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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Race: The conundrums and contemplations.

    I am working on a setting and I have some considerations. Please tell me if any of the following concepts are unworkable or could be better. Any suggestions or improvements would also be welcome.

    1)Problem: There are too many races and racial subtypes for any one setting to hold. I do not wish to create a fantasy soup kitchen.

    Solution: Winnow out many races, turn some races into racial or cultural subtypes and turn most existing sub-races into different cultures rather than different species, turn some into rare or unique aberrations.

    2)Problem: Many races are overdone, played straight or subverted to high hell and back.

    Solution:If I am going to do them at all then I have to do them differently.

    ***********
    Racial groups

    I want each race/subtype/culture to fit into a specific racial group. I want each group to have a mortal end and a unique type of semi or fully divine creature it can ascend to.


    Thoughts on some of the specifics



    Humans:

    Race: Humaniod

    Description: We are all familiar with what humans are; I don't think that I am being presumptuous in assuming that most of the people reading this are indeed human. In setting humans dominate most of the actual realms, beyond these areas humans have a tendency to get out of their depths.

    Everything mortal being that has 2 arms, two eyes and a head can trace at least part of its earliest bloodlines to humans. It is this shared bloodline that is the reason why humans (humanoids I should say) can breed with almost anything but why the other racial groups can't interbreed between each other.

    Cultures:

    Various I suppose. Beyond necrotheism I haven' really got much in the way of other and default human cultures fleshed out right now.

    Trolls
    Spoiler
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    Description:
    Trow are the infantile stage of troll. They are born in litters of about one hundred and range from fine to small. The live in mounds that are often mistaken for barrows. Of all their brothers and sisters only a handful will reach the next stage of development.

    It takes nearly a century for trow to mature with the final stages happening in a few short years. During this Trow grow into full sized trolls, often eating their smaller and weaker brethren for magical sustenance. Trow who do not partake of their brothers and sisters get stuck at just about human size, they are called Hrulden and whist fertile with humans are a dead end on troll development. Hrulden are also born of the union of humanoids and troll hence their other name of troll kin. Hrulden can become trolls by eating troll flesh though they cannot go on to become gods.

    From full sized trolls their are two developmental paths. A troll can continue to grow in size by eating the flesh of trolls, giants, orgres, normal humanoids and gobliniods. In so doing the troll becomes a Bjertrolden, it grows to the size of giants but it wits and magic never develop; this is the path that male trolls usually take.

    By preying on magical beings or beings with a propensity for magic (fae, elves and humanoids or gobliniods with large amounts of wisdom, intelligence or charisma) a trolls mind and magic will develop instead of their bodies, becoming dangerous and cunning troll witches. This is the normal path of female trolls but it is not limited to females and not all females follow it.

    Rarely a troll will be able to do both. It becomes a regenerating man mountain and magical powerhouse with a dangerously cunning mind to boot. For trolls this is ascendency, this is divinity and these beings are capable of hearing and grating prayers as well as forming pacts.


    Orks
    Spoiler
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    Physical description: Orks are born of mixed human and goblin blood. Many are infertile and they have a high rate of miscarriage and infant mortality. Left to their own devices most orks are not particularly different from humans, they have wider noses and prominent brow ridges. Orks raised amongst gobliniods are often subject to ritual mutilations and scarification.

    They are a hybid slave race brought about by elves. Bred for mining they hate it and they hate being underground (probably because it makes them feel at home and they really do not like the implications of that). In captivity they have a higher birth rate and lower miscarriage rate than free orks. This is because of the magical interference of the elves and their terrible stud books.

    They have a lower adult mortality rate during childbirth than humans (a benefit of their robust constitutions). They are resistant to disease, most infant moralities are as a result of congenital defects or malnutrition rather than infectious illness and whilst adult orks are venerable at 60 on average they live longer than the sickly humans.

    Cultural description: They value life highly; particularly children. Orks are poly-amorous and often operate group or open marriages.

    The vial story that all half or full orks are the result of rape is a disgusting aspersion brought on by a general lack of understanding about ork marriage and courtship customs. These involve ritual chases across hill and dale and are more about the male proving himself to be a fit and worthy mate, these "wife hunts" are usually considered to be in good fun by all concerned. Another factor is that human couples with goblin blood in their ancestry can give birth to orcish children; this can lead to all sorts of accusations and unpleasantness. A similar phenomenon happens amongst goblins but due to their more egalitarian society it rarely causes the kind of problems that it does amongst humans.

    They grow long dread locked hair because as slaves they where not allowed any hair at all and it is a symbol of freedom to them. Orks that have been freed or escaped often take heavily to drink; the trauma of their former lives -the promises they have had to brake, the things they have done and the people they have left behind- is difficult for them to bare.

    The chainless are Orks that are no longer captive and yet can never be free. The elves no longer require lock nor bar nor bond; the chains are in their minds. To an ork there is no worse fate than to become chainless.

    If stuff is missing or damaged, if someone has been hurt is missing or killed then the knee jerk reaction that most people will have is that it is probably the orks (or the goblins if there are no orks available). That's why their communities have to keep moving on; they are simply not welcome to settle down and their is not enough of them to make a real go of founding a nation (though villages do exist in isolated areas).



    Old concepts
    Spoiler
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    Elves
    Aha Mary-Sue, how I do loathe the. What I want to achieve with elves is a combination of the fae of old blood soaked fary tales, anime-esque aesthetics and a kind of twisted cynicism I like.

    Physical description: Elves are a slight and androgynous race; standing between 4'4" and 6'6". They have long fingers, large eyes and angular faces. As they routinely cloth themselves in glamor it can be difficult to place their actual features.

    Elves describe themselves as the children of the gods and that is the literal truth; The divinity of the Alfar is rarely passed down from one generation to the next, the elves proudly state that their children became the first elves. What they do not say is that the Alfar have a reputation for having a go with anything that moves and a lot of things that don't; the products of those unions include unicorns, selkie, faries and elves as a product from their liaisons with humans, goblin, other alfar and assorted others.

    Each generation of elf removed from the Alfar are less fae and more flesh; more human. Whilst a pair of sixth generation elves can have children there is no seventh elven generation, their children are all half elves; even if there is not one drop of human blood in their veins. To get around this ticking clock extinction elves breed with Alfar, they court in more ways than one their notoriously fickle goods for far more than just power or protection and with more than just prayer and good deeds; when an elf talks about a personal relationship with her god it is understood that she is not talking about a little voice in the back of her mind and a general sense of spiritual well being. This resets the clock so to speak as the children of such unions are all first generation and their children are second and so forth. Combined with the other scions the Alfar occasionally produce and their own natural longevity it is enough to keep them going.

    Elves are teenage by about 15-20 and adult between 50-160 (it depends on diet, genetics, culture and most importantly generation). Between 2/3rds and 1/3rd of adolescent elves live to see adulthood but typically fewer than 1/4th or 1/10th live to see 400. Less than 1/100 see 1000 years of age. First generation Elves that old can live forever, however those of later generations live shorter and shorter lives; 2nd generation elves can see about 900 yet 5th generation elves are lucky to see 350. Elves above a thousand years tend to retreat from the world and few are ever seen again. The oldest known elf in the realms -Mathias the Fecund- is over 1700 years old, probably the single most powerful mortal mage in the world and has been acknowledged as almost completely utterly insane since since the incident with all of those goblin girls.

    Elves are morphologically unstable. They can as a result of of physical, biological and magical stimulus (and on rare occasions even spontaneously) change their physical characteristics including high, the color of their skin, eyes and hair and even gender (which they define as a broad continuum of states rather than as binary condition).

    At birth 52% of elves are male, 45% of elves are female and the rest lie somewhere between the two. Due to the differing death rates and morphic instability by adulthood those numbers are 10%~35% are male 50%~75% are female and 15%~40% are other.

    Culture:

    The majority of elven women have a cultural, almost pathological fear of childbirth and dying in childbirth; if asked what her biggest fears are most would answer going into labor without assistance as somewhere in the top three. One of the main ways that elves escape this fear is to use slave women as surrogates to bear and nurse their children for them. It is theorized that this is the reason why magic is so advanced in elven cultures and also why the elven slavery of humans started and is never likely to die out



    No farming (inspired by "How would these elves work"):

    elves neither hew nor till nor herd; they are forbidden farming.

    The three primary kinds of elves are:

    Drineagh:

    These are wild elves. They are hunter gatherers who regard anyone outside of their immediate clan as a potential enemy to be hidden from, enslaved or killed outright. Whilst they don't keep domesticated animals they do have animal companions.

    Most of their slaves are elves (Most from other clans, some from their own) half-elves, humans (they have a fondness for stealing children as they are more impressionable) and man beasts. They usually kill adult humans and goblins on either on sight if they are feeling merciful or eventually (or worse) when they feel playful.

    They are closest to the fae origins of the elven race; utterly honest and yet totally deceptive, they will honor a promise no matter the cost and yet they are gleeful in betrayal.

    Geidic elves:

    These are the elves furthest from the light. They have taken the prohibitions from the gods further still. They don't keep animals at all, nor do they eat the meat or produce nor wear the skin nor fabric of any bird or beast. Sentient beings however are under absolutely no protection from these holy laws. They are voracious raiders, they extract goods and slaves in the forms of both plunder and tribute from their "lesser" neighbors. To make matters worse is the fate of many of their slaves. Not only are the Geids cannibalistic but they also twist their captives into man beasts to better serve their needs. Examples include:

    Arachne and driders for silk, venom and chitin.
    Blends of human, bird and lizard or snake for eggs, scales and feathers.
    Human, livestock animals and troll for milk, beasts of burden, leather, bone and meat from beings that can eat leaf, grass and swill as well as regenerate choice cuts.

    Many but by no means all have taken to living underground where they can make a good living without having to worry about ripping up trees for space or timber. They are still very clannish but the clans usually live together in towns, this protects them from reprisals and helps them keep a firm control over their slave stock. It also makes for violent and paranoid societies.

    Aintiarna:

    They have they largest and most civilized kingdoms of the elven peoples. They are the most liberal of elves. Its OK to farm, keep livestock or cut live wood as long as it isn't an elf doing it. For this they use vassals, serfs and slaves; lots and lots of slaves.

    They are the most open and cosmopolitan of elves. They are often outnumbered by an assortment of humans and others in their own cities, however at least half of these at any one time will be slaves of one sort or another. They are however pretty much the only elves to acknowledge that anything other than an elf can be more than just a threat to be destroyed or a resource to be exploited; they might be actual people (yes; in fact properly disciplined slaves are probably better people than most); inferior people to be sure but people never the less. If anything this makes them all the more meddlesome and controlling, not only do they think that they know your best interest better than you do but that they actually have an inclination, entitlement and even an obligation to carry it out for you (whatever your opinion on the matter might be).

    They are known for their arrogance and their imperialistic tendencies. Whilst few would ever be so crass as to be directly involved in raiding they are the prime trade partners of their raider kin. However when their armies march entire peoples are lead away in chains.

    Alfar:

    These are the semi-divine forms of the elves; in a very real way they are living physical gods. They are composed of flesh and fae in its purest form; as such they are nearly impossible to kill and extremely difficult to injure. As gods they can hear the prayers of their followers. They can perform and grant miracles; for a price.

    They live in sihdee, twisting multidimensional courts outside of even what passes for the normal rules of time and space in the wilds. These hollow halls play host to strange hidden worlds, impossible feasts and insane revelries. They are beings of the wilds, never setting foot in the realms. It is said that tilled earth burns underneath their feet.

    To the elves the alfar are a sacred reminder of all that it is to be elfish, the pinicle off all that an elf can be. Their is no higher honor that an elf can aspire to than to be granted entry to one of the fae courts.

    Of course given the behavior of elves in general it is no wonder that humans spit and touch iron when they speak of the "fair folke" how so many of their superstitions are about how to keep them at bay. To the common folk elves in general but Alfar in patricular are a threat as real and as great as giants, trolls and dragons but all the more insidious.

    Humaniods
    • Humans
    • Half elves
    • Orks
    • Pixies
    • Halflings
    • Dwarves

    Trolls
    Gobliniods
    • Goblins
    • Hobgoblins
    • Redcaps
    • Slaugh

    Elves/Fae
    • Alfar
    • Elves
    • Gnomes
    • Faries

    Manbeasts
    Giantkin
    • Giants
    • Titans
    • Ogre


    Ork

    Race: Humaniod/gobliniod

    Physical description: Orks are born of mixed human and goblin blood. Many are infertile and they have a high rate of miscarriage and infant mortality. Left to their own devices most orks are not particularly different from humans, they have wider noses and prominent brow ridges. Orks raised amongst gobliniods are often subject to ritual mutilations and scarification.

    Cultural description: They value life highly; particularly children. Orks are poly-amorous and often operate group or open marriages.

    The viol story that all half or full orks are the result of rape is a disgusting aspersion brought on by a general lack of understanding about ork marriage and courtship customs. These involve ritual chases across hill and dale and are more about the male proving himself to be a fit and worthy mate, these "wife hunts" are usually considered to be in good fun by all concerned.


    Dwarf

    The problem with dwarves are that they are all very similar and very familiar. I have 3 widely different options to consider with dwarves.

    1) They do not exist at all.

    2) They are the middle sized category for the giant race.

    3) A mutated human slave race brought about by elves. Bred for mining they hate it and they hate being underground (probably because it makes them feel at home and they really do not like the implications of that). They grow long hair and beard because as slaves they where not allowed any hair at all and it is a symbol of freedom to them. Dwarves that have been freed or escaped often take heavily to drink; the trauma of their former lives is difficult for them to bare.

    The chainless are dwarves that are no longer captive and yet can never be free. The elves no longer require lock nor bar nor bond; the chains are in their minds. To a dwarf there is no worse fate than to become chainless.

    Dwarves may or may not be physically distinguishable from humans. Its more of a culture of shared trauma than an ethnicity.

    Option 4 is to merge option 3 with either option 2 or orks and do away with dwarves in the traditional sense at all.






