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ryoga227



Joined: 17 Jul 2011
Posts: 284

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I think they included Dragonborn and Teiflings for the same reason why they include Dark Elves as a playable race. When the Drow were first introduced as opponents players noticed that they had special powers that the playable races didn't have and soon enough people wanted to play them. Then we had Drizzt. I thoroughly enjoyed Homeland and the rest of the Dark Elf trilogy but it lead to more people playing characters for the the stats and abilities they provided. This is an aspect of the power-inflation that is common in RPGs. If it continues there will be progressively stronger and more powerful races, like giant-kin, full dragons, or playable vampires. Why would anyone want to play a human or a gnome? As Dan mentioned, characters become more gonzo. There is a market for each but typically less depth generally sells better.

There were other things that I thought were unbalanced. The Warlock character class could wear armor, cast spells nearly as well as a Wizard, and had special abilities to boot. It's not unlike the Druid from 3.0. Many new players would play Druids and would have a more powerful character which made up for lack of experience with the game which I thought was a good idea. I don't think that balance is necessary to have an enjoyable game, however I find it troubling that the most powerful options either don't fit the setting and or are the most inclined to be evil. I wouldn't have had a problem including Tieflings if they had also included Aasimars. My worry is that payers will be disinterested in playing heroes and will instead play evil characters. This might lead to D&D getting a bad reputation again. It would also attract players who are more interested in killing things than the story. Were I to run a game I would disallow Dragonborn, Drow, Tiflings, and Warlocks but would worry that the players would complain.

Personally I prefer games that are closer to J.R.R. Tolkien than Piers Anthony. Low-magic settings feel gritter, are more challenging, and have greater verisimilitude. It's more immerse.
Fri Aug 29, 2014 5:34 pm View user's profile Send private message
Iguana



Joined: 03 Mar 2006
Posts: 4778
Location: Richmond, VA

Post Reply with quote
ryoga227 wrote:
I think they included Dragonborn and Teiflings for the same reason why they include Dark Elves as a playable race. When the Drow were first introduced as opponents players noticed that they had special powers that the playable races didn't have and soon enough people wanted to play them. Then we had Drizzt. I thoroughly enjoyed Homeland and the rest of the Dark Elf trilogy but it lead to more people playing characters for the the stats and abilities they provided. This is an aspect of the power-inflation that is common in RPGs. If it continues there will be progressively stronger and more powerful races, like giant-kin, full dragons, or playable vampires. Why would anyone want to play a human or a gnome? As Dan mentioned, characters become more gonzo. There is a market for each but typically less depth generally sells better.

There were other things that I thought were unbalanced. The Warlock character class could wear armor, cast spells nearly as well as a Wizard, and had special abilities to boot. It's not unlike the Druid from 3.0. Many new players would play Druids and would have a more powerful character which made up for lack of experience with the game which I thought was a good idea. I don't think that balance is necessary to have an enjoyable game, however I find it troubling that the most powerful options either don't fit the setting and or are the most inclined to be evil. I wouldn't have had a problem including Tieflings if they had also included Aasimars. My worry is that payers will be disinterested in playing heroes and will instead play evil characters. This might lead to D&D getting a bad reputation again. It would also attract players who are more interested in killing things than the story. Were I to run a game I would disallow Dragonborn, Drow, Tiflings, and Warlocks but would worry that the players would complain.

Personally I prefer games that are closer to J.R.R. Tolkien than Piers Anthony. Low-magic settings feel gritter, are more challenging, and have greater verisimilitude. It's more immerse.


Totally agree - my whole beef with providing playable monster races is that then everyone wants to be evil and you lose the whole heroic fantasy and/or swords and sorcery feel where you are either good and trying to save the world or are just generally trying to help out the local situation, or you are just in it for the money but not necessarily evil and still opposed to the forces of chaos (respectively) and even just plainly opposed to evil in a high fantasy setting.

Chris, if you will recall while playing with you and Jason and those other guys at Jason's place off of Hungary Springs Road many years back before we hooked up in Tony's games in the Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil module that you ran for us, it seriously left a bad taste in my mouth. By playing all evil characters and or monsters the cohesiveness of the group tended to disintegrate as the players turned on each other for their own petty self interests (if you will recall, I quit the game shortly after I created a NE character and the CE or LE characters all turned on me as a result since we worshipped different deities and Jason's character refused to heal me because he had faith healing and could only heal characters of his own alignment). That sucked - they were all against me instead of everyone being a part of a team that was working together and I fault Jason for that disunity mostly (but the whole idea of running an evil/disunified monster party in D&D is flawed for the most part for much the same reason in any version of D&D IMV).

