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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    Default Re: D&D Mirror Universe

    Quote Originally Posted by Dusk Raven View Post
    Not sure about Beholders, though. Despite having read their entry in Lords of Madness, the most I remember is, “Insane, egomaniacal schemers.” If there's a way to flip that to being good without turning them into comic relief, I don't know it.
    I have an idea!
    Beholders now believe that due to being the ultimate life form, they are responsible for the protection of EVERYTHING. They often become nigh suicidal due to the raw amount of responsibility they place on themselves, charging into battle against obviously superior odds. They are nomadic, though often carve out lairs for themselves with disintegration, most often to shelter weaker creatures.

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    Default Re: D&D Mirror Universe

    Quote Originally Posted by Fire Tarrasque View Post
    I have an idea!
    Beholders now believe that due to being the ultimate life form, they are responsible for the protection of EVERYTHING. They often become nigh suicidal due to the raw amount of responsibility they place on themselves, charging into battle against obviously superior odds. They are nomadic, though often carve out lairs for themselves with disintegration, most often to shelter weaker creatures.
    See, part of the problem is the difficulty of inversion. It's not about inverting the actions and culture themselves, but inverting their rationale for making similar decisions. I feel personally like this might not work because it changes the nature of Beholders from their core of being a society of paranoid individualists. Perhaps instead of rushing into battle (because that goes against the Beholder's nature of being a plotting individual who prefers survival above all), the Beholder is an individual who sees their perceived perfection as both a means to an end as well as the end itself. In that sense, the beholder might use their flight and magical prowess to sneak unobserved into slaver camps and use their rays to free slaves, careful to not be caught lest their own perfect selves be put on the line?

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    Default Re: D&D Mirror Universe

    Quote Originally Posted by Dusk Raven View Post
    Well, I've certainly been procrastinating on this. XP
    I guess I'm not totally certain how to structure such a collaborative effort...
    Pfft, structure a collaborative effort...
    But seriously. The simplest way would probably be to do much the same thing that professional collaborations do. You're (theoretically) the guy in charge, sort of a producer and director rolled into one; decide which ideas fit into your vision, ask the people who made them to expand on them, and try to keep everybody on the same page for overall lore. I know that's not very simple, but running a good collaboration between strangers isn't exactly simple to begin with.


    Quote Originally Posted by Fire Tarrasque View Post
    I have an idea!
    Beholders now believe that due to being the ultimate life form, they are responsible for the protection of EVERYTHING. They often become nigh suicidal due to the raw amount of responsibility they place on themselves, charging into battle against obviously superior odds. They are nomadic, though often carve out lairs for themselves with disintegration, most often to shelter weaker creatures.
    I like the idea*, but I'm not sure it fits beholders.

    *Especially since canon!beholders' tendency to snub even other beholders for their imperfection implies that they'd constantly be in a knight-in-shining-armor-off with every other beholder, possibly even fighting over the opportunity to do something perfectly heroic. Seems like a pretty good thing for a comedic knight-templar-type race to do...maybe High Elves in a fantasy comedy?
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  4. - Top - End - #64
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    The implication I get from those posts is that the answer to "whether you can flip Beholders without turning them into comic relief" is no... although that's not a bad thing. To be honest, the idea of Beholders - paranoid, scheming, and obsessed with perfection - spending their lives trying to good is actually kind of hilarious. I've got a mental image of Beholders being essentially the "internet white knight" stereotype, trying to do good for entirely selfish and prideful reasons... and most of the forces of Good don't mind, because this setting is really in need of people doing good.
    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.

  5. - Top - End - #65
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    Default Re: D&D Mirror Universe

    Quote Originally Posted by Dusk Raven View Post
    The implication I get from those posts is that the answer to "whether you can flip Beholders without turning them into comic relief" is no... although that's not a bad thing. To be honest, the idea of Beholders - paranoid, scheming, and obsessed with perfection - spending their lives trying to good is actually kind of hilarious. I've got a mental image of Beholders being essentially the "internet white knight" stereotype, trying to do good for entirely selfish and prideful reasons... and most of the forces of Good don't mind, because this setting is really in need of people doing good.
    Hmmm, maybe they're cursed creatures? Hang in there with me, because I know it's a bit of a stretch to go adding curses, but maybe they're a race that was cursed with paranoia. In that sense they are powerful good creatures that seclude themselves away in fear that other people are coming to destroy them, including other beholders. Maybe an entire quest could involve breaking into a dangerous lair of a beholder not to slay it and save the country-side, but to petition it for a magical artifact it's squirreled away or some tome that contains an ancient spell.
    In fact, go with me here, maybe they're like a good-aligned hoarders. Maybe their paranoia and selfishness manifests in a fear of other creatures so pervasive and deep that they hide themselves away behind powerful dungeons. However, they also hoard powerful magical artifacts in order to prevent them from falling into evil hands. A beholder might start hoarding the world's supply of magical items to prevent them from being used by evil, only doling them out to adventurers powerful enough to get through their dungeon and confront them.

