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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
     
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    Default Theory about the Dark One

    What if the Dark One wasn't a deity created by goblin belief? Instead, it's a deity created by the PC races suddenly realizing that Goblins are not just mobs to be killed for XP and loot. Mirroring our evolution in the real world, and how our goblin-oppressing characters are mirroring disgusting behaviors of our past and present history.

    It's a good explanation for why this Deity suddenly manifested now, after millions of worlds have come and gone. Presumably, goblins have always made up gods, but since the goblins were not given self-awareness by the gods (as they were just Mobs to kill) these proto-gods would have no belief to manifest. Now that we players see them differently, the PC races see them differently: Goblins MAY BE a humanoid species with the chance to determine their own path, regardless of their evil culture. And from this Dark realization spawned the Dark One, the dirty little secret that now threatens to mess with our mindless dungeon-crawling fun. Sleepless nights thinking, "Am I the baddie?" taken form.

    Just a little theory that came to me after the last strips reveal that Durkon is capable of seeing Goblins as an actual culture deserving of respect. It would explain why Redcloak has a lesser connection to the Dark One. And how messed up would Redcloak be, if his divinity actually came from Human/Elf/Dwarven empathy?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Theory about the Dark One

    Quote Originally Posted by JuanCu View Post
    What if the Dark One wasn't a deity created by goblin belief? Instead, it's a deity created by the PC races suddenly realizing that Goblins are not just mobs to be killed for XP and loot. Mirroring our evolution in the real world, and how our goblin-oppressing characters are mirroring disgusting behaviors of our past and present history.

    It's a good explanation for why this Deity suddenly manifested now, after millions of worlds have come and gone. Presumably, goblins have always made up gods, but since the goblins were not given self-awareness by the gods (as they were just Mobs to kill) these proto-gods would have no belief to manifest. Now that we players see them differently, the PC races see them differently: Goblins MAY BE a humanoid species with the chance to determine their own path, regardless of their evil culture. And from this Dark realization spawned the Dark One, the dirty little secret that now threatens to mess with our mindless dungeon-crawling fun. Sleepless nights thinking, "Am I the baddie?" taken form.

    Just a little theory that came to me after the last strips reveal that Durkon is capable of seeing Goblins as an actual culture deserving of respect. It would explain why Redcloak has a lesser connection to the Dark One. And how messed up would Redcloak be, if his divinity actually came from Human/Elf/Dwarven empathy?
    Actually this works as a meta explanation for the author motives, but I don't see it working in-universe. I think you mix a little the two things, so I don't know exactly how to analyze the whole idea.

    Anyway, in real world goblinoids had Gods already, well before the order fo the stick creation.

    This one, for example, looks to be very similar to the Dark One description. And it goes back to 1980, according to the cited sources.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Theory about the Dark One

    The main issue I see is that like with other theories it takes away agency from the goblinoids and has everything be in the hands of the PC races again.

  4. - Top - End - #4
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    Default Re: Theory about the Dark One

    Quote Originally Posted by JuanCu View Post
    What if the Dark One wasn't a deity created by goblin belief? Instead, it's a deity created by the PC races suddenly realizing that Goblins are not just mobs to be killed for XP and loot. Mirroring our evolution in the real world, and how our goblin-oppressing characters are mirroring disgusting behaviors of our past and present history.

    It's a good explanation for why this Deity suddenly manifested now, after millions of worlds have come and gone. Presumably, goblins have always made up gods, but since the goblins were not given self-awareness by the gods (as they were just Mobs to kill) these proto-gods would have no belief to manifest.
    Inasmuch as there is a problem here (which I don't think there is, for the record), this doesn't solve it, it only moves the question one further step back: why did the PC races only do that now, after millions of worlds have come and gone? Any answer you can give to this question will also adequately address why the goblins/XP farm races only make their own god arise in this world and not in a previous world.

    Anyway, the Giant said that the goblins didn't worship any gods before the Dark One. There's no particular reason why this would apply to previous worlds, but then again, there's no particular reason why there should have been goblins in previous worlds either.
    ungelic is us

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    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Theory about the Dark One

    There’s a general issue with Oots that there didn’t seem to be any racial deities
    Which makes sense as we’ve seen that in some iterations the ‘oriental’ pantheon are allowed to have oriental type oni instead of western style ogres
    And then we have the elven gods rising in this world by sponsoring- which raises the idea of wether there were elves in previous worlds.
    And if the world ends and the elven gods survive then the next world will surely have to have elves who will be part of the western pantheon again.
    'Utślie'n aurė! Aiya Eldaliė ar Atanatįri, utślie'n aurė! “The day has come! Behold, people of the Eldar and Fathers of Men, the day has come!" And all those who heard his great voice echo in the hills answered, crying:'Auta i lómė!" The night is passing!"

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Theory about the Dark One

    Quote Originally Posted by mjasghar View Post
    There’s a general issue with Oots that there didn’t seem to be any racial deities.
    Except for Thrym, Surtr, Dvalin, and Sigrun, and that's just the Northern Pantheon.

