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Altair_the_Vexed
2010-02-21, 05:27 PM
There are loads of playable species in fantasy RPGs. The usual suspects of humans and elves and dwarves and orcs and halflings are always cropping up. Then there are the dragon-blooded, the demonic-blooded and angelic-blooded; the trolls, the fey, the werewolves and the vampires and what have you. We could go on for pages...

You can kind of break down the function of species in RPGs into categories - the tough guy, the magic guy, the sneaky guy, and so on. In my opinion, there shouldn't be much duplication - there's no need for more than one tough guy species to be a PC race.

So, with all that in mind (not set in stone, but laid out as my starting point) - what species do you like to see in an RPG, and what role do you think they fill?

Amphetryon
2010-02-21, 05:39 PM
There are the Stouts, the Fairies, the Mundanes, the High Men, and the Cutes. This is a TVtrope. It explains. You have been warned (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FiveRaces).

erikun
2010-02-21, 06:54 PM
There are loads of playable species in fantasy RPGs.
There are? Because most RPGs I've seen (or fantasy I've read) are limited to either humans or the Five Tropers, as above.

Honestly, you just need humans. The dwarf/elf/hobbit isn't that much different to signify a seperate race. If you're going to involve a seperate race, you either want to make the "common" nonhumans significantly different from humans (Burning Wheel sorta does this) or use something with a considerably different mindset.

Foryn Gilnith
2010-02-21, 06:55 PM
There are so many fantasy species. It gets boring after a while. Well, not necessarily boring. But no species is really appealing; the choice of flavor is merely different, not better.
So I turn to mechanics. I choose whatever race gives me the most bonuses, because no race has a superior concept. And then I play whatever concept the race gives me.

Weimann
2010-02-21, 07:28 PM
In systems that use both races and classes, I tend to feel it tries too hard. Personally, I prefer a setting where there are humans, period, and then you get to refine these humans as you like. It's silly to have different races, when humans can be so diverse and heterogeneous all by themselves.

It's also the fact that no matter what you do, your players are going to be humans. How does an elf act? It's a stupid question; we don't know how an elf would act. It's a made up creature, and everyone can have different opinions on what is "elfish". This creates a problem, in that the players stands outside the character, trying to break into it's psyche, for it is in that psyche that his character quirks lie. By having only humans available, this problem is solved; you are already inside your character, working off a known ground, and you are free to develop your own quirks in relation to yourself.

Okay, that probably got a bit serious, but fact is, when I play a different race in some game, in the end I will end up playing a human in slightly different clothes and pointy ears/green skin/beard. Not because I want to, but because I gravitate towards that be necessity.

Thajocoth
2010-02-21, 07:56 PM
I generally like whatever the option that's the most different from humans is. The strangest. And they shouldn't fit neatly into one of those roles, but rather be good at some unexpected mix of abilities.

RebelRogue
2010-02-21, 08:09 PM
I personally dislike the zoo effect. Having races that are a bit off can be ok as long as it's the exception rather than the norm. But stuff like picking obscure/silly subraces, weird templates or just races/creatures that seem totally alien to the given setting/campaign bothers me.

Greenish
2010-02-21, 08:10 PM
I like trolls (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AllTrollsAreDifferent) and dragonmen/lizardmen, or better yet, dragon/lizard (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ReptilesAreAbhorrent) creatures.

Another note: every race doesn't have to be exactly as good as all the others. That's just boring. :smallcool:


[Edit]: Also, if you're going to have several different races, you can happily eliminate humans. Most people don't have to pretend to be humans anyhow.

Ormur
2010-02-21, 10:38 PM
I find it pretty hard to fit the plethora of races in d&d into a single world. Humans can be so diverse that having a bunch of pretty similar races seems a bit redundant. If I were designing a system from scratch getting by with humans only would be easy and other races would have to be few, different and have interesting histories and interactions with the humans. A single planet/world/plane with dozens of bipedal sentient races just doesn't seem to make sense. In d&d most of those races just end up occupying niches that could as well by humans from different cultures or nations, elves in forests, dwarves in mountains, halflings as gypsies, gnolls on plains etc.

