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    Section Six starts in 1.75 hours. That will be 7pm CST (GMT - 6).

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The Island of Thain :: Forums :: Major General
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Wizards of the Coast: Monsters, Morality, and the Bloodguard

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Cuchuwyn
6:41:45 pm GMT 05/24/21
Cuchuwyn Registered Member #24041 Joined: 4:19:01 am GMT 01/24/17
Posts: 1706
Shade wrote ...


So basically, screw you and the story you are trying to tell?


Not at all. I think if you go back and re-read what I wrote you will discover that nowhere have I said those kinds of stories aren't valid. I'm just not interested in them as much, and, by the same token, I don't believe people who are trying to tell that story should get to say "screw you" to the story I am trying to tell, or the kinds of characters I am interested in playing, that's all.


Shade wrote ...


You are forgetting a huge factor here, one I think is far too often forgotten on Thain and instead made way too often into good vs evil. Politics. I would LOVE to see things become more about politics, and less about alignment. It just seems like such a convenient thing to make things about rather than a possible complex series of events that lead up to it.

Let's take the Sorceress with apple storyline as an example, and how things are handled inside Hamley. The Empyrean is pretty clearly classic good vs evil (Sollis certainly is), and the Keepers are not a fan of this. They think more about ways to minimize casualties and other ways to solve the problem. I would love for more like this. Politics. Negotiations. Trying to solve things trough diplomacy. Will it work? Probably not.. Especially not when sides are set on the others destruction (Poisonwar) but I think it is a course too often overlooked in favor of good vs evil.

Political stuff is great! It's also, from experience, really quite a lot harder to tell a successful story like that, especially DMside. It means that you are going to have to work with largely the same players every time (possibly to the exclusion of others, just due to things like timezones), are going to have to balance it so that people don't just "lose" and that everyone feels that they had a chance to affect the plot in a meaningful way, which gets harder and harder the more parties you get involved. Political plots also tend to become pretty impenetrable pretty quickly to people that aren't involved with them heavily, which makes it really hard to bring others in partway through, without having a 2-hour RP session where you just go over what's already happened. I'm not saying it can't work, it's just that it's not quite as easy as you might suspect, especially when as a DM you can control part of the story, but you can't control what players RP around when you're not there, and so communication can break down. In a good versus evil story, the story continues when you want it to because you control the bad guys and when they show up!
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Shade
7:00:04 pm GMT 05/24/21
Shade Registered Member #24916 Joined: 2:58:00 pm GMT 01/23/19
Posts: 484
Cuchuwyn wrote ...
first part
Fair enough. Thank you for clarifying.

Cuchuwyn wrote ...
second part

Yeah, I can't imagine it would be easy and I see your point, but I would still love to give it a try sometime. Maybe on some smaller scale stuff with people that will be more involved.
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dontyouknow
7:02:56 pm GMT 05/24/21
dontyouknow Registered Member #1120 Joined: 4:36:33 am GMT 07/27/07
Posts: 476
RE: Politics and Intrigue

These can be a solid way to add variety to the black and white classic fantasy tale. I sometimes find myself tripping over my heels when trying to walk a fine line on this subject with Teron, and I’ve probably made some players roll their eyes more than a few times. It can be challenging to combine the facts of monster badness with the notion that humanoids have free will, culture and personal motivations. I’m struggling a bit to organize my thoughts on the subject of how I play him, so here goes something possibly coherent and hopefully topical:

T kills monsters. You can’t go very far on the server without stomping some skellies or trolls. He knows they need to be culled to protect the innocent. The tricky part comes from situations like Tedya’s camp, the Poisonwar, Val and Jerrick’s affiliation with the Sons of Fhelkhorn and his recent dealings with fiends.

Teron’s known and trusted Tedya for many years and knows what she’s gone through, and thus sticks up for her and those that she’s working with. Sometimes I OOC forget who’s been “vouched for”, so I play Teron with a really light hand when it comes to chromatic RDDs. Probably too light, but mostly that’s me trying not to OOC forget who’s who and create an IC interpersonal conflict with those he trusts.

