This is Faith in Play #14: Wickedness, for January 2019.
In discussing Dungeons & Dragons® alignment, as we began last May with True Religion and continued looking at that which the game calls “good” in Goodness, it is important to remember that each alignment is something in which people actually believe. That becomes a problem when we turn our attention to “evil,” because we tend to stereotype it in cartoonish ways, with villains who are depraved and monsters that are sadistic. In so doing, we reassure ourselves that we are not evil, because we are not like that. Yet in defining that which is the polar opposite of “good” or beneficent, the game has something far more subtle, far less heinous, in view. Evil is embraced as a belief by perfectly sane sound reasonable people, not just Cthulhu cultists and reclusive Shakespearean witches. It is something people—even respected famous people—believe to be the way the world is and how we ought to respond within it. In fact, if you examine yourself carefully, you might discover that you yourself are aligned “evil,” or at least have some significant aspects in your true beliefs that reflect an “evil” world view. Read more