In my campaign I went with the normal d&d system and tried to fit them in but I'm not quite happy with the result. I have nothing against many of the races, some are quite interesting, but the world's so cluttered that making all the races unique would take way too much effort. Variety could be provided by different cultures, strange monsters or supernatural creatures who's entire cultures don't have to be explained: vampires, lycanthropes, undeads beings from other planes etc.

arguskos
2010-02-21, 10:54 PM
I find it pretty hard to fit the plethora of races in d&d into a single world.
By contrast, I do not. Humans do not need to always be the "super diverse, we do everything" race. Frankly, I find that tiresome. So many other damn games take that tack that it's getting old and boring. I crave niches dammit!

On that point, I like a large number of non-traditional fantasy races. I am tired of dwarves, elves, trolls, ogres, halflings, gnomes, humans. Give me the Lumi, the Hassaraf, the Genasi. Give me the Diopsid, the Dvati, the Tibbit. Give me races that are UNIQUE, not "humans with beards, beer, and scottish accents".

MlleRouge
2010-02-22, 12:17 AM
I like having a lot of available races, but I think there is a point where it becomes silly. I think it's fun to play something different and they can add a lot or flavor to a fantasy world if used properly. On that same note, however, I also feel like they should probably be used in limited amounts. It's fun to have some other races incorporated into your setting, but when every race has a dozen little environmental subraces and whatnot it gets a bit out of hand.


All of that's personal preference, of course. I tend to have a variety of sentient, playable races in my settings and have the *bulk* of the population be human, maybe more or less in certain regions. Using them more widely is certainly all right if the campaign calls for it.. I think it's kind of dull when there are *only* humans around, though.

DarknessLord
2010-02-22, 03:24 AM
I kinda always like Human only fantasy settings, and I can't really put my finger on why, but yeah.

Totally Guy
2010-02-22, 05:09 AM
Give me the Lumi, the Hassaraf, the Genasi. Give me the Diopsid, the Dvati, the Tibbit. Give me races that are UNIQUE, not "humans with beards, beer, and scottish accents".

I find that takes too much work to understand. And even after that you need everybody else to do the same work to understand the same things.

I think this is why I struggled with Changeling: the Lost. It took me a long time to figure out just what an Ogre was within its context. But I don't think I ever understood the rest of the party and don't know if they understood me.

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I'd rather see the differences in traditional races played up within the mechanics of the system rather than just a +2 here a -2 there. If we all know Dwarves hunger for riches yet keep oaths to their clan I personally like to see those things reinforced within the mechanics.

Wings of Peace
2010-02-22, 05:20 AM
Race: Kaola

Role: Charm you then **** you up.

Greenish
2010-02-22, 05:25 AM
I'd rather see the differences in traditional races played up within the mechanics of the system rather than just a +2 here a -2 there. If we all know Dwarves hunger for riches yet keep oaths to their clan I personally like to see those things reinforced within the mechanics.Because nothing is as great as being mechanically enforced to play the stereotypic member of your Standard Fantasy Race.

bosssmiley
2010-02-22, 06:00 AM
Green Martian / Phraint / Thri-Kreen
Tortles / Ninja Turtles
Octopi
Lankhmari Ghouls
The Half-men of Lynortis

Why play fantasy for the mundane parts? :smallwink:


I'd rather see the differences in traditional races played up within the mechanics of the system rather than just a +2 here a -2 there. If we all know Dwarves hunger for riches yet keep oaths to their clan I personally like to see those things reinforced within the mechanics.

*cough* Pendragon *cough*

The Traits and Passions sub-system offered mechanical benefits for consistently acting in accordance with your belief system(s). I've stolen it wholesale for other systems more than once (usually to great effect).

I think I still have a discovered-on-the-electrowebs Pendragon/LOTR hack on my hard drive somewhere. PM me if you want a copy.

Totally Guy
2010-02-22, 06:11 AM
Because nothing is as great as being mechanically enforced to play the stereotypic member of your Standard Fantasy Race.

There's nothing wrong with playing against type. I'd like to see it as a central theme to a character.

It's all a line drawing excercise.

If someone came into a game with an intellectual and well read half orc that's great, but how is it handled?

Some groups say it's cool and run with it.
Some groups see a cool concept to challenge and see just how different of similar the character is from his type.

Personally I prefer the latter. It's scary, to think that the core concept could be broken but it's all the sweeter to see how the experiences have changed him or made him more defined.

But lets say I was running a game and I've got a Genasi, I wouldn't know if it was being played against type or not. So I'd probably assume that the player is ok with not having his character's race as a central element to the campaign theme.


