Ever feel bad for a monster? (seriously)


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Not because you killed it, I mean just in general. I find the whole concept of the sorrow stitchers https://aonprd.com/MonsterDisplay.aspx?ItemName=Sorrow%20Stitcher really sad and disturbing: they can't feel happiness without draining it from other people, and, even worse, the whole thing is due to them being descended from fey exiles, meaning they're being punished for something that isn't even their fault.


For all monsters who have Alignment assignments, even when it's "Usually".

It makes me want to scream at the manager of their cosmos.

The Exchange

Often when running a game, and "getting in the Zone" I often start to have a lot of empathy for my monsters...

I can recall running a game of Masters of the Fallen Fortress where the players were stomping all the monsters. So in the descriptions I was careful to call out the little "things" that make the creatures encounters more "real"... name on a food bowl for one monster (a pet) for example. Or a name written in the collar of a tunic from a body encountered... Until one of the players stopped between encounters to ask "are all the monsters in here named? I'm kind of feeling sorry for these little guys..." (HA! a win for me!) and so party started swinging with Non-Lethal damage after that, esp. for the "animals".


Personally, I always feel bad for Kobolds. They're one of the few races that gets treated more like vermin than even goblins. They can live to be up to 60, but most die off around 12, unless of course they get eaten as infants by their parents or siblings. They spend all their time in squalor, nursing old grudges, and clinging to a tribal caste system. They constantly are made to feel inadequate by their kinship with dragons. Even the dragons they serve find their whole existence distasteful, and eat them if they get bored or annoyed. Seems like a pretty miserable lot in life.


SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:

For all monsters who have Alignment assignments, even when it's "Usually".

It makes me want to scream at the manager of their cosmos.

Umm...that's James Jacobs, and the usually is because in the setting of Golarion they are usually evil.

About the only beings that are really "locked" to a certain alignment are Undead and Outsiders, and even then there are some exceptions.

So I'm not sure I really understand your complaint.


Claxon wrote:
SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:

For all monsters who have Alignment assignments, even when it's "Usually".

It makes me want to scream at the manager of their cosmos.

Umm...that's James Jacobs, and the usually is because in the setting of Golarion they are usually evil.

About the only beings that are really "locked" to a certain alignment are Undead and Outsiders, and even then there are some exceptions.

So I'm not sure I really understand your complaint.

I don't like Alignment. Doesn't make me hate the monsters, it makes me hate whatever cosmic force in the setting is forcing them to be that way.

Scarab Sages

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"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way." Jessica Rabbit


SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:
Claxon wrote:
SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:

For all monsters who have Alignment assignments, even when it's "Usually".

It makes me want to scream at the manager of their cosmos.

Umm...that's James Jacobs, and the usually is because in the setting of Golarion they are usually evil.

About the only beings that are really "locked" to a certain alignment are Undead and Outsiders, and even then there are some exceptions.

So I'm not sure I really understand your complaint.

I don't like Alignment. Doesn't make me hate the monsters, it makes me hate whatever cosmic force in the setting is forcing them to be that way.

The often-furious alignment debates often focuses on the chicken and egg situation. Are orcs typically evil because orcs are "born" evil (with non-evil orcs being, essentially, rebels) or are orcs capable of any alignment but are usually raised in an evil society? Are red dragons influenced by the forces of chaos and evil? They're not outsiders, but they seem to have less choice in the matter than tieflings or aasimar. Demons certainly are always chaotic evil, being walking, talking concepts of evil.


There is a particular Nymph that fell in love with one of the popular guys, and she wanted to be popular, too... then her boyfriend's popular friends got jealous of her, and banished her boyfriend and tore out her heart, cursing her to live a life without love or happiness.

Now she is completely insane having lived eons in loneliness, staring into the loveless abyss until it stared back into her. And her broken mind is frantically trying to put together a puzzle that is missing a bunch of pieces.

I know that Nyrissa is as evil as sin, itself, but I feel bad for her.

You can't fault a girl for trying, man, come on.

This is what you get for showing a little ambition?

D@mn.


Kimera757 wrote:
Demons certainly are always chaotic evil, being walking, talking concepts of evil.

Even then, I feel sorry for them because they don't get to choose.


All well-designed encounters inspire emotional responses in the players.


SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:
Claxon wrote:
SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:

For all monsters who have Alignment assignments, even when it's "Usually".

It makes me want to scream at the manager of their cosmos.

