That to the oppressive king, the good guys to him are those that help him maintain his rule, but to the oppressed they are evil. That most things are in fact grey and where "evil" games fail, in my opinion, is they just try to be black and white, which in that case makes evil repetitive and dull. It isn't fun to just play a rampaging death machine for an entire campaign, it isn't fun to just be behind the wheel of a psychopath as they have no real depth to them. It is just as important for the DM to create an enriching world and campaign as it is for the players to create more than just 2D characters that are the cliche evil or what is often thought as evil. That it takes actual thought and effort to create a villain or someone that is enjoyable and is a real character, not just a peg or fits into the black and white spectrum.
Once again these are just my own opinions, but this game got me excited so I thought I would contribute them as food for thought. I had a lot more, but figured that this was enough of a back story for my thoughts and ideas for evil games. I will also note that I have run evil games, good games, and mostly grey games where characters are more important than alignment.Step 1: The Pitch-Name-
Elizabeth Vancrest Stormlord (last name only holds weight if you accept the tweaking and somewhat separate world creation I do), "Liz" to those she considers close.-Personality-
Liz is a somewhat dark person, though it is not all that uncommon considering her past. She longs for what she once had and will do anything to get it back. She bears a lot in common with her first ancestors that headed north, in that she will reclaim what is hers and if she has to will wait her time to get it. She enjoys the finer things, and even enjoys helping others sometimes if you earned her trust. She is very loyal to those she can trust and that put their faith in her. She carries a deep hatred though of most nobles and would gladly see their holds burn to the ground and their crops wither to nothing. She has a dark twist to her ethics and codes, but she can still be a nice person, she just will do anything to get what she wants. She is not truly evil, nor good, she is grey as her family has been taken from her and she has been left with nothing for merely existing.-Stats-
Hair Color: Red
Eye Color: Green
Skin Color: White with a slight tan
Her crime, the reason that she must die, the reason why the kingdom fears her, is no more than that she was born, that she came into existence is reason enough for her to die. That her family name is something to be feared and hated by those that live in the Kingdom of Albion and even beyond, but that is what history merely recorded, which isn't always the truth. To find the truth of this conflict and ideas one must look further into the past then most can remember or care too, or into old history books that are often illegal.-Common History of the Stormlords-
Before the rise of the Kingdom of Albion and even larger powers of the current era one of the largest empires to exist was the Empire of the Storm, ruled by the Stormlords. They controlled large swathes of land, especially in the northern reaches where their personal castle stood, the Frozen Spire, which was said to be encased in a perpetual blizzard that was so strong that it blocked out all light. That this black storm protected the castle from any form of invasion and only with the help of the Stormlord or if you were a Stormlord yourself could you navigate through the never ending storm. It was from this castle that they ruled over the lands that stretched from the "Crown of the World" and even down into the central reaches of "Avistan".
History only records them as villains, as tyrants, that ruled over their land with an iron fist. That they killed anyone that opposed them and were nothing but bloodthirsty, greedy, humans that would not hesitate to kill you for merely looking at them. That it was virtuous kingdoms like Albion that brought this empire to its knees and freed themselves, and maybe the world from the darkness that they wanted to encase the world in. Albion's even have historic tales of their fights against the Empire of the Storm, even though by the time that Albion came along the Empire had fallen apart and was already in ruins, due to those that came before it. Albion though, was originally part of the traditional lands of the Empire and was actually at the heart of where the house of the Stormlords started. Due to this fact any Stormlord or anyone claiming to be a Stormlord was arrested and put to death as the name and house was designated to be wiped from the face of Golarion.
