log in or register to remove this ad

 

5E Brainstorm - stories to tell with WotC's new position on various folk (fka "race")

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Small kingdom (or province, or whatever) is suffer depredations by a tribe of orcs from the nearby mountains. The orcs are pretty vicious, and have slaughtered a lot of farmers and even completely wiped out a small village. Those they don't kill they take as slaves.

Heroes get to have fun killing orcs for a while, going off on various missions and being richly rewarded by the nobles for their efforts.

But, over time what they discover is that the nobles are secretly in league with (insert bandits or drow or drug dealers or Nazis or something) and have been provoking the orcs, and committing their own atrocities against them. The nobles have learned there is an ancient tomb, potentially stuffed to the gills with treasure, right smack dab in the orcs' stronghold, so they are hoping to motivate the populace to go to war and wipe out the orcs.
I ran almost this exact thing in one of my games, only instead of locals is was a secret society of knowledge seekers and instead of treasure it was ancient arcane secrets. The PCs managed to turn it on it's head and force the society agent to flee while the orcs allowed the PCs access to the ruin in return for revealing the betrayal. Of course, the orcs also immediately started making wagers among themselves as to which orc would be brave enough to venture into the ruins to retrieve the loot from the bodies of the PCs, so not all sweet and lightness.

Aren’t the Watch classically pretty Good and not corrupt, in Waterdeep?
AWAB?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
I'm working up a campaign for my boys set in Eberron. I'm setting it nestled in the southern Eldeen Reaches between the Gloaming and the mountains of Byeshk, right on the border with Droam. Part of the campaign will be be expeditions into the Gloaming, but part of it will focus more on the town that's their home base. I wanted to lean into Western tropes a little, so they're probably going to get deputized early on (one character has a watch background anyway). The town is having a bit of a boom due to Agents of House Tharashk reopening an old mine and also an increase in adventuring parties heading into the southern Gloaming.

The town is going to be a real mixed bag, as far as different folk go, including a small handful from Droam, so 'monsters'. The House Tharashk faction will be primarily human, with some appropriate mix of H-Orc and some others. The Mine owners are going to be the shady exploitative big-city types, and the party is going end up in the middle of that confrontation as various 'irregularities' with payments and whatnot come to light. There's a couple of other faction-related things going on as well, so the party will have its hands full some times trying to keep the peace. Whenever they aren't dodging the undead and cannibal brigands in the Gloaming of course.

There are no humans in the party btw. I'm kind of looking forward to seeing what my lads end up doing with the whole deputy thing. They're playing a Bugbear and a Goliath, with a HE NPC Druid in support, so I expect a lot of looming and gritty Eastwood dialogue. :cool:
 

Keefe the Thief

Adventurer
The PCs come to the defense of towns where the militia has been defunded.
You know, I thought for 10 minutes straight how to react to this post, how to deal with the fact that no one else has called you out. So I'll just say: congratulations. You took one of the most serious topics of these last few weeks and turned it into a drive-by joke. In a D&D thread about being creative with a more flexible approach to races and ideas about using or not using stereotypes. Well done.
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I’ve considered a game where either gnomes or halflings are on the March, conquering their neighbors with ruthless efficiency.

I’ve also considered a Chaotic Good Succubus patron for the party. Her “type” is now Fey, and she is the partner of a Neutral Good agender “fallen” angel of vengeance, also now a “Fey” in game terms. They “fell” for eachother.

My goblinoids are often fey-themed or even directly Fey, and my bugbears and orcs are more tied to wild nature than most other folk.
 

Stormonu

Legend
You know, I thought for 10 minutes straight how to react to this post, how to deal with the fact that no one else has called you out. So I'll just say: congratulations. You took one of the most serious topics of these last few weeks and turned it into a drive-by joke. In a D&D thread about being creative with a more flexible approach to races and ideas about using or not using stereotypes. Well done.
I think it's actually a good germ of an idea.

A group of ten towns has been lorded over by a Sheriff of Nottingham sort of character, and has finally been removed by the crown. Unfortunately, the former Sheriff as part of his activities bled the area dry of funds for a proper replacement, and locals don't want a replacement issued by the crown. Instead they turn to the PCs, asking them to act as law officers for the ten towns. The characters spend a month apiece in each town (and two winter months back in their own home) and have to deal with the years of oppression fostered by the former sheriff and the lack of official forces to enforce local laws and settle disputes. There may be occassional outside threats, but the majority of action would be interal - and possibly inter-town - conflict (perhaps an undercurrent of a secret sect or organization whose rise will eventually threaten the ten towns if they don't figure out a way to co-operate).
 


