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  1. - Top - End - #91
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    Default Re: Annoying Fantasy Clichés II: We're gonna need more Trope

    Quote Originally Posted by Personification View Post
    I think you might be a bit too hard an the DND Monk. While it is definitely nothing like historically accurate, it is also in a setting with nothing like our history. The Monk as a class is not made to accurately model real life warrior monks (which weren't super common anyway, and I'm pretty sure that the type that they are trying to model is Chinese and not Japanese), it is made so that someone can have a character based on an old cheesy martial arts movie with an impractical number of flips in the combat. Plus, while I understand your sentiment, the Monk is a really cool class mechanically and I think that banning it outright for being historically inaccurate isn't the best approach (though that was probably hyperbole). Anyway, devils' advocate etc. etc.
    The problem with the monk is that you need to be emulating a genre where it's tricks aren't standard. Imagine a Wuxia game, almost everybody important is lightfooting around the place and using acrobatic fighting styles (except the few people who don't), and most warriors are trained to fight unarmed (although using a weapon is just better). When not being monk is rare is easier to just give everybody some monk abilities and get more variation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Default Re: Annoying Fantasy Clichés II: We're gonna need more Trope

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    And having tried to find information about the Old Khmer civilization to flesh out a culture for my setting, finding information for the layperson on any but the "big" (well-known, etc) civilizations is pretty darn hard.
    In general, I've found it very hard to dig up sources that are in the sweet spot of "not dumbed-down or based on pop-science and modern myth" and at the same time "not so academic as to be written with the assumption the reader has spent decades immersed in the jargon and references of the field".
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    Default Re: Annoying Fantasy Clichés II: We're gonna need more Trope

    Quote Originally Posted by The Jack View Post
    Oddly, the Monk could happily be used for South east asia, india or an arabian setting, (America/africa makes much sense too) they're not exclusively chinese. Hell I don't mind making western monks (since the western setting is so watered down anyway) but for some maddening reason they're not allowed scimitars despite the allowance of short swords. Madness.

    But then again they can't use polearms, and I can't really imagine shaolin knockoffs without polearms.
    The monk class always just struck me as contrived, I'd rather see fighters/barbarians/rangers/paladins/war clerics with hand to hand advantages than a specific hand to hand class based on a poorly aged movie trope.
    None of the weapon restrictions ever made a lick of sense.
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    Default Re: Annoying Fantasy Clichés II: We're gonna need more Trope

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    None of the weapon restrictions ever made a lick of sense.
    They're sort of ok in 5e, you just don't get to add your proficiency but you're still fine to use the weapon, which would be more than reasonable if classes were sensible about that sort of thing. When it's all martial, or all simple, or none, it's fine. When it's "you can use weapons A,B,C,F,H,I and K, even though K is near the exact same thing as J" then it's nonsense.

    Still, armour is the worse offender by far. Far more punishing for something leaps and bounds easier.

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    Default Re: Annoying Fantasy Clichés II: We're gonna need more Trope

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    I'm getting into Chinese settings at the moment, as the fact that China is slightly less popular means it's easier to find the good ones.

    The first thing I've noticed is that, if running in D&D, the monk would be the first class I ban. The main class selection I'd give in a Wuxia D&D game is Barbarian, Fighter, Rogue, homebrew Daoist class that gives access to external alchemy, internal alchemy, and divination (it's recommended to focus on one). Possibly Paladin and Ranger as well, especially spellless variants.
    Really the monk class should just be banned in general as it makes absolutely no sense, has a misleading name, and doesn't really serve a purpose.

    Also, are you using core only? Because I would think the classes from Tome of Battle would fit into a wuxia setting

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    Default Re: Annoying Fantasy Clichés II: We're gonna need more Trope

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Really the monk class should just be banned in general as it makes absolutely no sense, has a misleading name, and doesn't really serve a purpose.

    Also, are you using core only? Because I would think the classes from Tome of Battle would fit into a wuxia setting
    Was thinking more 5e, it's what I'm playing at the moment. Even then if I was running Wuxia I've got two dedicated systems for it, no need Hank D&D.

