D&D General The Boyz... murder hobo PCs and NPCs and even normal ones

I generally consider the PCs to special. Not only do the vast majority of people not level up, they actually CAN'T. The form it takes varies between campaigns and sometimes it is more explicit than other times, but generally PCs and powerful NPCs exist in a class of their own. They are the supers, even if the PCs are just learning that to be true in the early levels. So in the end, in your scenario, it matters to the PCs because they are the only ones capable of putting these depraved "supers" in their place.
I see it more or less the same way. I wouldn't say can't I would say wont. In the Richard gear and Seas Connery King Arthur movie there was a line that stuck with me "Oh, anyone can learn this, you just need to watch, wait for the right moment, and not care that if you fail you die" followed by the guy who wanted to learn deciding not to.

Heroes, and main cast PC/NPC are not born... they are made. something happened (maybe in game maybe in backstory) that made you do something daring and crazy and maybe even suicidal (and in the case of me and my buddies most likely something stupid) and from that you got a little bit better... and you continued on that path were most would turn from it. That is what 'leveling' means in most of my worlds... learning and growing down a rare path.
I really like this thought, and in truth, have desired it to be baked into the ruleset more clearly. The fact that there is a range of "bad guys" that span the power spectrum, each with powers similar to PCs makes me always think otherwise - especially when said bad guys are everywhere. Sure, the PC can cast fly, and extraordinary ability of you think about it, but so can the goblin shaman or cultist wizard or the other fifty monsters that have wings.
But that is a great discussion to be had - whether players and DMs like the zero to somewhat hero or zero to superhero or hero to superhero.
 

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Reynard

Legend
I really like this thought, and in truth, have desired it to be baked into the ruleset more clearly. The fact that there is a range of "bad guys" that span the power spectrum, each with powers similar to PCs makes me always think otherwise - especially when said bad guys are everywhere. Sure, the PC can cast fly, and extraordinary ability of you think about it, but so can the goblin shaman or cultist wizard or the other fifty monsters that have wings.
But that is a great discussion to be had - whether players and DMs like the zero to somewhat hero or zero to superhero or hero to superhero.
If we treat special/magical/whatever enemies more like supers than typical fantasy creatures it makes more sense. There is A CHIMERA. THE GOBLIN SHAMAN is effectively a super villain. Even among goblins and merfolk, people exist as mere mortals among these entities that are terrifying in their scale and power.
 

That is a great DM line. :)
thanks...jsut wish I didn't have to remind him so often
True, it is up to the writer. But writers follow the logical consistency (most of the time) of the world their characters are in. So are there exceptions? Sure. Do many readers roll their eyes when the exception occurs? Sure. And I would argue in fantasy it is even stricter than the superhero realm. It's why Drizzt has never lost a fight to a goblin.
in universe the logic holds though... Robin is trained by batman, and in cannon batman not only has plans to take down the whole JLA, but has beaten superman... (and I don't know if it is a joke or not because I didn't see it but current robin might have a kryptonite magic katana)...

and again, I can totally see Salvator could write a passage where mid battle (most likely with a hoard of goblins) Drizt makes one miss step giving random goblin an opening and it stabs him in the leg taking him to his knees... but D&D doesn't work that way it would be 1d4+1 damage to someone with like a bijillion hp... but fantasy stories do. It would haunt him for the rest of the book that 1 miss step and how that scar would remind him even a goblin...but what if it was (insert BBEG of Story).

This sounds great. I really-really appreciate that style of play. But can we at least agree that it is not the norm? It's why most campaigns end before eighth level - it takes a long time (for most).
a long time OUT OF GAME yes, but a huge complaint I have heard (and my groups now have house rules to avoid) is that 0-hero level 1-20 game that takes 2 years real time is less then 6 months game time.
With respect, the comic and movie lore say he isn't a third level barbarian.
no the comic and movie lore say nothing about level or class that is a d&D construct...
Everything he does is epic, from holding up an entire mountain for days in Secret Wars
I thought that was hours... but still pretty awesome, but far from what he normally pulls off
to literally pummeling a god into submission in the movies.
and the CR of that god falls into the gandalf balrog arguement.

