Jul 072014

Cloud Giant - complete with wedding ring
Ejecta and a nameless Cloud Giant check out the Ruins of Gianthold

I noticed something the other day. I think I’ve noticed it before and just repressed the memory. Because it is a jarring thing, not something fun like the ampersand, or mysterious and be-symboled like this ceiling, but still, something that made me stop and think.

Am I actually the good guy in this story?

I like to think of myself that way. And when faced with actions that are flat-out evil, I recoil. My inner dude wears a white hat, or so I tell myself.

Yet, I wonder. Look at that cloud giant in the picture above. Notice anything? Say … on his left hand? More specifically, on the ring finger of his left hand? The dude is married! Somewhere, there is a Mrs. Cloud Giant and maybe a litter of baby cloud giants too.

From a biological point of view, there would have to be, right? Some monsters are made by wizards or clerics, some are made by artificers, some are spawned in hell. But many, including all of the giants, appear to be naturally-occurring. Meaning, they are born. Taking that thought further, they had a mommy and daddy. And maybe brothers and sisters that they loved and cared for.

This cloud giant certainly seems to have a family. One that he loves; the ring is a symbol of love and commitment, right?

[insert the jarring sound of a needle scratching a record]

I have to pull myself out of this thought path, because this is the path of madness. They are the monsters. We are the good guys.

It is okay to storm into their homes, kill everyone we find, and take everything they own because they are the monsters. We are the good guys.

It is okay to slay so many of them that we have to have special counters to keep track of the slaughter, earning rewards for killing them in ever-greater numbers. This is okay too, because they are the monsters. We are the good guys.

There is a scene in the movie True Lies where Jamie Lee Curtis, having learned that her husband (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is secretly an agent of a super-violent government spy agency, asks him about what he has done. Lip quivering, “Have … have you killed anyone?” “Yes”, he replies, “but they were all bad”.

Are they all bad? What about the ones that love their families? Are they truly as monstrous as we need to believe? Are they the monsters at all?

Or are we?

Oh wait, I just noticed, the cloud giant has a matching ring on the ring finger of his right hand too. So it wasn’t a wedding ring at all, just decorative. Of course. Not a wedding ring in retrospect, what was I even thinking?

Clearly it is okay to earn Slayer bonuses for killing 3000 of them after all.

Phew. That was close.

🙂 😀 🙂

[Edit] Thanks to forum user Ungood for pointing out that this is a cloud giant and not a storm giant at all

  10 Responses to “The Monster in the Mirror”

Comments (10)
  1. Always remember – There is no spoon.

  2. I’ve noticed Hold Monster works on us PCs…

    Regardless, 90% of my characters are some flavour of neutral, and those giants take Holy damage, not Pure Good, but Holy, so they are definitely evil!

    I seem to have somehow freelanced myself out to a city that doesn’t like to get its own hands dirty, they do pay well, quite well sometimes… But, there are those times they give you the very weapon (or other equipment) you needed to do the job they wanted you to do, after, yes, after you’ve completed said job.
    Now who is truly evil here?!?

    (I’m not going to mention memory saving mirrored textures here, I’m sure there’s a good pun or something to match your title, too.)

  3. Kobold remember Waterworks

  4. LOL, I think you just gave all of my good aligned characters minor heart attacks 😛

  5. This talk doesn’t phase paladins, they have absolutely no qualms dealing out righteousness to anything even vaguely evil, wholesale righteousness.

  6. All of my Monks are Lawful Good. So am I. To help my Favor, I just played (for the first time in eons) the morally-terrible “Purge the Heretics” yesterday with my Bard Swashbuckler. I was using invisibility, stealth, charms and LOTS of dancing balls to avoid killing the refugees there, and still it was chaos and death. After completing it, I wanted to go throw up. I swear I can’t do that quest again, not even for favor.

    The game tries not to make you think that there are families to our characters, but there’s plenty of mentions to make you remember. How about the guards in the Harbinger quest, “Sinister Storage?” On killing one of these hapless hires, some say, “Got…a…family…” as they expire. “Waterworks?” Harbormaster Zin mentions that the sewer kidnappers are taking children.

    Let’s just say that the counselor in the dojo is VERY busy with PTSD and other issues.

  7. I’m pretty sure I caused a conflict by accusing, and killing, Droaam representatives, then framing them! The life of an adventurer certainly isn’t for the faint of heart, but money talks; I do the jobs no one else will do. Did this just turn into Adventurers Anonymous? “My name is Bob, and I’m an adventurer”

    In other news, is it time for Ejecta to change her ways? It’s as easy as 123…

    (I couldn’t help myself. It’s only a game, and if Jedi movies and games have taught me anything, Lawful Good seems to be a licence to be a dick, playing scoundrels is also far more fun.)

  8. i tend to read most of the NPC dialogue and story and omg we are so NOT the good guys so very often. Purge the Heretics aside, there’s so many quests where you’re basically just a mercenary with no qualms being paid by one side to eliminate the other.
    One of my favorite examples of this is everyone’s big xp stop Tear of Dhakaan, where a hobgoblin offers you some gold to basically wipe out an entire village of another tribe so he can claim their loot, essentially. As you go deeper and enter the village proper, scores of hobbies emerge to slay you for their dark gods…i mean defend their home from murderous intruders.
    Or Frame Work, where the Coin Lords plan to frame a Droaam ambassador is to have you slaughter every minotaur milling about their Minotaur Town.
    We’re pretty terrible, but it’s all for the sake of plat and named gear, and something about a prophecy and dark omens, and stuff.

    • To be fair, the NPC compliments you if you manage to do it stealthily with a minimum of collateral damage… and is shocked & horrified if you complete the quest by wiping them out 🙂

  9. I’m disappointed in this blog mr Geoff. I read the whole thing and saw not a single mention of mirrors. I’m sad now. Bye.

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