A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
You can get A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2 now at Gumroad
Results 1 to 27 of 27
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

    Join Date
    Nov 2009

    Default Population Dynamics in Fantasy RPGs

    Just a conundrum my group has been mulling over. In many of the standard campaign settings, you have a "prolific and adaptable" human race, who dominates most of the politics and territory of the landmass, whether it be Eberron, Rich Burlew's New World, etc. The other races, orcs elves blablabla have isolated small communities after some golden age that they are in decline from. Staple fantasy...but why? Is it just a rip off of Tolkien's Middle Earth?

    Some of my players have mentioned some people have trouble connecting to a population that's mostly non human. Easier to have exotic race minorities.

    Which is precisely why we're developing a campaign where the majority of the world's sentient inhabitants are various species of beast men (think like the laguz of radiant dawn, or something), and humanity is a minority race spread across the various city states.

    So questions i am posing are 1) why do you think this trend exists in RPGs, and 2) what are the problems to executing a reversal of said trend like the setting described above.

    Just looking for the views of the Playground.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Population Dynamics in Fantasy RPGs

    Problems? What problems? In my latest homebrewed setting, humans are almost extinct and the "monster races" and powerful spellcasters make up the majority of the population. Humans and halflings are refugees and desperately trying to stave off annihilation.
    Last edited by Shadowknight12; 2011-08-28 at 12:40 AM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Oracle_Hunter's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Population Dynamics in Fantasy RPGs

    Quote Originally Posted by Sexyshoeless View Post
    So questions i am posing are 1) why do you think this trend exists in RPGs, and 2) what are the problems to executing a reversal of said trend like the setting described above.

    Just looking for the views of the Playground.
    (1) Most Writers Are Human

    (2) Reversing the trend by yourself is going to be hard work

    * * * *

    More seriously, it's because it is really difficult to imagine what an actually un-human race would be like, much less what a planet governed by them would be like. Seriously, it's much like trying to describe the wetness of water -- when you're human, you think like a human no matter what. As such, so-called alien races tend to become humans wearing hats of one flavor or another. Sure, they might sound alien with their weird language and their ostentatious Blue and Orange Morality but at their heart they're not really all that different, are they?

    Hell, this is hard enough to do in fiction, but in a RPG? Where the DM (and preferably the Players) need to spend all their time acting not just not human, but a specific subset of not human? Verisimilitude does not last long, to say the least.
    Lead Designer for Oracle Hunter Games
    Today a Blog, Tomorrow a Business!


    ~ Awesome Avatar by the phantastic Phase ~
    Spoiler
    Show

    Elflad

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Orc in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2011

    Default Re: Population Dynamics in Fantasy RPGs

    I'm pretty sure that the human majority is common because islands of hats get old fast. Fantasy races are often written 1-dimensionally (dwarfs are short, drunk and underground; elfs are haughty and like trees), with hats glued directly to their heads at birth. To dwell to long in that is just annoying, so they're pushed to the side.

    It doesn't help that various races are typically written only in relation to humanity. Because to do otherwise would be inefficient.

    There's no reason you couldn't make a campaign that doesn't work that way. I'm having a hard time coming up with a setting that doesn't have elements of that in at least a regional level.

    edit:
    Or what Oracle Hunter said.
    Last edited by Jude_H; 2011-08-28 at 01:34 AM.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Friv's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Population Dynamics in Fantasy RPGs

    Another important reason in fiction, which is less true but not untrue in RPGs, is that humans have to be numerous to balance out. For example, if elves are immortal and awesome, they'd damned well better not be numerous, or else why would there still be humans at all?
    If you like my thoughts, you'll love my writing. Visit me at www.mishahandman.com.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Oracle_Hunter's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Population Dynamics in Fantasy RPGs

    Quote Originally Posted by Jude_H View Post
    There's no reason you couldn't make a campaign that doesn't work that way. I'm having a hard time coming up with a setting that doesn't have elements of that in at least a regional level.
    As an aside, my current homebrew world (D&D4) has all the races in the main books as Playable Races but in order to make them make "sense" to me, I needed to do a lot of work with them.

