Created By: dalek955April 18, 2011 Last Edited By: dalek955May 14, 2011

Monster Adventurers

Heroism: It's not just for the Five Races anymore!

Name Space:
Page Type:
Do We Have This? Needs More Examples. Rolling Updates.

Indexes: Speculative Fiction Tropes, Goodness Tropes, Characters, Heroes, Heel Face Index
Life is tough for a wandering monster. Not only do you have to live in a dungeon with no new energy entering the ecosystem, but you could be killed by treasure hunters at any time. Can't be a fun existence.

But wait! The adventurers are in an environment just as dangerous, and they live a lot longer! They get all those nifty healing potions and shiny swords and glamorous quests! People respect them! They're at the top of the world! Well, to the thinking monster, there's only one thing to do. Become an adventurer yourself!

Not that this is not for Mons, Pet Monstrosities, or Monster Allies; we have tropes for those. This is when a lone adventurer, an entire party, or at the very least a core party member are of a 'monster*' species. By definition either a Reluctant Monster or a Defector From Decadence, a Monster Adventurer might also be a Horrifying Hero depending on how monstrous they are. See also Friendly Neighborhood Vampire for the civilian version.

Note that this trope only applies when there's an Always Chaotic Evil morality for the Monster Adventurers to break free from, otherwise they're just normal adventurers of an unusual species.

[[hottip:*:"Monster" here meaning "normally Always Chaotic Evil in this verse".]]


  • Drizzt Do'Urden of The Dark Elf Trilogy. His father Zaknafein might have become one, had he lived long enough to break free of Menzoberranzan as Drizzt did.


Community Feedback Replies: 25
  • April 18, 2011
    We're going to have to define what constitutes a "monster." Are Dark Elves monsters? They're usually antagonists, but they're perfectly humanoid and not incapable of reason. What's the difference between a society whose members are monsters and one whose aren't? Are the Geth in ME 1/2 monsters? How about the Krogan?
  • April 18, 2011
    The "Reverse Dungeon" module for D&D should fit here.
  • April 18, 2011
    They're often Horrifying Heros as well.
  • April 18, 2011
    I'm not sure if you're aware of the number of games that feature Dark Elves as playable characters. :S They're far from "usually just XP fodder." That's sort of what trips me up. There's lots of Krogan in ME 2 who work as mercenaries and enforcers, which puts them on the wrong end of your gun. But that's also true of other races, ie. Turians, who no one would think to call "Monsters," and Krogan have a friendly city you can visit.
  • April 19, 2011
    So, now we've defined "monster", we get into the definition of "usually"? Yes some games allow drow PC's, but their home society generally tells you all you need to know. In any case, in Drizzt's verse drow are (in every other case) bad news, so he definitely counts.

    Possibly what we should say is "normally Always Chaotic Evil", since Monster Adventurers usually show up in Tabletop Games or other settings where that trope is in force.

    On that note, scratching the Mardek example, since reptoids there haven't been monsters since the construction of the Solakian temple.

    Also, NEVER unilaterally discard someone else's ykttw! That wasn't funny, pureWasted!
  • April 19, 2011
    My sincerest apologies. I thought the discard button applied only to the reply I was typing up, and was horrified to see that... it... did a lot more than that. I'm glad the damage wasn't permanent.

    There was actually a reason why I brought up all these semantic issues, and you've basically pointed it out in your last post. You're talking about Tabletop Games. My question is whether this trope applies to other media as well, where there is no handy set-in-stone alignment to sort something like this out.
  • April 20, 2011
    Apology accepted.

    If a ykttw gets discarded, you can still go to the launch/discard list at the bottom of the YKTTW page and just click the Restore button. As for deleting a bad can't. You just have to leave the editor open, or edit the already-entered post to say something like [[comment retracted]].