The Traits and Passions sub-system offered mechanical benefits for consistently acting in accordance with your belief system(s). I've stolen it wholesale for other systems more than once (usually to great effect).

Thumbs up. This sounds similar to the racial traits and beliefs system of Burning Wheel, which is what I'm working hard to master.

Some races have an Emotional attribute which affects the character, this is a bit like the nWoD morality scale. Elves have Grief. Orcs have Hate.

Jolly Steve
2010-02-22, 12:21 PM
I like as many different species as possible, as long as they're not too similar. For example gnomes, dwarves and hobbits/halflings can sometimes kind of blend in with each other, so can the various orc/goblin/hobgoblin/troll etc variants.

I like racial classes (this is very much a minority view), I suppose because it forces non-humans to be significantly different from each other.

I really hate standard fantasy races but with an 'original' name.

Greenish
2010-02-22, 12:32 PM
If someone came into a game with an intellectual and well read half orc that's great, but how is it handled?

Some groups say it's cool and run with it.
Some groups see a cool concept to challenge and see just how different of similar the character is from his type.

Personally I prefer the latter. It's scary, to think that the core concept could be broken but it's all the sweeter to see how the experiences have changed him or made him more defined.:smallconfused: I don't understand what you're trying to say.



But lets say I was running a game and I've got a Genasi, I wouldn't know if it was being played against type or not. So I'd probably assume that the player is ok with not having his character's race as a central element to the campaign theme.I don't think how well a character fits (or doesn't) a very narrow racial stereotype should be a defining aspect of the character, but maybe that's just me. Tell me though, how do you tell if a human character is "playing against the type" or not?

Optimystik
2010-02-22, 03:26 PM
Race: Kaola

Role: Charm you then **** you up.

Also Pandas


But lets say I was running a game and I've got a Genasi, I wouldn't know if it was being played against type or not. So I'd probably assume that the player is ok with not having his character's race as a central element to the campaign theme.

Genasi do have stereotypes - exactly the same ones as their parent elements. Earth genasi are dour and stoic, Fire are passionate and confrontational, air are whimsical and playful, and water are mutable and diplomatic.


Some races have an Emotional attribute which affects the character, this is a bit like the nWoD morality scale. Elves have Grief. Orcs have Hate.

As if Elves weren't emo enough...

Altair_the_Vexed
2010-02-22, 03:49 PM
Ha - I hadn't seen that trope.

Do we need all five of the trope races? Me, I reckon we can go with the Mundanes, the Stouts and the Fairies.... maybe with a dose of vampires, angels and demons thrown in for variety.

Satyr
2010-02-22, 03:53 PM
For the setting I am currenty working on (http://byswarm.com/setting-concept/dark-golden-age), there are humans, loads of anthropomorphic animals and so many mutants, pseudo-humans and almost humans that players practically can custom-design their species of choice along the characters. It is a very fun concept so far.

I never, ever cared about a specific "role" a species might play in the game, only for a plausible reason for the species to exist, and than to develop several distinguished cultures if this makes any sense at all. If there is anything I hate it is simple stereotypes for every kind of sentient species; if a species is considered to be smart enough to, let's say, build a road, they usually should be smart enough to act like individuals, and if not there should at least be one plausible explaqnation for this. Treating culture, personality and biologic heritage as directly linked reeks of 19th century racism and thus should have no right to exist in any mature, modern game.

The Vorpal Tribble
2010-02-22, 04:04 PM
It completely depends on the setting, but in general if I want a humanoid race, Humans. Rarely touch dwarf or halfling, and never gnomes.

If I want a non-human I like the real weirdies.

In my homebrew world there are Dwarves, Goliaths, and Humans, and the human halfbreeds which include the mixed-races such as shifters, half-orc, wild children (fey touched), chevals (mirror-touched), somnambuls (dream-touched), and nox (shadow-touched).

The weirdie race of the realm are the Trlee-Trlaa, sentient fungi.

