View Full Version : Brainstorming: D&D with demi-humans as antagonists

2013-01-07, 10:23 AM
I've been toying with a campaign setting idea for a D&D game, where the PCs are all human, and the various demi-human races (dwarves, elves, halflings, orcs, etc) are almost always antagonists.

What I have in mind is an age of expansion into the hinterland of a New World. The New World edges have been well-settled and mapped for a century or so after the initial discovery of the continent, but the interior is mostly unexplored. At least two Old World powers will be vying for the upper hand in the expansion.
PCs may be from the small native human population, from established Old World colonies, or newly arrived Old World adventurers.

In the interior, there will be a variety of demi-human civilisations of one level or another, who have little to no values in common with the encroaching expansionists. They will have had little contact with the native humans, who probably see them as legendary creatures (like fairies and goblins).

Now, what will set this appart from a fantasy re-hash of European expansion into Africa and America is that the Old World expansionists will be quite used to their own variety of monsters. I'm thinking of having the Old World follow something like Greek myth - so while they're used to the idea of harpies, gorgons and minotaurs, they have no idea what to think of belligerent elves or whatever.

How do you think this would work out - would players be able to overcome preconceptions about the roles of demi-humans in such a setting? Would I need to keep the nature of the demi-humans secret?

2013-01-07, 02:18 PM
I think it could work. If necessary, explain to the players that the demi-humans are not evil, per se; instead, they are native peoples resisting expansion onto their land.

I don't know if you saw this thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=266109); it's somewhat relevant.

2013-01-08, 12:39 PM
Oh, I was planning on having the PCs figure out for themselves that the demi-humans aren't evil. Personally, I tend to enjoy games where the antagonists are Neutral, and possibly some of the PCs are too. I tend to rarely break out the actually Evil bad guys.

I did look at that thread when I was thinking about posting this, but decided that it isn't really relevant.
I think I've got a more ancient, less advanced setting in mind, where the demi-humans may be actually more advanced than the imperials. I'm certainly not thinking of firearms in the setting.
Maybe I'm thinking more of crossing the Roman expansion into Gaul with Lewis and Clarke, or Livingstone, rather than the Old West era.