    Spoiler
    Show
    Take the Deva, for example. They're Immortal (i.e. do not age) and are in a constant cycle of rebirth. These guys can't have a normal society as written because you have a nation where people don't die of old age and there is magical healing; this is a recipe for overpopulation quickly. So I decided to steal a concept from a PbP I was in and make it so that there is a fixed population of Deva (i.e. not reproduction) and that when a Deva dies it is reborn in a year-and-a-day in an adult body with basic memories (e.g. language, motor skills, Alignment). Then I had them always be reborn on an island populated by Evil Dragons

    Their ability to interact with their past lives manifests through mediation and experience -- they have a lot of deja vu -- and since they cannot be wiped out permanently they have the possibility of developing a society even in the worst situations. Imagine what kind of society that would produce!

    I admit I didn't end up with a particularly "authentic" solution, but it was the sort of narrative that has worked for generations of authors: one which "sounds plausible" to the ears of a human audience.
    Lead Designer for Oracle Hunter Games
    Today a Blog, Tomorrow a Business!


    ~ Awesome Avatar by the phantastic Phase ~
    Spoiler
    Show

    Elflad

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Conners's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Population Dynamics in Fantasy RPGs

    One reason humans tend to dominate, is that no one else feels like it, with fantasy fiction?

    Elves are known for being happy to live in trees. Dwarves are happy to be drunk and under a rock. Halflings are gypsies, not a great nation. Gnomes are... halfling-dwarves, basically--so they live under rocks too. Orcs are strong and numerous, but also dumb....

    So, out of those, I can see how the humans could dominate. You'd still need to consider goblinoids and such from if its DnD... but then there are probably WAY crazier factors to consider, with DnD.
    My Happy Song : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcRj9lQDVGY
    Credit goes to Lord_Herman for the fantastic Joseph avatar (and the also fantastic Kremle avatar which I can't use because I'm already using the Joseph one).

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Xin-Shalast
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Population Dynamics in Fantasy RPGs

    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle_Hunter View Post
    As an aside, my current homebrew world (D&D4) has all the races in the main books as Playable Races but in order to make them make "sense" to me, I needed to do a lot of work with them.

    Spoiler
    Show
    Then I had them always be reborn on an island populated by Evil Dragons
    ...Why not just ban them because you don't like them rather than have such a shaggy dog story?
    Quote Originally Posted by Keld Denar View Post
    +3 Girlfriend is totally unoptimized. You are better off with a +1 Keen Witty girlfriend and then appling Greater Magic Make-up to increase her enhancement bonus.
    Homebrew
    To Do: Reboot and finish Riptide

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Orc in the Playground
     
    GoblinArchmage's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Population Dynamics in Fantasy RPGs

    Quote Originally Posted by Sexyshoeless View Post
    Is it just a rip off of Tolkien's Middle Earth?
    To be honest, that's probably the case 99% of the time, which isn't really a surprise considering that 99% of contemporary fantasy fiction is a blatant ripoff of Tolkien anyway. However, as everybody else has already stated, it probably has something to do with the fact that most people on Earth are Humans. Whether or not that actually means anything (it doesn't, in my opinion), it tends to be how a lot of people think. Personally, I think it's a bit silly, as I don't believe that there is anything universal about humans. Obviously, though, that is not he opinion that a particularly large number of people hold.
    Epic avatar by: Lord Fullbladder, Master of Goblins

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Tilburg

    Default Re: Population Dynamics in Fantasy RPGs

    There is no problem here as far as I can tell, if you want to play a game where Human is not the dominant race you are free to do so. We play a custom campaign setting right now where Human is just one of the races.

    If you want to get into how the world looks from the perspective of various races in D&D you can buy (*cough* download *cough*) the various races of the wild / dragon / stone / destiny books or the draconomicon, libris mortis, lords of madness, drows of the underdark, etc. there are plenty of resources spend developing the other races as more than a 'exotic minority'.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    ElfPirate

    Join Date
    Mar 2011

    Default Re: Population Dynamics in Fantasy RPGs

    I think the largest reason for the mostly human media is because fantasy books are racist. You know, in a way, which can really be used to your advantage. It's the notion that a race is more inclined towards these alignments and skills, while humans remain pretty "universal."

    It's old timey, innocent and casual racism, as noted previously, from the human perspective. (Not making light of racism, mind you) These guys are this way, while these guys are this way. The solution to this, I've found is to create the basis of whatever NPC I'm crafting, and throw in the race as a hindsight and then fine tuning it. It makes the different races seem a lot more diverse, and three dimensional as a culture. (Though that probably fits best in my campaign setting, I wager)

    It's a sort of "getting to know you" time.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Spiryt's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Poland
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Population Dynamics in Fantasy RPGs

    In most settings, humans are pretty assumed to be identical to homo sapiens - so pretty much ultimate pest, breeding very rapidly compared to it's size and level of sophistication, conquering and adapting very easily, reducing populations of other large animals fiercely.