    NB: There is still more to come (Trolls, giants, gobliniods, how halflings are just short humans and how half elves can wake up to a nasty surprise) but I am tired now and I will let what I have written so far digest a bit.
    Last edited by Blightedmarsh; 2012-10-30 at 02:32 PM.
    My Home brew setting:

    Concentric circles
    Necrotheism

    Quote Originally Posted by JusticeZero View Post
    How very Machiavellian, professor Doom.
    Clever, effective, and anyone who agrees with it is a grade A global supervillain.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: Race: The conundrums and contemplations.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blightedmarsh View Post
    Ork

    Race: Humaniod/gobliniod

    Physical description: Orks are born of mixed human and goblin blood. Many are infertile and they have a high rate of miscarriage and infant mortality. Left to their own devices most orks are not particularly different from humans, they have wider noses and prominent brow ridges. Orks raised amongst gobliniods are often subject to ritual mutilations and scarification.

    Cultural description: They value life highly; particularly children. Orks are poly-amorous and often operate group or open marriages.
    How does a "race" that is really a hybrid of two distinct species, and which by the sounds of it will have great difficulty reproducing, become numerous enough (and with enough people living together in the same location) to develop a distinct and internally cohesive culture and sense of identity?

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

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    Default Re: Race: The conundrums and contemplations.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wardog View Post
    How does a "race" that is really a hybrid of two distinct species, and which by the sounds of it will have great difficulty reproducing, become numerous enough (and with enough people living together in the same location) to develop a distinct and internally cohesive culture and sense of identity?
    Ask Eberronian half-elves.
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  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Race: The conundrums and contemplations.

    Because for now at least that is the only way that they can survive. If we give them a lower adult mortality rate during childbirth than humans (a benefit of their robust constitutions) And that should help matters considerably. Now say that they are resistant to disease, that most infant moralities are as a result of congenital defects or malnutrition rather than infectious illness and that whilst adult orks are venerable at 60 on average they live longer than the sickly humans

    I needed orks that where sympathetic, that did not need to justify surrender, running away or mercy and for some reason are not a great threat or blight to the realms. Hence the low birth rate.

    I can imagine that orks are treated a bit like gypsies; if stuff is missing or damaged, if someone has been hurt is missing or killed then the knee jerk reaction that most people will have is that it is probably the orks (or the faeries if their are no orks available). That's why their communities have to keep moving on; they are simply not welcome to settle down and their is not enough of them to make a real go of founding a nation (though villages do exist in isolated areas).

    I envisage that most of the races started out as hybrids of humans and other less human forms. Over generations most stabilized out as orks probably will in a few thousand years. I imagine that a lot of their culture is a blend of ork and goblin, forged together in the fires of shared suffering and persecution.

    Trolls

    Trolls are a difficult one. There are a huge number of different variants in in folklore mythology, from the big dumb trolls of DnD staple to those pink hairy things to powerful and cunning beings that can tussle with even the gods and come out on top.

    To resolve the madness that is troll I am thinking salmon. Have a huge number of children that spend centuries growing up and only one in every few thousand reach maturity.

    The other problem is the overlap with goblins. Should I resolve trolls or goblins separately or together?


    Description:
    Trow are the infantile stage of troll. They are born in litters of about one hundred and range from fine to small. The live in mounds that are often mistaken for barrows. Of all their brothers and sisters only a handful will reach the next stage of development.

    It takes nearly a century for trow to mature with the final stages happening in a few short years. During this Trow grow into full sized trolls, often eating their smaller and weaker brethren for magical sustenance. Trow who do not partake of their brothers and sisters get stuck at just about human size, they are called Hrulden and whist fertile with humans are a dead end on troll development. Hrulden are also born of the union of humanoids and troll hence their other name of troll kin. Hrulden can become trolls by eating troll flesh though they cannot go on to become gods.

    From full sized trolls their are two developmental paths. A troll can continue to grow in size by eating the flesh of trolls, giants, orgres, normal humanoids and gobliniods. In so doing the troll becomes a Bjertrolden, it grows to the size of giants but it wits and magic never develop; this is the path that male trolls usually take.

    By preying on magical beings or beings with a propensity for magic (fae, elves and humanoids or gobliniods with large amounts of wisdom, intelligence or charisma) a trolls mind and magic will develop instead of their bodies, becoming dangerous and cunning troll witches. This is the normal path of female trolls but it is not limited to females and not all females follow it.

    Rarely a troll will be able to do both. It becomes a regenerating man mountain and magical powerhouse with a dangerously cunning mind to boot. For trolls this is ascendency, this is divinity and these beings are capable of hearing and grating prayers as well as forming pacts.

    I am ready to take another swing at orks

    Orks
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    Physical description: Orks are born of mixed human and goblin blood. Many are infertile and they have a high rate of miscarriage and infant mortality. Left to their own devices most orks are not particularly different from humans, they have wider noses and prominent brow ridges. Orks raised amongst gobliniods are often subject to ritual mutilations and scarification.

    They are a hybid slave race brought about by elves. Bred for mining they hate it and they hate being underground (probably because it makes them feel at home and they really do not like the implications of that). In captivity they have a higher birth rate and lower miscarriage rate than free orks. This is because of the magical interference of the elves and their terrible stud books.

    They have a lower adult mortality rate during childbirth than humans (a benefit of their robust constitutions). They are resistant to disease, most infant moralities are as a result of congenital defects or malnutrition rather than infectious illness and whilst adult orks are venerable at 60 on average they live longer than the sickly humans.

    Cultural description: They value life highly; particularly children. Orks are poly-amorous and often operate group or open marriages.

    The vial story that all half or full orks are the result of rape is a disgusting aspersion brought on by a general lack of understanding about ork marriage and courtship customs. These involve ritual chases across hill and dale and are more about the male proving himself to be a fit and worthy mate, these "wife hunts" are usually considered to be in good fun by all concerned. Another factor is that human couples with goblin blood in their ancestry can give birth to orcish children; this can lead to all sorts of accusations and unpleasantness. A similar phenomenon happens amongst goblins but due to their more egalitarian society it rarely causes the kind of problems that it does amongst humans.

    They grow long dread locked hair because as slaves they where not allowed any hair at all and it is a symbol of freedom to them. Orks that have been freed or escaped often take heavily to drink; the trauma of their former lives -the promises they have had to brake, the things they have done and the people they have left behind- is difficult for them to bare.

    The chainless are Orks that are no longer captive and yet can never be free. The elves no longer require lock nor bar nor bond; the chains are in their minds. To an ork there is no worse fate than to become chainless.

    If stuff is missing or damaged, if someone has been hurt is missing or killed then the knee jerk reaction that most people will have is that it is probably the orks (or the faeries if their are no orks available). That's why their communities have to keep moving on; they are simply not welcome to settle down and their is not enough of them to make a real go of founding a nation (though villages do exist in isolated areas).
    Last edited by Blightedmarsh; 2012-10-24 at 03:41 AM.
    My Home brew setting:

    Concentric circles
    Necrotheism

    Quote Originally Posted by JusticeZero View Post
    How very Machiavellian, professor Doom.
    Clever, effective, and anyone who agrees with it is a grade A global supervillain.

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

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    Default Re: Race: The conundrums and contemplations.

    How about?

    Murder Elves -- Drineagh (Manx -- for thorny, prickly)

    Raider Elves -- Geid (Manx -- for theft)

    Slaver Elves -- Aintiarna (Gaelic -- for tyrant)

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Race: The conundrums and contemplations.

    Murder Elves -- Drineagh (Manx -- for thorny, prickly)

    Raider Elves -- Geid (Manx -- for theft)

    Slaver Elves -- Aintiarna (Gaelic -- for tyrant)
    Thanks, I will run with this.

    I an about ready to take a first look at gobliniods.


    Goblins, hobgoblins and bugbears are genetically all the same race. The develop differently dependent on different stimulus.

    Goblins: Outdated concept
    Spoiler
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    These are the default of the gobliniod races. Goblins are not that much more fecund than humans its just that they reach a breading age earlier (9-11) and that their hunter gather lifestyle ensures that they have a higher infant survival rate.

    They stand erect between 4'6" and 5'2", they have long limbs and a hunched stance that makes them appear shorter than this. Goblins have disproportionately large features such as their doglike ears, hands with long clawed fingers, eyes noses and feet, they also have course dark hair and wide thin lipped mouths with sharp teeth.

    Goblins commonly breed with humans, in such a hybridisation the fathers blood usually breeds true, especially in the case of male children. A stable goblin blood line requires a regular infusion of humanoid DNA; ideally at least every fourth to fifth generation. Genetic isolation from other goblin clans makes matters worse and mandates human inclusion every third generation at the very least to maintain stability. Without this the rate of fertility drops off; given long enough a tribe with can become almost sterile except to humans. It is for this reason that goblins are eager to take or trade for human slaves and mates.

    Pure bred goblins begin to suffer a range of physical and congenital defect that get progressively worse with each successive generation as their slaugh origins begin to breed true. The avistic goblins themselves are both revered and feared, outside of isolated tribes few are permitted to breed with other goblins. Their deformities include additional, deformed or non human limbs, eyes or other features as well as increased longevity a degree of madness and a propensity for magic. Common features include boney spines, tendrils, tentacles and fleshy growths. Shaman are commonly avistic to one degree or another.

    Goblin Society:

    Goblins live in large patriarchal tribes dominated by chieftains and shaman. A goblins status at birth is inherited from the social rank of their mothers. Leadership as well as status is about more than strength or cruelty; it is about ones ability to contribute as well as ones ability to convince, cajole, intimidate or persuade others to submit to ones bidding. A chieftain is one who has either directly or through his leftenants and the family elders convinced all of the males to submit to him.

    Family life:

    Goblin women and their social status are defined by their relationships to their fathers, mates or brothers,they are -like children- essentially dependents of the male head of their household.

    Marriages are often conducted as fixed or long term lease though usually they are an outright sale. Goblin women may have influence to whom they mate but in the end they do not have the final say. It is not uncommon for a goblin who grows tired of his mate to sell or rent her on to be someone elses mate (or for a goblin woman to petitioner her mate or father to be sold to another as mate). It is not uncommon for a high status goblin to have two or three mates in addition to what ever slaves he possesses where as it is also not unusual for low status goblins to be unmated or to share a mate between two or more kinsmen. Goblins may declare any of his slaves as his mate, this in of itself does not make his mate any less of a slave and is more a formality than anything else (the words for mate, slave, dependent and female are very closely linked in most goblin languages).

    A goblin can claim breading rights on any able dependent of any male who has submitted to him; though this right is also an obligation (as it works both ways; a female can ask her males superiors for such attention) and is seldom flagrantly abused due to political and social considerations. A goblin is expected to take a share of the responsibility for the children of any of these females if their subordinate male is injured or dies because there is a very real possibility that some of these children are his own. The upshot of this is that goblin hunt leaders and war chiefs are very cautious with the lives of their subordinates; favoring traps, ambushes and retreat in difficult situations.

    One of the ways that high status or ambitious goblins bind warriors to themselves (or to reward them for their services) is to offer them one or more of their female dependents to unmated or just plain amorous males in exchange for their allegiance. This taken to its logical conclusions this take the form of a bride rent where upon the warrior takes one of the males kinswomen as mate as ongoing payment for his services, a less formal arrangement would be as a single night, a fixed term or an ongoing usage arrangement.

    Slaves:

    One of the peculiar things about goblin slave customs is that the victim or someone with power over the victim must agree to give up their freedom. This could be in the form of a promise, as a sale, gamble or bargain. Their also exist customs to allow a goblin to claim a victim as slave by right.

    For this reason if you know their rules, are careful about what you do and say (particularly when making promises or negotiating bargains) then they are comparatively safe to be around. It is quite possible for maiden to sit with them at their fires, spend the night and leave both free and unmolested.

    When taking humans goblins prefer to take females and adolescents as slave, this is because full grown adults are considered physically too powerful and dangerous to be kept safely. They rarely take married women on the basis of her own words as she is considered her husbands property and does not have the right to give up her own freedom; its the husband actions that determine whether she is fair game or no. These same rules also apply to prepubescent children and their guardians. Children are too young to be of much use anyway though one trick is to get them to bargain away their future freedom and claim them in recompense for on their "debt" at a later date.

    Goblins often enslave each other. Men are expected to be ready, able and willing to contribute to the tribe and goblins who fail to prove themselves by a certain age or brake certain taboos are enslaved. Goblin women are also routinely enslaved, this is the typical fate of women who are captured by another tribe, the dependents of males who are enslaved exiled or executed are also enslaved as standard practice. A male may sell, gift, exchange or wager any of his dependents for any or no reason without notice or consultation to anyone inside or outside the tribe. It is not unusual for girls to be sold to, exchanged with or wagered against another tribe or family as a way of strengthening links in the wider community. This is a very common fate for the daughters of human slaves, these girls are often conceived for this sole purpose.

    When an individual take a slave it belongs to him but when it was a group effort then it belongs to the tribe. They each receive a share in the sale value or a bounty if the slave is not sold. This is equated with the act of gifting slaves to the tribe and as such it is one of the fastest was to raise ones status and social recognition (as such there is usually no shortage of communal slaves, particularly male goblins).

    Goblin ale ( also known as Slave bait) is drug they use, this one to to draw in and help entrap potential slaves.This drug is a euphoric and makes the subject suggestible; it is very addictive and will cause almost irresistible cravings after the first three does. The "downer" usually makes the imbiber feel slightly hysterical and hallucinatory. Another effect is its withdrawal symptoms; delusions, hallucinations, fever, paranoia and mood swings. Combined with the cravings it is formulated to compel its victims to seek out the goblins, in this state they are easy marks and will agree willingly to almost any terms in exchange for another dose. Only goblins know the cure for this and they will only cure it at a great price. It is not for nothing that mothers warn their daughters; "do not sup with goblin men; eat not their food nor drink their water."

