Pathfinder? have you tried looking from the monsters' perspective?


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i know the fantasy genre depends on generic goon races we can kill in teeming hordes without a stain on our conscience, but i want to ask if you as a player or DM, tend to try to understand things from the perspective of the creatures that many adventurers have slaughtered. have you tried putting yourself into the monsters' shoes? have your tried fleshing out the monsters as more than just generic bags of loot and experience points? have you tried to interpret the impact of "adventurers" upon a monstrous economy? have you considered why those monsters raid and what they seek to fulfill from it?

i beleive that by humanizing the monsters, you can make a fantasy setting more immersive, and encouraging a less genocidal approach to adventuring. a common subversion we see in literature is the lawful good succubus paladin or the vampire who looks for alternatives to human blood, or even, the ghoul who eats the meat of the already slain rather than hunting new bodies to feed upon.

what steps have you taken to make your monsters living and breathing creatures and not just a statblock of mindless numbers with a bag of loot and an XP bubble attached?

Shadow Lodge

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A) Murderhobos we be.
B) This is a great idea for roleplaying.
C) Though many "monsters" may just want food, some are evil for a reason. They are even more competent murderhobos than you and I, being born and bred for the job. And just as often as not, it's not something to be gotten over. Remember, while some evil monsters may see themselves as doing good by killing stuff, the developers must have an intuitive grasp of true evil in this universe. They made the game, right?

I am going to try this out soon, thanks for the ideas. Food for thought. Now, let's pull out our Wayfinders....


I agree, for the most part.

In one game we had a Lamia, rather than defend herself from us, spend every action desperately trying to free her child from a trap.

She was Evil. No question about it. But, she truly loved her child, and it made for a great session (Once we restrained the Paladin from smiting her silly).

I love that GM.

Shadow Lodge

Another thing I should add is TRADITION! If I were a gamer, duh-duh-duh-duh.... The statblock-with-xp-and-loot-attached is an option some people prefer, which is to be respected. In almost all games, there's a loser to go with the winner. RPGs are not an exception, and most people don't see an actual person losing as the monsters. The GM doesn't lose. His game is to make everyone have a good time, which includes not having the players die all the time.


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Or to the players:

"what steps have you taken to make your characters living and breathing creatures and not just a statblock of mindless numbers with a bag of loot and an XP bubble attached?"

C'mon Rin. This isn't 1974. Monsters have feelings too. And motivations. And names. When required.


Auren "Rin" Cloudstrider wrote:

i know the fantasy genre depends on generic goon races we can kill in teeming hordes without a stain on our conscience, but i want to ask if you as a player or DM, tend to try to understand things from the perspective of the creatures that many adventurers have slaughtered. have you tried putting yourself into the monsters' shoes? have your tried fleshing out the monsters as more than just generic bags of loot and experience points? have you tried to interpret the impact of "adventurers" upon a monstrous economy? have you considered why those monsters raid and what they seek to fulfill from it?

i beleive that by humanizing the monsters, you can make a fantasy setting more immersive, and encouraging a less genocidal approach to adventuring. a common subversion we see in literature is the lawful good succubus paladin or the vampire who looks for alternatives to human blood, or even, the ghoul who eats the meat of the already slain rather than hunting new bodies to feed upon.

what steps have you taken to make your monsters living and breathing creatures and not just a statblock of mindless numbers with a bag of loot and an XP bubble attached?

I have made them more human as a GM, and most stories tell you why the monsters are doing _____. Normally it is because they are evil. Now of course if we look at it from a different angle we might ask "why are they evil, and can we help them to be less evil". That however is a long term social project, and not something most people would find as being fun in a game, unless it is something like Kingmaker where you can play for decades.


