The Inevitable Cute

I’m noticing a curious trend – the proliferation of cute things in my RPGs.

My Forgotten Realms campaign, which finished its first adventure this week, had goblins who sang in something I’m sure they intended as harmony (“in the key of off”, as J put it). My short-lived Star Trek adventure had the Chkihi, a race of sapient rodents, who were just reaching bow-and-arrow technology, who were friendly and curious when confronted by the immense bipeds who came down from the sky.

I blame In Nomine. In Nomine is a game about angels and demons. Angels develop from small spirits called Relievers, and in every campaign I’ve played in or witnessed, no matter how serious or dark (IN runs the gamut), the Relievers were played as Cute Incarnate.

Picture a tiny, vague-but-anthropomorphic being of light, face set with earnest military discipline, confronting a huge, winged serpent:

* Shehariah glances at the cadet. “Do you have something to say?”

The Cadet peeps at Shehariah but holds its ground. “…Sir!”

The Cadet resumes peering at Shehariah.

* Shehariah glances at the cadet, again. “What is it?”

The Cadet salutes, vibrating in the air. “Permission to speak frankly, sir?!”

“If you must say something, then say it.”

The Cadet salutes. “Do all your people really hate us and our archangel, sir-ma’am-sir! And if so! I think that’s very wrong of you! Sir!”


The Cadet deflates a little. “Oh. Then why does everyone say so?!”

“They likely believe it’s true.”

The Cadet spins a little, sideways, before snapping back into attention. “With all due respect, Sir! Why would they believe it if it’s not true? Sir!”

“I have no way of knowing. I told you it is not True.”

Ulimis regards Zha’an seriously. “Many Novalians will not understand – you, for you have experience, however twisted, with – an art of war, and accept that as – the art it is. Your need for – harmony is appreciated. You are welcome to – attend my classes and correct the – twisted misunderstanding of my – art.”

The Cadet regards Shehariah uncertainly. “Sir! Permission to speak frankly?!”

“If you must say something, say it.”

The Cadet vibrates again. “Doesn’t your thinking it’s unTrue just mean that you BELIEVE it’s unTrue, or you couldn’t say it? But what if it IS True! Doesn’t it involve Archangels. Can you not explain this?!”

The Cadet adds, “Sir!”

“You asked if ‘my people’ hate you and your Archangel. That… would be unjust.”

Also, Harukami is a fantastic GM to learn from.