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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    NecromancerGirl

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    Default D&D Mirror Universe

    So, I've had an idea like this before, but watching the Star Trek original series episode "Mirror, Mirror" made me think - how would a typical D&D world or other fantasy look if all the major race's Good/Evil alignments were flipped? Where once civilization was a noble fortress against the forces of evil, now it's an oppressive force trying to enforce its will on the multiverse. Humans, elves, dwarves, and others alternate between exterminating "barbarian" races and vying with each other for power, while Orcs, Gnolls, Drow, and other races hide in the wilderness and resist their oppressors wherever they can. I wanted to talk about and explore this idea, as the sheer number of possibilities and changes is more than I can plan alone.

    My personal preference for going about this is that the Law-Chaos axis of the factions and races involved remains the same, along with as much cultural traits as possible (though I imagine some features, like the Drow penchant for slavery, simply don't work in a Usually Chaotic Good society). The result, I think, is quite an interesting flip from traditional fantasy settings - particularly since, as I alluded to, a lot of "Usually Evil" races tend to be the "Barbarian" type, often living in hostile environments outside of civilization. Even Kobolds, though they are Lawful, live underground. I think that all lends itself to a Mirror Multiverse where civilization is usually (though not always) a force for evil, a contrast from most fantasy settings and most actual cultural beliefs.

    I don't know if all creatures' morality should be swapped - there seem to be a lot more Evil beings in D&D than Good, and being Good means they're more likely to cooperate. Also, the setting kinda depends on things like undead being automatically evil, and while I loath that concept I'm not in favor of making all undead good. Maybe we start with considering humanoids only, and broaden from there to see what fits. Having the good-aligned Outsiders become evil and the demons and devils become good seems fitting, for example - given that celestials are often more humanlike than the monstrous fiends. And I'm genuinely curious what good-aligned Illithids would be like...
    Quote Originally Posted by Potato_Priest View Post
    Honestly, most players would get super excited about Zenob the god of crabs because it's eccentric. I know I would.

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    Default Re: D&D Mirror Universe

    I could certainly see it. A normally freedom-loving race, would be fanatical oppressors in the mirror universe. Drow, who keep slaves in the traditional D&D world, may, in the new world, have a sort of indentured servitude similar to ye olde Jubilee system - servants would be tied in to indenture contracts to pay off one's debt, but every 7 years the servitude would end and the remaining debt forgiven. It's still a servitude, but as a social construct instead of a form of systemic oppression.

    The undead don't have to be specifically evil either. Part of Amonkhet, the MTG plane they made a 5E splat about, includes the use of mummified zombies to take over all menial labor in the society... in such a society, a necromancer is more akin to Human Resources (groan) Manager than a big bad evil guy.

    Angels and other normally good-aligned outsiders are now murderous fascists in the mirror-verse, fighting for the establishment. Demons and evil-aligned outsiders are disestablishment, instead fighting for independence of thought and freedom of action.

    Edit: Perhaps "good" Illithids could be an target of aspiration. Even though they're still brain-sucking superintelligent beings who eventually be a part of an Elder Brain network, that could be viewed as a form of enlightenment. Being fed to the illithids would be similar to dedicating one's life and mind to be one chosen, and the eventual connection to the Elder brain would be a sort of nirvana.

    That would certainly mesh with a normalized zombie workforce. The worthy are consumed and "live on", while the unworthy are given a new life contributing to the society after they pass away.
    Last edited by Vogie; 2017-09-20 at 08:23 AM.

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    Default Re: D&D Mirror Universe

    I can go into more detail later but a few takes on this line of thought:

    Dwarves: As a Lawful Evil race, dwarven culture becomes oppressive and warlike. Droves of slave miners churn out iron and coal, labor in the forges and foundries becomes no more than glorified slave work, not providing nearly enough earnings to escape the lash. The only way out of servitude for the common folk is by enlisting into their armies, which is in most cases certain death, as they slaughter deserters and never surrender. Decimation keeps them in line not only in militant groups, but in labor as well. The weakest of every ten is executed each month, a way to instill fear into the inefficient. Meanwhile, their lords hoard the wealth of the many in vast chambers and vaults, hiding away in their halls for fear of being overthrown. Assassination and coup d'etat is a common practice, creating a system similar to Byzantine politics.

    The dwarven distrust of magic transforms into sheer hatred, with witch burnings being common among them. Stronger still is their hate of elves, who make up the vast majority of their slaves.

    Dwarves and dragons go hand in hand in this scenario, and at least one dwarven kingdom finds itself under one's rule.

    Elves: As a Chaotic Evil race, elves become the scourge of the earth, burning and looting entire kingdoms as their hordes sweep across the map. Their magics become twisted and vile, driven by blood and ritual sacrifice. Their favored tool of destruction, be it arcane or mundane, is fire. They view the phenomenon as a cleansing of the impurity of life, and seek to set the world aflame to purify it , giving it back to their gods.

    The elves despise dwarves for their sciences, as they see progress as a crime against nature. They often kill them on sight.

    Gnomes: Since they have been attributed as Chaotic Evil, the normally burrow-dwelling gnomes become the very face of death. They dwell in ancient tombs and catacombs, able to subsist on maggots, mold, rotting meat, and other unsavory sustenance. They are drawn to cemeteries, sewers, and barrows of other races, as it provides them with "fresh" food and stock for their dark magic. Gnomes are learned in the art of necromancy and illusion, making themselves invisible to their hosts and creating undead wardens to stave off extermination. They are even known to feed on zombified servants, picking the bones clean until they are mere skeletons. They have a tendency to use illusions and enchantments to lure the surface dwellers into their abodes, where they are quickly slaughtered by unseen assailants.

    Gnomes are alarmingly common among dwarves, as their methods of decimation creates a steady supply of food. While most dwarven cities are unaware of their presence, those that are have two ways of dealing with them. Most cremate their dead to starve them out, while a few offer sacrifice in return for a steady supply of undead labor.

    Goblins: As a race of Chaotic Good creatures, goblins live in harmony with the world around them. As fear becomes pacifism, they have an aversion to blood and pain among others, and thus feed mainly on grubs, mushrooms, berries, and roots. They were driven into the fringes of the world by the burning wrath of the elves, and are forced further with each passing year.