  6. - Top - End - #66
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    Default Re: D&D Mirror Universe

    Mirror Beholders could fit into the mistrustful/crazy but good hermit trope perhaps?

    Beholders are noble and empathetic, holding themselves to the highest standards of virtue but frequently harmed by the consequnces of extending mercy and forgiveness to the undeserving, they have scattered to the winds to live in isolation away from those they fear may bring harm to them or be brought to harm by their presence. They are hunted ceaselessly by the forces of civilisation for fear of the power they have, able to blot out the most powerful of elven magics or turn a platoon of armoured dwarven warriors to dust, and any enclave who dares provide sanctuary to them is soon assailed evil beings who seek to end the threat the eye-lord represents. Unwilling to see others die for them the beholders have instead chosen to live alone, gradually driven to dementia by guilt for the harm they left behind and the wrongs they are failing to right. They often mistake strangers for friends long since dead and become lost in the fuzzy memories of the battles they wish they had won and the people that they could have saved. Some are mistrustful of newcomers, making them pass various trials of virtue before speaking with them.

    Though they have secluded themselves a beholder will not hesitate to help the forces of the righteous in battle should they be in it's territory, but it will beseach them to flee before dark powers come to challenge the beholder lest they be harmed in the conflict.
    Sanity is nice to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

  7. - Top - End - #67
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    Default Re: D&D Mirror Universe

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobbyjackcorn View Post
    Hmmm, maybe they're cursed creatures? Hang in there with me, because I know it's a bit of a stretch to go adding curses...
    I like this idea. It's amusing, more or less fits a morality flip of their characterization, and makes one of D&D's iconic monsters into the source of secret power that the protagonists need to find to defeat the Bad Guy.


    Hm...have we done anything with other intelligent evil monsters? Illithids, for instance? The problem with them is that they only have a few consistent character traits across different iterations. They are always lawful evil psychic slavers who eat brains. Many times, they are depicted as an ancient culture, originating anywhere from the distant starfaring future* to the jungles of Krynn. Weirdly, starfaring motifs are common in illithid lore.

    So here's a thought. The illithids on our mortal world are just bio-drones sent by their interstellar society to try and uplift the local cultures to their level of technology. "Brain-eating" is just how the local mortals perceive the bio-drones' attempts to copy the minds of the primitives to be saved in a more permanent form (the "Elder Brain"), with the intent to turn that into more efficient forms of emulation down the line. After a century or two, the bio-drones caught onto the fact that the locals didn't have a concept of "brain emulation," and so toned down their emulation campaign to only the old and dying (those who they wouldn't be able to save later) and maybe captured prisoners who couldn't be brought around, instead recruiting locals to try and build a more technologically-advanced society that would understand and accept brain emulation, because that's just going to be better for everyone in the long term.
    It doesn't really preserve the personality or ideology of the illithids, but those haven't been terribly consistent. Instead, it focuses on the methodology and motifs—both the starfaring stuff and the incomprehensible beings with unknowable motivations. But, since those misunderstandings are based in stuff the post-sci-fi audience understands, the audience is able to relate to the illithids (if not to how slow they were to realize what the primitives thought they were doing).


    *Since I was a fan of a series called The Future is Wild around the same time I was getting into D&D lore, I've always liked to imagine that mind flayers are distant descendants of squibbons.
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  8. - Top - End - #68
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    Default Re: D&D Mirror Universe

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    I like this idea. It's amusing, more or less fits a morality flip of their characterization, and makes one of D&D's iconic monsters into the source of secret power that the protagonists need to find to defeat the Bad Guy.


    Hm...have we done anything with other intelligent evil monsters? Illithids, for instance? The problem with them is that they only have a few consistent character traits across different iterations. They are always lawful evil psychic slavers who eat brains. Many times, they are depicted as an ancient culture, originating anywhere from the distant starfaring future* to the jungles of Krynn. Weirdly, starfaring motifs are common in illithid lore.

    So here's a thought. The illithids on our mortal world are just bio-drones sent by their interstellar society to try and uplift the local cultures to their level of technology. "Brain-eating" is just how the local mortals perceive the bio-drones' attempts to copy the minds of the primitives to be saved in a more permanent form (the "Elder Brain"), with the intent to turn that into more efficient forms of emulation down the line. After a century or two, the bio-drones caught onto the fact that the locals didn't have a concept of "brain emulation," and so toned down their emulation campaign to only the old and dying (those who they wouldn't be able to save later) and maybe captured prisoners who couldn't be brought around, instead recruiting locals to try and build a more technologically-advanced society that would understand and accept brain emulation, because that's just going to be better for everyone in the long term.
    It doesn't really preserve the personality or ideology of the illithids, but those haven't been terribly consistent. Instead, it focuses on the methodology and motifs—both the starfaring stuff and the incomprehensible beings with unknowable motivations. But, since those misunderstandings are based in stuff the post-sci-fi audience understands, the audience is able to relate to the illithids (if not to how slow they were to realize what the primitives thought they were doing).
    I think there were some thoughts on illithids elsewhere in this thread. They followed a somewhat similar line of thinking in that their tendency to eat brains/seed humanoids with their tadpoles would be more of a humanitarian effort - the process of ceremorphosis would now preserve personality, so it would offer the possibility of extended lifespan and eventual union with the elder brain.