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Auren "Rin" Cloudstrider wrote:

i know the fantasy genre depends on generic goon races we can kill in teeming hordes without a stain on our conscience, but i want to ask if you as a player or DM, tend to try to understand things from the perspective of the creatures that many adventurers have slaughtered. have you tried putting yourself into the monsters' shoes? have your tried fleshing out the monsters as more than just generic bags of loot and experience points? have you tried to interpret the impact of "adventurers" upon a monstrous economy? have you considered why those monsters raid and what they seek to fulfill from it?

i beleive that by humanizing the monsters, you can make a fantasy setting more immersive, and encouraging a less genocidal approach to adventuring. a common subversion we see in literature is the lawful good succubus paladin or the vampire who looks for alternatives to human blood, or even, the ghoul who eats the meat of the already slain rather than hunting new bodies to feed upon.

what steps have you taken to make your monsters living and breathing creatures and not just a statblock of mindless numbers with a bag of loot and an XP bubble attached?

As a GM? Every creature is a character. You may not have the backstory completely planned out for Orc Mook With Spear #37, but you should have a general idea of the motivations of each creature that the party meets and act accordingly. For this reason, most combats with creatures of animal or higher intellect enemies shouldn't automatically be "to the death" unless the party makes it so (though death is often a real possibility). Most creatures have a survival instinct and would retreat if significantly injured. Of course, the enemy overlord may rule her Legions of Terror with an iron fist and summarily execute cowards....

In any case, a game is as bloodthirsty as the characters in it, NPC and PC alike.

Sovereign Court

My games tend to be human-centric and monster encounters are rare so you might find my game super boring. When I do use monsters I try and give them purpose beyond just being evil obstacles. Is there really a reason for gobos being there other then to die at the hands of the PCs? I have neat players who are often curious and want to discover things more than just kill them. I think the overall attitude and play style is how we got to that point.


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My difficulty as GM when I try to look at things from the monster's rational viewpoint is that usually, within the first round of combat, they would come to a conclusion along the lines of, "Oh no! I'm a CR-appropriate challenge! Run away!"


I always tend to point out in games I play that though -insert enemy- is trying to kill us, we did in fact break into their home (i.e. the dungeon) and are armed to the teeth. Really they are just standing their ground and we are the aggressors mostly.


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Matthew Downie wrote:
My difficulty as GM when I try to look at things from the monster's rational viewpoint is that usually, within the first round of combat, they would come to a conclusion along the lines of, "Oh no! I'm a CR-appropriate challenge! Run away!"

And then they come back with friends, bigger, stronger higher CR friends. :D


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Matthew Downie wrote:
My difficulty as GM when I try to look at things from the monster's rational viewpoint is that usually, within the first round of combat, they would come to a conclusion along the lines of, "Oh no! I'm a CR-appropriate challenge! Run away!"

In the game I run I tend to have intelligent monsters retreat after it is clear they are hopelessly outmatched. And then they usually try to communicate in some way with the party, as besides being a bit concerned, they are often confused: "Who are you and why the hell are you attacking our base?" is a common question. The way they see it they are doing what they do (which may or may not be evil) and then suddenly for no reason a strike force of vagabonds kicks in the door and starts killing their dudes.


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a strike force of extremely homicidal Vagabonds motivated by wealth and power, feel no concern for the well being of their enemies, bear no sense of visible honor, and slaughter hordes of sentient life on a daily basis in racist acts of oppressive massacre. Goblins and Kobolds fear the "Pale Faced Giants" and Orcs fear the "Ghost Faced Predators". they fight for self defense. because their homes are invaded by what in their minds, is an evil worse than how they percieve any demon to be.


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The monsters tend to have done something to provoke the attack. While they may not be expecting visitors many of them such as ogres have a "might makes right" attitude, so I doubt they disagree philosophically. They just dont like being on the wrong end of that idea.

The goblins in a certain adventure path probably have a fairly good idea of why you are in their "home".


every combat should create ethical dissonance whether or not there be a deaf ear turned

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I suppose the easiest way to "humanize" the "green" races, (goblinoids, Orcs etc) would be to look at what World of Warcraft has done. You have the Horde and the Alliance. That might be a good model to follow.


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ElyasRavenwood wrote:
I suppose the easiest way to "humanize" the "green" races, (goblinoids, Orcs etc) would be to look at what World of Warcraft has done. You have the Horde and the Alliance. That might be a good model to follow.

In most D&D-descended games the goal is to dehumanize the "greens". Players want enemies that are fun to kill, not constant guilt trips.

The constant slaughter in World of Warcraft would be monstrously evil if everyone didn't come back to life three minutes later.