    Impression is strenghtened by the knowledge how our modern world looks like with it's tremendous population of humans compared to what should be natural for apes of that size.

    Other 'standard' races are almost always more "specialized", less cosmopolitan, with some traditional living places (dwarves with their mines or similar places), with a lot of magic stuff and quirks that make them less numerous and dominating.

    So with the races like that, classic human populated world is easy.

    If someone changes those assumptions, he can make something else work well, but 'standard' cliche is by all means popular.

    Many fantasy authors in fact stick to it while expanding the topic:

    In Sapkowski Witcher series most Elves that refused to assimilate with humans are pushed into far, dangerous mountains and forest, when they usually slowly pass away (they live loooong, like in most settings).

    In Eddings books, Trolls are powerful, deadly, and pretty intelligent hunters, but they cannot cope with humanitys sheer colonization potential and are becoming extinct as well.

    And so on.
    Avatar by Kwarkpudding
    The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
    Rush in and die, dogs—I was a man before I was a king.

    Whoever makes shoddy beer, shall be thrown into manure - town law from Gdańsk, XIth century.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Oracle_Hunter's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Population Dynamics in Fantasy RPGs

    Quote Originally Posted by Coidzor View Post
    ...Why not just ban them because you don't like them rather than have such a shaggy dog story?
    Feh, it's hardly a Shaggy Dog Story:
    Spoiler
    Show
    The Deva are the fragmented essence of the God of Justice who was betrayed by nine of his Human Exarchs and killed. The God's head fell to earth and into an ocean, resulting in the creation of a new land [Phangora]. This land is where the Deva first appeared and learned how to survive in their new and alien existence.

    The first real Devic civilization resulted when they were discovered by the Planes-hopping Githzerai who accepted several Deva into indentured servitude in exchange for a better life on their homeland in the Astral Sea. Ultimately this bond didn't last (Deva don't reproduce and Githzerai work is dangerous) but from the Githzerai the Deva learned many techniques they could use to establish basic city-states for mutual defense.

    These city-states lasted long enough to attract the notice of Evil Dragons who made their way to these rich lands and preyed upon the Deva. These Dragon razed the Devic kingdoms to the ground and slew all the Deva in the process. Of course, the Deva came back.

    This next period was trying for the Deva. They were first prey, and later toys for the Evil Dragons who came to understand the Deva's life-cycle and were amused. Some Deva were able to form scattered hidden camps and resume their civilization but without the ability to reproduce they could not amass enough power to challenge the dragons. Worse, the dragons' servants and kin -- Dragonborn -- were more mobile than the adult dragons and would find these camps and pillage them. Some camps became wealthy enough that they could bribe the Dragonborn raiders to leave them alone but this just resulted in another form of bondage to the raiders; the wealth the Deva could have used to fight against the dragons was instead drained away by the Dragonborn.

    But, in the long run, the Deva would have to win. The knowledge of thousands of generations of warriors and wizards within the head of individual Deva permitted them to maintain a civilizations' worth of knowledge within each Deva. This knowledge allowed the Deva to bootstrap even the most desolate civilization into producing powerful warriors and wizards. First one, and then several of these scattered camps were able to band together to establish defenses against the dragons and dragonborn and the second Devic civilization.

    And yet, it was not enough. With a fixed population, the Deva had to be on constant guard against dragonkin attack. Every Slayer they lost weakened their defenses for a year and a day and however long it took to find and re-train the Deva when he was reborn -- provided he wasn't picked off by dragonkin before they found him. Without population growth they couldn't expand without weakening their front lines by stretching it too thin. As a result, the Deva were at a stalemate with their draconic oppressors for centuries.

    Still, progress was made. Deva, being creatures of immortal flesh, require less food and water to survive than most mortal beings. As a result they could devote less of their production to agriculture and more to industry -- the growing of reagents, the secrets of metallurgy, and even religion.