    But yes, burn the monk to the ground and loot it's corpse.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Default Re: Annoying Fantasy Clichés II: We're gonna need more Trope

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Was thinking more 5e, it's what I'm playing at the moment. Even then if I was running Wuxia I've got two dedicated systems for it, no need Hank D&D.

    But yes, burn the monk to the ground and loot it's corpse.
    isn't that why the unarmed swordsage has risen in popularity? or is it just mechanically better as opposed to better in both fluff and crunch? i've never read the class myself, despite owning the book of weeb. none of my dm's have ever allowed that source to be used.
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    Default Re: Annoying Fantasy Clichés II: We're gonna need more Trope

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Really the monk class should just be banned in general as it makes absolutely no sense, has a misleading name, and doesn't really serve a purpose.

    Also, are you using core only? Because I would think the classes from Tome of Battle would fit into a wuxia setting
    I still think that this is an overreaction. I get saying that you disagree with the fluff, or even banning it in a thematic game where you really want to get a certain feel from the setting and characters, but banning a class outright because you disagree with the fluff might not be the right way to go. After all, you can play Barbarian and know Greek, the Druid class has few similarities to actual Celtic Druids, and none of the Clerics that I know actually use heavy armor. Plus, at least in 5E (I don't know other editions), the Monk class does serve a purpose, it is a mechanically interesting class that has certain abilities and skills that are not matched by any class and, though they do not represent their historical counterparts very well, are useful to emulate a certain trope, which is in essence the point of DND. Plus, if it bothers you so much you can ignore the flavor and just go with the abilities. In your game you can have a character who is a warrior monk but is mechanically a reskinned barbarian fighting alongside an angry cage fighter who loses it in battle but is mechanically a reskinned monk.

    Basically, I get having problems with the flavor, but outright banning all use of a class that is mechanically both distinct and interesting because of problems with flavor seems too strong
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    Default Re: Annoying Fantasy Clichés II: We're gonna need more Trope

    Apropos of the monk discussion, I have a pet peeve about fantasy.

    When it takes itself too seriously and falsely insists on "historical" accuracy...to a world it doesn't exist in. Or insists that everything must have a real-world analogue, or be the expy of something on Earth. Do your own thing, even if it sticks a bunch of things in the blender. Originality isn't required, but neither is slavish devotion to the real world. "Inspired by" does not mean "direct copy of" or even "must be faithful to".

    Yes, if you're setting your work in a slightly-fictionalized historical earth nation, you need to pay attention to such things. Set in a different universe? With different history and logic? Do your own thing as long as it fits your world's history and logic. Are monks wire-fu/no-armor/unarmed specialists? Sure. Go with it. They're not Asian expies. They're their own thing. Same with druids. Or paladins. Or clerics. Or any other thing. As long as you're internally consistent, it doesn't matter if it matches Earth's model at all. In fact, that can be distracting because it draws in too many other assumptions.

    And you can have an intentionally illogical world. One that works on dream-logic, or cartoon logic. Or one where chaos reigns. All of these can be interesting to explore.
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    Default Re: Annoying Fantasy Clichés II: We're gonna need more Trope

    Quote Originally Posted by Guizonde View Post
    isn't that why the unarmed swordsage has risen in popularity? or is it just mechanically better as opposed to better in both fluff and crunch? i've never read the class myself, despite owning the book of weeb. none of my dm's have ever allowed that source to be used.
    It's definitely mechanically better, and the fluff is certainly broader. I mean, they still kind of have that 'trained at a martial arts place' thing, but like other initiators that place isn't explicitly defined as a monestary.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    When it takes itself too seriously and falsely insists on "historical" accuracy...to a world it doesn't exist in. Or insists that everything must have a real-world analogue, or be the expy of something on Earth. Do your own thing, even if it sticks a bunch of things in the blender. Originality isn't required, but neither is slavish devotion to the real world. "Inspired by" does not mean "direct copy of" or even "must be faithful to".
    The problem is kitchen sink fantasy can very easily break suspension of disbelief. It's really going too far either way.