That fear and hatred of family exist even to this day, and shows just how evil they must have been, at least that is what most believe. There are a few that don't believe the old tales and look further back and even look forward to the return of the Stormlords, but they are often considered evil. They hide themselves and some of them are in fact evil, but some know the true history which is even worse, as they hold the sercets of something more. Though to most it is a name that is best forgotten and eliminated as soon as someone with it appears, whether it be true or not.-True Pre-History of the Stormlords-
The true history of the Stormlords is actually much deeper and longer than even their own records could record. They don't even know the exact date when they rose to power, outside of another kingdom, and when the first member of the Stormlord house decreed they ruled over their ancestral lands. What is known is that for a long time, maybe within the 1st millenium of the Era of Enthronement the house came to claimed its ancestral lands. The location of these lands, was not in the frozen north, as most would believe, but was in fact near the kingdom of Albion and within its boarders as they stand now. During which they were part of one of the large empires/kingdoms that ruled over its land and they were a respected house.
They came to power to fill a rapidly growing power vacuum that was left over in the region after the great wars of that time. Larger kingdoms and empires were falling around them, and in there wake was left nothing but in fighting, death, and war. Before this the Stormlords were apparently, according to their records, one of the vassals of one of the larger kingdoms and were trusted amongst the old guard. Though the old guard was now hated and the nations split in who should rule, who should be have what land, and all the peace that they had worked so hard was falling to ruin.
During the time of "The Great Fall" as it was known then the Stormlords were actually not within their castle walls, which helped to save them, they were historically noted to be out on a campaign for their king. Along with them were other respected and even noble houses that the king of the time sought to protect from the fall he saw coming. They were told to march south to quell a rebellion that was happening within the lands of one of the kingdoms allies, but when they arrived there was not only no rebellion, but they were greeted with open arms. It turns out the king had talked with his allies and setup a way of saving the families by giving them a chance to swear fealty to the neighboring lord, if they so choose. Many did, the currently ruling house of Albion remained behind, but a few house, the Stormlords among one of them, choose to remain loyal and took their armies and marched back north.
When they returned the houses found their lands in ruins, their king dead, and everything they had worked so hard for in flames. The peace they fought for, the respect they earned, and the people they had spelt blood for dead and buried underground left them angry and gave rise to a goal. That they would reunite the lands of their king, that they wouldn't allow this injustice to go unpunished, and it was with the help of a few other house that the Stromlords began this quest. Though before they could start it, they had to regain the power they had lost as well as build up a castle that could withstand more than any nation could throw at them. To do this they headed north, beyond the reaches of their ancestral land, towards what was thought of as a legend at the time.
The Frozen Spire, actually predates the Stormlords as a house, but it was little more than a tiny thing in recorded history. It was a legend of a place in the frozen north that was but a single tower that held within its small walls the ability to protect those that could claim it. It was a joke, or something that no one really ever thought was real, but the Stormlords had records dating back to near it founding from a member of their house that claimed to have seen it when he was exploring the north. It would be the Stormlords and their allies that would turn the small tower into the castle that came to be feared and known as the home of the Empire of the Storm.-History of the Frozen Spire-
Within the books of the Stormlords there are a few that record specifically the history and changes to the Frozen Spire from them they first arrived to when they were forced to leave. Whether they are 100% factual is left to some debate still, but as they are the only records that remain they are mainly taken as fact at face value. When they first arrived the Frozen Spire was but a single tower that stood against the snowy white iced cliffs of the north. It was alone in a barren wasteland of snow and ice and though it was cold, no blizzard protected it at this point. The tower barely had enough room for a few dozen build and thus made a lot of men have to huddle in the caves that were near the base of the tower. This had to be the worst possible place to be during this time, but it was also the only safe place to be at the time, as if they left this waste land they would be hunted for their names.
It was in the caves that they found ancient manuscripts and other texts detailing what the tower could be and the magic that was hidden inside. It was over the next two centuries that the Stormlords reconstructed their power and along with the houses that followed them created a castle that would protect them for millenia and come to frighten children long after. The caves became carved out and that became where people lived all the time, the magic of the Spire awakened and protecting them from the elements so long as they had the protection of the Stormlords. The original Frozen Spire became part of the outer wall of defense and upon the frozen cliffs above is where what would be known as the Frozen Spire stood. It over looked all the frozen waste and the warm city that was sheltered from it by the magic and blood of the Stormlords.