Umm...that's James Jacobs, and the usually is because in the setting of Golarion they are usually evil.

About the only beings that are really "locked" to a certain alignment are Undead and Outsiders, and even then there are some exceptions.

So I'm not sure I really understand your complaint.

I don't like Alignment. Doesn't make me hate the monsters, it makes me hate whatever cosmic force in the setting is forcing them to be that way.

But that force is literally the creative director, James Jacobs. It's that way because we're all playing in his massive homebrew setting that he started (and has had others contribute to). But some monsters a;,pst always being a certain alignment is kind of a point of the setting.

I just don't understand why that angers you so much since it's very easy to say "Well, in my version of Golarion this isn't the case".


I feel bad for owlbears generally. Freakish things magicked up by a mad wizard, their only purpose in life to be hacked to pieces by gangs of adventurers.


Claxon wrote:
I just don't understand why that angers you so much since it's very easy to say "Well, in my version of Golarion this isn't the case".

Because I was asked a question. I answered it. I don't understand why you care.


jocundthejolly wrote:
I feel bad for owlbears generally. Freakish things magicked up by a mad wizard, their only purpose in life to be hacked to pieces by gangs of adventurers.

Sometimes they get domesticated though. That's gotta be pretty okay, right?


UncleExpendable wrote:
jocundthejolly wrote:
I feel bad for owlbears generally. Freakish things magicked up by a mad wizard, their only purpose in life to be hacked to pieces by gangs of adventurers.
Sometimes they get domesticated though. That's gotta be pretty okay, right?

lol I guess. There should be a place like the chimpanzee retirement home for animals who have been used for biomedical purposes.


jocundthejolly wrote:
I feel bad for owlbears generally. Freakish things magicked up by a mad wizard, their only purpose in life to be hacked to pieces by gangs of adventurers.

I feel the same way about yaoguai for much the same reason, only more so as their mutations leave them in constant pain.


Yqatuba wrote:
jocundthejolly wrote:
I feel bad for owlbears generally. Freakish things magicked up by a mad wizard, their only purpose in life to be hacked to pieces by gangs of adventurers.
I feel the same way about yaoguai for much the same reason, only more so as their mutations leave them in constant pain.

Dang, now I do too.


jocundthejolly wrote:
UncleExpendable wrote:
jocundthejolly wrote:
I feel bad for owlbears generally. Freakish things magicked up by a mad wizard, their only purpose in life to be hacked to pieces by gangs of adventurers.
Sometimes they get domesticated though. That's gotta be pretty okay, right?
lol I guess. There should be a place like the chimpanzee retirement home for animals who have been used for biomedical purposes.

From those old black-and-white Tarzan movies, I heard that the chimp that played Cheetah had a better life afterwards than the man that played Tarzan.


SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:
Claxon wrote:
I just don't understand why that angers you so much since it's very easy to say "Well, in my version of Golarion this isn't the case".
Because I was asked a question. I answered it. I don't understand why you care.

Just curious I guess. Seems like a lot of resentment for something that is very small in my estimation.


I've got a soft spot for Mites personally. They have spent so long out of the First World that they no longer have much of a connection there and most other fey creatures, including their own gremlin "cousins" abhor them. Mortals in Prime are repulsed by their appearance. They're small, physically weak, and burn with an impotent hatred for gnomes and dwarves. For some reason they can't seem to band together in groups larger than 20, so they can't really defend themselves with numbers; they ally themselves with Vermin but have so little natural charisma and force of presence that it typically takes three of them to manage 1 of the mindless creatures.

Like kobolds they live in squalor. They can't stand light; their DR is extremely low; their magic is parlor tricks or a fear effect that barely works half the time on standard commoners let alone trained warriors or adventurers.

Mites can never go home again and they are hated and feared by everyone. Their larger social groups break apart. These fey nurse petty feuds with opponents stronger and more organized than themselves. Through all of this, the only creatures in the Prime they feel any kinship or empathy with are mindless, muck-dwelling Vermin.

… And outside of Stealth, their one good Racial skill is Sleight of Hand. They just want to entertain, to juggle and play tricks. They are the Pathfinder equivalent of Marvel comics' Morlocks back in the 80's and 90's.


SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:
Kimera757 wrote:
Demons certainly are always chaotic evil, being walking, talking concepts of evil.
Even then, I feel sorry for them because they don't get to choose.

Reminds me of tv shows/movies I've seen where the demon and/or angel rages at a mortal because the mortal gets to choose if it's good or evil.

