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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by B.T. View Post
    I have a hard time believing that a minotaur is only one size category larger than a gnome.
    Considering Medium size spans four feet (with the Minotaur standing nearly a full three feet taller than the Dwarf), why is this all that crazy? The minotaur is four feet taller than the gnome and over twice their height. What would making them the low end of Large add? A foot maybe? That wouldn't be that much, all things considered. Was having the Minotaur the size of a horse much better?

    I do think they need to have medium-sized Minos in the game, but I am more than happy to leave them in Dragonlance.

 

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    Wow, I don't think I've objected so much so a single article so far. And even though I object I really don't care about the minotaurs I just care about the assumptions. So that is kind of weird.

    Just to nitpick a bit, the article starts with him saying that the previous article talked about 'two humanoids' and while I don't really care it did feel wrong to me as he talked about three creatures, and none of which are humanoids - all giant-kin of some form.

    Anyway, onto the real nuts and bolts of what struck me so odd.

    Baphomet has many cultists throughout the world
    Why do they need to be cultists AT ALL in order to be minotaurs? Why is the demon-lord a requisite of the monster at all? It isn't like Lolth and Drow, I can easily use examples of Minotaurs without bringing up Baphomet in any sense.

    Sometimes, when Baphomet’s petitioners plead with him for strength and power, he rewards them by transforming them into minotaurs
    If I follow the example they are trying to use correctly this means there many cultists throughout the world that AREN'T minotaurs which worship Baphomet for some reason and then become minotaurs?? Are they originally human? Elf? Anything race at all? So we'll be fighting a group of gnomes or kenders and then because the group worships Baphomet we'll also fight a minotaur who used to be Ted the gnome or Larry the kender?

    Much like ogres, minotaurs use heavy melee weapons (favoring axes) and hit really hard. They also have good charge attacks, butting or goring with their horns
    Minotaurs are not smart, but they are cunning and have keen senses
    So, assuming the previous part was right and Ted the gnome became a minotaur, why is it that his intelligence (but not his cunning?) suddenly took such a nose dive? Ogres are dumb because they are born that way, but when you are granted power by a demon prince then you suddenly become dumber. I can't think of anything more literal to say about how stupid you have to be to make that deal - worse yet pleading to get it.

    You’ll notice that this story incorporates some elements of the Greek myth back into the D&D monster, but doesn’t really address the variant minotaurs of D&D history.
    I don't see that at all. If anything the random religious stuff about Baphomet is TOO present when the monster could harken back to its roots from Greek myth.

    I definitely agree with the drider/lolth comments made earlier. That is ALL I see here. I just don't understand why the connection is so emphatic now when it didn't even exist before. I've run DnD for years and used minotaurs more than once, both as a psudo-race and as an individual formed monster and I can't see at all why Baphomet (or being in a cult to him) has to come up at all. It seems to under bites the essence of how I use the creature.

    I use minotaurs as things lurking in the secret passages in labyrinths and as individual attackers, why would I need a cult background to do this?

    Lastly, unrelated to the article itself but still relevant, I am very disappointed with the poll this time, first time in a long time where the answers don't give me anything even close to what the question asked. That is what happens when you give a 2 part answer to a one part question. I voted No Good for the description because I think it isn't. But I don't actually care about the 'natural race' part at all, that is something that fits my game and will change in yours.

    EDIT: While I can see minotaurs as medium (barely), I definitely consider Ogres large. Horses and Centaurs can be medium too for my money but every (good) interpretation of ogre I've ever seen in a movie is quite a bit bigger (not just taller) than you or me.
    Last edited by Tovec; Tuesday, 11th September, 2012 at 11:00 PM.

  • #23
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    So, this one frustrates me a bit.

    I like the intent of making them less a race and more of a unique creature. But there's a conflict here.

