D&D 5E Wandering Monsters: The Little Guys

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
I like me a comic-relief goblin or kobold, I really do. They can lighten the mood of a campaign. But then, so can a comic-relief ogre.

Making the entire species comic relief really is missing the point of them.

Fortunately, nobody is really advocating that in the Wandering Monsters article in question - rather that they can be seen as comic relief, being pathetic little buggers who adventurers will eventually mow down like they were grass. I have to admit, I've seen them and used them as comic relief often enough for mid to higher level adventurers. I don't think the way James describes them is particularly controversial.

When did playing become such serious business?
 

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MarkB

Legend
Fortunately, nobody is really advocating that in the Wandering Monsters article in question - rather that they can be seen as comic relief, being pathetic little buggers who adventurers will eventually mow down like they were grass. I have to admit, I've seen them and used them as comic relief often enough for mid to higher level adventurers. I don't think the way James describes them is particularly controversial.

He seemed to describe them as inherently hard to take seriously, even by common folk (the "I've got a case of kobolds" barkeep). I think that's definitely going too far. It doesn't just trivialise the monsters, it trivialises the low-level PCs who fight them, suggesting that they have to graduate beyond facing such threats simply to be taken seriously.

When did playing become such serious business?

 


Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter

Most definitely.

I am far more likely to do something as an opt-in, much like in that example you linked to. I get all kinds of organizations offering me free or reduced-rate temporary memberships (personal and professional) and once they say continued membership is automatic unless I opt out, that's it. I immediately decline the temporary membership.

If, OTOH, the temporary membership ends automatically unles I opt-in, I may just give it a try.

Make me re-enlist, don't make me have to remember to quit.
 

Stormonu

Legend
No, no, no and no. No even. Do not want.

In my own games, I run goblins as vindictive little bastards who excel at cruelty in numbers. Kobolds are swarming little pests who use their numbers to overcome larger prey and flee from superior strength and numbers.

I have, on occassion, played them for dark humor - usually following a "1" on a d20 check. Not as a matter of course, and not as the default.
 

JamesonCourage

Adventurer
When did playing become such serious business?
Pretty much always, for my group. I have zero interest in a comedic game, or one dominated by forced "funny" stuff. I'm much more interested in serious games.

Of course, it's just preference. But yeah; it's always been "serious business" for me.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
Most definitely.

I am far more likely to do something as an opt-in, much like in that example you linked to. I get all kinds of organizations offering me free or reduced-rate temporary memberships (personal and professional) and once they say continued membership is automatic unless I opt out, that's it. I immediately decline the temporary membership.

If, OTOH, the temporary membership ends automatically unles I opt-in, I may just give it a try.

Make me re-enlist, don't make me have to remember to quit.

In D&D design, I think that might look something like identifying the specific flavor of goblin (or whatever) you're looking at -- don't make me have to remember to change the assumption of your One True Goblin, make me actively choose to use the critter that is there, based on whatever criteria I need at the time. If I'm in the mood for a lighthearted or dark humor kind of critter, I can choose to use the goofy goblin. If I'm in the mood for something more wicked and insidious, I can choose a different kind of goblin (or just avoid the goblins all together!). The negative scenario is that I stay with a default I'm not happy with just because it's the default and I don't have the time/effort/foreknowledge to change that.

I don't want automatic membership to the goofy goblin club, but I could totally see myself joining up for an adventure.
 

wedgeski

Adventurer
I wonder what would have happened if James Wyatt had prefixed that subtitle with "Potential", or perhaps not called that section "Comic Relief" at all.
 

DMZ2112

Chaotic Looseleaf
Fortunately, nobody is really advocating that in the Wandering Monsters article in question

Again -- and I reread the article just to be sure -- this is a /very generous/ reading of Wyatt's words.

James Wyatt said:
Both goblins and kobolds have elements of comedy pretty much inherent to them.


When did playing become such serious business?

Honestly, I tend to run a pretty funny game. I draw a lot of inspiration from Terry Pratchett and Hajime Kanzaka. I still think Wyatt is way out of line.
 

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