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5E Goblins and their "Curse of Strife"

Hexmage-EN

Adventurer
So recently WotC talked about how in the future they were looking to change how they depicted various creatures, such as orcs. Wildemount was given as an example of where they were headed in the future. Whereas other 5E sources established orcs had an inherent drive to violence that even good orcs had to constantly suppress, Wildemount's write-up on orcs invents the term "curse of ruin" for this drive before dismissing it as a myth. There is no curse of ruin, just people who have heard of this false curse and used any example of an orc getting mad to argue it was real.

However, Wildemount DOES establish a real curse on goblinkin, the curse of strife.

Here are some quotes concerning it from Explorer's Guide to Wildemount:
  • "The term 'goblinkin' refers to three types of related peoples: goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears. All three are affected by Bane's curse of strife..."
  • "Goblinkin who manage to overcome Bane's curse are freed from the compulsion that leads them to evil. Unless the goblinkin was freed near birth, however, they have likely internalized their bias towards law, chaos, or neutrality..."
  • "It is nearly impossible for a goblinkin to break Bane's curse on their own."
  • "Whenever a goblinkin returns to consciousness after being reduced to 0 hit points, they can make a DC 20 Wisdom saving throw, with advantage if they were brought back to life. On a success, the goblinkin breaks free from the curse of strife. A goblinkin targeted by remove curse can also make this saving throw, with advantage on the save if the caster is a trusted companion."
  • "Many bugbears are cleansed of the curse from birth by a druidic order of bugbears who managed to break free from Bane's influence decades ago."
  • "Goblins who suffer from the curse of strife are...goaded by Bane to commit acts of wanton destruction and malice."
  • "Hobgoblins afflicted by the curse of strife are almost exclusively lawful evil, and are urged towards acts of conquest."
  • "Bugbears who suffer under Bane's influence are typically chaotic evil..."

Elsewhere in the book it states that four special items called the Luxon beacons prevent a goblin that is born within 100 miles of one from ever being exposed to the curse of strife.

Personally, I understand the in-setting justification for this. Bane is the god of tyranny and conquest who created the goblinkin for specific roles and uses this curse to try and make sure they follow his commands. That sounds exactly like something a god of tyranny would do.

I was fully onboard with the concept. It retains a reason for goblins to be low-level opponents while also giving players multiple reasons to deal peacefully with goblinkin or to subdue them instead of killing them, as showing compassion gives them a chance to make a saving throw against the curse. An encounter with goblinkin might even be resolved by casting "remove curse" on the leader of a hostile group. These goblinkin, now free of the curse, could go back to their communities and help free their families and friends from the curse through acts of compassion.

Further, there's an established group of bugbears druids interested in helping other goblinkin free themselves of the curse. A player character goblin might have been freed of the curse with the help of that organization. They might make it their personal mission to try and free as many goblinkin of the curse as they can, viewing the god of tyranny as a fiend who treats his people as mere tools of conquest. They might free fellow goblins of the curse and teach freed goblin communities how to make sure future generations avoid Bane's curse. It might become traditional for goblinkin parents to take their newborn children to spiritual leaders who use their holy magic to protect the children from the influence of Bane.

A DM could even run a goblinkin-only campaign where the ultimate goal is to stop Bane's curse of strife at its source. Bane, god of tyranny and conquest, defeated by the goblinkin people he created as mere tools of conquest!

I personally found this all very inspiring. Sure, it was a little weird that the same book would call out the orc's supposed curse of ruin as fake only to establish a real curse of strife for goblinkin, but the way it was presented as something that could be defeated through compassion and holy magic was very inspiring. It made me interested in playing as a goblin for the first time. It made me want to include more goblinkin in games I run as friendly NPCs. It made me want to run a scenario where goblins are raiding merchant caravans for food that could be resolved by the players bringing a cart full of food to the goblin village, an act of compassion so surprising for the goblins that it allows them all to make a save with advantage gainst the curse of strife.

However, after bringing up the details of the curse of strife on another forum, a number of people had some very strong criticisms of the concept.