It is written somewhere that the Stormlords played a blood price and bonded forever with the spire such that their kin and allies would always find warmth and comfort within her walls. That so long as a Stormlord still lived and breathed no one else may take the oath and the Frozen Spire must obey to serve its true lord. Though whether it is actually true is left up to debate as there hasn't been a Stormlord to set foot in it for nearly a millennium since they were last forced out of the castle.
It was also them that made the blizzard with the same pact that offered them an fortress whos walls would never be breached, sadly for them this did not hold true. It was also known that they experimented with their defenses and the rumors of monsters and other great beasts protecting the exterior do indeed seem to be true, according to the records. Most of them beasts were actually fairly friendly and they were often provoked by invaders who some them and became frightened at the sight of them. Either way it was under the Stormlords that the Frozen Spire became a safe place for their allies and a place of freezing death for their enemies.-History of The Empire of The Storm-
It is around the late 2nd millennium of the Era of Enthronement that the Stormlords reappear and begin to mark a large swath of land as theirs. Many of the ruling houses who remember their name did willingly swear loyalty as the long and bloody wars had left them defenseless and they needed someone to protect them. It was only the few remaining revolters that posed any sort of real problem to their return, and from them that some of the cruel stories come, though not always true. It is true the Stormlords didn't real give second chances, but it wasn't often times them that started the conflicts. The Stormlords tried to minimize the amount of blood that had to be spilled and tried to do things politically, but when that failed they would come in and crush the other force.
It wasn't pretty, but it brought back peace and a larger empire then had existed before. It is true that they did bad things, but overall they were generally loved by the people that they ruled and for a long time this peace lasted. Far longer than under the previous kings and empires that had existed. Though the older noble houses wanted to come back in and rule, the ones that had fled and run away when times were tough. They wanted the Empire of the Storm to give back the lands that they claimed were rightful theirs, though by this point the people enjoyed the rule of the Stormlords over their previous lords. The Stormlords were fair, if cold at times, but they were equal and fair in how they ruled, they were unlike another noble that had ruled in the land. It was the nobles that began to spout of the cruelties of the Stormlords, not to the people, but to themselves. That they were nothing but selfish and greedy bastards that stole the land and now claimed it as their own.
The Stormlords were fine with them coming back, but not giving up land, especially when the people didn't want to be ruled by the other side. It was this tension that would eventually bring down the Empire. Though for nearly two millenia the Empire of the Storm would exist and rule the land with loving care and justice for all. they were far from the monsters that they would eventually painted out to be.-Small note on the rulers and health of the Stormlords-
All Stormlords, after the founding and bonding to the Frozen Spire were blessed with unusually long life spans. It is never actually recorded of one of them dying of old age, they often died in battle, fire, or some other cause. They lived well into beyond their 100s, with the oldest being nearly 170 before he died due to boulder. Some records even say that the original founding member that did the oath with the tower lived until the fall of the Empire, though that is considered myth by most. The tower did seem to have some affect on their bodies and slow the aging, but after the lose of the Spire they seemed to age normally again, though still a bit slower than most. Not really anything of note though.-The Fall of The Empire of The Storm-
The fall of the Empire came from both within as well as from outside of her boarders. The foreign nobles had promised power to certain key nobles if them helped them in reclaiming their old lands. Thus in the late 3rd, early 4th, Millenia the last snow fell upon the ground of the Frozen Spire and the Empire fell. It was then that the foreign nobles did unspeakable acts and pinned it upon the Stormlords, but since they won they wrote history and it became fact. It was at this time that they would be branded, hunted, and exiled from all the lands they once owned. It was also now that they ruined all foreign ties they had and spoiled the name, making sure they would never come back.
