Do you use PC races as monsters?

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
In one campaign I ran the humans/Half-elfs/half-orcs (PCs) were newly arrived settlers in a world where druid gnomes acted as mediators between the Wilderness (a sentient diety) and civilisation.

The gnomes were good and at first the humans and gnomes had peaceful interactions. However the humans eventually desecrated a gnome burial site distubing ancient gnome ghosts at which point the gnome druids rose up and became a major menace.

Conflict between gnomes and humans became an important aspect of the campaign.
 

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pawsplay

Hero
Every edition's monster manual as far as I can tell has entries for dwarves, halflings, elves, etc., that have a similar listing as monsters. These usually include tactics for attacking the party, etc.

Does anyone ever use these? Do you ever use a warparty of neutral elves attacking the party as unprovoked as a clan of gnolls or a pack of wolves?

I think that my group would have major issues if I started using PC races as monsters. A specific named NPC as a villain, sure. Maybe even members of an evil cult. But just "these are generic dwarves attacking your group" - I don't see that flying.

If my view is typical, then why do game designers keep adding PC races as monsters? Beyond "this is what a typical warrior of this race looks like for comparison purposes" what good does it do to stat up a bunch of things that most players will never fight?

Ditto for good-aligned dragons, angels, etc.

Retreater

I'm not sure you would like my games. I once had the PCs attacked by a warband of Good elves...
 

pawsplay

Hero
I have one quibble. I take exception to chaotic good elves 'slaughtering' trepassers in the forest - in the games I've run, they're far more likely to use spells like sleep and charm person than a barrage of fireballs, or they will resort to non-lethal traps to ensnare or misdirect the adventurers rather than a hail of arrows.

I make a distinction between Good and "saintly." Elves may revere life, but you may still forfeit yours by going where you shoudn't be. CG elves wouldn't kill children picking berries in the forest, but it seems only prudent to slaughter what looks like a scouting party, scouting where they oughtn't to be scouting.
 

pawsplay

Hero
Not every good being has the same goals and needs as every other good-aligned being. Two Good races can just as easily come into conflict with each other.

Not only that, there is nothing preventing two Good races from intentionally conflicting, if they regard military glory and conquest as intrinsically worthwhile activities. Provided the rules of engagement are observed, mercies are generally performed, and the conflict is entered into legitimately, there is no reason two entire armies of LG Paladins couldn't kill the heck out of each other.
 

The Shaman

First Post
I make a distinction between Good and "saintly." Elves may revere life, but you may still forfeit yours by going where you shoudn't be.
That does't strike me as good-aligned behavior at all, paticularly considering that there are both magical and mundane means of dealing with trespass by other good-aligned entities without killing.

Elevating "Hey you kids, get off my lawn!" over "respect for life" is lawful behavior, not good behavior.
Not only that, there is nothing preventing two Good races from intentionally conflicting, if they regard military glory and conquest as intrinsically worthwhile activities. Provided the rules of engagement are observed, mercies are generally performed, and the conflict is entered into legitimately, there is no reason two entire armies of LG Paladins couldn't kill the heck out of each other.
In the games I run, this is likely to take the form of paladins and knights from the opposing armies meeting in single combat, with the lance or the sword, to resolve the issues outstanding, with quarter both expected and given.

Accidents may happen, and a knight may choose to fight to the death rather than surrender as a point of personal honor, but again, setting out to take lives should be purposely avoided in conflicts between good-aligned beings.
 

pawsplay

Hero
That does't strike me as good-aligned behavior at all, paticularly considering that there are both magical and mundane means of dealing with trespass by other good-aligned entities without killing.

But if they're CG, you also have to do it without imprisoning them, right? Or something?

Look, you're NG, you find someone breaking into your house at night, and you have a gun, you're not violating your alignment if you shoot them. If an unidentified plane enters the White House airspace, it is likely to be shot down, regardless of the security team's alignment. Trespass with the implied threat of death, violence, or enslavement is enough to justify a Good character taking deadly action, if they so choose.

Elevating "Hey you kids, get off my lawn!" over "respect for life" is lawful behavior, not good behavior.In the games I run, this is likely to take the form of paladins and knights from the opposing armies meeting in single combat, with the lance or the sword, to resolve the issues outstanding, with quarter both expected and given.

They could do that, but it's going to require more of a military type action to actually conquer an entire kingdom.

Accidents may happen, and a knight may choose to fight to the death rather than surrender as a point of personal honor, but again, setting out to take lives should be purposely avoided in conflicts between good-aligned beings.

I think a Good being is relatively beholden to take prisoners alive, when feasible. But I don't see how respecting life does not mean you don't take it. It simply means you don't waste it. Mind you I am simply interpreting alignments as I see them, looking at their minimal interpretations that can be applied to all beings, regardless of ethos. Individual Good creatures may indeed avoid life-taking, or prisoner-taking, or any other thing they may consider particularly abhorrent. Perhaps a magic-hating race thinks there is nothing more profane than casting sleep on a being who is willing to engage in honorable conflict.

If a Good being thought a kingdom would be better off, overall, after having been conquered, they might very well conquer it. There's an example right there of how Good beings can come into conflict.
 