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    Default Theory about the Dark One

    Theory about the Dark One
    What if the Dark One wasn't a deity created by goblin belief?
    He used to play linebacker for either the Minnesota Vikings or the Baltimore Ravens.

    Why? Purple!

    And I'll go with "Played for the Ravens" because I think Thor would have known more about him if he played for the Vikings.
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2020-09-09 at 08:37 AM.
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    (paraphrased) Rulings are not 'House Rules.' Rulings are a DM doing what DMs are supposed to do.
    Quote Originally Posted by greenstone View Post
    Agency means that they {players} control their character's actions; you control the world's reactions to the character's actions.
    Gosh, 2D8HP, you are so very correct
    Quote Originally Posted by HappyDaze
    Self-deception tends to have a low target number
    How Teleport Works

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Theory about the Dark One

    #1: I don't know how many worlds were self-aware fantasy settings. Strip out the fantasy, you might well not have goblins. (And even in some fantastic settings; Shadowrun has the initial appearance of orcs and trolls come through "goblinization", but while small metahuman cults are possible the vast majority of them are content with the same religions everybody else uses.) Strip out the self-awareness, nobody will be aware how xp works or that some creatures might be made just to serve as a source of it for others.

    #2: Giggles is currently receiving a tribe's worth of worship. He hasn't ascended as an extrapantheonic deity of his own yet. It takes a huge amount of belief to make the jump to ascension, and maybe a little more. It may very well be that individual tribes found their own things to worship, and that a pan-goblinoid leader is indeed astronomically rare. Especially when you consider that having the believers free for TDO to ascend means everybody else just leaving that belief on the table. If other gods tried courting goblin worship in older worlds, this wouldn't have happened. Now that gods realize how much belief goblins can produce, it'll be a long time if ever before entire races are left ignored by all the gods again.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Theory about the Dark One

    Quote Originally Posted by Worldsong View Post
    The main issue I see is that like with other theories it takes away agency from the goblinoids and has everything be in the hands of the PC races again.
    I don't see any issue with this.

    After 1213 strips, what goblinoids have gotten the on-screen time to justify them helping themselves out of their situation?

    None.

    Right-Eye is long dead, Jirix is still an evil servant of the Dark One.

    It seems highly unlikely that a new goblin savior character would emerge at this point. Especially considering Redcloak is the central Goblinoid character of this comic, and that merely sidelining him in favor of a new good goblin that saves his kind's day would be a hugely unsatisfactory resolution.

    There isn't even much reason to believe that the goblinoids' fate will benefit from much improvement before the comic's resolution. A half-assed savior insert with "and they all lived happily ever after" doesn't do any justice to real-world parallels, if that's what you are pining for.
    Attention LotR fans
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    The scouring of the Shire never happened. That's right. After reading books I, II, and III, I stopped reading when the One Ring was thrown into Mount Doom. The story ends there. Nothing worthwhile happened afterwards. Middle-Earth was saved.

  10. - Top - End - #10
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    Default Re: Theory about the Dark One

    Why does Jirix being (possibly) Evil disqualify him from being that saviour? Or Redcloak, for that matter (although in his case there's more narrative reasons to think he will fail).
    ungelic is us

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Theory about the Dark One

    Following up Hrožila by saying I'm rather baffled by the assumption that the goblinoids would have to be Good-aligned before they can have agency or the ability to influence/change their own fate (in this case, for the better).

    I also don't think I'm going to consider that an argument worth exploring. That's just... what?

  12. - Top - End - #12
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    Default Re: Theory about the Dark One

    Quote Originally Posted by hrožila View Post
    Why does Jirix being (possibly) Evil disqualify him from being that saviour? Or Redcloak, for that matter (although in his case there's more narrative reasons to think he will fail).
    Thank you. If Redcloak dies during the final struggle, the goblins and hobgoblins in Azure City/Gobbotopia have a leader and they have a future. The future might be a rough one, but I seem to recall that Redcloak told his citizens that 17 nations around the world had already recognized Gobbotopia as sovereign. (Strip 702)
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2020-09-09 at 04:15 PM.
    Avatar by linklele
    Quote Originally Posted by Malifice View Post
    (paraphrased) Rulings are not 'House Rules.' Rulings are a DM doing what DMs are supposed to do.
    Quote Originally Posted by greenstone View Post
    Agency means that they {players} control their character's actions; you control the world's reactions to the character's actions.
    Gosh, 2D8HP, you are so very correct
    Quote Originally Posted by HappyDaze
    Self-deception tends to have a low target number
    How Teleport Works

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Theory about the Dark One

    I believe the debate is going like this;
    A: The Dark One might not be a goblin Deity, but one the PC races thought up instead.
    B: Doesn't that rob the goblins of what little racial agency they had in the story?
    A: Well the goblins aren't going to have agency because they're not going to be the ones saving the world. Unless you're suggesting that Redcloak (evil) and Jirix (he stomped a bug!) are replaced by a good goblin saviour.
    B:... What?