    There's a lot to be gained with making it a unique creature. It's closer to the myth, it's got interesting NPC potential, and it's an interesting worldbuilding, three-pillars-total element. But, if you're going to make it a unique creature, do that. Don't make it a curse or a blessing or a magical transformation, make it one creature in the world that is The Minotaur and let the DM define how it arises and what it is like in a way that reflects their games, not some WotC boilerplate. Rather than a stat block, you'd have a fully fleshed out NPC at the center of some semi-daemonic ancient Greece-esque cult who is a real, unique presence in your world, unique to your campaign and no others. It would be a whole THING you would drop into your games, and it would be uniquely yours, not some generic monster stat block in a book of monster stat blocks.

    That's neat. That's a potentially interesting new twist. But that's not this minotaur. This minotaur is some half-hearted almost-miquetoast bland vanilla generic "hur hur evil cultists hur hur mutation hur hur monster" also-ran of a creature. There's little to distinguish it from the dozens upon dozens of other demons and hellish armies in D&D (of which D&D ALREADY HAS A LOT, YOU GUYS). As a world element, this minotaur's story fails me. It's not interesting, it's not compelling, it's not unique, it's just "Oh. Another demon-mutant-thing. Now with horns for some reason. And called a minotaur, even though I've seen not ONE PERSON get intimate with a mechanical bull!"

    It's cool to go for the mythic resonance. But if you're going to go for the mythic resonance, go for it. Don't half-do it and call it a compromise.

    Of course, if you go for the mythic resonance, you have to admit that you're saying "buh-bye" to some D&D tradition on the thing. And not just Krynn minotaurs and yikaria. There is something unique about D&D's take on the minotaur, the Baphomet cult, and the existence of many of these creatures, as natural creatures in the world, and not necessarily special mutant demon babies (again, D&D has HUNDREDS of those -- that's not a unique back story, that's kind of a cop-out, like the "a wizard did it!" Owlbear explanation). If you make the minotaur a unique creature, you do lose that element, and that's an area where you want to tread lightly if you're 5e.

    Krynn's minotaurs and yikaria are actually very different creatures, and it does them a disservice to lump them in with the traditional D&D minotaur, let alone lumping them in with the Greek-style lone minotaur. It's good that they're kind of recognizing that. Not everything that looks like a bipedal bull needs to fall into the same silo.

    Personally, I think you can split this knot by recognizing that you're going to need different tools for different purposes. Yikaria are a good "villain race." That kind of monster has unique abilities and unique items and unique organizations and unique plans and potential diversity, but makes a pretty awkward PC, and needs some extra detail to make a good unique antagonist. Worthy of a complex MM entry. Krynn's minotaurs are a good "PC race." They make good PC's, and NPC's, but they're not the best at being horrible monsters. Worthy of a PC writeup. Greek-myth minotaurs make good antagonists. They are horrible and unique and special monstrosities that can anchor entire adventures. Worthy of a big MM writeup as a central unique monster.

    Either way, the article is missing what I think is a core element of the minotaur experience, be it traditional D&D monstrous minotaur or the minotaur of Greek myth, and that is this:

    The Minotaur is a piteous thing, while still being a horrible monster.

    To me, it always seemed that D&D minotaurs are created by particular people in some sort of ritual, as punishment for a crime. In Greek myth, the minotaur is the result of a cursed and taboo love. In both situations, they are put in man-made places, because it is people who made them. They are the unwitting offspring of others' meddling, the living, breathing, manifestation of the guilt of a curse, and that leads to them being an apt metaphor for secret deeds and hidden sins (especially of the wealthy and powerful -- those who could pay for the punishment).

    What they ain't is some generic demon-spawn thingy. Or a bucket to put every bovine monster in D&D into.

    FWIW, I'd probably keep them in the MM as being particular creations of a particular ritual done to particular individuals and put in particular places as punishment -- perhaps in some sort of divine ritual to Baphomet. Not unique, but not exactly naturally occurring. Then Krynn's Minotaurs can be different, and the yikaria (who aren't really even vaguely related, honestly) can be different. And if you want to make a more powerful/interesting/diverse one-off Minotaur antagonist, that's part of what the DM's villain-building guidelines and rules should be about.
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  • #24
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    I like ensuring mythological creatures retain their roots, make mention on their reference page somehow.

    I'm not sure how or if they should go too far beyond the myth, where campaign specific ideas take hold unless they do focus the core books at a true default campaign world.

