The Woobie/Tabletop RPG

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  • Lampshaded in an Old World of Darkness sourcebook where they discourage relying too heavily on this trope: "If your character is taunted by classmates everyday, and every night is beaten and/or raped by his alcoholic father while his mother sits around dosed to her eyeballs on tranquilizers, you're laying it on kind of thick." In the New World of Darkness, such a person would have a better life than most of the games's player characters, though there's nothing that says you can't have a happy backstory. Prometheans, on the other hand, would look at that mortal and ask if they can trade lives.
    • Averted by all Sin-Eaters, who are recipients of Throw the Dog a Bone (namely, the fact that they aren't bones)
    • In stark contrast to Geist stands Changeling: The Lost, where your character at the very LEAST was kidnapped, replaced, beaten, violated, and tortured for no reason! Even if their back-story makes them more of a Break the Haughty, you still want to give them a hug. As the page puts it, "Touched by Vorlons: Molested by Vorlons is more like it."
    • In Werewolf: The Apocalypse, the Bastet had a Gift called "Kitten's Cry" that basically made them look like an adorably cute Woobie on command.
  • Lilith in Exalted. Let's put it this way: 3000 years in the heart of pure insane chaos did less psychological harm than her marriage to Desus did.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Many of the Exclusively Evil races are prone to gaining player sympathy, but Kobolds seem to be the most downright pitied, especially since they're the default Butt Monkey race.
    • One of the D&D-based Choose Your Own Adventure books, Return to Brookmere, has a scene where the elf hero finds a young gnoll crying its eyes out, having been abandoned by its tribe for admiring pretty things like jewelery and disliking other gnolls' brutality and mayhem. Perhaps the earliest published example of Woobieism in an Exclusively Evil D&D race.
    • Shadow elves from Mystara. The subterranean elves who appeared before and later were partially reused for Chaotic Evil Drow. The surface elves see them much the same way, but the splatbook dedicated to them gives their culture a history steeped in Woobieism -- driven underground by nuclear disasters (yes, plural), harried by horrific monsters at every turn, cold-heartedly exploited by their own Immortal patron (later they switched to another, who actually cares about them, but in such Tough Love way that the outsiders don't see any difference), and branded as evil freaks by surface elves.
  • In a very disturbing twist, anyone who sees the Apex Twins from Warhammer 40k is tempted to treat them as Woobies, and they appear to be poor little kids hunted by the cruel and evil Inquisition for use in depraved and evil experiments, but in reality the Twins are psychotic murderous abominations hundreds of years old rather than cute eight year old girls.

The Apex Twins: (surrounded by self mutilated and tortured corpses) "We wanted them to play with us. It took ages to get them to listen."

Why yes, they're a Shout-Out to The Shining turned Up to Eleven. If you're looking for someone to pity in Warhammer 40,000, try, oh I don't know, damn near everyone else with the slightest redeeming quality. Most of the Imperial Guard probably count. In one of the darkest settings ever created, the few heroes stand out all the more.

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