Any First Hand Experience w / Monstrous PCs?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:
I wish people wouldn't talk about monsters walking into town as if every setting should react to them in the same way.

In my experience, it's not that people think settings where that sort of thing is normal are inherently bad or wrong, but an assumption that most games will use settings more aligned with the norm.

There will always be a type that's more typical, after all. Something that the majority leans into.

I do think settings where monsters are common members of normal society do need to be careful to avoid coming across as cartoonish or cheesy or gaudy (assuming that's not the tone you're going for). If you make the strange and the wondrous too commonplace, it's just a new shade of mundane.


That's always been my problem with settings. If you have a certain type of monstrous creature become a common member of society, they stop being "monstrous" and often just become "rubber fore-head aliens" which is to say a slightly different looking human unless you really go out of your way to explore the differences, which is really hard to do in a table top setting where your players are presumably adventurers. You're typically not going to get them to explore this other race's culture in depth in a way that feels organic (probably).

Sovereign Court

I can recall playing in a game where the CULTURAL differences were bigger than the SPECIES differences.

I could understand what was motivating the Troll merchant I was cutting a Trade Deal with much better than I could understand why that crazy Praxian Nomad (a human) was trying to kill everyone.

I mean, the Troll wanted to make money just like me, that animal nomad? He was trying to do something religious...

Sovereign Court

I remember playing in a home game where there was a little mountain country (picture Tibet) where it was common practice to Animate Dead on your ancestors. A party of adventurers, on arriving in town found a Zombie chasing children is a fenced in yard. And did what adventurers do, only to be arrested for chopping up "Great Aunt Magrat". And then sued. They had to pay to have her put back together and pay for the trauma caused to the children who had been playing Zombie Tag with her. Real culture shock. Different cultures, different customs.

And everyone (mostly) was human - at least everyone in the little mountain country was.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> ;>>>

My personal pet peeve is the way many players (and GMs) often react to the use of Magic in a World Setting.

I mean, if magic is common then it should excite almost no notice. In Pathfinder, it seems to me that magic is about as common as Electronics are in the real world... "At Will" use of zero level spells and so many "people" have spell casting levels.

So, when a group of adventurers walk down the street, what to the townsfolk notice?

PC 1: A Tiefling rogue dressed in eastern armor (a style mainly found half a world away on a different continent) with light weapons.

PC 2: A Gnome Druid, in armor of hides, riding a Tiger.

PC 3: A human Wizard, in robes - with an Ioun stone circling his head.

PC 4: A Dwarven Fighter, in shiny full plate with a glave in hand and a loaded crossbow on his back.

PC 5: A Half-Elven Bard, in flashy clothing and carrying a lute.

NOW... one of these persons stops in the middle of the street, raises his right hand, waves it around and says something in an unknown language...

What kind of a reaction does he get? it kind of depends on the person running the game... and right now has much less to do with the campaign, the setting, or even (it seems to me) the PC. Some judges have the townsfolk flee, returning with torches and pitchforks to punish the PC... screaming something about "burn the witch!". Up until they "cast a spell in public" they were only noticed as a potential customer, look like they are casting magic and ... "instant rioting mob".

Why? Why such a reaction to the use of spells in public?

AND NO REACTION to the Tiefling, the Tiger, or the Weapons (& Armor) carried in public? Heck, no reaction to the BARD....


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Muse. wrote:
I remember playing in a home game where there was a little mountain country (picture Tibet) where it was common practice to Animate Dead on your ancestors. A party of adventurers, on arriving in town found a Zombie chasing children is a fenced in yard. And did what adventurers do, only to be arrested for chopping up "Great Aunt Magrat". And then sued. They had to pay to have her put back together and pay for the trauma caused to the children who had been playing Zombie Tag with her. Real culture shock. Different cultures, different customs.

I mean, were you told in advance that Animate Dead could be used in this setting to animate zombies that weren't evil and weren't trying to constantly eat the living?

Cause if not then in my opinion the DM was playing "gotcha!" and that's pretty uncool.

Otherwise you would assume due to the game mechanics, that the zombie is evil and going to eat the child.


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Muse. wrote:

In Pathfinder, it seems to me that magic is about as common as Electronics are in the real world... "At Will" use of zero level spells and so many "people" have spell casting levels.

So, when a group of adventurers walk down the street, what to the townsfolk notice?

