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Arne #747926 30/12/20 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Niara
Originally Posted by Tav22
Mostly games prior to 20 years ago. The good ones that were interesting with natural racial tensions that come from strong cultural differences of people living in close proximity to one another that equally value land and other valuable resources.

Racial differences and cultural exchanges as a rich and present part of the world is one thing; it's great to have that. Having a game make the vast majority of people you interact with speak in distinctly racist ways, and force you, the player, to just accept that as okay because it's the norm, and not allow you to call it out, is different.

This is where we differ. My point is that distinct racial and cultural differences should be celebrated as it is a defining characteristic of a society. Using these differences as a narrative is not racism. It's culture. And it's a very natural way to provide immersion in a fantasy setting. Have you ever read a fantasy novel?

I don't understand why this even needs to be explained but it seems to be a recurring theme lately.

I like to explore culture. I like to learn what makes a race inherently and fundamentally different from one another. It's interesting. Otherwise playing the game is an exercise in apathy.

I can't literally don't care about my companions personal struggles or their deep seated emotional problems. Having them heaped upon me as baggage that I have to lug around with me is pure disincentive.

Last edited by Tav22; 30/12/20 09:24 AM.
Arne #747928 30/12/20 09:22 AM
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Gonna try and point out something many are missing .

Faerun. Isn't. Earth.

Faerun has what we refer to as technologically medieval. No tanks, lasers, computers, cars, and the like.

Other than that, it is NOT a homogenously medieval equivilent to Earth in terms of culture, government, religion and so on.

Faerun has City -States, Autocracies, Monarchies, Oligarchies, Republics, Empires and even a nascent Democracy or two, at one point or another. Medieval Earth did not have quite the same breath of governments.

Earth in medieval times had wars and conflicts due to religion, but it was generally on BEHALF of Yeewah, Allah, Christ our Lord and Savior, and a wide variety of eastern gods- - however, last I checked, Yeewah wasn't popping in for dinner and chat, Allah wasn't sitting in on a King's counsel personally to plan his next conquest. In Faerun, the Gods are a reality, making themselves known on a personal level and interfering with each others plans in a way that did NOT occur on Earth.

Even on Earth during medieval times, race distinctions did not automatically lead to fear, suspicion and hatred - there were still many cosmopolitan cities that were home to various races, and other lands that were far too busy hating and fearing the clan down the road - forget distinctive races. Call it what you want, but Saxons and Celts were NOT genetically distinctive races - nor were vikings - simply different cultures. According to Western lore, Egypt welcomed the Jews - then later enslaved them. This had nothing to do with being a medieval society - it was politics.

And even in medieval times, trade often trumped all other consideration - if you needed spices, oftentimes you did not give a damn if the trader that called on your town once a year was of a different race or culture - you just bought the damn spices and were happy to get them.

Determining how the societies in Faerun - a made up world - based upon what real world culture was is ridiculous. You might as well determine Star Wars in accordance with Jude-Christian belief structures or Star Trek with as analogous with modern Socialism, or whatever theoretical mind candy one wants to chow down on.

Arne #747930 30/12/20 09:28 AM
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Anfindel, I would highly recommend reading up on history, religion, and culture because you have no idea what you're talking about. All of your assertions are just plain wrong.

I'm not sure what you're arguing.

Last edited by Tav22; 30/12/20 09:30 AM.
Arne #747948 30/12/20 11:50 AM
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How did this thread descend into bickering about the middle ages?

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Fantasy stories become interesting because of differences in cultures, species, powers. If everyone is the same, then there is no discussion, no conflict and no reason to read a story, watch a movie or play a game.

I've been thinking about this too, mostly in normal life though. I'm an immigrant, so am often confronted with benefits/weaknesses of cultural differences, borders, languages etc. We're not so different from each other, but at the end of the day, if everywhere was the same, why would I have moved? At some point the twitter/ crit role/ gen z outcast crowd merges with corporate hr in a vision of equality and acceptance that is so depressingly bland one almost prefers intollerance. Where your appearance can be infinitely varied but those variations mean nothing. I can have horns and my eyes can be on fire but I still shop at Starbucks, just like you!

