log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D General Identity of Monsters Post-Alignment (+)


log in or register to remove this ad

dave2008

Legend
half of what people mean by evil is harmful to me.
But I wasn't asking half of the people, I was asking Sabathius42 what they meant by their statement. If I had to speculate, given the context of the post, I would say they didn't mean hungry = hostile = evil, they meant a random monster who is evil (a one-off / unique) is hostile/hungry to eat you. Big difference, but I will not know for sure until they respond. Perhaps you are current, but I don't think so.
 

I'm working on a setting where the gnolls are the ones who take care of the dead and run the setting's mausoleum (it's an enclosed area). And I don't mean "take care of the dead" in the carrion-eater sense, either (although some do wonder about that); I mean in the "proper burial to avoid undead" sense.
5399.jpg


Yeah, seems appropriate.
 

Marc_C

Solo Role Playing
You need to set it up like in the real world. In my last campaign fishermen complained sea creatures (sahuagins) were attacking their ships and destroying their nets. When the PCs investigated they found the lair and discovered the fishermen were fishing further and further into the sahuagins historical feeding territory. The PC negotiated an arrangement. The fishermen were not happy but it was better than a full scale attack against their costal city. The lord approved the arrangement.

This is set up to fail at some point. Either the fisherman will brake the arrangement or the sahuagins will have a new chief.
 

Xeviat

Hero
Supporter
My setting is leaning into a more civilization vs the wilds, and a mortal vs the spirit world dichotomy. The "monstrous races" are replaced with the peoples who are not members of the races that have nations. One only can get a sense of "mono cultures" because I'm usually dealing with a small region, where there's 2 or three groups of each of the major races and then the few half-humans that are scattered around.

These groups aren't slaughtering each other because they're nearly equal power and they're sort of taking up biomes that suit them best. Humans could try to clear cut the forests to make more farmland, but the elves have already established a foothold there and that would cause war so diplomacy is more common. War still happens, but it's states dealing with each other instead of tribes.

My goblins (and goblinoids) are joining the fey races, and the spirit world itself is a whole mirror world in my setting. There's a lot of distrust between mortals and spirits, in both directions, but the barriers were weakened a century ago so there's starting to be more blending.
 

I haven't read the rest of this thread yet, but one of the ones that I have been using for a while are a reinterpretation of the Yuan-Ti

Millenia ago the Yuan-Ti people came upon a heavily wounded and dying Snake God. The god, knowing it would die, offered its body and blood to the Yuan-Ti, who were fleeing some great threat. Upon eating it's flesh and drinking its blood they were transformed into the forms you are familiar with.

But, the Yuan-Ti also learned that this god had only been a fragment of a much larger and more powerful being that had been shattered. The Cosmic Serpent. Grateful to their savior, they sought a way to restore them and reasoned that if the divine essence that had been diffused among them could be concentrated, then the God and eventually the Serpent could be restored.

So, they began a culture of ritual cannabalism and a caste system. Upon death, a body is consumed and also during certain religious holidays and ceremonies, volunteers are asked for or voted on. People can refuse, it is an honor to be chosen because it is the community saying "your divine essence has reached a peak worthy of being ascended to the next tier" but if the individual feels it is not yet their time, they can refuse and the community accepts. Eating an unwilling sacrifice is blasphemy of the highest order. I don't think there is a higher crime in their culture. Second highest "bad thing" would be leaving a body to rot. Though, sometimes, that is a rare punishment for those they feel have defiled the divine essence in their body, allowing it to diffuse back into the earth to be re-aqquired later.

The Thinbloods (because why in the world would the lowest caste be called "pure") generally eat and devour snake meat during these ceremonies. Snakes being the essence of the god which fell into the sea and earth, and was not taken in by the people.

The best and most honored of the Thinbloods are devoured by the Half-Bloods, (The Malison in the book), who are the nobles and leaders of the Yuan-Ti.

And the Best and most honored of the Half-Bloods are devoured by the Pure Bloods (the abominations in the book, because again, why would the best caste be called abominations) who are the royal court and their direct relatives.

Then at the very top, is the Divine Emperor. An immortal who is to be the reborn God when his divine essence has returned to him.

And the subversive thing is... there is no subversion. This is how the system works, and they are right that it will work, and there is no corruption or secretly evil plots baked into the system. Are there those who do evil within the system? Sure, that's why the high punishments exist, but this is just how their culture and their people work, and they hope to one day have the purified Cosmic Serpent return and continue its divine mission (whatever that was, I haven't decided)
 

Iry

Hero
In my Eberron, there is a culture of bugbears that hasn't been part of the larger goblinoid culture since a bit before the fall of the old empire, as they had split off and formed a druidic cult in the swamplands now known as the Shadow Marches. They live arboreal lives, building "nests" in the great trees and only descending from the trees to hunt and trade. They tend to hunt as ambush predators, waiting in total stillness for prey to pass under them, and then soundlessly drop on them, breaking their spine, or if needed striking critical areas at the moment of impact with a weapon.
Dropbears. You just snuck Dropbears into your campaign. :ROFLMAO:
 

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
Just curious, why does hungry = evil?
Sorry for the delay....for some reason I never got an alert this thread had any more activity.