    Their is such a thing as "too much of a good thing". Goblins understand that their is a limited number of people the environment and they themselves can support; it is also dangerous to have too many humans in one tribe. To counter this the sell slaves to other tribes and even other races, they also reduce the number of slaves they take; for this reason it is not uncommon for humans to give over people they don't care about to the goblins in the hope that this reduces the risks to the people they loved ones. Failing this a tribe has been known to release slaves on mass; to found new tribes or new villages.

    It is possible for a slave to become a free member of the tribe by a process of formal adoption, this requires the permission of the master and the approval of all of the tribesmen; as such it is only open to goblin slaves and not humans or any other race. It is not that uncommon for slaves to be freed by the intervention of an outside force. Be it that their freedom was purchased, wagered, exchanged, bargained or even tricked out of the tribe does not matter; once free they are free and no goblin may make a legitimate claim for their freedom based on any prior promise, debt or bargain; they are as of new born again (Though this does not preclude any future enslavement).

    Art:

    Goblins have naturally grey skin but habitually paint their exposed skin in a variety of colors culled from their environment. They use scarification to denote status and are painted with colorful bodypaint in social and ceremonial settings, they use muted natural hues wile hunting or fighting; slaves are burned with prominent brands to permanently stake ownership, children are marked with symbols to represent their parentage, adult females bear a mark to proudly display their mate and a chieftain or shaman will wear elaborate markings denoting their ties, status and accomplishments.

    Goblins are great artists, carvers and musicians. Rather than the hyper realistic and finicky artwork of elves goblin are focuses on strong colors, broad bold strokes and symbolic abstractions. It tell you less about what a thing looks like and more about what it means; how it makes the artist feel and how he thinks it should make you feel. It is the importance of feeling, this sense of narrative and the search for meaning strongly permeates all of goblin culture.

    Religion:

    Goblins believe in stories. They hold that goblins are exulted by learning the wisdom inherent in their legends and oral histories. That great honor can be found in perpetuating the old tales, in reliving them and laying down new tales for future generation. They believe that no goblin is dead that tales are still spoken of he, that he or she are reborn to relive their tales again and again where they are most needed. No goblin would ever write a tale down, for they believe that the written word imprisons the tale and harms the spirit of the told and the teller. As a result few goblins can read and fewer are willing to write. Most of these tales are morality plays where take on the role of judges and agents of cruel ironic justice to the "morally inferior" races. Goblins who live the tales merge with one or more of the slaugh, the host of living stories and vengeful ancestor spirits that progenated the goblin race from human slaves.


    Other goblin societies:

    Kappa

    Also known as water goblins. They live in marshes, by lakes and water courses and in river deltas. They build village on dry islands or raised platforms, their buildings are made of woven reeds and are very hard to see.

    The get about their watery home using stilts and coracles. They are also very powerful swimmers. They live by fishing, hunting and trapping water foul and the small animals of the marshes. Kappa have a rule that if a kappa saves you from drowning you and all you own are their property.

    Water side villages and river traders live in fear of kappa, for it is said that they lure lone people and especially children to the water side and drown them. The truth of the matter is that they have been known to save drowning women and children; so they can enslave them and often after luring them but they do save them never the less. The bit about using misleading lights in swamps and fens to draw travelers to their death is true however.

    Boggart

    They claim abandoned and ruined buildings, catacombs and tombs. They love shiny objects and metal trinkets, these they collect, horde and trade. This love of objects lead them to launch night raids on villages and isolated homesteads where they steal coins, jewelry, cutlery, pots and pans as well
    the more usual assortment of food, livestock and children (and the ocassional full or near full grown woman) asleep in their beds.

    Of all goblins Boggarts are the best armed and the best armored. Status is linked to the amount of "ting" they possess and high status males practically clatter and jangle as they walk. This is alright as boggarts love noise, they think it drives bad spirits away.

    Boggarts started the practice of ritual self mutilation. They use hot knives to slit their ears and cut off their own noses. Other goblins find this behavior odd to and limit these practices to scarification, branding and the occasional over sized bone piercing though hobgoblins (never ones for being out done) have been known to go just as far.

    Kobalds

    Kobalds live in caves and mine workings, they have very pale skin for goblins and sharp night vision.

    Kobalds have unquestionably the most materially advanced societies of any goblins. They are the only goblins known to mine, to forge and work metal. It is said that they learned or stole the knowings from the dragons and that each forge was lit from the original drakes fire.

    They are traders, they trade with goblins, hobgoblins and even others their products and expertize for food, furs and slaves. They products include knives, axe, spear and arrow heads, needles, traps, cages, darts, chains, halters and branding irons.
    Last edited by Blightedmarsh; 2012-10-28 at 06:42 AM.
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    Default Re: Race: The conundrums and contemplations.

    2)Problem: Many races are overdone, played straight or subverted to high hell and back.

    Solution:If I am going to do them at all then I have to do them differently.
    A quick suggestion here: do them how you THINK they should be done. I mean, for every cliché, we have had the opposite, and gone back to the original stereotype again. There are few genuinely new things you can do with races, is what I'm saying, and in the effort to avoid stereotypes, you could a) end up with something that is just a different stereoytype b) end up with something that's horrible to play or c) end up with something that has barely any connection to the general image of the race.

    However, don't let this stop you from making races interesting :-) Just don't try to hard to make them different.
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    Default Re: Race: The conundrums and contemplations.

    I mean that I can do them as I want them. I can't focus on the stereo types and I cant focus on the subversion though I can learn from both. I think that it is important that I get them up to a workable level of functionality but beyond that they have to be rich and enrich the world by their presence. In reducing the amount of ingredients in the fruit salad that is DnD to a few handfuls of peoples I have to strengthen them to the point where they can carry the load; at least for me that is.

    I mean how many monsters or races are just one entry or passage in the manual? I think that we can do a lot more with a lot less of that.
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    Default Re: Race: The conundrums and contemplations.

    In that you're absolutely right, of course. I was just warning of a trap I see people fall into all to often :-)
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    Default Re: Race: The conundrums and contemplations.

    Sorry about all that, I got a bit carried away. You know writing alien morality plays is fun; New past time!

    Now for something (almost) completely different.

    Hobgoblins
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    This breed of gobliniod stand between 5-7' tall with the females usually a few inches shorter than their males. Hobgoblins are a tough rangy people, well know for their mental endurance and physical stamina.

    They are adolescent by about 11 and adult by about 15 years old however their mental development is usually only a year or two ahead of their human age mates. Hobgoblins are venerable by about 55.

    They are genetically identical to goblins, its just that they require more food and a careful blend of fungus extract and venom administered periodically to develop; each tribe will have its own unique blend. Hobgoblin tribes are possible because their larger women allow for such medical tonics to be administers during pregnancy and this has a far higher success rate than those whose treatments started after birth.

    As gobliniods they are required to infuse humans into their blood lines every few generations. They employ a variety of strategies to meet this need; from trade and seizure though to extortion, adoption and strangest of all seduction. Hobgoblin produce far more ork children then goblins, it is something to do with the female line being almost equally as strong as the male line amongst hobgoblins.

    Culture:

    In general are a more prideful, more martial, better developed and more aggressive people than their goblin kinsmen. Hobgoblins are more likely to resort to violence than trickery.

    Religion:

    Like all gobliniods they follow the old tales, its just that hobgoblin in general have a different roll in the tales. Goblins are the tricksters, the decivers; they bring justice to balance by their wits and magic. Hobgoblins the warriors, avengers, hunters and protectors of yore; their justice is forcefully perused with strength, skill and determination. It is this different sense of self identity that sets them apart from goblins.

    Hobgoblin tribes:

    They run a much more egalitarian society than their smaller kinsmen. Men and women have almost exactly the same rights, duties and responsibilities as each other. Their ranks are also open to others outside of their tribe as well members of other species that win their respect.

    The tribes are mostly nomadic, few ever settle down for more than a year or so. Always the horizon beacons; monsters to hunt, tyrants to topple, wrongs to be avenged and lands to conquer. That is the exception, if they can find something that will be theirs, that they will fight and possibly win to hold onto it; then they settle down.

    This lust for adventure draws may young hobgoblins away from their tribes, they leave their families to carve a place for themselves amongst the tales. After many years or decades of questing most of those who survive settle down in other tribes or found their own new tribe.

    Amongst goblins:

    Hobgoblins just don't fit in very well amongst their smaller kin. They are welcome guests; but few stay for long. In places where the hobgoblins rule the local goblin tribe fall under their protection, in exchange for this they are expected to provide tribute of slaves, produce, crafts, information as well as warriors when the call to arms is given.

    Amongst humans:

    Strange as it may seam a lot of humans don't equate hobgoblin with goblins. They are mercantile, mercenary, well traveled and cosmopolitan. Some regard the as trouble makers, others as dashing adventurers; women swoon and men leer as these athletic warriors in their well oiled finery go by.

    Bugbears:

    These childlike giants where first developed by accident when attempting to raise hobgoblins. They are almost always mental and emotional cripples who are seldom capable of survival on their own. Mentally able bugbears are known as redcaps, they are very difficult to raise and the secret is jealously guarded by redcap shaman.


    Half-elves
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    They stand between 4'6" and 6'8". They are adolescent from 14, adult from 20 and venerable at 90. They tend to have strong, sharp and slightly androgynous features and figures with shallow points on their other wise human ears.

    The tern half elf is actually a misnomer, it can be anything from 100% proof down to 1/8ths elf. They are humans for almost all intense and purposes except for one or two distinct features. It is quite possible for 2 humans with distant and unknown elven ancestry to give birth to a half.

    The biggest distinction they have is uncontrollable morphic instability.It has the advatage that it makes the half resistant to magical transformation, their bodies usualy unpick the change subconiously (though this process can in fact be hijacked to effect the desired change by some one who knows what they are doing). This usually manifests itself most strongly in adolescents and during puberty. What typically happens is that their elven features slowly emerge as they reach adulthood, the eyes or hair may change shade or even color; their are almost imperceptible adjustments and fluctuations in their facial features. Sudden and dramatic change is always tied to powerful biological stimuli like illness, injury, poison, magic and very strong emotion. It is quite possible that a young half goes to bed feeling under the weather and wakes up the wrong gender; by no means rare (though spontaneous female to male events are not common), transformations as traumatic as these are usually total, permanent and almost always irreversible; it is often the first sign of their elven heritage and when its just this is colloquially known as "their ears growing out", (transgender events are known as "flipping")
    Last edited by Blightedmarsh; 2012-10-30 at 02:34 PM.
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    How very Machiavellian, professor Doom.
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    Default Re: Race: The conundrums and contemplations.

    An idea. Combine your Trolls and Goblins, the idea of Trolls as frogs or salmon is clever as is the idea of incorporating the abilities of who or what they eat into their physiology and skills. Whereas the Goblin society is richly developed, and would incorporate well into the conceptualization of the Troll.

    I don't know, it just seems a shame to have an intricate goblinoid society, but still leaving them something of a cheap mook you slice through to get to something interesting. That and if you're breeding them with human, the possibility for a more physically well adapted pairing seems reasonable.

    The variances among the Troll would largely depend on their food source; those who feed on magical creatures would themselves have increased intellect and magical acumen, those who feed on fish and sea life would benefit from amphibious qualities such as gill, decreased mass, and general agility, while those who consume more mundane warm-blooded mammals would be larger and more strongly built with claws/needle spines/razor sharp teeth, and so on.

    The longevity also makes them something of stand-in for Elves, as far the setting goes.

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    Default Re: Race: The conundrums and contemplations.

    I am still not done with goblins yet. I have the stuff about how they have a symyotic and protective relationships with the human villages and even feudal lords they interact with. How they have an inter-tribal network of trade and information that is completely independent of human nations and borders. How a tribe is made up, it typical numbers, living arrangements and so forth. I also have alot to write about the goblins gods; the slaugh (a form of wild hunt).

    I don't know, it just seems a shame to have an intricate goblinoid society, but still leaving them something of a cheap mook you slice through to get to something interesting.
    I consider them as a PC race. As an opponent at low levels (like commoners) they are a dangerious and devious enemy. Idea; Fokelore the role play; DnD for commoners, fairies and goblins.

    At high levels they simply would not oppose the PCs; they are not stupid and are far more inclined to run away, hide, trick, attempt to buy the PCs off or even help out than fight it out against impossible odds.

    That and if you're breeding them with human, the possibility for a more physically well adapted pairing seems reasonable.
    Do you mean taller? Disproportionately long limbs allow adult goblins to stand between 4'4" and 5'6" though their habitual hunched stance makes them appear shorter.

    The variances among the Troll would largely depend on their food source; those who feed on magical creatures would themselves have increased intellect and magical acumen, those who feed on fish and sea life would benefit from amphibious qualities such as gill, decreased mass, and general agility, while those who consume more mundane warm-blooded mammals would be larger and more strongly built with claws/needle spines/razor sharp teeth, and so on.
    This I like, consider it incorporated...

    An idea. Combine your Trolls and Goblins, the idea of Trolls as frogs or salmon is clever as is the idea of incorporating the abilities of who or what they eat into their physiology and skills. Whereas the Goblin society is richly developed, and would incorporate well into the conceptualization of the Troll.
    What about incorporating trolls as a part of the dark host, as a form of the slaugh? Trow and goblins are similar, similar enough that avisitic goblins are trow in all but name. Trow who don't make the grade and escape being eaten by their siblings don't just stop existing, their children where the first goblins.

    I can also use this combined with the trolls dietary adaptation to give a greater degree of radiative mutation to the goblin subspecies; kappa have webbed fingers and gills because they eat amphibians and fish, kobalds have a strong sense of hearing and smell because they eat cave dwelling animals. It could also be used to explain why avisitc goblins are so mutated and deformed; they are changed by what they eat.

    I could use this to expand bugbears and redcaps. They are raised on a diet of human flesh, hence why they are so destructive and blood thirsty.