    The first step was the establishment of the Church of the Unborn God; made by Epic Deva who had discovered the origin of the Deva and imagined a greater end of the race. These four Epic Deva undertook a Ritual to merge their essences into an artifact known as the Well of Souls had two important roles. The first was to serve as a focal point for the rebirth of Deva, such that Deva would no longer find themselves reborn in the den of a dragon or miles away from habitation. Secondly, and more importantly, their essences formed the kernel of a new God that the Deva could draw power from and, eventually, contribute to. As more Deva ascended to Epic Power, they could dissolve their essence into the Unborn God, strengthening it and bringing it ever closer to birth. The Church believes that the birth of this God would be the return of a new, Devic, God of Justice to the world and that the world would be better for it. This gave the Deva a direction beyond endless rebirth and survival, and that purpose gave them strength.

    The next step was related to the first, but from a completely different avenue. Thousands of generations of knowledge are a boon to the development of magic and technology if the scholars have the time and ability to fully draw on those experiences. With a second, stable, civilization in place, the Devic Scholars finally had the time they needed for their studies and made use of it. The Deva were the first to develop the new form of magic -- Artifice -- which blended magic and technology in surprising ways. These first Artificers had hoped they would discover a method to force-multiply the Devic armies so that the civilization could expand more but Artifice is generally so finicky that without constant care the more sophisticated devices collapse in a short time. It seemed a dead-end until the Church of the Unborn God permitted them to experiment with the Well of Souls. These experiments introduced the first new life form seen in Creation for thousands of years: the Warforged.

    Warforged are the pinnacle of Artifice, with robust, self-repairing bodies that are endlessly adaptable to most purposes imaginable. However, without the Divine Spark drawn from the Unborn God, these fantastic devices would be no more than clumsy automatons -- barely capable of walking without falling over, let alone fighting a war. The Unborn God is greater than the sum of his parts and the amount taken from it by each Warforged is small and will return with the Warforged's death. With the Warforged, the Deva finally found a way to expand their civilization without weakening and to finally drive the dragonkin from their lands.

    Now, the Dragonkin have fled Phangora and resettled on the many smaller islands that surround it, preying on shipping or each other. But, with the conquest of Phangora, the Deva had time to consider their greater destiny and look outwards. It did not take long for someone to suggest the Deva use their mighty technology -- in the forms of ocean-going vessels -- and magic -- in the form of Warforged -- to seek out new people and see if they could be relieved from their struggles against Evil with Devic aid. The Deva were an isolated people no longer; they are now the Protectorate of Light and they go in search of new Evils to slay, and new nations to bring into the sheltering Light of the Unborn God.

    In short, I did it as a challenge. It is easy to take the accepted fluff, or not think too hard about it. It is much harder to mold foreign ideas to your own concepts -- and more so when you think the original idea was dumb. I never thought the Deva were dumb, but I finally found a way to make Dragonborn not dumb. My greatest challenges remain the Wilden and Shattermind -- they're really, really dumb ideas for Player Races IMHO
    Lead Designer for Oracle Hunter Games
    Today a Blog, Tomorrow a Business!


    ~ Awesome Avatar by the phantastic Phase ~
    Spoiler
    Show

    Elflad

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Xin-Shalast
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Population Dynamics in Fantasy RPGs

    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle_Hunter View Post
    Feh, it's hardly a [URL="http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ShaggyDogStory"]Shaggy Dog Story[/URL
    Oh. Sounded like you were using a whole lot of words to say that they were dragon chow and never lasted long enough to benefit from said memories. Or, y'know, become PCs.
    Last edited by Coidzor; 2011-08-28 at 02:13 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Keld Denar View Post
    +3 Girlfriend is totally unoptimized. You are better off with a +1 Keen Witty girlfriend and then appling Greater Magic Make-up to increase her enhancement bonus.
    Homebrew
    To Do: Reboot and finish Riptide

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Tzi's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2011

    Default Re: Population Dynamics in Fantasy RPGs

    I think it is theoretically a matter of "conquest by the cradle," that makes humans usually dominate. Humans have the right combination of physical endurance, constitution, intelligence, socialization, and fertility to make them the dominate race.

    Other races are usually stuck within a specific niche, have lower fertility, or some other quirk about them that makes them less adaptable and less capable of expansion.

    This is my explanation anyway.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

    Join Date
    Nov 2009

    Default Re: Population Dynamics in Fantasy RPGs

    Hrm...I think Jude H's point about the races = hats is a very good one, one that needs to be addressed. Any ideas how one executes that? How do you create other races with a unique/different culture without simply stereotyping them? It's difficult to do that, especially given many PCs tendency to point and say, "oh the drunk beardy people," "the pretty tree huggers."