    I like the idea of cultists of Baphomet (sp?) being blessed with a curse turning them into Minotaurs, but I think that is a detail that would be on a world by world basis. Offer it up as a rumour perhaps, but not as a defacto assumption.
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    Those of you arguing for 1, are you also arguing for 1 medusa and one pegasus and one cyclops? You can take that as rhetorical if you want....

    I like the idea that minotaurs only exist due to a curse from Baphomet. It's a good idea, to me, that blends the concept of the original myth with roots long found in the core mythology of D&D. That's a nice combo platter for me. That said, I can see where it looks a lot like the drider....so I'm not sure it is some cool, unique thing.

    I'd have to give this fluff more thought before I was sure one way or the other. Either way, I like my minotaurs to be wild, savage, mean spirited, evil things. What the underlying fluff is behind that, well, I'm not overly worried about it.

  • #26
    It's weird that in this edition where everyone is supposed to get what they want to play the games they want without WotC getting in the way, that WotC is trying to redefine what a minotaur is in the world of D&D.

    Why not have the monster entry mention all three ideas as inspiration? Why not have them be three separate things?

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    I like the idea of minotaurs being a "Lampwick Donkey" creature; something that a truly brutish individual might transform into. Typically, a world's inhabitants won't have first hand knowledge of such a phenomenon (We had five minotaur transformations in Waterdeep this year, up from three last year) but it'll be mentioned in cautionary folk tales. Baphomet often gets the blame, though no one really knows what causes it.

    This can actually fit the minotaur-as-unique interpretation, as there may have only ever been one person who was savage enough to transform. It's harder to make it fit worlds where minotaur groups are found, though minotaurs might spare adventurers' lives in exchange for information on another minotaur's location. In fact, that might be the only way to escape a mino's labyrinth alive (aside from besting it in battle).

  • #28
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    I think part of the problem is that D&D minotaurs have always been a little schizophrenic.

    On the one hand, their origin is CLEARLY the Greek myth. It's one of those monsters that even people outside of D&D have a pretty clear view of. It's iconic of D&D's ability to take mythical creatures you've read about since you were eight and let you interact with them yourself, and make your own stories about them.

    On the other hand, D&D minotaurs were also multitudinous. There wasn't just ONE minotaur, there were several. Families of the things.

    On the third hand, Dragonlance. Pirate noble warrior race folks. Okay, they have the form of bovid-humanoids, but really, they're more Kothian than Minotaur.

    On the fourth hand (because I'm a thri-kreen), for some reason they recently decided that all cow-people should be Minotaurs and all Minotaurs should embrace all cow-people.

    Of these four approaches, they need to choose ONE to be the D&D Minotaur in the Monster Manual.

    I'm an advocate for #1 or #2 . Recognize that not all cow-people need to be minotaurs, promote the use of other names (Kothian, Yikaira), and plop down either the mythological one or the classic D&D one in the MM. Either way, we don't need the "random cultist turns into a monster for no friggin' reason" background. We could use the "this is a punishment" backstory, since that resonates with the original myth better, and we can work Baphomet in that way (he's the god who grants the ritual that creates minotaurs!), but we don't need yet another demon cultist who randomly turns into a monster.

    I see it like this:

    Spoiler:

    The Borus family keeps a monster in their basement.

    The children in the town of Viblarc know all about it. That old manor on the hill, the people who live there, the ones who own the big herds of cattle and who make a lot of money from the meat, they have a monster in their basement. They say the monster was once a man, but he broke the law, and was punished. Now, the Borus family pays the Black Masks to scour the city, picking naughty kids off the street after curfew, and feeding them to the monster in the basement. They say on quiet nights, you can hear it roaring, crying, raging in its cage, at the people who imprisoned it, hungry for more tender human flesh.

    Travelers in Viblarc largely disregard this story as the story of a bogeyman, a variation of the monster in the closet or under the bed, used by parents in Viblarc to get their children to obey.

    And yet...

    People go missing in Viblarc with surprising regularity. Every few days, a drunk, or a woman of the night, or a poor orphan, or a vagrant, simply disappears. Not that the people of Viblarc mind. How these unsavory types are kept off the street is irrelevant to them, and to most other people in the region. Nobody misses the abusive husband, or the babbling madman. They never had many friends to begin with.