  14. - Top - End - #14
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    Default Re: Theory about the Dark One

    Quote Originally Posted by Riftwolf View Post
    I believe the debate is going like this;
    A: The Dark One might not be a goblin Deity, but one the PC races thought up instead.
    B: Doesn't that rob the goblins of what little racial agency they had in the story?
    A: Well the goblins aren't going to have agency because they're not going to be the ones saving the world. Unless you're suggesting that Redcloak (evil) and Jirix (he stomped a bug!) are replaced by a good goblin saviour.
    B:... What?
    My theory about the Baltimore Ravens makes more sense.
    Avatar by linklele
    Quote Originally Posted by Malifice View Post
    (paraphrased) Rulings are not 'House Rules.' Rulings are a DM doing what DMs are supposed to do.
    Quote Originally Posted by greenstone View Post
    Agency means that they {players} control their character's actions; you control the world's reactions to the character's actions.
    Gosh, 2D8HP, you are so very correct
    Quote Originally Posted by HappyDaze
    Self-deception tends to have a low target number
    How Teleport Works

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: Theory about the Dark One

    Quote Originally Posted by Riftwolf View Post
    I believe the debate is going like this;
    A: The Dark One might not be a goblin Deity, but one the PC races thought up instead.
    B: Doesn't that rob the goblins of what little racial agency they had in the story?
    A: Well the goblins aren't going to have agency because they're not going to be the ones saving the world. Unless you're suggesting that Redcloak (evil) and Jirix (he stomped a bug!) are replaced by a good goblin saviour.
    B:... What?
    It definitely feels like someone sprung White Man's Burden as if it was the most natural thing.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Orc in the Playground
     
    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Theory about the Dark One

    Quote Originally Posted by Riftwolf View Post
    Except for Thrym, Surtr, Dvalin, and Sigrun, and that's just the Northern Pantheon.
    Thyrm and surtr are gods of frost and fire with the respective giants as an addition. Part of the issue there is that the source material {scrubbed}. I don’t see how such races could have existed as they are now in the snack world. So maybe they had slush puppies and chilli sauce races?
    Divalin arose in this iteration - who knows if he’ll survive the inter period if another world is made.
    Sigrun is an integral part of the Northen pantheon as Valkyries are part of their culture
    Last edited by Peelee; 2020-09-12 at 04:36 PM.
    'Utślie'n aurė! Aiya Eldaliė ar Atanatįri, utślie'n aurė! “The day has come! Behold, people of the Eldar and Fathers of Men, the day has come!" And all those who heard his great voice echo in the hills answered, crying:'Auta i lómė!" The night is passing!"

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Theory about the Dark One

    Quote Originally Posted by mjasghar View Post
    Thyrm and surtr are gods of frost and fire with the respective giants as an addition. Part of the issue there is that the source material {scrub the post, scrub the quote}
    I'm not sure what source material you're talking about. If it's like...the source source...{scrubbed}.

    If by source you mean OoTs, Thyrm is stated as the God of the Frost Giants (not Frost) and Loki is the God of Fire in the Northern Pantheon. Not Sutr. If it's just D&D then Sutr is the only of the two that are stated as Gods as far as I know and he's expressly stated to be the God of the Fire Giants. So just no, on all facets here.

    Quote Originally Posted by mjasghar View Post
    Divalin arose in this iteration - who knows if he’ll survive the inter period if another world is made.
    He's expressly part of the Northern Quiddity. There's no reason to think that he wouldn't.

    Quote Originally Posted by mjasghar View Post
    Sigrun is an integral part of the Northen pantheon as Valkyries are part of their culture
    Where do we see Valkyries in OotS?


    Also everyone is forgetting that we do have a racial Pantheon. The Elven Gods. They are part of the Northern Pantheon's quiddity, we don't know when they arose but we do know they exist and the Elves worship them rather than the normal Northern Pantheon.
    Last edited by Peelee; 2020-09-12 at 04:36 PM.

  18. - Top - End - #18
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    Default Re: Theory about the Dark One

    Quote Originally Posted by Razade View Post
    Also everyone is forgetting that we do have a racial Pantheon. The Elven Gods. They are part of the Northern Pantheon's quiddity, we don't know when they arose but we do know they exist and the Elves worship them rather than the normal Northern Pantheon.
    Western, but I get what you're saying here.
    What sets the Elven Gods apart from TDO (and also what sets apart the one Dwarf who deified in the north, the one who always votes by his council) is that they were sponsored by an established pantheon. Their shared quiddity supports this, which might mean that the sponsoring pantheon played a part in the ascension.

    Following that logic, that could mean that the gods can detect mass reverence/worship of a mortal and then intervene.