I quote one reply in particular (which I have edited for bravery) because it summarized a lot of the points others had raised and added new ones:

  • That goblinkin can be broken free from the curse more easily when they're very young is reminiscent of real world illegal adoption industries, where Christian parents believe they are saving a child from sin by taking them from their homeland and its culture.
  • That goblinkin can be shaken free of the curse of strife through compassion is reminiscent of the language used by Conversion Therapy advocates.
  • That goblinkin can be shaken free of the curse of strife through experiencing traumatic events ignores the real world effects of trauma.
  • The solutions proposed to the curse of strife are too similar to harmful things people have done to real people in the real world for comfort.

So I've decided to see what people here think of the goblins of Wildemount and the concept of the curse of strife. Is it an interesting bit of worldbuilding, a hook for goblinkin player characters, and a means to encourage encounters with goblinkin that end positively, or is it too evocative of the real world issues this person brought up?
 
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DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
The problem everyone will face in any game that involves fantastical elements is that any of those fantastical elements could be seen as allegory to some part of real life situation. When that happens... a certain segment of the population will take issue with it because it can be seen as problematic for certain people and from certain points of view. It's impossible to not have that occur. I mean, even a simple standard magical spell like 'Charm Person'... when taken apart and analyzed it is incredibly simple to see how the idea of it can be problematic when taken at face value and attributed to real life. We actually already had that occur with the 'Love Domain' bruehaha several months ago.

What is inevitable in situations like this is that some people will point out how something is problematic/bad when looked at in a certain direction through a certain prism. Usually, they have a point that it could be seen that way from a certain point of view. But that is when the rest of society takes a look at it and comes to a group conclusion as to whether it is a view that most people see and agree with, or if it takes such a roundabout way to get there most people will determine it's really too much of a stretch to make it into something actionable. And what that happens, society as a whole just sort of says "We can understand the potential for concern, but most people can tell the difference between the thing and what could be considered a problem. And thus it isn't as much of a concern right now as you are telling us."

So in the case of Charm Person... I think most of society has come to the conclusion that the spell is "magic" and thus not possible, it's a part of a fantastical "game" and thus does not represent actual life, and it is written in such a way as to not align with whatever real-life techniques are used for gaslighting or domestic abuse or cult behavior etc. We might be able to agree from a certain point of view that if Charm Person was a real thing that it could certainly be used to commit atrocities... but just the existence of the idea of the spell is far enough away from reality that it can't be seen as potentially harmful or hurtful to 99.99% of the world, and thus we can and will all just brush it off. Now could there be someone in the 11 billion people of Earth wherein just the idea of the spell Charm Person is a triggering event for them? Sure. But that is true for every single thing possible and we can't eliminate everything. That's just statistically not possible. So at some point society just says "Sorry, but the view you are seeing this with is just too far afield for most of us and what you are asking the rest of us to accommodate you for is just too much" and we collectively choose not to act on it.

In the case of Wildemount... sure the Curse of Strife could be seen as problematic from a certain point of view. But as that is the case potentially with everything in the game... picking and choosing this one thing over anything else would need to really pick up steam with players for the rest of society to agree with them. And I don't personally see this specific thing in the game achieving that right now. There are a lot of other stuff in the game that I suspect will get touched upon first before Curse of Strife (but then again, I could be wrong.)

Now that societal voice that decides collectively whether something is worth keeping or not keeping obviously can and will change over time. And what was considered fine or at least ignorable by most people at one point in time might no longer be seen as such later on. And that's where we get all the complaints we see of "Well, if it wasn't bad then, why is it bad now?!?" And the answer of course is that the group that was seeing this thing from a certain point of view and found it problematic had a much smaller voice. But that voice can always grow louder. And when it does, society can choose to make the change. Now granted, it usually helps when the change gets tied to economic reasons-- companies and corporations follow the almighty dollar and if the group of voices that is getting larger fall into the 18-45 demographic of purchasing power, then the companies are more apt to listen to them than the 60+ age group ranting about how the "kids today" don't know what they're talking about. So it isn't always altruism that pushes change forward... but if at the end of the day if you get where you are going, does it matter what spurred on the horses to get you there?
 