PC 1: A Tiefling rogue dressed in eastern armor (a style mainly found half a world away on a different continent) with light weapons.

PC 2: A Gnome Druid, in armor of hides, riding a Tiger.

PC 3: A human Wizard, in robes - with an Ioun stone circling his head.

PC 4: A Dwarven Fighter, in shiny full plate with a glave in hand and a loaded crossbow on his back.

PC 5: A Half-Elven Bard, in flashy clothing and carrying a lute.

NOW... one of these persons stops in the middle of the street, raises his right hand, waves it around and says something in an unknown language...

Guard: "I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to accompany me to the station for questioning."

Wizard: "Why are you picking on me? Why not him?"
Guard: "No law against being a tiefling, or wearing fancy armor."
Wizard: "Or him? He's got a loaded crossbow!"
Guard: "And the minute he starts firing it off in a public space, we'll take him in too."
Wizard: "Or the gnome with the tiger?"
Guard: "Anyone who can persuade a tiger to let him ride on its back is probably able to stop it eating people too."
Wizard: "It was a harmless spell!"
Guard: "Possibly, possibly. If you need to do your magic in town for some reason, you can do it in front of our local cleric. He's a spellcraft expert and will be able to identify whether you're casting a healing spell or a mind control spell. Or you can apply for a spellcasting licence, but those are hard to get unless you're already a respected citizen..."
Wizard: "But I'm a Wizard! It's my job! Would you arrest a Fighter for fighting people? Arrest a Thief for stealing stuff? Arrest an Assassin for murdering people?"
Guard: "Oh, and we'll be taking the Bard in too. We don't like luters around here."


Matthew Downie wrote:


Guard: "Oh, and we'll be taking the Bard in too. We don't like luters around here."

+1


Matthew Downie wrote:

Guard: "Possibly, possibly. If you need to do your magic in town for some reason, you can do it in front of our local cleric. He's a spellcraft expert and will be able to identify whether you're casting a healing spell or a mind control spell. Or you can apply for a spellcasting licence, but those are hard to get unless you're already a respected citizen..."

That does make enough sense for me to accept it. I still wouldn't want everyday people to immediately jump to "Burn the witch!" unless it was an explicit setting thing.


Claxon wrote:

I mean, were you told in advance that Animate Dead could be used in this setting to animate zombies that weren't evil and weren't trying to constantly eat the living?

Cause if not then in my opinion the DM was playing "gotcha!" and that's pretty uncool.

Otherwise you would assume due to the game mechanics, that the zombie is evil and going to eat the child.

Agreed. Even if I want settings where you can be a non-Evil zombie, players need to know it's a thing even if characters don't.

Sovereign Court

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SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:
Claxon wrote:

I mean, were you told in advance that Animate Dead could be used in this setting to animate zombies that weren't evil and weren't trying to constantly eat the living?

Cause if not then in my opinion the DM was playing "gotcha!" and that's pretty uncool.

Otherwise you would assume due to the game mechanics, that the zombie is evil and going to eat the child.

Agreed. Even if I want settings where you can be a non-Evil zombie, players need to know it's a thing even if characters don't.

actually, that particular story was from way back when 1st Ed. AD&D was the game in town, and Zombies were neutral... from back before Piazo and... sigh.

"Long ago, before THAC0, when Druids were a monster (like orcs and goblins and gnolls and... other creatures) that worked with or where EVIL, and therefore where killed on sight. Anyone actually working with them was an EVIL creature and Paladins and Right Minded Persons would fight them... and the world was a simpler place.

"Then we let a few of them into polite society - after all the argument went, they are NEUTRAL (which was a "new" alignment then. There was GOOD and EVIL and suddenly NEUTRAL), so we let them into "civilization" and soon Players could actually create Druid PCs and all was Good with the world again and life was simpler... After all, we still have evil Orcs and Goblins and... stuff to fight!

"Then we let a few of them Half-Orcs into polite society, into 'civilization' and soon it came to pass that Players could actually create Half-Orc PCs, and joined the adventuring party...

"But that was OK, after all, Goblins and Gnolls were still EVIL and 'Paladins and Right Minded Persons would fight them... and the world was a simpler place....'.

"But you know I worry that the next thing you know, we'll be letting Players create Goblin PCs and we'll have to let them into polite society too, along with the Half-Orcs and Druids ... into 'civilization' and Players will actually create ... wait... wow...