Libramarian

Adventurer
I think it's actually a good germ of an idea.
So do I -- my original comment was a half-joke. Medieval/early modern 'police' forces actually were brutal, arbitrary and often corrupt so I think setting them up as antagonists to the PCs would be entirely appropriate.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
I think it's actually a good germ of an idea.

A group of ten towns has been lorded over by a Sheriff of Nottingham sort of character, and has finally been removed by the crown. Unfortunately, the former Sheriff as part of his activities bled the area dry of funds for a proper replacement, and locals don't want a replacement issued by the crown. Instead they turn to the PCs, asking them to act as law officers for the ten towns. The characters spend a month apiece in each town (and two winter months back in their own home) and have to deal with the years of oppression fostered by the former sheriff and the lack of official forces to enforce local laws and settle disputes. There may be occassional outside threats, but the majority of action would be interal - and possibly inter-town - conflict (perhaps an undercurrent of a secret sect or organization whose rise will eventually threaten the ten towns if they don't figure out a way to co-operate).
I like how this was unpacked further from Labramarium's original one liner. Sometimes a drive by zinger doesn't come off as one could hope.
 


opacitizen

Explorer
decouple mind flayer biology from needing sentient creatures to prey upon to reproduce (iirc, there's some aspect of illithid reproductive cycle that requires a living sentient brain?)
Not just to reproduce. They actually feed on sentient brains. It's like trying to get a great white shark to go vegan. Not impossible in D&D (with spells like Wish and entities capable of doing miracles), but not an easy task either. And I'm not sure the mind flayer would not see your trying to turn it as an offense.
 

Eltab

Hero
I think it's actually a good germ of an idea.

A group of ten towns has been lorded over by a Sheriff of Nottingham sort of character, and has finally been removed by the crown. Unfortunately, the former Sheriff as part of his activities bled the area dry of funds for a proper replacement, and locals don't want a replacement issued by the crown. Instead they turn to the PCs, asking them to act as law officers for the ten towns.
Invasion between two kingdoms. Lucky for the townspeople they are not in the path of either army. Unlucky for them, their king called up the feudal levy - so the noble who usually would be in charge is out fighting somewhere, along with his bodyguard / police. Rather than give another noble a disputable claim to lordship, the town hires mercenaries as temps until the emergency is over.
For more confusion, the towns are near the original border, the area has been fought over for a generation, and there are nobles from both kingdoms with valid fiefs from their respective kings.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
Not just to reproduce. They actually feed on sentient brains. It's like trying to get a great white shark to go vegan. Not impossible in D&D (with spells like Wish and entities capable of doing miracles), but not an easy task either. And I'm not sure the mind flayer would not see your trying to turn it as an offense.
Well, I'd say that's problematic... I don't want to bust my own thread, so maybe I'll go start another one as to whether mind flayers are inherently evil; or it's just biology. That said, no one wants to be near them, and if the only way to prevent them from ending one's own existence is to kill them, then...
 

Stormonu

Legend
Not just to reproduce. They actually feed on sentient brains. It's like trying to get a great white shark to go vegan. Not impossible in D&D (with spells like Wish and entities capable of doing miracles), but not an easy task either. And I'm not sure the mind flayer would not see your trying to turn it as an offense.
For any of this to work, sometimes you have to tweak the lore. It may very well be "they can only eat sentient brains" is a myth, perpetrated by their own kind because they don't want to bother trying something else.

Mind flayers have several traits in common with the magog of the Andromeda series, and in the latter we see a very interesting story of one (Rev Bem) that turns against the brutality of their own and finds a way to live with the horrifying nature of need for wanton destruction and flesh-eating.

Also, this has actually been done in the Illithid adventures from 2E. Normally, ceremorphisis rebuilds the mind of an illithid, but sometimes they retain the mind of their former host and in the module's case, found a way to change their diet. You could stretch this to regular illithid and a cult or society among their kind that has come to see the normal illithid diet reprehensible and found an alternative.

With that in mind, there could be an established library run by illithid in a city (somewhere in Eberron comes to mind, maybe even Sharn...), who not only collect books, but read the mind of willing visitors and copy the information they learn down into written form. These illithid are monastic and grow an alien "wheat" they consume instead of normal food. They still reproduce by ceremorphisis, but do not do so against the initiate's will. In this way, the initiate's mind isn't consumed in the process, but instead merges into a new entity, aka as a sort of Trill, like Dax from Deep Space Nine - but with purple skin and tentacles.
 

