Games Where Player Characters are the Bad Guys

aramis erak

Legend
Monsters! Monsters! It was an expansion for Tunnels and Trolls.
Not an expansion; a different game on the same engine and setting. There are minor mechanical differences, and M!M! is separate standalone corebooks in all editions.

Also note: When Flying Buffalo was sold after Rick's death, M!M! and T&T became separate IP's. Ken owns M!M!, and it's no longer on Trollworld. Ken no longer is involved with T&T proper.

Source: Ken St. Andre on Facebook.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

aramis erak

Legend
Not from most points of view, at least not in my experience. Even in the old days with adventures like Keep on the Borderlands, it was usually made clear in the adventures that PCs were kicking doors and clearing out bad guys. i.e. The default assumption of most of those fantasy games isn't that the PCs are bad guys.
From an objectivist point of view, D&D dungeons are homes to various non-humans; the demi-humans and humans come in, kick the doors in, kill those in their way, and hen loot the place.
Whether players realize or not that they're being basically nothing more than home invasion robbers is beside the point. The basic "KIll Them All and Take Their Stuff" play mode is objectively unheroic. It's also a staple of D&D proper since the early weeks of play. BY 1975, it was a very common mode, and by 1981, the assumed default mode.

Judge Dredd is less villainous than the average dungeon raiding party. The only redeeming factor in old school dungeon invasion is that the beings within were incapable of being good, and therefore were cheap killable foes.
 

MGibster

Legend
From an objectivist point of view, D&D dungeons are homes to various non-humans; the demi-humans and humans come in, kick the doors in, kill those in their way, and hen loot the place.
An objecctivist point of view? Who can forget Ayn Rand's hot take on the use of force in D&D:
Ayn Rand said:
When a society establishes criminals-by-right and looters-by-law, men who use force to seize the wealth of victims, then gold becomes its creators' avenger. Such looters believe it safe to rob goblinoids, once they've passed a law declearing them creatures instead of human or demi-human.

Whether players realize or not that they're being basically nothing more than home invasion robbers is beside the point. The basic "KIll Them All and Take Their Stuff" play mode is objectively unheroic. It's also a staple of D&D proper since the early weeks of play. BY 1975, it was a very common mode, and by 1981, the assumed default mode.
I'm not sure what you mean by objective. Are you familiar with the Iliad? These great heroes of the tale, including Agamemnon, Ajax (both Greater and Lesser), Achilles, Paris, and even Hector, are all the type of people who kill their enemies and acquire loot. The central conflict between Achilles and Agamemnon, which leads Achilles to sitting out most of the story sulking in his tent, is because the Aggie took from Achilles the loot he had acquired in a raid. In this particular case the loot was named Briseis whom Achilles captured when he raided Lyrnessus killing her parents and brothers in the process. (Oh, I see what you mean by unheroic.)

Nobody thought this was unheroic at the time though. When Hector stood on the walls of Ilium with his son Astyanax, voicing worries that his wife would end up working the loom in another man's house and his son killed, he then turned around and wishes his son to be an even greater warrior than him. i.e. He wanted his son to gain fame and glory going out there and enslaving women and making them work the loom in his house. Hell, the Greeks were so into looting, we have examples of these heroes stripping the corpses of their enemies in the middle of the battle.

I do not agree with your interpretation of D&D even in the early days. In Keep on the Boderlands, the Gnolls have a torture chamber where you find a half dead merchant. They have slave pens where you can find goblins, humans, and orcs. That would seem to imply that they're going out and raiding human (and other) settlements or caravans. They're not just a group of Gnolls sitting around in their Caves of Chaos minding their own business.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
Nobody thought this was unheroic at the time though.

If we take, for the moment, that the Greeks of the time thought this behavior was okay, even laudable, that leaves us with the obvious question - were the Greeks correct in that thinking?

It seems to me that a position amounting to, "If I do not think my behavior is villainous, then I am not a villain," rather defeats the purpose of having the words hero and villain.
 