On the other hand, in a game like Vampire or Werewolf the other monsters are clearly on your side and the game is structured so that they can work together so it works much better in a different system like that that's designed for that sort of thing (it keeps everyone cooperative). Not so at all with a group of evil D&D characters and/or monsters that have no real motivation to cooperate with one another on just about any basis (alignement, greed, morality, etc.)... Wink Twisted Evil Evil or Very Mad Shocked Surprised Sad Confused Sad Surprised Shocked Confused Crying or Very sad Evil or Very Mad Twisted Evil Exclamation

_________________
Dan

We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.
Hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new land,
To fight the horde, sing and cry: Valhalla, I am coming!

Last edited by Iguana on Sat Aug 30, 2014 2:57 am; edited 2 times in total
Sat Aug 30, 2014 2:15 am View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Iguana



Joined: 03 Mar 2006
Posts: 4778
Location: Richmond, VA

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Kind of reminds me of Unearthed Arcana where Gygax included the Drow, the Dwerger, and the deep gnomes (Svirfneblin) as PC races even though they were way overpowered according to some people along with some of the other classes presented in UA like the Barbarian and Cavalier classes. I guess it's all Gary's fault as that's where all the power creep really started to happen in that book, particularly with regard to PC races (and among a new panoply of dwarven, halfling, and elven races as well).

In his defense I think those races and the alternate classes presented in UA were more of an illustration of how a GM could tailor his world to his own tastes than a road map of the way things had to be all the time (kind of like the way Tony designs his world settings with house rules and world setting racial and class rules) as opposed to an outright declaration that all of UA was now a "core" part of AD&D... Cool

(which in retrospect is a very cool thing but too many people took things too literally - if Gary said it, it had to be the new gospel which kind of misses the whole point that the GMs world is his own to shape and design as he sees fit which I think was Gary's real point in UA... lol) Rolling Eyes

Gary opened our eyes to those types of world building possibilities but left it completely up to the the GM to decide how much if any of that stuff to use in his game. The core rulebooks IMV should only include the bare essentials and add ons like that should be provided in supplements sort of like UA which I think was intended as supplemental optional rules in the first place (thus the flaw in including those three races in the core books for 5e in my opinion). But that's just my opinion... Wink

_________________
Dan

We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.
Hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new land,
To fight the horde, sing and cry: Valhalla, I am coming!

Last edited by Iguana on Sat Aug 30, 2014 3:50 pm; edited 2 times in total
Sat Aug 30, 2014 2:36 am View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Overdog



Joined: 08 Jan 2013
Posts: 1392

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I personally disagree on the aspects of playing evil characters. Some of my favorite characters are evil and the only time there was any party conflict in our games was when one of the group (as part of the story) decided they wanted to turn good and as a DM I created a whole side adventure/campaign around that aspect that ended being one of my groups most memorable adventures. When you make evil characters you have to follow the same general rule as when you play good and neutral characters and that is an agreement that there wont be party conflict. As a DM I tell my players straight up if they actively go out of their way to create party conflict or attack other characters I will remove their characters from the game. The fun in playing evil characters is to find a way to work together and come up with common goals that dont involve turning on your companions. Just because you are evil doesnt mean you are stupid and it also doesnt mean you are evil in a magnitude of a demon's evil. The problem is if you play with immature players who think that evil alignment means you have betray the party for their own gains then of course that wont work. As a DM you need to set boundaries or it wont work and that is no different then if you play a Chaotic Neutral character in a good group.

I do agree that the Dragonborn are a bit too monstrous to play but I love the option of playing Drow and Tieflings. I agree with Chris that I think they should have included Aasimars and I think they should have made all of them optional core races but it doesnt break the game for me. Again as a DM you have two options in your campaigns...simply dont allow them or if you do allow them make it difficult for players to interact with NPCs as appropriate.

That being said I completely disagree with Chris's statement that playing evil characters will lead to D&D having a bad reputation. That attitude has long since gone away in general especially with the video games out there and the people who would still feel that way are not going to be swayed that the game isnt bad by excluding a few "non-good" races.