And in a fantasy setting, where mystery, secrets and discovery are the major escapist lures from the mundaneity of late-capitalist life, having a world of infinite races who are all pretty much the same is dull.

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Back to Larian my biggest issue with their lore is the already mentioned issue of everything is sooooo special that it just becomes a meaningless blur. In EA as level 1 character you already see more rare creatures, utterly exceptional companions and races than most established heroes in their life time. It completely lacks any discression or subtlety how things are introduced and used. It feels like the whole first act is sprinkled with one-of-a-kinds...

Part of Larian's charm is their complete lack of taste in armour/weapon design, spell effects, mechanics, characters and most other things. Everything is so trashy, but I kind of love it? It's like a group of really excitable but prodigiously talented teenage nerds lock themselves in a basement to make all their wildest dreams come true. It's adorable.

But you're right, if they want to make a really great game, then they need to address the fact that you can't meaningful disrupt/ challenge norms without establishing them in the first place. "If everyone's super, no one is."

Arne #747956 30/12/20 12:42 PM
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I try to explain things as good as I can, though I may confuse some things between editions. I will stick to tieflings, else I have to talk about the whole multiverse. Big thanks to Niara.

- Tieflings are planetouched from the lower planes. The inhabitants of the lower planes are fiends. There are lawful evil devils, chaotic evil demons (both fight each other in the blood war) and there are many other fiends who are neither devil or demon. Tieflings can be influenced by any of those. Planetouched does not mean they are children of fiends, it only means they or their ancestors were influenced by the lower planes. This does not determine their alignment.
- Given that tieflings can be influenced by any fiend, I think they look too homogeneous in BG3. But the recent events make it plausible that many of the recent tieflings are influenced by devils. At the moment you can only select different devil tieflings as player, unlike the Pathfinder game were you can select many backgrounds (devil, demon and others).
- Unlike tieflings, cambions are really the children of fiends (any kind of fiends) and mortals (any kind of mortal). They are usually evil and have magic powers similar to full fiends. Raphael is likely a half devil because of his obsession with contracts.


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dotmats #747959 30/12/20 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by dotmats
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Fantasy stories become interesting because of differences in cultures, species, powers. If everyone is the same, then there is no discussion, no conflict and no reason to read a story, watch a movie or play a game.

I've been thinking about this too, mostly in normal life though. I'm an immigrant, so am often confronted with benefits/weaknesses of cultural differences, borders, languages etc. We're not so different from each other, but at the end of the day, if everywhere was the same, why would I have moved? At some point the twitter/ crit role/ gen z outcast crowd merges with corporate hr in a vision of equality and acceptance that is so depressingly bland one almost prefers intollerance. Where your appearance can be infinitely varied but those variations mean nothing. I can have horns and my eyes can be on fire but I still shop at Starbucks, just like you!

And in a fantasy setting, where mystery, secrets and discovery are the major escapist lures from the mundaneity of late-capitalist life, having a world of infinite races who are all pretty much the same is dull.

But that's the point: In movies/books/games, we *want* to have a conflict. Just imagine Baldur's Gate 3 without any fights. Would you play such a game?

People want to have a "zombie apocalypse", so that they have a good excuse for taking their beloved shotgun and shoot. They want to have an evil dictator or oppressive regime they can fight against for morally sound reasons. They want to have religious, ideological or ethnic conflicts.

And the question is, why would you have a problem with that in a fantasy story? After all, it's just a harmless fantasy story, a game or book? If you are truly, honestly concerned about prejudice and intolerance you can of course immediately go and protest against IS and terror attacks. But for some reason people who complain about fantasy stories and books don't ever do that?