    Goblins have a love of story telling and adventure, and have an oral history predating any form of writing. They revere the spirits of every animal, every mountain, and every tree. Their art is mainly in paintings on standing stones and caves, which is a practice they have maintained for countless generations.

    Halflings: As Neutral Evil creatures, halflings become gluttonous and decadent, bearing a hunger and thirst that can never be sated. Their wealthy consume far more than would be possible of other races and still remain thin, while the masses starve as they labor to feed the few. Their reclusive nature becomes xenophobic, and they see all others as no more than animals. Consuming the flesh of other peoples is common among them.

    Halflings specialize in thievery, bounty hunting, poisoning, and the most vile alchemy, as their curiosity turns to greed and their love of brewing turns to the vilest arts. While they have no armies of their own, their assassins keep them an object of fear, as no ruler in their right mind would dare risk their retribution.

    Kobolds: As they have become a Lawful Good race, kobolds are preservers of knowledge and keepers of ancient scrolls. Their stonework is unparalleled, even among the dwarves, and they can produce wonders such as massive sliding doors, aqueducts, and even running water without the use of even basic metals. Their abodes are nerworks of stone halls carved into the faces of mountains and cliffs, the entries masked by vegetation and the halls lined with shelves upon shelves of scrolls. Their chambers are known best perhaps for their courtyards, as networks of skylights allow the sun to shed light even into the lowest chambers. They can therefore tend crops on the upper levels, taking in their water from canals that run on the edges of every hall and chamber, and grow trees, flowers, and grasses in soil-filled centers of otherwise stone and tile chambers.

    Perhaps the greatest love of the kobolds is sculpting. Statues of great heroes and gods decorate fountains and villas, many depicted reaching out to passers by as if in offering. The religious nature of kobolds is one of study and meditation, and many chambers are devoted to quiet contemplation.
    May the gods watch over your battles, friend.

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    Default Re: D&D Mirror Universe

    A mirrored version of Ilithids would probably flip just one thing about the brain sucking: that promise of the human subject's personality living on in the ilithid body, and eventually the illithid personality living on in the elder brain, would actually be true.

    As such they could serve as a sort of diplomat/manager caste across all of the now-good dark-races. Given that these are in more of an underdog rebel situation, you'd have a few of these people largely performing the crafty planning that allows any of the races to exist on the fringes of these oppressive powers (or in the slums, depending on tone,) without anybody deeming them a high enough priority to finally assign enough force to snuffing out the light for good.

    Now, how exactly do you keep a freedom-fighter/terrorist elder brain from attracting that kind of attention while eluding the smaller task forces that come after them? I'm not entirely sure how that could work. Maybe something about Neothelids being a bigger nuisance?

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    Default Re: D&D Mirror Universe

    Concerning Dragons

    This is one of the few places in such a setting where I'd consider a less dramatic shift. Changing alignments entirely ends up with a "red is gold, gold is red" kind of change that eventually tires out. If your players would expect everything else in the setting to be of opposite alignment, the best way to portray dragons is as an exception to the shift, as it can cause them to mistakenly put their faith in a patron with little concern for their well-being.

    Instead of a full shift therefore, I'd shift their alignments to "Mainly X Neutral or X Evil", meaning a white dragon would be "Mainly Chaotic Neutral or Chaotic Evil", while a gold dragon would be "Mainly Lawful Neutral or Lawful Evil". This turns them wholly into self-serving creatures disinterested in the affairs of mortals, a depiction which serves the sides generally depicted in literature and folklore.
    May the gods watch over your battles, friend.

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    Default Re: D&D Mirror Universe

    Mirrorverse Giants

    So, due to the alignment changes, some interesting things happen to giants.

    Cloud Giants. Not much change if you want to fully flip all alignments. As typically Neutral Good or Neutral Evil, setting them up as True Neutral is your best bet. Cloud giants are best used in extreme rarity, though you can have them exist in virtually any area with open skies.

    Fire Giants. This is where the contrast begins to be noticeable. Normally Lawful Evil, the fire giants of this setting become Lawful Good. They retain their renowned skill in the forge, but use these skills for more than just personal power. Tales of legendary weapons forged by giants and gods permeate myth and folklore, and this variant of fire giants becomes the perfect way to reflect such stories. They become the crafters of powerful and renowned weapons feared and renowned by the people. The existence of fire giants should be a great rarity, with a single giant ruling a massive keep. Most dwellers in such a keep would likely be ogres.

    Frost Giants. As they become Chaotic Good, frost giants are a noble race that roam the colder lands in solitude. While their rage is lost in the trade, their love of mead is greatly amplified. Travellers who come across a frost giant at rest are likely to be offered large quantities of mead, more venison than they could bear to eat, and long, wistful stories of times long ago.

    The longhouse of a frost giant is stocked full with barrels of mead, ale, and the finest stouts. They are often inhabited both by the giant's close family and a host of trolls who take great pride in serving their guests.

    Hill Giants. Becoming Chaotic Good, hill giants are more of a curiosity than a threat. They tend to shy away from civilized countries, preferring the solitude of still lakes and quiet brooks. They are known not only for their love of collecting strange objects but also for their love of giving gifts. Travellers who take the time to converse with a hill giant are often offered the first item the giant can find in his bag as a token of good will.

    While not known for good memory by any means, a hill giant will always remember someone who was kind to them, as few ever are. They almost always dwell alone.

    Ogres. The reversed alignment for these is Chaotic Good (or Lawful Good for ogre magi). Most ogres are excitable and emotional, and are easily startled. While they cannot concentrate for long on any one project, they are always working on their craft, be it sculpting, smithing, painting, weaving, or even gardening. They often leave their work unfinished for long periods of time, coming back to it whenever the interest to do so returns. The crafts of ogres are of meticulous detail, and often have images of climbing flowers, trees, and birds. The sword Dymondheart (3.5 Weapons of Legacy) could be a woodcut sword of ogre make, with a crossguard and hilt like reaching branches that still flower and grow leaves, a grip carved like a flowering vine, and a pommel shaped like a rose.

    Most ogres dwell with fire giants, though some venture out on their own to find inspiration in the world around them.

    Stone Giants. Literally no change, as they are True Neutral.