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Oracle_Hunter's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Population Dynamics in Fantasy RPGs

    Quote Originally Posted by Sexyshoeless View Post
    Hrm...I think Jude H's point about the races = hats is a very good one, one that needs to be addressed. Any ideas how one executes that? How do you create other races with a unique/different culture without simply stereotyping them? It's difficult to do that, especially given many PCs tendency to point and say, "oh the drunk beardy people," "the pretty tree huggers."
    You can read the examples in any of the Our Monsters Are Different Index for inspiration if you'd like.

    In my experience, it helps to make something obvious different first and foremost. Take the Eberron Elves to start with. One half of the race is a bunch of ancestor-worshiping dudes, many of whom intentionally degrade their flesh to show their appreciation for the dead. The other half are Fantasy Mongols riding around on horses with fuzzy hats. Both are powerful images that tell even the casual reader "hey, these Elves are different" which makes them less likely to fall into the normal stereotypes.

    In fact, pick up an Eberron sourcebook and read the fluff. It probably does the best job of "subverting expectations" as far as standard D&D races go.
    Lead Designer for Oracle Hunter Games
    Today a Blog, Tomorrow a Business!


    ~ Awesome Avatar by the phantastic Phase ~
    Spoiler
    Show

    Elflad

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Gamgee's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Canada Land
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Population Dynamics in Fantasy RPGs

    It's more relatable, nothing more. Though I like to see stories form both perspective as humans as dominant bigots and an underclass of a city. In my book I'm writing they're the only race around on the surface world barring a sentient race of animated ghouls in service to their ruler. Though they don't get out much for obvious reasons.

    That or I have the races who are "more powerful" truly bedazzle humans in an alien way. Working magics and technology they can't comprehend. Letting the humans think they're the dominate species so they can use them for their own games and experiments.

    These more advanced societies can't be seen by the average human due to technological, geographical, or magical bonuses. Who says the Elves are dieing? Maybe every forest hides a city shunted into a demi-plane of existence. A network of elven glades and cities in an entirely different realm created by them for them. All we see is the what they want us to see.
    They say hope begins in the dark, but most just flail around in the blackness...searching for their destiny. The darkness... for me... is where I shine. - Riddick

    Exile

    Deny a monochrome future!!! -Radio Gosha-

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Xin-Shalast
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Population Dynamics in Fantasy RPGs

    Quote Originally Posted by Gamgee View Post
    Who says the Elves are dieing? Maybe every forest hides a city shunted into a demi-plane of existence. A network of elven glades and cities in an entirely different realm created by them for them. All we see is the what they want us to see.
    You mean aside from the human wizards and other magic-users who, in a handful of years, mind you, manage to outclass elven ones who've been living for hundreds of years longer than them?
    Quote Originally Posted by Keld Denar View Post
    +3 Girlfriend is totally unoptimized. You are better off with a +1 Keen Witty girlfriend and then appling Greater Magic Make-up to increase her enhancement bonus.
    Homebrew
    To Do: Reboot and finish Riptide

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Conners's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Population Dynamics in Fantasy RPGs

    Quote Originally Posted by Sexyshoeless View Post
    Hrm...I think Jude H's point about the races = hats is a very good one, one that needs to be addressed. Any ideas how one executes that? How do you create other races with a unique/different culture without simply stereotyping them? It's difficult to do that, especially given many PCs tendency to point and say, "oh the drunk beardy people," "the pretty tree huggers."
    Well, you could take an orc, then call it an elf.... breaks the stereotype entirely.

    Then take an ogre and call it a dwarf, and a halfling which will be called a human.
    Last edited by Conners; 2011-08-29 at 02:18 AM.
    My Happy Song : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcRj9lQDVGY
    Credit goes to Lord_Herman for the fantastic Joseph avatar (and the also fantastic Kremle avatar which I can't use because I'm already using the Joseph one).

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Imp

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Sweden
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Population Dynamics in Fantasy RPGs

    I think most non-human race societies are hard to connect with is because they are poorly developed.
    With human society you can draw from your own personal experience to an extent, with elves you can't because you're not an elf, and the elven society is usually incredibly shallow in description. "Lives in trees and molests small animals with bows" doesn't tell you anything about elves, "gets drunk a lot and puke on their beards" doesn't say anything about dwarves.
    Most games I've seen tend to have a large number of poorly developed races, they're basically humans with some minor feature change, almost no cultural depth, no traditions and extremely shallow beliefs, and think it's ok to just make as many of these as possible. They seem to think that pointy ears, long lives and the ability to dodge bullets is what makes elves interesting.