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    *Since I was a fan of a series called The Future is Wild around the same time I was getting into D&D lore, I've always liked to imagine that mind flayers are distant descendants of squibbons.
    BLESSED CORELLON AND ALL HIS CHILDREN, I HAD NO IDEA ANYONE ELSE HAD EVER HEARD OF THAT.

    *ahem*

    I hope you realize that you've probably just condemned me to spending the evening trying to stat up a megasquid for use in one of my campaigns. Heck, I already had the idea that maybe my world has squidfolk.




    Anyway.

    I am really enjoying this thread. Since my world is rapidly shifting into an evil-dominant nightmare (I realized that most of the celestials are probably evil and the original creators of the universe were all corrupted to become the first demons), this is fertile ground for ideas.

    I was just thinking about yugoloths in another thread, so maybe I'll toss out some ideas about them. Standard yugoloths are mercenaries, who revel in causing suffering and will do anything if it pays. So I guess the Mirrorloths would be a race of outsider Han Solo types. All else being equal, they're inclined to be nice to people and help them, but they're also REALLY susceptible to being influenced by greed. Which the evil races, especially the dwarves, shamelessly exploit on a regular basis. Having trouble with yugoloths? Distract them by pointing out that their good allies can't afford them.

    Then again, Mirrorloths should be neutral good, and that doesn't strike me as particularly NG. I do think that any idea should incorporate their mercenary nature: an independent military force that does pretty much whatever without answering to any one authority.
    Last edited by AureusFulgens; 2018-06-30 at 05:42 PM.

  9. - Top - End - #69
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    Default Re: D&D Mirror Universe

    Quote Originally Posted by AureusFulgens View Post
    BLESSED CORELLON AND ALL HIS CHILDREN, I HAD NO IDEA ANYONE ELSE HAD EVER HEARD OF THAT.
    A common feeling.

    I hope you realize that you've probably just condemned me to spending the evening trying to stat up a megasquid for use in one of my campaigns. Heck, I already had the idea that maybe my world has squidfolk.
    Can't be that hard. Wouldn't they be a lot like elephants on a mechanical level? (D&D isn't really precise enough to care about little details like bones.)
    But that does give me an idea for an adventure delving into the illithid's past/Earth's future...

    I was just thinking about yugoloths in another thread, so maybe I'll toss out some ideas about them. Standard yugoloths are mercenaries, who revel in causing suffering and will do anything if it pays. So I guess the Mirrorloths would be a race of outsider Han Solo types. All else being equal, they're inclined to be nice to people and help them, but they're also REALLY susceptible to being influenced by greed. Which the evil races, especially the dwarves, shamelessly exploit on a regular basis. Having trouble with yugoloths? Distract them by pointing out that their good allies can't afford them.

    Then again, Mirrorloths should be neutral good, and that doesn't strike me as particularly NG. I do think that any idea should incorporate their mercenary nature: an independent military force that does pretty much whatever without answering to any one authority.
    I agree with the alignment thing; Han Solo is in the same camp as Haley (CN who develops into CG partly through the influence of a naive but good-hearted young man), so he might not be the best model.
    Hm...the only Good fictional mercenaries I can think of that don't fall into some form of that CG archetype are the Greil Mercenaries from one of the Fire Emblem games. Sadly, I only know about them from Fire Emblem Heroes quotes and a couple of random videos, so all I know for sure is that they like Ike and will continue to follow him even if his leadership causes literally everyone to die, just because his dad was leading before him. Oh, and they sometimes work for free, which makes me question their business model but whatever. They sound more like LG types who happen to make a living off of fighting evil rather than mercenaries who happen to be Good.
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  10. - Top - End - #70
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    I apologize for not getting back to this sooner... it's an issue I often have with long posts, where I really need to find time to sit down and write them out.

    Beholders:
    The composite idea that I got from here that I liked, follows Grim Portent's suggestion of Beholders as the archetypal wise, good hermit. As I see it, mirror!Beholders are innately good, but they are also highly suspicious and paranoid. They know evil has great influence in the world and are hesitant to show themselves. In addition, they believe themselves to be perfect, good, and perfectly good, and thus all other creatures are less good than they are. As a result, they have a hard time believing that humanoids could even come close to matching their own goodness, and think living beings as a whole are Mostly Evil. This doesn't stop them from trying to promote goodness, but it's almost always from the shadows, fully expecting the ideals of good to fail to take root, and keeping themselves hidden and ready to escape if things go south. Only if a truly good individual befriends them - letting them know that they are not alone in the fight for justice - do they openly move against the forces of evil.

