Monster Rights Activism

Yeah ok so this one is a bit odd. But a conversation with my wife got me thinking about this the other day and I wanted to share.

In games, and fiction, we have this long history of establishing a race or species as being evil. And tons of authors and designers end up using the same races. Making them evil over and over again.

On some rare occasions someone will take a race and change things up a bit. Like when Privateer Press created Iron Kingdoms, goblins were a character race up front and had a part of the main-stream culture all their own. Other games have usually settled for adding a supplemental book that says something like ‘Yeah all these is usually monsters, but here is how you can play one. Just be ready to be killed as soon as you go into a city.’

My issue with all this comes from the question, are they really evil or do they just have a culture the writers don’t like?

I mean if you think about it really. If you are a goblin living in the forest with your clan, you and your people have never done anything to any other creature. Because you are all devout vegans and the forest gives you everything you could need. And along comes a group of non goblins. They cry out that goblins are evil and kill everyone in the clan.

Or what if you happen to be a Minotaur that spent forty years learning structural engineering and site planning. All the while working as a body guard and in general labor so you could afford to buy some land and build a labyrinth all to fulfill your personal dream of making something that people could enjoy. When you are doing your final walk through a group of beings comes marching through your pride and joy and as soon as they spot you, instead of letting you tell them about the way you made it and the intricacies of the patterns you created, they scream out that Minotaur are evil and kill you. (I think a realtor or property developer is actually behind this one, knew the Minotaur would never sell, and wanted to have an exclusive property to sell)

I mean after a few years of this sort of unfriendly behavior I would think that all of these other races would start banding together for self defense. Maybe even becoming the force for evil that others are calling them just so they can have a chance to have a life on their own.

You can roll it up under any context you like… but it still looks more like the “heroes” are the evil ones to me.

Lets try this example. The god that gave you your holy writ tells you and your people that while the ‘good’ gods created you and yours, the ‘evil’ gods created these other races and that makes them bad so you should go and kill them. I would have to ask someone in this instance do you really know what is going on between these gods? I mean they tell you their history and you take that on ‘faith’ and run with it and assume you are the good guy. How do you know the ‘evil’ god did not just say no to a night of Netflix and chill with the ‘good’ god, and this is how the ‘good’ god gets their revenge? Getting all of their little minions to destroy everything the ‘evil’ god created. I mean really, who is the evil one there?

I know, I know, shades of grey, the world is dark enough, fantasy lets us get past the weirdness and gives us black and white so we can feel good about slaughtering something evil and not having to worry about consequences.

I will be the first to admit that it is really nice to be able to just step back and say, ‘Yup, that’s an orc so we can kill it.’ It makes things so easy. You can pick something make it bad and everyone can point at it and say it is responsible for all your ills. But I am wondering if anyone really has the nerve to build something from the ground up that asks if we can be more than that.

Rifts came close. Humans, Dogboys, and Dragons right off the bat. Magic and psychic powers vs technology. Open minds against ‘the right way to do things’. However they did their best to say that Humans were the bad guys in that one and that any human that was not part of the problem had to prove themselves a lot. Which still really gave us a ‘bad guy’ it just turned the table on species more than anything.

I seriously think we can come up with something that does it better.

If anyone knows of one let me know I would love to check it out.

Until then I will continue to fight for monster rights.

Now gimme the dice, I need to see what two goblins and an octopus priest walking into a bar looks like.

 

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  1. #1 by Xenzirril on September 3, 2018 - 12:43 am

    There is nothing more polarizing than conflicting values OR congruent values over the same material resources.

    Of course, pettiness did a lot for the monster roster. How many times were otherwise innocent people turned into creatures by their gods for crossing them. The take away lesson there are the gods are people too, and hold no keys to mystery except perhaps experience provided by time.

    As for Authors, making or maintaining races ‘evilness’ is just plain lazy or otherwise convenient. I’ve always said that in the Zombie Apocalypses, the scariest creatures are the survivors.

    When asked how to create a monster horde, my answer is thus: take any race, unify their identity to a fault, give them an inflated sense of entitlement and privilege and introduce the idea of Manifest Destiny. Then pour yourself a relaxing beverage, turn your creation loose, sit back and witness the carnage.

    Like

    • #2 by authortao on September 4, 2018 - 2:42 am

      Hard to argue with that. I had kinda been hoping that something like this posting would spur others to think a bit regarding how they or their game groups are portraying the ‘evil’ races.

      Like

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