Man’s inhumanity to Monster.

I was thinking about the story I bumped up from the depths earlier. I mentioned how when I run D&D, I try to treat every sentient being as an individual. This is probably my liberal philosophy speaking, but I can’t believe that any sentient mortal race is inherently evil. Their culture certainly might be, and individuals certainly are, but if they were born into a different culture, would they not turn out differently? Eitherway, good or evil, they are ends unto themselves, and not just swordfodder.

Of course, ideas like that work a lot better in a tabletop game than they would in MMOs, where we need a constant stream of beasties to beat up. We go forth, often for the flimsiest of quest dialogues, and kill gnolls, orcs, and dragons, simply for not being on the approved species list. Sure, sometimes they’re doing something that needs stopping, but a lot of the time they’re pretty much just standing around in their homes.

It is unreasonable behaviour for characters who would style themselves as good.

Take the case of Vrewwx.

The last time Maltheas had bumped into Vrewwx was Frostfell 2008, when he was sent into a castle of frost, which was not doing anyone any harm, to destroy a white dragon egg. Fortunately for Vrewwx, he managed to escape his egg before he could be murdered. He had not, so far as I am aware, committed any crimes while within his egg. The egg-squishing was a pre-emptive strike. This was a Christmas event, and we were cast in the role of King Herod!

This year Maltheas returned to the Icy Keep to cause further mayhem in the name of “investigation”. He found more than he bargained for. Vrewwx appeared, much grown in the span of twelve months, and gave Maltheas a piece of his mind.

Everquest 2 Maltheas Is Given Food For Thought By Vrewwx The Dragon 449x323

Maltheas is given food for thought by Vrewwx the Dragon

That young dragon has far more wisdom than most of the Qeynosian questgivers. I really hope we don’t end up having to kill him. It is hard to argue with his accusation, though in our defence, the same beings that created him also did not really give us much option other than to solve our problems through hitting them til they stop moving. That’s the way of things in MMO, at least for now.

It’s hard sometimes, being a compulsive quester. You get asked to do all sorts of dubious deeds. Maltheas is lovely little fellow who serves the god of healing, trying desperately to atone for his own youthful crimes while briefly a member of the Bloodsabers. In the minds of Qeynosians, Ratonga are on the borderline between person and monster anyway, so he understands the situation of the gnolls a little better than most. If he could somehow bring about peace between Qeynos and Blackburrow, he would. My perfect world event would involve the players working together to bring such a peace about, and the reward would be playable gnolls. Of course, Blackburrow would then be classed as a mini starter village rather than a dungeon, but I hardly ever see anyone in there anyway these days. It’d send a nice message that a war does not have to last forever.

I know. I am such a carebear that I feel sorry for the NPCs.

2 comments to Man’s inhumanity to Monster.

  • Longasc

    I notice a general trend in our society to accept violence for no or pitiful reasons. It does not stop from movies or computer games, take a look at Warcraft, LOTRO, STO – all out war scenarios are apparently the new rave.

    Sure, MMOs were always about combat and more or less unreflected slaying. But at least early on there were ideals and standards and roleplaying that upheld virtues and human values. Ultima Online was even based on a set of 7 virtues (IIRC).

    And nowadays, we have Star Trek – a franchise that moved from a very humanist period (TNG mostly) more and more to war and conflict (DS9), to the latest Star Trek movie being full of action and utter destruction.

    And well, you know, in STO we kill unknown lifeforms out of xenophobia before trying to communicate with them. This is what we hear about the Crystalline Entity – read the text again if you repeat the quest: 1. We can’t communicate with it. 2. It is a threat (why?) 3. Destroy it (no other idea?)

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