D&D 5E L&L: Monsters and Stories


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Stormonu

Legend
No. Give us the monster and what it is now. Let us decide how it came to be, and how it makes more of its own kind.

My medusa are not former humans. They are their own race that predates humanity. They resent that humans have encroached on areas they once called their own, and they generally direct that resentment as malice towards humanity. There are a few medusas instead, however, that do not see humanity as a threat - and may be approached as seers or scribes by those who act respectfully towards the medusa - and are careful to never gaze upon her face.

Or perhaps my medusas are the half-breed offspring of yuan-ti cults and humans, creating an insidious weapon of war. Medusas are raised to hide among humanity and prey upon them, answering to yuan-ti overlords.

Actually, they originated from a cult of prideful clerics of a god of love. When the head priestess spurned the disguised avatar of their goddess, she cursed them with a vile shape, down to their tenth generation.

Then again, my medusas may be a species of hag. They mate with human males, but when the (always female) offspring hits adolescence, she transforms into a medusa.

Why do you think any of YOUR backstories are any more valid than mine WotC?
 

1of3

Explorer
The question is not whether they think their story "is valid". I'm not sure how stories can be valid. (The medusa story is great, though.) The question is whether they think that more people will buy the book, if the put in stories.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
No. Give us the monster and what it is now. Let us decide how it came to be, and how it makes more of its own kind.

My medusa are not former humans. They are their own race that predates humanity. They resent that humans have encroached on areas they once called their own, and they generally direct that resentment as malice towards humanity. There are a few medusas instead, however, that do not see humanity as a threat - and may be approached as seers or scribes by those who act respectfully towards the medusa - and are careful to never gaze upon her face.

Or perhaps my medusas are the half-breed offspring of yuan-ti cults and humans, creating an insidious weapon of war. Medusas are raised to hide among humanity and prey upon them, answering to yuan-ti overlords.

Actually, they originated from a cult of prideful clerics of a god of love. When the head priestess spurned the disguised avatar of their goddess, she cursed them with a vile shape, down to their tenth generation.

Then again, my medusas may be a species of hag. They mate with human males, but when the (always female) offspring hits adolescence, she transforms into a medusa.

Why do you think any of YOUR backstories are any more valid than mine WotC?

I disagree. I am paying for these guys to do this work for me. I'm 44, married, with a kid, and a demanding job and house that needs constant repairs. I don't have time to make up all those elaborate back stories. Their backstories are more valid than mine, because mine don't exist and I don't want to have to do all that. It's the point of the book for me.

Stats are the easy part. I don't need a book of stats.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
I like stories behind monsters, but I rather prefer they either stick to D&D tradition as much as possible, or they integrate by using concepts and ideas taken from real-world folklore and classical literature.
 

MarkB

Legend
I rather like the backstory presented for the Medusa. If this had been a Wandering Monsters article, my survey responses would have been largely positive.

There are some questions left open - for instance, does a Medusa's offspring share any of its monstrous traits, and who exactly is doing this cursing? However, these are minor details easily filled in as needed.

More generally, I think it is worth having a "default" story for most monsters, though the MM should make it clear that such things are campaign-dependent.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Regardless of the information that has appeared in any Monster Manual since beginning of D&D's existence, people have ignored as much or as little of it as they pleased. They used what they read as jumping off point to form their own stories and their own backgrounds, histories, and personalities of the monsters in question.

You're going to do that again. You're ALWAYS going to do it. So it doesn't matter what appears in the 5E MM, because you're going to use or ignore as much or as little as you need. But to demand that they not include anything new is absolutely ridiculous. Cause there are plenty of people out there for every single monster for whom new material, new stories, or new ideas will be a welcome addition to inspire how we use them.

The MM is never going to have every single monster 100% the way you specifically use or want them. Just like every other MM that has ever been out there. You should be used to that idea by now.
 

pemerton

Legend
I would rather have "mythological" backstory of the sort that Mearls gives in his column, than "demographic" data of the sort that is found in the AD&D Monster Manual, or "biological" data of the sort that is found in an "Ecology" article. I can build encounters and scenarios around this mythological stuff.
 

JeffB

Legend
I disagree. I am paying for these guys to do this work for me. I'm 44, married, with a kid, and a demanding job and house that needs constant repairs. I don't have time to make up all those elaborate back stories. Their backstories are more valid than mine, because mine don't exist and I don't want to have to do all that. It's the point of the book for me.

Stats are the easy part. I don't need a book of stats.

Same boat. Except I have 2 kids. I prefer minimal fluff for monsters..S&W, Moldvay, etc. 3.0 MM is pretty good too.

Where I WILL pay for story, is quality adventure material, or setting material,.which is where it should be, IMO, not core products meant to appeal to the most broad section of gamers. Not to mention the legions of gamers who feel that whatever is in the book, is the gospel.

Mike is swinging around the branding iron this week...James must be tired from the last two weeks.
 

Nagol

Unimportant
I rather like the backstory presented for the Medusa. If this had been a Wandering Monsters article, my survey responses would have been largely positive.

There are some questions left open - for instance, does a Medusa's offspring share any of its monstrous traits, and who exactly is doing this cursing? However, these are minor details easily filled in as needed.

More generally, I think it is worth having a "default" story for most monsters, though the MM should make it clear that such things are campaign-dependent.

Minor until a Bard's player goes "I'll take that deal! How do I sign up?" Setting up a mechanism in-world for such a trade without any mechanics is very annoying for me as a DM. I'm forced to either say no or on the spot build something with all the potential of screwing up that comes from no sober fore and after thought.

The trade has to be good enough that others took it and built power bases from the "great beauty and personal magnetism" gained, but weak enough to not overshadow the other PCs for the next decade.
 

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