MGibster

Legend
If we take, for the moment, that the Greeks of the time thought this behavior was okay, even laudable, that leaves us with the obvious question - were the Greeks correct in that thinking?
I would answer no, but I don't see how that's relevant. The point is that within the context of their society it was not viewed as unheroic. Within the context of D&D, to quote the great Ranger Minsc, "butt kicking for goodness" is not unheroic. Entering the caves of a bunch of Gnolls who keep slaves and torture merchants, killing them, and liberating their belongings are not unheroic acts. Even in 5th edition, we continue to kill sentient beings and take their stuff in this game of heroic fantasy. D&D is not a game where the PCs are inherently bad guys.
 

Blue Orange

Gone to Texas
There are two (or more!) possible standards here:

Are the PCs bad guys by our standards? (Probably, in most D&D games, if you think about it too hard.)

Are the PCs bad guys by the standards of the world they live in? (Usually not, though a few modules have explored this possibility.)
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
Within the context of D&D, to quote the great Ranger Minsc, "butt kicking for goodness" is not unheroic.

Within the context of D&D, what is, or is not heroic should be a setting conceit and table agreement. Proclaiming what it should be for all is beyond our purview.
 

MGibster

Legend
Within the context of D&D, what is, or is not heroic should be a setting conceit and table agreement. Proclaiming what it should be for all is beyond our purview.

I understand the weather gets a bit cooler with altitude, so please wear a hat while you're sitting on that high horse beacuse I don't want you to catch a chill. I'm trying to figure out what the point of your post is and I'm coming up blank. You're specifically calling me out for "proclaiming" what D&D should be, but for some reason it's completely acceptable for someone else to say a certain game style is unheroic. They didn't say it was unheroic within the context of certain settings, they just said it was unheroic. I disagreed, but I didn't suggest to them that it wasn't within their purview to have an opinion.

A lot of conversations here would probably go a lot smoother if people would just remember to mentally tack on "In my opinion" at the beginning of each post. We're all just stating our opinions here, and I'm not going to get uspet if someone has an opinion I disagree with. But I certainly don't have the gall to suggest that someone has no business having their opinion.
 

aramis erak

Legend
If we take, for the moment, that the Greeks of the time thought this behavior was okay, even laudable, that leaves us with the obvious question - were the Greeks correct in that thinking?

It seems to me that a position amounting to, "If I do not think my behavior is villainous, then I am not a villain," rather defeats the purpose of having the words hero and villain.
Agreed.
I'm firmly on the "The Greek Heroes are really anti-heroes"... they are, in many ways, the epitome of xenophibia. The Greek Philosophers' civilization's rules for life would be considered criminal acts today... slavery, corporal punishment¹, gender discrimination, pederasty², child-marriage³...

So I find @MGibster 's appeal to the Greeks as entirely unconvincing; the Greek's definitions of good and evil are not the same as modern Western Civilizations.

The appeal to Ayn Rand? Well, even a broken clock is correct at least once per day. (I've seen enough 24-hour dials...) She takes a position that is common, but not borne out by research for teens and older, that games activity trains the player to do those things in real life. For some, yes - which is why I cringe when people have kids under 8 playing RPGs, playing violent videogames, or learning combat arts... because there is significant correlation for the under 8 group, it's weaker the older the player. (I can't open the textbook PDF anymore to get the citations.)



¹: The legality of it varies widely, from none at all in some US states, to only if culturally or regligiously inherited, and/or "only if it leaves no mark."
²: I'm not going to explicate it.
³: As in, under the age of criminal adulthood (16 or 18 in the 'States, by state). Still practiced in some states in the US... one still allows age 14...
 
Last edited:

Wow, this conversation is getting... Interesting. Better get in before it gets locked.

The whole 'kill them all and take their stuff' thing has been humanity's default mode for most of human history. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, who I admire and follow, just got dragged, justly, for slamming on European (white) culture when he said ''European history is basically 'Is that yours? It's ours now! ' ''

Yes, there's a lot of truth there. It's also true that was Mongolian history, it was also Egyptian history, it was Persian history, it was Bantu history, it was Aztec history, it's Chinese culture today.

The world's major religions were based on the ''It's ours now! '' model, ask the Canaanites or the Amelikites about that if you can find any.

So the kill them all and take their stuff model may be evil, but that means for most of recorded history most of humanity was evil.

But we can choose to change. Ever see the original trek ep "A taste of Armageddon?" All it takes is one simple statement. ''I will not murder today. ''
 

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Top