    Storm Giants. The change from Chaotic Good to Chaotic Evil is profound in the race of storm giants. Their wisdom becomes madness, their kindness becomes cruelty, and their generosity becomes greed. They are known to slay whoever tresspasses on their territory, as they cannot stand the presence of those they deem lesser beings.

    The servants of a storm giant are likely merfolk (CE). They often send them first when mariners sail close to their island homes.
    May the gods watch over your battles, friend.

  7. - Top - End - #7
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    NecromancerGirl

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    Default Re: D&D Mirror Universe

    Quote Originally Posted by Zorku View Post
    A mirrored version of Ilithids would probably flip just one thing about the brain sucking: that promise of the human subject's personality living on in the ilithid body, and eventually the illithid personality living on in the elder brain, would actually be true.

    As such they could serve as a sort of diplomat/manager caste across all of the now-good dark-races. Given that these are in more of an underdog rebel situation, you'd have a few of these people largely performing the crafty planning that allows any of the races to exist on the fringes of these oppressive powers (or in the slums, depending on tone,) without anybody deeming them a high enough priority to finally assign enough force to snuffing out the light for good.

    Now, how exactly do you keep a freedom-fighter/terrorist elder brain from attracting that kind of attention while eluding the smaller task forces that come after them? I'm not entirely sure how that could work. Maybe something about Neothelids being a bigger nuisance?
    Probably the same way Elder Brains survive in canon D&D - they're just too damn powerful for anyone but the mightiest heroes to uproot. That won't stop the various Evil Empires from trying,
    of course, which likely means the Illithids will do what they can to evade attention, at least for as long as possible. Once an Elder Brain is located, however, the various surface empires will do their best to eliminate it - though, given that both Elder Brains and their Illithid scions can wipe the floor with common soldiers, they probably just have to wait until a suitably powerful group of anti-heroes comes along. Until then, however, Illithid cities likely serve as meeting places, even headquarters, for various good monster races. Perhaps, in this setting, the taverns the heroes meet at are in Illithid cities. ...Or, conceivably, Drow, Kobold, or Duergar locales. Hell, the whole Underdark is probably a bastion for the forces of Good in this setting - and since there would still be a lot of hazardous monsters and the occasional still-evil aberration, it's a great training ground for heroes.

    Speaking of Illithids, however, what of the Gith? Their deal is that they used to be slaves of the Illithid until the rebelled, but how likely is that to still be the case? Especially given the Githyanki would now be Chaotic Good, which makes one wonder what their problem with the Githzerai and Illithids would be - or even if it still exists. The Githzerai, I think, would at least be mostly the same, though what I read of them implies they're rather isolationist and xenophobic - maybe they still keep to themselves, but freely offer sanctuary in their monasteries to travelers in Limbo, provided the visitors abide by the monastery's rules and don't mind the rather spartan accommodations.

    Trying to think of what other creatures would be problematic...
    Quote Originally Posted by Potato_Priest View Post
    Honestly, most players would get super excited about Zenob the god of crabs because it's eccentric. I know I would.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    Default Re: D&D Mirror Universe

    Gotta say, I love the idea. Furthermore, I really like the insight you've put into it personally. Well written, well thought out. I'd help but I'm getting off lunch at work right now, maybe after though. Keep up the good work!

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    Default Re: D&D Mirror Universe

    We did this a couple of times as a parallel setting to our usual one. The DM subjected us to a transporter accident teleportation mishap, and we were dropped into a land where the poles were reversed...

    As we were pretty high level by this time, our characters were important - rulers of dominions as well as adventurers. So when my NG Knight (joint ruler as King of this lovely happy land) appeared, the starving peasants all quaked in their boots at his coming and offered up bribes to make him leave them in peace.

    In short, all our allies were our enemies here, and our dreaded foes were the peaceful ones trying to defend against our Mirror Universe selves.

    That sort of personal touch to a Mirror Universe can be really fun.
    Last edited by Altair_the_Vexed; 2017-09-26 at 10:11 AM.

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    Default Re: D&D Mirror Universe

    Quote Originally Posted by Dusk Raven View Post
    [H]ow would a typical D&D world or other fantasy look if all the major race's Good/Evil alignments were flipped? ... Humans, elves, dwarves, and others alternate between exterminating "barbarian" races and vying with each other for power, while Orcs, Gnolls, Drow, and other races hide in the wilderness and resist their oppressors wherever they can.
    So... In some ways not so different at all.

    I've only read the first two posts so far, but I do have a few thoughts, and I'll read the rest later.

    My personal preference for going about this is that the Law-Chaos axis of the factions and races involved remains the same, along with as much cultural traits as possible (though I imagine some features, like the Drow penchant for slavery, simply don't work in a Usually Chaotic Good society). The result, I think, is quite an interesting flip from traditional fantasy settings...
    All the more interesting because I wasn't kidding above. It's opposite is some sense, but while this changes some behaviors radically, it doesn't change some others.

    I agree with leaving the law-chaos axis alone. When changing from a well established baseline to make something new, it's usually best to change just one thing, in this case flipping just one alignment axis.

    I don't know if all creatures' morality should be swapped...
    I like keeping the mundane monsters unchanged, flipping only humans, demi-humans, and humanoids. Those outsiders from the outer planes are in large part gods or their servants; since gods are tied to their mortal worshippers, flipping these is necessary, as you implied. The rest of the outer planar outsiders would have to flip, because their homes are intrinsically tied to alignments, and those have to have flipped with the gods. But the other outsiders... Ah, yes, the elementals and others from the elemental planes; the astral, ethereal, and energy planes: those do not have to flip.

    Undead are usually considered automatically evil, sometimes with occasional exceptions, for reasons that basically come down to that they are crimes against nature. That could still be true, or it could not. Either way, an evil society would be more tolerant of them (which is already a trope in those evil societies that exist in current settings). In some settings, there are rare exceptions, individual undead who are good despite their nature. Perhaps just make those, while still exceptions to the rule, somewhat more common. But then, why? The exceptions usually are good because they cling to what they were in life; if they were evil in life then why should they become good in unlife? I guess leave undead alone.