    The longevity also makes them something of stand-in for Elves, as far the setting goes.
    I consider each aspect of fae to be responsible for different aspects of folklore. Fairies do changelings and spiriting away, goblins are maters of the fools bargain (tricksters poetic justice and captivity), trolls are about eating people (children in the oven stuff), pixies outright steal and elves are unwholesomely attractive and take some aspect of your humanity (IE sanity, senses, mortality, free will, ectra...).
    Last edited by Blightedmarsh; 2012-10-27 at 06:17 AM.
    My Home brew setting:

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    Quote Originally Posted by JusticeZero View Post
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    Default Re: Race: The conundrums and contemplations.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blightedmarsh View Post
    I am still not done with goblins yet. I have the stuff about how they have a symyotic and protective relationships with the human villages and even feudal lords they interact with. How they have an inter-tribal network of trade and information that is completely independent of human nations and borders. How a tribe is made up, it typical numbers, living arrangements and so forth. I also have alot to write about the goblins gods; the slaugh (a form of wild hunt).

    I consider them as a PC race. As an opponent at low levels (like commoners) they are a dangerious and devious enemy. Idea; Fokelore the role play; DnD for commoners, fairies and goblins.

    At high levels they simply would not oppose the PCs; they are not stupid and are far more inclined to run away, hide, trick, attempt to buy the PCs off or even help out than fight it out against impossible odds.
    That's good, actually they remind me of the little-guys you get in the first act of Diablo II. They too attack as clans protected by shaman, and have an annoying habit of running away when attacked.

    Actually, the Imps in the 5th act would be a good model for a sub-race. A golden-skinned, magically charged version of goblins with whimsical yet deadly penchant for pranks -- can teleport at will and use weak but annoyingly deadly magical strikes from a distance like bees taking down a bear.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blightedmarsh View Post
    Do you mean taller? Disproportionately long limbs allow adult goblins to stand between 4'4" and 5'6" though their habitual hunched stance makes them appear shorter.
    I did, and that's oddly comforting. I'm personally prejudiced against diminutive races like Halflings I'll admit. I think it's something we've taken from Tolkien which feels forced in every RPG setting it's used in -- and when applied to mooks, it's kind of sad. If you're going to make them physically compatible with humans that adds a new layer of "ugh". That they aren't genuinely child-sized, merely slinking, gives them a sense of menace rather than just being pests you can shrug off.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blightedmarsh View Post
    What about incorporating trolls as a part of the dark host, as a form of the slaugh? Trow and goblins are similar, similar enough that avisitic goblins are trow in all but name. Trow who don't make the grade and escape being eaten by their siblings don't just stop existing, their children where the first goblins.

    I can also use this combined with the trolls dietary adaptation to give a greater degree of radiative mutation to the goblin subspecies; kappa have webbed fingers and gills because they eat amphibians and fish, kobalds have a strong sense of hearing and smell because they eat cave dwelling animals. It could also be used to explain why avisitc goblins are so mutated and deformed; they are changed by what they eat.

    I could use this to expand bugbears and redcaps. They are raised on a diet of human flesh, hence why they are so destructive and blood thirsty.
    I see, make the goblins and trolls cousins -- I like that. It's mystical Darwinism.

    Furthermore you can make the Goblin/Hobgoblin cultural norms a degraded version of the Trolls mixed with varying degrees of humanity. Sort of like early Romans emulating the Greeks wholesale in lieu of their own culture. While Goblins have their old somewhat fanciful stories and Hobgoblins their human-styled heroic epics, the Trolls have a historical canon which they believe dates back to their creation, and is something comparable to the Hindu Vedas. Every Troll can remember their genealogy back 10 x 10 generations. It is something they hold onto specifically because their species is so influenced by their chaotic physiology and fractious independent nature. It's what makes them Trolls rather than distantly related and highly individualistic quasi-magical predators with only vague similarities to each other -- and mastering that history is what separates Trows from Trolls.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blightedmarsh View Post
    I consider each aspect of fae to be responsible for different aspects of folklore. Fairies do changelings and spiriting away, goblins are maters of the fools bargain (tricksters poetic justice and captivity), trolls are about eating people (children in the oven stuff), pixies outright steal and elves are unwholesomely attractive and take some aspect of your humanity (IE sanity, senses, mortality, free will, ectra...).
    I thought maybe you were going too darkly -- but you're right, traditional fae are outside the ken of Christian morality and common sense at best, and are monstrous devils at worst. I see where you're going with this now.

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    Default Re: Race: The conundrums and contemplations.

    I thought maybe you were going too darkly -- but you're right, traditional fae are outside the ken of Christian morality and common sense at best, and are monstrous devils at worst. I see where you're going with this now.
    I've got to add the light next but yes that is the broad idea. old fairy tales are pretty dark; for example in cinderella the ugly stepsistters mutilated their own feet to get the slippers on.

    Furthermore you can make the Goblin/Hobgoblin cultural norms a degraded version of the Trolls mixed with varying degrees of humanity. Sort of like early Romans emulating the Greeks wholesale in lieu of their own culture. While Goblins have their old somewhat fanciful stories and Hobgoblins their human-styled heroic epics, the Trolls have a historical canon which they believe dates back to their creation, and is something comparable to the Hindu Vedas. Every Troll can remember their genealogy back 10 x 10 generations. It is something they hold onto specifically because their species is so influenced by their chaotic physiology and fractious independent nature. It's what makes them Trolls rather than distantly related and highly individualistic quasi-magical predators with only vague similarities to each other -- and mastering that history is what separates Trows from Trolls.
    I like the idea that trolls are ancient; they come from a time before stories, before words and before fire. The essence of what is troll is a primal, eternal potency that refuses to be constrained by the human conceit of language.

    Goblins give it words, they give voice to the seething tableau of possibility they are dimly aware of and call them the tales because that is the only way they can conceive of such things.

    Trolls have no need of such trivialities, their fabric was baked in the fires of creation; they live as one with the beat of all that is, was or ever will be.
    I did, and that's oddly comforting. I'm personally prejudiced against diminutive races like Halflings I'll admit. I think it's something we've taken from Tolkien which feels forced in every RPG setting it's used in -- and when applied to mooks, it's kind of sad. If you're going to make them physically compatible with humans that adds a new layer of "ugh". That they aren't genuinely child-sized, merely slinking, gives them a sense of menace rather than just being pests you can shrug off.
    The original concept was to have a racial subtype of each size category for all of the racial groups. that is kind of falling apart. Still if you want to play a halfling you could just apply a the small template to a human.


    I am extremely annoyed with myself right now. I have just lost a lot of the work for the revised goblins; particularly the new radiative adaptation stuff, the symbiotic relationships as well as the tribal orderings though I have no idea of all of what Ive lost. I am going to redo and repost the lot here in spoilered sections.

    NB: The following section is currently under heavy reconstruction. Thank you for your patience


    Updates are 90% online .

    Goblins:

    Physiology

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    These are the default of the gobliniod races. They stand erect between 4'6" and 5'2", they have long limbs and a hunched stance that makes them appear shorter than this. Goblins have disproportionately large features such as their dog like ears, hands with long clawed fingers, eyes noses and feet, they also have course dark hair and wide thin lipped mouths with sharp teeth.

    Goblins are the descendants of failed trolls such as trow or hrulden and humans. As such they share a small proportion of their ancestors adaptability. Over the course of four generations a tribe will become completely adapted to a new environment. Further more it is this adaptability that gives rise to hobgoblins an bugbears (raised on a diet contacting human and bear flesh and or blood respectively).

    Pure bred goblins begin to suffer a range of physical and congenital defect that get progressively worse with each successive generation as their slaugh origins begin to breed true. The avistic goblins themselves are both revered and feared, outside of isolated tribes few are permitted to breed with other goblins. Their deformities include additional, deformed or non human limbs, eyes or other features as well as increased longevity a degree of madness and a propensity for magic. Common features include boney spines, tendrils, tentacles and fleshy growths. Shaman are commonly avistic to one degree or another.


    Reproduction

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    Goblins are not that much more fecund than humans its just that they reach a breading age earlier (9-11) and that their hunter gather lifestyle ensures that they have a higher infant survival rate. Goblin pregnancies last about 5 months with a typical miscarriage rate of 1 in five.They normally give birth to a single live offspring at a time though twins are not uncommon. Large litters of five or more are unheard off outside of a dark generation and usually kill the mother.

    Goblins commonly breed with humans, in such a hybridisation the fathers blood usually breeds true, especially in the case of male children. A stable goblin blood line requires a regular infusion of humanoid DNA; at minimum every fourth generation. Genetic isolation from other goblin clans makes matters worse and mandates human inclusion every other generation at the very least to maintain stability. Without this the rate of fertility slowly drops off; given long enough a tribe with can become almost sterile except to humans, it often precipitates a dark generation. It is for this reason that goblins are eager to take or trade for human slaves and mates.

    Human women in these pairings give birth to comparatively few children without magical assistance. Between 2-7 are typical numbers of live births of which about 3/4 are female and about 1/3-2/3rds survive. They also suffer from two to three time the miscarriage rate of goblin mothers. It is because of this that it is important that their are plenty enough of such women.

    It is a fact that goblin women have more sons that daughters. The typical ratio of male to female in a stable bloodline is somewhere between 4:3 and 3:2 with males twice as likely to be multiple births. The less human is in the pairing the fewer daughters the couple produce with fifth generation "purebreeds" having over 75% male offspring. It is one of the factors leading to a dark generation.


    Religion:

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    Goblins believe in stories. They hold that goblins are exulted by learning the wisdom inherent in their legends and oral histories. That great honor can be found in perpetuating the old tales, in reliving them and laying down new tales for future generation. They believe that no goblin is dead that tales are still spoken of he, that he or she are reborn to relive their tales again and again where they are most needed. No goblin would ever write a tale down, for they believe that the written word imprisons the tale and harms the spirit of the told and the teller. As a result few goblins can read and fewer are willing to write. Most of these tales are morality plays where take on the role of judges and agents of cruel ironic justice to the "morally inferior" races. Goblins who live the tales merge with one or more of the slaugh, the host of living stories and vengeful ancestor spirits that progenated the goblin race.

    The tales are alive to the goblins in a very real sense. They actually happen and are made to happen; as such they change with each telling. They cross pollinate, merge and diverge in a liquid flow of potentia. They have momentum though, they want to be told; to be finished. If the plot is sundered the broken end of a tale will flail around wildly, seeking perhaps some hapless mortal to earth itself in.



    Goblin Society:

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    Goblins live in large patriarchal tribes dominated by chieftains and shaman. A goblins status at birth is inherited from the social rank of their mothers. Leadership as well as status is about more than strength or cruelty; it is about ones ability to contribute as well as ones ability to convince, cajole, intimidate or persuade others to submit to ones bidding. A chieftain is one who has either directly or through his leftenants and the family elders convinced all of the males to submit to him.

    A tribe is composed of usually up to a dozen or so extended family units, about two score of unmated or unproven males as well as an assortment of communal slaves and various hangers on. Each unit will have their own permanent dwelling and hunting grounds, these domiciles are often up to a days walk apart and almost always over a league separate.



    Family life:

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    A household is composes of a headman and up to five subordinate tribesmen. These may be sons, brothers, nephews, good friends and or lovers. Beyond the inner circle are their mates, relatives, slaves and children. It is rarely any more than two score (setting aside infants who are neither counted nor named until their third spring).

    These families have a pretty strict hierarchy of strict and often corporal discipline. At the top you have the head man and his subordinate tribesmen, then you have invalid male relatives and the head wife or matron. Next are the mates of the families males. Sons and widowed relatives come next. Personal slaves (brides), unmated (uncollared) or adolescent female relatives and daughters are the next rung. Finally you have slaves and the daughters of slaves at the absolute bottom of the social heap.

    Goblin women and their social status are defined by their relationships to their fathers, mates or brothers,they are -like children- essentially dependents of the male head of their household. The chief wife or matron is responsible for enforcing discipline and maintaining order amongst the household; a quiet word here and there helps but this is primarily about physical discipline, punishment and forcing feuding females to kiss and make up. Failing this the chief wife will recommend the sale of the problem family member.

    Women in goblin society are supposed to be demure, obedient, respectful, submissive and affectionate; don't believe it for one second. They are the absolute masters at doing exactly what they've been instructed and yet still getting their way. They quietly agree with whatever is being said and yet still some how manage to make their opinions and feelings well known. It is not common for disputes to escalate into vicious cat fights or smack down brawls that the males know better than to intervene with; they sit back and enjoy the fun until a matron or chief wife is forced to wade in and restore order with a switch. They make sex both a tool and performance art form. They expect and know how get the best out of their lovers and if he or she isn't doing a satisfactory job of it it soon becomes common knowledge.

    Marriages are often conducted as fixed or long term lease though usually they are an outright sale. Goblin women may have influence to whom they mate but in the end they do not have the final say. It is not uncommon for a goblin who grows tired of his mate to sell or rent her on to be someone else's mate (or for a goblin woman to petitioner her mate or father to be sold to another as mate). It is not uncommon for a high status goblin to have two or three mates in addition to what ever slaves he possesses where as it is also not unusual for low status goblins to be unmated or to share a bride between two or more kinsmen. Goblins may declare any of his slaves as his bride, this in of itself does not make his mate any less of a slave and is more a formality than anything else (the words for mate, slave, dependent, bride and female are very closely linked in most goblin languages).

    A goblin can claim breading rights on any able dependent of any male who has submitted to him; though this right is also an obligation (as it works both ways; a female can ask her males superiors for such attention) and is seldom flagrantly abused due to political and social considerations. A goblin is expected to take a share of the responsibility for the children of any of these females if their subordinate male is injured or dies because there is a very real possibility that some of these children are his own. The upshot of this is that goblin headsmen and chiefs are very cautious with the lives of their subordinates; favoring traps, ambushes and retreat in difficult situations.

    One of the ways that high status or ambitious goblins bind warriors to themselves (or to reward them for their services) is to offer them one or more of their female dependents to unmated or just plain amorous males in exchange for their allegiance. This taken to its logical conclusions this take the form of a wife rent where upon the warrior takes one of the males kinswomen as mate as ongoing payment for his services, a less formal arrangement would be as a single night, a fixed term or an ongoing usage arrangement.


    Slaves:

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    One of the peculiar things about goblin slave customs is that the victim or someone with power over the victim must agree to give up their freedom. This could be in the form of a promise, as a sale, gamble or bargain. There also exist customs to allow a goblin to claim a victim as slave by right of fiat.