His dealings behind the scenes in the Poisonwar, the rift golem, and the conflict with the watch have been very tricky and possibly inconsistent. His motivation in each of those situations has been how to minimize harm and accomplish something to benefit the greater good. Sometimes that requires crossing battle lines and working alongside people he’d actively oppose in pretty much any other situation. Sometimes that results in developing empathy(Poisonwar), sometimes it’s just putting up with those he finds repugnant long enough to get done what needs to happen(IC crew or Rhandom).

In short, there’s some room for Good not simply blasting Evilsz into their component atoms, but there needs to be some extraordinary circumstances and strong emotions involved.
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DavidtheGreat
7:12:32 pm GMT 05/24/21
DavidtheGreat Registered Member #23821 Joined: 6:18:34 am GMT 03/19/14
Posts: 133
Clarifications and Discussion:
But if you're going to have a fantasy world in which you want to have heroes who have a chance to do capital-G Good things, you have to have monsters and villains doing capital E, Evil things, and, for my money at least, there's only so much moral complexity you can add to that before everyone just sits in a grey neutral bleh zone. I'll admit I have little patience for misunderstood monsters on Thain, and it's not usually a story I'm particularly inspired to participate in. I can recognize the desire to do something against the grain of the normal way a monster is played, but to me, that loses the point of playing a monster entirely. I can play a troubled human torn between their violent nature and their desire to be better- but that is a very human story, not a very monster story, and adding wings or a different skin color to it doesn't make that a better story. I guess what I'm saying is that if you want to have capital G good guys, you have to accept that they are going to view enemies as capital E evil guys. You can't do capital G good in a world where all the enemies are morally grey- it just doesn't work, and where it does, it's because the "Good" guy ignores logic and reason in the name of compromise.

This is almost an arguement between LotR storytelling and GoT storytelling. LotR, Sauron was bad, no doubt. Good guys, bad guys, go. GoT, everyone is a 'bad guy' really, and those aren't are usually killed, is the point of the story. Keep in mind, I like LotR a lot more, however, it doesn't work on Thain. The reason LotR works, and why Capital G Good vs Capital E Evil works, is motivations and actions. If all of your monsters are just hollow monsters being commanded by a dark lord, then it works. It is far more difficult when you put an element of humanity into the monsters. "But wait! I say the monsters don't have that human element!", Therein we get to the discussion, I might agree, except they have their own societies, and demonstrate the capacity to integrate into other societies. You see, as I'll explore below, the orcs in LotRs were not the villains. They were not good, but Tolkein described them as beings to be pitied rather than despised, while Sauron was the 'true' enemy. You have goblin commoners, in places like the Watch. Call it a den of monsters and villainy, but it is a goblin /commoner/. Not a warrior on a day off, just a laborer, tired and relaxing after a day of work. I do agree, the misconception is that the monsters are conflicted with their monsterous nature, when it should be the monster is just living their life like anyone else with a difference in typical baseline tendency. A goblin doesn't care that it's a goblin with goblin habits. But it might not want to be a warrior goblin, and that is fine. Equally fine that Joe Blow the adventurer doesn't recognize that too, but we'll get to that below.

Recently there was an event some of you may have heard about where some members of the Bloodguard chose to kill some drow "teenagers" (they were both old enough to hold weapons with some degree of skill), rather than, say, letting them go or taking them prisoner. It's these kinds of choices that are often thrown in the Bloodguard's face as examples of why they're "really actually evil" or "only pretending to be good". I take a bit of umbrage with that characterization, if I'm honest, though I understand where it comes from. The BG are good in a world in which monsters and monstrous races are uncomplicatedly evil. To them, Drow, Goblins, Bugbears and Devils are all in the same category, and are all equally uncomplicatedly evil. And, historically, as Forgiver points out, this is how monstrous races have largely been treated, not just in D&D, but in fantasy, period. No one is out here arguing that Aragorn is secretly evil because he kills a bunch of orcs. No one is arguing that John Snow's army should have held counseling sessions with the Night King. And just as you don't feel bad for smashing a spider egg before it hatches, I refuse to feel bad for my character killing a member of a race that she knows well from experience will grow up to try to kill her. I also genuinely do not think it makes her evil, within the context of the more traditional hero/monster balance.

