Zed Lopez

Monsters You Can Feel Good About Killing

A trouble with a lot of fantasy, like The Lord of the Rings or Dungeons & Dragons: the existence of races of intelligent beings who are inherently, irredeemably Evil and whom it’s always Good and righteous to kill. It’s hard not to notice how closely this maps to the belief systems of the most disgusting racists. Here one gamemaster attempts to anti-redeem the monsters so you really can feel good about killing them.

It’s summer, and the kiddos are out of school - it’s high time for another family game! […] Here’s the thing - kids and Gygaxian Naturalism don’t mix. There will be no orc babies or crying goblin moms in the game, mewling that the adventurers just killed their husbands. […] Ergo, it’s time to whip up some alternate origins for the humanoid races, ones that put them firmly in the realm of monsters, and not as misunderstood, hairy pseudo-people. […]

Ogres: The oldest crime, the oldest prohibition, is against cannibalism, and there is a spirit that sometimes takes root when a man eats the flesh of another man, transforming the forbidden diet into an addiction while changing the transgressor - body, mind, and soul - into a hulking man-eater that lumbers off into the wilderness to indulge its dark passions far from torches, pitchforks, and angry villagers. Possession by the ogre spirit leads to an immortality, of sorts. […]

Hmm, upon rereading, I notice they’re not quite as “kid friendly” or whimsical as I would have hoped. Perhaps I watch too many horror movies to run a kid’s D&D game. But kids are tough, and real fairy tales are pretty scary, right? They’ll be fine, right?