Not all creatures trying to eat the part are evil...like say a roc or a pack of wolves, or even something magical like a displacer beast.

When I use the term "monster", that is the keyword to the sentence...not hungry. A monster (in my game anyway) or group I define as evil is one that is seeking to destroy or harm and which is intelligent but cannot be reasoned with.

A zombie or a skeleton isnt necessarily evil....it's just a robotic tool. The halfling necromancer who created the zombie and told it to "kill everyone you see" was the evil one, but that's an individual and not an all encompassing group.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
years ago, I wrote a couple of adventures where the PCs play the monsters. Sick and tired of humans and demi-humans always raiding their lands and killing them, they put aside many of the "traditional" behavior of monstrous humanoids as described in various monster manuals. They formed truces, worked with diplomacy, and worked for the betterment of their communities using a pragmatic approach. While they still often resorted to violence to achieve their goals (like every other human species), they didn't act inherently evil and backstabbyish with each other. Mostly out of necessity, but they pretty much became like every other intelligent humanoid species.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
While I don't agree with the basic premise, I do handle drow differently than the default lore.

My world is loosely based on Norse mythology, and in that mythology drow come from Svartleheim (or Svartalfheim depending on how you anglicize it). But the "being cursed by Corellon" never really worked for me, even if I did steal a lot of non-human gods and lore from FR and Greyhawk.

So in my mythology, elves were one of the first humanoids created, as other humanoids were created many elves felt a bit superior and that they were better and more perfect. A faction of the elves took it further, that with their obvious superiority meant that their rightful place was to rule over the "lesser" races.

They were rejected by the other elves. Bitter and angry, they sought out a new realm to call home. They found Svartleheim, home of Lollth, matched the darkness of their souls and claimed it for their own. Since then there has been a feedback loop, the new home radiating a dark magic ensuring their bitterness and hatred while that bitterness and hatred shapes the realm.

Eventually this affected the very color of their skin turning the drow a dark gray. With time, the drow became more aligned with Lollth and other evil gods. To this day drow live in Svartleheim and constantly feel the the pull of their home rarely spending significant time in Midgard other than to cause misery and chaos. It is incredibly rare for a drow to spend more than a few weeks away from their home plane of existence.

However there was a group that managed to break away, a splinter group rejected the darkness, rejected the hatred. They became Gray Elves. Gray elves still feel the pull of anger and chaos shaping their emotions but they work hard to suppress them and live a life based on logic and reason. Living in Midgard, their skin color slowly faded over time to be barely noticeable. The transformation can go both ways. A gray elf that foregoes logic can become drow once more, a drow that rejects their upbringing will seek out other gray elves. Over decades, the skin color will change. The skin color change also affects duergar and svirfeneblin that also reside in Svartleheim.

Admittedly all of this is derivative from Star Trek and Romulans vs Vulcans, but I started using the gray elves first who traditionally have a very lawful and ordered structure to their society.

As a side note, Svartleheim is my stand-in for the underdark. It's a separate plane of existence that is most easily accessed deep underground.
 

I have three main tribes of gnolls in my home setting. They are split along quasi-religious lines (they're animists, so it's more complicated than simple god-worship).

One follows the Mother, thought to be the first of their kind. She is a mother-goddess who, myths say, eventually led them to freedom. This parallels the claims of the Eldritch Elves of my setting (think Melniboneans) that they created the gnolls as slave-warriors until the gnolls rebelled. In any case, her followers generally trade more than raid, and practice fishing and hunting/gathering along the coasts.

Another tribe follows First Blood (called First Loved by the followers of the Mother). He is a warrior-god and thought to be the first husband of the Mother. They have something of a libertarian philosophy, and raid unless paid off. They usually leave the more peaceful tribe alone.

The last tribe follows the Hunger (called Yeenoghu in their tongue). The Hunger's religion has it that the world is made up of Eaters and the Eaten. All things Hunger. They're practically feral, and would be the smallest tribe except for cheaty magic -- their shamans know a ritual which can turn hyenas feasting on a humanoid corpse into more gnolls. This ritual means that even when they suffer horrible casualties, in a season or two they will be back as strong as before. They control the largest area of the wilderness, or they would except for covens of hags who brook no challenge to their authority. They are currently at a detente with the hag covens, but it is said they have a new leader whose knowledge of rituals is great.
 

Stormonu

Legend
Something from another thread some time back...