    So my settings tend to have a couple of Chinese weapons floating about that I think might be fun (meteor hammers as the big example), but katana immediately implode upon creation because I don't have the time to deal with their fanboys. You can have your sabre and like it (or really any european sword from about 1000 to 1700, I'm not fussy).

    On the other hand I don't have a bunch of Chinese style people wedged into the corner of the map to justify it. In-setting the meteor hammer originated as a dueling weapon and sees more use as a tool than a battlefield weapon.

    Are monks wire-fu/no-armor/unarmed specialists? Sure. Go with it. They're not Asian expies. They're their own thing.
    Part of the problem is the name. Monk means multiple things, and it really cramps those of us who want to play more scholastic monks.

    I've stopped even trying to play Brother Geoffrey because people keep expecting him to be a warrior rather than a scholar. He's a monk! Before adventuring he mainly sat around in the monastery reading, praying, and learning basic medicine, not boxing.

    Cleric doesn't have the same problem because the word 'priest' allows us an alternative for noncasting Clerics.

    Also, if I'm giving one person wire-fu I'd rather give it to everybody. Spread the fun, don't lock it behind a class!
    Last edited by Anonymouswizard; 2018-05-27 at 07:21 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Default Re: Annoying Fantasy Clichés II: We're gonna need more Trope

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    The problem is kitchen sink fantasy can very easily break suspension of disbelief. It's really going too far either way.

    So my settings tend to have a couple of Chinese weapons floating about that I think might be fun (meteor hammers as the big example), but katana immediately implode upon creation because I don't have the time to deal with their fanboys. You can have your sabre and like it (or really any european sword from about 1000 to 1700, I'm not fussy).

    On the other hand I don't have a bunch of Chinese style people wedged into the corner of the map to justify it. In-setting the meteor hammer originated as a dueling weapon and sees more use as a tool than a battlefield weapon.
    First, you can have an non-earth internal logic without being a kitchen sink (in the pejorative sense). That's a goal of my setting, in fact--to find an organic place for as much as possible of the mechanical content, preserving the high-level flavor where possible. Lots of the specific fluff changes--my demons aren't anything like the default. Nor are any of my planars even slightly similar. The origin of the races is also very different, as is the relationship of the gods to the people, etc.

    That's the thing. Those aren't Chinese weapons in your setting--the Chinese don't exist. You can have those weapons without any strain on anything--they're there for <in-universe reasons>. That's exactly what I'm irritated by. The insistence that just because on Earth those things are associated with <culture>, they have to be associated with <culture-expy> in all other settings.

    Part of the problem is the name. Monk means multiple things, and it really cramps those of us who want to play more scholastic monks.

    I've stopped even trying to play Brother Geoffrey because people keep expecting him to be a warrior rather than a scholar. He's a monk! Before adventuring he mainly sat around in the monastery reading, praying, and learning basic medicine, not boxing.

    Cleric doesn't have the same problem because the word 'priest' allows us an alternative for noncasting Clerics.

    Also, if I'm giving one person wire-fu I'd rather give it to everybody. Spread the fun, don't lock it behind a class!
    On Faerun, a scholastic monk wouldn't be called a monk. He'd be called a scholar. Or something else. And that's a background, not a class. Classes represent a package of game-related features and progressions that have descriptive archetypes attached, they're not in-universe things unless the setting designer decides they are. D&D (particularly) has never done "I'm a non-combatant" well. Mainly because it's primarily about adventurers doing adventuring things, which are inevitably dangerous. But that's a game system problem, not a trope problem.

    I've played a scholar priest (knowledge cleric). Not particularly holy, not particularly religious, really interested in books. I've built a nature cleric who's a reluctant cleric--a dwarf chosen by a gnomish god more or less under duress.

    My setting has "monasteries"--one is an open dojo dedicated to teaching martial arts to everyone who comes, another is mostly a contemplative retreat, with only a tiny fraction of the denizens having any combat training. A third mainly trains spies and dancers. A fourth is home to the study of the elements--wizards, druids, wardens (a homebrew class), monks, scholars, etc all study there.