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I don't know if it humanised them, but I had children and dog zombies attack my players. I had the leader of all the vampires in a particular city create a charity called the "Hospital for Unwed Mothers" which had spread across the country in a specific plot to threaten to kill all of the newborns (and pregnant woman) if the PCs killed him (there were standing orders to carry out the order after 12 hours unless they were contacted to say otherwise).

I had one NPC have his zombie wife locked up in the cellar and he was killing people to feed to her. I think that one humanised zombies the most, although it more highlighted the horror of them rather than dissuade the PCs from killing it.


It's central to what I write.

Richard


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Please stop pushing for social justice for goblins. Once we've killed the adults, stolen the babies and raised them to be not-sociopaths, then they can have rights.


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short answer: yes, but ...

long answer: I try to make all the people and critters in my games follow some sort of inner goal or compass. they don't sit around in dungeons and by roads waiting for PC's to come along to murderslaughterloot them. They have plans, interests and destinations, sometimes (quite often actually) these have nothing to do with the PC's.
Much of my plots seem to easily be described with the starting sentence: "the Players stumble upon ..."

spoiler for my game and an example:

ex: currently the Pc's have defeated the guards and have decended into an underground necropolis (Dungeon Crawl ftw!) populated mostly by ghouls.
Why are the PC's here?
they are trying to find the reason for the attacks on the village they have arrived in (spoiler: it's not really related, it's a different sideplot involving corrupted nature spirits and ... stuff)
why are they in that village?
they are on their way somwhere else to look into some rumors about undeads and bandits.
why do they care?
this party have a hefty thorn in their side when it comes to undeads because of a shared background involving a vampire.
Said vampire is in these ruins looking for something important to him and I'm looking forward to revealing him.
And the reson for the rumors about undeads and bandits is because of one of his progeny unknown to him.

So you see everybody is moving around and heading somwhere or focusing on something, where and when the Pc's enter gives opportunity to show them as more then What they are, but also Who they are.
The point is that even flesh eating abominations and bloodsucking ancient horrors have goals and interests, and that sometimes humanizes them to an extent.

The worst thing you can do with a npc or monster is to not make up any (or even a half-assed) reason for why they are where they are and what they want.
Pathfinder usually makes it quite easy to make reason for why they want to murdereatkillslaughter the heroes though ... not much elaborate backstory or deep character development there.
("he's an ogre, you are in his den, he wants to kill you. if you had met him in a forest he might have ignored you, but most likely not - depends on if he was hungry or not")


LuxuriantOak wrote:

short answer: yes, but ...

Stuff

I agree with you 100% and I strive to do the same, which leads to hilarity (or maybe that's not the word for it...) when the NPCs stare in disbelief at the PCs when they realize they got slaughtered over what was little more than a cultural misunderstanding (though they may have certainly been evil and had it coming regardless). The PCs end up being like some unthinking, implacable force of destruction to the NPCs.

Monstrous NPC: "So let me get this straight, you slew our chieftain, destroyed our ancestral clan home, and scattered our once mighty tribe to the winds because you were walking through and 'we looked evil?' It has nothing to do with the lost relic of Ashsad-cough-cough- that we are sworn to protect from those that would abuse it?"

PC: "Yeah, that's pretty much the size of it. Wait, what was that last part about a powerful relic you guys have?"

Monstrous NPC: "...Who said anything about a lost relic?"

And then the PCs make enemies and future plot lines are born.


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Auren "Rin" Cloudstrider wrote:
a strike force of extremely homicidal Vagabonds motivated by wealth and power...

Hang on. Some murderhobos just like killing, without the lewt or powar…

Auren "Rin" Cloudstrider wrote:
...feel no concern for the well being of their enemies, bear no sense of visible honor, and slaughter hordes of sentient life on a daily basis

Ehrm, I'm not sparing too much thought for whether my enemies have health insurance or have reasons why they are fighting me. I'm a murderhobo.

Auren "Rin" Cloudstrider wrote:
in racist acts of oppressive massacre...

Why racist? Any murderhobo I have ever seen was a) not orderly enough to distinguish between races that had lewt or xp and b) were fairly polyglot themselves.