    Dwarves deserve their own book, it should contain detailed descriptions on that kind of sigils they put on their armors, why they are greedy (if they are (and "because they are" isn't good enough)), why do they dislike elves, why do they live underground. All this needs to be explained in great detail, I demand at least 100 pages if not more for each race I use.
    If I can have this then I will be able to understand the dwarves, really understand them, and only then will a good dwarf exist that isn't just a short, hairy and smelly human with a big armor and bigger bear gut.

    /rant
    Black text is for sarcasm, also sincerity. You'll just have to read between the lines and infer from context like an animal

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Conners's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Population Dynamics in Fantasy RPGs

    You could, of course, just figure out 100 pages worth of content and condense it into a good character.

    Still, I agree that'd be nice to have very detailed, defined races. If I ever get into fantasy writing, maybe I'll have a go at it.
    My Happy Song : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcRj9lQDVGY
    Credit goes to Lord_Herman for the fantastic Joseph avatar (and the also fantastic Kremle avatar which I can't use because I'm already using the Joseph one).

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Imp

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Sweden
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Population Dynamics in Fantasy RPGs

    True, but those 100 pages need to be available to everyone who has any reason to know stuff about given race, which is at least the DM.
    Black text is for sarcasm, also sincerity. You'll just have to read between the lines and infer from context like an animal

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    hamishspence's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Default Re: Population Dynamics in Fantasy RPGs

    Different editions handle it differently. The "Races of" series seemed to be the closest 3.5 had.
    Marut-2 Avatar by Serpentine
    New Marut Avatar by Linkele

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

    Join Date
    Apr 2008

    Default Re: Population Dynamics in Fantasy RPGs

    The key to human domination is adaptability.

    Imagine a world dominated by elves. Assuming you're using the stock fantasy tree-hugging style elves, the world must now be heavily forested. Dwarves? Extremely mountainous. Halflings? The world has just shrunk to half size.

    Humans can live anywhere under any conditions and adapt to their environment. There isn't a single climate in which humans do not thrive on our entire planet. On any earth-style world, humans will be the dominant civilization.

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Trufflehound's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    A very windy city.

    Default Re: Population Dynamics in Fantasy RPGs

    Quote Originally Posted by Sexyshoeless View Post
    Is it just a rip off of Tolkien's Middle Earth?
    Tolkein's Middle Earth was really rather varied. The population balance changes a number of times. It swings between elves and orcs at the beginning, and then swings between humans and elves and orcs before the humans finally take over.

    With the elves, you found the longbowers of Lorien, the wood elves of Mirkwood, the glorious spear-wielding army of Gil-Galad, the 'dark elf' Eol, the Teleri with their ships, Cirdan with a beard, and so on. A lot of stereotypes were based on this, but the race is really three-dimensional, if you're familiar enough with the race to roleplay it. Acting like you're 300 means more than most of the other critical points.

    Most races aren't shown in as great detail, and thus aren't as varied, but few people copy Tolkein anyway. The books show more elves drinking heavily than dwarves. The dwarves are primarily calculating money-loving things, and secondarily decent, loyal folk, or cads; The Hobbit specifically describes them that way. Liquor isn't that high up on the list. Maybe dwarven greed just goes under compared to the average PC, but still...

    The books make clear distinctions between the Uruks of Mordor, the Uruk-Hai of Isengard, the goblins of the misty mountains and the snaga. In the book they mostly happen to just be the enemy, but the variety is still there.

    There is stereotypical high fantasy, but it's not Tolkein.

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Conners's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Population Dynamics in Fantasy RPGs

    @Mastikator: If I ever get deep into the fantasy gaming industry, I'll arrange some.


    @Trufflehound: Yes, I've found that too that Tolkien's book is unfairly labelled as stereotypical. I was surprised when I discovered how much thought he had put into some of the details.
    My Happy Song : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcRj9lQDVGY
    Credit goes to Lord_Herman for the fantastic Joseph avatar (and the also fantastic Kremle avatar which I can't use because I'm already using the Joseph one).

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •