The 5E Crowd, and Goblins

I was trying to reply to a post on Blogger, but the thing appears to be glitched up so I’m posting my thoughts here.

I don’t seem to fit in with the 5E crowd. That’s D&D Next, the 5th edition of Dungeons & Dragons (a Hasbro IP). A friend talked me into a new 5E game but I only played for one session. The party was a giant, a half-orc grandson of the Marquis who gave us our quest, and three humans. I was one of the humans, and the only character who acted “Good.”

The mission was against the giants, with a giant in the party. Already I didn’t know what to do. Our first encounter was goblins looting a village they’d already conquered. The village was decimated, there were bodies lying around, and the goblins confessed that they’d carried off the human survivors as slaves and for food.

But our half-orc kept trying to befriend the goblins and get them to join us. Soon we had a troop of five goblins accompanying the five of us around the ruins, and it was getting dark. I kept trying to talk the others into just killing the goblins already and being done with it. The half-orc was having none of that. The DM was playing up the goblins as innocent little quirky simpletons. Why is the big bad grognard so intent on killing the evil little humanoids, anyway? By this point I was definitely not comfortable with this group of gamers.

And the half-orc’s Marquis grand-dad was the one who gave us the quest. He wouldn’t listen to me, he was a noble (or acknowledged noble’s bastard), and his grandfather was the quest-giver. So the party wasn’t going to kill the goblins and they joined our party. The other party members wouldn’t even comment on any of this! That in itself seemed telling.

So we were searching the ruined buildings with our new pals the goblins and we found a woman cowering under a bed. She came out, timidly, freaked out by the goblins, half-orc and giant in our party. And the players were getting belligerent towards her – not towards the goblins we’d encountered, but towards her! When I gestured her over to me for protection from the rest, the DM had her accuse me of intending to rape her. Well, considering the bad crowd I was running with I suppose that was a reasonable response.

But the others were interrogating her. Was she a native? No, she was visiting a male friend and was in hiding for the two days since the goblins invaded and carted the survivors off to be slaves. Now the 5E players all demanded some kind of intuition saving throws, one of them got a successful roll, and the DM told her she suspected that the NPC wasn’t telling them everything she knew.

WTF? Well anyway, they accused her of lying and drew their weapons on her. Because one of them had a nagging feeling that a shaken-up survivor, faced with this monstrous party, might not be telling them everything she knew in the first three minutes since they’d uncovered her hiding spot. Quite reasonably, she turned and ran.

They chased after her through the village, showering her with missile weapons until she fell into a moat and swam away. I was speechless! I was also the only one who felt the need to guard the party’s goblin “pals,” so there wasn’t anything I could do to stop them.

Once the party came back in defeat I lit into them. They’d tried to kill the only human survivor we’d found, on a hunch that one player had, that the survivor might not’ve spilled her life story to such sketchy scavengers as ourselves during our initial three minutes of conversation. I told them that if they’d killed her, I’d have turned them in for murder to the next law officer I found. And since when is it a death sentence to not share every thought you might have with belligerent strangers anyway? And how the hell can you kill the first human victim we rescue, who’s done nothing wrong, but argue that we can’t kill the goblins that we caught red-handed looting in the decimated village, when they already confessed that it was their tribe who committed this foul deed?

They emphatically disagreed with everything I said, but their only real argument was to ask me why I can’t “read” people – which got me as a player really riled up about this 5E roll thing that caused this whole mess in the first place.

And the overwhelming feeling I got from this session was that this group of young players felt it was wrong for a human player to kill goblins.

I don’t seem to fit in with the 5E crowd.

One thought on “The 5E Crowd, and Goblins

  1. A few short thoughts:

    1. I had the same issue with a blog on blogger. I wonder if that platform purposefully ignores comments made from WordPress bloggers… BTW, that problem persisted for many months, until I solved it by finally convincing that blogger to switch to WordPress.

    2. I’m not at all a fan of D&D 5e myself – not even compared to other D&D editions, although I don’t like that #RPG style in general – but your experiences (which, once more, deeply confound me) cannot really be blamed on this game beyond the obvious observation that, being the by far most popular rules system and the lowest common denominator, its players will be an extremely varied bunch. There is, of course, a lot that 5e has to answer for, but the obnoxiousness and idiocy of these players isn’t among those things.

    3. One caveat, though: I don’t think it’s unreasonable in itself to not kill those goblins immediately just because they are allegedly an “evil species” – or even in this specific scenario – provided that this behaviour is part of a consistent approach to deal with (more or less) intelligent beings (which it obviously wasn’t here). I do not believe that the simplicity of the good-evil axis should drive PC decisions, or that they should default to “killing the monsters” in every situation. So, if I had read the statement “it is wrong to kill goblins just because they’re goblins” without context, I would have been inclined to agree; and if this story would only have been about the PCs taking another approach to deal with those goblins – and find a way to rescue the abducted humans – I might even have been able to relate.

    4. I have no idea where you find all those freaks with whom you roleplay…

    Liked by 1 person

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