In Sharn, a small group of mind flayers survived the destruction of their Elder Brain and started their own small community in the city. They have erected a small monestary that has become home to an eclectic collection of tomes and scrolls, and have opened it to the public. The illithid have become “vegan”, having a small garden of a strange plant they call “brain wheat” that sustains the monks. They have even learned to distill small amounts of their meager crop into “mind wine”, an intoxicating brew that expands consciousness, and sell small batches for exhoribant prices (200 gp/bottle) to help maintain the monastery and its members.

There are unfounded rumors that the mind flayers engage in black market deals of exchanging captured prisoners (whose minds are said to be devoured) for information, or performing back alley feedings on derelicts, which the head of the monastery vehemently denies.

I think it makes for a very interesting resource for information, with a side possibility for a very “Name of the Rose” sort of investigation where characters are asked by the headmaster to quash accusations that the mind flayers are feeding on the locals, only to uncover a rebellious cabal within the monastery who is up to no good...
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
While I don't agree with the basic premise, I do handle drow differently than the default lore.

My world is loosely based on Norse mythology, and in that mythology drow come from Svartleheim (or Svartalfheim depending on how you anglicize it). But the "being cursed by Corellon" never really worked for me, even if I did steal a lot of non-human gods and lore from FR and Greyhawk.

So in my mythology, elves were one of the first humanoids created, as other humanoids were created many elves felt a bit superior and that they were better and more perfect. A faction of the elves took it further, that with their obvious superiority meant that their rightful place was to rule over the "lesser" races.

They were rejected by the other elves. Bitter and angry, they sought out a new realm to call home. They found Svartleheim, home of Lollth, matched the darkness of their souls and claimed it for their own. Since then there has been a feedback loop, the new home radiating a dark magic ensuring their bitterness and hatred while that bitterness and hatred shapes the realm.

Eventually this affected the very color of their skin turning the drow a dark gray. With time, the drow became more aligned with Lollth and other evil gods. To this day drow live in Svartleheim and constantly feel the the pull of their home rarely spending significant time in Midgard other than to cause misery and chaos. It is incredibly rare for a drow to spend more than a few weeks away from their home plane of existence.

However there was a group that managed to break away, a splinter group rejected the darkness, rejected the hatred. They became Gray Elves. Gray elves still feel the pull of anger and chaos shaping their emotions but they work hard to suppress them and live a life based on logic and reason. Living in Midgard, their skin color slowly faded over time to be barely noticeable. The transformation can go both ways. A gray elf that foregoes logic can become drow once more, a drow that rejects their upbringing will seek out other gray elves. Over decades, the skin color will change. The skin color change also affects duergar and svirfeneblin that also reside in Svartleheim.

Admittedly all of this is derivative from Star Trek and Romulans vs Vulcans, but I started using the gray elves first who traditionally have a very lawful and ordered structure to their society.

As a side note, Svartleheim is my stand-in for the underdark. It's a separate plane of existence that is most easily accessed deep underground.
There's a lot of leeway with using the Norse mythology. We all know that the drow were based on the Dökkálfar, being described in the Prose Edda as "quite unlike the Ljósálfar" and "dark as pitch." But does that mean evil? The Ljósálfar are described as "fairer than the sun to look it". That doesn't necessarily mean good. It could be haughty, and just physically pale and fair. Therefore, the Dökkálfar aren't necessarily evil, they're just the opposite. They could be down to earth (literally), realistic, and pragmatic.

Nordic mythology is really sparse in regards to that particular legend, so there's a lot of room to tweak it
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
There's a lot of leeway with using the Norse mythology. We all know that the drow were based on the Dökkálfar, being described in the Prose Edda as "quite unlike the Ljósálfar" and "dark as pitch." But does that mean evil? The Ljósálfar are described as "fairer than the sun to look it". That doesn't necessarily mean good. It could be haughty, and just physically pale and fair. Therefore, the Dökkálfar aren't necessarily evil, they're just the opposite. They could be down to earth (literally), realistic, and pragmatic.

Nordic mythology is really sparse in regards to that particular legend, so there's a lot of room to tweak it
As I said, my cosmology is loosely based.

There's debate as to whether they really distinguished between dwarves and elves. What little we know mostly comes from white priests who wrote down what they thought was important. There's even debate on whether Ragnarok was really a thing.

But it works for my campaign world. Parts are recognizable, but it's vague enough that I can adjust for my own needs.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
As I said, my cosmology is loosely based.

There's debate as to whether they really distinguished between dwarves and elves. What little we know mostly comes from white priests who wrote down what they thought was important. There's even debate on whether Ragnarok was really a thing.

