My D&D Campaign - What's it all About?

I haven't talked about DMing much on the site yet, but I've been running Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition for nearly a year. My players nearly unanimously requested I run an evil campaign so they wouldn't be tied down to that pesky sense of morality we all have. I'd like to write up some more about running the campaign, but I think I'd better give you a summary of where things are at.

Like I said, my players have been asking me to run an evil campaign for them for quite some time. I was getting burned out on 4e, and hitting level 13 really convinced me that my fun with that system was played out. Don't get me wrong, I like 4e, but I was having no fun with it after the characters hit level 11. I wasn't too keen on the idea of running a campaign for evil characters. My biggest fear was that at some point they'd show up in a town and then just murder everyone for fun. That wasn't the kind of campaign I wanted to run. My players should be murdering monsters, not villages. In the hopes of starting things off right I came up with a couple of rules for my players.

  1. The campaign will not be about a group of evil adventurers moving from town to town killing everyone they meet.
  2. No chaotic evil characters.

The first rule was a goal for me, which I'd also present to the players. The second was an alignment restriction to get my players to create characters that could work together as a group. Honestly, one of my biggest pet peeves is character who refuses to work with the group. My players agreed to my conditions. As terrible as they are, they're all right.

While I was trying to figure out how I'd run this campaign, I came upon the Way of the Wicked adventure path. This seemed like a pretty good starting point, so I picked it up and started reading through it. Nearly a year in, I've thrown out most of the adventure path and the group is going to be defending their evil stronghold from the approaching army lead by Lord Thomas Havelyn and his son Sir Richard Havelyn. Oh, and the brass dragon that's flying around.

The Players and their Characters

Here's our group of evil doers, and the players who are running them. The group has been pretty consistent for nearly two years, which is pretty great. 

Oryn the Wizard (Jason)

Oryn is an elven wizard who lusts for power. He's not terribly good with people, and he's pretty heartless.

Jason, who is running Oryn, really gets into the crunchy bits of the RPGs we play. Oryn is a reflection of his desire to create a powerful character with a lot of options.

Geln the Barbarian (Trina)

Geln is our dwarven barbarian who really likes hitting stuff really hard. She's a straight shooter, and has little patience for protracted planning sessions. 

Trina was a bit nervous about starting up an evil campaign, and is still squeamish about certain aspects of it (let's talk about them orphans). That said, she's our barbarian and still loves smashing things. Especially angels.

Tai Lung the Monk (Jim)

Tai Lung is the half-elven monk who has recently become a bit of a mad scientist. He's been collecting odd bits of creatures throughout the campaign, and is starting to put together poisons with them.

Jim, like Jason, likes the crunchy bits of creating characters. He's been looking forward to the higher levels of the campaign when his monk will start doing all sorts of terrible things to monsters.

Akmenos the Cleric (Mark)

Akmenos is a tiefling follower of the evil god Asmodeus. He's been on board with the Cardinal's plan from the very beginning. However, he recently picked up the Book of Vile Darkness and has been bragging about how he's now becoming a god. We'll see how Asmodeus feels about him carting around a holy relic from Vecna.

Mark is the player in my group who really keys off of interacting with the NPCs. This can be a bit dangerous at times because that's one of my favorite things about running an RPG.

Brand the Bard/Cleric (Troy)

Brand is a half-elven bard who recently converted over to Asmodeus and is now a cleric in his name. He's pretty good at nearly everything, and is always there to help out his companions. That is, when his companions aren't being terrible and yelling at him.

Troy, who plays Reudan in our Shadow of the Demon Lord campaign, seems to be pretty happy doing anything in an RPG. 

Recent History

The group took over an ancient fortress hidden in the forest south of the town of Farholde a while back. They've been performing a ritual in order to call forth the plague demon Vetra-Kali so they can get the Tears of Achlys from him. Their benefactor, Cardinal Thorn, wants to use the tears to decimate the populace of the land. That's basically why the group is doing what they're doing.

The group has been building up the stronghold, recruiting kuo-toa, collecting more orphans, helping mind flayers, and generally taking care of business. Events have been pushing toward a large conflict, which will be happening in our next session. A pair of paladins are now leading a small contingent of troops on the stronghold, and there's a brass dragon flying about.

The paladins are on their way because the group had taken a cleric captive early on after taking over the stronghold. This cleric was rescued by a group of adventurers, who were tipped off about the stronghold (unknown to the group, though they're figuring this out). That cleric was taken back to Farholde and put under the protection of the paladin Lord Thomas Havelyn. Fearing that she would spill too many secrets, the group infiltrated the church with the help of their spy Anaxibia Ghostfinger. Unfortunately, the cleric was watched over by an angel, which the group promptly slaughtered. With the cleric back in their stronghold everything appeared to be quiet again.

Lord Havelyn was not standing still. He left Farholde, only to return several weeks later with his son, Richard Havelyn, who was also a paladin of renown in the land. The two of them were leading 200 soldiers, and they were heading directly to the stronghold. You see, the cleric that had been recaptured told Lord Havelyn everything she could about her ordeal. That, and the dead angel in the church convinced Lord Havelyn that something terrible was going on.

And I thought a brass dragon would be fun to throw in the mix.

Wrapping Up

So that's where things are at. I'll be dropping some more posts about the campaign here as things move along. We've been meeting every other week, though it ebbs and flows with holidays, work, and other real life stuff. I've got a lot of thoughts about GMing, and they change on a nearly daily basis. I should start writing some of it down.