    Only a tiny fraction of the residents of any of these would be game-monks, although most of them are monastics. Same with priests--most priests are not clerics. And not all clerics are priests--some are completely religiously ignorant but have a strong connection to a god for other reasons. Most tribal wise-people aren't either clerics or druids--they're shamans who have features of both or neither.

    The quicker we abandon the idea that game classes represent actual in-universe entities and groups and treat them as the game UI that they are (convenient packages of abilities balanced for play and advancement as a player character with the associated archetypal themes and flavor), the better off we'll be, IMO.

    Oh, and I agree that if you're doing a wire-fu-flavored game, go ahead and give it to everyone. At that point, the "monk" class ceases to be useful in and of itself--instead everybody's doing a sort of gestalt of X/monk.
    Last edited by PhoenixPhyre; 2018-05-27 at 07:44 PM.
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    Default Re: Annoying Fantasy Clichés II: We're gonna need more Trope

    Part of the problem is the name. Monk means multiple things, and it really cramps those of us who want to play more scholastic monks.
    Correct. If axing the unarmed martial arts experts means I can FINALLY play my skill based unarmored divine caster with a few arcane spells (mainly Divinations and the odd Illusion/defensive/offensive spell for balancing reasons), I'll gladly kill it with fire.

    Though not the best book (it uses other tropes, like cruel bullies, and is quite bland once he hero is established because he just wins after he gets the item that let's him be a hero), I enjoy Salvatore's The Highwayman, where the main character portrays a westernized monk with a creative backstory. The character was poisoned in the womb always internally struggling to get a grip on his body (which in itself is a good metaphor for physical disabilities), when a soul stone supresses this poison (yes, yes, a poison active for two decades is stupid; and a character suddenly knowing kung fu after 20 years of fumbling about is too) he suddenly becomes monk Robin Hood.

    The story has other problems, but the depiction of the monk class is not one of them. but I think that book happened as a result of Salvatore wanting to make the Cadderly series about a monk but was refused to do so in favor of cleric being a much more mainstream D&D class.
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    Default Re: Annoying Fantasy Clichés II: We're gonna need more Trope

    In the words of a webcomic I like (but can't find the exact script):
    "Hey, authenticity cops! I'M PLAYING A FREAKIN' ELF!"
    Imagine if all real-world conversations were like internet D&D conversations...
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    Default Re: Annoying Fantasy Clichés II: We're gonna need more Trope

    I'm not generally for outright banning a class for anything but flavor or setting a particular power curve. I'm also of the opinion the monk-as-martial-artist concept standard to D&D can exist just fine in a setting with otherwise western fantasy concepts and medieval inspirations. Here's how I might do it: a group of peasants and low-class soldiers invented the techniques of the monk in a time where they were even more poorly treated than currently in your campaign. Their fighting styles relied on: quick strikes, avoiding blows since they mostly owned no armor, and the ability to use what tools they had on hand as weapons (including their bodies). How I might explain the more mystical abilities depend on the edition, since the exact level you get them and how they work varies.
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    Default Re: Annoying Fantasy Clichés II: We're gonna need more Trope