"How do we know how tough gandalf is?"
"Dude he solo fought the balrog"
"Oh, and how do we know how powerful the balrog is?"
"Dude, he was a threat to gandalf"

a 3rd level barbarian faceing a 7th level illusionist and getting close to him would wreck him in melee... and a 7th level illusionist can do more then loki does in the movies.
 

I really like this thought, and in truth, have desired it to be baked into the ruleset more clearly. The fact that there is a range of "bad guys" that span the power spectrum, each with powers similar to PCs makes me always think otherwise - especially when said bad guys are everywhere. Sure, the PC can cast fly, and extraordinary ability of you think about it, but so can the goblin shaman or cultist wizard or the other fifty monsters that have wings.
But that is a great discussion to be had - whether players and DMs like the zero to somewhat hero or zero to superhero or hero to superhero.
I assume that well rare they are not unheard of... yeah 10% of the population can level at all and 1/2 of them cap out around 5th (so overall5%) and each level cuts down more and more with only a fraction of a % of the people of the world get to high teens...

It also reminds me of a joke (not joke?) about town guards...
"WHen Your players are 1st level town guard is 5th, when your players are 5th level town guard is 7th, when your players are 7th level your players are 9th, when your players hit tenth the town guard is also 10th"
"Wait, then what are town guard when your PCs are like 15+?"
"Respectful... at that point town guard is very respectful"
 

If we treat special/magical/whatever enemies more like supers than typical fantasy creatures it makes more sense. There is A CHIMERA. THE GOBLIN SHAMAN is effectively a super villain. Even among goblins and merfolk, people exist as mere mortals among these entities that are terrifying in their scale and power.
yeah that is what I was getting too... That 1 thing is a threat, but that threat is rare and it takes people like you to stop it...
 


nevin

Hero
well I'd say more like mythology. Medusa was cursed into being a gorgon because apollo raped her and Athena got pissed at her for letting it happen so she cursed her.
Kronos ate his kids. Artemis accidentally killed her boyfriend, Belepheron was thrown off of pegasus trying to fly to Mount Olympus at Zues's order. In one version of the greek myths the gods created, the gold race of men and then wiped them out because they were stupid. The silver race of men then wiped them out because they were so smart they didn't need the gods. The iron race of men that killed themselve's off in battle. Then Prometheus made men from clay and finally broke zues's rule about giving the mortals fire and he spent aeons strapped to a mountain having his liver eaten every day by harpy eagles.

That's just greek myths but most others are just as bad if not worse. Loki got turned into a female horse by the gods and they allowed the stallions to have their way with him, Zues travelled around the world raping women, Apollo did the same. Hera tricked hercules into killing his own wife and children because he was zues's sun. The babylonian gods got tired of humanity and flooded the world and then decided they'd made a mistake, Humanity only survived because EA warned Uta Naptasham (ive probably butchered that) and he built an ark. All ancient mythologies are full of stories about how bad gods could act and how bad it was for humans to interact with them.
 

jgsugden

Legend
I've been thinking a lot about that lately. I do enjoy my violence in D&D, but I feel that one of the problems in north america is the glorification of violence. Why is batman fighting crime instead of oh, I don't know, using his massive resources to help alleviate societal problems (which often lead to crime...)?

In a recent session, our PCs encountered another group that had an opposed mission to ours - we both needed the MacGuffin, we were both convinced that our cause was right. But despite our best efforts, no agreement could be reached... so regretfully, a fight started, and our party's destructive power obliterated them, making the victory feel even worse...
D&D is a role playing game. Characters play a role in a story. Stories can be about anything, and do not need to be violent. As far back as the 1980s I played in groups that negotiated as often as they fought. You see it in Critical Role and other online games too - with groups negotiating with a Thieve's Guild rather than killing it. As time goes by, they find more and more ways to adventure without murdering (race?)

Of course, with D&D, sometimes violence isn't the only problematic solution. I've heard good arguments that the Enchantment School of Magic is more evil than Necromancy - and most of it stems from stealing free will and agency from someone and then using them for personal benefit. There are other horrible uses of magic that would, in reality, be traumatizing beyond belief.

In the end, you need to have good discussions about what are the boundaries of the game, and then make sure those boundaries are respected. Heck, even when they're melely approached and not pushed, they need to be double checked.
 