    Illithids:
    This was covered earlier, where the only changes you really need to make are a) Illithids can experience positive emotions as well as negative, and b) the whole myth of "the memories of the 'consumed' live on in the Illithid, and the Illithid in turn live on in the Elder Brain" is actually true.

    A bit of a backstory for them thus suggests itself - when the Illithid first arrived on this world, they were neutral, and generally picked up the traits of whatever beings they ate the brains of. However, they first made their cities in the Underdark, which in the mirror universe is mostly populated by good humanoids rather than evil. The result was that, as they fed on good humanoids, they started collectively developing a conscience, and a sense of morality - thus making them largely good as well. When they attempted to expand to the surface, however, they found a great number of evil humanoids, which - as beings of good - horrified them. They further found that consuming the brains of malicious individuals made them subtly ill, and could do serious harm to their bodies and minds if done over a long period - their period of consuming the memories and personalities of good individuals had left them with a permanent aversion to evil. Now, they try to unite the good humanoids of the underdark so-as to coordinate against the forces of evil, wishing to spread the ideals of good not just out of self-interest, but a sense of morality gained from those humanoids they consume the brains of. Unfortunately, due to the period of time between their arrival and them openly supporting the cause of good, they are not always trusted by humanoids. But, desperate times make for strange bedfellows.

    And to this I add one more Aberration to the list: Aboleths. To be strictly honest, their description in Lords of Madness implies that they aren't evil in an actively malevolent fashion, they're just utterly apathetic to the idea of other beings having much value. While that hardly matters to their victims, that implies that they'd straddle the line between good and neutral in the Mirror world. I propose this: they think of the big picture. In the very long run, they see the utter futility of things like greed, gluttony, or harming others for one's own gain. With their vast memories, they judge individuals by their legacies - and the legacies of evil individuals rarely match that of good individuals, at least when it comes to things Aboleths value. Aboleths value the collection of knowledge, and the growth of civilizations - and the vices of individuals are obstacles to those goals. In essence, they prefer to add to the world, to see it grow more majestic, and they believe evil is an entirely destructive force that counters that goal. They oppose evil not out of any sense of morality, but because they see it as irrational.

    It's difficult to truly call them good - they lack any true sense of morality or empathy, and their view for the big picture often lets them tolerate the suffering of individuals for the benefit of the whole. It can sometimes even be difficult to get them to act in opposition to a source of evil, as they are aware that all mortal individuals die and all empires fall, and they believe that being evil only hastens that destruction. But they never act out of malevolence, and they disdain those who act for selfish or evil reasons. And of course, they very much prefer good individuals and civilizations over evil ones. Should one successfully ally with an Aboleth, they will have at their side a source of great wisdom and magical power.
    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.

  11. - Top - End - #71
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    Default Re: D&D Mirror Universe

    I'm delighted to see you all again! This as well as the "City of Shale" thread have become some of my favorite think-tanks.

    Let's talk werebeasts.
    As it stands, lycanthropes of all manner come in a variety of alignments and too many types to go into real depth into any one (for me personally at least. If anyone wants to do the different types of Lycanthropes I'd be excited to see what you have) so instead I'll focus on their alignments themselves, and the roles they play in society.
    Evil-aligned Lycanthropes are typically such because of what their animal represents to society. Snakes, wolves, spiders, rats, etc are all examples of typically evil lycanthropic creatures. Because the inversion from good to evil is not meant to subvert their cultural impact, I would posit that we should keep what those animals represent to general society, but flip it on their heads. Snakes, wolves, and the rest are all seen in this world as "avenger" creatures that purge nature of the evil of society, and as such mirror!Lycans of good alignment are seen as embodiments of nature, stalking the night to destroy villages and settlements in an attempt to cleanse the land. Perhaps they are an evil creature by day, too fearful of execution to tell those around him of the avenging nature-spirit that has indwelt in their body.
    As a contrast, culturally valued animals (bears, eagles, lions, etc) are normally good of some variety because of the nobility and strength that the animals represent. These become quite interesting because their mirror!Lycan cousins would likely be vile emissaries of society, perverted by the evil of the society that values their patron animals. This is not to be seen as an implementation of mirror!Lycans into average society, because even in regular worlds most lycanthropes don't seem to participate in society much (save for wererats in cities). Rather I think they would have dens of savagery on the outskirts of society, preying upon both civilized society and the wilds and their monstrous inhabitants.