Lappy9000
2010-02-22, 04:13 PM
I always find the myriad of races to be infinitely fascinating, as long as they are reasonably different mechanically and thematically. Sure, you can humans with beards that love alcohol, mining, and elf-hating but they'll never wholly conform to these traits in vast numbers and adopt an entirely new mindset, like the dwarves have. That's what makes it so cool :smallcool:

Altair_the_Vexed
2010-02-22, 04:19 PM
...snip...
I never, ever cared about a specific "role" a species might play in the game, only for a plausible reason for the species to exist, and than to develop several distinguished cultures if this makes any sense at all. If there is anything I hate it is simple stereotypes for every kind of sentient species; if a species is considered to be smart enough to, let's say, build a road, they usually should be smart enough to act like individuals, and if not there should at least be one plausible explanation for this. Treating culture, personality and biologic heritage as directly linked reeks of 19th century racism and thus should have no right to exist in any mature, modern game.
(my underlining)

When I suggest that we consider elves and dwarves and bug-eyed-beasties as a homogeneous whole, I'm only trying to simplify them for ease of summary - to point out what makes them different from humans as a species.
The species needs to have some sort of general direction in which it is different, to set it apart, or we might as well just all play humans, or do away with any racial mechanics and invent our own species (without any abilities or stat adjustments).
We need a hook to hang the role playing on - just as there's a stereotype Englishman, and playing an Englishman in a game must relate somehow (whether it be subverting or trashing or supporting the stereotype), we have stereotypes for the playable species in RPGs - and we can (and should) break them any way we wish with individual characters.

For example, in the D&D 3.5 game I'm running these days, there are several cultures of elves (from seashore surfing hunter gatherers to grotto dwelling star gazers), several cultures of dwarves (from magical lorekeepers to primitive barbarians), several cultures of halfling (from sedentary rustic types to travelling traders to imperialist slavers), and so on. Within each of these cultures there are separate powers and class structures and political groups.
However, each of those races has certain general personality and social traits in common, beyond the stats. The elves tend to be concerned with freedom and art, the dwarves tend to be concerned with tradition and crafting.

Sorry to ramble on at length, but I just wanted to clear up the racist angle. I know what you're saying, and I think that at the extreme, you're right - but I think that any smart and sensitive DM or setting creator will avoid that sort of thing.

Yora
2010-02-22, 04:20 PM
I like as many different species as possible, as long as they're not too similar. For example gnomes, dwarves and hobbits/halflings can sometimes kind of blend in with each other, so can the various orc/goblin/hobgoblin/troll etc variants.
For my setting, I basically flipped a coin and threw halflings out while keeping gnomes.
I also don't need hobgoblins and bugbears, as disciplined orcs and steroid orcs add more facets to orcish race and culture.

Some days ago, I came to the conclusion, that dwarves are always the same bearded miners with scottish accents who like axes and ale. Which I don't like to copy again. And they always hole themself in and don't want any contact with anyone, so they don't contribute to the culture and politics of the setting, so away with them as well. For the few cases I could use them, tall gnomes with Str 14 do the job as well.

If in doubt if the setting really needs them, I keep humanoid races out of the game. Makes the setting more realistic in my eyes. I still ended up with about 20, discounting fey. :smallbiggrin:

Greenish
2010-02-22, 04:25 PM
…chevals (mirror-touched)…Do I want to know how those came to be? :smalleek:

A fungus race reminds me of Rune Quest. They had rest of the elves as vegetables, but the dark elves were mushroom people.

Calimehter
2010-02-22, 04:27 PM
For [URL="http://byswarm.com/setting-concept/dark-golden-age"]Treating culture, personality and biologic heritage as directly linked reeks of 19th century racism and thus should have no right to exist in any mature, modern game.

One of the fundamental "verisimilitude" concepts in my long-running campaign world is that racism is quite alive and well. After all, think about how much racism has existed (and even continues to exist) IRL, when we are all just human? It does restrict race choices somewhat, but it has lead to some great RP opportunities too, when players have to overcome these sorts of institutions as members of the minority or majority race depending on where they are in the campaign setting. It has worked well for us.

Now I realize that some might not like a game like this. Different strokes for different folks and all, and if someone is well and truly offended to the point that they can't enjoy the game any longer, then it shouldn't be in a game involving that particular person. But still, saying that racism has "no right to exist in any mature modern game" is a bit like saying that [Evil] of any form should really be dropped from the game.

Yora
2010-02-22, 04:29 PM
There's a difference between in-game and out of game, which this talk here is.

Greenish
2010-02-22, 04:29 PM
One of the fundamental "verisimilitude" concepts in my long-running campaign world is that racism is quite alive and well. After all, think about how much racism has existed (and even continues to exist) IRL, when we are all just human?No one is arguing against racism existing within the setting, I should think.

