Chirine Ba Kal wrote: "The odd gaps in our information come pretty much from the on-going needs of his campaign; we know relatively little about the Stability temples, as an example, because very few of his players were Stability worshippers. If it didn't come up in the game sessions, it often didn't come up at all..."
In Tekumel, there are two alignments: Stability and Change. Prof. Barker has mentioned that contemporary Americans would regard both as evil. That said, the Change folks indulge in more human sacrifice and in general seem more "evil".
So to the notion that one can't have a viable, on-going campaign with mostly evil PCs? Prof. Barker incinerated it.
Last Edit: Nov 30, 2014 22:05:42 GMT -6 by geoffrey
Well, yes and no. What DIDN'T happen in Tekumel was what I describe as "Chaotic Moronic," which is how most "EVIL" D&D games go. From the point of view of 21st Century Americans, the difference between my PC, the Glorious General, worshipper of Karakan, Lord of War(among other stuff) of Stability, and Chirine's PC, worshipper of Vimuhla, Lord of War(among other stuff) of Change, would be virtually indistinguishable.
And despite the fact that I was a follower of "Stability" and he was a follower of "Change," he served faithfully as my aide-de-camp in my legion for almost a decade of gaming. They may both have been "evil," but it would definitely be LAWFUL evil (though EPT was published before the 9 alignment system emerged.) You didn't get inter-party conflict, and creating ruckus within the Empire would be frowned upon by the humorless lads with the impaling stakes.
I was indeed one of the few followers of Stability, but since I was more a soldier than a religious person, it didn't matter much. "I attend the proper rituals" was about as far as it went. We were far too busy trying to stay alive.
Good post, Michael. You put your finger on the problem. One can certainly have intelligent players make evil PCs work. Unfortunately, too many players have a juvenile sense of what is "evil": "I know! We'll run around like maniacs, slaying everything that moves! We'll also slay each other! We're sooooooo evil!"
That's not evil. That's just stupid.
But canny devil-worshipers who don't give a fig for the poor, the downtrodden, and maidens in distress? Most definitely.
Most players characters when left to their drudges will play as self serving neutral or evil types who do good out of monetary or social gain. The problem is when invited to play as "the other" will fall into gross stereotypes and characture. Basically alignment is synonymous with 20th century ideals of nationalism.
Evil is also in a way synonymous with "subversive to the state", so if the world around them is one way, they will cause as much havoc to that system as possible if playing that alignment even going so far as to be self-destructive.
Barker smartly removes the preconceived baggage of the words good and evil and thus mitigates against players inability to control the constructive nature inherent in the rhetoric of those words and the positionality players unwittingly fall into.
Cthulhuid entities also skirt this issue (to borrow from Nietzsche) by being "beyond good and evil" and additionally with the alien social landscape of your carcosa; removes from the players the easy fall back to constructed societal tropes.