D&D General I really LOVE Stomping Goblins

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Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Its not nonlethality that I find unrealistic. Its every enemy left alive being absolutely no problem whatsoever ever again.
I assume every table glosses lots of things. Like the escaping few hobgoblins not spreading tales of the horror and getting a much bigger group to come back, or if there are no escapees that fact not getting around and the nearby groups traveling on masse ready ready for war and to call for reinforcements.
 

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CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
I assume every table glosses lots of things. Like the escaping few hobgoblins not spreading tales of the horror and getting a much bigger group to come back, or if there are no escapees that fact not getting around and the nearby groups traveling on masse ready ready for war and to call for reinforcements.
"Well well well. If it isn't the consequences of our terrible actions."
 

Scribe

Hero
If all you have is a Romulan disruptor, and you end up killing someone with it in self defence, it probably is not a murder. But if you have a Starfleet phaser, and choose to use a lethal setting instead of a stun setting in a similar situation, then that suddenly seems way more murdery.
Now what if we are all just running around with Swords, Hammers, Axes, and chucking Lightning and Fire from our hands?

Its like watching MMA/Boxing, and then pulling a Pikachu face when these men have brain trauma as they age.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
DM: "Dealing a mighty blow, you finally cut the head of Sharaak the Terrible, a dragon near whom Ancalagon paled. Have 3 xp for this epic victory"
Players: "WHAAAAT?
DM: "Indeed. Your 863 followers you gathered along the way due the Power of Friendship all get their share."
Players" mmmm
Players: "they must have gained a level then... how many XP are they worth?"
DM: "As you finish off the last of your followers, the evil betrayal coupled with your greed for xp transforms and merges you all into an evil dragon. You are now Karakas the Terrible. Off in the distance you see a band of heroes approaching. You notice that there are 729 figures trailing behind."
Players: "..."
 

Reynard

Legend
…ok? So, your goblins are uncomplicated, unnuanced, evil things that it’s ok to kill. I’ve been saying this whole time that it’s when you try to make them complicated, nuanced beings that it’s ok to kill that it causes problems.
Your truly evil villain can also be nuanced and complicated and still be totally ok to kill. I don't understand why you are equating nuance with "can't be inherently evil."
 

Reynard

Legend
That stuff is fun. But it's also the case that the last few decades of modern fantasy have humanized orcs, goblins, kobolds, ogres, and other traditional D&D humanoids to an extraordinary degree. And frankly, I'm okay with that. Elder Scrolls orcs and Warcraft goblins are cool. Shrek is a decent bloke. Even the good Professor Tolkien ultimately decided that orcs had moral agency, and that somewhere there must have been at least some orcs siding with the Free Peoples and fighting against the Enemy in the War of the Ring. I'm too much of a Tolkien stan to ever argue with the Professor.

So at some point (years back), my campaigns naturally drifted away from treating orcs and goblins as soulless demons cloaked in mortal flesh that only deserve a quick death because they're a stain on the natural order… and I imported or invented whole new monsters which are definitionally soulless demons cloaked in mortal flesh that only deserve a quick death because they're a stain on the natural order. I use beastmen (inspired by a variety of sources — skaven from Warhammer, broo from Glorantha, trollocs from Wheel of Time) as my "Chaos-created cannon-fodder" du jour.

After all orcs are cool. They're mean, they're green, they're betuskèd, they're bros. (And orcesses look like Shulkie!) But a horrible monstrous swine-man with glowing red eyes and no soul or language or culture bearing down on you with some jagged-edged iron blade that it got from the night mare mounted spectre in charge of the local divison of the Darl Lord's Chaos-Army? Quick, kill it axes, kill it with bullets, kill it with magical fire!
There are plenty of places in current fantasy where that's not true, as well. In lots of media and games, goblins are still stompable little maniacs. It's not as if some fundamentally true interpretation of goblins has emerged to enlighten us. They are what we say they are when we choose to employ them. I can make goblins good as easily as I can make unicorns evil and vice versa.
 