As for feeling sorry for creatures. I think the creature that pulled on my heartstrings the most when I read about it, was the Attic Whisperer. I mean geez even the way it dies when you defeat it is sad.


I've also always felt bad for asuras, as the gods basically created them by mistake and then just abandoned them. It's hard to blame them for hating the gods.


Apallies. They are slimes that some careless spellcaster projected a piece of their consciousness into, and now they genuinely believe they are a member of their creator’s race.

They have alter self, but can only be a Small humanoid, and the sunlight instantly destroys their alter self for as long as they remain in it. Whenever they are found out, they almost always get chased out of town. They just want to be loved damn it. They didn’t ask to be made.

Scarab Sages

There's quite a few monsters I feel sympathy for especially given its generally viewed as ok for the party to break into their homes, kill them and steal their greatest treasure even if its just a magical stick because "They're a monster race." Drew Haye's NPC's series takes the idea and tells a good story with it so far.

VoodistMonk wrote:

There is a particular Nymph that fell in love with one of the popular guys, and she wanted to be popular, too... then her boyfriend's popular friends got jealous of her, and banished her boyfriend and tore out her heart, cursing her to live a life without love or happiness.

Now she is completely insane having lived eons in loneliness, staring into the loveless abyss until it stared back into her. And her broken mind is frantically trying to put together a puzzle that is missing a bunch of pieces.

I know that Nyrissa is as evil as sin, itself, but I feel bad for her.

You can't fault a girl for trying, man, come on.

This is what you get for showing a little ambition?

D@mn.

This is why my kingdom in the PC kingamker became the kingdom of monsters and I had trolls, Kobolds, Mites, Spriggans, Werecreatures, Fey alongside humans, elves, dwarves all living in peaceful tolerance because I landed an army on the head on anyone who targeted someone just because of their race. Not to say there weren't a few issues like a cult spared being a problem or a few villages that all got turned into talking animals but generally it worked out very well. I think I may have wound up a demi-god in that one given what happened at the end.


In Shattered Star there is a Lacedon Ghast I feel sorry for. He was bitten by a ghast, suffered the ghoul fever & turned into one. He still misses his wife...

Spoiler:
This guy is inserted into Book 1 as a sympathetic opponent, that you can make a bargain with and get his help. As in, you take his old locket back to his wife and he will not only tell you what's further on in the dungeon... he'll actually come along and help you. When he's done he just wanders back to his lair and his depressing thoughts.


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I feel for the Flumph.

/cevah


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Cevah wrote:

I feel for the Flumph.

/cevah

*chokes back tears* why is that all written... *bottom lip quivers* in the PAST tense?


After reading about Mhar, I must say its story is extremely disturbing. That said, I'm not sure why, if it wants to get the Plane Of Fire so bad, it doesn't just find someone to teleport it there, or find a portal.


Yqatuba wrote:
After reading about Mhar, I must say its story is extremely disturbing. That said, I'm not sure why, if it wants to get the Plane Of Fire so bad, it doesn't just find someone to teleport it there, or find a portal.

It is interesting that something that's supposed to be deity level power can't cast (or find someone to cast) gate or planeshift.


Claxon wrote:
Yqatuba wrote:
After reading about Mhar, I must say its story is extremely disturbing. That said, I'm not sure why, if it wants to get the Plane Of Fire so bad, it doesn't just find someone to teleport it there, or find a portal.
It is interesting that something that's supposed to be deity level power can't cast (or find someone to cast) gate or planeshift.

The snowman in Frozen musing about what summer must be like.

That Elf Vampire in the first Dragonlance book, longing to feel the Sun on his face again.

That ghost Harry Potter, Hermoine, and Ron met at Nearly Headless Nick's Deathday party floating through a buffet of rotten food with his mouth open. One of them asked him, "Can you taste the food that way?" He replies sadly, "Almost." There was a similar scene where Captain Barbosa spends the whole first movie striving for an daydreaming about breaking his curse and taking a bite of his first apple only to die the moment his curse lifted, the apple falling from his dead hand.


In at least the first two examples they're things that would destroy the character longing for them.

But Mhar is a volcano longing to be on the plane of fire. I'm pretty sure he's be okay.

Beyond that, those examples aren't of deity level entities.


Never.

If it was a tragic backstory of an NPC such as Sir Belmont mentioned than yes. Otherwise no not all. I am playing Dungeons and Dragons and not philosophies and alignments. I play rpgs to get away from such debates, they have their time and place yet I am not going to approach ever encounter given to us by the DM through the personal viewpoint of alignment.