    The name at least has to go. Change it to "martial artist". "Monk" does not mean "martial artist".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    The name at least has to go. Change it to "martial artist". "Monk" does not mean "martial artist".
    If that's something you want to do, sure. Definitely better than tossing the whole class. Baby, bathwater, and all that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    The name at least has to go. Change it to "martial artist". "Monk" does not mean "martial artist".
    "Barbarian" doesn't mean "warrior with anger management issues". "Druid" doesn't mean "nature worshiping shapeshifter". Most classes are badly named. Barbarians are just foreigners with a strange accent. Bards are epic poets (meaning really long poems, not super powerful). Druids aren't mysterious weirdos who live outside of civilization: they are priests and judges with a central role in their society. Monks aren't the only class like this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xuc Xac View Post
    "Barbarian" doesn't mean "warrior with anger management issues". "Druid" doesn't mean "nature worshiping shapeshifter". Most classes are badly named. Barbarians are just foreigners with a strange accent. Bards are epic poets (meaning really long poems, not super powerful). Druids aren't mysterious weirdos who live outside of civilization: they are priests and judges with a central role in their society. Monks aren't the only class like this.
    What this man said. I always find it weird that people find "monk" objectionable but accept "barbarian" - like, at least there were SOME monks that are sort of like the D&D monk if you squint (though, as said, they really should have a bunch more weapon proficiencies), while "barbarian" was just a despective form of "foreigner".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    The name at least has to go. Change it to "martial artist". "Monk" does not mean "martial artist".
    I personally support using 'Xia' (roughly the Chinese for 'Knight Errant', it's closer to the thing it's actually modelling). Sure it's a bit awkward to say and might cause confusion if I'm ever playing on a group with my friend Xue, but it's a much better name.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drascin View Post
    What this man said. I always find it weird that people find "monk" objectionable but accept "barbarian" - like, at least there were SOME monks that are sort of like the D&D monk if you squint (though, as said, they really should have a bunch more weapon proficiencies), while "barbarian" was just a despective form of "foreigner".
    Barbarian should really be 'Berserker', while 'Cleric' should be something like 'Godtouched', and Druids need to sit in a fire or be replaced by a Shapeshifter class.

    But I've been focusing on Monks because that's been the topic of discussion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arbane View Post
    In the words of a webcomic I like (but can't find the exact script):
    "Hey, authenticity cops! I'M PLAYING A FREAKIN' ELF!"
    i share the sentiment, even if the only time i had to say it was during a larp 10 years back. i got accused of not looking "authentic". ok, true, i was wearing a tabard that was half-black, and half-hot pink bordering on neon. my objection was that the people who said that were a guy painted green and wearing fur briefs and sandals and a girl dolled up in spiral-pointy ears and enough silk ribbons to be mistaken for a spool of cloth (i learned later she was rp-ing a genasi cleric).

    at least my tabard could be explained away with practicality: loud colors catch the eye more than drab ones, and i was the only dedicated combattant in my team (who wore drab clothes). i met up with the nudist orc and the genasi in a later fight and they did agree that my tabard was so colorful the enemy npc's forgot all about other pc's but me.

    but still, it makes me chuckle that an orc called me out for being unrealistic. "pot, i'd like you to meet a friend of mine..."
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    Default Re: Annoying Fantasy Clichés II: We're gonna need more Trope

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    The name at least has to go. Change it to "martial artist". "Monk" does not mean "martial artist".
    Quote Originally Posted by Xuc Xac View Post
    "Barbarian" doesn't mean "warrior with anger management issues". "Druid" doesn't mean "nature worshiping shapeshifter". Most classes are badly named. Barbarians are just foreigners with a strange accent. Bards are epic poets (meaning really long poems, not super powerful). Druids aren't mysterious weirdos who live outside of civilization: they are priests and judges with a central role in their society. Monks aren't the only class like this.
    Quote Originally Posted by Drascin View Post
    What this man said. I always find it weird that people find "monk" objectionable but accept "barbarian" - like, at least there were SOME monks that are sort of like the D&D monk if you squint (though, as said, they really should have a bunch more weapon proficiencies), while "barbarian" was just a despective form of "foreigner".
    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Barbarian should really be 'Berserker', while 'Cleric' should be something like 'Godtouched', and Druids need to sit in a fire or be replaced by a Shapeshifter class.

    But I've been focusing on Monks because that's been the topic of discussion.
    This is exactly what I'm peeving about. Requiring that all the names have real-world analogues that they're "modeling". No. They're their own thing. Words have many meanings, and etymology is not destiny. Normal people can cleave to names while cleaving apart their various different meanings. Embrace the polysemy. Words mean what they're used to mean, not inherently what they originally meant.

    Specifically, the inspiration (which is not binding) is the pop culture versions of those things.

