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 "Greetings, human! As long as you keep your blades sheathed, you're as welcome here as anyone else."

When people think of monsters, it's as solitary creatures or gangs of creeps. If they're part of a greater group it's because The Man Behind the Monsters is using them as part of his schemes, not any normally occurring social impulse. Imagine the surprise characters will have when they discover the Monster Town. Rather than spend all their time eating orphans, these "monsters" have built a settlement and formed a society with its own culture. Usually it's very different from human (even allowing for how cosmopolitan humanity can be) or amusingly identical.

That they live in a semblance of civilization doesn't mean they're good though. When we said they don't spend all their time eating orphans, it could very well be they spend a good chunk of it thinking up ways of cooking the orphans into ghoulishly elaborate gourmet recipes. That said, this is also sometimes the place your most naive character is surprised to learn that so-called "evil" monsters really aren't so bad.

Although this moral quandary is sometimes averted by simply clarifying that these are the good monsters, who decided not to be wandering homicidal maniacs. Most have been Good All Along. In video games this is an easy fix when all the towns are in danger of feeling the same as each other; just make a regular old town and replace the townsperson sprites with monster sprites and voila! The town is made distinct with minimal programming effort.

The Monster Town is usually filled with a hearty Monster Mash of Eccentric Townsfolk. While the majority of the population probably doesn't like you (what with having summarily beaten the tar out of these monsters during the course of the game), there's usually one or two people who are impressionable or open-minded enough to help you. Their customs are usually bizarre and dangerous. They may be The Fair Folk or a strength based society, perhaps they have customs we can't fathom because they communicate through scent.

If the setting is a Fantasy Kitchen Sink with a Masquerade, expect them all to work together to uphold it and/or plot the downfall of humanity.

Examples of Monster Town include:


Film

Literature

  • The Found Thousand in The Gone-Away World.
  • Though still primarily a human town, Ankh-Morpork on Discworld welcomes non-humans (dwarves and trolls mainly, but also Friendly Neighborhood Vampires, werewolves, the differently alive, a few banshees, gorgons, Igors, and Nobby Nobbs), or at least welcomes non-humans if they don't make trouble and have money to spend. There are troll neighborhoods and a bar just for undead.
  • One novel of Vampire Hunter D features the town of the Barberois, a town of Half Human Hybrids who are all part-monster (of many different monster types) and who can act as deadly mercenaries for the right conditions.

Tabletop Games

  • The titular main setting of Mortasheen is one of these around the size of Austrailia, with a massive abundance grotesque Mons used for almost everything you can think of. Even your player characters are monstrous, with Mutants, Fish People, zombies, shadow-people, human-insect hybrids, morlocks that look like Orlock, and brain-in-a-jar styled cyborgs.
  • The Dungeons and Dragons setting of Eberron has several nations ruled by "monster" races: Darguun is the homeland of the goblins and hobgoblins, Q'Barra is settled by Lizard Folk, the Shadow Marches is one of the last holdouts of the orcs, and Droaam is a safe haven for monsters of all kinds (from trolls to harpies to hags, and so on).
    • There is also Xen'drik, a whole continent inhabited primarily by drow, giants, and various other exotic intelligent species, and Argonnessen, another continent completely ruled by prophecy-obsessed DRAGONS.
  • Examples of the Monster Town are quite common in the D&D Basic Mystara setting, both as independent states and as principalities within larger, multi-species nations.
  • The Underdark is controlled by multiple nations of drow, illithids, and other subterranean races, depending on the setting.
  • Tormenta, a Brazilian Setting has the "Dark Alliance" that rules the south continent, though, most of their towns are conquered.