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    Apologies for the delay... meant to reply to this a while back. Werebeasts are, after all, interesting specimens. The thing about Lycanthropes in base D&D is that, at least in 3.5, their alignments are stated to be based on the cultural perception of them... and frankly, the cultural sterotypes of certain animals are really not in line with how they actually are, especially with wolves being evil and bears being good. So, one version of lycanthropes is that while the cultural stereotypes of the animals are the same, those stereotypes - held as they are by evil humanoids - are wrong. Wolves are seen as craven, savage creatures, but in fact they value family quite highly and are one of the more noble predators out there. Bears are seen as a symbol of strength and protection, but they are also quite temperamental. The werebeasts, of course, exemplify these characteristics.

    Another way of doing it, somewhat similar to what you proposed, is that the animals considered "good" continue to be valued by society... but they now exemplify what evil societies value, and those werebeasts that are now good hold the virtues that evil societies disdain. Lycanthropes being what they are, however, none of them are actually friendly to evil humanoids. The evil werebeasts are simply distructive, while good ones oppose evil humanoids on moral grounds as well. Perhaps packs of werewolves harass evil-aligned towns and outposts, while within the cities wererats organize everything from Robin Hood-esque thieves to freedom fighters and revolutionaries. Meanwhile, weretigers and werebears slaughter any civilized humanoid they find. In a world where civilization is full of evil, the forces of nature are opposed to it no matter their alignment.



    Meanwhile, I've started trying to build more concrete land around this premise - that is, I'm trying to think of towns, nations, and other things that might exist in this setting... it's all well and good to theorize, but I'm also curious how it will come together in a game world...
    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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    Take a look at posts number 1 and 24 in this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusk Raven View Post
    Another way of doing it, somewhat similar to what you proposed, is that the animals considered "good" continue to be valued by society... but they now exemplify what evil societies value, and those werebeasts that are now good hold the virtues that evil societies disdain.
    Lions are interesting since their stereotype is usually that they are in some way regal. Lions are always described as "kings of the jungle" and various kings and nobles used lions as symbols, think Richard the Lion Heart, or Sundiata the Lion Prince. In the mirror world this could work in much the same way. The civilized people see lions as enlightened animals who exemplify power and authoritarianism, and so are worthy of respect. The forces of nature see lions as traitorous, having become like the civilizations they hate and dominating other animals like tyrants.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AureusFulgens View Post
    I was just thinking about yugoloths in another thread, so maybe I'll toss out some ideas about them. Standard yugoloths are mercenaries, who revel in causing suffering and will do anything if it pays. So I guess the Mirrorloths would be a race of outsider Han Solo types. All else being equal, they're inclined to be nice to people and help them, but they're also REALLY susceptible to being influenced by greed. Which the evil races, especially the dwarves, shamelessly exploit on a regular basis. Having trouble with yugoloths? Distract them by pointing out that their good allies can't afford them.

    Then again, Mirrorloths should be neutral good, and that doesn't strike me as particularly NG. I do think that any idea should incorporate their mercenary nature: an independent military force that does pretty much whatever without answering to any one authority.
    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    I agree with the alignment thing; Han Solo is in the same camp as Haley (CN who develops into CG partly through the influence of a naive but good-hearted young man), so he might not be the best model.
    Hm...the only Good fictional mercenaries I can think of that don't fall into some form of that CG archetype are the Greil Mercenaries from one of the Fire Emblem games. Sadly, I only know about them from Fire Emblem Heroes quotes and a couple of random videos, so all I know for sure is that they like Ike and will continue to follow him even if his leadership causes literally everyone to die, just because his dad was leading before him. Oh, and they sometimes work for free, which makes me question their business model but whatever. They sound more like LG types who happen to make a living off of fighting evil rather than mercenaries who happen to be Good.
    Having just read a bit of Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, I did some thinking on Yugoloths and decided to return to this thread, since I remembered that there was some uncertainty over what they would be. I concluded that they would still be mercenaries, of course, but they don't actually keep they money they charge in the long run. Instead, they act as financiers of the forces of good, donating their earnings in various ways to help further good ends. This might involve bribing a city watch guard to allow some refugees to pass through, or helping a good wizard purchase components for crafting a magical item. It could involve bolstering the economy of a good city, or perhaps simply go towards hiring other mercenaries. Either way, the Yugoloths see themselves as bankers of a sort, providing needed capital to the forces of good. Goodness doesn't pay for itself, after all.

    That being said, they are Neutral Good, so there are things they will not do. They can't be paid to commit any sort of evil act - the most they'll do is provide security for evil forces. They'll fight, but won't do any worse than that. Even then, their demeanor becomes downright miserly when working with the forces of evil, demanding exorbitant sums in exchange for their service. Even then, they have no loyalty whatsoever to evil employers, and will abandon them the instant they feel that the evil caused by their employers outweighs the good that can be accomplished with their pay - or if someone simply pays them to switch sides or even just abandon their posts. Among the evil races of the world, this gives Yugoloths a reputation for being greedy and unreliable.