I've been thinking a lot about that lately. I do enjoy my violence in D&D, but I feel that one of the problems in north america is the glorification of violence. Why is batman fighting crime instead of oh, I don't know, using his massive resources to help alleviate societal problems (which often lead to crime...)?
tell me you don't read Batman Comics without telling me you don't read Batman comics...

I know this is like the go to 'hot take' but it is based on a really wrong idea. Bruce Wayne not only spends millions or billions (depending on writer) trying to alleviate societal problems, but he also hires people with criminal backgrounds at wayne tech, and he works at trying to allivate the corruption... BEFORE counting being batman... and batman isn't just 'fighting crim' he is more often then not solveing SUPER CRIME beyond the ability of cops... and that is before you count his time with the JLA fighting COSMIC HORRORs...
 

Reynard

Legend
tell me you don't read Batman Comics without telling me you don't read Batman comics...

I know this is like the go to 'hot take' but it is based on a really wrong idea. Bruce Wayne not only spends millions or billions (depending on writer) trying to alleviate societal problems, but he also hires people with criminal backgrounds at wayne tech, and he works at trying to allivate the corruption... BEFORE counting being batman... and batman isn't just 'fighting crim' he is more often then not solveing SUPER CRIME beyond the ability of cops... and that is before you count his time with the JLA fighting COSMIC HORRORs...
Batman is a rorschach test.
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
and again, I can totally see Salvator could write a passage where mid battle (most likely with a hoard of goblins) Drizt makes one miss step giving random goblin an opening and it stabs him in the leg taking him to his knees... but D&D doesn't work that way it would be 1d4+1 damage to someone with like a bijillion hp... but fantasy stories do. It would haunt him for the rest of the book that 1 miss step and how that scar would remind him even a goblin...but what if it was (insert BBEG of Story).

With respect, this isn't what I'd consider a proper translation of narrative to mechanics.

There's a horde of goblins? Goblin A does a Help action, giving Goblin B advantage. Goblin B does a Shove action, intended to knock Drizzt prone. The shove is merely narrated as a stab to the leg. The effect of "bringing him to his knees" is the real point.

Being prone in the middle of a horde of goblins is dangerous. It probably means Goblin C tries to grapple him, reducing his speed to zero so he cannot rise from prone. And, until he manages to get out of this, every goblin around gets advantage on attacks.

It isn't a life threatening amount of damage in and of itself, but it is a dangerous situation for Drizzt.
 

With respect, this isn't what I'd consider a proper translation of narrative to mechanics.

There's a horde of goblins? Goblin A does a Help action, giving Goblin B advantage. Goblin B does a Shove action, intended to knock Drizzt prone. The shove is merely narrated as a stab to the leg. The effect of "bringing him to his knees" is the real point.

Being prone in the middle of a horde of goblins is dangerous. It probably means Goblin C tries to grapple him, reducing his speed to zero so he cannot rise from prone. And, until he manages to get out of this, every goblin around gets advantage on attacks.

It isn't a life threatening amount of damage in and of itself, but it is a dangerous situation for Drizzt.
that is better... I just again am going with "the writer CAN write the goblin being able to be a threat if he wants" in your example drizzt could even be captured and that 1 goblin seen as a hero by his tribe...
 

Stormonu

Legend
Ghost Tower of Inverness starts with this, assuming that the characters being spoken about are the PCs:

A smile creeps across the Duke's face as he speaks to your
small band. He seems strangely pleased with the turn of
events. "I imagine you are wondering why you have been
brought to appear before me today." His eyes sweep ap
provingly over the five figures in your group; none of you be
tray any apprehension about what is to come. "Most of
you," he continues, "have been convicted of crimes for
which you should spend the greater part of your lives in my
dungeons."
His gaze falls upon one of your party, a thin man with a short
black beard. "Hodar," he begins, "you dared to defy a
royal order and continued to dabble in sorceries which I
had forbidden to all the people of my realm."
Hodar's face remains calm as the Duke turns to the next of
your group. "I should have thought that a warrior of your
caliber, Lembu, would have known better than to slay a
captain of the guard in a bar room fight." A broad grin is the
huge warrior's only reply. "Never mind the eleven guards
men you killed while resisting arrest."
"Zinethar," says the Duke, shaking his head as he addresses
the next in line, a distinguished-looking man with gray hair,
"your wisdom must have left you when you decided to lead
that ill-fated Temple Coalition revolt these three months
past."
"And you, Discinque, your rash daring and bravado is really
to be marvelled at. One has to wonder where you would be
now if not for that broken cornice which caused you to fall —
with the Crown Jewels in hand — on top of sergeant Norlik
and his men while they were out on patrol." The thief merely
shrugs.
The Duke then turns and slowly bows to the last of your
group; the tall barefoot woman. "Of all you five," declares
the Duke, "Li Hon is the only one here who should not spend
the rest of her life in prison for some crime. I am deeply
honored, Li Hon, that your monastery saw fit to offer your
services to me as payment of this year's taxes."
As the Duke finishes speaking the shadowed