    Leaving the other monsters unchanged allows a way of exploring and highlighting the differences in the human-like beings, as it provides a constant backdrop against which to view them. Human civilization might ally with some of the evil monsters, or keep them as pets, or kill them just like the usual fantasy civilizations do, except do so as much because they are rivals as threats. And so on, with many other possibilities. Consider the classic dragon slayer, for example.
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    Default Re: D&D Mirror Universe

    Could be a fun way of looking at what makes races "feel like" themselves and keeping that Feel despite Drow being "Always Chaotic Good" in the Mirror Manual
    Last edited by Dr_Dinosaur; 2017-10-04 at 09:56 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr_Dinosaur View Post
    Could be a fun way of looking at what makes races "feel like" themselves and keeping that Feel despite Drow being "Always Chaotic Good" in the Mirror Manual
    That's what I was hoping - I've seen Mirror Universes where the "mirror" versions are basically the exact opposite, and while that's technically valid, I find it unsatisfying - because if you didn't know who they were mirror versions of, you'd never guess. Case in point, there is a Transformers comic out there that takes place in a Mirror Universe, but since everyone is a total opposite it doesn't quite feel the same. I decided I liked things more when the "mirror" versions kept most of their original qualities, but at the same time made relatively small changes that change their role dramatically - like flipping them from Good to Evil or vice-versa.

    This can be surprisingly difficult though, since good and evil are not equivalent, and sometimes you have actions of an evil race that are hard to spin as being "good." Drow are an example of this, as it's hard to put a "good" spin on slavery (though Vogie suggested something that sounds workable). Sometimes it's just easier to turn a trait into a thematically similar opposite, like what Thunderfist12 did for some of his suggestions.

    Trying to work on Gnolls at the moment, myself. I very much like them, but sadly they're fairly obscure, possibly due to being shafted in 3.5 as least as far as rules went. But I've gleaned enough of their culture to be able to take a stab at it...
    Quote Originally Posted by Potato_Priest View Post
    Honestly, most players would get super excited about Zenob the god of crabs because it's eccentric. I know I would.

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    Default Re: D&D Mirror Universe

    I've been mulling over this idea since I first saw it posted here and I gotta say, it's still an exciting concept to me.
    For me, I like the implication of the mirrorverse just as much as the presentation of the races themselves. For example the core races- as I see it- would still be the heart of civilization. The major countries and cities of the world would belong to evil slave-driving dwarves, insane marauding elves, terrifying corpse-eating gnomes, and whatever humans would be (I'm just scraping them entirely for the campaign I've been planning). Meanwhile, the only bastions of good would be ancient ruins and abandoned cities filled with good-aligned monstrous races. Most gods would likely be evil, because most potential worshippers would also be evil. It'd be a world that is built in an actively anti-good way, and I think that's fascinating.
    What do you think about society, and how monstrous races would interact with such a world without the edge that cruelty gives them in a standard world?

    [EDIT] BTW, considering how lots of monstrous races have nightvision, and more than a few are nocturnal, do you think that might dramatically effect their culture?
    Last edited by Bobbyjackcorn; 2017-10-11 at 12:59 PM. Reason: Added A Thought

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobbyjackcorn View Post
    I've been mulling over this idea since I first saw it posted here and I gotta say, it's still an exciting concept to me.
    For me, I like the implication of the mirrorverse just as much as the presentation of the races themselves. For example the core races- as I see it- would still be the heart of civilization. The major countries and cities of the world would belong to evil slave-driving dwarves, insane marauding elves, terrifying corpse-eating gnomes, and whatever humans would be (I'm just scraping them entirely for the campaign I've been planning). Meanwhile, the only bastions of good would be ancient ruins and abandoned cities filled with good-aligned monstrous races. Most gods would likely be evil, because most potential worshippers would also be evil. It'd be a world that is built in an actively anti-good way, and I think that's fascinating.
    What do you think about society, and how monstrous races would interact with such a world without the edge that cruelty gives them in a standard world?

    [EDIT] BTW, considering how lots of monstrous races have nightvision, and more than a few are nocturnal, do you think that might dramatically effect their culture?
    It really is a fun setting to think about, because while on the surface the main things that change are the sapient races, the reality of D&D is that the "good" and "evil" races have various things in common with those of their own alignment. In standard D&D, for instance, civilization is a source of stability as well as protection from a chaotic wilderness - much as it is in many real-world mythologies. In this world, it's as source of oppression, and often corruption of the natural order. Likewise, light and daytime is in standard D&D associated with good (just look at Pelor) and darkness is the domain of evil monsters. But in this mirror universe, light is a source of strength and courage for the forces of evil, while the darkness offers refuge for the good races. A torch in the darkness is often a sign of approaching evil.

    I've always liked "Devil's Advocate" approaches to worldbuilding or stories, where you take something that is stereotypically evil (demons were a favorite of mine for this) and make them good, and do the same flip with their opposites. I find the resulting flip in perspective - and situation - fascinating. Instead of having an urban center or town to go to sell their loot or get quests, the PCs are a group of Noble Savages who must locate a friendly encampment, or perhaps a fortress of Kobolds, Hobgoblins, or the like. There are few truly safe areas, and a lot of places that are no-go zones for all but the hardiest heroes. Entire nations might as well be Mordor as far as the forces of good are concerned. And most likely, instead of having very clear-cut cases of "this is evil and you should never do it" ie. Necromancy, the players may have to skirt on the dangerous side of both magic and morality - they may have to use methods considered evil in order to prevent even worse things from happening at the hand of uncompromising, merciless evil.



    Bringing up the gods, though, brings up something interesting - whether or not the gods should switch morality. "Racial" gods would have to be switched - To use Greyhawk as an example, it wouldn't make sense for Moradin to be Lawful Good when his primary worshipers are Lawful Evil. If one starts switching the other gods, though, then the concepts those gods represent may or may not switch as well. Heironeous and Hextor likely switch roles, with Hextor being much like standard Heironeous and vice-versa; the same may happen with other gods like Kord and Erythnul. Vecna is easy enough to imagine as a Good deity (particularly with the tendency of the good-aligned mirror races to live in the wilderness and away from civilization's prying eyes). But what of Pelor and Nerull? To be honest, the main reason they're good and evil is because light is supposed to be good and death is supposed to be evil. And if you've flipped the sapient races, then light and dark are no longer quite as good and evil. Perhaps in this setting, Pelor is representative of everything evil, which uses as its symbol a harsh, blinding, unrelenting sun. And Nerull is symbolic of a force that is utterly dedicated to good - never dying and never surrendering, he never stops working to advance the cause of good and to protect those being loyal to it. As the greatest champion of pure, Neutral Good, he will do whatever it takes - except evil itself - to ensure that good triumphs.

