I apologize for the almost exclusively “D&D-ish” nature of today’s Hot Button, but I think it definitely deserves addressing. It’s a question that also comes up in other games that have similar distinctions (such as Palladium’s alignment system or Star Wars Light Side/Dark Side distinctions).

Do you allow evil player characters in your standard campaigns?

I mention “standard” because I’m sure all of us old-timers can recall at least one “evil PC campaign” or even a “cuthroat campaign” in which evil PCs were expected. These are exceptions. What I’m interested in is whether, in the context of a normal campaign, you’d bat an eye if one of the PCs wanted to play a lawful evil (or evil, in 4e parlance) fighter in a party of mostly good or neutral PCs.

AD&D 1e almost seemed to encourage evil characters, as the assassin, a core (sub)class, required an evil alignment (although you couldn’t have a paladin and an assassin in the same party). Again, most of us old-timers have probably played, or at least been in a party that included, an anti-paladin. Subsequent editions of D&D and other RPGs actively discourage evil characters (in all of the Star Wars games I’ve been a party to, going to “the Dark Side” meant that you lost your character).

So that’s today’s hot button. If you are presented with an evil character concept, do you dismiss it out of hand, allow it with conditions, or allow it as a matter of course? If you have allowed an evil character into your campaign, did it have a significant impact (good or bad)?