Mostly big agree, OOCly, it is silly to actively proclaim the Bloodguard are evil for their choice. But it is entirely within any characters right to deem them evil for it. And the reason characters like John Snow and Aragorn should not be scorned by their actions against the orcs and the Night King are because no one in their right mind sided with the enemy in their instances. There was no 'good' motivation to ever do so, further more, neither of them went around killing their young either, there was a joke George RR Martin went on about "Did King Aragon go on a orc genocide?", and Tolkein went in depth on explaining how the orcs really worked. So lets explore that for a moment, The orcs in LotR are literally born evil creatures, they are ancient elves long since corrupted by darkness, bred to hate elves and the sun that has since scorned them. However, it is also said in the Lore, that should an orc ever attempt to peacefully surrender to an elf, that the high elves have stated that they would spare them, because they do not hate or despise the orcs, but pity them, and would see them try to be saved where they could, but they recognize most of them cannot be. Further more still, it is also stated that without Sauron, or some other great darkness to command them, most orcs became aimless, and simply wander off or crawl into holes to die, without a master to control them they do not have much will of their own and simply eventually die out. In short, the reason it works is because Aragorn was specifically /not/ waging war on the orcs, but fighting their tyrannical master and they were soldiers in his path. Same with the Night King, an attacking, wholly corrupt force, not much concern about implications there. There is a reason that back in the day, a Paladin would not strike a helpless foe. If we are talking about what 'I' genuinely believe, I would probably say it is more a chaotic act than an evil one. To not care about their, inability to fight back, to defend themself, and just care about getting the work done efficiently, when the 'right and lawful' act to do would be to take them prisoner at that point so they might face true justice for their acts, even if it is not the 'easy' choice to do. Deciding you are the Judge, Jury, and executioner, I feel, is not a very lawful act.

As for the argument about the .01% of monsters who truly -are- different, my honest answer is, sucks to be them, and that this is why it's a fantasy world not a real one. If you're a goblin who figured out a way to get out of the cave and your dream is to open up a bake shop or something, great! That can be a cool story, and in the real world we'd applaud that initiative. But on Thain, and in fantasy settings in general, I think it muddles the water, and the expectation should not be that you're given a chance to explain your life story to everyone you come across. To my mind, the struggle is the whole point, and why you would do that to begin with, and I think that if you're going to try to tell that story, you need to be OOC ready for reactions other than peaceful ones. We don't expect every person to stop and check every nameless goblin for their hopes and dreams, why should one played by a player or DM be treated any differently? Are we supposed to suspend our disbelief or act out of character because the name is blue instead of red?