Video Games

  • MARDEK has Cambria, the trilobite village that is home to the Cambrian Arena. There's also the reptoid village of Xantusia, which is the gateway to the Sandflow Caves, the Dark Temple and the Miasmal Citadel, as well as having a while-you-wait blacksmith and being the home of party member Sslen'ck Ea-Sslenal. Both of these are effectively Elemental Nations, since most trilobites are Water types and reptoids tend to be Earth.
  • Secret of Mana had a town full of literate, palette-swapped mushroom monsters.
  • The late period GBC game Shantae had two settlements of this variety, referred to as Bandit Town and the Zombie Caravan.
  • Chrono Trigger had Medina Town, populated by the "Mystics" or "Fiends" (monsters) of the world. On your first few visits, they're openly hostile, attacking you if you try to buy anything and then overcharging you horrendously once beaten. It is possible to alter history by defeating the historical figures they idolize; if you do so, the monsters become much more hospitable because there wasn't anyone to build anti-human sentiment.
    • Chrono Cross had Marbule, a place where only Demi-humans lived.
  • Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars contained Monstro Town, home of "reformed" monsters or plain fed up minions, including many of Bowser's henchmen from the beginning of the game
    • In the Paper Mario games this is taken even further: nearly every town has monster citizens, and nearly every species of monster will have at least one representative shown to be a harmless member of society, with the implication that there are more. Heck, the only evil monsters are ones aligned with Bowser, native monsters, or Chaotic Neutral monsters. In fact, this deserves its own page.
  • Monsters in the Final Fantasy Legend series (which were SaGa games, so this may also apply to SaGa as a whole) lived alongside humans so appeared both in the wild and in town. In the third game this was only true in the enemy's dimension of Pureland, though there were two classical Monster Towns along the way infested with random encounters and evil WaterHags and Dwelgs that will attack on sight if you are not disguised.
  • In Final Fantasy IV, there is a place hidden deep below the Underworld where the Summoned Monsters live. Rydia explains that this is where she's been living all the time that she was gone from the team. Various common monsters can be talked with and commerce proceeds as normal. Because they're Rydia's friends, they don't treat the party as enemies. However, one can get in fights. Specifically, the powerful summon monsters that Rydia has not yet formed a summoner's pact with, Asura and Leviathan, are willing to form such a pact with her if she and her friends can satisfy them in a test of combat.
  • There is Quelb in Final Fantasy V, consisting of werewolves. Of course, in this world werewolves are good, but it's funny that there are sheep in the village.
    • Fridge Brilliance kicks in once you realize that for every free meal you take at the inn, a sheep disappears.
  • In Excelsior Phase One Lysandia, for one quest you have to visit Grethal, populated by monsters of the same kind you spend the entire rest of the game killing. Oddly, they don't seem to mind.
  • Well-played in the Zelda-ish game Crusader of Centy, in which the plot slowly reveals that the Evil Monsters really aren't; they are the victims of human racism, and didn't want to be in the world in the first place. Eventually the protagonist enables them to leave, thus spelling utopia for both - and a very Family-Unfriendly Aesop.
  • Dragon Quest VIII had Tryan Gully, which happens to be the only town in the game that your transformed companion Trode feels welcome in, as the monsters are not afraid of him like the humans in other towns are.
  • Nippon Ichi really likes this trope.
    • In Disgaea, this is essentially the whole Netherworld.
    • In Phantom Brave, there are several islands of anthropomorphic humanoids that also appear as enemies in the game.
    • In La Pucelle Tactics, the Eringas are a mushroom-like monster that you fight frequently, but you can also visit a town full of them that act perfectly friendly.
  • Baldur's Gate 2 had two examples of this: the first was an undead town in the sewers, although this is something of a subversion - if you go in they beg you to leave before their hunger overcomes them, then it does. The second is a collection of monsters living outside of a town. The mayor asks you to deal with them, and you have the option of killing them or talking to them and learning they just want to coexist. If you take the second option they start trading with the town and defend it when other monsters attack.
    • Don't forget the Drow city, although that's more a town of Complete Monsters than monsters...
    • Baldur's Gate also had that village of Xvarts, though they weren't too glad to see you.
  • Golden Sun: The Lost Age has a town full of werewolves, but they're not really mean to newcomers so much as they just go to massive efforts to hide the fact that they're anything besides human.
  • Necropolis from Fallout may count as a Monster Town, as it is populated both by friendly ghouls and feral ghouls. The second Fallout game has Broken Hills and Gecko and the Deathclaw-occupied Vault 13, which are more textbook definitions of a Monster Town. Fallout 3 has Underworld as its resident ghoul town.
  • Po Po Lo Crois has one of these, once you get the Global Airship. Annoying, because there's literally nothing to do there.
    • Because it was removed from the PSP version. The original PSX version had a tournament going on there in which you could win a power-up for Pietro.
  • Cave Story has a small-scale version: the Dungeon Shop in the Labyrinth contains several friendly Gaudis.
  • Runescape has quite a few of these. Goblin Village, Barbarian Village, entire vampire and vampyre cities on the members' worlds...
    • Though, Barbarians aren't so much monsters as just... a different subset of humans.
  • World of Warcraft has plenty of monster towns, usually accessible after using a disguise and/or doing a reputation grind for the faction controlling the town: Magram and Gelkis Villages, Ogri'la, Dragonmaw Base Camp, The Shadow Vault, Dun Niffelem, Frenzyheart Hill, Mistwhisper Refuge, the Grim Guzzler and others.
    • Depending or your definition of monster, any settlement of Orcs, Trolls, Tauren, Undead, or Draenei can count.
  • Phantasy Star II has a whole planet of people who aren't exactly nice to you if you're wearing the wrong "cap"
  • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages has Crescent Island, full of the lizard-like Tokay. The first things they do upon seeing you is...loot all your stuff.
    • Somewhat similar, in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Kakariko Village is replaced with the Village of Thieves in the Dark World. It's filled with monsters that do indeed attack you, as well as fox-like people who you can play gambling games with.
  • Arguably, the Rogue Isles is the Monster Town to Paragon City in City of Heroes, being under the control of the evil organization Arachnos. Indeed, nearly all friendly NPCs are connected with Villain Groups in some way, or are generally just violent, greedy, or evil. (There are a few exceptions, like Ashley Mc Knight or Hardcase, but those are the exception rather than the rule.) However, despite all of this, 90% of the NPCs you will be facing are Villains. In fact, you will fight more Arachnos as a Villain than a Hero. Even if you work for them.
  • Every single town you visit in Ghosts N Goblins Red Arremer/Gargoyle's Quest is a Monster Town. Naturally, since the setting takes place in the Demon World, which is under attack. You're a demon that goes around killing monsters, whereas the townspeople who are willing to help you out are monsters themselves.
  • The Mushroom Kingdom theme dungeon from Maple Story.
  • Legacy of Kain Soul Reaver reverses this trope. You play as an undead vampire-turned-wraith, Raziel. There is a hostile vampire hunter prior to the first boss which you can ignore or attack. After beating the first boss, you will be able to access the human settlement. If you chose to attack the vampire hunter, or if you choose to subsequently attack the citadel and its allies, the humans will be extremely hostile towards Raziel. If you chose to ignore him, the humans will begin to worship Raziel as their savior and even allow him to partially consume their souls if he's weakened.
  • Monster Hunter has the Melynx Villages where both Felynes and Melynxes hang out, and are one of the few place where the Melynxes don't actively try to steal your belongings. You can even find your purloined goods and retrieve them hassle-free, as well as some other goodies to make Barrel Bombs and a Barrel Lid to make a special weapon.
  • Planescape: Torment has the Dead Nations, a settlement inhabited by the undead--skeletons (intelligent and coherent), zombies (not very intelligent or coherent), and ghouls (craving for meat). They spend their days caring for the settlement and looking after the "quiet ones", i.e. inanimate corpses, to save them from desacration. When somebody living wanders into the Dead Nations, he is promptly captured and imprisoned; while the locals are treating him politely, they aren't trying to hide that they're merely waiting for him to die.