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The Thing From Another World wrote:

Never.

If it was a tragic backstory of an NPC such as Sir Belmont mentioned than yes. Otherwise no not all. I am playing Dungeons and Dragons and not philosophies and alignments. I play rpgs to get away from such debates, they have their time and place yet I am not going to approach ever encounter given to us by the DM through the personal viewpoint of alignment.

Bless you sir, you have found your joy, and I hope you never lose it.


Scott Wilhelm wrote:


Bless you sir, you have found your joy, and I hope you never lose it.

Funny enough I enjoy a political/philosophical debate. With the right group and NPC/creature it makes sense to do so. I cannot and will not as both a player/and or DM approach every encounter viewing it through both. That way lies madness imo.

An Ice Devil for most parties I play with and run for is viewed as an opponent to be defeated. Now an Angel cursed by another or an enemy devil is another thing entirely.

Copy and Pasted from the PF SRD:

Born from the foulest of mortal souls—their personalities and memories long since scoured by millennia of torment—would-be devils rise from the masses of suffering souls as lemures, revolting beings of mindless evil potentiality. Only through continued centuries of torture or by the edicts of more powerful devils do these least of devilkind rise to become deadlier fiends, graduating through a pain-wracked metamorphosis dictated by their masters or the infernal whims of Hell’s semi-sentient layers. While fiendish lords wield transformation into greater or lesser forms as both prize and punishment, some devils spontaneously rise from particularly evil souls long trapped upon an infernal layer. Thus, although the various diabolical breeds possess recognizable abilities and hold generalized rankings in the great infernal hierarchy, a devil’s type alone does not always correspond to a specific tenure of torment or place in the infernal chain of command.

Given their very nature and their creation while it is possibly for a devil to be of another alignment than evil, it is either by beng redeemed say like Arathuziel or an entire story arc with the right group. For myself and my gaming group we have a clear definition of who is good and evil while almost never feeling sorry for our opponents.


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The Thing From Another World wrote:
Scott Wilhelm wrote:


Bless you sir, you have found your joy, and I hope you never lose it.

Funny enough I enjoy a political/philosophical debate. With the right group and NPC/creature it makes sense to do so. I cannot and will not as both a player/and or DM approach every encounter viewing it through both. That way lies madness imo.

An Ice Devil for most parties I play with and run for is viewed as an opponent to be defeated. Now an Angel cursed by another or an enemy devil is another thing entirely.

Copy and Pasted from the PF SRD:

Born from the foulest of mortal souls—their personalities and memories long since scoured by millennia of torment—would-be devils rise from the masses of suffering souls as lemures, revolting beings of mindless evil potentiality. Only through continued centuries of torture or by the edicts of more powerful devils do these least of devilkind rise to become deadlier fiends, graduating through a pain-wracked metamorphosis dictated by their masters or the infernal whims of Hell’s semi-sentient layers. While fiendish lords wield transformation into greater or lesser forms as both prize and punishment, some devils spontaneously rise from particularly evil souls long trapped upon an infernal layer. Thus, although the various diabolical breeds possess recognizable abilities and hold generalized rankings in the great infernal hierarchy, a devil’s type alone does not always correspond to a specific tenure of torment or place in the infernal chain of command.

Given their very nature and their creation while it is possibly for a devil to be of another alignment than evil, it is either by beng redeemed say like Arathuziel or an entire story arc with the right group. For myself and my gaming group we have a clear definition of who is good and evil while almost never feeling sorry for our opponents.

Sure, sometimes you just want to hack your way through a hoard of zombies. We don't have to give each one a eulogy, last rights, and a proper burial. Lots of monster can be used to make sophisticated and nuanced statements about humans, emotions, and political and ecological issues. Sometimes, you really want to get to know them. Sometimes, you can really feel for them. Sometimes you get to know them, and you hate them. Sometimes, you don't, but you still want or have to kill them anyway.


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I've got a bit of sympathy for Revenants. All they want is the life of the person that murdered them. That seems fair.


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The Thing From Another World wrote:

Never.

If it was a tragic backstory of an NPC such as Sir Belmont mentioned than yes. Otherwise no not all. I am playing Dungeons and Dragons and not philosophies and alignments. I play rpgs to get away from such debates, they have their time and place yet I am not going to approach ever encounter given to us by the DM through the personal viewpoint of alignment.

Boy, you must be fun at parties.