Bottom line for me is that although I grew up playing 1st edition it was a very very flawed system and there were just as many things I hated about it as I loved about it. In 5e I can still maintain the flavor of 1st but without all the crap.
Sat Aug 30, 2014 6:57 am View user's profile Send private message
Iguana



Joined: 03 Mar 2006
Posts: 4778
Location: Richmond, VA

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Respectfully disagree - I've never been a fan of playing an evil character, a monster, or playing in an evil themed campaign (or even having more than a NE evil assassin or whatever in the group which is required to play that class in some editions which precludes or is totally incompatible with having a Paladin in the group). It kind of ruins the experience for me and turns the Swords and Sorcery or High Fantasy "normal" D&D world setting on its head since in both (even S&S) the evil guys are always your enemies and I really like playing either good characters or at least neutral greedy types that are up against the bad guys because of that.

Some world settings like the world of Vlad Taltos and Elric in Melnibone sort of embrace that idea but even in those situations, they aren't really as bad as they might seem (their enemies are far worse) and they are still portrayed more as heros than anti-heros to me.

The idea of playing a Drow or even having someone play a Drow in any D&D game I'm in just makes me want to vomit for much the same reason... lol Mr. Green Shocked Surprised Razz Laughing

_________________
Dan

We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.
Hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new land,
To fight the horde, sing and cry: Valhalla, I am coming!

Last edited by Iguana on Sat Aug 30, 2014 4:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
Sat Aug 30, 2014 3:57 pm View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Iguana



Joined: 03 Mar 2006
Posts: 4778
Location: Richmond, VA

Post Reply with quote
It's funny - I had never even heard of Aasimars or Tieflings until 4e came out since I had never played Planescape before... Question Question Question Wink

So do we really need demon people, angel people, dragon people, and dark elves as core races? That's just way too gonzo for me as a default world setting... Rolling Eyes

Also, any time morality is injected into the game (good versus evil, Paladins, LG goody two shoes types, Evil characters, evil acts, good acts etc.) it almost always creates moral debates, arguments, and derision between the players at some point in a game which tends to detract from the fun in my view rather than add to the experience (not a fan of playing Paladins for much the same reason). I'm there to play D&D not to have some moral debate about doing or not doing "the right thing"... I'd rather just do what I want to do and role play my character as I see fit dictated by his world view and outlook on things.

That's what made playing White Box so refreshing to me - it's just law, chaos, and neutrality in between and the whole "good versus evil" debate from your typical high fantasy setting gets thrown out the window. The whole nine sided alignment system tends to compartmentalize morality a bit too much sometimes if played too rigidly and restricts what you can and can't do in a game which is kind of limiting as compared to the original three sided alignment system.

_________________
Dan

We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.
Hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new land,
To fight the horde, sing and cry: Valhalla, I am coming!
Sat Aug 30, 2014 4:15 pm View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Overdog



Joined: 08 Jan 2013
Posts: 1392

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Iguana wrote:
Respectfully disagree - I've never been a fan of playing an evil character, a monster, or playing in an evil themed campaign (or even having more than a NE evil assassin or whatever in the group which is required to play that class in some editions which precludes or is totally incompatible with having a Paladin in the group). It kind of ruins the experience for me and turns the Swords and Sorcery or High Fantasy "normal" D&D world setting on its head since in both (even S&S) the evil guys are always your enemies and I really like playing either good characters or at least neutral greedy types that are up against the bad guys because of that.

Some world settings like the world of Vlad Taltos and Elric in Melnibone sort of embrace that idea but even in those situations, they aren't really as bad as they might seem (their enemies are far worse) and they are still portrayed more as heros than anti-heros to me.

The idea of playing a Drow or even having someone play a Drow in any D&D game I'm in just makes me want to vomit for much the same reason... lol Mr. Green Shocked Surprised Razz Laughing


I respect that you as a player may not like playing an evil character but I think you are making it way too black and white. Just because you may not like playing an evil character that doesnt mean that others cannot play them and still keep the group harmony. As I indicated just because a character is evil it doesnt mean they are murderous demon worshipers. It can just mean that they have a loose moral code...not unlike a chaotic neutral character. Hraal has no issues committing acts that the cleric of Sarenrae finds morally objectionable but we somehow make that work and it doesnt disrupt the game. I have seen many many more roll playing issues with good clerics and paladins in groups and their moral fortitude and goodytooshoeness then I have evil characters. We all have different ways of having fun in RPGs and again I respect your disdain for playing evil characters but all I ask is that you please dont project that dislike to others in game who may enjoy playing a character like that.
Sat Aug 30, 2014 6:04 pm View user's profile Send private message
Vimlareon



Joined: 27 Jan 2013
Posts: 1172
Location: Barad-dur

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Naw, I've played plenty of evil characters that worked with other aligned characters. As long as the DM can keep the goals the same and keep the peace, it can be a fun twist. I've had a couple of "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" kind of scenario. Pathfinder has a great description for playing antiheroes.