Anfindel #747974 30/12/20 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Anfindel
Faerun has City -States, Autocracies, Monarchies, Oligarchies, Republics, Empires and even a nascent Democracy or two, at one point or another. Medieval Earth did not have quite the same breath of governments.

You'd find all of those on medieval Earth, you'd even find all of those in medieval Europe. The only governments you'd find on Faerun that you wouldn't find on earth are magocracies and literal deocracies, because we lack both magic and living gods.

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Even on Earth during medieval times, race distinctions did not automatically lead to fear, suspicion and hatred - there were still many cosmopolitan cities that were home to various races, and other lands that were far too busy hating and fearing the clan down the road - forget distinctive races. Call it what you want, but Saxons and Celts were NOT genetically distinctive races - nor were vikings - simply different cultures.

Races, as in the 19th century concept? Certainly not. But distinct ethnicities? They certainly had those. The fact that we have difficult telling apart the Saxon and Brythonic heritage of today's Englishmen apart because the modern ethnicity is a result of over a thousand years of twining the original ethnicities together into one doesn't change that. Norsemen, coming from even further away than the Saxons, would have been even more visually distinctive at the time they arrived. But their heritage is entwined into the modern English ethnicity as well.


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Tav22 #747976 30/12/20 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Tav22
Originally Posted by Arne
Fantasy stories become interesting because of differences in cultures, species, powers. If everyone is the same, then there is no discussion, no conflict and no reason to read a story, watch a movie or play a game.

I had a similar problem with lore on my first playthrough. I didn't know what a "tiefling" was and was only exposed to devils as evil with the whole thing in the realm of hell. I wasn't sure what was up with all of the devil people in the druid enclave and had to Google it; this simply isn't explained for people who aren't familiar with the current generation of lore.

Why they are at the druid encampment at all didn't make a whole lot of sense while reading up on the lore. It's as if someone rolled the dice and that's the race that landed there. You could easily swap them all out for human and nothing of value would be lost. In fact, it would only improve upon the whole scenario.

I wouldn't be too harsh; Baldurs Gate 3 is still a nice game. I also understand that they didn't want the Haer'Dalis Tieflings - which is the *actual* way a 1/8 fiend might potentially look - because people wouldn't have recognized them. They wanted to have the Zevlor Tieflings, which are of course so extreme that you can't tell them apart from actual fiends.

From a marketing point of view that choice is completely understandable. From a narrative point of view, it's a bad choice.

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The problem with tieflings is also that they were never supposed to be a cohesive race or ethnicity.
Human bloodlines with some fiendish heritage in them sometimes produce tieflings here and there. It was never supposed to be 100%, and tieflings never had a uniform appearance either. They were weirdoes and outcasts, which was the entire point of their race. But now they have their own community, they are uniform and they are a "marginalized group" now.
It's cringe. And you know what's funny? We are not even going to get Aasimar in the base game, because they are almost universally liked and accepted by humans. It's almost like they are catering to a certain kind of people in wider society.

Also why did the tieflings have to become this oppressed group? Half-orcs would have made much more sense, because you can consistently produce half orcs, but not all babies of cambions and humans lead to tieflings. Also, you can never have a half orc baby randomly pop up in your bloodline, but you can have a tiefling baby happen, meaning that tieflings were pretty much supposed to be a subrace of humans.

I hate how awfully whitewashed D&D 5E is when it comes to race, it's just catering and cosmetics.

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Arne #748043 30/12/20 08:45 PM
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Part of the issue, for me, is how unnecessarily often a character is boiled down to their race and not their actions or situation. For example, the druids in the grove are constantly talking about the problems with the "tieflings". Even if it isn't what they mean, it's hard to avoid hearing that the problem is that they are tieflings, at least a little bit. The druids never (or rarely, if I'm forgetting something) talk about the problems with the "refugees".