Reksew_Trebla wrote:


Boy, you must be fun at parties.

I am honest about how I feel on the subject matter.

How I play rpgs usually is different in how I am in personal life. Don't judge me on one post and don't assume posters will just post in favor of the subject matter of the thread. Nor do I go to parties or forums assuming others will agree with my viewpoints. Maybe you do and more power to you not everyone is going to feel the same way you do.

Shadow Lodge

Anything that got the Broken Soul template put on it.


The Thing From Another World wrote:
Reksew_Trebla wrote:


Boy, you must be fun at parties.

I am honest about how I feel on the subject matter.

How I play rpgs usually is different in how I am in personal life. Don't judge me on one post and don't assume posters will just post in favor of the subject matter of the thread. Nor do I go to parties or forums assuming others will agree with my viewpoints. Maybe you do and more power to you not everyone is going to feel the same way you do.

I posted a different post, but it was way way too harsh, so I deleted it in favor of saying this.

The game is a roleplaying game. You are supposed to play a role. That includes the ability to feel sorry for monsters with tragic backstories.


Reksew_Trebla wrote:


The game is a roleplaying game. You are supposed to play a role. That includes the ability to feel sorry for monsters with tragic backstories.

I never said I do never feel sorry for monsters. I do not see the need to feel sorry for every monster. If it has a tragic backstory sure. Demons, Daemons, and Devils unless redeemed I show no mercy. Revenants and npc/monsters with tragic backstory from the DM are not matter.

Grand Lodge

I’ve gotta couple good ones — though I’d say they’re just sympathetic rather than that they made ‘me’ feel sorry for them.

“Rise of the RuneLords”:
Nualia is a villain as a result of her being picked on as a little girl in Sandpoint. Adults hounding her for a lock of ‘angel hair’ or a blessing on them, kids ostracized her, Nualia has had an awful childhood and it’s no wonder she turns to Lamashtu after her teen love dumps her.

“Curse of the Crimson Throne”:
Cinnabar the Red Mantis Assassin was a polite, kind child whose mother, frustrated with her baby girl’s goodness, put a Geas on Cinnabar forcing her to murder once per week. Magically compelling a little girl, one’s daughter, to murder, yeah — I’m sympathetic to Cinnabar the Red Mantis Assassin.


@The Thing From Another World & @Reksew_Trebla:
I think you two are heading off into the weeds a bit. Lets get back to monsters worth our pity.

From cinema:
Igor, Frankenstein's monster, and perhaps the Phantom of the Opera are all tragic.

For a more class of monsters, all the mad scientists abused lab assistants.

/cevah

Grand Lodge

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
That Elf Vampire in the first Dragonlance book, longing to feel the Sun on his face again.

.

You can’t mean Jander Sunstar from the first Ravenloft novel, Vampire of the Mists, can you? Elf Vampire in Dragons of Autumn’s Twilight, I dunno think so?

Grand Lodge

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I truly feel sad for all the great BBEGs out there who never even got a chance to take their first turn in Initiative because the murder-hobos killed them while they, and their Four Page stat block, were still Flat-Footed!


Serves them right for being so unpleasant that they had no friendsmooks with them.


W E Ray wrote:
Scott Wilhelm wrote:
That Elf Vampire in the first Dragonlance book, longing to feel the Sun on his face again.

.

You can’t mean Jander Sunstar from the first Ravenloft novel, Vampire of the Mists, can you? Elf Vampire in Dragons of Autumn’s Twilight, I dunno think so?

Yup. That's the one, Jander Sunstar. forgot the poor bastard's name.


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Cevah wrote:

For a more class of monsters, all the mad scientists abused lab assistants.

/cevah

a Lich-professor's grad students.


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The Thing From Another World wrote:
I never said I do never feel sorry for monsters. I do not see the need to feel sorry for every monster...

I feel ya'. Ran an exalted game once and we had to pump the brakes--and hard--before every session devolved into a moral and ethical quandry about whether it was okay to kill goblins/orcs/trolls.

Deep moments are good. Powerful emotional responses are great. But sometimes, it is incredibly cathartic to meet a pure, unrepentant evil and destroy it. The kind of evil that, no matter how brutally it was taken down, the party kind of wishes they had another shot at it, just to pulverize it a second time.

I've had players apologize to a foe as they delivered the killing blow. I've had players ask me to ease up on the vileness of a villian because it caused them actual, real-life distress.
It's good to be able to walk the line.

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