    For this reason if you know their rules, are careful about what you do and say (particularly when making promises or negotiating bargains) then they are comparatively safe to be around. It is quite possible for maiden to sit with them at their fires, spend the night either alone or with the company of her choice and leave both free and unmolested.

    There are three principle kinds of slaves and each may be under a temporary or permanent binding. A communal slave or goblin thrall is one that belongs to the whole tribe. These are held in trust by the chieftain and are often used in large projects or as trade goods. A house slave or chattel belongs to the family, they serve the entire house and only the headsman can dispose of them. A personal slave or bride is the property of a single master; they are typically used as intimates in addition to or lei of a mate.

    When taking humans goblins prefer to take females and adolescents as chattel and brides, this is because full grown adults are considered physically too powerful and dangerous to be kept safely. They rarely take married women on the basis of her own words as she is considered her husbands property and does not have the right to give up her own freedom; its the husband actions that determine whether she is fair game or no. These same rules also apply to prepubescent children and their guardians. Children are too young to be of much use anyway though one trick is to get them to bargain away their future freedom and claim them in recompense for on their "debt" at a later date.

    Goblins often enslave each other. Men are expected to be ready, able and willing to contribute to the tribe and goblins who fail to prove themselves by a certain age or brake certain taboos are enslaved. Goblin women are also routinely enslaved, this is the typical fate of women who are captured by another tribe, the dependents of males who are enslaved exiled or executed are also enslaved as standard practice. A male may sell, gift, exchange or wager any of his dependents for any or no reason without notice or consultation to anyone outside his family. It is not unusual for girls to be sold to, exchanged with or wagered against another tribe or family as a way of strengthening links in the wider community. This is a very common fate for the daughters of human slaves, these girls are often conceived for this sole purpose.

    When an individual take a bride it belongs to him but when it was a group effort then it belongs to the tribe. They each receive a share in the sale value or a bounty if the slave is not sold. This is equated with the act of gifting slaves to the tribe and as such it is one of the fastest was to raise ones status and social recognition (as such there is usually no shortage of communal slaves, particularly male goblins).

    Goblin ale (also known as Slave bait) is drug they use to draw in and help entrap potential slaves. This drug is a euphoric and makes the subject suggestible; it is very addictive and will cause almost irresistible cravings after the first three does. The "downer" usually makes the imbiber feel slightly hysterical and hallucinatory. Another effect is its withdrawal symptoms; delusions, hallucinations, fever, paranoia and mood swings. Combined with the cravings it is formulated to compel its victims to seek out the goblins, in this state they are easy marks and will agree willingly to almost any terms in exchange for another dose. Only goblins know the cure for this and they will only cure it at a great price. It is not for nothing that mothers warn their daughters; "do not sup with goblin men; eat not their food nor drink their water."

    As masters goblins are inclined to be dominant and sadistic as a rule but there also supposed to be compassionate and considerate. For a lot of them their hearts really arn't in it and only play act to keep up appearances; some are just plain henpecked


    Freedom

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    Some pacts stipulate a limitation of terms. These state that the slave will be free after such and such a time, when a particular debt is payed or service rendered or when an event occurs. Goblins being goblins use careful wording to twist the meaning of these terms to suit themselves; as a result few slaves are ever simply released.

    One would think that this human traffic was a one way street; in fact a fairly large number of captives have their freedoms -to one degree or another- bought by other humans. These people are used to hard work, they are inured to privation and have been instilled with unthinking and immediate obedience; as such they are in great demand by certain parties. Given that goblins value basic wears and grain above gold it is not suprising that there are so many takers looking for a good bargain. Goblins wont sell humans to elves however; even they have their standards and somethings are just beyond the pale.

    One of the problems of being a poor farmer in an isolated village is that of the few eligible women in your area most or all are actually your relatives, you don't have the ability to go and look for a wife and you don't have the wealth to attract one from afar. The simplest solution to this is to go down to the goblin fair and buy a wife at auction for yourself or you son; the goblins trade their slaves freely across many leagues, this woman could easily have come from over a hundred miles away. That you might have to sell you sister or daughter for her is a price well worth paying; particularly in light of the fact that the unfortunate girl was in a similar situation to yourself (or your son) and it save you the difficult expense of a dowry. This provides a welcome infusion of new blood to otherwise stagnant gene pools and it is a service that goblins happily provide. The aristocracy too are in on the action. they purchase slaves to use as servants, workers and soldiers. Since they are usually pathetically grateful loyalty is rarely an issue for these men and it's seen as a cost effective way to raise troops.

    There is such a thing as "too much of a good thing". Goblins understand that there is a limited number of people the environment and they themselves can support; it is also dangerous to have too many humans in one tribe. To counter this the sell slaves to other tribes and even other races, they also reduce the number of slaves they take; for this reason it is not uncommon for humans to give over people they don't care about to the goblins in the hope that this reduces the risks to the their loved ones. Failing this a tribe has been known to release slaves on mass; to found new tribes or new villages.

    It is possible for a slave to become a free member of the tribe by a process of formal adoption, this requires the sponsorship of the master and the approval of a majority of the tribesmen; as such it is only open to goblin slaves and not humans or any other race. It is not that uncommon for slaves to be freed by the intervention of an outside force. Be it that their freedom was purchased, wagered, exchanged, bargained or even tricked out of the tribe does not matter; once free they are free and no goblin may make a legitimate claim for their freedom based on any prior promise, debt or bargain; they are as of new born again (Though this does not preclude any future enslavement).


    Art:

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    Goblins have naturally grey skin but habitually paint their exposed skin in a variety of colors culled from their environment. They use scarification to denote status and are painted with colorful bodypaint in social and ceremonial settings, they use muted natural hues wile hunting or fighting; slaves are burned with prominent brands to permanently stake ownership, children are marked with symbols to represent their parentage, adult females bear a mark to proudly display their mate and a chieftain or shaman will wear elaborate markings denoting their ties, status and accomplishments.

    Goblins are great artists, carvers and musicians. Rather than the hyper realistic and finicky artwork of elves goblin are focuses on strong colors, broad bold strokes and symbolic abstractions. It tell you less about what a thing looks like and more about what it means; how it makes the artist feel and how he thinks it should make you feel. It is the importance of feeling, this sense of narrative and the search for meaning strongly permeates all of goblin culture.


    The fare
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    The entire tribe will gather at least once a year at a designated "fairground", these fares are a place to trade, gossip, exchange news, renew old ties and arrange marriages. Fares are often meeting grounds between two or more tribes, sometimes with a few representing families sometimes with entire tribes from across the region in one place.

    They are open to human visitors and tradesmen; it is against the rules to enslave, poison, bespell or drug any human who abides by the rules without their consent. Invited humans are given guides to ensure that they don't accidentally give their permission but truth be told most goblins are lax at the fare and only take such action as expressly requested; except on the last day of the fare

    At the fare watered safe goblin ale is served and games of chance, skill and strength are played. Prize games require all of the participants to put some stake (typically a female) and the winner takes the lot. A great market where metal and magic and men women and slaves are bought and sold either privately, by traders or on the block.

    On the last day full strength goblin ale is served even to humans and all the events and facilities are open to them. Amongst the games a prize hunt is held open to human free runners and competitors, the slave auctions are opened to human bidders and sellers; where any man or woman can sell their wives, sisters, children or themselves for a day, a season, a year or a lifetime. Come nightfall the shaman light the witchfires for the finally; a bone chilling magical display where they test each others strength and skill.

    Symbiosis

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    One would imagine that goblins are parasitic predators that view humans as only vessels for their wants and needs. That humans regard them as a menace and despoilers of women. The truth is far more complex than this: As humans farm the land and tend their flocks so to do goblins farm the humans and tend their villages.

    The good shepherd watches his flock by night. And so it is that goblins watch over their humans. They go to great lengths to drive off predators; both natural and otherwise. They help the lost and the sick, they leave food for the starving and they take in the desperate and dispossessed. They are also extremely proprietary about their villages; poaching is a serious matter and can lead to conflict or even war.

    Humans always outnumber goblins; in a straight up fight they are also stronger and almost certainly more violent and yet as a community they tolerate the depredation of the children with remarkable aplomb. The domestication of a village is a gradual and painstaking process. They understand that too great a yield will damage the health of a village and the bond between goblin and human. Conversely too little and the village will become unused to the maiden harvest, plus the fact that they often grow beyond the goblins ability to readily control and that is just as dangerous. Wild or feral villages are anyone game; they can loose as many or more of the people without any of the benefits that association with goblins bring; as a result it is almost always better to simply bite the bullet and strike a deal than go it alone. It said that to maintain a healthy bond and a willingness to bargain deals should not and in the death; mutilations or unwilling slavery of the human parties more than one fifth of the time. If the human deals honestly and cleverly, if they don't try to cheat on the deal or try to harm the village and its people then goblins can usually be trusted to hold up their end of the deal.

    The medicine men are important figures in goblin society, they work very closely -sometimes intimately- with the village shaman and together their knowledge of herbs, medical techniques, healing and natural magics are an order of magnitude better than anything else that most commoners have access to. They make these abilities readily available to the humans; this is a good source of barter, it also builds a bond of trust and dependance. Most importantly it allows the goblins to assess and improve the health of their villages. The goblins use (or some would say abuse) this position of trust to ensure that the villages have more surviving daughters than sons; this surfeit of girls reduces the tension and resentment that the harvest can cause and grants the goblins a wider range of choice as well as more opportunities.

    Humans often describe goblins as maggots, this is both a slur and an affection; they eat away at societies dead flesh. They are quick to absorb unwanted children and orphans as well as expose and or destroy dangerous, negligent or just irresponsible individuals. "Be good, or the goblin men will take you" is a common refrain and more than a few elders have carried out the implied threat of this to dispose of wayward or inconvenient people.

    The lords of the land permit goblins to operate and move unmolested across their lands. In return for this they gain access to their discreet networks of trade, information and messages that ignore all human borders. They are also very good sources local knowledge and are a useful weather **** for trouble in the wilderness.


    Dark generations

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    Dark generations are a fairly common occurrence in avistic tribes. They can and do happen to even the healthiest tribe at least once every few centuries. They are a time of destruction and chaos; when innocence is no longer any protection from the hungers of the goblin men.

    A dark father is a male whos females have only sons; more often than not multiple births with normally a higher than anticipated levels of aviatism. Whilst he is not forbidden or even discouraged from having children he is expected to behave responsibly. It is far more common for pure breeds to be dark fathers but it is by no means impossible for human born goblins to be this way. If a dark father was born in a multiple birth then it it almost certain that his brothers will also be dark fathers in their turn.

    These men and their sons are forbidden from breeding with goblin women, they have to content themselves with sterile mates or human brides. Most tribes have at least one dark household at any one time, its considered a good thing as most shaman are born to such families.

    A dark generation occurs when a tribe produces several dark fathers. The shear number of sons they produce causes a demand for slaves and females that far and away outstrips the local supply. A dark generation can cause civil strife, the tribe splintering or furious intertribal conflicts with their neighbors. The scale of slaving operations can strip an entire region of eligible maids;

    Shaman often rely heavily on some of the more esoteric magics during a dark generation. They "rationalize" the supplies by transforming surplus male slaves into desirable maids or holding lotteries or games to decide which of the men should remain so and which should also undergo transmutation. Those shaman with the foresight to see it coming take steps to limit the damage by sterilizing or enslaving some of these fathers as well as ensuring the local humans produce a bumper crop of daughters.


    Other goblin societies:

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    Kappa

    Also known as water goblins. They have barrel chests, webbed fingers and toes, slimy sometimes scaly skin, wide faces with long prehensile tongues and membranous eyes. Many have no teeth and speak with a heavy lisp.

    They live in marshes, by lakes and water courses and in river deltas. They build villages on dry islands or raised platforms, their buildings are made of woven reeds and are very hard to see.

    The get about their watery home using stilts and coracles. They are also very powerful swimmers. They live by fishing, hunting and trapping water foul and the small animals of the marshes. Kappa have a rule that if a kappa saves you from drowning you and all you own are their property.

    As they can range father and faster by water the kappa of a tribe all live together in the one village. The location of these will periodically be changed to proven an over burden on the natural wild life.

    Water side villages and river traders live in fear of kappa, for it is said that they lure lone people and especially children to the water side and drown them. The truth of the matter is that they have been known to save drowning women and children; so they can enslave them and often after luring them but never the less they do save them. The bit about using misleading lights in swamps and fens to draw travelers to their death is true however.

    Boggart

    Boggarts are wraith thin, pale and cold to the touch.Their eyes are black from edge to edge and whilst they have very good dark vision they struggle with light sensitivity.

    Boggarts started the practice of ritual self mutilation. They use hot knives to slit their ears and cut off their own noses. Other goblins find this behavior odd to and limit these practices to scarification, branding and the occasional over sized bone piercing though hobgoblins (never ones for being out done) have been known to go just as far.

    They claim abandoned and ruined buildings, catacombs and tombs. They love shiny objects and metal trinkets, these they collect, horde and trade. This love of objects lead them to launch night raids on villages and isolated homesteads where they steal coins, jewelry, cutlery, pots and pans as well
    the more usual assortment of food, livestock and children (and the occasional full or near full grown woman) asleep in their beds (though most are returned the following sunrise, note the emphasis on most).

    Of all goblins Boggarts are the best armed and the best armored. Status is linked to the amount of "ting" they possess and high status males practically clatter and jangle as they walk. This is alright as boggarts love noise, they think it drives bad spirits away.

    Boggart shaman (or witch doctors as they are called) are very good with all kinds of spirits and undead. Their powers are more akin to psionics than the kind that goblins normally employ.

    Humans welcome the presence of boggarts in ruins; for a start they are a deterrent for anything worse taking up residence. They also help to keep anything deep below locked up tight. They have a sixth sense about things that are better left alone, as such they are usually better guardians of such things than any human would be.

