There are two tropes at work in today’s comic. Because I couldn’t choose between them, what say we take ’em one at time? 

  • The Pacifist: These guys are the long-haired hippies of the fantasy adventure gaming world. Having signed up for a kill-monsters-and-take-their-stuff campaign, they bring a sack full of moralizing to the dungeon instead of a useful weapon. At their worst they’ll sacrifice their fellow PCs in the name of a personal code, refusing to pitch in and bonk a possibly-sapient houseplant even as it’s chowing down on the nearest cleric. In their less extreme form, they might work as murder facilitators, putting monsters to sleep or befuddling their senses while the rest of the group does the dirty work. Even there you’ll usually have to deal with accusations of, “You’re nothing but a pack of murderers!” But hey, at least they’re contributing.
  • The Pinocchio: Every warforged to ever roll off the assembly line comes packaged with this backstory. So do your Data lookalikes in sci-fi RPGs. Ditto all those am-I-even-human-anymore types like Street Samurai, who one and all stand in the shadow of The Major. It’s a fine starting place for a character, but it can get old in a hurry if it comes up in every. Freaking. Conversation. We get that you’re conflicted over the mystery of your consciousness. That’s OK! So is Google. Just don’t go beating us about the face and head with existentialism when it’s time to beat monsters about the face and head with morningstars.

Alrighty then. Now that Old Man Colin has shaken his fist at all the kids playing on his lawn, what do you say we figure these things out properly? When you’ve got a Pacifist or a Pinocchio in your party, how do you accommodate the playstyle? As a GM, are you inclined to allow non-violent solutions a little more leeway, permitting the pacifist approach to work? As a player, are you willing to wade into philosophical sci-fi debates alongside Asimov and Clarke, or are you just as grumpled and old-mannish as me when it comes to navel-gazing? Pick your archetype, then tell us how to do it right down in the comments!


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