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I see the Curse of Strife as an interesting "devil on the shoulder" type thing that would explain the negative aspects of Goblinkind.
 

Parmandur

Legend
One important distinction for Exandria: Bane did not create the Goblinoids, he conquered them and twisted them with his curse. Given that the curse is not an intrinsic part of them, bit something forced from outside, the way the book handles it makes sense to me.
 

DemoMonkey

Explorer
"You can't have creatures that are inherently evil! That's offensive for real world reasons!"

"Oh. Fair enough. How about creatures that are evil because they are cursed, but there are ways to remove or prevent the curse?"

"HOW DARE YOU IMPLY THAT CURSES CAN BE REMOVED OR PREVENTED!! That's offensive for real world reasons!"

Damned if you do, damned if you don't I guess.
 

jgsugden

Legend
D&D is an RPG. A role playing game. Characters play a role in a story. Most stories are battles against something that is wrong, and that can be fixed.

Here, goblinkind are enslaved by an evil God. Their free will is limited, if not removed, by the curse. This would be similar to a leader directing his people to attack a neighboring community through misinformation or intimidation. The assumption is not that they are bad people - but that they are forced to be bad against natural inclinations. Obviously, this is a step on a slippery slope, but in the eyes of many, it is not too far along that slope.

I'm betting there is a chance that Mercer addresses this in the coming years on Critical Role by having heroes put an end to the curse.
 

pukunui

Hero
While I don’t have a problem with any of this per se, I do find it a little odd that WotC would choose to unshackle one group (orcs) from their problematic lore while at the same time introducing a whole new set of shackles for another group (goblins).

If Wildemount is an example of where their hearts are, it seems like maybe their heads haven’t quite caught up yet.
 

Benjamin Olson

Adventurer
What makes sense in a world of magic is going to mirror what makes sense in the world of magical thinking that certain religious fundamentalists inhabit. The moment an "evil god" shows up in the setting you are going to have certain parallels between characters fighting it and real world zealotries.
 

ccs

40th lv DM
I quote one reply in particular (which I have edited for bravery) because it summarized a lot of the points others had raised and added new ones:

  • That goblinkin can be broken free from the curse more easily when they're very young is reminiscent of real world illegal adoption industries, where Christian parents believe they are saving a child from sin by taking them from their homeland and its culture.
  • That goblinkin can be shaken free of the curse of strife through compassion is reminiscent of the language used by Conversion Therapy advocates.
  • That goblinkin can be shaken free of the curse of strife through experiencing traumatic events ignores the real world effects of trauma.
  • The solutions proposed to the curse of strife are too similar to harmful things people have done to real people in the real world for comfort.
So what was this geniuses feelings on the ages old standby method of solving the evil goblin problem - stabbing them until they're dead?
Should we now avoid doing that because people here in the real world also get stabbed to death?

So I've decided to see what people here think of the goblins of Wildemount and the concept of the curse of strife. Is it an interesting bit of worldbuilding, a hook for goblinkin player characters, and a means to encourage encounters with goblinkin that end positively, or is it too evocative of the real world issues this person brought up?
Sure, sounds interesting enough. If you can make use of it, use it. Maybe check with your players & see if they've got an opinion on it. But at least it's another way to deal with the goblins & might make for different stories.
I mean, in my general experience, unless given a reason to (such as in the Wildemount setting) players rarely care why the goblin is evil. DMs either. It's evil because the MM says so, full stop. Because it's the low lv monster you have to exterminate in The Lost Mines to get xp & treasure....

Humorous thought - if an evil goblin can change alignments after being reduced to 0 HP & surviving, could the curse reclaim a non-evil goblin who suffers the same trauma?
 

While I don’t have a problem with any of this per se, I do find it a little odd that WotC would choose to unshackle one group (orcs) from their problematic lore while at the same time introducing a whole new set of shackles for another group (goblins).
Or it shows that the flavor of settings is customizable.

Now instead of Half-Orcs being the angsty hero type fighting against inner darkness, it can be goblins.

Sidebars detailing designer intent, is a best practice. WotC needs to do this with much greater regularity.

