View Full Version : Original Race Flavor

2007-08-29, 08:08 PM
One of the things I like best about the Darksun and Eberron campaigns is that their races have original flavor, but at the same time are recognizable as what they once were. In my home campaign, I try to do the same.

For example, elves are swamp-dwellers with a two-stage life cycle and a fondness for ritualized combat. In the first stage, elves seem childish to outsiders and are known for having relatively short attention spans. After a period known as "The Contemplation," elves become more introspective and develop a certain disdain for other races. In elven culture, family bonds take second stage to the bonds of their apprenticeship system. From an early age, an elf is given over to a complete stranger to be taught the use of one weapon, along with the philosophies associated with it. Elves also tend to think that fighting an enemy in a way that does not involve showing off to be disrespectful, for it is how one would kill an animal. Therefore, using projectile weapons for any reasons other than hunting is a cultural taboo that few break.

Dwarves are known for being industrial mountain dwellers. It is known to few, however, that dwarves do not just tunnel into mountains, they build them. Dwarves create their colonies from the ground up, like termites, building taller and taller spiers of stone, while at the same time burrowing deep into the earth, like ants. Dwarves share another feature with these insects having instincts that guide their actions to the point that if two separate dwarves are presented with the same dilemna, 99% of the time, both would choose identical solutions. Dwarves do not even need any organization to enforce dwarven law. Any dwarf will probably know exactly what to do when another dwarf makes a transgression. It is generally those dwarves who lack strong instincts that become adventurers.

Please, share any unique flavor that your games' races have.

2007-08-29, 10:13 PM
I made a an ntirely new race for may world called the Tiabrar. The story starts with dragons and elves, who made a giant construct. this construct was so mighty and powrful, that it decided to do what it wnated instead of hat the dragons and elves wanted it to do. The golem, called Gaian, eventually became a god and created a race like unto himself. The Tiabrar are organic constructs (like warforged but with flesh and blood). they are ultimate crafters and mages, being literally created by the magics that animate golems. in my world, they created the warforged (who are more golem-like, but still living constructs). The Tiabrar are immortal, but revel in life like a child or a dreamer. They would just as soon create a building or a cannon, than they would admire a painting or a waterfall. To the Tiabra, beauty is evrywhere and natural beauty is the geatest of all. However they also beleive that things crafted by hand are beautiful as well. the only city of the Tiabrar is actually the chest peice of their god (he is asleep underwater, but nobody knows this), and in times of need, the city functions as a great fortress (as you would assume a god would anyway, right?). The city is a huge metropolis, with huge lush public gardens and great domes buildings covered in mossaics and murals. To the Tiabrar, evrything should be beautiful in it's own way.

2007-08-30, 07:17 AM
I modelled halflings in my campaign setting as Cossacks. They speak Common with heavy Ukrainian accent, drink a lot of vodka, live on steppes and fight with sabres.
I found it surprisingly fitting.

Lord Tataraus
2007-08-30, 09:42 AM
In my world I take elves' arrogance to the extreme. The elves are a barbaric people whose near immortality (closer to an elan's lifespan) makes them believe that all other races are inferior and should serve as slaves and raised like cattle. And the elves see it as their duty to make sure the other races don't get too large. Of course this means that everyone hates the elves and the elves hate everyone.

The orcs of my world are closer to half-orcs (I use half-orc stats) and are barbaric but not to the extreme of the elves. Instead they just have not had time to advance into a civilization until recently but they are becoming civilized quickly. The orcs have gained the grudging respect of the dwarves for their great feats in battle against the elves.

Dwarves are more classical with the whole mining thing, but most of their cities are above ground, they still like the open sky, but are comfortable underground. The dwarves are the most accepting of the races and convinced the allied armies to not destroy all elves in the Green Wars (equivalent to the world wars). The only hold a slight grudge towards orcs due to a major war where the orcs took over one of the dwarven cities and still hold it, though many dwarves have returned to the city after the orcs started become civilized and help in that effort.

Halflings are more like humans then they are kender or hobbits. Though they have a common sense of humor and are more magically adept then humans. Some halflings, the Torsee halflings, are the most sadistic beings in existance who reveal at the thought of killing (making them great warriors) and the run a secret prison camp left over from the Green Wars (about 200 years before) where they constantly experiment on elves and train slaves and concubines to sell on a flourishing blackmarket.

2007-08-30, 09:46 AM
I once tried a campaign setting where I kept the races' basic abilities the same but reversed the stereotypical personality and game world role of each. Gnomes were arrogant technocrats with a great civilization; elves had a cruel, rigidly ordered society that was rife with assassination and intrigue; halflings had a world-spanning spy network, Illuminati-style; half-orcs were noble and honorable; dwarves were nomads; and humans were a mysterious race living in the deep wilderness. It was pretty entertaining.

