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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Grimlocks as villains?

    You know, I've never seen or heard any stories of Grimlocks being used as main villains in adventures, always minions of other, more powerful baddies. Is there anything inherent in Grimlocks that makes them unsuitable for use as villains?

    I'm running a reasonably low-level campaign for relatively inexperienced players. So far I've run them through some short adventures to get them used to my DMing style before I drop them into the campaign proper.

    They're going to find their way into a Demi-Plane consisting of a giant castle. Massive. It's like an entire enclosed city. This castle-plane (vaguely inspired by Gormenghast in Mervyn Peake's Titus Groan novels) is occupied by two noble houses who are basically in a state of prolonged cold war with one another. Both sides distrust the other and are convinced that the other is gearing up for an overwhelming assault, and so both sides are fortifying themselves against an attack that's never really going to come (the castle is essentially divided in two, with a long central corridor as a neutral zone). The portal the PCs entered through is only open for one day each year. Beneath the Castle is a mini-Underdark in which other portals (linked to portals in the main Material Plane's Underdark) can be found.

    The main threat of the campaign (as planned so far) is a Grimlock Cleric of Erythnul and his followers who have entered this plane through the Underdark and are planning to slaughter the inhabitants of the castle and convert the entire castle-plane into a shrine to Erythnul.

    Is there anything about Grimlocks that would make this unfeasible? Or is there some other reason they've never been used as main villains?
    Current D&D characters: None
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Grimlocks as villains?

    Well, main villains usually come in one of two broad categories.

    Big, impressive, blatantly supernatural. They're evil in an awe-inspiring inhuman way. Dragons, Beholders, Mind Flayers, Demon Princes, etc.

    Humanoid, more able to be related to. They could be misunderstood evil, sympathetic evil, or "The enemy is us. Mankind is the *real* monster!" evil.

    Grimlocks can't really be the first. And if you're going to do the second, why not just go with Humans? Or Drow? Or Halflings that ride velociraptors? There's no reason that one *can't* be the main antagonist. Just that there's so many more popular options.
    Last edited by Xefas; 2009-07-05 at 12:11 PM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Grimlocks as villains?

    Hmm. I guess I just like D&D's cannibalistic humanoid underground dwellers more than most people do. C'est la vie.
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    The Crown and the Ring: Blog where I ramble and muse about elements of gaming culture, game mechanics, the philosophy of Dungeon Mastery (at least as it applies to me), and chronicle, step by step, the creation of a campaign world.

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    Morty's Avatar

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    Default Re: Grimlocks as villains?

    The thing about Grimlocks that besides "Blind, live underground, eat people" we know nothing of them, really. They practically scream "just there to be mooks". Which is not to say your idea doesn't work. It's perfectly feasible, I think.
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    Jair Barik's Avatar

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    Default Re: Grimlocks as villains?

    I think being blind could be a part of it. Its a major handicap and prevents traditional writing etc. making it hard to make them more intelligent. On the subject of humanoid style Major villains though they don't have to be too humanoid. Ogre mages work great but are still relatively human, Rakshasa similarly.

    IMO theres a third category etween the two mentioned which is a cross between them, where you get the humanoid yet blatantly supernatural. The things that can have human goals but are monstrous yet don't necessarily fill us with awe.

    He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.
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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: Grimlocks as villains?

    Quote Originally Posted by M0rt View Post
    The thing about Grimlocks that besides "Blind, live underground, eat people" we know nothing of them, really. They practically scream "just there to be mooks". Which is not to say your idea doesn't work. It's perfectly feasible, I think.
    They're much like Drow, Mind Flayers or any other usually evil creatures from a place other than the surface prime, really. They make just as fine villains as the more common types, or even better due to being more rarely used. You'll have to come up with some stuff though since they lack written material like Lords of Madness or Drow of the Underdark...which is merely a good thing.
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  7. - Top - End - #7
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    Ryuuk's Avatar

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    Default Re: Grimlocks as villains?

    Huh, never realized that the Grimlocks are pretty much the Morlocks from H. G. Well's "The Time Machine". I kinda disagree with the above, that there are only really two categories for evil. Even then though, they could fit into the first category a more subtle way. You're would have to really play up on the Blindsight though. Besides, if their head is a Cleric to the god of slaughter, you've got your supernatural right there.

    You've probably never seen them used as main villains because they lean more towards henchmen.
    Last edited by Ryuuk; 2009-07-05 at 12:36 PM.
    Will be edited by Ryuuk : Sometime in the future.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    hamishspence's Avatar

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    Default Re: Grimlocks as villains?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xefas View Post

    Big, impressive, blatantly supernatural. They're evil in an awe-inspiring inhuman way. Dragons, Beholders, Mind Flayers, Demon Princes, etc.

    Humanoid, more able to be related to. They could be misunderstood evil, sympathetic evil, or "The enemy is us. Mankind is the *real* monster!" evil.
    There are about a dozen more in Champions of Ruin though most of those represent motives which could be applied to either.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Grimlocks as villains?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jair Barik View Post
    IMO theres a third category between the two mentioned which is a cross between them, where you get the humanoid yet blatantly supernatural. The things that can have human goals but are monstrous yet don't necessarily fill us with awe.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ryuuk View Post
    I kinda disagree with the above, that there are only really two categories for evil. Even then though, they could fit into the first category a more subtle way.
    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    There are about a dozen more in Champions of Ruin though most of those represent motives which could be applied to either.
    I was making a very vague generalization. I could've gone into more detail, and make a few dozens different kinds of evil, but one, that seems unnecessary to make my point, two, I would've been ninja'd, and three, it would be more likely to derail the thread into a 15 page flame war about alignment and real world moral implications that ends up getting locked with sour feelings all around.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Grimlocks as villains?