As a DM, I hate creating names. I either use other published names, like Bane in Wildemont, or grab my trusty Almanac of the Ancient World.

Wildemont, like many homebrew setting, clearly is leaning into recycling traditional elements with a twist.
 

Mirtek

Adventurer
So recently WotC talked about how in the future they were looking to change how they depicted various creatures, such as orcs. Wildemount was given as an example of where they were headed in the future. Whereas other 5E sources established orcs had an inherent drive to violence that even good orcs had to constantly suppress, Wildemount's write-up on orcs invents the term "curse of ruin" for this drive before dismissing it as a myth. There is no curse of ruin, just people who have heard of this false curse and used any example of an orc getting mad to argue it was real.

However, Wildemount DOES establish a real curse on goblinkin, the curse of strife.

Here are some quotes concerning it from Explorer's Guide to Wildemount:
  • "The term 'goblinkin' refers to three types of related peoples: goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears. All three are affected by Bane's curse of strife..."
  • "Goblinkin who manage to overcome Bane's curse are freed from the compulsion that leads them to evil. Unless the goblinkin was freed near birth, however, they have likely internalized their bias towards law, chaos, or neutrality..."
  • "It is nearly impossible for a goblinkin to break Bane's curse on their own."
  • "Whenever a goblinkin returns to consciousness after being reduced to 0 hit points, they can make a DC 20 Wisdom saving throw, with advantage if they were brought back to life. On a success, the goblinkin breaks free from the curse of strife. A goblinkin targeted by remove curse can also make this saving throw, with advantage on the save if the caster is a trusted companion."
  • "Many bugbears are cleansed of the curse from birth by a druidic order of bugbears who managed to break free from Bane's influence decades ago."
  • "Goblins who suffer from the curse of strife are...goaded by Bane to commit acts of wanton destruction and malice."
  • "Hobgoblins afflicted by the curse of strife are almost exclusively lawful evil, and are urged towards acts of conquest."
  • "Bugbears who suffer under Bane's influence are typically chaotic evil..."

Elsewhere in the book it states that four special items called the Luxon beacons prevent a goblin that is born within 100 miles of one from ever being exposed to the curse of strife.

Personally, I understand the in-setting justification for this. Bane is the god of tyranny and conquest who created the goblinkin for specific roles and uses this curse to try and make sure they follow his commands. That sounds exactly like something a god of tyranny would do.

I was fully onboard with the concept. It retains a reason for goblins to be low-level opponents while also giving players multiple reasons to deal peacefully with goblinkin or to subdue them instead of killing them, as showing compassion gives them a chance to make a saving throw against the curse. An encounter with goblinkin might even be resolved by casting "remove curse" on the leader of a hostile group. These goblinkin, now free of the curse, could go back to their communities and help free their families and friends from the curse through acts of compassion.

Further, there's an established group of bugbears druids interested in helping other goblinkin free themselves of the curse. A player character goblin might have been freed of the curse with the help of that organization. They might make it their personal mission to try and free as many goblinkin of the curse as they can, viewing the god of tyranny as a fiend who treats his people as mere tools of conquest. They might free fellow goblins of the curse and teach freed goblin communities how to make sure future generations avoid Bane's curse. It might become traditional for goblinkin parents to take their newborn children to spiritual leaders who use their holy magic to protect the children from the influence of Bane.

A DM could even run a goblinkin-only campaign where the ultimate goal is to stop Bane's curse of strife at its source. Bane, god of tyranny and conquest, defeated by the goblinkin people he created as mere tools of conquest!

I personally found this all very inspiring. Sure, it was a little weird that the same book would call out the orc's supposed curse of ruin as fake only to establish a real curse of strife for goblinkin, but the way it was presented as something that could be defeated through compassion and holy magic was very inspiring. It made me interested in playing as a goblin for the first time. It made me want to include more goblinkin in games I run as friendly NPCs. It made me want to run a scenario where goblins are raiding merchant caravans for food that could be resolved by the players bringing a cart full of food to the goblin village, an act of compassion so surprising for the goblins that it allows them all to make a save with advantage gainst the curse of strife.