    Contradicting that assumption, conversely, may mean that worship of a pantheon's creations holds the same quiddity as they do.
    That might mean the opposite of what the OP is suggesting... that the goblinoids sprang up independently of divine influence and so have worship quiddity independent of them. Would poke some holes in Redcloak's cosmological map.
    Last edited by C-Dude; 2020-09-09 at 08:20 PM.
    Thought I'd try drawing in Rich's style with a lizardfolk. He looks... concerned. Maybe 'cause he lost the top of his spear!

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Theory about the Dark One

    Quote Originally Posted by C-Dude View Post
    Western, but I get what you're saying here.
    What sets the Elven Gods apart from TDO (and also what sets apart the one Dwarf who deified in the north, the one who always votes by his council) is that they were sponsored by an established pantheon. Their shared quiddity supports this, which might mean that the sponsoring pantheon played a part in the ascension.

    Following that logic, that could mean that the gods can detect mass reverence/worship of a mortal and then intervene.

    Contradicting that assumption, conversely, may mean that worship of a pantheon's creations holds the same quiddity as they do.
    That might mean the opposite of what the OP is suggesting... that the goblinoids sprang up independently of divine influence and so have worship quiddity independent of them. Would poke some holes in Redcloak's cosmological map.
    Oh whoops, yes. Western. Point remains however that I was only responding to mjasghar's content that we don't see racial Gods. We do.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Quote Originally Posted by hrožila View Post
    Why does Jirix being (possibly) Evil disqualify him from being that saviour? Or Redcloak, for that matter (although in his case there's more narrative reasons to think he will fail).
    Quote Originally Posted by Worldsong View Post
    Following up Hrožila by saying I'm rather baffled by the assumption that the goblinoids would have to be Good-aligned before they can have agency or the ability to influence/change their own fate (in this case, for the better).

    I also don't think I'm going to consider that an argument worth exploring. That's just... what?
    Quote Originally Posted by KorvinStarmast View Post
    Thank you. If Redcloak dies during the final struggle, the goblins and hobgoblins in Azure City/Gobbotopia have a leader and they have a future. The future might be a rough one, but I seem to recall that Redcloak told his citizens that 17 nations around the world had already recognized Gobbotopia as sovereign. (Strip 702)
    Jirix is basically the "establishment" leader for the status quo. Narratively, he is a very minor character, as we've seen very little of him and who he is, but that little we saw does not show anything to make us believe that he would bring his people down a different path than the one Redcloak set them on.

    All I'm saying is that I don't expect us to see the goblins fix their own problems in this strip, unless it includes an epilogue of sorts.

    That doesn't mean I expect us to see the fixing come from the outside, such as the PC races, either. While I take issue with the automatic association of outside help with racist tropes like "white man's burden" (was it racist when France helped the thirteen colonies free themselves from the british monarchy? "races" are not monoliths and inter-national assistance can very much be wholly intra-"racial", and even when it is inter-"racial" it need not be automatically racist.)

    In any case, "not seeing the goblins fix their own problems in this strip" leaves a whole lot of other options, and not just "others will fix their problems for them". For example, and which I would find more likely, is that their problems /not get fixed/ in the comic. To fix all of the problems suggests that they are small problems with easy resolution. If the author is going for parallels with real-world racism, that would be incredibly reductive. Sure, in a fantasy you could think of things like "the gods tell their worshippers to treat goblins better", and that could kinda work (though not really in the belief system established in this universe), but then you throw all real life parallels down the drain. A more likely cut-off point would be "they agree to work on a resolution to this problem, though they know the road ahead will be long and windy". Could be something else, too.

    I mean, in a way, it's trying to accomplish two things which, in my opinion, are fundamentally incompatible. There's the critic of how fantasy "evil races" are handled in typical D&D play, and there's a critic on real-world racism and how marginalized groups can be treated, and though there's some overlap between both, they are fundamentally different things, regardless of how many parallels some people want to draw between them. D&D's a sandbox game and you take what you want of it. Some people like immersive stories and a bunch of moral grey areas in their stories, others just want to play a game and grind some numbers, escaping the complexities of real life for some simple pleasures. Sticking a "humanoid" subtype on their challenges doesn't make them racist in any way whatsoever.
    Attention LotR fans
    Spoiler: LotR
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    The scouring of the Shire never happened. That's right. After reading books I, II, and III, I stopped reading when the One Ring was thrown into Mount Doom. The story ends there. Nothing worthwhile happened afterwards. Middle-Earth was saved.

  21. - Top - End - #21
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    Default Re: Theory about the Dark One

    Wasn't Jirix the leader from O-Chul prequel?