    ...It's actually really fun imagining how to turn evil people good and good people evil... stories of corruption and redemption are among my favorites, so I guess that shouldn't be a surprise!
    Quote Originally Posted by Potato_Priest View Post
    Honestly, most players would get super excited about Zenob the god of crabs because it's eccentric. I know I would.

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    Orcs become a really cool tribe in the mirrorverse. You can keep the aggression and everything, just put them in a plight where evil races keep usurping territory from them. And to keep up against those races, the orcs bind together into "nations" oftentimes pulling goblins in to assure survival of both humanoid groups. These nations should celebrate a rich culture of weaving, hunt/fishing, and nature veneration. Those that take up arms are trying to protect their race and their lands from incursions from the evil elves and cutthroat humans.

    Considering the prolific nature of orcs and goblins, having strong cultural emphasis on maternity and birth would help flesh them out, and help explain parts of orc culture that are totally ignored by the non-mirrorverse. They have shorter lifespans than humans and no real 1st level racial benefits other than strength.

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    Quote Originally Posted by daremetoidareyo View Post
    Orcs become a really cool tribe in the mirrorverse. You can keep the aggression and everything, just put them in a plight where evil races keep usurping territory from them. And to keep up against those races, the orcs bind together into "nations" oftentimes pulling goblins in to assure survival of both humanoid groups. These nations should celebrate a rich culture of weaving, hunt/fishing, and nature veneration. Those that take up arms are trying to protect their race and their lands from incursions from the evil elves and cutthroat humans.
    Clearly, you're talking about the plight of native Americans and other aboriginal peoples. But also, I return to the first comment I made in this thread: it's not so different from the standard D&D world, where the civilized humans, elves, etc. hunt orcs and goblins and others, driving them out of desirable land in the name of settling and civilizing it. In this and a number of other aspects, good and evil are in the eyes of the beholders (yes, yes, don't bother) and this mirror universe is, in some respects, just a change of perspective.

    And in other ways it's more than that. So even the fact that the mirror difference is more of a difference here than there is itself one of the interesting facets to the whole affair.
    Last edited by jqavins; 2017-10-30 at 02:16 PM.
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    I find this idea very intriguing! I thought i might contribute with a few races. It wont be as great quality as you do, but maybe this could get you started.

    Dragonborns would be a little tricky. As far as i know they tend towards no particular alignment, and are somewhat tribalistic. Im thinking about instead of trying to make the the opposite of what they are, i thought i might intensify what they are. In Star Trek DS9, we see the mirror world another time, but instead we see how the Bajorans rose to power with the help of the Cardassian-Klingon alliance. The Bajorans, Cardassians and Klingons all retained the general traits they had, but intensified or skewed in a way as unfamiliar or unsettling. Bajorans are more cutthroat and willing to do what they want due to the occupation, and Cardassians find themselves struggling to listen to their Bajoran superiors and often have disagreements. To steal a quote, "The players are the same, but everyone's playing a different game."

    I digress. Dragonborn are fiercely loyal to their clan, putting its welfare before their own lives. How do I intensify this? By making the clans into cults. They are devoted to their respective cults and are loyal only to the being they serve- often, Dragons. They are self-willing slaves to whomever can protect them, and follow the footsteps of their leader, meaning they could still be a force for good or evil.

    Humans are known for their ambition. In this mirror-verse, they will be known by ambition's somewhat distant cousin- Greed. They do whatever gets them more of whatever they want- excitment, gold, order, even love. Each human seeks something different, so they still tend towards no alignment, except maybe a tad towards chaos. I will put an asterisk next to Humans here and say that they dont have anything that fits them into the 'dynamic' of the world, they're just general racial traits.

    Now i'm going to switch to opposites instead of intensifying. If we're doing demons = angels and vice versa, then Teiflings would be considered aspects of gods. In many races and cultures its taboo to kill a Teifling. And though they could support themselves, they find great comfort in having emotional support from a group. As such they are often clerics or paladins, and commune with the gods of whomever they're staying with. Its not rare to see Dragonborn serve Tieflings.

    By the same token, Aasimar are seen as demons. They are agents of chaos and spread mistrust and disorder wherever they go. However, they're very rare, since most are killed at birth (iirc, Aasimar are born from humans.). If an Aasimar becomes powerful enough, they become a beacon for many evil or chaotic Dragonborn.

    Merfolk are now anti-tribalistic, and newborns are abandoned soon after birth. Most Merfolk are distrustful and rarely go on land, with the exception of when they need supplies or weapons, and they keep their visits short. However, Merfolk that know of the above water world are few and far between due to the lack of structure within the race.

    Thoughts, criticisms? I just thought this up on the spot and wrote it in like 20 minutes, so im sure i got something wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scarfking View Post
    I find this idea very intriguing! I thought i might contribute with a few races. It wont be as great quality as you do, but maybe this could get you started.
    Your ideas are interesting, but I think you've missed the original point. Or is it that you've chosen to go off in a different direction?

    But first, a Star Trek digression of my own.
    In Star Trek DS9, we see the mirror world another time... Bajorans are more cutthroat and willing to do what they want due to the occupation...
    I don't recall seeing any Bajorans except power mad, sex crazed Kira. Now, on with the critique.
    Im thinking about instead of trying to make the the opposite of what they are, i thought i might intensify what they are.
    The original point was to make one change, and one change only: switching places on the good-evil axis of alignment. Mixing in other changes, even though interesting ones, breaks the paradigm of exploring what happens with just one change.

    Also, as I understood the original point, that reversal isn't necessarily race by race. Humans, elves, dwarves, etc. have no "usually good" racial norms, but we think of societies as usually good, so it's that which is reversed to usually evil. There could still be bands of humans (and the others) who choose to live by a code of good, but they are outcast bands analogous to bandits in normal settings.