Zeful
2010-02-22, 04:39 PM
[...]Treating culture, personality and biologic heritage as directly linked reeks of 19th century racism and thus should have no right to exist in any mature, modern game.

I agree, which is why I was trying for a while to make a race/culture division. Everyone who grew up in the Dwarven Mountain-home has several clearly dwarven racial cultural traits (stonecunning for instance), while a Dwarf that grew up in Elven lands would have some clearly Elven cultural traits. But then I'd have to rewrite humans so that they would actually be chosen over other races (as it stands it would be either no racial traits or no cultural traits, so they lose half of the system either way), and then I discovered how poorly written the game (3.x) actually is and gave up.


One of the fundamental "verisimilitude" concepts in my long-running campaign world is that racism is quite alive and well. After all, think about how much racism has existed (and even continues to exist) IRL, when we are all just human? It does restrict race choices somewhat, but it has lead to some great RP opportunities too, when players have to overcome these sorts of institutions as members of the minority or majority race depending on where they are in the campaign setting. It has worked well for us.

Now I realize that some might not like a game like this. Different strokes for different folks and all, and if someone is well and truly offended to the point that they can't enjoy the game any longer, then it shouldn't be in a game involving that particular person. But still, saying that racism has "no right to exist in any mature modern game" is a bit like saying that [Evil] of any form should really be dropped from the game.

You missed the point. It's not that racism shouldn't exist in a mature game, it's that racism shouldn't be part of the ruleset. While for examples using the "everyman" of a race (which pretty much would follow the sterotype) is acceptable, 3.x takes it far beyond that. Every Dwarf will have stonecunning even ones that live out in the deepest desert, where the closest stone is a mile straight down (hyperbole). So unless dwarves knowing how far they are from the sun as a quirk of biology (totally possible) it shouldn't be a racial trait.

Totally Guy
2010-02-22, 04:39 PM
Genasi do have stereotypes - exactly the same ones as their parent elements. Earth genasi are dour and stoic, Fire are passionate and confrontational, air are whimsical and playful, and water are mutable and diplomatic.

My point was that I'm ignorant of the those particular races. I don't know what books they are from and I don't know of any examples of fiction where I might find them.

So in order to understand it I'd need to go away and research it. But I'd also need to expect the other players to research it as well so that communication runs smoothest. (I refer to the problems I had coping with Changeling: the Lost.:smallredface:)

In my current situation I don't think I could expect my group to learn that information. So my incentive to choose such a race would be for mechanical power rather than insightful roleplaying.

If there was some element of racial behaviour cooked into the mechanics lets say a mechanic that makes makes me lose my composure when I see very fine art or something, then I could embody that or confront it. But at least everyone would know why I'd choose to pick that particular race. I'd be sending out a message to the table that I get my personal kick out of situations where fine art gets paraded around and I get to make things happen through that situation whether I'm going with it or against it.


And elves? :smalltongue: They are emo, may as well be put to good use in the mechanics, and the mechanics reinforce the fluff. Why are elves pompous and insular? Well if they interfered with the deeds of men they'd only cause themselves emotional pain when they discover things like dishonesty and injustice. :smalltongue: Trust me, it's a good thing. But the best thing about elves is that they are so well known that I can be understood and provoke some kind of reaction (Elves suck, elves rule, elves are banned from my table, etc) from everyone. Because it's ubiquitous you can do more interesting things without the need to communicate just why what you're doing is unique and clever. And that's worth something. To me at least.:smallsmile:

Volkov
2010-02-22, 04:40 PM
My worlds tend to have lots of sapient races of all kinds. From humans to energy beings and everything in between. Compared to greyhawk, which my primary campaign setting is based on, I say I'd have a twofold advantage in the number of sapient species. Typically when I pick a species to play as I usually go with arthropods, cephalopds, reptiiles, fish, birds or humans.

sonofzeal
2010-02-22, 04:41 PM
The thing that makes different races fun is using different personalities and mindsets. My orcs have an entirely different sense of what a "joke" is than a human does (sudden revelation of weakness), as does a Gnome (clever manipulation) or an Elf (surrealist humor), and correspondingly won't find the humor in many human jokes even if they understand the inversion or wordplay involved. My dwarves can laugh in a sort of jovial way, but the concept of a "joke" is culturally pretty foreign to them.