Do the refugees happen to be tieflings? Yes, but while that might be germane to why they are refugees, it is irrelevant to why they are a problem in this situation.

(Tangent: This situation would be a lot more interesting if one or more of the druids were tieflings. Also, if some of the refugees were not tieflings.)

Similarly, why have Lae'zel bother to call them "teethlings"? She thinks she's superior to everyone that isn't a gith - why is she singling tieflings out? (and with an insult that doesn't really make any sense - she's like a 7-year old calling names on the schoolyard).

Why are there a couple of humans living in the goblin camp? How did that come to pass? Why aren't there more? I want to hear that story.

To eliminate all racism from the game would be silly, but if you want to say something useful or interesting about it, you need to choose your moments. Have it say more about the person who is employing it than about the person who it is aimed at. Give players a variety of options to react to it (or not, if they so choose). If I want widespread racism without a point, I'll go for a walk - there's enough of it in the real world.

grysqrl #748053 30/12/20 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by grysqrl
Part of the issue, for me, is how unnecessarily often a character is boiled down to their race and not their actions or situation. For example, the druids in the grove are constantly talking about the problems with the "tieflings". Even if it isn't what they mean, it's hard to avoid hearing that the problem is that they are tieflings, at least a little bit. The druids never (or rarely, if I'm forgetting something) talk about the problems with the "refugees".

Do the refugees happen to be tieflings? Yes, but while that might be germane to why they are refugees, it is irrelevant to why they are a problem in this situation.

(Tangent: This situation would be a lot more interesting if one or more of the druids were tieflings. Also, if some of the refugees were not tieflings.)

Similarly, why have Lae'zel bother to call them "teethlings"? She thinks she's superior to everyone that isn't a gith - why is she singling tieflings out? (and with an insult that doesn't really make any sense - she's like a 7-year old calling names on the schoolyard).

Why are there a couple of humans living in the goblin camp? How did that come to pass? Why aren't there more? I want to hear that story.

To eliminate all racism from the game would be silly, but if you want to say something useful or interesting about it, you need to choose your moments. Have it say more about the person who is employing it than about the person who it is aimed at. Give players a variety of options to react to it (or not, if they so choose). If I want widespread racism without a point, I'll go for a walk - there's enough of it in the real world.

I disagree. I like that people hate tieflings because of their race. I also hate tieflings because of their race. Racism should be a part of a racially diverse world like Faerun where some people are quite literal devilspawn walking around. Why? Because it adds drama and struggle to the setting, conflicting points of view and all that good stuff.
I will murder all of the tiefling characters and feel like I did Faerun a favor, because that is actually pretty close to the truth. Same applies for drow and goblins.

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Originally Posted by grysqrl
Why are there a couple of humans living in the goblin camp? How did that come to pass? Why aren't there more? I want to hear that story.

Because of the Absolute. That's also why the goblins are cooperating with the Gnolls.


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Bruh #748066 30/12/20 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by grysqrl
Similarly, why have Lae'zel bother to call them "teethlings"? She thinks she's superior to everyone that isn't a gith - why is she singling tieflings out? (and with an insult that doesn't really make any sense - she's like a 7-year old calling names on the schoolyard).

I don't think that's meant as an insult. It's meant to show Lae'zel is unfamiliar with Faerun and its races and doesn't know the correct name for tieflings. She also says "Fay run" or something like that if you point out her mistake.

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Which is also annoying because Tieflings ought to be much more familiar to Gith than they are to material plane humans.


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Dexai #748069 30/12/20 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Dexai
Originally Posted by grysqrl
Why are there a couple of humans living in the goblin camp? How did that come to pass? Why aren't there more? I want to hear that story.

Because of the Absolute. That's also why the goblins are cooperating with the Gnolls.

Oh, I get "because the Absolute" as a high-level answer. But how did they and Edowin get roped in? Were there more people in their group/family that didn't come along? How do they feel about working with a bunch of goblins? Were they promised something for playing along? Were they approached by the goblins or the drow? Someone else? Whta did they give up in order to be here? Are there others like Edowin that didn't agree to come along?