    Now i'm going to switch to opposites instead of intensifying. If we're doing demons = angels and vice versa
    Well, sort of. Demons and angels would still have the same sorts of powers that they do in normal settings, but demons are good and angels are evil. Angels are still creatures of divine beauty and light, but these things are emblems of evil. So...
    then Teiflings would be considered aspects of gods.
    No.

    By the same token, Aasimar are seen as [children of the glorious, evil outsiders of the upper planes]. They are agents of chaos and spread mistrust and disorder wherever they go.
    Aasimar don't have any proclivity to law or chaos, and those would not be reversed in any case.
    However, they're very rare, since most are killed at birth (iirc, Aasimar are born from humans.).
    This I don't understand. If a descendant of the evil outsiders worshiped in evil human society is born into said society, why would it be any less welcome than the descendants of angels in a regular setting?

    Merfolk are now anti-tribalistic, and newborns are abandoned soon after birth.
    Same problem, right? It's not all characteristics, like tribal bonding, that are reversed; just good and evil. The challenge is to find a way that reversing that and nothing else makes some sort of sense.
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    Yeah, the major point was to make one change, but it ended up making rippling effects that reorganized the entire lore- in one post, someone mentioned Illithids being ambassadors (Or something similar, i dont recall exactly), and that all the major hubs are underground. These are major changes that happened as a result of the alignment shift, so it would stand to reason that other races, even normally non-aligned ones would find a new/different role in the world when the dynamic of the races has changed so much. So yeah, you could say i went in a different direction. (Not meaning to sound rude if i am.)

    And a quick response to the Star Trek tangent, its not entirely true that we only see Kira, we also see the mirror version of Brial (Kira's lover at one time) in another episode, but i believe your point is that we dont have enough information to extrapolate the whole race, which is still probably true.

    As for the Tieflings and Aasimar, youre probably right again. I took a few too many liberties with them. If the gods' alignments are reversed, then everyone would still worship the same god, but for the opposite reasons. I guess it would be best to scrap those ideas. (Although i would appreciate more criticism than just "no".)

    And as for the Merfolk, I had a bit of a hard time coming up with something for them. Theyre fairly similar to Dragonborn when it comes to how their society was structured, so i had to something completely different that made sense for them in this new context. With the majority of the races on land being "Evil", it made some sense that they would avoid the land. I suppose they could easily be the same or opposite of themselves in this new world, so i decided to go the opposite direction for them to add a bit "more" to their summary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scarfking View Post
    (Although i would appreciate more criticism than just "no".)
    Sorry if that seemed rude. It was supposed to be the culmination of the comments that led up to it. I guess that didn't go over as intended.
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    You know, furthermore, I'm curious what demons and devils would be like in this version. Without switching their powers, how do you justify them? Beings inherently born with pestilence and death themed powers, but are inherently good? How do you make a kind creature that can only kill?
    Furthermore, the Nine Hells are still pretty unfriendly simply as a place, as is the Abyss, so how do we handle the obviously harsh terrain that Demons and Devils live in? Are they simply protective measures to deter invasion by Angels and evil mortals? Are the nature of the planes shifted, or do evil souls still go to the Abyss and Nine Hells when they die, with the good still going to the various "normally good" realms?

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    Perhaps (just perhaps) the nature of the planes is dictated by the nature of the beings that live there, so the Nine Hells and Abyss are not so bad. I know, this looks like a separate thing from the One Change Only, but if it's framed as a consequence of the One Change then maybe it works.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jqavins View Post
    Perhaps (just perhaps) the nature of the planes is dictated by the nature of the beings that live there, so the Nine Hells and Abyss are not so bad. I know, this looks like a separate thing from the One Change Only, but if it's framed as a consequence of the One Change then maybe it works.
    Perhaps, though that runs the danger of not seriously considering the implications of the changes we propose. By changing the nature of the planes themselves, we run the risk of a planar palate swap. Keeping the planes themselves the same reflects our other choices of trying to keep the cultures similar in fashion, as well as keeping all the stat blocks the same.

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    I apologize for the long post, but this is what happens when I don't check up for days. If you've posted recently, feel free to scan it for the parts of your posts I quoted.

    Quote Originally Posted by jqavins View Post
    The original point was to make one change, and one change only: switching places on the good-evil axis of alignment. Mixing in other changes, even though interesting ones, breaks the paradigm of exploring what happens with just one change.

    Also, as I understood the original point, that reversal isn't necessarily race by race. Humans, elves, dwarves, etc. have no "usually good" racial norms, but we think of societies as usually good, so it's that which is reversed to usually evil.
    Pretty much. The idea I had was that you only change the traits of a culture that are irredeemably good or evil, because the intent is to keep them essentially the same, but for the fact that they are evil instead of good, and vice-versa. In a way, it's an attempt to see how little you have to do to a race or culture in order to corrupt or redeem them (culture and race often being the same in D&D for nonhumans unless you delve into specific settings like Mystara).

    Quote Originally Posted by jqavins View Post
    But also, I return to the first comment I made in this thread: it's not so different from the standard D&D world, where the civilized humans, elves, etc. hunt orcs and goblins and others, driving them out of desirable land in the name of settling and civilizing it. In this and a number of other aspects, good and evil are in the eyes of the beholders (yes, yes, don't bother) and this mirror universe is, in some respects, just a change of perspective.

    And in other ways it's more than that. So even the fact that the mirror difference is more of a difference here than there is itself one of the interesting facets to the whole affair.
    There really isn't much of a difference when you get down to it, huh? The racial dynamics and the conflict of law and chaos, and evil civilization and wilderness is the same. And if you think about it, the mirror setup of evil civilization dominating the other races might just be how the “monstrous” races see it. It's just that in canon D&D we have the self-assurance that those monstrous races are EVIL – so of course in the mirror world we flip that around.