Similarly, more exotic races should be more and more alien. My lizardfolk don't understand mammalian genders, my maugs don't comprehend boredom or impatience or even put much note by the passage of time, and my gnolls have a whole mythos of "the eaters" and "the eaten" with interspecies dominance determined almost solely by who can eat whom (thus putting Solars and some of the most powerful undead surprisingly low on the totem pole, and lithovores fairly high up).

Exotic races, then, become a way to fuel really interesting and dynamic RP, and make the game a richer experience for everybody.

AslanCross
2010-02-22, 04:43 PM
I'm fine with multiple races, as long as there is some verisimilitude in their place in the setting. I really can't stand it when "this race is another primitive tribal society that basically exists to be grab bags of XP for adventurers." How on earth did they survive that long? @[email protected]

Calimehter
2010-02-22, 04:44 PM
Ah, that's good. :smallsmile:

Rereading Satyr's post, I can see how I missed that, though. One side effect of the isolationism that (all but) inherently follows in-game racism is that mainstream culture and personality do become somewhat related to biological heritage, if only because of the lack of interaction with other cultures and personalities, and not because of any lack of actual ability. I took him to be saying that any variations of this type are inherently bad.

Good example with the Stonecunning. It works in my campaign because the Dwarves are a relatively isolated group that got driven into the mountains (yeah, I'm troping - so sue me :smalltongue: ), but I could see where I would want to change that for the as-yet-undetailed Dwarven realms further out from the PCs homeland.

Sorry for the misconception. Carry on!

Satyr
2010-02-22, 04:44 PM
Yeah, within the setting, racism might be a common set of mind, and why not? But that is absolutely different from using it on the conceptual level, as some kind of universail truth for the setting, is just wrong.

Volkov
2010-02-22, 04:46 PM
I'm fine with multiple races, as long as there is some verisimilitude in their place in the setting. I really can't stand it when "this race is another primitive tribal society that basically exists to be grab bags of XP for adventurers." How on earth did they survive that long? @[email protected]

Lots and lots of sex and baby making. The same strategy many small animals use.

Greenish
2010-02-22, 04:53 PM
My point was that I'm ignorant of the those particular races. I don't know what books they are from and I don't know of any examples of fiction where I might find them.

So in order to understand it I'd need to go away and research it. But I'd also need to expect the other players to research it as well so that communication runs smoothest. (I refer to the problems I had coping with Changeling: the Lost.:smallredface:)

In my current situation I don't think I could expect my group to learn that information. So my incentive to choose such a race would be for mechanical power rather than insightful roleplaying.You're not saying that you can't roleplay without someone telling you how, are you?

If there was some element of racial behaviour cooked into the mechanics lets say a mechanic that makes makes me lose my composure when I see very fine art or something, then I could embody that or confront it. But at least everyone would know why I'd choose to pick that particular race. I'd be sending out a message to the table that I get my personal kick out of situations where fine art gets paraded around and I get to make things happen through that situation whether I'm going with it or against it.How is that a mechanic instead of roleplaying quirk? Because every member of the race has to have exactly same reaction to something?

But the best thing about elves is that they are so well known that I can be understood and provoke some kind of reaction (Elves suck, elves rule, elves are banned from my table, etc) from everyone. Because it's ubiquitous you can do more interesting things without the need to communicate just why what you're doing is unique and clever. And that's worth something. To me at least.I can sorta see your point there, but I prefer to play my characters primarily as individuals instead of representatives of race X.

Though if I ever did anything unique or clever I might want others to notice it. :smallbiggrin:

sonofzeal
2010-02-22, 05:28 PM
Re: racism....


I play in a LARP, and the LARP I'm in treats societal racism as the de facto norm for their game world. In-game racism and sexism and even slavery are expected in many cases (slavery is illegal in the particular jurisdiction we're supposed to be in, but many come from lands where it's commonplace). There's huge racism towards Ajaunti (gypsies) and Dark Elves in particular, and lord help you if you choose to play an Orc or Ogre; you'd better prove yourself noble and strong fast or you'll be hunted down and killed by other characters, just for your race.

When I step into game, I may assume a character with opinions that are repugnant to my own... but honestly, it ends up being part of the fun and depth of the game. Out-of-game racism (say, treating a character differently because the player is black) is unheard of, and could result in serious consequences if it were noticed. It's a fantasy game, we're all adults, and as such we can handle themes and content that couldn't and shouldn't happen in the real world, and it's all part of the game and the collective storytelling. As long as everybody's comfortable with it, I think it's just fine.