    Western warrior priest -> cleric
    Shaolin monk + wire-fu -> monk
    pop culture idea of a savage warrior frothing at the mouth -> barbarian (which has taken on other meanings since the greeks)
    nature-associated, non-standard priests + legends -> druids

    Etc.

    All D&D classes have this "issue"--a D&D wizard and a earth-myth wizard are basically mutually unrecognizable. But no one complains about that one. "Sorcerer" and "wizard" should be synonyms. Warlock means "oath breaker", not "guy who makes deals with <extraplanar creature>". And so on.

    D&D worlds are not Earth. They're not bound by earth myths or earth history. Stop trying to import that. You'll end up with less evocative names that don't catch anyone's attention, and D&D haters will find something else to hate. So you do no good while doing harm.
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    Default Re: Annoying Fantasy Clichés II: We're gonna need more Trope

    Quote Originally Posted by Xuc Xac View Post
    "Barbarian" doesn't mean "warrior with anger management issues". "Druid" doesn't mean "nature worshiping shapeshifter". Most classes are badly named. Barbarians are just foreigners with a strange accent. Bards are epic poets (meaning really long poems, not super powerful). Druids aren't mysterious weirdos who live outside of civilization: they are priests and judges with a central role in their society. Monks aren't the only class like this.
    Another reason I dislike the character classes.
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    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

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    Default Re: Annoying Fantasy Clichés II: We're gonna need more Trope

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    First, you can have an non-earth internal logic without being a kitchen sink (in the pejorative sense). That's a goal of my setting, in fact--to find an organic place for as much as possible of the mechanical content, preserving the high-level flavor where possible. Lots of the specific fluff changes--my demons aren't anything like the default. Nor are any of my planars even slightly similar. The origin of the races is also very different, as is the relationship of the gods to the people, etc.

    That's the thing. Those aren't Chinese weapons in your setting--the Chinese don't exist. You can have those weapons without any strain on anything--they're there for <in-universe reasons>. That's exactly what I'm irritated by. The insistence that just because on Earth those things are associated with <culture>, they have to be associated with <culture-expy> in all other settings.



    On Faerun, a scholastic monk wouldn't be called a monk. He'd be called a scholar. Or something else. And that's a background, not a class. Classes represent a package of game-related features and progressions that have descriptive archetypes attached, they're not in-universe things unless the setting designer decides they are. D&D (particularly) has never done "I'm a non-combatant" well. Mainly because it's primarily about adventurers doing adventuring things, which are inevitably dangerous. But that's a game system problem, not a trope problem.

    I've played a scholar priest (knowledge cleric). Not particularly holy, not particularly religious, really interested in books. I've built a nature cleric who's a reluctant cleric--a dwarf chosen by a gnomish god more or less under duress.

    My setting has "monasteries"--one is an open dojo dedicated to teaching martial arts to everyone who comes, another is mostly a contemplative retreat, with only a tiny fraction of the denizens having any combat training. A third mainly trains spies and dancers. A fourth is home to the study of the elements--wizards, druids, wardens (a homebrew class), monks, scholars, etc all study there.

    Only a tiny fraction of the residents of any of these would be game-monks, although most of them are monastics. Same with priests--most priests are not clerics. And not all clerics are priests--some are completely religiously ignorant but have a strong connection to a god for other reasons. Most tribal wise-people aren't either clerics or druids--they're shamans who have features of both or neither.

    The quicker we abandon the idea that game classes represent actual in-universe entities and groups and treat them as the game UI that they are (convenient packages of abilities balanced for play and advancement as a player character with the associated archetypal themes and flavor), the better off we'll be, IMO.
    I was with you up to this paragraph.

    If you want to treat the Classes as a "toolkit", then IMO you can't also invoke archetypes, themes, and flavors.