And I'm not sure there is massacre that is not "oppressive".

Auren "Rin" Cloudstrider wrote:
Goblins and Kobolds fear the "Pale Faced Giants" and Orcs fear the "Ghost Faced Predators".

You forgot gnomes and kender in the first sentence.

Not sure why "pale faced" or "ghost faced" or more than likely human. This seems to infer that murderhobo PCs are white and Medium sized - not ethnically diverse or worse, drow or half-orc or fallen-angelic dragonblooded half hound-archon/half tiefling/half manbearpig flailsnails. Or that you can't have a bevy of murderous kobolds, goblins, gnomes, kender or vitriolic vegepygmies. Your post is unbearably heightist. And smacks of some kind of privilege. Perhaps non-murderhobo privilege. I haven't decided yet.

Auren "Rin" Cloudstrider wrote:
they fight for self defense. because their homes are invaded by what in their minds, is an evil worse than how they percieve any demon to be.

Yes. Invaded by an immature and plotfully bankrupt game.


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It is a game, not an alternate reality social simulation. Monsters bad. Kill monsters. ;)


I turn them into recurring characters with their own agenda ... and whom my players don't get to confront directly until a narratively appropriate moment.

Kingmaker spoilers:

Kingmaker's first module has a great RP opportunity with a kobold tribe called the Sootscales. Sootscale, the chief, and Tartuk, the tribe's shaman, are in a power struggle in the tribe. My party allied with Sootscale. In the following sessions:

Tartuk bedeviled the PCs for about two or three sessions. They had a couple encounters where he wasn't present, but still had his greasy fingerprints on them. The whole thing culminated in Tartuk leading an assault on the fort the players were using as a base. By the end of the combat, my players hated Tartuk to the point that once he was down, they were racing across the fort because everybody wanted to coup de grace him.

Sootscale, meanwhile, has become what my players describe as an "annoying ally." As my players build their human/elf/dwarf kingdom, Sootscale is right next store, expanding his own influence. Sootscale has a particular voice (kind of gruff), and he's ambitious and definitely out for his own interests. But he's never done anything that directly threatens the players or their kingdom.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I generally prefer to think of "mortal" races as neutral, with equal propensity for evil or good. Some species may be more prone to violence due to psychological differences (Orcs are just more aggressive than humans) or biology (Mind Flayers feed on sapient brains...). But they generally speaking don't do what they do for the evulz. I think that makes thing more realistic, opens up other races for play, and generally does a good job of skirting murderhobo tendencies.


Auren "Rin" Cloudstrider wrote:


what steps have you taken to make your monsters living and breathing creatures and not just a statblock of mindless numbers with a bag of loot and an XP bubble attached?

Very much depends on the setting/module and group I'm playing with.

In a game situated in darkmoon vale (hollow's last hope, crown of the kobold king etc.) I managed to describe one of the kobold slaves in such a way that the players spared him. Now he is part of the party (as an NPC) and I started giving him his first class level. The best part: They trust him enough to give him a small human bane axe they found. And it is an all human party.

Crown spoilers:
During Crown of the Kobold King the kobold civilians did not fight the players after they made their kobold follower tell them that the big ones only want to kill the tyrant king, not the other kobolds.

In another game I play a kobold and by that changed the other player's view of other kobolds. Now they are not KOS anymore.

In AD&D my dwarf fighter once opened a door deep within a dungeon and saw some hobgoblins put down their mugs and reach for their weapons. In Goblin he told them "leave the weapons and hand me some ale." They hesitated but did as I asked. After that our paladin started arguing that we can not leave them there as they will turn on us. He asked me to tell them to fight. I told them "That one wants you to take up arms so he can fight you." They declined. And that was the point where the paladin got into trouble by hobgoblins practicing nonviolent resistance. It was not used against him and he did not fall. But we had a lot of fun.


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After Meepo, I think people take a different view of kobolds.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

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If a fantasy world were actually 'real', the sheer amount of slaughter perpetrated by PC characters would have immense consequences.

Just imagine how invading orcs/goblins/giants/ogres would view parties of PC's going out there and ripping them apart day after day, hunting them down, slaughtering them, taking their stuff.

yes, PC's and the races they come from would be seen like demons, and the only way to fight those things is all out war or run. Nothing in between works.