Totally Guy
2010-02-22, 05:30 PM
You're not saying that you can't roleplay without someone telling you how, are you?

No, I'm saying that I wouldn't appreciate people correcting me. Due to either my, or someone else's ignorance of the subject matter.

"Your Drow? Does he not respect women, because in his backstory he was raised in caves and they're quite big on that there."
"Um, no, he ignored that."
"How does he feel about big spiders?"
"...indifferent..?":smallconfused:
"Really?":smallyuk:


How is that a mechanic instead of roleplaying quirk? Because every member of the race has to have exactly same reaction to something?

There's a bigger picture here. Firstly if this was part of the mechanics the GM would know that this particular event would result in something happening and the player would be able to legitimately take centre stage. From then what can happen next can be determined by the affected character.

Mr Vampire says "Large groups of the living anger me. I'll hide in my hole until after 3am because I'd rather not be forced to interact with more than one". That's a particular habit that could be decided by the player as a response to a rule that says Mr Vampire is compelled to frighten groups. Plus it gives the GM an incentive to push the player on this particular choice. It won't be a dull scene.

(As a side note, this is what is wrong with Paladins. The GM sees the holiest warrior and tries to find ways to challenge the concept. Unfortunately the results are not much fun for anyone.)

Yeah, this is similar to a roleplaying quirk. But unfortunately within my group the cool quirks tend to be forgotten as soon as it becomes inconvenient. Mechanics along these lines, in my opinion, keep you thinking and keep a concept strong and relevant.

Hey these short questions have really long answers. I'm going to make sure I get in on some of this question writing action.

Greenish
2010-02-22, 05:47 PM
No, I'm saying that I wouldn't appreciate people correcting me. Due to either my, or someone else's ignorance of the subject matter.

"Your Drow? Does he not respect women, because in his backstory he was raised in caves and they're quite big on that there."
"Um, no, he ignored that."
"How does he feel about big spiders?"
"...indifferent..?":smallconfused:
"Really?":smallyuk:I see the point there, you'll have to have some idea of the characters backround, but if you want to play race X, it can't be that hard to find the basics. You just pretty much explained the drow culture, for example. I guess my problem was that I read you to mean that you'll have to be constantly aware of the racial stereotype and reflect all your actions against it.
There's a bigger picture here. Firstly if this was part of the mechanics the GM would know that this particular event would result in something happening and the player would be able to legitimately take centre stage. From then what can happen next can be determined by the affected character.But the center could easily be given to certain character as long as the GM is familiar with them, even without mechanics.

Mr Vampire says "Large groups of the living anger me. I'll hide in my hole until after 3am because I'd rather not be forced to interact with more than one". That's a particular habit that could be decided by the player as a response to a rule that says Mr Vampire is compelled to frighten groups. Plus it gives the GM an incentive to push the player on this particular choice. It won't be a dull scene.Well, how much you like to be pushed to develop your character around random forced effects is a personal taste, I guess. It might be fun once in a while, especially for one-shots or short campaigns.
Yeah, this is similar to a roleplaying quirk. But unfortunately within my group the cool quirks tend to be forgotten as soon as it becomes inconvenient. Mechanics along these lines, in my opinion, keep you thinking and keep a concept strong and relevant.So because people don't roleplay their character a certain way, they have to be forced to do it?

Yora
2010-02-22, 05:52 PM
The thing that makes different races fun is using different personalities and mindsets. My orcs have an entirely different sense of what a "joke" is than a human does (sudden revelation of weakness), as does a Gnome (clever manipulation) or an Elf (surrealist humor), and correspondingly won't find the humor in many human jokes even if they understand the inversion or wordplay involved. My dwarves can laugh in a sort of jovial way, but the concept of a "joke" is culturally pretty foreign to them.

Similarly, more exotic races should be more and more alien. My lizardfolk don't understand mammalian genders, my maugs don't comprehend boredom or impatience or even put much note by the passage of time, and my gnolls have a whole mythos of "the eaters" and "the eaten" with interspecies dominance determined almost solely by who can eat whom (thus putting Solars and some of the most powerful undead surprisingly low on the totem pole, and lithovores fairly high up).

Exotic races, then, become a way to fuel really interesting and dynamic RP, and make the game a richer experience for everybody.
This is where nonhuman races start to get interesting. And fun. :smallwink:

Totally Guy
2010-02-23, 02:10 AM
So because people don't roleplay their character a certain way, they have to be forced to do it?