Yes. Sucks to be them. I entirely agree. But that is kind of my point. ICly, I do not expect the Bloodguard to understand that, I wouldn't want them to honestly! To remove that tragic 'sucks to be them' potential OOCly is really bad, especially using the argument of 'it is fantasy'! I don't want to be misinterpreted here. I don't want every goblin to be asked for their story, I don't want their story to be 'woe is me I'm so misunderstood'. More like, If Mugbuk the Goblin just wants to be a damn fine cook, to the point that he is running around alone in the world finding ingredients, and when confronted by a few heroes he cries out in panic and runs, throwing turnips and carrots behind him, I would be far more interested in a story where the adventures actually meet Mugbuk and figure out why the hell a Goblin is running around with a bunch of vegetables alone in the wilderness, and then maybe have some antics involving trying to help him sneakily get a job somewhere, than I would be in the Bloodguard version of the story of 'Pew pew ded gob'. Mugbuk himself isn't 'Woe is me', Mugbuk is just 'Yo I just wanna cook some good ass food!' and wants to have access to a nice kitchen and ingredients to do so. He just isn't interested in pillaging and raiding, not that he's against it persay, just isn't his thing, and since Goblins don't really value his cooking, maybe he'd be happier cooking somewhere else. And then it's cool interesting character for a player to meet and go 'Wtf a goblin in cooking in this inn, how'd that happen?!' Like the actual Minogon at the landing! It's weird, it's interesting, even if it "makes no sense in the fantasy" because the Brotherhood would destroy any minogon they saw! It is all about the context of how things happen is my point. The point of Fantasy is fantastical things /can/ happen. In my opinion it's even grittier real world to take away that fantastical potential. Not to say, as I've said before, that there are no limitations, but the /possibilities/ should not be ruled out!

Conclusion mk 2:
I think my biggest point is recognizing IC and OOC beliefs. Yes, to us, it is a fantasy world. But if we just wanted to purely play in a fantasy world, it'd just be an action server. It is an RP server. What is fantasy to us is /real/ to them. This does not mean our real world rules apply still, but it does mean a IC world consistency has to be maintained. The /second/ you have anything that breaks the norm, that is something that can happen in the world possibly. And that is something you have to deal with. The goblin bakery is something I think should /entirely/ be possible on Thain. Easy? Hell no, that'd cheapen it if it were! In every settlement? Of course not, lots of places would never allow it. But never? I just think that's silly, unless you make every single goblin ever have a red name and never display any capacity for anything else. But the moment you display that there are goblin commoners, goblins who just wanna go about their day to day, you open the door of endless possibilities that you just have to deal with in an IC world. Granted, Again, ICly, /you/ specifically don't have to, you can just believe, rightfully for your character potentially, that all goblins are evil unequivocably. Just like you can make a character who thinks all elves are monsters. Or all dwarves are drunks. But you have to then also play with elves who are nice. And dwarves who aren't drunks. And goblins who just want to chill out next to a fire.

David, The Great!

Edit to Add: "There are no bad ideas, just bad execution."
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Cuchuwyn
7:15:09 pm GMT 05/24/21
Cuchuwyn Registered Member #24041 Joined: 4:19:01 am GMT 01/24/17
Posts: 1706
Shade wrote ...


Yeah, I can't imagine it would be easy and I see your point, but I would still love to give it a try sometime. Maybe on some smaller scale stuff with people that will be more involved.


Some examples of this are the discussions with Sylvox, Vryx, and Syfana in the poisonwar that I did with Elarion, Arakhor, Amywiel, etc.- some of those were 1:1 discussions, others in larger groups, but I think it did help establish what each of those three characters was about and wanted, even if not everyone always got the same information. It allowed for a much more nuanced political decision-making process toward the end of that plot. But that sort of stuff also has a time limit too- if, for example, Arakhor had suddenly dropped off the face of the earth (due to IRL things or whatever), all that knowledge the character has goes with them and it's hard to find ways to re-tell that stuff in a way that feels organic, since much of it is based on personal interactions, history, personal knowledge of the setting, etc, that would be lost in translation to other characters. I think we try to do it sometimes, but it's also something where it's almost easier to let players do a lot of the diplomatic heavy lifting and then DMs can react to it. In the current DW stuff, if for some reason Sollis had a change of heart and wanted to work with the Iron City (not that it would ever happen), I would think DMs would take that into consideration when thinking about the Empyreans (even if the Empyreans as a whole still opposed the Iron City, some of them might follow Sollis, etc.). But that's kind of what I mean with it being much more difficult to keep reins on the narrative- sometimes players throw curveballs at you!
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Cuchuwyn
7:37:19 pm GMT 05/24/21
Cuchuwyn Registered Member #24041 Joined: 4:19:01 am GMT 01/24/17
Posts: 1706
dontyouknow wrote ...


