Playing the Monster

I’ve always wanted to run a module or adventure from the perspective of a group of humanoids. Whether former slaves of drowse or protecting your land from some fanatical LG do-gooders (hey not all humanoids are evil, just 99%…).
Have you ever ran a game like this? Was it successful? What did you learn? Do you want to try a game like this?

Have you ever ran a game like this?


Was it Successful?

It depends on your Definition of the word “successful”. We had fun and much laughing was had, but we didnt complete the GM’s story. So Yes?

What Did you Learn?

If I’m being honest, How to do monsters as characters Via D&D 3.5 rules ( which isent too bad actually) And an odd perspective of being someone people hate and fear.

Do you want to try a game like this?

Yes, I’ve wanted to try it again and I’ve wanted to run a game with the PC’s being monsters as well.

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  1. I ran a game of pathfinder with orks and goblins, dealing with fueding tribes but on a larger scale they were caught between a drow invasion of a dwarven kingdom.

Due to opponents having better skills/gear, they had to use lateral thinking/the environment etc and do hit’n’run tactics alot.

The game was okay, they kinda acted like violent drunks most of the time so it was clear that this game would not last long term. In the end they had little reason to hang around together so we started a new campaign. Solid starting concept but no built in agreed goals.

It did give them a chance to be creative, go on the offensive and raid enemy caravans and bases.

  1. Game I played in we were all Iksar (set on Everquest) Lizardfolk. Our tribe was under threat and we had to scout out resources, enemy activities and possible new areas to move the tribe too.

It was good having an ongoing goal and plenty of enemies. We ran away more than once. It lasted from 1st to 9th, once we moved the tribe it felt like the story ended so we left it at that.

Our characters took turns telling stories of our travels to the younger lizardfolk, teaching them how to survive and fight etc. We also killed a ton of Elves because they were tasty. :stuck_out_tongue:


"The game was okay, they kinda acted like violent drunks most of the time "

Was it because… you have a table of violent drunks? As a GM for a table of violent drunks, I feel ya. :wink:

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I have run and played as goblins. Hell, I made a game about it some years ago and I ran it at Gary Con just last year.

FTR, I made this game before We Be Goblins and before Goblinquest and before No Country for Old Kobolds. (But not before Kobolds Ate My Baby.) :slight_smile:

It’s a humor take, but isn’t this also the premise of the “We B Goblins” series?

A couple years ago I ran a D&D one shot on Roll 20 called Monsters. A mixed group of orcs, goblins and kobolds, had to sneak past their own guards to raid a human settlement. They had a blast. We even elected an M.V.P. (most vile player).


Ad&d had a module called Reverse Dungeon. I pretty sure that was the name, anyway I had it but never got to run it. The premise was that the players were the monster tribe that lived in the dungeon. They had to defend it from the adventurers the DM ran. Since I didn’t run it I really can’t say how it worked, but it read well and looked like it would be a blast.

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I’m intrigued by this. It’d be great for a one-shot.

It’s also largely the premise for the card game, “Boss Monster”. (A good time, especially if you dig the 8-bit art style.)

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Man, I played in a game like this once where everyone was a creature from one of the D&D 2e monster manual/monster compendiums. I can’t remember how the game itself went, but I remember liking my character so much that they became an important NPC in my home Warhammer game.

Also, one of my friends keeps reminding me that she got to play a Death Knight.

Edit: I would definitely try it again.

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Dungeon Mag had a cool little one shot where the players were all monsters who were made peace envoys to a local kingdom. I don’t remember the issue # but it was an AD&D era time frame. I ran it for a group it was a lot of fun.


I was once a harrowed Priest in Deadlands. Unfortunately I was a better Harrowed Manitou than I was priest at times and inadvertently created several abominations and messed around with some NPC’s that weren’t good but didn’t deserve their fates. Having a Harrowed PC was a great way to inject a little bit of evil without sabotaging the game.


The "PC"s are relentless. They show no mercy. They will kill women, children, pets, and then rob and destroy everything you have. They have no tolerance for beliefs other than their own. Murder hobo’s, the lot of them!


IOW – we have been playing the monsters all along.


Loads of indy games on this subject over the years as well. Recently, Goblin Quest, No Country for Old Kobolds, and For the Dungeon!

I like this idea a lot. There is great role playing potentially here. To quote, Brett, “into the hopper.”

It would take some work, but I would love to really flesh out an orc campaign. In D&D, there is a theme in orc religion that orcs have been swindled and undercut by other species, and that Grummsh is just admonishing them to take what they should rightfully have.

This can be a fraught concept to play with, but I do really like the idea of orc tribes that legitimately have a history of what humans and other species around them have done that have harmed their tribes without consideration for them.

Instead of the “partial” flipping the script, “let’s play orc raiders,” this would be more of a complete flip, looking at what the local settlements do that they don’t examine in full, which causes harm and destruction to the orcs.

For example, let’s say local human adventurers explore a tomb and get some treasure. The lands near the tomb are now haunted by the undead, and the orcs have to deal with that now. Let’s say local dwarves are driven out of their mountain by a dragon, and that dragon now assumes the orcs are going to pay fealty to it and march on other species to gather treasure for it.

I think there is a lot of narrative space showing what the orcs have to do to fix these situations, and how much effort it would take to resist a being that a dragon that just assumes you are going to be it’s own personal army from this point on. Do the orcs form a secret alliance between tribes to kill the dragon? Do they cut a deal with another powerful entity to kill the dragon, hoping that they can either work with or resist that entity more easily?

Do they have the opportunity to run into human, dwarf, or elf adventurers that may not kill them on sight, so that they can start to forge a more positive relationship with other societies?

After reading this book, there are some interesting concepts in it, including that orcs eat humans and elves, not because they are evil and love to eat sapient beings, but because orcs are actually kind of effecient, and if they can repurpose something (armor, weapons, gear, bodies), they will do so.

What happens when an orc group is hired as shock troops by someone that already has hobgoblin regular infantry? How do they get along? Do they find common ground, and is the strain on the relationship more on skirmish tactics versus formation fighting, rather than another potential sticking point?

This has me thinking about a whole lot of things.


To see a really in depth treatment of the “evil” races, read The Last Ringbearer by Kirill Eskov. He picks up the story from the Return of the King and weaves a truly amazing tale of the motivations behind Mordor and the fight for freedom the Orcs and Trolls seek from the Elves and Wizards. It is Russian, but several English translations exist.

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You know, Shadow of the Demon Lord could handle a pretty sweet campaign full of orcs, goblins and the like. In fact, in a PbP game I’m currently running, there’s a faun, a dwarf, a hamadryad, and two orcs. A group of orcs who had broken off from the Empire as the orc rebellion goes down is a pretty juicy starting point to a campaign, I think, and there’s lots of good setting material to dig deep into RP if folks want.