In our adventures and campaigns, we always meet with various threats and challenges. These come mostly in terms of monsters and villains. Generally, our party is a band of good or neutral aligned heroes who are trying to help the realm in their own way. And although their methods or schemes vary, the opposition is outright evil.
For many games of D&D, finding out who is good or evil is relatively easy. Villains may lie or such, but their alignment will eventually give away themselves. Many spells can directly pinpoint or act according to the alignment of an NPC or monster. The game provides relatively easy ways to highlight alignments. This is intentional and clever as we are playing this game for fun.
Adventuring is okay with a clearly defined enemy, we can focus on how to defeat a foe rather than getting into an extended debate regarding the nature of morality. Dungeon Masters come up with many clever schemes, challenges, and thrilling encounters against our foes, nature of our opposition may generally be left as is.
Still, sometimes the question lingers within the players or even Dungeon Masters’ minds: What is evil? Why are these villains or monsters evil? What do they do to be in this alignment? Understanding the nature of evil can add a lot of flavor to our games as players or the ones telling the story.
In 5th edition of Dungeons and Dragons, evil alignments in general are defined as those who lack a moral compass and deviate to selfish and destructive deeds. They may have to follow a code of conduct as in Lawful Evil, but they try to get what they want without thinking about the consequences. Some even are driven to the edge by their destructive tendencies and do evil for its own sake.
Yet, acts of evil may have a greater depth than these definitions. A monster may have to follow a code of evil because it is bound. Although its heart is saddened by its actions, there is no easy alternative for it to break free. A priest may be seeing the dark nature of the deity as the truth, and make hideous acts out of devotion without realizing they are way out of the moral standards. A murderer may be deranged, believing some people in the settlement to be potential traitors involved in a massive conspiracy against the throne and the rightful (perhaps even exalted) king or queen.
EVIL IN CORPUS MALICIOUS
Corpus Malicious is a sourcebook for anything evil in Dungeons and Dragons. It is serving both players and Dungeon Masters, providing around 30 evil-natured archetypes, 5 backgrounds, 3 races, 10 feats, 20 spells, 35 monsters, 50 items and 25 villains.
Whether you want to play an evil character with more depth at your alignment, or you want to run a game with more emphasis or variety of the evilness of the villain or monsters, Corpus Malicious will be your ultimate guide in D&D 5th Edition.
In our book, we are delving into nature and many aspects of evil. We answer the questions what and how is it like to be evil, being at the opposite side of the moral war that is often undiscovered in games.
The book goes deep into the definition of evil in both clearly-defined D&D terms as well as more philosophical terms in which declaring whether an act is evil or not is in a grey area. Many universal acts of evil are described in detail, along with their details and applications.
And of course, there will be cults. We will provide 15 cults in Corpus Malicious. These cults will be even dreadful to think of what they do; ignoring or even crushing the taboos of society. We are writing them in a universal manner, so that you will be able to use them in a game in Forgotten Realms, Ravenloft, Svilland, or any other campaign setting.
NEW RULES: FORMS OF DEGENERATION
We are focusing on many ways of corruption, falling from grace. Whether moral corruption or an existential, cosmic one, there are new game mechanics for how a character falls deeper into degeneration of desecrating, foul, rottening, and maddening essences.
Desecrating essence is that comes from within a character. It is the nature and potential everything hideous humanity can do. People who are degenerating into desecrating corruption are doing so because of how evil they can be in nature. Along other forms, this one may be the most evil of them all, as it antagonizes being human itself, rather than being the victim of a cosmic force.
Foul essence is the influence of demons and devils. It reflects their destructive or schemeful tendencies aiming to invade and dominate over other races. It occurs mostly as the result of worshipping these fiends. As they are from a different plane and their energies are intense, characters who devote themselves to them often become corrupted or even break in terms of mind and flesh.
Rotting essence is the influence of undeath. It drains the vitality and life of those who dwell within the depths of necromancy and other sorts of death magic. By becoming obsessed with death, people find themselves drifting far away from life and nature.
Maddening essence is the consequence of the outer realms. Planes that are far beyond the comparison of mortal minds cause derangement when witnessed. Far realm is a place of absolute chaos, or that is how it seems to people as they cannot understand it within the context of their existence. A normal person’s mind shatters when it witnesses the far realm and its creatures. Aberrations and working on far realm magic also cause madness on characters. They become both lost and enlightened by the result of their derangement.
All these degenerating essences take something out of characters, but they also reward them in their forsaken paths. Players will be able to use these essences to manifest additional or stronger features involving the nature of these forms of degeneration.