    As soon as you do the later, you're tying a statement about the character as in "in fiction" person/entity, into the mechanical-layer element of the Class, and it's no longer just a took in the kit. That is, if you say Fighter is just the tool for making a combat-capable character in the mechanical layer, that's one thing... but if you also say "and Fighter has the following archetypes, themes, and flavors attached", then that's another thing completely. Attaching those other things makes Fighter the mechanical class inappropriate for some characters at the "fiction" /in-setting level, even if they're really good at combat.
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2018-05-28 at 08:43 AM.
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    Default Re: Annoying Fantasy Clichés II: We're gonna need more Trope

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post

    When it takes itself too seriously and falsely insists on "historical" accuracy...to a world it doesn't exist in. Or insists that everything must have a real-world analogue, or be the expy of something on Earth. Do your own thing, even if it sticks a bunch of things in the blender. Originality isn't required, but neither is slavish devotion to the real world. "Inspired by" does not mean "direct copy of" or even "must be faithful to".

    See, I play like a tactician, and for that I really need information on how the world works. If it's realistic, I can make good assumptions. If it's not realistic, but it's all explained out beforehand, then that's awesome. But if it's not realistic nor well explained, I'm going to hit snags planning stuff out, and if character plans don't work out because of some bull**** conceived by a thoughtless gm, people are going to be dissatisfied.

    Also, as GM, I like to play sociologist. That can make really interesting and believable cultures if you go all out on it, though players should only get the relevant details their characters should know.

    As long as you're internally consistent, it doesn't matter if it matches Earth's model at all.
    This is words to work by.


    Martial arts
    Martial arts means war arts. Like, everything the fighter does is considered martial arts, and by fantastical extention an evocation wizard could be considered a martial artist.

    Renaming isn't the worst idea, but make sure the name at the end sounds good.

    Barbarian- Beserker. I kinda like rager, or Rage warrior.
    Monk- Ki Master.
    Druid- At a total loss here. "Sage" is to broad, "land master" or "nature cleric" or "green keeper" don't feel like solid hits. I think, maybe Druid is best, it's original meaning too niche to be a problem. Then again you only need to keep up to the likes of "fighter" so maybe I'm being too harsh.
    Ranger- Fool

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    Default Re: Annoying Fantasy Clichés II: We're gonna need more Trope

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    I was with you up to this paragraph.

    If you want to treat the Classes as a "toolkit", then IMO you can't also invoke archetypes, themes, and flavors.

    As soon as you do the later, you're tying a statement about the character as in "in fiction" person/entity, into the mechanical-layer element of the Class, and it's no longer just a took in the kit. That is, if you say Fighter is just the tool for making a combat-capable character in the mechanical layer, that's one thing... but if you also say "and Fighter has the following archetypes, themes, and flavors attached", then that's another thing completely. Attaching those other things makes Fighter the mechanical class inappropriate for some characters at the "fiction" /in-setting level.
    I don't see the disconnect. Archetypes and flavor are for players, not for the in-game universe. They're guidance on the design intent and "happy path" play style. You can deviate from them (or remix them) as desired, but they're a guide to choice. It's a key problem I have with point-buy systems--it's hard (requires significant system mastery and effort) to get something that's both thematic and effective, especially for new players. With classes, you can say "I want to play a big guy who hits hard" and pick up a barbarian without too much issue. Done well, they package both mechanics and thematics together in a self-sufficient way. Done poorly, you have to stitch even common things ("Guy who hits things hard without spells") out of a bunch of other pieces. At that point, you might as well use point-buy--it takes the same effort and is much more coherent.

    For me, the archetypes and flavor pieces let me pick "what looks right" for that vision without having to be a mechanics expert. Done right, "what looks right" will give a nice, solid character (if not a superbly optimized one). It gives me something to fall back on in portraying the character as well. It's a guide-rail, not a railroad.

    There's a mix of broad classes (Fighter, rogue, wizard) which have very little in the way of specific attached fiction but still represent archetypes (in a broad sense), and there are classes with much more detailed attached fiction (monk, druid, warlock, paladin) who represent narrower archetypes. Those narrow ones are the most likely to be represented in-universe as an actual thing, because they tend to be attached to organizations/specific individuals (a paladin's Order, a warlock's Patron, a druid's Grove). And then there are in-between ones (most of the rest).