MGibster

Legend
In my all dwarf game (not D&D but used the typical tropes), goblins had pretty much made peace with everyone else were more interested in trading than pillaging. The dwarves were hidebound and the older ones especially had a hard time seeing the goblins as anything but their hated foe. I played the goblin NPCs as genuinely friendly while the PCs played their characters were conflicted between their value of being good guest balanced against their beliefs that the goblins would attack at any second.

I don't have anything against goblins being evil all the time, but it does limit the types of stories you can tell while using them. Multifaceted characterization leads to greater variety of storytelling opportunities.
 

Inspired by the E6 attempt we can imagine the CR1 DnD where you don’t ever meet monster tougher than CR 1. Off course you level as normal till level 20. Stomping guaranteed!
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Even at modern times, use of lethal force is sometimes justified under the law in defence of self or others. In most sane places this tends to require that there was no other reasonably feasible alternative.
Wow, look at that. Someone opened up a giant can of worms we probably shouldn't touch.
The non-lethal rule guarantees that such alternative is always available, and with ease that is highly unrealistic. If all you have is a Romulan disruptor, and you end up killing someone with it in self defence, it probably is not a murder. But if you have a Starfleet phaser, and choose to use a lethal setting instead of a stun setting in a similar situation, then that suddenly seems way more murdery.
In the context of D&D, you mostly being a home invader. Kill or savagely beat, you're already in felony range. D&D characters usually aren't even in a position to say they were just self defensing those people in the face, what with them wearing the victim's stuff (and sometimes the victim!!) and the wizard literally basing their life around premeditation.
 


Egon Spengler

"We eat gods for breakfast!"
There are plenty of places in current fantasy where that's not true, as well. In lots of media and games, goblins are still stompable little maniacs. It's not as if some fundamentally true interpretation of goblins has emerged to enlighten us. They are what we say they are when we choose to employ them. I can make goblins good as easily as I can make unicorns evil and vice versa.

Goombas. Goombas are stompable little maniacs, and they're worth 100 points each. (Then 200, 400, 500, 800... stomp enough of the blighters in a row and you start earning 1UPs!)
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
Either they're nuanced and have a reason for their evil or they're 'inherently evil' and doing evil is just what they do.

If they had nuanced reasons, then they weren't 'inherently' doing it.
If someone wants a good example of this in pop culture, Dracula from the Castlevania tv series on Netflix demonstrates it very well. He's not "inherently evil", but definitely needs to be killed in order for humanity to survive. You can have complicated villains that are tragic, but not complicated, "inherently evil" villains.
 

Oofta

Legend
I mean, this kind of encapsulates what needs to be understood here.

Can one play a non-lethal character?

Grappling, Enchanting, Sleeping, Charming, Polymorph....

Sure thing!

But unless clarified real early, I'd argue the default state here is pretty much crystal clear.

We got swords, we got fireballs, we got Devils and Demons, and Evil Gods.

This isn't Debates & Deferral.

This is Dungeons & Dragons. ;)

Why did I have the image in my head of you kicking someone into a pit as you yelled "This is Dungeons & Dragons!"
sparta GIF
 

Oofta

Legend
When it comes to prisoners, I just explain that there are no prisons for the vast majority of people. If a person is arrested, they may be held until a trial but punishment is usually swift and by modern standards, brutal. Prisons and long term incarceration for any but the wealthy and powerful is a recent development historically.

That and my campaign world is harsh. Humans and their allies are in a constant struggle for survival after a cataclysm wiped out 2/3 of the population. Hanging on by a thread, there's very little room for mercy. Let a prisoner go and they will run for reinforcements. Even if they don't, odds are they'll pull a Saving Private Ryan where the prisoner later mercilessly kills a comrade. Tie them up and you're just leaving them to starve to death or be eaten by whatever predator happens by.

I think it's simply more realistic in most cases. There are exceptions to all rules of course, including this one.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
But unless clarified real early, I'd argue the default state here is pretty much crystal clear.

We got swords, we got fireballs, we got Devils and Demons, and Evil Gods.

This isn't Debates & Deferral.