PC's coming would be like a natural disaster on the way...pray you're going to survive, because death is on the wind.

==Aelryinth


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I try to take a middle road. I try to make most humanoids and monstrous humanoids as "human" as possible, in the sense of having their own communities, cultures, loves, and way of life (while keeping their non-human diversity and specialness of course).

But they can still be slaughtered if the story or players require it, for perfectly good reasons that are built up when I see either moving in that direction. Crimes deserve retribution. Hitler and the nazis, Stalin, Genghis Khan and the Mongol Horde, colonialists, and so on are all human, but I think most of us would have few qualms at wiping them out if we were aware of their (current, increasing) atrocities in our own neighborhood.

I do leave out non-combatants and children when a settlement of a monstrous race has built up a deservedly bad reputation. I include them when they have not built up that reputation. Hand-waving on my part, granted, but when killing bad guys is the fun that is happening right now, not too many people in my experience want to discover that the "big bad" just happens to also be a loving husband and father to helpless infants.


I tried looking at it from a monster's perspective. My game was all about demons and devils.

The goal of one was to torture maim, slaughter, and kill the material plane for the luls.

The goal of the other was to enslave, subjugate, and conquer the material plate.

All my sympathies go out to none of them. Animals tend to be just wild animals which aren't that big of a deal (Just like in real life). Evil outsiders are evil for a reason.

Sometimes pathfinder is actually black and white. You don't fight good aligned balors and pit fiends, you don't fight good aligned Haster, and you don't fight good aligned gelatinous cubes.

About 2/3rds of the entire bestiary are irredeemably evil or so neutral it can't understand you, and we all know neutral is the most evil alignment of all thanks to a Zap Captain.


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All we ever wanted is to be loved!!! But no... go up to one adventurer with your arms out for a hug and he kills you and your whole tribe!!!

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

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These are all good points. Do goblins love their children like other civilized humanoids? What I'm saying is, if you strapped goblin children to your shields, would goblins stop attacking you? Because I'm totally trying that.


Christopher Dudley wrote:
These are all good points. Do goblins love their children like other civilized humanoids? What I'm saying is, if you strapped goblin children to your shields, would goblins stop attacking you? Because I'm totally trying that.

Perhaps they just think the children to be already as good as dead in the hands of a pc and try to take revenge.

If I saw you with a child strapped to a shield my goal would not to save that child but to make sure you can never do that again. By chopping off your fingers and toes, blinding you and doing other unpleasant things while making sure you survive. But in a state unable to cause much further harm.


I myself run people centric games, so it isnt much of an issue. If I do need a horde, I admitedly prefer "mindless" creatures (such a undead (and related, like fungus-spawn), vermin, sometimes animals).

But in those few cases where I do have intelligent "monsters", I tend to play them as living, breathing creatures with sentiment & such.

Note: I ran an all dwarf game last winter where the players, playing as flankers for a dwarvish army (While the main army was engaged with the main goblin army, they where supposed to harry side parties & reach a supposedly sieged fortress).

When they finally arrived at the fortress, they where met by hobgoblin soldiers who opposed them, though one in the group ran away up a tower clutching something in their hands. After killing the local hobgobo lieutenant, they finally reached the top of the tower where the fleeing hobgobo had gone. He then threw a bag he was carrying (it contained the old wards that once defended the fortress) at them and flung himself off the tower rather than face them. It quite surprised them. If I had continued the game long enough, I would have had the dude come back as some sort of hobgobo batman.

I've noticed when you play enemies smart (even monsters) it makes the players make some of the most ridiculous theories.

One note: outsiders are not "living" to me, they are pure alignement stuff. Their behavior is very "consistent", and I treat them as if they had no free will. Not mindless, but incapable of evolving their personality.


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Christopher Dudley wrote:
These are all good points. Do goblins love their children like other civilized humanoids? What I'm saying is, if you strapped goblin children to your shields, would goblins stop attacking you? Because I'm totally trying that.

Ah, the old strapped babies/children trick - I normally see it as a way to try to defend against single-target spell attacks, not as a means to slow counter-attacks.