    Quote Originally Posted by M0rt View Post
    The thing about Grimlocks that besides "Blind, live underground, eat people" we know nothing of them, really. They practically scream "just there to be mooks". Which is not to say your idea doesn't work. It's perfectly feasible, I think.
    Personally, I appreciate the "we know nothing about them" aspect. I find it gives me more freedom to work -- I've been given headaches in the past by players upset about me deviating from published material regarding monsters' appearances, behavior, etc. Though mostly it was power-gamers who gave me these headaches by memorizing the Monster Manuals and then getting cranky when I changed monsters' appearances so that they couldn't instantly call to mind the monsters' weaknesses. Now it's become force of habit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryuuk View Post
    Even then though, they could fit into the first category a more subtle way. You're would have to really play up on the Blindsight though. Besides, if their head is a Cleric to the god of slaughter, you've got your supernatural right there.
    Grimlocks first really came to my attention a couple months ago when a friend decided to run a mid-level, anything goes one-shot. I rolled up a Grimlock Barbarian and started thinking about how I would roleplay such a character so it wouldn't just be "human with cosmetic differences." I finally came to the conclusion that if I were to play this character the way I felt it should be played, it would have made some of the other players uncomfortable in-character and out. So I rolled up a human Archivist but the Grimlock stayed in the back of my head.

    EDIT: Gabarak, my Grimlock Barbarian, was going to be extremely touchy-feely in the physical sense, constantly running his bare hands and feet over everything, sniffing everything and everyone intensely (familiarizing himself with the other party member's scents, so he doesn't attack them accidentally) even gnawing on things to identify them. He also wouldn't be familiar with cultures outside his own, and would make comments and such drawing from his own experiences, not understanding that they weren't commonplace among the surface races -- he would swear, for instance, that if any of the party members fell in battle he would perform the honor of eating them.
    Last edited by Brauron; 2009-07-05 at 05:48 PM.
    Current D&D characters: None
    Currently GMing: "The Last War of Outremer", Pathfinder/D&D 3.5
    The Crown and the Ring: Blog where I ramble and muse about elements of gaming culture, game mechanics, the philosophy of Dungeon Mastery (at least as it applies to me), and chronicle, step by step, the creation of a campaign world.

  11. - Top - End - #11
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    Harperfan7's Avatar

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    Default Re: Grimlocks as villains?

    I'd like to see a grimlock as a main villain. No reason they can't be. They get a cool feat in the faerun underdark book, Axeshield I think.

    Anyways, I think the main reason you never see grimlock villains is the same as why you never see goblin villains. They were pretty much made to be slave soldier/goons. They are basically mind flayer cannon fodder.

    Do it though.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Orc in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: Grimlocks as villains?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brauron View Post
    EDIT: Gabarak, my Grimlock Barbarian, was going to be extremely touchy-feely in the physical sense, constantly running his bare hands and feet over everything, sniffing everything and everyone intensely (familiarizing himself with the other party member's scents, so he doesn't attack them accidentally) even gnawing on things to identify them. He also wouldn't be familiar with cultures outside his own, and would make comments and such drawing from his own experiences, not understanding that they weren't commonplace among the surface races -- he would swear, for instance, that if any of the party members fell in battle he would perform the honor of eating them.
    When the group met my Grimlock Barbarian he had no concept of names. So he always spoke of himself by race.

    "Me, Grimlock, badass!"

    Quite entertaining, and not in the least tiresome.

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    DamnedIrishman's Avatar

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    Default Re: Grimlocks as villains?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryuuk View Post
    Huh, never realized that the Grimlocks are pretty much the Morlocks from H. G. Well's "The Time Machine". I kinda disagree with the above, that there are only really two categories for evil. Even then though, they could fit into the first category a more subtle way. You're would have to really play up on the Blindsight though. Besides, if their head is a Cleric to the god of slaughter, you've got your supernatural right there.

    You've probably never seen them used as main villains because they lean more towards henchmen.
    Emphasis mine. This works perfectly: in what way is the Brain Morlock not a perfect villain? Read the book (or just watch the film) [or at least, read/watch the end] and there's your inspiration.
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Grimlocks as villains?

    Quote Originally Posted by DamnedIrishman View Post
    Emphasis mine. This works perfectly: in what way is the Brain Morlock not a perfect villain? Read the book (or just watch the film) [or at least, read/watch the end] and there's your inspiration.
    Shame that in the book the Morlocks have no real organization (I reread it about once a year) That was the one thing the 2002 film did really well, I thought -- giving the Morlocks a caste system.

    Grimlocks have INT 10, per the Monster Manual, so they're not ignorant schmucks for the most part, though not geniuses either. I guess it is, as harperfan pointed out, as it is with goblin villains. They're not exceptional enough to generally stand out on their own.

    I'm in the middle of rolling up my cleric baddie though. He's gonna be a tough fight.
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    The Crown and the Ring: Blog where I ramble and muse about elements of gaming culture, game mechanics, the philosophy of Dungeon Mastery (at least as it applies to me), and chronicle, step by step, the creation of a campaign world.

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