This is Dungeons & Dragons. ;)

So, with respect, I think you might be a bit blinded by your personal perspective as a long-time player.

A few years ago, I taught my goddaughter to play, with a friend of hers, her father, and my wife making up the rest of the party. The image of fantasy she had included swords, fireballs, demons, evil gods and all that... but graphic and clear death wasn't a common thing.

Media aimed at younger folks doesn't include graphic death very often. Back in the 80s, in G.I. Joe cartoons, Cobra soldiers always had parachutes when their aircraft got shot down, and with tons of laser blasts around, few people clearly got shot, much less died.

And in 2018, She Ra and the Princesses of Power have swords, blasters, and all that, scenes with armored vehicles getting blown up... but the field isn't littered with corpses. The swords aren't covered in blood. The heroine's main weapon is a sword, and I can't recall her actually stabbing any actual people with it.

So, maybe this fixation on death in the game isn't quite so clear, because in lots of media, it isn't.

You may like lots of death around. That's fine. But don't assume that's really the clear default way to play.
 


So, with respect, I think you might be a bit blinded by your personal perspective as a long-time player.

A few years ago, I taught my goddaughter to play, with a friend of hers, her father, and my wife making up the rest of the party. The image of fantasy she had included swords, fireballs, demons, evil gods and all that... but graphic and clear death wasn't a common thing.

Media aimed at younger folks doesn't include graphic death very often. Back in the 80s, in G.I. Joe cartoons, Cobra soldiers always had parachutes when their aircraft got shot down, and with tons of laser blasts around, few people clearly got shot, much less died.

And in 2018, She Ra and the Princesses of Power have swords, blasters, and all that, scenes with armored vehicles getting blown up... but the field isn't littered with corpses. The swords aren't covered in blood. The heroine's main weapon is a sword, and I can't recall her actually stabbing any actual people with it.

So, maybe this fixation on death in the game isn't quite so clear, because in lots of media, it isn't.

You may like lots of death around. That's fine. But don't assume that's really the clear default way to play.
And it is great that the game can be played like that. And as long as it can be played in more gritty style as well, everything is absolutely fine. D&D can and should support both She-Ra style and Witcher style games.
 

Reynard

Legend
Either they're nuanced and have a reason for their evil or they're 'inherently evil' and doing evil is just what they do.

If they had nuanced reasons, then they weren't 'inherently' doing it.
Well, I didn't say anything about motivations at all. I said that nuance, complexity and personality were still possible with inherently evil entities. But now that you mention it, their motivations for the particular evil they are committing can certainly be nuanced and complex. This idea that "inherently evil" means it isn't a character isn't just wrong, it's ridiculous in the face of mountains of counter examples in myth, legend, literature, art and, yes, even games.
 

Scribe

Hero
So, maybe this fixation on death in the game isn't quite so clear, because in lots of media, it isn't.

You may like lots of death around. That's fine. But don't assume that's really the clear default way to play.
I'd 100% agree that more recent media, certainly anything not expressly marketed towards adults, is not going to reflect the reality of what implements designed and created to render another being dead, is going to mean, and that fireballs and lightning are but a flesh wound.

Its not a fixation on death however, but as adults, well its like I hoped to make clear with the MMA/Boxing comparison.

There are other sports (NFL/NHL) which several years ago bent themselves into all kinds of interesting shapes via mental gymnastics, regarding the safety of the men participating. It was denial due to a desire to avoid legal consequences.

Anyone, and I mean ANYONE who watched a season of the NFL should quickly be able to see, that it was all talk. Limbs are ruined, joints are destroyed, and brains are damaged. Every year. Almost every game.

MMA and ESPECIALLY Boxing, make few if any mentions of this risk, because again, any adult who watches these sports (or indeed has participated and has the multiple concussions, dislocations and broken bones to reflect upon after...) knows whats up.

You box long enough? You will have brain trauma. Period.

If I as an adult, strike a creature in the neck with a sword, with force and intent, I have a good idea whats about to happen.

Now can we hand wave or off screen, or simply disregard it for people who dont want to accept that? Sure, the NFL did too.
 

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