But it works for my campaign world. Parts are recognizable, but it's vague enough that I can adjust for my own needs.
Oh for sure. Also, the Prose Edda (and many of the poems before that) were written shortly after the Christianization of Iceland, so I'm sure that had a major impact to how those poems and stories were actually written down compared to how they were told verbally beforehand.
 

Ixal

Explorer
Kobolds: The Private Military Company

Consider the role of Mercenaries in a sort-of-medieval/renaissance world. People like Sir John Hawkwood, for instance. Ideally, you want mercenaries who are competent, relatively cheap and likely to stick to their contract. Evil but (usually) trustworthy bastards are preferred.

I can see Kobolds used as mercenaries or "Auxiliaries" by various Human-dominated empires or City States. Why risk humans when you can buy the services of a regiment of Kobolds? It might even be the more "civilized" option (less rape, more pillage).

The innate abilities of Kobolds make them an obvious choice for military adventures. They have some magical abilities and can be numerous, well-organised and ruthless. They also fight well at night, which is a huge advantage over most human armies. Also, they don't want to conquer farmland in the nice, sunny parts of the world. The late Romans could tell you why this is important....

The Kobold Kolonel and his or her officers will be more intelligent and skilled that the average kobold, or even the average human. They will be well-paid and (in consequence) they might develop expensive tastes and become wealthy patrons of the arts or influential in politics. After all, they have to do SOMETHING with their gold. They might even hire adventurers.
But kobolds are considered cowardly and there is nothing worse on the battlefield that one part of your army suddenly runs away.

Also, there is not THE type or mercenary you want. In some situations, especially when you already have a good army and just want to hire some extra power, you want some big, dumb aggressive brute who charges into battle and doesn't understand that they are fodder. A dead mercenary doesn't want to get paid.

In other situations, especially when you do not have a good army of your own you want competent mercenaries with brilliant tactics who wage the war for you and are hopefully so honourable to not leave you in the middle of the war or exploit the fact that you are completely defenceless without them.

And sometimes you want specialists for something your own army can't do. Here I can see kobolds for their trapmaking and for tunneling (tied with dwarven mercenaries).

And in other cases you want people who are so happy about being paid that they stay absolutely loyal so you can trust them over your own men.
 

Stormonu

Legend
But kobolds are considered cowardly and there is nothing worse on the battlefield that one part of your army suddenly runs away.

Also, there is not THE type or mercenary you want. In some situations, especially when you already have a good army and just want to hire some extra power, you want some big, dumb aggressive brute who charges into battle and doesn't understand that they are fodder. A dead mercenary doesn't want to get paid.

In other situations, especially when you do not have a good army of your own you want competent mercenaries with brilliant tactics who wage the war for you and are hopefully so honourable to not leave you in the middle of the war or exploit the fact that you are completely defenceless without them.

And sometimes you want specialists for something your own army can't do. Here I can see kobolds for their trapmaking and for tunneling (tied with dwarven mercenaries).

And in other cases you want people who are so happy about being paid that they stay absolutely loyal so you can trust them over your own men.
Morale rules are gone from 5E, so it can very well be that "kobolds are cowardly and incompentant" is a lie that has been perpetuated against them, just as a certain group was depicted during the likes of WW2...
 

Morale rules are gone from 5E, so it can very well be that "kobolds are cowardly and incompentant" is a lie that has been perpetuated against them, just as a certain group was depicted during the likes of WW2...
This is actually how I like to deal with player disagreements when I go and change the "core elements" of monsters on them.

"He says, 'Oh, I suppose you think all orcs are just brutal savages? I'll have you know my father loved my mother enough to leave his nomadic tribe and settle down with my mother, taking up the profession of wandering trader. You're just like those bullies back home who called me 'half-breed' and pelted me with rocks, until my friends and I teamed up and showed them they can't push us around!' Roll initiative."

"Uh, isn't this the only merchant in town? The only place where we can sell our loot?... I try to talk him down."

"Well, you better hope you roll better initiative than the barbarian."
 

Ixal

Explorer
Morale rules are gone from 5E, so it can very well be that "kobolds are cowardly and incompentant" is a lie that has been perpetuated against them, just as a certain group was depicted during the likes of WW2...
No idea why you bring real world references into it.
Kobolds being cowardly alone and relying on numbers was and still is one of their defining traits over all editions which had nothing to do with alignment.
If you remove every negative (and why stop just with the negative ones?) characteristic for everyone because at some point something similar was used as an insult in the real world you end up with bland and generic races as the "it could be a lie" can be used about every defining trait for everyone.
 
Last edited:

Stormonu

Legend
the "it could be a lie" can be used about every defining trait for everyone.
That's the main point I'm after. If alignment or racial generalizations are removed, you have to access the individual, not the race. A brave and loyal kobold, a shrewd but peaceful half-orc, a kind and helpful mind flayer - these are the sort of things this thread seems to be attempting to present.
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top