However, after bringing up the details of the curse of strife on another forum, a number of people had some very strong criticisms of the concept.

I quote one reply in particular (which I have edited for bravery) because it summarized a lot of the points others had raised and added new ones:

  • That goblinkin can be broken free from the curse more easily when they're very young is reminiscent of real world illegal adoption industries, where Christian parents believe they are saving a child from sin by taking them from their homeland and its culture.
  • That goblinkin can be shaken free of the curse of strife through compassion is reminiscent of the language used by Conversion Therapy advocates.
  • That goblinkin can be shaken free of the curse of strife through experiencing traumatic events ignores the real world effects of trauma.
  • The solutions proposed to the curse of strife are too similar to harmful things people have done to real people in the real world for comfort.

So I've decided to see what people here think of the goblins of Wildemount and the concept of the curse of strife. Is it an interesting bit of worldbuilding, a hook for goblinkin player characters, and a means to encourage encounters with goblinkin that end positively, or is it too evocative of the real world issues this person brought up?
I totally fail to see how this is any different at all from "all orcs are cursed with gruumsh's blood". Maybe, maybe marginally better due overcomming it sounds like a permanent accomplishment rather than a lifelong battle to surpress what's still inside, but at the end of the day it's a race that inherently "inferior" than others.
 

HorusArisen

Explorer
Have to be honest I love this concept and am totally stealing it for future games, except the cure bit. Depending on setting of course, as it should be. #settingfirst

Not so sure on the Curse of Ruin my savage orcs tend to be that way because that’s how their creator made them. They are Gruumsh’ rage and fury. His desire to...ruin creation. Complete A-holes in every way.

That said I love having alternate takes for different settings. Like Eberron, the Druid culture orcs are a massive favourite of mine and PF2 goblins are a stitch (although I’m still a fan of PF1).
 
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Seramus

Adventurer
I see it the same as having an abusive parent. Beside the physical transformation, Bane is essentially hammering them with high-value charisma checks. It's tough to break away from an abusive parent, but doing so is a great story arc for any goblinoid.

There are also plenty of examples goblins that are not influenced by the curse, for people who don't want to deal with it.
 

jgsugden

Legend
Orcs, I believe, are a special case. There are fewer ties between the depictions of goblins and hobgoblins in D&D and any stereotypes that have pervaded the real world than there have been between orcs and stereotypes in the real world. You just need to look at the Netflix show Bright to see it spelled out clearly how anyone in the real world that has been depicted as a thug culturally and the orcs as historically presented show a problem. If you say, "It is just the orc's nature", you're reinforcing those stereotypes.

The goblin approach is a step on a slippery slope. Applying the same approach to orcs with a curse from Gruumsh is a further step on that slippery slope, and likely one too far.

One of the key problems in this whole discussion, I feel is the separation of the humanoid types in D&D. Clans or orcs, or goblins, or kobolds all live in the racial isolation and present a singular target for discussion when we use them in the game. If the clan in the mountains that were a threat to the village were a combination of orcs, goblins, humans, dwarves, kobolds, elves and ogres we'd have a different and less problematic story.
 

GreenTengu

Explorer
Hobgoblins are already cursed with a racial stat entry that makes it so you are functionally taking a huge penalty if you play one as anything but a Wizard, Warlock or Sorcerer-- despite supposedly being a primarily martial race.

And Goblins... actually, the stats for Goblins are pretty good in combat at mid to late level. But it is also, a combat-only race.

Then they get slapped with whatever social penalties the DM is expected to place on them. Then you want to stick this extra curse on them at all?

Really seems like kicking a player in the teeth when they are already down for the crime of having chosen "the wrong race".

And, yes, the idea that one either beats them out of it, brainwashes them or uses abusive psychological techniques is quite creepy.

And-- really-- from a general perspective, would it really even need to necessarily affect them all anyway? Why not just primarily affect the priests or chieftains who pray to Bane and are granted power in exchange? The rest of them-- they are just going to go along with it because its not like anyone else is particularly accepting of them, because their tribe almost certainly has deep-rooted grievances with other races even if they arguably or even definitely started the fight, because of peer pressure or just because they care about their family and friends no matter how dastardly their family and friends are.