His dealings behind the scenes in the Poisonwar, the rift golem, and the conflict with the watch have been very tricky and possibly inconsistent. His motivation in each of those situations has been how to minimize harm and accomplish something to benefit the greater good. Sometimes that requires crossing battle lines and working alongside people he’d actively oppose in pretty much any other situation. Sometimes that results in developing empathy(Poisonwar), sometimes it’s just putting up with those he finds repugnant long enough to get done what needs to happen(IC crew or Rhandom).

In short, there’s some room for Good not simply blasting Evilsz into their component atoms, but there needs to be some extraordinary circumstances and strong emotions involved.

I don't disagree with these kinds of actions, fwiw- and I think they do add a lot of complexity to the stories of Thain! And I think in general it is actually much harder to play good, because you will always have these choices to make, and it can be just as hard to say no to them as to say yes. And I think there can be good justifications for picking "the lesser of two evils" as it were. But I also think there's a good justification for saying that there is no way to 100% know which of two evils will be lesser, and acting accordingly to deal with the one in front of you rather than the hypothetical one down the road. The Bloodguard are an example of the latter, where the Keepers or Empyreans are often examples of the former. Both have valid points, it's just in how they are presented.
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Just Miggen
7:47:18 pm GMT 05/24/21
Just Miggen 💅
Registered Member #463 Joined: 1:37:12 am GMT 03/10/05
Posts: 7881
For the Iron Minogon, Steinkreis controlled the Rooms briefly and acquired some of the golems. I figured at some point these golemancy secrets were traded to Sandburrow and the gnomes there created some minogons with varying success. One malfunctioned and just wanted to cook, and there you have The Iron Minogon. I thought it complimented the setting well and helps blend Thain's history into making an intriguing spot to RP.

Bad examples of this I would think is the beholder that ran the Steinkreis petting zoo for too long. It was put in as a tongue-in-cheek thing and, isolated, was fine on its own. The problem comes that Thain is a tapestry of stories: some light-hearted, some more serious, but at some point they do all come together in the grand design. So even in your light hearted stories you need to consider the consequence it has on the setting as a whole-- I think Thain balances this well and it's one of the things that makes the server great. We can tell all kinds of stories and they blend into a (mostly) coherent narrative.

I have more direct thoughts on Bloodguard and the shifting on monster races but I'm running short on time and need to be out the door. DtG has brought up great points and they touch on some thoughts from one of my favorite fantasy authors N.K. Jeminsin. I don't think her settings would work well in a concept like Thain but she has a knack for creating great fantasy political strife and unique worlds that keep you reading and digging to find out the mystery and intrigue that surround her narratives. As a disclaimer I do not think this article applies 100% to Thain but it still brings up interesting and thoughtful points:

-Clickedy-
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Cuchuwyn
8:01:40 pm GMT 05/24/21
Cuchuwyn Registered Member #24041 Joined: 4:19:01 am GMT 01/24/17
Posts: 1706
DavidtheGreat wrote ...

This is almost an arguement between LotR storytelling and GoT storytelling.

...

If all of your monsters are just hollow monsters being commanded by a dark lord, then it works. It is far more difficult when you put an element of humanity into the monsters. "But wait! I say the monsters don't have that human element!", Therein we get to the discussion, I might agree, except they have their own societies, and demonstrate the capacity to integrate into other societies.


For sure! And I think both styles can be done really well (and we have both styles on Thain). But here's where I disagree with the idea of humanity == not a monster. I think you can absolutely be a humanized character and still be a monster. In fact, I'd argue that's what makes a more terrifying monster. Kallista, Melphaecto, Vaurin, Rhandum- they aren't scary because they're played as mindless killing machines. They're scary because they're played as thinking, feeling, complex individuals who still want to murder you. You can have a debate with Melphaecto, and she might even come to respect your prowess at rhetoric, but at the end of the day, she will still want to take your soul because that is what she is, and she cannot be anything else. I wrote about this in the thread on types of evil here, -Clickedy-, but to me, a lot of characters who are evil are what I call antiheroes in that post, not monsters, even ones who have a "monster" exterior. And that's totally fine and dandy!