For the setting I'm developing now, elves are a decadent, corrupt, jaded race, amusing themselves with all manner of pursuits in ancient and decaying cities. The dwarves are barbarians, living in tribes of hunter-gatherers under the earth and battling the monsters that lurk in the depths. Halflings and humans are pretty much the same as in the PHB. Orcs are tribal hunters who live in desolate wastelands and spend much of their time quarrelling and fighting with one another. Once every few generations, however, they feel a call to conquer, and the orc tribes band together into a terrible horde that sweeps across the civilized lands until it is stopped. The survivors then return to their homes in the wastes.

(And gnomes are the aptly named Sir-Not-Appearing-In-This-World.)

2007-08-30, 09:49 AM
Most of my races are fairly typical, although there is a maritime nation of elven pirate/merchants. The most original race are the vashar, who live partly on the plane of shadow and 'protect' the Prime Material from extraplanar meddling. This has the positive effect of making it hard for fiends to get to the Prime (because the vashar kill them) but has the negative effect of making it hard for celestials to get to the Prime (because the vashar kill them). The vashar also don't have souls and use a lot of shadow magic. And they have mining plants.

2007-08-30, 11:59 AM
Just for clarification, these are not the same vashar that are in the BoVD are they?

2007-08-30, 04:24 PM
The Ithilids all devoutly believed in a machine of fate. It was a power artifact that would basically generate randomly cryptic messages (which the Ithilids would interpret to be messages from God's predetermined plan, by making the universe in such a way that following a random results would really be acting in accordance to his plan). This would mean random attacks, random gifts, and random rituals that confused the surrounding regions.

One day a child asked when the world would end, and the machine gave a response. Then as the days approached the Ithilids split into two factions: those who believed they were waiting for their true day of ascension and those who believed they were to end the world in the name of their God. One way or another that time came and the Ithilid paradise was wiped off the map.

2007-08-30, 07:45 PM

So, essentially, other groups would view them as Chaotic when they were actually Lawful. This really is a rather interesting concept.

2007-08-30, 08:01 PM
Just for clarification, these are not the same vashar that are in the BoVD are they?

They're similar, in that they're a human subrace that likes deicide, but not the same.

2007-08-30, 08:03 PM
Phew! Imagine Vashar that keep the Prime SAFE from extraplanar enteties!

2007-08-30, 11:56 PM
Oooh, Ok, here are the basic stories for the races I do in my homebrew campaign.

Elves: Highly orderly, and with a natural instinct for their own social organization, Elves are not liked by others. Why? Because that organization comes at the cost of whatever race they decide to incorporate into their great empire. Fueled by leypoints, elves have great factories where they literally force other races to submit to being magically altered into elves. When they crossed the sea to the human continent, the first thing they did was start enslaving humans and magically experimenting on the best way to make them elves. However, this stopped when, through bad luck, the elves lost their oversea war of subjugation and managed to blow up their own continent in the process. (Read My player's work.) The remaining elven army had to eat humble pie and beg the humans they were previously trying to conquer for asylum. The magical fallout reduced their lifespans from millenniums to centuries, but their social organization and their clustering ensures that no elf leaves home without a smattering of their lost culture and the use of several types of weapons. Favored Class: Bard (Not required to be chaotic), Favored Alignment: LN

Giants: The first product of elven meddling, these unlucky humans didn't turn out so well. Laconic, slow witted, and brutally strong, they became too dim to pick sides and were eventually used as living siege weaponry. When the elves lost the overseas war against humans, Giants set up in the mountains on their own.

Halflings: A slightly more successful product of the elves. The emotion part was not quite correctly done though. Halflings are prone to brutal mood swings, impulsive behavior, and furious rages. Some live with humans, other set up with giant tribes or in armies. Changes from core: +2 Str, -2 Wis, Fav Class: Barbarian

Dwarves: Mountain dwellers from the north, Dwarves are largely as they are in the PHB, save that each dwarf is required to go into the world and come back rich, leading to a high mercenary population of dwarves. They can interbreed freely with gnomes.

Gnomes: An offshoot of the dwarven race, gnomes only started appearing after the magical fallout from the destruction of the elven society, dwarf couples essentially occasionally having gnome children. The Dwarven society embraced them, and they lend an arcane talent to the militaristic dwarven culture. They can freely interbreed with dwarves. A gnome-gnome union produces 75% gnomes, 25% dwarves. Dwarf-Gnome produces 50%-50%. Dwarf-Dwarf produces 25% Gnomes, 75% dwarves. Changes from Core: I use Mr Nexx's gnome fix.

Half Orcs: Technically, fullblooded Orcs with half orc stats. They came from the mountains and planes to the south of the Human kingdomes, and were gradually absorbed into human culture. Their numbers are very small, but they are prominent as warriors and guards. They take a -2 to intelligence or Charisma, but not both.