Panda-s1

Scruffy and Determined
y'all mind if I take an idea straight out of the ol' anti-colonial ideas bag? "yeah sure go right on ahead!" okay cool

-remote gnoll village was minding it's own business when one day they got caught up in somebody else's war. a group from a human army decided to loot the village, and while there was no lasting damage they lost a good number of cultural artifacts. after the war they sent someone to that kingdom to plea their case, but the king won't budge; they're spoils of war and now part of his personal collection. also probably some bs about "we don't know who it actually belongs to so....". PCs get hired to try and find a way to get them back. it's hard to get an audience with the king and he's very stubborn anyway, so they're probably gonna have to resort to some sort of subterfuge.


Simplicity, mostly.

When the enemies are the same creature types as the PCs then said PCs are faced with a choice: either go full-on murderhobo and kill 'em all anyway or start having to sort through them and by whatever means determine which ones are worth saving and which aren't (or failing that, somehow get them all back to town so the local authorities can look after it).

Far simpler just to be able to say "There's Orcs in those woods; and if you meet one in there either you or it ain't coming out." That said, if the PCs go in and meet one and decide they want to talk to it rather than fight it, cool.
uh, idk how it's necessarily simpler to say "there's orcs in the woods" vs. "there's bandits in the woods". some people don't have a moral conundrum when it comes to killing "real" humanoids if given a good reason. also bandits are generally outcasts from society, they're probably more likely to be a diverse mix of folk compared to the people who sent you to fight them.
View attachment 123121

1987, Trouble at Grog's (Dungeon Magazine #4, "Road to Danger" adventures). We shouldn't forget that this isn't new territory for D&D. The tagline for this popular AD&D adventure was "can't a half-ogre find a little peace in a riverside town full of adventurer's, bigots, and thieves?" And that's exactly what happens. The townsfolk assume Grog, because he's a half-ogre, must be responsible for the latest bad thing to happen in town. The PCs arrive to cure that.

We can keep going (e.g. Against the Slave Lords), but D&D has largely been about heroes fighting against injustice. I don't know why we need to act like this is something new simply because they're considering taking away the INT penalty for orcs or renaming it "folk/origin" instead of race. Regardless, if you haven't run it, it's a fantastic adventure.
I know adventures like this already exist, but even to this day they're considered a novelty. Reverse Dungeon is another adventure that comes to mind, though it's not quite in the same vein. also I'm sure these adventures were made to be at least a little ironic, which idk is the point of this thread.
For any of this to work, sometimes you have to tweak the lore. It may very well be "they can only eat sentient brains" is a myth, perpetrated by their own kind because they don't want to bother trying something else.

Mind flayers have several traits in common with the magog of the Andromeda series, and in the latter we see a very interesting story of one (Rev Bem) that turns against the brutality of their own and finds a way to live with the horrifying nature of need for wanton destruction and flesh-eating.

Also, this has actually been done in the Illithid adventures from 2E. Normally, ceremorphisis rebuilds the mind of an illithid, but sometimes they retain the mind of their former host and in the module's case, found a way to change their diet. You could stretch this to regular illithid and a cult or society among their kind that has come to see the normal illithid diet reprehensible and found an alternative.

With that in mind, there could be an established library run by illithid in a city (somewhere in Eberron comes to mind, maybe even Sharn...), who not only collect books, but read the mind of willing visitors and copy the information they learn down into written form. These illithid are monastic and grow an alien "wheat" they consume instead of normal food. They still reproduce by ceremorphisis, but do not do so against the initiate's will. In this way, the initiate's mind isn't consumed in the process, but instead merges into a new entity, aka as a sort of Trill, like Dax from Deep Space Nine - but with purple skin and tentacles.
yeah, I'm okay with mind flayers staying mind flayers, but the idea of mind flayers managing to separate and form their own group is actually pretty cool. I like this. if we have to change canon a bit then that's a cool idea. also wouldn't the better star trek comparison be unimatrix zero? maybe? idk I never watched ds9 if I'm gonna be honest lol.
 

opacitizen

Explorer
For any of this to work, sometimes you have to tweak the lore. It may very well be "they can only eat sentient brains" is a myth, perpetrated by their own kind because they don't want to bother trying something else.
You can certainly do this, hammer away at the fluff (and mechanics) and change everything to your liking in your world. It's your world and your fun, after all. On the other hand, serious modifications of a core concept practically change the core concept. A mind flayer that isn't flaying minds, so to say, is not a mind flayer, it just looks like one. A great white shark that eats plankton is not a great white shark but a whale shark (which does exist and eats plankton and is an amazing creature, but it's not a great white.) A dog which has beaks and meows is not really a dog. A two inches tall giant is not a giant.