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    Default Re: Theory about the Dark One

    Quote Originally Posted by Precure View Post
    Wasn't Jirix the leader from O-Chul prequel?
    Nope, there's a pretty good consensus on that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Goblin_Priest View Post
    All I'm saying is that I don't expect us to see the goblins fix their own problems in this strip, unless it includes an epilogue of sorts.
    Jirix and his people have an uphill struggle, but at least they have a start and some of the nations have accepted their conquest of Azure City and will trade with them. The question is, will Gobbotopia be dominated by Hobgoblins to the detriment of Goblins? Rich made an allusion to this challenge in the opening strips with Oona and Greyview, through the mouth of MiTD.
    Panel 6, strip 1038.
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2020-09-10 at 10:42 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malifice View Post
    (paraphrased) Rulings are not 'House Rules.' Rulings are a DM doing what DMs are supposed to do.
    Quote Originally Posted by greenstone View Post
    Agency means that they {players} control their character's actions; you control the world's reactions to the character's actions.
    Gosh, 2D8HP, you are so very correct
    Quote Originally Posted by HappyDaze
    Self-deception tends to have a low target number
    How Teleport Works

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    Default Re: Theory about the Dark One

    Quote Originally Posted by Goblin_Priest View Post
    I mean, in a way, it's trying to accomplish two things which, in my opinion, are fundamentally incompatible. There's the critic of how fantasy "evil races" are handled in typical D&D play, and there's a critic on real-world racism and how marginalized groups can be treated, and though there's some overlap between both, they are fundamentally different things, regardless of how many parallels some people want to draw between them. D&D's a sandbox game and you take what you want of it. Some people like immersive stories and a bunch of moral grey areas in their stories, others just want to play a game and grind some numbers, escaping the complexities of real life for some simple pleasures. Sticking a "humanoid" subtype on their challenges doesn't make them racist in any way whatsoever.
    Where do you see incompatibility there?

    Rich has gone on the record multiple times saying "it's okay to kill X because they have green skin and fangs" is a terrible mentality that's only a short jump away from real-world people being devalued by others, and he wants to address both things in his comic strip. Whether or not you agree with him is irrelevant, because it's his story and that's the one he's telling, and he has very convincingly connected the two ideas (for many of us, at least).

    Just because D&D framework allows morally black-and-white stories, doesn't mean OotS is required to be one of them. That's like you're claiming omelets can't exist, because over-easy is the only way you like your eggs prepared.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Goblin_Priest View Post
    Jirix is basically the "establishment" leader for the status quo. Narratively, he is a very minor character, as we've seen very little of him and who he is, but that little we saw does not show anything to make us believe that he would bring his people down a different path than the one Redcloak set them on.

    All I'm saying is that I don't expect us to see the goblins fix their own problems in this strip, unless it includes an epilogue of sorts.

    That doesn't mean I expect us to see the fixing come from the outside, such as the PC races, either. While I take issue with the automatic association of outside help with racist tropes like "white man's burden" (was it racist when France helped the thirteen colonies free themselves from the british monarchy? "races" are not monoliths and inter-national assistance can very much be wholly intra-"racial", and even when it is inter-"racial" it need not be automatically racist.)

    In any case, "not seeing the goblins fix their own problems in this strip" leaves a whole lot of other options, and not just "others will fix their problems for them". For example, and which I would find more likely, is that their problems /not get fixed/ in the comic. To fix all of the problems suggests that they are small problems with easy resolution. If the author is going for parallels with real-world racism, that would be incredibly reductive. Sure, in a fantasy you could think of things like "the gods tell their worshippers to treat goblins better", and that could kinda work (though not really in the belief system established in this universe), but then you throw all real life parallels down the drain. A more likely cut-off point would be "they agree to work on a resolution to this problem, though they know the road ahead will be long and windy". Could be something else, too.

    I mean, in a way, it's trying to accomplish two things which, in my opinion, are fundamentally incompatible. There's the critic of how fantasy "evil races" are handled in typical D&D play, and there's a critic on real-world racism and how marginalized groups can be treated, and though there's some overlap between both, they are fundamentally different things, regardless of how many parallels some people want to draw between them. D&D's a sandbox game and you take what you want of it. Some people like immersive stories and a bunch of moral grey areas in their stories, others just want to play a game and grind some numbers, escaping the complexities of real life for some simple pleasures. Sticking a "humanoid" subtype on their challenges doesn't make them racist in any way whatsoever.
    To be clear, I don't expect the story to end with "And now everything is rainbows and sunshine." What I do expect is that the first steps towards a better world will have been taken, with a strong implication that it's going to keep getting better down the line even if it might not be easy.

    I've got three links in my signature: the first is Rich stating that so far as he's concerned the way evil races like goblins are treated in typical DnD play is flat out racism. The second link has him stating that he cares about the issue of typical DnD play having blatant racism in it. The third has him stating that he believes fantasy stories can have worth by how they reflect on the real world.

    All three together make me feel confident that Rich is in fact using the story about Redcloak and the goblinoids to deal both with how evil races are treated and real-life racism, if only because he's bluntly stated that the former is just one form of the latter. In fact I feel confident enough that I've kind of grown tired of arguing the point because it seems to me like anyone who still isn't convinced isn't going to be convinced by me no matter what I say.