    And there is a story...

    A story about how, five generations ago, when the town was wealthier and the Borus family was admired, before they became secretive and quiet, how that all changed, when one daughter of the proud Borus family committed some sin with some commoner, and how she was locked in a nunnery, and how he was never seen again. Such is the fate of forbidden love one may say, but in late, drunken moments at the tavern, when the eerie wind blows strange sounds through the streets, some old men will speak of something more at work. They will speak of the patriarch of the Borus family in that time, Cambrid, and his temper, and his rage, and his implacable fury, and they will speak, if you let them run their tongues long enough, of his dabbling in darker arts, with priests said to be able to control our animal impulses. Priests who promised to reign in the daughter. To change her forever. About how that "nunnery" is actually a pit beneath the manor, where his daughter still lives, transformed into a hungry monster who ate her former lover, and who continues to hunger for the tender flesh of mortals, who must be appeased. About how those priests still exert their stranglehold on the family, aware of this dark secret, and how they help, in their black bull's masks, to grab folks off the street to feed the Daughter of Borus.


    ...for me, a core part of it is that intentionality. The core minotaur, whether multiple or singular, should not be an accident, a random happenstance. They should be deliberately created, and they should be reminders of shame and decadence, symptoms of the illness of the hubris of the powerful and wealthy.

    Baphomet, of course, probably has a hand in their creation.
    Last edited by Kamikaze Midget; Wednesday, 12th September, 2012 at 03:08 AM.
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  • #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zaukrie View Post
    Those of you arguing for 1, are you also arguing for 1 medusa and one pegasus and one cyclops? You can take that as rhetorical if you want....
    I'm not sure if I WAS arguing for one minotaur, I have certainly had games where there was only one, but I did want to honestly add that YES I absolutely would prefer only one cyclops and one pegasus and one medusa as well as one minotaur if that is what it took to not make EVERY minotaur to be a random Baphomet cultist.

    I just don't get the reasons why they would want to make all minotaurs into cultists who became bigger and dumber.

    I like the idea that minotaurs only exist due to a curse from Baphomet. It's a good idea, to me, that blends the concept of the original myth with roots long found in the core mythology of D&D. That's a nice combo platter for me. That said, I can see where it looks a lot like the drider....so I'm not sure it is some cool, unique thing.
    Perhaps it was because driders weren't well explained by greek myth.. but I like 4e's lolth driders because it fit lolth's insane obsession with her race. It seems the spiderqueen seems to meddle in their lives much more than Corellon Larethian or Moradin ever did for their races.

    But where did this idea about minotaur cultists come from?

    I'd have to give this fluff more thought before I was sure one way or the other. Either way, I like my minotaurs to be wild, savage, mean spirited, evil things. What the underlying fluff is behind that, well, I'm not overly worried about it.
    The fluff behind things often can be easily ignored. But I think it is essential that if they are going to put effort into putting fluff in the book that they put the right kind of effort. So even though it may not matter to you it certainly does to others.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ichneumon View Post
    I like the idea of minotaurs being a "Lampwick Donkey" creature; something that a truly brutish individual might transform into. Typically, a world's inhabitants won't have first hand knowledge of such a phenomenon (We had five minotaur transformations in Waterdeep this year, up from three last year) but it'll be mentioned in cautionary folk tales. Baphomet often gets the blame, though no one really knows what causes it.

    This can actually fit the minotaur-as-unique interpretation, as there may have only ever been one person who was savage enough to transform. It's harder to make it fit worlds where minotaur groups are found, though minotaurs might spare adventurers' lives in exchange for information on another minotaur's location. In fact, that might be the only way to escape a mino's labyrinth alive (aside from besting it in battle).
    None of this explains where minotaurs come from. All minotaurs, in this case, were another race before? They are now cursed like werewolves and vampires? If so then make the minotaur into A. a variant of the lycanthropes and B. give me a template that can be easily applied to creatures in such cases.