The Shaman

First Post
But if they're CG, you also have to do it without imprisoning them, right? Or something?
There's no reason chaotic good beings can't, or won't, take prisoners.

The difference between lawful and chaotic in this instance is where the authority to imprison comes from. In a lawful society, it comes from duly-constituted institutions, such as king's magistrates; in a chaotic society, it's vested in the judgement of a respected individual like an elder or a chief.
Look, you're NG, you find someone breaking into your house at night, and you have a gun . . .
I'm not going to interpret the rules of a game in terms of real-world moral and ethical considerations. That way lies madness.

All else being equal, a good-aligned watchman shouts, "Who goes there?" and attempts to take a miscreant prisoner if possible. A neutral-aligned watchman does what's expedient. An evil-aligned watchman may shoot first and ask questions later, or never. All of this gets shaded by the influence of law and chaos on the watchman's alignment.
I think a Good being is relatively beholden to take prisoners alive, when feasible. But I don't see how respecting life does not mean you don't take it.
Good-aligned beings take life in the protection of life. That doesn't mean they do it proscriptively, or preemptively, or indiscriminately, however.
Individual Good creatures may indeed avoid life-taking, or prisoner-taking, or any other thing they may consider particularly abhorrent.
The taking of prisoners isn't affected by alignment - the treatment of prisoners is.
Perhaps a magic-hating race thinks there is nothing more profane than casting sleep on a being who is willing to engage in honorable conflict.
That's a social more which can be found in any alignment on the law-chaos axis; it has nothing to do with good or evil.
If a Good being thought a kingdom would be better off, overall, after having been conquered, they might very well conquer it. There's an example right there of how Good beings can come into conflict.
If the good-aligned ruler of a kingdom felt that gaining control over another largely good-aligned kingdom would improve the quality of life for the latter, he has a number of other means at his disposal, such as politicking the dynastic succession, like backing a rival claimant or marrying into the dynasty.

Good-aligned beings act with restraint because of their respect for life. Evil beings do not show this same restraint.

And I'm done threadjacking; the last word is yours to take.
 

Gog

First Post
I use PC races quite a lot, along with goblins, hobgoblins, etc. I like adding PC levels to my bad guys and it's much easier with those type of monsters.

Of course I use the other stuff too but more as a spice in the game stew than an ingredient, with the noted exception of dragons, they get used a lot too.
 

NewJeffCT

First Post
Not every good being has the same goals and needs as every other good-aligned being. Two Good races can just as easily come into conflict with each other.

Aren't there many stories/books where elves and dwarves have a history of being at war? Lord of the Rings and Warhammer quickly come to mind. Wasn't there one in the Forgotten Realms, too?

I had once considered a campaign where the ultimate bad guy was going to be an overzealous Lawful Good paladin. "Nobody expects the paladin's inquisition!"

(Never got around to fleshing it out, though, due to a lack of time)
 

BraveSirKevin

First Post
I'll try not to repeat stuff that has already been said, but off the top of my head, here are a few situations where you'd use PC race monsters without considerations like alignment coming into play:


  • You've upset the town guard, or the person in charge of the town guard. This happens often in my campaigns... There is a trend towards careless, over-confident anti-hero types in my groups.
  • You've been caught commiting a crime. Who exactly did you think was going to beat down the foolish rogue that failed his pick pocket check with a critical fumble?
  • You've offended the bouncer at the tavern. Who hasn't done this at least once? :D
  • You've offended a whole group of patrons at the seedy tavern, and your lack of diplomacy is only making the situation worse. These encounters can often be more fun than beating down a bunch of goblins, just because there's all the roleplaying in the lead up where all those insults you've been saving up can get hurled around.
  • You run into another group of adventurers who have the same goal as you, and they're not interested in co-operating, cos co-operating means sharing the loot. Now there's a race to get to the treasure first, and along the way, they have a few dirty tricks up their sleeve to slow you down.
  • You run into another group of adventurers who have the same goal as you and they are interested in co-operating. Now you have extra fire power but the DM doesn't have time to stat them all up cos the whole thing was improv and was never meant to turn out this way. He quickly grabs appropriate combat stats from the monster manual and runs with it, filling in the blanks next week.
  • You run into another group of adventurers and your goal is at cross purposes with theirs. They can't convince you to change your plans, and you can't convince them to change theirs. A fight erupts.
  • Your group of wanderers stands accused of a crime that they did not commit. While they attempt to clear their name, they work as soldiers for hire, helping the helpless in return for enough coin to keep themselves fed and housed while on the run. Occasionally they run into the law and have to fight their way clear.
  • You get mugged. It happens. In the middle of a human city, those muggers are probably not going to be gnolls
  • One last one... You stumble upon a band of travellers that have recently been the victims of local bandits. Paranoia following the traumatic events have led them to take a stance of shooting strangers first and asking questions later. You're probably going to fight a few rounds of combat before it becomes clear what the real story is, and only then would you switch to the diplomatic option... if you're not already ready to kill them all.
Personally, I think there is a lot more fun to be had fighting other humans, elves, dwarves and halflings than your average run-of-the-mill goblin. :)
 

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