    Also I think you're overestimating the fundamental differences between the treatment of evil races and real-life racism. The history of racism is long, complicated, and very, very ugly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ionathus View Post
    Just because D&D framework allows morally black-and-white stories
    D&D was never built as a black and white morality story.

    Quote Originally Posted by original author of the original DMG
    ... a game wherein participants create personae and operate them in the milieu created and designed, in whole or in part, by the Dungeon Master and shared by all, including the DM, in imagination and enthusiasm.

    The central theme of this game is the interaction of these personae, whether those of the players or those of the DM, with the milieu, including that part represented by the characters and creatures personified by the DM. This interaction results in adventures and deeds of daring.

    The heroic fantasy which results is a blend of the dramatic and the comic, the foolish and the brave, stirring excitement and grinding boredom. It is a game in which the continuing epic is the most meaningful portion. It becomes an entity in which at least some of the characters seem to be able to survive for an indefinite time, and characters who have shorter spans of existence are linked one to the other by blood or purpose.

    These personae put up with the frustrations, the setbacks, and the tragedies because they aim for and can reasonably expect to achieve adventure, challenge, wealth, glory and more. If player characters are not of the same stamp as Conan, they also appreciate that they are in effect writing their own adventures and creating their own legends, not merely reliving those of someone else's creation.

    Yet because the player character is all-important, he or she must always-or nearly always - have a chance, no matter how small, a chance of somehow escaping what otherwise would be inevitable destruction. Many will not be able to do so, but the escapes of those who do are what the fabric of the game is created upon. These adventures become the twicetold tales and legends of the campaign. The fame (or infamy) of certain characters gives lustre to the campaign and enjoyment to player and DM alike as the parts grow and are entwined to become a fantastic history of a never-was world where all of us would wish to live if we could.
    I think that in writing OoTS Rich has captured this reasonably well.

    The oft quoted bit wherein Rich asserts that killing goblins is racism demonstrates a number of things. He doesn't understand the game as well as he thinks he does, he brings his own baggage to the game (we all do, I'll suggest) - though I get the feeling that when he was making that point he was also expressing a deep frustration with murder-hobo players. I suspect most of us have run into that same frustration at least a few times, and it may be that some people have stopped playing tghe game because the murder-hobo element was too prominent in the games they were playing.

    I had a long talk with a clergyman back in the 80's (who played D&D with us) about when is an appropriate age for children to start playing D&D? I suggested "age 16 or so" and he said "more like after high school unless closely supervised by adults at the game table." It was an interesting discussion.

    Note: my copy of the Holmes Basic D&D boxed set, which preceded Moldvay/Mentzer, describes it as a game for adults. Contra that thought, Gary played it with his kids and none of them seem to have grown up to be ax murderers.

    Related Anecdote: our Tunnels and Trolls game last year went suddenly dead. Three of the five players quit due to one player (who wasn't me) behaving like a murder-hobo early on. I was left with a GM who decided not to try and salvage the game, and a character who I'll never get to play again. (Which is a shame, as we were just getting into it a rhythm ...)

    In Rich's defense, he claims that it was his experience that "90%" of the play/game is that. That says a lot about the people he played with. I suspect that this informs his more recent choice to either reduce or stop playing. He's shared that in a few posts, but the most recent one I recall was one of his patreon posts.

    I laid off the game for over a decade. (For my own reasons).
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2020-09-10 at 03:22 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ionathus View Post
    Where do you see incompatibility there?

    Rich has gone on the record multiple times saying "it's okay to kill X because they have green skin and fangs" is a terrible mentality that's only a short jump away from real-world people being devalued by others, and he wants to address both things in his comic strip. Whether or not you agree with him is irrelevant, because it's his story and that's the one he's telling, and he has very convincingly connected the two ideas (for many of us, at least).

    Just because D&D framework allows morally black-and-white stories, doesn't mean OotS is required to be one of them. That's like you're claiming omelets can't exist, because over-easy is the only way you like your eggs prepared.
    It's been claimed that fantasy "racism" is a short jump from real-world racism, "gateway racism" in a way. And yes, I'm aware of the author's stance on the subject.

    But I strongly disagree with it, and there are major issues with making these parallels. Because once you start painting a fantasy race as a proxy for a real-life "race", then you start creating a whole lot more parallels than you were looking for.

    Goblins get **** treatment = Minorities get **** treatment
    Goblins are sentient beings and deserve better treatment = Minorities are sentient beings and deserve better treatment
    Goblins are evil = Minorities are ???
    Hobgoblins are happy to join in senseless looting = Minorities are ???
    Goblins lack any notable Good figurehead = Minorities ???
    Goblins never achieved anything noteworthy on their own = Minorities ???