    Kobalds

    Kobalds live in caves and mine workings, they have ruddy often brown skin that's leathery and calloused. Most have burn scaring to some degree or another and many are partially or totally blind. They have long thin noses and bat like ears.

    Kobalds have unquestionably the most materially advanced societies of any goblins. They are the only goblins known to mine, to forge and work metal. It is said that they learned or stole the knowings from the dragons and that each forge was lit from the original drakes fire. They products include knives, axe, spear and arrow heads, needles, traps, cages, darts, chains, halters and branding irons, all the paraphernalia of day to day life

    There are two distinct kinds of kobald tribes; the deep tribes and the smith clans. Deep tribes are big and rare; they may swell to thousands of kobalds and slaves. They dig down deep into the roots of the earth and carve complex labyrinths of caves, mine workings, grottoes and caverns. Their products are traded with the tribes of entire regions.

    A smith clan is tiny, little more than a family unit. They live in isolated caves and work in close association with one or more tribe . They provide day to day services like sharpening or mending as well as custom peace work.
    Last edited by Blightedmarsh; 2012-10-29 at 04:03 PM.
    My Home brew setting:

    Concentric circles
    Necrotheism

    Quote Originally Posted by JusticeZero View Post
    How very Machiavellian, professor Doom.
    Clever, effective, and anyone who agrees with it is a grade A global supervillain.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Race: The conundrums and contemplations.

    The little folk
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    These are pixies and fairies; you can't discus pixies without mentioning fairies and you can't analyses fairies without referencing pixies so they both go in together. They are essentially the same species and biologically at least humanoids.

    They both look mostly human, (some with a slight dash of elf) but they are approximately 3" high. Under mage sight it is revealed that each generates a standing reduce person enchantment; this is what allows them to exist with a human shape on a non human scale. It is commonly believed that they are descended from a near human stock who souls where branded with this spell in perpetuity. This spell is what is thought to be similar in nature to the mystics supporting gigantacism. Only they have any ability to replicate it but they don't posses any real understanding of how exactly it works.

    The exact details of how they came into existence this is recounted differently for each race and in each region; it is believed that they have been created multiple different times by different groups, though it is generally agreed that one was created from or by the other.

    One of the defining feature of the little folk is their intense hatred of each other. It ranges from sporadic brutal inter tribal raiding to systematic organized total war. This conflict at times resembles nothing less than 1:18 scale Ragnarok and can run the gamaunt of ritualized honor duels and slave raiding to orchestrated carnage. They can and will manipulate the bigger races as unwitting pawns in this.

    Fairy

    Fairies are intensely magical for their size. Most are capable of glamory and minor catnips but there witches and warlocks are some of the most accomplished illusionists and fae enchanters outside of the Alfar courts.

    Fairies are bonded to a network of glades and meadows, these are places of power for them and they fight to defend them. This makes them surprisingly resilient as they can regenerate even mortal injuries. Its said that one of the two only ways to permanently kill a fairy open to normals is to cut it off from or destroy its place of power. Pixies prefer the old steal pin though the heart but only after they have had their fun.

    The unique thing about the fairies reproductive system is also the most horrifying aspect about them. They enlarge their newborns and swap them for human babies. They protect their child, they curse anyone who attempts to harm it and bless the surrogate family with good fortune and health. When the child reaches a certain age and his or her magic begins to awaken in earnest they they gather around their child and return her to her original size.

    What happens to the original child is unknown for certain but their are dark mutterings about it being left to for the goblins, trow or worse; elves. Some say that they make their babes big by making the human child small, that this is where pixies come from and is the source of their never ending grudge; whilst this does happen sometimes there is simply no way to know how common it is. It may be a case of the distraught parents engaging in wishful thinking or it may be pixie propaganda to garner human sympathy and justify their thievery.

    Legend has it that all fairies fly with insect wings. What most fairies actually do is ride flying flower stems. These tales stem from some fairies (and some pixies even) using strap on magical constructs made of insect wings. There have been reports of fairies with bio-grafted wing however few serious scholars give this any credence.

    Pixies

    Pixies are intensely physical beings for their size. Most can lift twice their body weight (a full pound), from a standing start jump three or even four times their height and make a running jump of twice that. Their terminal velocity only causes them serious injury if they fall badly. This when combined with feather fall allows them to achieve feats of death defining acrobatics and martial prowess they need to take down their aerial opponents.

    They are good with animals. The farm insects and rats and have been known to tame and ride larger animals like foxes and weasels or various birds.

    Their material culture is based on theft. This is because of the many things that don't scale well fire is one of the most important. They cant work metal or bake clay without magic. Wood is no substitute at that size, the grain simply isn't strong enough and flint and glass are all but unbreakable with any degree of control. Instead most need to steel the things we make; that button you "lost" is now a shield, the needle a foil and so on and so forth.

    The big problem rural pixies face is inbreeding; those sad misshapen drunken brownies you might have heard off? The results of generations of inbreeding. This is caused by the fact that the nearest family of unrelated pixies could be leagues away and leagues when you three inches high and its hostile county might as well be a thousand miles. To beat this pixies use size manipulation to take advantage of the human gene pool. Those with access to the required magics can temporarily make themselves big; big enough to get in to trouble as it were. The other trick which is both harder to achieve and yet strangely more accessible is to make humans permanently small; suitably small enough to act as spouses. Because they have enough enemies as it is without adding more at home they either shrink down and adopt unwanted children (particularly those too young to remember) or seduce "willing" brides and grooms who may or may not know what exactly they are getting themselves into. Pixies love to steal fairy children, they often cruelly mistreat them; a pathetic and petty revenge on a child who has done them no wrong. This is another major source of conflict between the races. Pixie mages are usually born of these people and as such are often mistrusted by
    the pixie community.


    Beholder
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    Of all beings fair and foul to wield magic beholders are amongst the most dangerous. They are effectively large floating heads heads with a single eye in the middle of their foreheads. Instead of hair they possess a nest of ringed tentacles with an eye on the end of each, these tendrils are detachable and have worm like bodies. They have fine angular features and a large jaw filled with a long tongue and razor edged teeth.

    It is said that beholders where once mages who delved too deeply into the mysteries; that what they saw their changed them. Their mortal frames where no longer able to withstand the knowledge the had absorbed; their bodies withered or burned or faded or just fell off. Over the course of a number of weeks their still living heads where transformed into beholders. It is said that the main eye holds a faint glimmer of this unwholesome truth; that mages should not look a beholder in the eye lest they suffer the same fate.

    Now they hunger for the flesh they once possessed. They can bite the heads off of their victims and using magic seal the wound and keep the body alive. By removing one of their eye tentacles they can implant it along the victims spine and allow them to control and feel with their new bodies remotely. Since their stalk eyes can reform into maws the poppet has all the mouth it needs to eat.


    Gods and fiends
    Spoiler
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    I don't have these guys fully thought out yet but here is the gist of it.

    Gods

    1) The gods require souls not worship, They take souls and reward them in paradise or punish them in purgatory for the energy that they possess.

    2) Spent souls are recycled; the down-well point for spent souls returning to fulcrum for reincarnation is hallowed ground.

    3) Worship is an in for them, worshipers act like RTS units on a divine fog of war.

    4) The home plain of the greater gods is in actual fact their main body.

    5) Gods may be alined with good and evil but they are no longer truly of good or evil.

    6) Deposits/reserves of good and evil in their purest forms are a limited but renewable strategic resource vital for the actualization of soulstuff

    7) The gods are influenced subconsciously by their portfolios, failure to pursue this causes a niggling itch in the back of their minds that can slowly drive them mad.

    8) The gods view the vast majority of mortals as a renewable resource to be exploited and little more than vectors for their portfolios.

    9) They only take a direct personal interest in a relatively few number of individuals.

    10) Unspent souls are charged positively or negatively and may resonate with good or evil. They are drawn to the positive or negative plains to be lost forever if they either aren't claimed or if they don't have the strength to fight the currents.

    11) Spent souls are


    Celestials:

    Seraphim are the servants of the gods and their messengers. They are responsible for the softer interactions between the mortal and the divine. That does not mean to say that they are automatically good or even if they are that they really care about mortals.

    Archons are the warrior agents of the gods. They are responsible for punishment and judgement. Even some of the good ones enjoy their work far too much to be health for mortals they come across.

    Fiends

    Djjin: these are usually neutral elementals. They use contracts and pacts to claim ownership of peoples souls, collect them for trade and also their own personal power. The souls they gather can be exploited for energy sustainable but this requires that every Djjin maintain a battery of at least 5 souls simply for their personal survival.

    Devils: The robin hoods of the outer plains, hence "devil may care". They are alined to good and take in or steal lost or unclaimed souls for their gardens. Their home plains are old and slowly fading so the energy from the souls they gather are used to sustain these realms as well as empower them.

    Daemons: Similar to devils only evil. They actually get on better with the gods because at least they don't try to muscle in on the gods territory so much and play by the rules. Like all fiends they engage in a lot of soul traffic with both each other and mortals.

    Plane-touched

    Why is it that so many outsiders put out so often with so many mortals? Plane touched can be hard to conceive at the best of times and with so many of them about it is difficult to understand why they would go to all this effort just for the fun of it.

    The simple reason is that this is how outsiders reproduce. Each strongly plane touched individual is the larval form of their parent and whilst only a few make the change it is enough for the immortal outsiders to consider it a worthy endeavor.

    The reason why they don't just breed with each other is because the results leave something to be desired; where do you think all those imps and cherubs come from?

    The plane touched are the ultimate in designer baby; the parent sculpts the bodies of their child in the hopes that this will influence their futures. If you make them look "evil" then they will be regarded as as evil and are more likely to become evil.

    Earthbound spirits and fae touched
    Spoiler
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    This is what happens when the wild powers of farie have their wicked way with the plane touched. These people are locked into a cycle of death and rebirth. It can happen to any plane touched but usually occurs when something untoward happens during conception to weaken their resistance. When the power of the wilds touch them their bodies are reformed and their minds may outright twisted.

    The wild hoary earthbounds of legend are as a result of first generation plane touched becoming changed but this is incredibly rare, few are weak enough to allow it as the outsiders have a direct hand in their conception.

    It is far more common for the decedents of plane touched and par for the course for the human descendents of eathbounds (faetouched) to be changed but whilst the physical changes might be just as drastic the mental alterations are far more subtle; they are also no where near as powerful. Past a certain point however and the blood becomes too thin to affect the change.

    Imagine you great great grandmother laid down with an angel and most of your family has been angelic paragons ever since. You are out gathering wood when the shifting powers of the fae landscape hit you. You now have green hair, an mild obsession with trees and may have lost the ability to stand when you pee.
    Last edited by Blightedmarsh; 2012-10-31 at 05:00 AM.
    My Home brew setting:

    Concentric circles
    Necrotheism

    Quote Originally Posted by JusticeZero View Post
    How very Machiavellian, professor Doom.
    Clever, effective, and anyone who agrees with it is a grade A global supervillain.

  16. - Top - End - #16
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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Race: The conundrums and contemplations.

    Your setting and races have a lot of commonalities with mine.

    My Elves are also the product of divine intervention, but it was more of an uplifting (in the Sci-fi sense of the word) of primitive humans by the gods to create a race that would act as an emissary of their will and help shape the world more to their liking. Like yours they raid human lands for breeding stock for their slaves, though like in old fairy tales, preferring young males.

    My Orcs are also a slave race created by elves from human stock and like goblins require a human parent every 3rd or 4th generation, but this is to prevent the preceding generations from becoming the feral mindless killers you see in “classic orcs.” However nearly all of my orcs are like your “chainless” they have no desire for freedom, or really anything, they’re an emotionless race and even the few that desire escape from slavery are inhumanly stoic.

    I could post info on my Dwarves for inspiration if you like?
    Last edited by GenericGuy; 2012-10-30 at 01:17 PM.

  17. - Top - End - #17
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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Race: The conundrums and contemplations.

    My Elves are also the product of divine intervention, but it was more of an uplifting (in the Sci-fi sense of the word) of primitive humans by the gods to create a race that would act as an emissary of their will and help shape the world more to their liking. Like yours they raid human lands for breeding stock for their slaves, though like in old fairy tales, preferring young males.
    Well as it stands my elves weren't so much uplifted to help primitive humans so much as accidentally inflicted on them and the Alfar are not interested in emissaries when they can have the blind adoration and abject terror of mortals in person; plus the world is already very much to their liking (being as its full of people who are interesting to torment; some of whom are able to put up fight enough for them to really enjoy it).

    The preferring young males I didn't know about. Might well be a useful counterpoint to goblins.

    My Orcs are also a slave race created by elves from human stock and like goblins require a human parent every 3rd or 4th generation, but this is to prevent the preceding generations from becoming the feral mindless killers you see in “classic orcs.” However nearly all of my orcs are like your “chainless” they have no desire for freedom, or really anything, they’re an emotionless race and even the few that desire escape from slavery are inhumanly stoic.
    To be honest I am thinking about scraping the orcs entirely ("this is not a soup kitchen" and they are a little redundant) and dividing their aspects between (or simply making them a subculture/race of) hobgoblins and/or humans

    Spoiler
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    I could post info on my Dwarves for inspiration if you like?


    Sure mate; its all up in the air right now as I am having a major rethink. Any good idea is a good idea.

    The original concept I had for dwarves worked betwer with the orks (They where going to be the mutant unstable slave race and the orks the mutant unstable hybrid race, see the redundancy?) I took and blended many of the classical aspects of dwarven culture with my goblins to make my kobalds.

    *********************

    As matters stand I am having a conceptual rethink:

    I like the fairy tale aspect and I want to focus on that from here on out.

    Races:
    Key
    Included and/or expanded
    Scrapped and/or divided
    Merged with another race
    Made a subrace/culture
    [?]Uncertain future[/?]
    Humans: Poor bloody humans. These guys and their subraces are the limited natural resource of this world. Everybody wants a piece of them; quite which depends on who's doing the wanting. A lot of humans have had enough and they aren't going to take it any more.

    Elves: I am thinking about dividing the elven fluff as it now stand into half elves and alfar. Elves per say would cease to exist as a player race.