From my experience, works better on gnomes than goblins, but as always, YMMV.

-TimD


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Christopher Dudley wrote:
These are all good points. Do goblins love their children like other civilized humanoids? What I'm saying is, if you strapped goblin children to your shields, would goblins stop attacking you? Because I'm totally trying that.

I've got a GM who plays goblins as complete A-holes; whenever they see one of their compatriots in a compromising position, they start whacking. Once had a goblin spend an entire battle hitting another goblin who had gotten stuck in a snare trap.

Sovereign Court

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I don't know about you - but most campaigns I have a reason for killing the monsters. Whether it's taking back a town from gnolls after they killed / chased everyone away. (Legacy of Fire) Or dealing with ogres who're out eating travelers etc, it's nearly always a re-active act.

The exceptions are undead/constructs etc which may be defending a tomb - but undead/constructs aren't alive anyway, so killing them isn't murder. (not even sentient undead - who wouldn't spend all their time defending a tomb anyway)


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DominusMegadeus wrote:
Please stop pushing for social justice for goblins...

Yeah, that DOES get annoying.

I prefer they be whole characters and not just evil stereotypes, but the "We are the real monster's" bit gets old FAST.

Edited: For deleting too much in the quote


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On Golarion, baby Goblins are kept in cages until they are old enough.

And I don't think I've ever had a situation where the PCs broke in on a place without some provocation. Usually, the monsters are all being dicks first.


Guang wrote:
I do leave out non-combatants and children when a settlement of a monstrous race has built up a deservedly bad reputation. I include them when they have not built up that reputation. Hand-waving on my part, granted, but when killing bad guys is the fun that is happening right now, not too many people in my experience want to discover that the "big bad" just happens to also be a loving husband and father to helpless infants.

You do lose the roleplay opportunity doing that, BUT, I gotta say, I much prefer that to the GM who rubs your face into it like you're a dog who just wee'd on the floor. :)

williamoak wrote:
One note: outsiders are not "living" to me, they are pure alignement stuff. Their behavior is very "consistent", and I treat them as if they had no free will. Not mindless, but incapable of evolving their personality.

In the Dresden Files, non-mortal races for the most part don't have free will, they have Natures. It's much how you're describing here.

For the most part I like it because it makes sense, but Pathfinder does allow for there to be exceptions to that, which I also like. Woo, let's go redeem demons! :D


Teatime42 wrote:
DominusMegadeus wrote:
Please stop pushing for social justice for goblins...

Yeah, that DOES get annoying.

I prefer they be whole characters and not just evil stereotypes, but the "We are the real monster's" bit gets old FAST.

Edited: For deleting too much in the quote

Order of the stick says goblins were literally created evil to allow adventurers to grind exp. I like that take on it.

Silver Crusade

Teatime42 wrote:
DominusMegadeus wrote:
Please stop pushing for social justice for goblins...

Yeah, that DOES get annoying.

I prefer they be whole characters and not just evil stereotypes, but the "We are the real monster's" bit gets old FAST.

Edited: For deleting too much in the quote

This isn't social justice, it's more a complex look at what's relatively boiled down to a simple issue. Social justice affects society, not fantasy. It's just a pet peeve of mine to see that term be tossed around.

Although honestly, I agree that the whole 'humans are the real monster' is a really boring trope. Like it kills my enthusiasm to read anything zombie based, as it's always "Oh, they're not the monsters, WE ARE!!!"

I'm fine with giving them lives and stuff for games that need it, but for the most part, a game like this needs dominoes you can knock over without feeling bad, and being green serves that purpose.


N. Jolly wrote:

This isn't social justice, it's more a complex look at what's relatively boiled down to a simple issue. Social justice affects society, not fantasy. It's just a pet peeve of mine to see that term be tossed around.

Although honestly, I agree that the whole 'humans are the real monster' is a really boring trope. Like it kills my enthusiasm to read anything zombie based, as it's always "Oh, they're not the monsters, WE ARE!!!"

I'm fine with giving them lives and stuff for games that need it, but for the most part, a game like this needs dominoes you can knock over without feeling bad, and being green serves that purpose.