    Fantasy is not the real world. You *can* use fantasy to send a message, and that's fine, but it gets murked up when you combine this with also criticizing fantasy tropes of an established game. Because saying that it's bad because it's the same as RL racism basically equates fantasy victims with RL victims, and that's really inappropriate in my opinion. Goblins were not designed as fodders for some RL ethnic group, they stem from mythology. Just because some parallels can sometimes be drawn, doesn't mean that 1) one should, and 2) even if you do establish these parallels, doesn't mean you should equate both as being fodders for each other.
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    Firstly this is about how the game is played in reality and to an extent how that would work if it was real- so hack and slash on a goblin settlement but then also having the issue of goblin children
    Secondly one of the people who worked on the game and was still publishing stuff for it endorsed that black and white view and method of playing the game - Gygax
    Thirdly - one of the issues with fantasy races is that artists have to create pictures of beings that don’t exist. Most artists cheat by using existing artwork and copying it with a twist. It’s a fact that most fantasy games start with a premise of the ‘good’ races being from western medieval societies. So we have renaissance fair style Western European armour etc. Then when they want to portray the enemies they use artwork to crib from that shows the real world rivals. Goblins and orcs have variously been portrayed as Eastern in armour and armaments
    The classic orc and goblin weapon in artwork is the curved sword. Goblins are often a very thin stereotype of eastern raiders - that’s why they are often associated with wolves and portrayed as bandy legged and sallow skinned
    Maybe it’s setting authors being too sacred to attempt to portray other cultures so they don’t use non western human cultures that often. The unfortunate side effect is they end up transponding the trappings of those cultures onto antagonistic humanoids
    'Utślie'n aurė! Aiya Eldaliė ar Atanatįri, utślie'n aurė! “The day has come! Behold, people of the Eldar and Fathers of Men, the day has come!" And all those who heard his great voice echo in the hills answered, crying:'Auta i lómė!" The night is passing!"

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    Default Re: Theory about the Dark One

    Quote Originally Posted by mjasghar View Post
    {Nice post}
    On top of that, for whatever amount Tolkien's ideation of goblins contributed to D&D goblin stuff, his archetype was informed by about 1300 years of stories, legends, and imperfect histories of Christendom's existential conflict with the Ummah beginning before the crossing into Spain in 711, reaching a peak in the loss of Constantinople to the Turks (who I estimate had a powerful influence on Tolkien's eventual created baseline for both orcs and goblins) 700 years later, only to be reversed about 450 years after that with the demise of the Ottoman Empire in the late 19th and early 20th century. As broad as that stretch of history is, Tolkien's Third Age alone is 3000 years. And he muddled about with two previous ages that were millenia long. (more or less).
    Aside: I had the chance to work for a Turkish boss for about three years - a whole new perspective for understanding the Mediterranean region's history (and for that matter, current events) came with that. When I fold that into the broad history of pre- harlemagne, HRE, late HRE history, and feudal history - all of which Tolkien was deeply familiar with due to when he was in college and when he taught college (even though the history kinda spotty, see Oman's work on the Dark Ages)- seeing how he tried to dig into story and legend and language across that whole spectrum ... a whole lot of lights come on. Yet in some ways, the man set himself an impossible task.

    Tolkien's erratic synthesis bundled a whole lot of stuff into some of his created things with ripple effects that are still with us in the fantasy, or "fairy story" genre. (Gondor = variation on the Eastern Roman Empire among them). The list is long and distinguished. A lot of people who borrowed from him did not dig as deeply as he did in terms of their own creative muse. (E.G.G. being one such).

    And let's face it: as a writer, for all of the things that he did well, Tolkien wrote himself into dead ends and holes time and again. Other writers are a lot better than he at putting together a tale with fewer false starts and clumsy contradictions. (don't get me started ...)

    What does this have to do with TDO?
    TDO is outlined as an evil leader of goblins, but unlike the original D&D model of a Sorcerer, Evil High Priest, Demon or other Sauron surrogate, or even an Evil Wizard in a Chainmail game or original D&D campaign, TDO is a sort of Horatio Alger story. He pulled himself up by his own bootstraps.

    He went from being nobody to being a leader of his people to ascending to godhood. Unlike Hercules, he had no divine daddy. Also, he wasn't half divine, like Aragorn's line.

    TDO had to get there the old fashioned way: he had to earn it.

    In that creative process, I think that Rich has staked out some new ground for the place of goblins in the fantasy genre.
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2020-09-10 at 10:38 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goblin_Priest View Post
    Fantasy is not the real world. You *can* use fantasy to send a message, and that's fine, but it gets murked up when you combine this with also criticizing fantasy tropes of an established game.

    ...

    Just because some parallels can sometimes be drawn, doesn't mean that 1) one should, and 2) even if you do establish these parallels, doesn't mean you should equate both as being fodders for each other.
    Why can't you talk about more than one thing in a work? Why can't a piece of media be self-aware of its genre and draw attention to real world issues? According to those rules, we'd have to throw out most works of parody or satire.

    I flat-out don't understand the argument that "you can't draw a parallel without comparing every single facet of the two things being compared."

    That's what a parallel IS. Two things that are not identical, but have a single important aspect in common.