    ...Also, I really want to understand that last sentence, but I can't. Could you rephrase? I'm confused by the syntax or something like that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scarfking View Post
    Humans are known for their ambition. In this mirror-verse, they will be known by ambition's somewhat distant cousin- Greed. They do whatever gets them more of whatever they want- excitment, gold, order, even love. Each human seeks something different, so they still tend towards no alignment, except maybe a tad towards chaos. I will put an asterisk next to Humans here and say that they dont have anything that fits them into the 'dynamic' of the world, they're just general racial traits.
    Funny enough, humans are stated to have no inclination to any alignment, even neutrality, so no change is needed at all. I suspect a greater number of them may be evil, but that would be because they live in evil elf/dwarf/halfling societies, not because humans themselves are inclined towards evil. As a result, they are the most likely race amongst the “standard” PHB races to be seen in a good adventuring party or amongst good villages. I suspect they may be somewhat scrutinized, however, due how common they are amongst evil races. Not to mention, they look more like the evil races than the good races.

    Even so, this means that the status of half-orcs changes quite a bit. Instead of being outcasts, they are valued members of orc tribes and of “monstrous” communities in general, since they have less of the flaws of orcs.

    Half-elves, on the other hand, might be treated worse in civilized societies, depending on the culture. In an area where elves are dominant over humans, for instance, half-elves are seen by elves as bastards and embarrassments, and by humans as painful reminders of elven dominance by humans. A few might try leaving elven/human territory for other lands, but amongst the monstrous races they would still have some distrust to overcome...

    Quote Originally Posted by daremetoidareyo View Post
    Orcs become a really cool tribe in the mirrorverse. You can keep the aggression and everything, just put them in a plight where evil races keep usurping territory from them. And to keep up against those races, the orcs bind together into "nations" oftentimes pulling goblins in to assure survival of both humanoid groups. These nations should celebrate a rich culture of weaving, hunt/fishing, and nature veneration. Those that take up arms are trying to protect their race and their lands from incursions from the evil elves and cutthroat humans.

    Considering the prolific nature of orcs and goblins, having strong cultural emphasis on maternity and birth would help flesh them out, and help explain parts of orc culture that are totally ignored by the non-mirrorverse. They have shorter lifespans than humans and no real 1st level racial benefits other than strength.
    I agree with most of that, although I think in general the change from evil to good will look a bit like the difference between Erythnul and Kord in Greyhawk's pantheon – rather than strength for strength's sake, used for domination and destruction, they value strength for protecting the weak – and also as a vehicle for competition. Despite valuing strength and believing that the strong should lead the weak, they don't have as much of a “might makes right” philosophy, and it is seen as cowardly to prey on the weak.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scarfking View Post
    As for the Tieflings and Aasimar, youre probably right again. I took a few too many liberties with them. If the gods' alignments are reversed, then everyone would still worship the same god, but for the opposite reasons.
    Well, the gods aren't, as a whole, evil or good. I think that's the reason jqavins disagreed with Tieflings being agents of the gods. Not to mention, celestials and fiends don't seem too connected to the good and evil gods respectively, other than by sharing the same home planes and being of the same alignments. I could be wrong, though.

    Anyway, the way I see it, aside from becoming mostly evil the Aasimar don't actually change much, since they are embodiments of forces that the evil civilized races respect (Celestials). They would be treated the same way amongst the evil races as they are in canon D&D... but amongst the good races, they're distrusted much as canon Tieflings are. Mirror Tieflings, on the other hand, get a bit of a break - while in canon they are distrusted, almost persecuted, in the mirror world they are more respected amongst the good races, who are themselves often found monstrous by "civilized" folk. There might be an interesting new trait, though, in that while canon Tieflings often struggle between their innate nature and whatever they'd like to do, like fit in... mirror Tieflings might end up struggling between their good-leaning nature and the temptation to revel in or take advantage of the respect they're given.

    And as for the Merfolk, I had a bit of a hard time coming up with something for them. Theyre fairly similar to Dragonborn when it comes to how their society was structured, so i had to something completely different that made sense for them in this new context. With the majority of the races on land being "Evil", it made some sense that they would avoid the land. I suppose they could easily be the same or opposite of themselves in this new world, so i decided to go the opposite direction for them to add a bit "more" to their summary.
    Well, Merfolk are neutral, so they don't actually need to be changed any. Looking at their description in 3.5's Monster Manual, they remind me of Fey in that they are somewhat capricious and prone to tricks and pranks, but not actually evil, and there's no real way that I can see to turn them evil or good. I don't actually know if they'd be more reclusive than normal, though - in canon D&D there are also a lot of evil races on land, it's just that in the mirror universe they're distributed differently, with civilized races often being evil instead of good.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobbyjackcorn View Post
    You know, furthermore, I'm curious what demons and devils would be like in this version. Without switching their powers, how do you justify them? Beings inherently born with pestilence and death themed powers, but are inherently good? How do you make a kind creature that can only kill?
    Same way you justify a Barbarian in a good party, who doesn't do anything but smash things. Likewise, a Paladin who considers one of his primary goals to be the destruction of evil. Killing is, in and of itself, a morally subjective act in D&D, where destruction is generally a bad thing but is entirely justified if it's done to evil beings. Likewise, the destructive abilities of devils and demons are perfectly fine if used against the forces of evil. Not to mention, I don't know how many “benevolent” abilities Celestials have in the first place, although it could lead to an interesting setup of the forces of evil in the mirror world having a lot of “buffing” magic – not something you usually see among evil forces in fantasy settings.

    In general, though, I see the forces of good in this setting as being a little more grimly practical than their canon counterparts. Good is slightly more inclined towards chaos than in canon, which is itself a flip from most D&D settings. Some editions of D&D (older editions as well as 4th) actually have the assumption that Lawful Good is better than Chaotic Good, that Law is more inclined to Good than Chaos. The ultimate battle of good and evil in D&D is a Good-aligned kingdom versus a horde of Evil monsters bent on destruction. In the mirror world, it's Chaotic Good versus Lawful Evil instead. The archetypal showdown of Good and Evil in the mirror world is Luke Skywalker versus Darth Vader. And since the forces of good are often Chaotic, they're more inclined to take a less principled, “We do what we have to do to defeat evil” approach, even if that involves guerrilla warfare, sneaky tactics, or even things like necromancy (after all, in this setting, Nerull is Neutral Good, if you can wrap your mind around that). The test of good, as ever, is making sure you don't yourself become evil by going too far trying to defeat evil...