Neither my comment or his comment were saying this is social justice. :)

He was making a joke (Which I had edited out), and I was pseudo agreeing that this mentality can in fact be taken too far, and end up in the Social Justice school of thought.

I've played in a game where that was a thing, it really sucked. I didn't stay long.:/

That said, why CAN'T there be Social Justice in a fantasy setting? Fantasy setting's have LOADS of custom built societies to tinker with, I'd think there would be plenty of room to do that, if you had players who wanted too.

Edited: Cause remembered stuffs.

Silver Crusade

Teatime42 wrote:

Neither my comment or his comment were saying this is social justice. :)

He was making a joke (Which I had edited out), and I was pseudo agreeing that this mentality can in fact be taken too far, and end up in the Social Justice school of thought.

I've played in a game where that was a thing, it really sucked. I didn't stay long.:/

That said, why CAN'T there be Social Justice in a fantasy setting? Fantasy setting's have LOADS of custom built societies to tinker with, I'd think there would be plenty of room to do that, if you had players who wanted too.

Edited: Cause remembered stuffs.

Sorry, just read the above, so without the rest of it, it kind of got lost in translation. Like I said, it's just a pet peeve of mine.

And yeah, you could have that sort of thing play into a fantasy setting, and it could be a lot of fun. Just like was mentioned earlier with OoTS, you've got Goblins asking not to die. You've got the webcomics Goblins with the same basic concept of "we're the monsters," there's a lot of ground to cover there if that's the kind of game you're running, but honestly I think it only really works from the viewpoint of the 'oppressed.' Play a 'green' party, play up the racial disparity, have some fun about it!

Shadow Lodge

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Oceanshieldwolf wrote:

Or to the players:

"what steps have you taken to make your characters living and breathing creatures and not just a statblock of mindless numbers with a bag of loot and an XP bubble attached?"

C'mon Rin. This isn't 1974. Monsters have feelings too. And motivations. And names. When required.

I tend to name the monsters my characters meet. An example: Alternate Sheath the First.


This is why I don't do 'savage races' as such. I tend to avoid monsters in general, really. I much prefer villains, members of typically PC (or at least PC-able) races that have real motivations for what they do, instead of just a faceless horde.

I also don't use XP for this reason (among others). If the players don't think of the opposition as walking bags of XP, then they won't go out of their way to tear into them.

Racial/gaming sterotypes are a problem with the group I'm in anyway. A player recently looked over my allowed-races stuff, and commented that there was one who caught his eye, but 'it didn't seem like they played well with others' off the generic racial lore. "You don't have to play the stereotype, and there are ways to 'not play well with others' without being an outright ass about it'."

As I say, a lot, the only flavor that matters is the flavor the player gives his character ... and it goes the same for the GM and his gameworld.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

This comic directly addresses this very issue.

Liberty's Edge

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I treat non-human, but intelligent, villains more or less exactly how I treat human villains of a similar character (so, like barbarian tribes or serial killers in some cases, for example). So...no inherent racism.

That doesn't mean the PCs don't get to kill them. It does mean that attacking a random village because those living in it are Goblins or Kobolds is Evil. Now, if, on the other hand, you're responding to the village sending out raiding parties...that's more of a grey area. And killing the raiding parties themselves? That's pretty unambiguously fine.

I've really never seen a game where people just go and murder things unprovoked to get their stuff. Heck, even in the Evil game I played a Drow in, where he personally committed acts of genocide, torture, and cannibalism we never did anything completely unprovoked. Our responses were excessive because, y'know, Evil...but they were still responses. I mean, even the whole 'slay the Dragon, steal his hoard' thing tends to come after said Dragon has been marauding across the countryside.

Frankly, the whole 'murderhobos' thing has always weirded me out. I assume some people actually play that way but it's absolutely foreign to my experience of the game.


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How long have you been playing, Deadmanwalking? If you were around in the really early parts of the game, especially when Gygax still had an active hand in it, you'd know that was specifically encouraged by the game.

The fantasy racism was so ingrained into Gygax's vision of the game that there was a chart in the 1e AD&D Player's Handbook telling you how the PC races were to interact with one another.

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