    Alfar/Sihdee: Mereged with elves.

    Half elves: a significant boost to both fluff and in game power levels. A change of name may be warented as they would stand for a race in of themselves rather than be defined as hybrids; conceptualy they would be across between the tyrant elves and the Numoraens.

    Halflings Reduce to nothing more than a small size template you can apply to a variety of beings

    Dwarves: As it stands they have been divvied up for conceptual spare parts and their simply isn't room for them any more.

    Gobliniods: Yes; definite yes. Goblins are an essential building block to the unselee paradigm. More goblin subcultures (ape and snake goblins) and build up the redcaps as destroyers.

    [?]Gnomes:[/?] considering making them a goblin trader subculture but I am concerned about the potential parallels with antisemitic stereo-types (nothing against Jews but the cultural monster that was built in parody of them is too much of a disturbingly fine creation to leave languishing for all eternity; the question is do I have the tact to pull it off and the courage to try?). The alternative is to recycle some of the orc/dwarf concepts and make them the seele mine/smith race.

    Kobalds: Already just a subrace. Will probobly work on making the goblin kobalds more in keeping with either DnD or old mythology.

    Orks: Either a full merger/division or hobgoblin subrace. The more I wright the more I think that their is no room for them as they are. The hybridization is too important to their concept to just dustbin but it just doesn't mesh with gobliniods and they are too important to the setting to mess with.

    Manbeasts: chimeras of humans(ish) and animals. Shape shifters, grafters and splicers go here. Mechanically I could imagine applying an animal template to a human character.

    Dragons: To iconic to ignore, the epitome of mythical and potentially game braking. These guys are going to be an absolute pig to do well. If I do them then they are going to have to be outside of the courts system.

    [?]Giants[/?]: An absolute staple of the fairy tale but I have some interesting options to conciser. 1) Cull them and merge their aspects as part of trolls. 2) Include the "me big stupid giant" every one knows. 3) Have them as the kind of physical (or not so physical) gods of Norse mythology; probably tie them to the elements. I like three best so far with 2) being too close to trolls, possible room for compromise.

    Little folk:I like them as is. I have got to make the fairies seem more worthy of the pixies ire as they look like jerks at the moment.

    [?]Beholders[/?] As slaugh I like the concept I have off them and it answers certain questions magi-centric parties would pose but are they too far off the wall to scan properly.

    Trolls: With the tired Miss Kittens suggested improvements properly integrated and a few expansions here and there they would work very well. Trow in particular would probably excel as a small regenerating baby eating mook race in light of the absence of goblins for that particular role.

    Earthbound/faetouched With substantial revisions. I am thinking that people can take an template with a given flaw/benefit chart, the more picks they take the more power however this keys off of a random chance that they might accidentally (or deliberately) change their creature type into some kind of seele (or possibly unseele) fae corporal nature spirit.

    [?]Outsiders[/?] I know I want gods, celestial and infernal in the background but that's where I want them to stay; at least for now. The only exception is djjin, (merger of genies and elementals) too much overlap with goblins right now but we will see what elemental giant god bring to the mix.

    Undead I want it in (see sig); I want it to be a ting apart from the fairie courts, neither one not the other.

    [?]Ogres[/?] Aside from a seele foil to redcaps (for which oni fit much better than ogres) I don't see much of a use for them right now. I am at a loss as to what to say.

    ********************

    Political systems

    The seele commonwealth

    A system of alyed but competing courts of alfar/elves as well as half-elf (or whatever I am going to get around to calling them) nations, nature spirits, man beasts and charmed, bespelled (read: magically enslaved), fooled or intimidated humans.

    The unseele paradigm

    Slaugh (including trolls) terrorize humans into needing protection. Goblins reassure humans and use their fear to extort slaves, produce and wears which they tithe to their dark slaugh gods. Hobgoblins protect communities and in so doing prevent them from looking to their own means for protection. Redcaps destroy communities that start to grow too big to control. Each part is a cog in a great system and few have any idea of their place in the grand scheme of things.

    Outside intervention

    Fiends (daemons and devils) give individual humans the strength to defend themselves and their lands in exchange for service and souls.

    Divine mandate

    The gods (in theory) support the churches and the churches use the strength of peoples faith to hold the line; to push back the frontiers. They may or may not actually have the help of the gods him selves.

    Necrotheistic crusade

    They use necromancy to hold onto the soul; to find the strength to protect humanity from the celestials, infernals and fae of all color.

    Others

    Giants
    Dragons
    My Home brew setting:

    Concentric circles
    Necrotheism

    Quote Originally Posted by JusticeZero View Post
    How very Machiavellian, professor Doom.
    Clever, effective, and anyone who agrees with it is a grade A global supervillain.

  18. - Top - End - #18
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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Race: The conundrums and contemplations.

    I applaud your motive to cut down on the number of races, and completely agree many fantasy races are superfluous (or worse one note, and could just rolled into another established race to give it more dimensions)

    My Dwarves origins as a race are the same as most others, derived from human ancestors, except they evolved through natural selection. They are the descendants of ancient humans who took to living in the eastern great mountains, and the mindboggling large hollow insides.

    The reason for the hollow mountains is that the Great Eastern Mountains are the roosts of Wyverns, who hibernate in the mountains for centuries before waking to gorge and mate in other lands. Wyverns though are no threat to dwarves (most other races mockingly say that the Wyverns just confuse the short stature of Dwarves for their young), and dwarves consider wyverns to be a type of “guard dog” from invaders and sources of fortune (mine have adopted the “classic” dragon trait of collecting treasure).

    The Dwarves stand apart from the rest of the world, as they were the only region never fully conquered by the ancient elven empire, though the elves tried for a millennia. This has led to dwarves mistrusting the outside world and being paranoid that all other races secretly wish to take them over and plunder the riches they accumulate form the wyverns (plus another reason I won’t go into detail), and a policy of extreme isolationism. Luckily their mountains and wyverns make them just too defensible for any army to conquer; which is a good thing for them because internally dwarven society would make them prime targets for any invader.

    Dwarven society is constantly shifting from a great united empire to feuding states over and over again, “from many one to many again.” The many clans/noble houses of Dwarves fight constantly until a warlord can successfully dominate them all, unite them, and create a new dynasty. Dwarves consider this the norm, as it ties into their fatalistic and cyclic religion.

    Dwarves believe that everything that happens has happened and will happen again, the world is bound in a never ending cycle where the people may have different names, but the events and results will always be the same. So, it’s not surprising that the Dwarves believe in reincarnation and have their paranoia that the outside world will try again to conquer them.

    The only Dwarves privy to how the great cycle works are the scholar caste, who because of their important position must be either castrated or made barren so as to never threaten the nobles. The Scholars are also the only dwarves that can read and write their language, which insures that no one (especially nobles) can “misinterpret” events as part of the great cycle so as to circumvent their authority in Dwarven society. The Scholars live in grand observatories on mountain tops, watching the stars and their cycles (which further confirms their theory that everything is cyclic), and have the largest library in the world.

    Most dwarves who leave the mountains are either, scholars conducting research and their guardsman, peasants just looking for a better life outside the constant warfare, and exiled nobles whose family lost one of the many wars.

    Since you’re unsure of what to do with Dragons and Ogres, I also have a info on mine.
    Last edited by GenericGuy; 2012-10-30 at 06:09 PM.

  19. - Top - End - #19
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    Default Re: Race: The conundrums and contemplations.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blightedmarsh View Post
    To be honest I am thinking about scraping the orcs entirely ("this is not a soup kitchen" and they are a little redundant) and dividing their aspects between (or simply making them a subculture/race of) hobgoblins and/or humans
    I think that's a good idea, on paper the only thing to specialize them -- I think -- was their inauspicious reproductive physiology and respective cultural norms related to it. A tragic race of woe kind of gets maudlin after a while. Besides, you're doing a sort of Fairy Grimm-verse mixed with a bit of Eddas stuff, no need for Tolkien inventions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blightedmarsh View Post
    Dwarves: As it stands they have been divvied up for conceptual spare parts and their simply isn't room for them any more.
    The Dvergar are essentially the Kobalds you've got down. You could incorporate some of the common and suggested dwarf tropes into a human society without it going amiss.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blightedmarsh View Post
    [?]Gnomes:[/?] considering making them a goblin trader subculture but I am concerned about the potential parallels with antisemitic stereo-types (nothing against Jews but the cultural monster that was built in parody of them is too much of a disturbingly fine creation to leave languishing for all eternity; the question is do I have the tact to pull it off and the courage to try?). The alternative is to recycle some of the orc/dwarf concepts and make them the seele mine/smith race.
    You could say you're making them Rumpelstiltskin-esque. Goes with the rest of your territory.


    Quote Originally Posted by Blightedmarsh View Post
    Manbeasts: chimeras of humans(ish) and animals. Shape shifters, grafters and splicers go here. Mechanically I could imagine applying an animal template to a human character.
    They could be humans cursed by the fae/sorcery.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blightedmarsh View Post
    [?]Giants[/?]: An absolute staple of the fairy tale but I have some interesting options to conciser. 1) Cull them and merge their aspects as part of trolls. 2) Include the "me big stupid giant" every one knows. 3) Have them as the kind of physical (or not so physical) gods of Norse mythology; probably tie them to the elements. I like three best so far with 2) being too close to trolls, possible room for compromise.
    I think you could twist them about somewhat -- they could be the Genasi of your setting, Fire, Frost, and Earth Giants (earth being the mixing of frost and flame). They could be honour-before-life bloodknights who treat war as a glorious and ultimate sport, and love every aspect of it. They often recreate wars they've fought 5000 years ago, like the Giant's version of the Superbowl -- regardless of who might be living on that ancient battlefield now.

    They demand blood for the smallest of slights, and think nothing about the weaknesses of lesser races. They breed with trolls on occasion. If the breeding is true, unlike the usual multitude of Trows, you get Ogres -- giant conjoined twins with multiple limbs/heads and other deformations resulting from the disparities between the two species -- even if they survive the birth, chances are the first thing they try to eat are their mothers. For female trolls this is often a death sentence but still considered a boon -- Giantesses rarely sully themselves with Troll-kind unless it's a particularly noteworthy and ancient troll.

    Ogres are closer to the man-eating evil bastards of lore. This isn't something their Giant parents are particularly concerned with. Giants will swear vengeance against anyone who kills their children/mates regardless of the reason, that is, on the rare occasion they happen to remember which child/lover is theirs and decide to act within the lifespan of the culprit. It makes perfect sense to them to kill the great-great grand-son of the man who killed their child, if it meant quelling their anger.

    Giants hate elves, and stomp on Small Folk with glee. They'd insist on helping hobgoblins or humans if it meant war or honour, regardless of what the other participants think. Again, they don't have "restraint" in their dictionary, and tend to fight with more zeal than skill. Other species are beneath notice, unless they're rude.

    They are somewhere between Norse Heroes out of legend, and walking natural disasters.

  20. - Top - End - #20
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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Race: The conundrums and contemplations.

    [EDIT] Sorry I didn't spot the Ninja, post updated.

    I applaud your motive to cut down on the number of races, and completely agree many fantasy races are superfluous (or worse one note, and could just rolled into another established race to give it more dimensions
    So I hope you don't mind If I pick apart your dwarves for more gist for the ideas mill.


    Dwarven society is constantly shifting from a great united empire to feuding states over and over again, “from many one to many again.” The many clans/noble houses of Dwarves fight constantly until a warlord can successfully dominate them all, unite them, and create a new dynasty. Dwarves consider this the norm, as it ties into their fatalistic and cyclic religion.
    This could easily be taken as the standard mindset of the selee. They fight and politic over who gets to be the next "High king of the fairy". From the moment a new king gets on office his authority is being constantly undermined by those who seek to replace him.

    Dwarves believe that everything that happens has happened and will happen again, the world is bound in a never ending cycle where the people may have different names, but the events and results will always be the same. So, it’s not surprising that the Dwarves believe in reincarnation and have their paranoia that the outside world will try again to conquer them.
    Something similar Is the essence of fairy; the eternal ever shifting cycle of the tales.

    The only Dwarves privy to how the great cycle works are the scholar caste, who because of their important position must be either castrated or made barren so as to never threaten the nobles. The Scholars are also the only dwarves that can read and write their language, which insures that no one (especially nobles) can “misinterpret” events as part of the great cycle so as to circumvent their authority in Dwarven society. The Scholars live in grand observatories on mountain tops, watching the stars and their cycles (which further confirms their theory that everything is cyclic), and have the largest library in the world.
    Linking the cycle to the stars is a good one. In my setting most of what you see in the sky is plains but I do like the idea of someone trying to read something into it.

    I imagine that the "lords and ladies" do not look on to fondly to humans taking up the magics or learnings. I can well concive of them demanding a "pound of flesh" from any human seeking to study with them.
    Giants
    I think you could twist them about somewhat -- they could be the Genasi of your setting, Fire, Frost, and Earth Giants (earth being the mixing of frost and flame). They could be honour-before-life bloodknights who treat war as a glorious and ultimate sport, and love every aspect of it. They often recreate wars they've fought 5000 years ago, like the Giant's version of the Superbowl -- regardless of who might be living on that ancient battlefield now.

    They demand blood for the smallest of slights, and think nothing about the weaknesses of lesser races. They breed with trolls on occasion. If the breeding is true, unlike the usual multitude of Trows, you get Ogres -- giant conjoined twins with multiple limbs/heads and other deformations resulting from the disparities between the two species -- even if they survive the birth, chances are the first thing they try to eat are their mothers. For female trolls this is often a death sentence but still considered a boon -- Giantesses rarely sully themselves with Troll-kind unless it's a particularly noteworthy and ancient troll.

    Giants hate elves, and stomp on Small Folk with glee. They'd insist on helping hobgoblins or humans if it meant war or honour, regardless of what the other participants think. Again, they don't have "restraint" in their dictionary, and tend to fight with more zeal than skill. Other species are beneath notice, unless they're rude.