_________________
"Listen Vimlareon. It's a large world out there, and I taught you all I know. If you wish to learn more about magic, there is no better teacher than experience itself. May your quest to become an archmage be fulfilled."
Mirillium, Vim's master
Sat Aug 30, 2014 11:15 pm View user's profile Send private message
Vimlareon



Joined: 27 Jan 2013
Posts: 1172
Location: Barad-dur

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However, i feel like I must say I do enjoy playing good characters than evil, but with Jeff, some of my favs were evil. Pather, a human (mostly anyway, he had demonic blood in his tainted line) was a tyrant in his heart, and wanted noting more than power over his own land. He was LE, and he didn't betray his companions because one it was unlawful, and two he knew he 'needed' them in order to stop some dark queen. However after the queens death, Pather took the opportunity and became lord of the throne, and ruled with a bloody iron fist.
Jaadth, my tiefling fighter/thief is NE, he was captured by goblins at lower levels, and when a party of do-gooders saved him, he gave them a 'life-debt'. He didn't like what the majority of the group's morality was, but he honored the debt and didn't betray the party. He instead was crual to prisoners and other NPCs because he didn't want others to think he's a weak little tag-along.
Ekroan as you know is a thug who did bad things in his past, but he's stranded on an island, and is currently working with the party to escape. (However, he does have murderous thoughts towards some of the party, but he's smarter than to kill off his chances of escaping the island)

It's all about common goals.

I'm also with Dan on the fact that, this is a game where you can be the hero of a story, the stars of the film or noval, and having an evil character can sometimes kill that mood.

_________________
"Listen Vimlareon. It's a large world out there, and I taught you all I know. If you wish to learn more about magic, there is no better teacher than experience itself. May your quest to become an archmage be fulfilled."
Mirillium, Vim's master
Sat Aug 30, 2014 11:58 pm View user's profile Send private message
Iguana



Joined: 03 Mar 2006
Posts: 4778
Location: Richmond, VA

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Morality, schmorality... lol (it makes the game worse for me with evil characters running amok about the land - that's what the bad guys are supposed to do not what the good guys and player characters are supposed to do... duh) lol

I generally agree on your post about good characters verses evil characters Vim... Wink Rolling Eyes Smile

_________________
Dan

We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.
Hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new land,
To fight the horde, sing and cry: Valhalla, I am coming!
Sun Aug 31, 2014 3:31 am View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
ryoga227



Joined: 17 Jul 2011
Posts: 284

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I think that it is cool that D&D allows for the flexibility to play evil characters. A game where there is sense of moral ambiguity can be interesting but it takes a special group for it to be fun. Dan pointed out a game I ran for a group of people who wanted to play evil characters. I have had some bad experiences in evil campaigns and as a result I seldom run or play in them. What he doesn't know that the game with Jason, et. al. only got worse when he left. I'd go into it but it is outside of the scope. There was another evil campaign I played in and when my character was wounded they left him lying there. They wouldn't stop the game to introduce a new character so I waited for 4 hours. There was another evil campaign that almost worked. It was military themed and that made for at least a little cohesion. My worry is not that the game will get a bad reputation like the one it had in the late 80's and 90's. What I don't want is for the game to be through of as shallow, only focused on killing things. Such games are definitely not my preference.
Sun Aug 31, 2014 11:34 am View user's profile Send private message
Iguana



Joined: 03 Mar 2006
Posts: 4778
Location: Richmond, VA

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Overdog wrote:
Iguana wrote:
Respectfully disagree - I've never been a fan of playing an evil character, a monster, or playing in an evil themed campaign (or even having more than a NE evil assassin or whatever in the group which is required to play that class in some editions which precludes or is totally incompatible with having a Paladin in the group). It kind of ruins the experience for me and turns the Swords and Sorcery or High Fantasy "normal" D&D world setting on its head since in both (even S&S) the evil guys are always your enemies and I really like playing either good characters or at least neutral greedy types that are up against the bad guys because of that.

Some world settings like the world of Vlad Taltos and Elric in Melnibone sort of embrace that idea but even in those situations, they aren't really as bad as they might seem (their enemies are far worse) and they are still portrayed more as heros than anti-heros to me.

