Dec 11, 2008

Is there any room left for the Yugoloths?

After writing about an oft-passed on part of D&D that appeals to me, I was reminded of another one that is even more relevant. The Yugoloths.

Remember them? Everyone's favorite NE blood war mercenaries? My question is; in a game world where concepts such as the flavors of neutrality have been cast off, will we ever again see the penultimate mercenaries?

You know, the fence-sitters who care less for domination and supremacy, as a tenable balance wherein they, and only they will be able to profit?

This, of course brings about another issue. Alignment in general. I have not fully adopted 4E's alignment mechanics, because I see the old school 9 point alignment tree as more than just a confusing source of spell descriptors. This is because evil, good, and yes, even neutrality are more nuanced than Super good, good, doesn't care, evil, and super evil. Remember LN? The bane of any character of chaotic origin?

Back on topic, these nuances were most pronounced in the outer planes. The actual physical embodiments of the virtues and vices of each particular path. LN? Cold, uncaring logic. CN? Cocksure independence. In fact, I would have been happy if WotC had finally grown some fuzzy ones and ruled that only a character of animal intelligence (or any beast that meets said criteria) should even have it as an option.

Now as to how this played out in terms of the Yugoloths? Tanar'ri are the more numerous of the fiendish ken. They suffered mightily due to their disorganization, but always had numbers to fall back upon - keeping their enemies at bay.

The Baatezu had the organization to run a tight military machine, but suffered greatly due to an extremely top heavy structure. The old BLOOD WAR boxed set had a wonderful gem about how all one has to do to stop a Baatezu campaign dead in it's tracks, was to kill the general, and watch as the offensive falls apart.

The Yugoloths? Different story altogether. They represented pure evil given purpose. Not that silly mad beast evil. Or the endless lines of bureaucracy evil. No, they were pure self serving evil, freed from the bonds of working with or against the "rules".

IMO, they have always been the more dangerous foe, as they had no qualms about using their enemies (or working with/for) whenever necessary. They have no rabid bestial impulse control issues, no anal to the extreme organizational issues, nada.

Simply put, they were the conduit that the "good guys" used (to good effect) to keep the blood war constantly boiling, lest one side win and turn their red rimmed eyes upward.

So what say you all? Is there anyplace left in 4E for the poor, misunderstood Yugoloths? Tell me what YOU think.

1 comment:

Graham said...

freed from the bonds of working with or against the "rules".

See, this is why I like the new alignment system.

Who ever said that LE had to work within "the rules", and CE had to work against them?

For that matter, what are "the rules" in the first place?

I could rant about this for a while, but I'll address your actual question for now. :P

As it stands, yes there is definitely room for the Yugoloths in 4e. Some have already made their ways in, and at least one is in the MM (as a Demon, I believe). But there is always room for them as a distinct group, and the alignment system doesn't prevent this.