    When working with good-aligned employers, however, Yugoloths are far more cooperative, performing their roles to the best of their ability - and all they ask is a donation so that the Yugoloths might better help other forces of good.

    I also had some thoughts regarding the Blood War. Why, one might ask, would the Lawful Good devils and Chaotic Good demons battle each other, losing countless soldiers, when the forces of evil run rampant across the other planes? The answer is simple - that the Blood War is what Asmodeus wants everyone to believe is happening. Thanks in large part to Asmodeus' machinations, everyone - Evil celestials included - believes that a bloody war is taking place between demon and devil, but in reality every slain fiend reappears deep within the Abyss or Hell, where Celestial eyes cannot see. The Blood War is really just an elaborate training exercise, with demons and devils matching strength and wits in every conceivable battleground across the Lower Planes.

    There are three main benefits to this - for one, it makes both demons and devils appear far stronger than they actually are, with celestials seeing countless legions fall only to be replaced with ease. Second, it gives both forces valuable combat experience, which will be needed for the eventual showdown with the forces of evil. Finally, it makes the celestials believe that the demons and devils aren't allies (although it is admittedly difficult for the two to work together at times). Either way, the celestials believe it best to not interfere in the Blood War, lest the two sides unite against a common threat.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    young man), so he might not be the best model.
    Hm...the only Good fictional mercenaries I can think of that don't fall into some form of that CG archetype are the Greil Mercenaries from one of the Fire Emblem games.
    I've got nothing to add for yugoloths, but for good aligned mercineries, take a look at Mercedes Lackey's Oathbound, Oathbreakers, and By the Sword if it helps. Mercinary companies are common, and some choose their clients with moral sense and enforce a code of good conduct with regard to noncombatants.
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    has this thread covered goblinoids yet?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard_Lizard View Post
    has this thread covered goblinoids yet?
    I think they were touched on back in the first 40 or so posts on this thread.

    If I recall correctly, they ended up looking a lot like how goblinoids are presented in Eberron.
    Last edited by Comaward; 2019-07-09 at 06:32 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard_Lizard View Post
    has this thread covered goblinoids yet?
    Quote Originally Posted by Comaward View Post
    I think they were touched on back in the first 40 or so posts on this thread.

    If I recall correctly, they ended up looking a lot like how goblinoids are presented in Eberron.
    Quite, in this excellent post.

    ...I thought I had written more up on Hobgoblins at some point, I guess not. I essentially imagined them as wandering crusaders, lending their forces to other good races as needed, and trying to form a unified front for resisting the evil races. Bugbears, meanwhile, seem pretty similar to orcs, at least judging by the 3.5 Monster Manual - given how creatures like these are presumably meant to serve as fodder for low-level adventurers, it's not surprising that they blend together. Either way, Bugbears are your typical noble savage, valuing strength but with a sense of honor and justice underneath. Sometimes ambitious Bugbears leave to become adventurers, with the most successful sometimes leading groups of other goblinoids.
    Last edited by Dusk Raven; 2019-07-09 at 05:50 PM.
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusk Raven View Post
    ...I concluded that [Good!Yugoloths] would still be mercenaries, of course, but they don't actually keep they money they charge in the long run. Instead, they act as financiers of the forces of good, donating their earnings in various ways to help further good ends.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusk Raven View Post
    Bugbears, meanwhile, seem pretty similar to orcs, at least judging by the 3.5 Monster Manual - given how creatures like these are presumably meant to serve as fodder for low-level adventurers, it's not surprising that they blend together.
    Bugbears are more stealthy and solitary, trying to be as close to horror-movie monsters as they can at their CR. Orcs are more generic evil-horde guys, because they are intimately connected to the original stories about evil fantasy hordes. In practice, this has a bigger impact on how they're theoretically supposed to be used than their culture, abilities, or how they're actually used.
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    how would undead work?
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    Undead would use their spawn creating abilities to save people(I mean coming back as an undead instead of dying could be a good trade if you do not come back as an evil blood thirsting creature but instead a good blood thirsting creature with compassion)?

    So yes there would be from times to times rumours of shade apocalypses just because half of the people in a goblin town were turned in shades because they were buried in an earth quake(so it was for saving them) and in general people would consider undead to be heralds of troubles(each time there is catastrophes the undead swarms in to help save lives and if they can not then to turn the dying into undead).
    As a plus you could also use undead as people who comes back to warn or talk for a last time to the living.

    Also undead would fear enslavement by evil clerics and it would probably be a reason why undead invasions of evil towns would be rare.
    Last edited by noob; 2019-08-08 at 05:45 AM.

