[RPG] be a follower of an evil god and not be evil


I'm playing a warlock, a follower of the old god Cthulhu (chaotic evil). My character is chaotic neutral, and has been doing some not-so-neutral things (in my opinion). My patron god is a big part of who my character is, and in the future I want to be able to use Create Undead and Death Touch. Having undead creatures can be seen as evil to most everyone.

One of my party members (as a player) mentioned that it can sometimes be "not fun" to play with my character because of his dickishness, which they attribute to him being evil. My defense, of course, was that dickishness is not evil, but they still have a point because I've killed 2 people that they otherwise were letting go free, a decision that I mostly regret. In addition to that, I've been less than eager to help others, except for trying to stop the apocalypse. Due to this, a conflict broke out, which I believe was handled properly between players, and our druid stormed out of a dungeon (justifiably) and our bard left the room disgusted to collect gold that was outside the room. As players, we're not sure if there's much reason for the druid to stay if my character is still there, because of this perceived wickedness.

So here's my issue: I like my character, I like our party, and I don't want to pull a 180 on my character and make him nice or throw away important motivations for him. I also don't want my character to be "not fun" to play with. I personally found the conflict between our characters exciting and fun, this is why I play. As a small caveat, none of the other players voiced any concern about my character but they weren't present during the conversation. I want to come to a compromise without ruining the character I've invested so much thought and time into developing. We have plans for my character to possibly become DM controlled if he does end up leaving, but I'd like to avoid that if possible.

Is there a way for me to worship an evil entity and raise the dead without being specifically evil? I realize this sounds like "can I be evil and not be evil?", but I'm looking for roleplay suggestions on how to remain neutral so that our party has reason to be together.

I'll add one more caveat. I don't think this issue has anything to do with "my guy syndrome" and this question is in fact not about justifying my past actions, only seeking to move forward in a way that will satisfy everyone. I don't ask this question to get you to agree with me or to suggest that I think I'm in the right and my druid friend is in the wrong. Quite the opposite, really. To add more context to what happened would make this more complex than it needs to be and would, honestly, be irrelevant.

Best Answer

So here's my issue: I like my character, I like our party, and I don't want to pull a 180 on my character and make him nice or throw away important motivations for him.

Well, it sounds like your character just may be evil, or at least on the evil side of neutral.

That doesn't mean he has to do evil things, especially if he has a reason not to.

And, if he wants to stay with the party, he probably does. You've already had an in-character conflict where one character "stormed out" and another "left the room disgusted." That ought to be a pretty good clue to your character that, if he wants to hang around with these guys, he'd better start to act nice, even if he's only doing it to keep the other party members cooperative.

Even if your character was a complete psychopath who loved kicking puppies, if he was sufficiently smart he should be able to realize that there are situations where it's better to heroically save the puppies instead. And it doesn't sound like your character is anywhere near that bad.

Basically, you're playing a conflicted character. This can be a lot of fun, if that's the kind of thing you like.

It doesn't matter that the cause of the conflict may be (at least initially) external; even so, it's a source of mental conflict for your character. On one hand, your character worships an evil god. Even if his choice is fundamentally based on pragmatic reasons (power!), a pact with Cthulhu will surely have some influence on him, tempting him to more evil acts and means (not that a hunger for power couldn't do that all by itself). On the other hand, he's also fighting to save the world (even if it might be for his own ends), and has teamed up with a bunch of more noble, good and squeamish types to do so. This means that, whatever means he might want to employ in the pursuit of his goals, he now also has to consider their effect on his fellow party members.

And, of course, once he starts to consider the way his actions are perceived by others, he might also gradually come to realize that there's also a side to himself that doesn't like what he's doing. Maybe not instantly, but after a while. Morality has a funny way of growing on you like that — from "I have to be nice or I'll get punished" to "hey, other people are actually nicer to me if I don't act like an asshole" to "you know, I really should be nice just on principle, because it makes the world a better place."

None of this means "pulling a 180" on your character, or at least, not in a way that he wouldn't have good in-character reasons for. Sure, the conflict with the other party members (and possibly subsequent reflection) might be the trigger that makes your character realize that he needs to drastically change his behavior in order to achieve his goals, but his motivations will still be the same as before.