    Furthermore, the Nine Hells are still pretty unfriendly simply as a place, as is the Abyss, so how do we handle the obviously harsh terrain that Demons and Devils live in? Are they simply protective measures to deter invasion by Angels and evil mortals? Are the nature of the planes shifted, or do evil souls still go to the Abyss and Nine Hells when they die, with the good still going to the various "normally good" realms?
    I think of it in the same way I would if I were to flip the morality of classic angels and demons – that the fiends are not in Hell by choice, they were essentially forced there by Celestials. In that regard, the cultural geography of the Outer Planes isn't that different from the Material Plane, with the humanoid, stereotypically-pretty Celestials taking the fertile land for themselves and forcing the monstrous fiends into the planar badlands, as it were. In classic monstrous fashion, however, the fiends survive and thrive in the worst of the planes, the harsh conditions making them stronger. It's not paradise, but it's home, and they make it work.

    You could have a setup where the Abyss and the Nine Hells seem harsh to outsiders, but if you have the aid of the locals you too can make it home... while the "higher" planes are quite brutal not because of the terrain, but because of the inhabitants.
    Last edited by Dusk Raven; 2017-11-04 at 12:06 PM.
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    Honestly, most players would get super excited about Zenob the god of crabs because it's eccentric. I know I would.

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    Late to the thread with a thought, Lord's & Ladies and Wee Free Men in Pratchett's Discworld series are examples of a D&D "mirror" with good "Hags" (witches) and evil Elves.

    Snuff also had sympathetic Goblins.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusk Raven View Post
    Also, I really want to understand that last sentence, but I can't. Could you rephrase? I'm confused by the syntax or something like that.
    I had to go back and review the context of that comment, and here it is.
    Quote Originally Posted by jqavins View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by daremetoidareyo View Post
    Orcs become a really cool tribe in the mirrorverse. You can keep the aggression and everything, just put them in a plight where evil races keep usurping territory from them...
    Clearly, you're talking about the plight of native Americans and other aboriginal peoples... In this and a number of other aspects, good and evil are in the eyes of the beholders (yes, yes, don't bother) and this mirror universe is, in some respects, just a change of perspective.

    And in other ways it's more than that. So even the fact that the mirror difference is more of a difference here than there is itself one of the interesting facets to the whole affair.
    What I meant is that in some ways reversing what're called good and evil makes very little difference, the above being one example. In other ways, such as understanding the natures of the upper and lower outer planes, it can make a big difference. And that in itself - that it can make a bigger difference in some aspects than others - is part of what's interesting about it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusk Raven View Post
    I think of it in the same way I would if I were to flip the morality of classic angels and demons – that the fiends are not in Hell by choice, they were essentially forced there by Celestials. In that regard, the cultural geography of the Outer Planes isn't that different from the Material Plane, with the humanoid, stereotypically-pretty Celestials taking the fertile land for themselves and forcing the monstrous fiends into the planar badlands, as it were. In classic monstrous fashion, however, the fiends survive and thrive in the worst of the planes, the harsh conditions making them stronger. It's not paradise, but it's home, and they make it work.

    You could have a setup where the Abyss and the Nine Hells seem harsh to outsiders, but if you have the aid of the locals you too can make it home... while the "higher" planes are quite brutal not because of the terrain, but because of the inhabitants.
    A fascinating concept! I like it. Good is imprisoned away, serving as grim arbiters of a justice that the world has forgotten.
    LG outsiders make deals with evil humanoids within society, promising power in exchange for acts of righteousness, like the Vows from BoED.
    CG outsiders rage against the injustices of the world, seeking to break out of the abyss to lay waste to the evils of corrupt society.

    Meanwhile Evil reigns over mankind.
    LE is free to spread domination and the cruel order of an iron fist from on high.
    CE wanders free, seeking out and destroying any bastions of good they can find left.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobbyjackcorn View Post
    You know, furthermore, I'm curious what demons and devils would be like in this version. Without switching their powers, how do you justify them? Beings inherently born with pestilence and death themed powers, but are inherently good? How do you make a kind creature that can only kill?

    Furthermore, the Nine Hells are still pretty unfriendly simply as a place, as is the Abyss, so how do we handle the obviously harsh terrain that Demons and Devils live in? Are they simply protective measures to deter invasion by Angels and evil mortals? Are the nature of the planes shifted, or do evil souls still go to the Abyss and Nine Hells when they die, with the good still going to the various "normally good" realms?
    Chat Noir of Miraculous Ladybug is a good example of a hero with death powers: his main power is to rot away anything at a touch, including large buildings and pocket dimensions. He's also possibly the kindest and most selfless character in the cartoon. His usual use of his power is to break through bonds and barriers or to create traps by breaking floors or locks.


    Perhaps, the drow could be a highly ordered bastion for the good creatures of the Underdark. Within their fortresses, all are welcome to shelter, but you must work. Life is tough in the cavernous deserts underground and everybody must be able to pull their weight. In the halls of the Drow there is always movement. Somebody must be patrolling the walls, tallying the resources, making repairs, scouting the paths or tending the food supplies. The law is strict but fair: Everybody is a slave to the city's needs, but not to the city's wants, and the city must protect and provide for the citizens. Slacking, delaying or obstructing bring harsh punishments, but so does abuse, calling for overwork or exploiting others for your own game. The Houses seethe and bicker, but their ultimate duty is to the city and its people. If a city's council descends into evil, its neighbours will mount an assault until it is either overthrown or razed: The webbed walls must have no cracks. The Drow fortresses are not pleasant places to live, but they are always a refuge for those in need.
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    Default Re: D&D Mirror Universe

    Quote Originally Posted by Durkoala View Post
    Perhaps, the drow could be a highly ordered bastion for the good creatures of the Underdark...
    I like this. Humans of the real world could never pull it off. "Everyone works for the benefit of the state, because the people are the state, and the good of the state is the good of the people" is what a communist system is supposed to be, but never is. So there must be something in drow (elven) nature that's different from human nature that makes this work.

    So now the question is, how can this work for the drow while most societies of surface elves are evil? How is it that elven nature can work either way? If there's a basic difference in the brains of drow and surface elves it is certainly subtle, so if that's the reason the drow succeed in living this way then we need to see a subtle change in basic nature that causes a big change in cultural behavior.

    As I noted before, some consequences of the morality flip are minor and some are major, and that's part of the fun. Layers!
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