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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 was under the impression that this was a fundamental feature of the Outer Planes. They are realms of thought, more allegorical dreamscapes than physical places, and shaped by the ideals and relationships of their inhabitants. Everything in the Abyss is rotted and corroded because of all the hatred. And so I would regard something like this...
    Quote Originally Posted by Dusk Raven View Post
    the "higher" planes are quite brutal not because of the terrain, but because of the inhabitants.
    an outer plane's terrain being pleasant while its inhabitants are not, as a much bigger paradigm shift than evil elves holding the surface while good elves are in exile in the underdark.

    On the other hand, I could see Baator still being shaped as layers of caverns, with the capital at the bottom, because that's how most good people are used to live.

    Similarly, the Abyss could still be a great vortex, absorbing world after world, but in an effort to "rapture" as many souls as possible. The Baatezu might disagree with that plan, thinking the Material can still be put back on the right track, which would lead to the Blood War.

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    I don't see how "undead sanctify the evil in every soul" replacing "undead corrupt the good in every soul" needs to be explained in detail. It might be more interesting to look at what each kind of undead might look like when good-ified.

    • Ghouls and ghasts normally have a dark hunger for mortal flesh. Let's replace that with an insatiable desire to destroy evildoers, one which can disturb their fellow do-gooders.
    • Ghosts normally match the original's alignment. We can either keep that, or say that ghosts invert the original's alignment (either becoming remorseful for their misdeeds or reveling in their new freedoms).
    • Mohrgs are turned from spirits of murder seeking to murder for funzies, to spirits of murder seeking penance by using what skills they have.
    • Vampires generally represent some combination of disease and the aristocracy. (Insert joke suggesting the two are equivalent.) It's not going to be easy to keep that thematic baggage while redeeming them, so let's invert the themes, too. They're not representations of decay or the depredations of the upper classes; they're representations of a lower class struggling to improve themselves and their station, feeling like they have no other choice in their oppressive societies. Presumably, they'd go all Robin Hood on the upper classes who held them back for so long.


    The various unnatural hungers and origins of the undead seem to lend themselves well to "edgier" character concepts. If anyone is surprised, please review your Monster Manual.
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    Why not leave the undead that need to consume people evil and just invert how the societies perceive them and have some of the others that are just normally associated with evil gods be flipped to good? Sort of mix and match the inversion. I think trying to draw a consistent thread across undead would be much too difficult, what would a good raiment do for example? So they need to be done on a case by case basis.



    Ghouls and ghasts aren't seen as debased eaters of corpses, but mortals whose bacchanalian revelry at feasts where anything was on the menu was enough to stir them from the grave to continue pushing the boundaries of what should and should not go in your mouth. The elven immunity to their abilities could be attributed to the first ghouls having been elves whose abilities were shackled by the elven gods for proclaiming themselves immortal (and immoral) god kings.

    Morghs are the risen bodies of those who dedicated themselves to hunting and killing the good races, rising from the grave to continue their persecution. Evil rangers who stalked orc tribes, poisoned the water sources of goblins and so forth only to eventually meet their end at the hands of the people they slaughtered and return as a spirit of murder seeking to finish their task.

    Vampires are interesting to flip perceptions, perhaps they're a wretched underclass rather than aristocracy? Crammed into dimly lit warrens dug beneath the slums of cities, forced to perform menial labour eternally for the city above lest the rotting timbers that shield them from sunlight are ripped away to let their skin blister and burn. Barely fed enough blood to keep them from torpor and dressed in whatever rags the city deigns to give them. Free vampires scurry among the homeless and impoverished, hiding from the authorities that would kill them or enslave them, forced to join the criminal underclass for any hope of survival.


    Death Knights however would make sense to flip to good, being more akin to revenants than anything else. The remains of noble warriors who pledged themselves to the pursuit of justice and the righting of wrongs, only to perish and be restored in undeath by the gods of good to try and finish their unfulfilled duty.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grim Portent View Post
    Why not leave the undead that need to consume people evil and just invert how the societies perceive them and have some of the others that are just normally associated with evil gods be flipped to good? Sort of mix and match the inversion. I think trying to draw a consistent thread across undead would be much too difficult, what would a good raiment do for example? So they need to be done on a case by case basis.
    Ghasts and Ghouls and things that...ahem..."CRAVE MORTAL FLESH!" could be seen not as corrupt writhing entities desecrating the countryside with their unclean presence, but rather being akin to vultures - they aren't exactly nice, but they go around cleaning up the corpses strewn across the world as a result of wars and bandits and the like, eating to satisfy their own hunger, but also being seen as the unsightly janitors of the world.

    The idea of Death Knights being great warriors continuing to fight for good (or Neutral) from beyond the grave appeals to me. I guess if we're changing the mechanics as well, they could have Paladin levels, inherent ability to imbue their weapon and armor with holy might, and so on. Maybe they could Consecrate things, but to balance it they are considered holy creatures as well as undead, meaning that Turn Undead doesn't get a boost against them?