    The problem with that of course is that it completely ignores the 1 minotaur type, as well as the minotaur as race type. It also missed the sweet spot in the middle that minotaurs have typically sat, as KM says, where there is more than one of them but not necessarily a whole flock.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kamikaze Midget View Post
    Spoiler:

    The Borus family keeps a monster in their basement.

    The children in the town of Viblarc know all about it. That old manor on the hill, the people who live there, the ones who own the big herds of cattle and who make a lot of money from the meat, they have a monster in their basement. They say the monster was once a man, but he broke the law, and was punished. Now, the Borus family pays the Black Masks to scour the city, picking naughty kids off the street after curfew, and feeding them to the monster in the basement. They say on quiet nights, you can hear it roaring, crying, raging in its cage, at the people who imprisoned it, hungry for more tender human flesh.

    Travelers in Viblarc largely disregard this story as the story of a bogeyman, a variation of the monster in the closet or under the bed, used by parents in Viblarc to get their children to obey.

    And yet...

    People go missing in Viblarc with surprising regularity. Every few days, a drunk, or a woman of the night, or a poor orphan, or a vagrant, simply disappears. Not that the people of Viblarc mind. How these unsavory types are kept off the street is irrelevant to them, and to most other people in the region. Nobody misses the abusive husband, or the babbling madman. They never had many friends to begin with.

    And there is a story...

    A story about how, five generations ago, when the town was wealthier and the Borus family was admired, before they became secretive and quiet, how that all changed, when one daughter of the proud Borus family committed some sin with some commoner, and how she was locked in a nunnery, and how he was never seen again. Such is the fate of forbidden love one may say, but in late, drunken moments at the tavern, when the eerie wind blows strange sounds through the streets, some old men will speak of something more at work. They will speak of the patriarch of the Borus family in that time, Cambrid, and his temper, and his rage, and his implacable fury, and they will speak, if you let them run their tongues long enough, of his dabbling in darker arts, with priests said to be able to control our animal impulses. Priests who promised to reign in the daughter. To change her forever. About how that "nunnery" is actually a pit beneath the manor, where his daughter still lives, transformed into a hungry monster who ate her former lover, and who continues to hunger for the tender flesh of mortals, who must be appeased. About how those priests still exert their stranglehold on the family, aware of this dark secret, and how they help, in their black bull's masks, to grab folks off the street to feed the Daughter of Borus.
    Once again I prefer your version to WotC, which is saying something as they are getting paid and trying to attract our business.

    Now that isn't to say yours is exactly where I want it but it AT LEAST has the benefits of not being a random cult. It also explains where the transformation comes from instead of a demon prince. And, as you seem to find important, it explains the rationality of why the minotaur exists. It is a curse not a blessing. The girl didn't petition the demon to make her into what she was, she was cursed by her father and dark rituals. Again, this specific interpretation isn't my cup of tea but it is much closer to the sweet spot that WotC should be aiming for.

    ...for me, a core part of it is that intentionality. The core minotaur, whether multiple or singular, should not be an accident, a random happenstance. They should be deliberately created, and they should be reminders of shame and decadence, symptoms of the illness of the hubris of the powerful and wealthy.

    Baphomet, of course, probably has a hand in their creation.
    I just wanted to add that even with all I've said, I'm not sold on the ritual or intentionality. For me minotaur, as well as a whole host of other creatures, just are. The beholder wasn't a baker working on 5th street, he was an aberration from wherever I say, and that is fine for me. Either way I'll end up using a similar explanation for minotaurs when the time comes.

    But your version has the value of not requiring me to introduce a cult to Baphomet without reason, and without inspiration from previous editions (unless I missed something.

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    Hmm, I've said it before for DDN monsters, and on reflection it applies here - the background given does seem too prescriptive. Minotaurs as a transformed thing I still see as a good idea; it fits well for the original "core concept". But the stuff about Baphomet and tying it to a specific background element is unhelpful. Leaving it more undefined would help- the 'true' cause of the transformation should be mysterious, suspected to be a divine curse, but no-one really knows. And maybe a ritual can "catalyse" it. That would leave far more space for GMs to set up world-situations that would be fun to explore.
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