    Actually, I have yet to see an example of this in a setting that wasn't a game, an RPG Mechanics Verse or an Expanded Gameworld work. In fact, the trope only really works when there is a Black And White Morality for the monster character to be breaking out of, otherwise they're just normal adventurers.
  • April 22, 2011
    Should be noted relation with Perspective Flip (World through the eyes of, well, secondary at best characters), Deconstruction - those who "heroes" slay are people too, well maybe not people but they have personality and stuff like that and Villain Protagonist - if they are still ACE.
  • April 22, 2011
    If you want to be generous in your definition of "adventurers" (not to mention heroes), then the Aqua Teen Hunger Force qualify, being comprised of a meat ball, soda, and floating fries.
  • April 22, 2011
    Disgaea definitely fits into this trope, as most recruitable units are also monster enemies.
  • April 23, 2011
    Arguably all of Mario's teammates in the Paper Mario series.
  • April 23, 2011
  • April 26, 2011
  • April 27, 2011
    I was the one who made A Day In The Slimelight back then, but it turned out to be more generic than I originally intended - I could see rom for a "spin-off based on original work's minor enemy" and "story based on a genre's minor enemy". Of course, if your definition is "monsters trying to be heroes" that's a different, more specific trope.

    See also Perspective Flip if it hasn't been mentioned yet.
  • April 27, 2011
    Launching on Sunday if I hear no objections. Also, Perspective Flip is a retooling of a classic tale, whereas Monster Adventurers tend to have their own original story.
  • April 27, 2011
    Dunno I would wait a little bit more to have in least 10 examples, but then that might be impossible in here.
  • April 30, 2011
    ^^Not exactly; first, check the Laconic and examples and you'll see that "classic tale" is not a requirement, second, like many many other tropes it is broader than what the lazyy troper who reads only the description's first half would assume. (Check the examples, related tropes, and the fact that it has no equivalent tropes on the wiki.)

    Just mentioning that, tho. If we had to clean up every trope page so that they are unambigous, we could clean up the whole site...
  • April 30, 2011
    Seriously, Needs More Examples. I don't have a single one there that I didn't come up with myself! Gimme!
  • May 2, 2011
    • Referenced in The Order Of The Stick Start Of Darkness:
      Dark One: You made us and the humans, but they get to be PC races while we are slaughtered by adventurers?
      Deity: Well, there are those rules for monster PCs--
      Dark One: Those rules are crap and you know it!
  • May 9, 2011
    Could the Elder Scrolls races of Argonians, Khajiits, and especially Orcs be seen as playing with this trope? They're not seen as enemies despite technically being monsters, and they're part of regular society, but they're also rejected by the more uptight Men and Mer (read: racism is acceptable in this world.) They're colloquially known as the Beast Races, though whether or not this term is considered to be "politically correct" in the game world is unknown.
  • May 9, 2011
    • Dungeons And Dragons has had rules for monstrous P Cs for several editions. 2nd had the Complete Book of Humanoids which outlined P Cs that included races such as: Kobold, Goblin, Minotaur etc. 3rd edition also had rules for monster P Cs.
  • May 9, 2011
    • Marvel Comics' recent series Nick Fury's Howling Commandos (not the one set in WWII). Starring the likes of Warwolf, N'Kantu the Living Mummy, Frankenstein (a clone of the original Frankenstein's monster), Gorilla-Man, and a zombie named John Doe.
    • Along similar lines and years earlier, DC Comics' Creature Commandos.
  • May 9, 2011
    ^^^If they aren't Always Chaotic Evil (or Neutral Hungry), then no, they do not count.
  • May 10, 2011
    ^ Some fans would argue the Khajiit are, but point taken in any case. Example ruined. :)
  • May 14, 2011
    One D&D book (containing ready-to-use npc's for various ocassions) contained such a group of adventurers: a troll fighter (full plate but fights with claws) an ettecarp cleric ( rather smart for an ettecarp but int isn't his casting stat anyway) a pseudodragon sorcerer (ditto) a phase spider rogue (who needs lockpicks when you can pass through walls?) and an umberhulk monk (who fights blindfolded, purely by tremorsense, to protect his teammates from his gaze). A Ragtag Bunch Of Misfits if ever there was one, but rather friendly if you don't attack right away.

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