"Because the Absolute" is simultaneously true and very unsatisfying. If I have a character that is trying to deal with a weird situation and keeps hearing about this unknown powerful figure that is clearly connected to that situation, I'm definitely going to be interrogating people who know more than me. Assuming that the goblins were largely already connected as a tribe, these two humans stick out like a sore thumb - they must have a really interesting reason for being here. "Because the Absolute" is not interesting.

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Originally Posted by Kajsentlyha
Originally Posted by grysqrl
Similarly, why have Lae'zel bother to call them "teethlings"? She thinks she's superior to everyone that isn't a gith - why is she singling tieflings out? (and with an insult that doesn't really make any sense - she's like a 7-year old calling names on the schoolyard).

I don't think that's meant as an insult. It's meant to show Lae'zel is unfamiliar with Faerun and its races and doesn't know the correct name for tieflings. She also says "Fay run" or something like that if you point out her mistake.

I haven't gone through all of the dialog options systematically. But her tone in the moment made it seem like a weak insult.

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Originally Posted by grysqrl
Originally Posted by Dexai
Originally Posted by grysqrl
Why are there a couple of humans living in the goblin camp? How did that come to pass? Why aren't there more? I want to hear that story.

Because of the Absolute. That's also why the goblins are cooperating with the Gnolls.

Oh, I get "because the Absolute" as a high-level answer. But how did they and Edowin get roped in? Were there more people in their group/family that didn't come along? How do they feel about working with a bunch of goblins? Were they promised something for playing along? Were they approached by the goblins or the drow? Someone else? Whta did they give up in order to be here? Are there others like Edowin that didn't agree to come along?

"Because the Absolute" is simultaneously true and very unsatisfying. If I have a character that is trying to deal with a weird situation and keeps hearing about this unknown powerful figure that is clearly connected to that situation, I'm definitely going to be interrogating people who know more than me. Assuming that the goblins were largely already connected as a tribe, these two humans stick out like a sore thumb - they must have a really interesting reason for being here. "Because the Absolute" is not interesting.

On the nautiloid is a study of goblin society, insinuating the Absolutists have made intentional research into how to to best take over and control the tribe. Edowin was likely infected in an earlier batch of infecteds, possibly along with Niara and maybe even the hobgoblin and the goblin witch. I'm guessing Niara is new because her dialogue with the goblins make it seem like she hasn't been commanding them very long. Edowin likely came from the Dark Towers place (I don't remember the name. You know what I mean) where the rest of the Absolute cult seem to be, probably arriving with Niara. The humans in the goblin tribe come in two groups: Edowin's two followers, whose loyalty to Edowin makes it seem to me that they are his followers first and foremost and likely recruited to the Absolute Cult by him or sent to the tribe with him from the Dark Towers (you can talk with these to at the goblin camp if they survive the Edowin encounter, but I can't remember what they said, if anything); and the two humans watching the Hobgoblin's speech in confusion and who seem to make no head or tail of the situation, as if they have no idea what they're even doing there. This makes me think they haven't been there long either, possibly being part of Edowin's and/or Niara's entourage.

If you ask me, the True Souls we might encounter in the Dark Towers, as well as the ordinary cultists we meet there, are likely to be humanoid rather than goblins.

This is all extrapolation of course. Just leaps of logic, hopefully not too far.


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Arne #748093 30/12/20 11:09 PM
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Niara, the forum member, is infected?!?

I mean, it's fine that a player can speculate about what's going on. There are a few clues here and there. But it doesn't feel like we have a lot of fleshed-out characters here - like there might be a really rich world behind what we see, but it doesn't feel like you can really interrogate it.

