The Gassy Gnoll: Ban All Heroes!!

Adventurers and heroes must be a motley crew to be around. Why would any self-respecting town put up with them? They never (or hardly ever) bathe. They likely are covered in blood and guts. They move around from place to place never setting down roots. They loot bodies, tombs, and ruins and then want to sell things they find so they can buy new, shinier things. (And I really love the ones who try slaughtering townspeople in the name of justice or some other ideal and then don’t want to pay the consequences for their actions when the local constabulary takes offense.)

Gassy Gnoll

Gassy Gnoll

On a grand scale, they destroy political careers, economies, and evil plans regularly. Governments get toppled, cities destroyed, and monsters are unleashed only to be stomped on. Innocents are slaughtered, wars started, and racial animosities grow wild.

So why do they get asked to do anything? Oh yeah… Because they save people sometimes. They stop worlds from ending on occasion. And rarely they’ll even do something because it’s the right thing to do and not the quickest, easiest, or gets them the most loot.

Who are these heroes? Sometimes they’re just regular folks thrust into extraordinary circumstances asked to do insane things. Other times they’re power-mad crazies simply trying to increase the size of their treasure hoard or the number of people they can boss around. A few are trying to make their mark on the world or make that one big score so they can retire from the adventurer’s life and live a quiet life. And others I’m sure are just along for the ride.

So why do our characters do what they do? Motivations and consequences seem to sometimes take a back seat, so I thought I’d investigate my own characters for a bit.

I have a character in each of the two campaigns we’re playing in. On the one hand, I have a half-elf sorcerer who really doesn’t have a clue how he got where he is and is simply trying to help out the best he can despite the fact that at least one of his teammates dislikes him strongly for being a “half-breed” (darn those racial purity pogroms). On the other hand, I have a fighter – a war veteran – who has chosen to continue fulfilling the duty he feels towards his country. His motives are quite clear. The other one… eh. Not so much.

Have they done anything particularly disturbing while adventuring? Sure. They participated in more than a few battles where innocents (and not-so-innocents) were killed in horrible ways by horrible creatures. It often seems that any time “heroes” are near, they attract insanity. Places are destroyed. People are killed. Strange events spontaneously happen.

So perhaps those townspeople should be afraid the next time our characters are near. Unless of course they want the monster to eat them, the bad guy to win, or those horrible events to happen. ๐Ÿ™‚

What horrific things have YOUR characters done lately? Should they be banned from civilized places?!

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7 comments to The Gassy Gnoll: Ban All Heroes!!

  • We have a term for such heroes, and upon reflection, seem most apt: MURDER HOBOS.

    Transients traveling from place to place, killing people/things for money.

    • Fitz

      @Thorynn – Definitely there are a few PCs wandering around like that. I think many have their hearts in the right place and just tend to be at the center of the storm when it hits. And then there’s the rest who are just along for the ride. I think the trick may be to figure out where your characters’ motivations lie and be true to them. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Adventurers are a disruptive influence, to be sure, but mostly they disrupt those that need disrupting. They don’t stir up racial animosity, typically, so much as show up when it begins to fester, whether in the form of an invasion, riots or the like. The power structures they up end tend to be the corrosive ones.

    In our world, they’re probably comparable to investigative journalists: Many, perhaps most people don’t like having them around, but when they’ve exhausted all other avenues for help, they’re grateful that they’re there to turn to.

    • Fitz

      @Beau – That’s a VERY interesting analogy and one I wouldn’t have thought of. Great way to look at things. I think ultimately they’re a force for good most of the time, but like ripping a band-aid off it sometimes leaves some scarring.

  • In one campaign I ran, adventurers were considered to be “mad, bad and dangerous to know” but still a source of useful skills, talents and income. So they had area they were expected to stick to in big cities and were only welcomed in adventure site created boom towns. It was an interesting campaign.

    • Fitz

      @Sean Holland – I can see where that would be an interesting twist. Almost like keeping gold rush miners out of big cities and in boom towns because of the trouble they caused…

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