I was exploring the mindset and personal philosophies for a character that I never played or intended to play.
As a Yuan-ti, he was bent on domination over the weak and furthering his race's cause (world domination). It was based on an earlier lawful evil psionic. The philosophies I had thought about previous to this and for this character ended up being integrated into ideas driving my next actually-played character.
What became of this exploration were some philosophies from a twisted, and yet completely rational and logical, mind. Such a philosophy could easily be glimpsed in current and past printed works. As I read and re-read this work, I see that it's ideas don't stand alone in the world, nor does it necessarily promote towards evil in particular.. although technically it should have been intended to do so. I could imagine taking this perspective and massaging and disguising it in a tamer version that set in some other circumstance like business.
I brought this text out and had shown it to a couple of roleplayer friends. Their reactions were quite pleasing. They looked at the text weird and said it was brilliant. One friend, who was a serious philosophy buff (at least at one point), added that he didn't think I could do this. He also said it was Machiavellian (see The Prince – (1910 book), by Niccolò Machiavelli).
I'll take that as a compliment.
The following text was only lightly edited on two occasions. It's scary how well I recorded my thoughts while mentally discussing this character's profile.
the text ∞
- Be power-hungry, but independent. Be cunning, plotting and careful when it serves, but, as contradictory as it may sound, be prepared for spontaneous decision.
- Be a backstabber to your known enemies, and not, to those who may be underestimated. Ensure complete success at such a task, for nothing returns stronger than an enemy after a failed attempts on his most precious self.
- There are advantages in 'keeping' an enemy alive [active], for they have many uses and may teach much. Do not let them, or anyone, interfere with your goals unless it has been planned and prepared for [or created]. Not even their innermost thoughts, let alone their actions, are to surprise, for they are to be mentally disassembled and thoroughly understood. Only in reaching this understanding can they become controlled for use, or killed if useless. To achieve this, none of their thoughts should surprise, none of their opinions should be previously unpondered.
- Always let others 'assume' power, but have them inescapably and discreetly rely solely on your 'expertise'. Be prepared and able to have control granted to you, or wrest it from them, when the need arises.
- Never be at the fault for any action without wanting that thought of you for some greater reason. Making decisions through others is one safe way to never be blamed.
- Know your enemy, but almost more importantly know your enemy's enemy. They will have long-standing quality knowledge of your foe and can often be made into useful pawns to assemble, or individually pit against them.
- Still more important is to know yourself, for only then can you possibly prepare to handle your problems. Know what tools you have, what enemies you've made, and what enemies you will make in both the near and distant futures. Then learn of each enemy's innermost secrets and innermost demons.
- Trust nothing but your innermost confidence. If angered, hate and seek to conspire to destroy. If afraid, fear and learn how and where to tactically withdraw, especially without being seen as in fear. Never show fear, without purpose.
- If unprepared, act as though you were the opposite, and so in the reverse. But do not be found predictable!
- Mislead the aware, out-prepare tacticians, out-smart the intelligent, out-speak the charismatic. Making yourself better than a foe's best real and perceived attributes is a step towards complete and unopposed dominance.
- Tower over pawns, cower before 'masters' and stay neutral around equals. Know your place and that of others. Learn how places can change and act to make those changes for your ultimate benefit, not necessarily for immediate gain.
- Do not seek followers, and when approached by those seeking this, make them instead faithful: organized and controlled, but independent. They are as tools, not clothing for some sort of fulfillment of vanity. Remember your best servant could be another's best assassin -- they are not your friends.
- Fear is not a tool for indirect dispersement. In such a case, this fear would act through some and not others, and can act to strengthen the resolve of survivors. When used, it is to be focused towards complete reception and complete effectiveness -- none must oppose it! The fear itself must not be opposed.
- Never show weakness to the weak or strength to the strong (unless you wish to goad them into a confrontation) for they would then strike out of fear and jealousy.
Help an enemy's weakness blossom rather than wearing down a strength. It is best to avoid such direct conflict and better to opt for a humiliating siege or a quick assassination.