It should be super easy to "break the curse"-- just getting thrown out of your tribe or finding yourself the person in the tribe that everyone is encouraged to pick on and I am pretty sure that'll break it real quick.

There could even be tribes that are free of Bane for a while, but then all its takes is one traditionalist who wants to advance his position in the tribe and offers his soul up to Bane and gets granted the charisma and talent to just suck the entire tribe up into his ideology. Particularly if none of the other gods are out there trying to adopt of influence them.
 

So recently WotC talked about how in the future they were looking to change how they depicted various creatures, such as orcs. Wildemount was given as an example of where they were headed in the future. Whereas other 5E sources established orcs had an inherent drive to violence that even good orcs had to constantly suppress, Wildemount's write-up on orcs invents the term "curse of ruin" for this drive before dismissing it as a myth. There is no curse of ruin, just people who have heard of this false curse and used any example of an orc getting mad to argue it was real.

However, Wildemount DOES establish a real curse on goblinkin, the curse of strife.

Here are some quotes concerning it from Explorer's Guide to Wildemount:
  • "The term 'goblinkin' refers to three types of related peoples: goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears. All three are affected by Bane's curse of strife..."
  • "Goblinkin who manage to overcome Bane's curse are freed from the compulsion that leads them to evil. Unless the goblinkin was freed near birth, however, they have likely internalized their bias towards law, chaos, or neutrality..."
  • "It is nearly impossible for a goblinkin to break Bane's curse on their own."
  • "Whenever a goblinkin returns to consciousness after being reduced to 0 hit points, they can make a DC 20 Wisdom saving throw, with advantage if they were brought back to life. On a success, the goblinkin breaks free from the curse of strife. A goblinkin targeted by remove curse can also make this saving throw, with advantage on the save if the caster is a trusted companion."
  • "Many bugbears are cleansed of the curse from birth by a druidic order of bugbears who managed to break free from Bane's influence decades ago."
  • "Goblins who suffer from the curse of strife are...goaded by Bane to commit acts of wanton destruction and malice."
  • "Hobgoblins afflicted by the curse of strife are almost exclusively lawful evil, and are urged towards acts of conquest."
  • "Bugbears who suffer under Bane's influence are typically chaotic evil..."

Elsewhere in the book it states that four special items called the Luxon beacons prevent a goblin that is born within 100 miles of one from ever being exposed to the curse of strife.

Personally, I understand the in-setting justification for this. Bane is the god of tyranny and conquest who created the goblinkin for specific roles and uses this curse to try and make sure they follow his commands. That sounds exactly like something a god of tyranny would do.

I was fully onboard with the concept. It retains a reason for goblins to be low-level opponents while also giving players multiple reasons to deal peacefully with goblinkin or to subdue them instead of killing them, as showing compassion gives them a chance to make a saving throw against the curse. An encounter with goblinkin might even be resolved by casting "remove curse" on the leader of a hostile group. These goblinkin, now free of the curse, could go back to their communities and help free their families and friends from the curse through acts of compassion.

Further, there's an established group of bugbears druids interested in helping other goblinkin free themselves of the curse. A player character goblin might have been freed of the curse with the help of that organization. They might make it their personal mission to try and free as many goblinkin of the curse as they can, viewing the god of tyranny as a fiend who treats his people as mere tools of conquest. They might free fellow goblins of the curse and teach freed goblin communities how to make sure future generations avoid Bane's curse. It might become traditional for goblinkin parents to take their newborn children to spiritual leaders who use their holy magic to protect the children from the influence of Bane.

A DM could even run a goblinkin-only campaign where the ultimate goal is to stop Bane's curse of strife at its source. Bane, god of tyranny and conquest, defeated by the goblinkin people he created as mere tools of conquest!