If I'm trying to play a charming character that talks people out of their secrets, I don't see any opportunities - there's not much room for subtlety. The only option to really ask questions of Edowin's followers is you saying "What's the Absolute?" and results in them attacking you. End of conversation. I'm not saying that Larian needs to program in a rich, deep backstory for every single NPC in the game - that's unreasonable. But I have no idea what most of the characters in this game actually care about. Edowin's followers stand out from the crowd, so they'd be a good candidate for fleshing out a little more.

There are rare exceptions. Hearing about Mol's schemes is engaging. The goblin that's up on the wall reading Volo's book has personality. But most of the NPCs in the game don't seem to have depth beyond what they are doing right this second. Even though people move around a little (not much), we're basically encountering a static, flat world. When the desire to poke and prod at that world gets repeatedly shut down by limited options, it's unsatisfying.

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Originally Posted by grysqrl
Niara, the forum member, is infected?!?

Oh no, what have I done


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Arne #748193 31/12/20 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Arne
Ok, Larian takes a lot of liberties with the forgotten realms world/lore, but sometimes this makes the story really becoming disjointed and breaking immersion. Just a few observations, which are by no means complete:

(1) There are apparently Drow mingling with simple human scavenger groups instead of killing them
(2) Tieflings are not depicted as special or enigmatic, but as commonplace and simply 'humans with horns'
(3) An especially weird/funny moment was as two Tieflings were discussing how 'alien' Lae'zel looks while they are obviously looking much more alien wink
(4) Another situation was when I met a devil making an evil offer to accept his help getting rid of the tadpole - looking exactly like the Tieflings, but now suddenly being enigmatic and evil wink
(5) In the next moment, I again spoke to Tieflings who told me how weak and afraid they were of Goblins, looking exactly the same as the devil
(6) Another situation was meeting a mind flayer in the underdark, who, in the course of a few sentences, was introduced as good and living in the middle of a myconid spore colony

-> Baldur's Gate is a fun game, but this is often immersion breaking. If your Tieflings are just commonplace and another form of humans, they are boring and nothing special. If your Drow are just humans with dark skin, they are boring and nothing special.

Fantasy stories become interesting because of differences in cultures, species, powers. If everyone is the same, then there is no discussion, no conflict and no reason to read a story, watch a movie or play a game.


I could be wrong but from what I think I know:

1) Drow have more and more defected from the Lolth underdark 'we hate everyone' cult, especially males. Often times normal Drow don't leave for the surface except the rare attack on other elves. As such, a drow walking in sunlight is most likely a defector because they would not want to risk their magic items destroying themselves because of the light. Additionally Drizt is a popular hero creating the notion that all drow are not bad.

2) Tieflings used to be special but a lot of events made them more and more common place, especially since I think this is set after Descent into Avernus. However due to their devil like appearance many people do not trust them, hence the druids calling them Tieflings and not refugees.

3) Githyanki look alien to people cause most everyone has never actually met one, and those that do most often do not survive. Gith often stay out in the astral sea fighting the illithids and eachother.

4) Tieflings look like lesser devils, and Raphael is a cambion thus a fully lesser devil. Their appearances are meant to match, which makes some conniving devils more dangerous cause often they don't even need to disguise themselves as another race and instead they will just pretend to be a tiefling.

5) Tieflings despite looking like devils are not devils, often just having a drop of blood or the emergence of something in their ancestry/exposure to certain events. Therefor, most of them skill wise are normal people and do not know how to fight. Compared to a goblin tribal that has lived their life pillaging, they would be more or less outmatched.

6) That happens occasionally, Illithids break off from the hive and gain a semblance of independence. However unlike drow they have not had the benefit of a hero like Dritz and it is far far rarer. Most people would regard that situation a bit suspiciously but it would stand to reason he is likely telling the truth. That illithid is in fact irregular, but dnd is a world filled with excepts rather than the adherence to the hard rule. I want to say there are other example of independent Illithids in dnd 5e campaign modules.

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