    Most of the effort is in making playable archetypes that at least roughly cover the desired space. Because D&D is a game, first and foremost. The emphasis is on game, not on modeling anything in particular. There's also (except in 3e which is an outlier in most ways) a strong understanding that classes and abilities are options that may or may not exist in a particular game. They're examples of what you can do, not what must exist. So yes, if I were running a more "historical" game, I'd use a restricted subset. Or one with particular cultural assumptions.
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    Default Re: Annoying Fantasy Clichés II: We're gonna need more Trope

    Quote Originally Posted by Xuc Xac View Post
    "Barbarian" doesn't mean "warrior with anger management issues". "Druid" doesn't mean "nature worshiping shapeshifter". Most classes are badly named. Barbarians are just foreigners with a strange accent. Bards are epic poets (meaning really long poems, not super powerful). Druids aren't mysterious weirdos who live outside of civilization: they are priests and judges with a central role in their society. Monks aren't the only class like this.
    Yes, but at least there's a clear and obvious path leading from those names to those classes (although I agree the barbarian class should be called a berserker instead). The default mental image that the words conjure, while not entirely related to the class is at least not entirely unrelated to the class. The barbarian and druid do not require you to be familiar with a specific sub-sub-subgenre of kung-fu movies and tv shows from the 70's for the name to make any sense at all.

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    Default Re: Annoying Fantasy Clichés II: We're gonna need more Trope

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    The barbarian and druid do not require you to be familiar with a specific sub-sub-subgenre of kung-fu movies and tv shows from the 70's for the name to make any sense at all.
    The barbarian that flips out and the druid that shapeshifts only exist in games and media based on them. If you can recognize them, there's no reason you can't be just as familiar with monks with magic punches.

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    Default Re: Annoying Fantasy Clichés II: We're gonna need more Trope

    Going back to the "balance between good and evil" issue from a couple pages back, a couple of C.S.Lewis' books deal with reasons why somebody who is really really bad at being good may, in practice, be worse than someone who is just bad:

    "If we must have a tyrant a robber baron is far better than an inquisitor. The baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity at some point be sated, and since he dimly knows he is doing wrong he may possibly repent. But the inquisitor who mistakes his own cruelty and lust of power and fear for the voice of Heaven will torment us infinitely because he torments us with the approval of his own conscience and his better impulses appear to him as temptations." - C.S.Lewis, A Reply to Prof.Haldane

    "Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be "cured" against one's will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals." -C.S.Lewis, The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment

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    Default Re: Annoying Fantasy Clichés II: We're gonna need more Trope

    Quote Originally Posted by Xuc Xac View Post
    "Barbarian" doesn't mean "warrior with anger management issues". "Druid" doesn't mean "nature worshiping shapeshifter". Most classes are badly named. Barbarians are just foreigners with a strange accent. Bards are epic poets (meaning really long poems, not super powerful). Druids aren't mysterious weirdos who live outside of civilization: they are priests and judges with a central role in their society. Monks aren't the only class like this.
    Have you ever read Dungeon World? They're a PbtA D&D clone, but they do something that I really liked with races. All other characters have the 'human' option, plus a couple others (such as elf and halfling for druid, or dwarf for paladin), but for the Barbarian, the only race option is 'Outsider.' Your actual race doesn't matter aside from fluff, all that matter is that you aren't from around here.

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    Default Re: Annoying Fantasy Clichés II: We're gonna need more Trope

    Quote Originally Posted by Drascin View Post
    What this man said. I always find it weird that people find "monk" objectionable but accept "barbarian" - like, at least there were SOME monks that are sort of like the D&D monk if you squint (though, as said, they really should have a bunch more weapon proficiencies), while "barbarian" was just a despective form of "foreigner".
    That's what it means in greek. The english word means someone savage, brutish, and/or uncivilized, which fits an illiterate warrior with anger management issues well.

    To my knowledge it has never within my lifetime meant "foreigner" in english.

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