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    Hm...the only Good fictional mercenaries I can think of that don't fall into some form of that CG archetype are the Greil Mercenaries from one of the Fire Emblem games. Sadly, I only know about them from Fire Emblem Heroes quotes and a couple of random videos, so all I know for sure is that they like Ike and will continue to follow him even if his leadership causes literally everyone to die, just because his dad was leading before him. Oh, and they sometimes work for free, which makes me question their business model but whatever. They sound more like LG types who happen to make a living off of fighting evil rather than mercenaries who happen to be Good.
    There was a game called Crystal Story II (I think its on Steam) where the main characters are working for a mercenary guild. The character who introduces the protagonist to the mercenary guild is a definite CG, but the rest of the party (as well as the mercenary guild itself) is pretty much LG with Neutral tendencies.
    Last edited by Squire Doodad; 2019-08-10 at 11:56 AM.
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    It could also be fun to imagine a mirror world forming within the regular D&D cosmos.

    Dark Elves

    The cult of Eilistraee has long supplanted that of Lolth. The shift began with a heresy holding that the two goddesses are halves of the original Araushnee. Because of this, Eilistraee has dominion over spiders.

    Two other popular deities are Vandria Gilmadrith, a stern but protective goddess of war and funerary rites, and Darahl Tilvenar, a surprisingly dwarf-like god of metalwork and the earth.

    Dark elven society remains matriarchal, with divine spellcasting being reserved to women. While slavery is illegal, non-elves can only work within city limits if they have an elven employer.

    Illithids

    Long ago, a cabal of psions acquired a batch of illithid tadpoles. The psions believed that they could make their consciousnesses strong enough to survive ceremorphosis, or the consumption of their brains by an ally.

    They also predicted that joining their powerful minds into one illithid body would leave it satiated for several years, enough time to prepare other psions for the transformation.

    They appeared to have been right, and many would follow their example. Eventually, they were able to produce an ulitharid, allowing further transformation into an elder brain.

    Gray Dwarves

    The illithids got the interest of an entire dwarven clan, though only some individuals were interested in the transformation proper. Most just wanted to develop their psionics to new depths.

    This association nonetheless proved mutually beneficial, both groups soon becoming staples of the underdark alongside dark elves.

    Surface Elves and Dwarves

    Most of the surface's woes began with the Burning Hate, a malevolent god who stole the sun from Pelor. Some say he was a local aspect of Pelor that let his followers grow blind in their fervor. Their faith, in turn, corrupted the aspect.

    Under the sun's cruel light, previously benevolent races turned to the worship of vile powers. The dwarven god of greed, Abbathor, slowly but steadily became more influent than Moradin. Meanwhile, elves turned away from the Seldarine and toward vengeful nature deities.
    Last edited by Millstone85; 2019-08-13 at 05:12 PM.

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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.
    Which actually suggests an interesting backstory for this setting. Suppose that this started out with the classic Paradise Lost concept of the rebel angels rising up against God and the angels loyal to him... except in this setting, Satan and his rebels won. God, for his own inscrutable reasons, retreated entirely from the world, the loyal angels were cast into Hell and warped into the forms and powers they now possess, and the rebel angels took possession of Heaven and all its mystical resources. Which also explains why the evil races are dominant, the rebel angels used their possession of Heaven and its powers to stack the deck in favor of the races they chose to back.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReaderAt2046 View Post
    Suppose that this started out with the classic Paradise Lost concept of the rebel angels rising up against God and the angels loyal to him... except in this setting, Satan and his rebels won.
    4e did something like this. A benevolent god, now only remembered as He Who Was, ruled over the astral dominion of Baathion. He was slain by his most famous servant, the archangel Asmodeus, using a shard from the depths of the Abyss. Between this murder weapon, He Who Was' dying curse, and Asmodeus creating minions by torturing souls, the once idyllic realm soon became the Nine Hells of Baator.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ReaderAt2046 View Post
    Which actually suggests an interesting backstory for this setting. Suppose that this started out with the classic Paradise Lost concept of the rebel angels rising up against God and the angels loyal to him... except in this setting, Satan and his rebels won. God, for his own inscrutable reasons, retreated entirely from the world, the loyal angels were cast into Hell and warped into the forms and powers they now possess, and the rebel angels took possession of Heaven and all its mystical resources. Which also explains why the evil races are dominant, the rebel angels used their possession of Heaven and its powers to stack the deck in favor of the races they chose to back.
    That makes some amount of sense, but if we're flipping the alignment of every major race, I'd rather flip the alignment of the cosmos, too. Makes the setting's flip seem more complete, less patchy.

    I'd probably mix Paradise Lost with some of the horrors from Dante's Inferno, and maybe some stuff from a book we're not supposed to talk about and honestly even talking about Paradise Lost and Inferno has me a bit antsy about that rule since last I asked the official ruling was "No, seriously, it's zero-tolerance we swear". Something to emphasize that the people running the cosmos are jerks, and the "good" races are only Good in the sense that they serve those people.
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