But I do think the setting loses something if the true monsters become the exception for their race, rather than the norm. The non-monster monster to my mind is such a rare thing that there's no real reason the vast majority of characters would ever consider it, in the same way that they wouldn't consider that the sun might rise in the west. Is it possible? Sure, I guess if some Gods got really drunk. But it's such an unlikely possibility, it's not really high on anyone's radar, is my guess.

DavidtheGreat wrote ...
The goblin bakery is something I think should /entirely/ be possible on Thain. Easy? Hell no, that'd cheapen it if it were! In every settlement? Of course not, lots of places would never allow it. But never? I just think that's silly, unless you make every single goblin ever have a red name and never display any capacity for anything else.

I don't think the one follows the other. I think we absolutely can have a world in which lots and lots of wild and whacky things happen while also trying to maintain a consistent setting that, by and large, treats monstrous races as monsters. Because to flip that coin around, once the goblin bakery happens somewhere, then anywhere that doesn't allow it is anti-goblin, even if there are OOC reasons (like for example us not wanting to build 12 different goblin bakeries). Could it happen in a city like Dragon's Watch? Maybe! But I'm not sure it actually would serve goblins well to have the only named goblin (I think?) be an example of a "good" goblin.
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Shade
8:12:51 pm GMT 05/24/21
Shade Registered Member #24916 Joined: 2:58:00 pm GMT 01/23/19
Posts: 484
Cuchuwyn wrote ...
...

I really enjoyed playing for team evil in the Poisonwar. It let me see a side of the woods that I normally never would have, and the players involved were just amazing. I still see the effects of the characters being told different things to this day, where just a few days ago, Arakhor and Elarion disagreed on forest related matters, simply because they both have different facts about it. That war and the interactions with both PCs and NPCs shaped Elarion in such a way it has become a huge part of a current plot. ( -Clickedy- ) And yeah. If any of those involved were to drop off, there would be a huge hole left. New Poisonwood doesn't feel the same without Cathalya and Amywiel, but we still have Arakhor there keeping it alive. Without her there, the place would honestly just feel like just another location to me. Just like I imagine Ashwood will feel like just another dungeon if I were to stop playing Elarion. I do try to keep that place alive and relevant, and characters like Teron has been put into a huge moral dilemma there. He knows how bad things are in the woods, but he still wants to be the good guy, even to his enemies. Say what you will about Teron working with evil, I love seeing him as a mediator. I really loved how much that story was influenced by decisions.

I think it would be really interesting if Sollis had a change of heart. What would drive it? What made it happen? What would he do? My characters would react to it in their own ways, but I as a player would find it really interesting.

But that's kind of what I mean with it being much more difficult to keep reins on the narrative- sometimes players throw curveballs at you!
A friend of mine once said players are the worst part of being a DM. I used to somewhat understand that, as players can really throw a narrative right out the window. I see both sides of it now. I get it would be really frustrating for a DM running a story to have the narrative broken by player decisions, while I also get that players also don't want to feel railroaded along. I try to do what I can there, and use characters fitting to the story.

Running player events have also helped me understand DMs better. Some people are just along for the ride, some really take charge and interact like they were the main character. Some rush ahead of the group while some remain behind. Some attack the first npc they see while some wait for narration. It can be a good learning experience, and I have had my frustrations, so I can't imagine how it must be to run the huge conflicts you do.

DTG also made a really good point about setting.
The setting we want here is Thain. There is only one Thain. There is a reason we all keep coming back to it. Why so many veterans still play here, and why the server is still alive. It's.... It's Thain.