The PCs as "spoiled brats" who need to learn a lesson in humilty by undertaking a suicide mission has been a part of D&D since the 70's. If you're wanting to do something like the Boyz, I'd probably use a system of Inspiration where they get bonuses for bad behavior, but it tends to make the situation worse as well.

Oh, and if you really want to have fun with this, do a D&D themed Fiasco game...
 

There's a horde of goblins? Goblin A does a Help action, giving Goblin B advantage. Goblin B does a Shove action, intended to knock Drizzt prone. The shove is merely narrated as a stab to the leg. The effect of "bringing him to his knees" is the real point.
that is better... I just again am going with "the writer CAN write the goblin being able to be a threat if he wants" in your example drizzt could even be captured and that 1 goblin seen as a hero by his tribe...
Just to clarify, in the post I said goblin, as in one. One goblin is not a threat to Drizzt, just like Groot is not a threat to Thanos. Layers of power, that are mostly static in the world of superheroes and fantasy. And my statement was - fantasy often has stricter layers than superheroes.
 


One level 20 fighter goblin might well be a threat to Drizzt.

The world - in Salvatore's books, or in our games - is not limited to all goblins being MM stock CR 1/4 things.
I agree. And, in the fiction or the MM (were it in there) there would be a write-up about said goblin, and its strength, and notoriety. Most likely, it would have a backstory. So when someone mentions "a goblin," most likely they are not naming a specific single goblin that has managed to achieve Lich like capabilities. Which again, reverts back to my power structure point.

If we always include the greatest exception to the rule in common language and examples, then we will never understand anyone's point.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
If we always include the greatest exception to the rule in common language and examples, then we will never understand anyone's point.

If I'd used some lesser case, there'd be the inevitable quibbling over whether the case I used would, in fact, be a threat. Going to the extreme establishes that somewhere along the line, goblins can be threats. Exactly where that point sits isn't the operative point.

As for the rest - one could say, "a generic goblin," adding a single word to differentiate it from being an absolute about goblins.

It seems to me that asserting that the audience should make assumptions about what is meant is apt to backfire, especially when what is actually written does leave a notable opening for the discussion.
 

As for the rest - one could say, "a generic goblin," adding a single word to differentiate it from being an absolute about goblins.
Again, this is true. Or the reader could infer, which is what is supposed to happen during reading. They could take context, especially when saying a goblin is not a threat to Drizzt, and infer the writer means an ordinary goblin.
It seems to me that asserting that the audience should make assumptions about what is meant is apt to backfire, especially when what is actually written does leave a notable opening for the discussion.
Here, we will have to agree to disagree. People make assumptions every time they read a post. And, almost always, they get it correct. They may not agree. They may mostly agree except with one exception. They may agree with a great degree of variation. But almost always, they get if correct.
Out of all the exchanges on these forums (or any forum), only a small percentage ever say: "Oh, sorry. I completely misunderstood what you were saying."
 

Just to clarify, in the post I said goblin, as in one. One goblin is not a threat to Drizzt, just like Groot is not a threat to Thanos. Layers of power, that are mostly static in the world of superheroes and fantasy. And my statement was - fantasy often has stricter layers than superheroes.
there are no 'levels' in a drizt story... anyone can stab drizt and 1 stabbing can kill him.

batman beats superman 90% of the tiem even though "common sense" and "Powere scaling" says they cant'...
 

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