Web Comics

  • In Annyseed there is a place where all the monsters can live their lives happily, away from humanity. To get there, just follow Reaper Road until it dips into the woodland, and when you come to a sign saying, "Skull Valley - no vehicles" just keep going a little further, until the undergrowth gets so dark you can hardly make out the road. But go at your own risk.
  • In the Drowtales worldsetting comic, Mel puts it this way: "Many People claim the Drow to be pure evil, which is not true! We have a different culture and point of view than humans do."
  • In Looking for Group, Richard the undead Warlock is the mayor of a village. This is first told as part of joke and then turns out to be true. Said village is populated entirely by undead ghoul townsfolk who are virtually unkillable and almost as sociopathic as Richard. Luckily for everyone else, they appear amiable and cooperative, when they aren't killing people or stealing babies...
  • Gobbotopia, the homeland of goblins, hobgoblins and bugbears, in Order of the Stick. Formerly known as Azure City.
    • Also, lizardfolk seem to be a sizable minority in the desert kingdoms.

Western Animation

  • Monster Isle in The Powerpuff Girls.
    • Every so often, they go out and fight the girls, and hopefully win. Whoever gets his ass kicked, and then comes back to tell them how awesome fighting them was is considered a hero. And none of them see getting beaten black and blue by small, quasi-human girls as a problem.
  • Aaahh Real Monsters
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