The idea of playing a Drow or even having someone play a Drow in any D&D game I'm in just makes me want to vomit for much the same reason... lol Mr. Green Shocked Surprised Razz Laughing


I respect that you as a player may not like playing an evil character but I think you are making it way too black and white. Just because you may not like playing an evil character that doesnt mean that others cannot play them and still keep the group harmony. As I indicated just because a character is evil it doesnt mean they are murderous demon worshipers. It can just mean that they have a loose moral code...not unlike a chaotic neutral character. Hraal has no issues committing acts that the cleric of Sarenrae finds morally objectionable but we somehow make that work and it doesnt disrupt the game. I have seen many many more roll playing issues with good clerics and paladins in groups and their moral fortitude and goodytooshoeness then I have evil characters. We all have different ways of having fun in RPGs and again I respect your disdain for playing evil characters but all I ask is that you please dont project that dislike to others in game who may enjoy playing a character like that.


For the record, I think if someone who is as good of a gamer, an RPG'r, and a strategist as you are plays an evil character in a game with a bunch of good or neutral characters it would probably be fine (especially if its playing a NE Assassin because you have to be a bit evil just to play an assassin in the first place as dictated by the rules or something like that). My beef is that most aren't on nearly the same level as you and it ends up in group disunity - I've seen it many times before. That's the last thing you want as it's supposed to be a cooperative game but in my experience, playing an evil character usually means you are going rogue and are in one way shape or form, against the party in some way... lol (as in Sarah Palin against her own Republican party - if you aren't with me and don't agree with me, you are by default against me). I suppose it depends on the caliber and quality of the player and for the most part younger and more inexperienced players who end up playing evil characters end up screwing this kind of thing up badly which causes the group to implode (usually resulting in a bad experience at the table and disagreements among players) unlike how older, smarter, and/or more experienced players might handle a similar situation.

Anyway, to each his own - I'm still not into monsters as PCs or evil characters in any D&D type of game group as in my experience, it usually leads to group disunity and frequently results in personality conflicts in game as a result (again I've seen it many times in my nearly 35 years of playing Role Playing Games). I can give you some examples of at least three of Allen's characters in Tony's games where this occurred (which Tony tried to warn him against and dissuade him from playing but he refused to listen to good advice form the GM on that and as a result it caused serious problems within the group) but I'd rather not dredge up old RPG history if it isn't necessary... (not to mention other examples of this that I've seen in many other RPGs prior to those instances) Question Wink

_________________
Dan

We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.
Hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new land,
To fight the horde, sing and cry: Valhalla, I am coming!
Mon Sep 01, 2014 1:45 am View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Overdog



Joined: 08 Jan 2013
Posts: 1392

Post Reply with quote
It is all about perspective of course. You (and probably many others) have had many negative experiences with evil characters where I on the other hand have had mostly good experiences. I think from my perspective the reason it hasnt been an issue is because in my 34 years of gaming I have always been the primary DM so I have always set guidelines on what I wont tolerate from players. If their class was unbalanced and was affecting the enjoyment of the game for others or if their alignment/race disrupted the game I would remove that character from the game. This approach has always worked and kept the peace. I dont tell players how to play just that if any of those criteria are met then they know what will happen. This also applied to the players themselves...I have had many players come into my games and if their play style was combative to other players or made the game "unfun" in general (we have all played with those types) then I would politely ask them to leave the game (after many warnings). It is never fun to deal with that but it is necessary from time to time.

I guess my knee-jerk reaction to this part of this thread is because I hate hearing that a class or race shouldnt be played because of bad experiences with other players. In the end it is of course the DMs prerogative and I will argue my point initially but I will acquiesce to the DMs decision.
Mon Sep 01, 2014 7:38 am View user's profile Send private message
XCoconutmonkey06X



Joined: 04 Feb 2006
Posts: 6085
Location: The Battle Buddy Tree-Top Club House

Post Reply with quote
....... Dragonborns are still cool.....

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Iguana



Joined: 03 Mar 2006
Posts: 4778
Location: Richmond, VA

Post Reply with quote
XCoconutmonkey06X wrote:
....... Dragonborns are still cool.....


If not overly dorky... lol (just kidding and just kind of poking fun at you Imholte... lol) Razz Can't stand them including the Drow (Drizzt anyone?), Tieflings, and the Dragonborn, as core classes TBH. I think it's a serious WTF by the people who own the current copyrights licenses and trademarks to D&D and I will never be onboard with the new game with silly and stupid game design decisions like that IMV (and remember, I've worked for a game company before - from a marketing perspective I think all of those races are serious mistakes for the viability of D&D next and will only result in the new game's inevitable demise). Rolling Eyes

_________________
Dan

We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.
Hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new land,
To fight the horde, sing and cry: Valhalla, I am coming!
Mon Sep 01, 2014 11:41 pm View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
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