Nevermind... I'll just move on now...

old guy wheels his chair back to his room to ponder the simpler days gone by...and wonder how long it will be before we can run Undead PCs...


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Muse. wrote:
old guy wheels his chair back to his room to ponder the simpler days gone by...and wonder how long it will be before we can run Undead PCs...

I think if you phrase it like that it's not hard to see why people might consider letting traditional enemies into the PC Club.

Sovereign Court

SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:
Muse. wrote:
old guy wheels his chair back to his room to ponder the simpler days gone by...and wonder how long it will be before we can run Undead PCs...
I think if you phrase it like that it's not hard to see why people might consider letting traditional enemies into the PC Club.

thank you! you brought a smile to my old heart...

in the past 40+ years I have run games where some of the players ran Androids, Bugbears, Brown Bears (Reincarnated human), Cats (tigers & house cats), Cyborgs, Drow, Dragons, "Dirty Mutant Commies" (Paranoia), Ents, Ghosts, Houses (Haunted), (Cursed, and non-cursed) Intelligent magic items, Jermlaine, Kobolds, "Little People", Mutant Animals, Mutant Plants, Mutant humans (Metamorphosis Alpha and Gamma World), Nazis, Paladins, Trolls (RQ), Giants, Hivemind members (human and non-human based),... Clockwork Men (like Tik-Tok from Oz), Droids, Mushroom Men, ... ah... Republicans? and ... goodness... Minor gods?... and a bunch of other stuff that slips my mind right now. Oh! and "a synthetic intelligence (AI) in the Internet with Delusions of Reality" (TORG - it thought it was just a character an online Role Playing Simulation game...)...

LOL! no, not all at once - Though TORG came close to that as we had several of the stranger ones in it. Stone Age Lizardmen PCs run alongside Cybernetic Knights Templar... with a couple Comic Book Heroes thrown in for fun!

Running in a game with Monstrous Races? Heck, I could see a Pathfinder game based in Geb where the "Token Human" in the party had to register with the Authorities every week just to stay legal. Humans are after all the most monstrous of all creatures...

Sovereign Court

Matthew Downie wrote:
Muse. wrote:

In Pathfinder, it seems to me that magic is about as common as Electronics are in the real world... "At Will" use of zero level spells and so many "people" have spell casting levels.

So, when a group of adventurers walk down the street, what to the townsfolk notice?

PC 1: A Tiefling rogue dressed in eastern armor (a style mainly found half a world away on a different continent) with light weapons.

PC 2: A Gnome Druid, in armor of hides, riding a Tiger.

PC 3: A human Wizard, in robes - with an Ioun stone circling his head.

PC 4: A Dwarven Fighter, in shiny full plate with a glave in hand and a loaded crossbow on his back.

PC 5: A Half-Elven Bard, in flashy clothing and carrying a lute.

NOW... one of these persons stops in the middle of the street, raises his right hand, waves it around and says something in an unknown language...

Guard: "I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to accompany me to the station for questioning."

Wizard: "Why are you picking on me? Why not him?"
Guard: "No law against being a tiefling, or wearing fancy armor."
Wizard: "Or him? He's got a loaded crossbow!"
Guard: "And the minute he starts firing it off in a public space, we'll take him in too."
Wizard: "Or the gnome with the tiger?"
Guard: "Anyone who can persuade a tiger to let him ride on its back is probably able to stop it eating people too."
Wizard: "It was a harmless spell!"
Guard: "Possibly, possibly. If you need to do your magic in town for some reason, you can do it in front of our local cleric. He's a spellcraft expert and will be able to identify whether you're casting a healing spell or a mind control spell. Or you can apply for a spellcasting licence, but those are hard to get unless you're already a respected citizen..."
Wizard: "But I'm a Wizard! It's my job! Would you arrest a Fighter for fighting people? Arrest a Thief for stealing stuff? Arrest an Assassin for murdering people?"
Guard: "Oh, and we'll be taking the Bard in too. We don't like luters around here."

just curious - why did you assume it was the Wizard who cast a spell?

"one of these persons stops in the middle of the street, raises his right hand, waves it around and says something in an unknown language..."

In PFS, could easily have been any of them...


I invented that for the sake of the narrative. The wizard is the one who would be most annoyed at being forbidden to cast spells, since he doesn't have a lot of other abilities to fall back on.

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