Yes.

The same way a halfling is forced not to be able to roleplay the world's strongest humanoid.

The same way an nWoD dude is forced to play his psychological conditions.

So a dwarf forced to play out the fundamental greed within is ok in my book. It's just that I've drawn the line a bit further than D&D does. And that's ok because the players should all know this stuff before they choose to play the race. (Both by looking at the rule books and knowing the stereotype.)

Ravens_cry
2010-02-23, 02:47 AM
You missed the point. It's not that racism shouldn't exist in a mature game, it's that racism shouldn't be part of the ruleset. While for examples using the "everyman" of a race (which pretty much would follow the sterotype) is acceptable, 3.x takes it far beyond that. Every Dwarf will have stonecunning even ones that live out in the deepest desert, where the closest stone is a mile straight down (hyperbole). So unless dwarves knowing how far they are from the sun as a quirk of biology (totally possible) it shouldn't be a racial trait.
Actually, they don't have to, if you use the environmental variants rules. (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/races/environmentalRacialVariants.htm#desertDwarves)

The Vorpal Tribble
2010-02-24, 11:26 AM
Do I want to know how those came to be? :smalleek:

A fungus race reminds me of Rune Quest. They had rest of the elves as vegetables, but the dark elves were mushroom people.
Here, take a look:

Races of Hearth (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=7327397&postcount=8)

Dimers
2010-02-24, 10:22 PM
So, with all that in mind (not set in stone, but laid out as my starting point) - what species do you like to see in an RPG, and what role do you think they fill?

In my homebrew gameworld, I ended up with:

humans
humans from far away
slow-moving, insightful experts with a periodic health condition
magical, ideal isolationists full of hate
tough, quick, primitive spiritualists
weak, psi-oriented gremlins with outstanding senses
severely persecuted beastmen


Respectively, those started from generic Euro-fantasy culture, African/Middle East Muslim culture, dwarves, elves, lizardfolk, nothing that I'm aware of, and AD&D mongrelfolk. Several races/species aren't available for play: speed-bursting frost giants, fae that travel between the spirit and mundane worlds, shapeshifters, spirits themselves ...

The three items I bolded are ones that I like to see in RPGs. All three are basically for the same reason -- I like to see avenues of exploration, investigation and problem-solving that aren't based on casting spells.

togapika
2010-02-24, 10:44 PM
Goblins! They're sneaky, techno-savvy, mercantile people of awesome!

Knaight
2010-02-24, 11:48 PM
By contrast, I do not. Humans do not need to always be the "super diverse, we do everything" race. Frankly, I find that tiresome. So many other damn games take that tack that it's getting old and boring. I crave niches dammit!

On that point, I like a large number of non-traditional fantasy races. I am tired of dwarves, elves, trolls, ogres, halflings, gnomes, humans. Give me the Lumi, the Hassaraf, the Genasi. Give me the Diopsid, the Dvati, the Tibbit. Give me races that are UNIQUE, not "humans with beards, beer, and scottish accents".

I'm with you here. I want the entire cast of the Damned series a lot more than another elf-dwarf-hobbit thing. Not only do humans have their niche (badass combat monsters viewed as semi-civilized by everyone else), there are some real oddities, and the races are truly different. And the burning wheel mechanics and such would be nice to help differentiate them, along with reactions.

Or, just vary things on a fundamental level. Humans are herd animals, borderline pack animals. So introduce a race that is much more pack, and much less herd, or much more herd, much less pack. Or just not cooperative. And while that is being done, take the whole humanoid thing away, along with having high variance. Exoskeletons, fundamentally different reactions towards pain, levels of reflexes that are completely different, etc. A few highly diverse intelligences is better than a large number, and they should be different enough to allow for huge variance within each species. Otherwise, just use humans.

slyfox99
2010-02-24, 11:55 PM
Of course there is racsim within the setting. Its right in the PHB: Dwarves hate giants, no one trusts tieflings, especially dragonborn, etc... Now is it OOC racism that in a city I am building for my setting there are two thieves' guilds, one run by tieflings and one by kenku? I don't think so, since the PHB and the MM2 from 4e state these two races tend towards crime. (Or is it just that it is past my bedtime and I am just babbling in a desperate attempt to get promoted up from Pixie in the playground?)