I personally found this all very inspiring. Sure, it was a little weird that the same book would call out the orc's supposed curse of ruin as fake only to establish a real curse of strife for goblinkin, but the way it was presented as something that could be defeated through compassion and holy magic was very inspiring. It made me interested in playing as a goblin for the first time. It made me want to include more goblinkin in games I run as friendly NPCs. It made me want to run a scenario where goblins are raiding merchant caravans for food that could be resolved by the players bringing a cart full of food to the goblin village, an act of compassion so surprising for the goblins that it allows them all to make a save with advantage gainst the curse of strife.

However, after bringing up the details of the curse of strife on another forum, a number of people had some very strong criticisms of the concept.

I quote one reply in particular (which I have edited for bravery) because it summarized a lot of the points others had raised and added new ones:

  • That goblinkin can be broken free from the curse more easily when they're very young is reminiscent of real world illegal adoption industries, where Christian parents believe they are saving a child from sin by taking them from their homeland and its culture.
  • That goblinkin can be shaken free of the curse of strife through compassion is reminiscent of the language used by Conversion Therapy advocates.
  • That goblinkin can be shaken free of the curse of strife through experiencing traumatic events ignores the real world effects of trauma.
  • The solutions proposed to the curse of strife are too similar to harmful things people have done to real people in the real world for comfort.

So I've decided to see what people here think of the goblins of Wildemount and the concept of the curse of strife. Is it an interesting bit of worldbuilding, a hook for goblinkin player characters, and a means to encourage encounters with goblinkin that end positively, or is it too evocative of the real world issues this person brought up?
I think these are valid criticisms, to a certain extent. People dismissing them entirely without seeking to understand them might want to think about them a bit harder.

"HOW DARE YOU IMPLY THAT CURSES CAN BE REMOVED OR PREVENTED!! That's offensive for real world reasons!"

Damned if you do, damned if you don't I guess.
See this is a good example of someone missing the point completely. None of the criticisms boil down to that. It's simply disingenuous to suggest they do.

The criticisms boil down to "the curse can only be removed in ways that all look like real-world stuff that's used to oppress minorities".

Is there a fix for this? Yes. How about simply having Remove Curse work? Like, simple as that. Remove the weird rolls. Remove the uncertainty. This is D&D. Remove Curse either works or it doesn't, it's not random.

The issue is, ironically, that the Wildemount people tried a little too hard, and ended up simply aping a bunch of existing dubious tropes (which is absolutely representative of the problem). This could have been very easily circumvented - just let Remove Curse work. Don't make there be weird "A friend gives you Advantage!" stuff or make people die to break the curse or whatever, just have Remove Curse work. And make the curse have some sort of flashy deal when it leaves. Make it obviously magical. Remove Curse removes much worse curses than this, note.
 

DemoMonkey

Explorer
Perhaps because having a commonly available 3rd level spell with no component cost solve the problem begs the question "Well, why hasn't that been done already?".
 

GreenTengu

Explorer
Perhaps because having a commonly available 3rd level spell with no component cost solve the problem begs the question "Well, why hasn't that been done already?".
I would assume that it would because there are very few people who can cast 3rd level spells, very few of those who could would care about the cause of uncursing the goblinkind and even when you do have someone who would-- they can cast like... one first level spell a day. Think about just how many goblins there are in just one tribe-- and you can only do one a day. You aren't even going to keep up with their population increase. And even if you free them, who is to say that they are going to be particularly thankful or grateful if it meant that you had to keep them in prison for a tenth of their brutally short lifespan as you worked your way, curing just one every day?
 

DemoMonkey

Explorer
I think we make widely different assumptions about how commonly available a 3rd level spell is in a fantasy campaign. That goes a long way to explaining the difference of opinion.
 

TaranTheWanderer

Adventurer
Perhaps because having a commonly available 3rd level spell with no component cost solve the problem begs the question "Well, why hasn't that been done already?".
Cleric: “accept the blessing of Moradin and be free of the Tyranny of Bane!
Goblin: I don’t want your stupid God’s help. I like killing
Cleric: you say that because Bane has clouded your mind. Accept the Blessing and you will Be Free
Goblin: I don’t want to! Are you going to force your ‘Freedom’on me? Then you are no better than what You claim Bane to be.
 

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