Let's take an example there. Someone said in the early days of the new Bloodguard that they drew inspiration from the Witcher or somesuch. I can't recall exactly what was said. I personally never cared that much for the Bloodguard, simply because they just aren't my style. I try to not have my characters be influenced by that, and have them react as they would. (Lily disliking them for personal reasons, Tedya not liking what they do, but understands why they do it, Elarion seeing them as a threat he will someday have to deal with, Meruppi having no reason to hate them) Besides, if I wanted the Witcher, I would play the Witcher.

But that is also the magic of Thain. We pride ourselves on allowing characters from other settings. (we used to at least! Don't know if that changed?) That is not to say we should bring in that setting completely, this is still Forgotten Realms after all, and characters need to adapt to that. So why would I apply the storytelling of another world completely? Why would I follow the world rules of Lotr or GoT? This is Thain!
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DavidtheGreat
8:17:58 pm GMT 05/24/21
DavidtheGreat Registered Member #23821 Joined: 6:18:34 am GMT 03/19/14
Posts: 133
Apologies, I am a longman in typing:

For the Iron Minogon, Steinkreis controlled the Rooms briefly and acquired some of the golems. I figured at some point these golemancy secrets were traded to Sandburrow and the gnomes there created some minogons with varying success. One malfunctioned and just wanted to cook, and there you have The Iron Minogon. I thought it complimented the setting well and helps blend Thain's history into making an intriguing spot to RP.

Bad examples of this I would think is the beholder that ran the Steinkreis petting zoo for too long. It was put in as a tongue-in-cheek thing and, isolated, was fine on its own. The problem comes that Thain is a tapestry of stories: some light-hearted, some more serious, but at some point they do all come together in the grand design. So even in your light hearted stories you need to consider the consequence it has on the setting as a whole-- I think Thain balances this well and it's one of the things that makes the server great. We can tell all kinds of stories and they blend into a (mostly) coherent narrative.

Yes, big agree, though my point wasn't that one malfunctioned and wanted to cook, but to utilize the point above that if it was Bloodguard, or, even Brotherhood really, they saw a Minogon strolling up towards the walls, it 'really', would have been shot down, demonstrated by the fact that if you as a player skin a summon as a minogon and walk it up to them, it will also be shot down, even if it makes no hostile acts. That was my only point there, and agree yes, it is important to try to keep in mind when doing things that it does sent a predecent of some sort by doing what you do. You can make it clear it is an exception to the rule, but it is still /there/.

I have more direct thoughts on Bloodguard and the shifting on monster races but I'm running short on time and need to be out the door. DtG has brought up great points and they touch on some thoughts from one of my favorite fantasy authors N.K. Jeminsin. I don't think her settings would work well in a concept like Thain but she has a knack for creating great fantasy political strife and unique worlds that keep you reading and digging to find out the mystery and intrigue that surround her narratives. As a disclaimer I do not think this article applies 100% to Thain but it still brings up interesting and thoughtful points:

Not to derail terribly much on the topic, and I am sure her works are lovely and I am just not familiar with her, but reading through her article, there are a few things I do disagree with. Something that Tolkein actually very often strongly opposed, which was the idea that his characters, his lore, his things, were, 'something deeper', for example the idea that orcs were 'mirrors of man but twisted' or elves were 'humans with divinity'. His elves were elves. His orcs were orcs. His lore was his fantastical rules. He always said his books had no indepth secret messages or meanings, despite what you as the reader might pull from them, he did not put anything like that in there intentionally. And contrary to her belief, as mentioned the orcs in Tolkein's world were actually by the 'High elves'(Think Galadrial, Not the Wood elves of Mirkwood since they kinda split off and did their own things) hoped they could redeem and rehabilitate them even at potential cost of their own, killing them was a tragic necessity rather than something done 'without basic moral consideration'. To humans they were seen as servants of the dark lord, which, to be fair, by and large was correct.
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