Or maybe they are, in your world (again, it's yours to shape), but in that case you're looking at having to redefine a ton of things during world-building. Mind-flayers won't be as big a threat. If there's an easy way to turn them, maybe they've all been turned ages ago by some crusaders, and are now known as mind watchers. Great white sharks are no longer feared, and maybe never have been. But then there's some other apex predator that fills their role. Bull sharks, maybe — but then all the seaside horror stories are and have always been about them, so your change isn't real. Unless you eliminate the concept of meat eaters in your world altogether. Also, if anything can be a dog, then the word "dog" starts losing its meaning. It will be like "thing". And a Conqueror of Two Inches Tall Giants won't command much respect, likely (unless these new giants have some weird and vicious trick up their sleeve to compensate for the loss of their height.)

So... can you do anything to your illithids? Sure. Have fun. Will people outside your circle think of your illithids as illithids? Some will, some won't. (There will be more of the latter, I think.) Will this bother you? Well, that's up to you.
 


GreenTengu

Explorer
I think the traditional PC races could EASILY be villains in their own rights rather than the traditional "just be bandits". Making the reasons they are the antagonists tie into what is already known about the race will make it feel so much more organic. Bandit works well for the races who don't really have anything, don't have control over any land, cannot really grow their own food or they have too much pride to make their way in life as anything but warriors and there is no one to pay them to fight.

  • Elves are tired of other races cutting down their forest for lumber-- no, they are not going to negotiate. No, they do not see any reason to handle this "peacefully" rather than out-and-out exterminate the infestation. No, they aren't going to just find somewhere else to live or write themselves off as obsolete and bequeath rulership of the world to these "humans" who don't live even a tenth as long as them. They might also capture humans for use as servants or as "close enough to elf" like bodies on which they can perform magical experimentation.
  • Dwarfs will wipe out a settlement because their grandparents unknowingly offended the Dwarfen clan and the grudge was just never settled. They might also wipe out the humans because the humans are an obstacle to their economic interests or they feel it has infringed on their mining rights. They might also decide to break into a palace or such that is hording a large amount of gold and stealing it with the reasoning that all gold belongs to them.
  • Gnomes homes are not always so clearly marked, they can be invisible on the surface. Rather than going to the surface to tell people to stop trouncing across their roofs or more clearly marking their homes, they might decide to just start setting up lethal traps that kill people for unknowingly "invading". Gnomes also work well in the "mad scientist" role where they create something dangerous and unleash it on the world without considering the consequences. They might even send their clockwork creations to attack people just to test of their battle capabilities.
  • Halflings tend towards being thieves-- and while it is an old D&D tradition for the "thieves guild" to be friends to the PC-- why would a crime syndicate that is involved in robbing people blind and fencing their items and extorting "protection" money from the rest of the populace be necessarily friends to the PCs? Halflings being the mafia in the cities in a D&D world would make all the sense in the world.
  • Dragonborn and Tieflings hardly even need to be explained. Dragonpeople and Devilpeople were traditional bad guys going all the way back to the dawn of D&D before 4th edition arbitrarily decided that they were by-and-large "good guys". The idea that Dragonborn would be submissive lapdogs to humans and their ilk really boggles my mind. Nothing that has ever been written about Dragonborn culture has ever made sense-- they should be ruling over the Kobolds and enacting the personal interests of the Dragons, which far, FAR more often than not, even for the good-aligned Dragons, is going to directly conflict with the interests of the ever-expanding empires of humans and other humanoids. Dragonborn armies should be marching across the land and driving back the infestations of the mammalian races. And Tieflings should be predominantly drawn to aligning themselves with Devils and Demons-- their whole mystical nature would intrinsically push them in that direction. Tieflings should be tearing open rifts to the outer realms and allowing their fiendish cousins into the material plane far more often than they are being heroic or fighting such creatures.
 


The town of Eregos 'Tolerated' in orcish has a heavy orc and half orc population. It is about to be attacked by orc raiders who will theaten the kingdom, but the cavalry isn't coming because fighting to defend non-humans is not popular in the capital. The PCs are hired by the local magistrate to help protect the city while the debate goes on. They have to hold out until the king is convinced of the danger to all.
 

COMING SOON: 5 Plug-In Settlements for your 5E Game

Advertisement2

Advertisement4

Top