The fall was a brutal and bloody affair and those who swore loyalty to the Empire wouldn't go down and merely fled into the shadows with their rulers till the day they could come back and reclaim the empire they had. This was a horrible mess that left the north angry and caused discontent that still remains today in the northern reaches. Some say that there are still agents of the Stormlords at work, but most people just pass it off and think nothing of it. For most they are nothing but a passing nightmare, which was untrue, it is their current lords that are worse.-After the Fall-
After the fall of the empire a massive power vacuum, larger than the one that lead to the Empire, occurred as each house and noble sought to claim what they saw as theirs. It was nearly half a millenia before the fighting and chaos started to die down and let some semblance of peace return to the region. It has now been a millenia since the last of the Stormlords claimed the Frozen Spire, since the Empire fell, and since anything good has been said about them in public.-The House of Storm-
After the fall and the chaos started to die down, the Stormlords started to rebuild their first ancestral lands, within the lands of the kingdom of Albion. They had slightly changed the their name kept who they were hidden from the rest of the world. In fact the kingdom of Albion had let them come as long time allies and friends as a way of saving them from the rest of the world. It was here that they found some peace, they didn't want to retake the world, just to live in peace and see peace return to the region.
The intention of the Albion nobles was originally to keep them safe, but it couldn't last as either outside forces wanted them to be gone, or wanted to see them return to power. Either way the house lasted for a few hundred years before it fell into its current state and the last of the Stormlords was born.-The last of the Stormlords-
Liz was raised inside the castle walls of her family, she was the last child born to the House of Storm, the last of the Stormlords. She was raised like a noble and is well versed on both the public and private history of her family. She was loved by her servants and was actually a rather nice child. She was a quick learner and was quick with a sword and like the rest of her family good in a fight. But that childhood didn't last long as the armies of Albion closed on their walls, sacked the castle, and took away everything she loved. She watched her servants die, those stories of her family burned, and the supposed "good guys" destroy everything cause of their last name.
She had to watch as everyday one of her family members were killed in front of her, as she was the youngest she was the last to die. One by one everything she had was taken from her, but those that claimed to be just and good. She vowed she would escape, she vowed she would avenge them, and she vowed she would go make them all regret what they had done. If the Stormlords were villains she was going to show them just what type of monster they had reawakened, a beast that was fine to just stay out of everyone way. First she needs to free herself, then take over Albion, then go back to the Frozen Spire, and from there, who knows maybe the world this time.Step 2: Ability Scores
Still working on thisStep 3: Race
Human. May ask or talk with you about some changes as they might fit, but mostly human.Step 4: Class
Still thinking, but leaning towards either fighter or rogue. What do you think would best?Step 5: Skills and Feats
Still working on cause need to narrow down class.Step 6: Starting Gear
Tattered clothesStep 7: Finishing Touches
Alignment: Neutral... maybe neutral evil... more likely neutral though
She wants revenge against those who wronged her, but to those that would follow her or willing be with her, she wouldn't hurt them unless they betray her. She isn't always evil, but she has a mean streak and there for a bit more pragmatic/cold hearted about somethings.
Her crime is stated earlier that is her name, lineage, and everything else about her. That is her crime as well as maybe killing a few men of the kingdoms soldiers as they came to destroy her castle, but could easily be spun anyway the kingdom wanted.
As for allegiance she would swear it at least for a time and so long as he helped her accomplish her own goal. She is fine to put certain things on hold as she knows she won't get anywhere alone and needs protection right now or else she will just die. So she might be a bit reluctant, but not having much choice she will most likely say yes, and considering her name and backstory if you choose to accept it, he would most likely being willing to have her on.Closing notes
Well I know it is a lot to read, and it is not all the way done, but I figured I would give the idea that was really burning in my head a shot, even if it might not really fit in. If it doesn't fine I can always go with one of my other ideas, just figured might as well go big and see if it works, if not oh well I can try again turning it down a bit. Either way it was fun for me to write this, hopefully you find some enjoyment in reading it.