    Quote Originally Posted by KorvinStarmast View Post
    D&D was never built as a black and white morality story.

    I think that in writing OoTS Rich has captured this reasonably well.

    The oft quoted bit wherein Rich asserts that killing goblins is racism demonstrates a number of things. He doesn't understand the game as well as he thinks he does, he brings his own baggage to the game (we all do, I'll suggest) - though I get the feeling that when he was making that point he was also expressing a deep frustration with murder-hobo players. I suspect most of us have run into that same frustration at least a few times, and it may be that some people have stopped playing tghe game because the murder-hobo element was too prominent in the games they were playing.

    I had a long talk with a clergyman back in the 80's (who played D&D with us) about when is an appropriate age for children to start playing D&D? I suggested "age 16 or so" and he said "more like after high school unless closely supervised by adults at the game table." It was an interesting discussion.

    Note: my copy of the Holmes Basic D&D boxed set, which preceded Moldvay/Mentzer, describes it as a game for adults. Contra that thought, Gary played it with his kids and none of them seem to have grown up to be ax murderers.

    Related Anecdote: our Tunnels and Trolls game last year went suddenly dead. Three of the five players quit due to one player (who wasn't me) behaving like a murder-hobo early on. I was left with a GM who decided not to try and salvage the game, and a character who I'll never get to play again. (Which is a shame, as we were just getting into it a rhythm ...)

    In Rich's defense, he claims that it was his experience that "90%" of the play/game is that. That says a lot about the people he played with. I suspect that this informs his more recent choice to either reduce or stop playing. He's shared that in a few posts, but the most recent one I recall was one of his patreon posts.

    I laid off the game for over a decade. (For my own reasons).
    I'm sorry, I really honestly don't understand your point. Are you saying murderhobos aren't as common as we're asserting? Or that early D&D didn't allow & encourage the indiscriminate slaying of sentient creatures who were JUST different enough from the more "noble" races?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ionathus View Post
    I'm sorry, I really honestly don't understand your point. Are you saying murderhobos aren't as common as we're asserting? Or that early D&D didn't allow & encourage the indiscriminate slaying of sentient creatures who were JUST different enough from the more "noble" races?
    Early D&D was certainly full of blood and guts, but the major difference is that you got way more XP for avoiding combat to get the gold (at low levels) and nowhere was it assumed that you had to kill goblins first just to get XP. (Heck, if you were in a wilderness encounter and 78 goblins were rolled up and you were first or second level, your first reaction was avoid or parley). Yeah, it was. Parley: a lost art in D&D.

    Most of the early games I played had loads of undead, loads of bandits, and slimes/traps/what have you galore. (We certainly had our share of orcs and goblins as well among the wide variety of things we'd have to deal with). The prize was that pile of XP/GP/Gems in the loot, not in the dead bodies. Undead were a terror: Wights, wraiths, specters: they drained levels. Arrgghh! Turn them, cleric, Turn Them! Run Away!!!!!!!!!


    Go back to the original books. If you tried to kill off 2000 XP worth of orcs or goblins at 10 XP each to get to second level, you were usually dead before you got there.

    Sun Tzu: the acme of skill is to win the war without fighting.

    Yes, we did plenty of fighting. No question. We also were rewarded for successful exploring: there were parts of the dungeon to avoid! Our PC's did a lot of dying - hmm, looks like Rich missed the boat on that part, and so has WoTC - but we spent a hell of a lot of time not fighting anyone since we wanted that loot. (Plus, from a player-skill point of view, it's really fun to outsmart the DM's traps and obstacles by doing non linear stuff to get around the hazards and get that phat loot, or die trying to).
    1 GP = 1 XP is a different game. (what to do with the GP becomes another "uh, this ain't a real economy" exercise and always has).

    While the game has the same name, in a lot of ways it's not the same game now that WoTC has it. (I am not a vitriolic grognard who hates WoTC era D&D - I'm enjoying 5e a lot for all of its imperfections). It does not help the game, the gamer's expectations, nor the genre as a whole that for the last quarter of a century the digitization of the "fantasy RPG" has created the "kill them all and pick up the gold that pops out of the corpse" style of game.

    Dave Arneson made a rather sarcastic remark about that two decades ago, I'll see if I can find the link. In short, his take on where CRPGs had taken RPGs was "nah." (I enjoyed Diablo, and other rogue-likes, but it's a fine example of the problem in the change over time in terms of expectation - it's not fair to blame the 21st century player for how the landscape has changed, it really isn't).

    ETA: sorry that old link is broken. If I can dig it out of the way back machine, I'll drop it here.
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2020-09-10 at 11:43 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malifice View Post
    (paraphrased) Rulings are not 'House Rules.' Rulings are a DM doing what DMs are supposed to do.
    Quote Originally Posted by greenstone View Post
    Agency means that they {players} control their character's actions; you control the world's reactions to the character's actions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HappyDaze
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