    They are somewhere between Norse Heroes out of legend, and walking natural disasters.
    All of this is good. When I said Norse gods I meant the likes of the Jhontus rather than Thor and co but is makes almost no difference. In Celtic mythology giants required a special weapon to kill and a special spot to strike (often removed from the giant body like a phalactry). Giant and troll hybrids are Ettin.

    Since you’re unsure of what to do with Dragons and Ogres, I also have a info on mine.
    Shoot

    Dragons

    What I have got on dragons so far is that they originate from beyond the far plains. That the first dragon in the world, the "void dragon" laid 18 eggs, 9 chromatic and 9 metalic before she left this universe for good. Metalics are male and chromatics female. Females settle down and males are nomadic; all are territorial.

    They view mortals as a kind of living interactive soap opera. They both protect and manipulate them; they make a game of achieving high drama, outlandish scenarios and unlikely couples.

    They aren't shape shifters and only breed amongst themselves (no more half dragon templates) but they don't mate often and most of the time they don't enjoy it. To get their rocks off they go for a joy ride; they slip into peoples minds and whisper suggestions into their thoughts as they bask in the physical and emotional fireworks.

    When hording they prize objects of sentimental and emotional significance; monetary value and magical power are irrelevant. They can read the feelings and memories imprinted in such items and when they sleep the wrap themselves up in a warm cloud of other peoples dreams.



    Orgres

    All I've got for them right now is that they are hybrids of giants and humans.

    Ogres are closer to the man-eating evil bastards of lore. This isn't something their Giant parents are particularly concerned with. Giants will swear vengeance against anyone who kills their children/mates regardless of the reason, that is, on the rare occasion they happen to remember which child/lover is theirs and decide to act within the lifespan of the culprit. It makes perfect sense to them to kill the great-great grand-son of the man who killed their child, if it meant quelling their anger.
    Now the question is do I make them not of the courts and roll as is or do I somehow try to gentrify them. Honorish; say they ask riddles and they only eat you if you get it wrong. They are rowdy, violent hedonists and love having a good time; if they can't drink it, eat it, fight it or ....screw it then they really aren't interested.

    What about making them an immortal all male race. Female ogres are transgender males or human women who have been transformed and have only sons. They can have children on humans but those offspring are simply larger ugly and sterile humans.

    The problem with all this is redcaps; there are a lot of overlaps and concepts that I think I like better with redcaps.

    Selee

    A basic rundown of the selee system:

    Alfar:

    At the to you have got the alfar: these guys are physical gods and patrons of the selee. They are immortal and live in twisted multidimensional courts called sihdee.

    Half elves:

    These are unstable "high men" who act as the overseers and warrior priests of the selee. They are morphologically unstable and can flip gender uncontrollably; partly because of this and partly because of fear they often use human women as surrogate wombs. They have to breed periodically with alfar to remain apart from humans.

    They maintain competing and nominally independent city states. I will recycle the three elven cultures for these guys and make at least some of the raider/Gieb a drow equivalent mining/smith culture.

    Fairies:

    Haunt the wild places, they act as the eyes and ears of the selee as well as impeding the free movement of humans.

    Earth bound spirits:

    Humans transformed into semi immortal magic creatures for use in battle or as guards for mystic sites (a concept like a magic living golem or warforged made out of flesh). Their children are fae touched and they will reincarnate as one if they die. Only alfar or earth bounds can make them.

    Fae touched:

    are humans who posses some earth bound affinty. They can spontaneously or deliberately transform into a mortal equivalent of their earth bound ancestor either permanently or temporarily.

    They are much easier to turn into true earth bounds than normal humans (whom only alfar can turn).

    Manbeasts
    They could be humans cursed by the fae/sorcery.
    That was the idea. In the first version of this setting elves created human animal hybrids to act as shock troops. I could include the genetic instability taken from orcs and the resulting need for humans either as breeding stock or fresh converts (humans as a resource is an overarching theme).

    I also like the idea that the companion animals and mounts of my sort of elves are not awakened animals but cursed transformed humans/manbeasts that may or may not periodically revert.

    I want alfar to be able to create manbeast with a look and a word of power but for it to be far harder for half elves. Each city maintains the facilities to create only a few kind;s these they make the most use of whilst trading the surpluses to others.

    humans

    They sit at the bottom of the pile and are remorselessly exploited or tormented by selee fae; most of whom think that they are entitles and are in fact doing them a favor.


    Spirit marks

    Its a mark of power; a link between the physical fae gods and mortals. The symbols are keyed to individual gods and a person may bear more than one however one always takes precedent. One factor is that they cut you off from the celestial gods.

    Normaly when a person dies the remaining life energy in the vital part of the soul (the animus) explodes ejecting the conscious spirit away from the material world and into the astral sea. When a person wearing a brand dies it channels this power though itself to the god (alfar/slaugh/giant ectra) where upon it eats it. The soul then drifts through the material plane until it encounters or is drawn into a sentient unborn child and thus reincarnates. Many races take steps to ensure their spirits are reborn into their own peoples.

    The can be in the form of a permanent and intricate tattoo (as used by half elves) or a temporary bodypaint (as used by goblins). These allow the recipient to call on their god for aid as well as for the god to channel power though the bearer.

    A brand is a similar kind of mark that is magically burned into the recipients skin using enchanted hot irons. A brand is subsidiary to the spirit mark of another person or group (often the brand wielder or holder of the iron itself). Brands are usually burned into slaves, humans and manbeasts.
    Last edited by Blightedmarsh; 2012-10-31 at 08:13 AM.
    My Home brew setting:

    Concentric circles
    Necrotheism

    Quote Originally Posted by JusticeZero View Post
    How very Machiavellian, professor Doom.
    Clever, effective, and anyone who agrees with it is a grade A global supervillain.

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

    Join Date
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    Default Re: Race: The conundrums and contemplations.

    Slaugh

    Also known as the dark host, the harrying.

    To live as Unseele is to live in the shadows of their might, to pay homage in flesh and souls and service to their might.

    They are not one race but an alliance of many powerful and unique individuals. They are cunning and semidivine aberrations of flesh and though; a terror on the land. Alone they lurk in the dark places of the world, hunting and preying on the foolish and curious. Together they rise and descend on those who oppose them or offend their ideals, hunting and destroying them.

    • Divine trolls
    • Ettin
    • Ogres
    • Berghaust
    • Beholders
    • Aberant dragons
    • Fallen Alfar


    Wild hunt

    This is a cavalcade of terror, a group of semidivine huntsmen lead a charge of beings across hill and dale, they descend on those who offend the fae and bare them away to destroy them.

    They chase down and torment their victims before killing and often devouring them. Those who fall are usually resurrected to begin the cycle anew each day. At each rising they are less human, the changes becomes slowly etched into their being; their sin writ large for all to see. In the end they are either killed outright, released as hideous mockeries of their former selves or forced to join the hunt, running ever after at the huntsmans heals. So to is the fate of any and all who oppose the hunt.

    Redcaps and ogres

    By making ogres the semidivine bastards of the divine giants I separate them and clearly distinguish them from redcaps. They become more like oni and ogre mages (I also loose some of the overlap between them and trolls)

    Ogre clans are all siblings and half sibling, they are wide spaced and it is quit possible that some may never meet a clan mate in the flesh; instead they communicate by magic.

    Redcaps are gobliniods, heavy infantry and marauders. Now if I make it so that each redcap tribe requires at least one ogre or powerful troll patron to endure, that they have to suckle the blood of such beings in order to become redcaps then I have something interesting.

    Names

    Names are important, names have power. To hold somethings name is to own power over it.

    True name: This grants power over a thing; knowledge of it. Humans, man beasts and animals don't have true names. Fae don't share their true names beyond their immediate families and are extremely weary of people knowing them. Some fae like goblins don't get a true name until they reach adulthood and it is possible to strip a being of its name.

    The names of gods invoked in preyer and ritual are parts of their true names. The most powerful of priests hold all of their gods name but because of the mark they bear cannot misuse or share this knowledge

    Given name: This is a publicly known name of a person or being. It has some power over a person and can be used for tracking and targeting spells. Beings with a true name can change their given names on a whim, those without must earn changes.

    With it can be used in lei of a true name but it is more effective with beings without true names. Fae won't deal with anyone who doesn't give them their given name.

    Brand name: This is given to a person with a spirit brand. Its harder to apply to someone with a true name, It overwrites and replaces the previous names but these must be known so they can be invoked and stripped.

    Brand names allow the holder of the brand a similar level of power over the bearer as true names but also protect the bearer from its use by others.

    Gift of tongues

    Fae don't lie outright. They omit, dissemble and twist words into a puzzle ring but they don't lie outright. They are very good at spotting lies; lying to a faes face or in its presence is a guarantied way of razing its immediate ire.

    Fae who knowingly lie find their tongues burned ever black and their voices drained to a rasping whisper. Fae who unknowingly lie often seek to make a recompense and forgiveness.

    Alfar mindset

    How best would I describe the Alfar in one word? Insane; literally not sane in any conventional fashion.

    They are temperamental, moody, prideful and vindictive. They are at best honorable after a fashion; they will try to fulfill any promises they cant twist their way out of at almost any cost though they begrudge making straight promises. They almost never give a straight answer and hate direct questions.

    Most alfar tend to view mortals (at least subconsciously) as toys; things to play with. At best they try to look after their toys and play responsibly; but if they get tired of you they will toss you aside and if you brake well whist they might weep beautifully at first they will soon forget about you and look for someone else to amuse them. At worst the game is no fun if you don't scream.

    They have a hard time conceptualizing other people as real people, that they have feelings and lives of their own beyond their relationship with the alfar. Even those who manage to wrap their heads around the idea find it difficult to extend it beyond the people they personally know.

    As gods it is not surprising that the alfar have "portfolios". These are a reflection of their basic power and its that power that shapes some of their personality, not the folio itself.

    Words of truth

    This is the most powerful ability of the alfar, the most feared and why they rule the seele. Alfar only speak the truth (of a fashion); when they speak with power and name they can make their words the unvarnished truth.

    The three limitations are that the outcome must be possible, the subjects true name (or if absent that given name) is known or brand name held, and finally that they can hear, see or can be seen in earshot of the speaker.

    So an Alfar saying "Greta, thou art Pig" would literally turn the poor Greta into either a pig or a pigwoman depending on the intent of the speaker. This is one of their favorite games and one so popular that it has spawned a bushel of manbeast races.
    Last edited by Blightedmarsh; 2012-11-02 at 04:11 AM.
    My Home brew setting:

    Concentric circles
    Necrotheism

    Quote Originally Posted by JusticeZero View Post
    How very Machiavellian, professor Doom.
    Clever, effective, and anyone who agrees with it is a grade A global supervillain.

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Darkest Dorset (UK)
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    Default Re: Race: The conundrums and contemplations.

    Updated and expanded trolls and their ilk.

    Trolls

    Trolls are powerful and dangerous predators of man. The most powerful of them are the masters of the dark host; often solitary but never beyond the aid of their kin and worshipers. They are not sword fodder for adventures and are never to be taken lightly

    Description:
    Adult trolls start about 9’ tall with 12-15’ being more normal. Trolls live forever and can grow (depending on diet) to enormous sizes; 90’ is not untypical for a Bjertrolden though the largest recorded was three times that size.

    They have tough unyielding flesh, large saucer like eyes, big noses and disproportionately long arms and fingers. They usually have wild manes of dark unkempt hair. Few ever wear more than a belt or bandoleer for pouches, knives and such.

    Over time they can regenerate all but the most serious of injuries. Mundane fire or burning irons must be used to sear the wound to make it stick. By cutting off the quarterized flesh and reopening the wound trolls can heal even these injuries.

    Trolls have excellent night vision and senses of powerful hearing and smell. Bright light all but blinds them and they become drowsy and dopey of a daytime; come night however they are alert, active and dangerously cunning.
    Trolls are ancient; as a race they are as old as any, one of the first to emerge after the cataclysm at the end of the dreaming. The essence of what is troll is a primal, eternal potency that refuses to be constrained by the human conceit of language. Goblins give it words, they give voice to the seething tableau of possibility they are dimly aware of and call them the tales because that is the only way they can conceive of such things. Trolls have no need of such trivialities, their fabric was baked in the very fires of the remaking; they live as one with the beat of all that is, was or ever will be.

    Diet

    Trolls are carnivores. They prefer fresh meat; the fresher the better. For a troll nothing beats the taste of flesh that is still warm, still bleeding, still moving, still screaming. To this end trolls have been known to keep some of their prey alive; either by keeping them captives or by picking off groups of free range beings in ones or twos and letting the rest keep for another time. Some troll witches cook meat for preservation and later use but it has to be done live over a magical fire.

    Trollkind have dietary adaptability; the phrase you are what you eat was never applied more strongly to anything else than it is to trolls. The variances among the Troll depend on their food source; those who feed on magical creatures themselves have increased intellect and magical acumen, those who feed on fish and sea life benefit from amphibious qualities such as gill, decreased mass, and general agility, while those who consume more mundane warm-blooded mammals are larger and more strongly built with claws/needle spines/razor sharp teeth, and so on.

    The life cycle of a Troll

    Trow are the infantile stage of troll. They are born in litters of about one hundred and range from fine to small. The live in mounds that are often mistaken for barrows. Of all their brothers and sisters only a handful will reach the next stage of development.

    It takes nearly a century for trow to mature with the final stages happening in a few short years. During this Trow grow into full sized trolls, often eating their smaller and weaker brethren for magical sustenance.

    Adult trolls

    From full sized trolls there are two developmental paths. A troll can continue to grow in size by eating the flesh of trolls, giants, ogres, normal humanoids and gobliniods. In so doing the troll becomes a Bjertrolden, it grows to the size of giants but it wits and magic never develop; this is the path that male trolls usually take.

    By preying on magical beings or beings with a propensity for magic (fae, casters and humanoids or gobliniods with large amounts of wisdom, intelligence or charisma) a trolls mind and magic will develop instead of their bodies, becoming dangerous and cunning troll witches. This is the normal path of female trolls but it is not limited to females and not all females follow it.

    Ascendancy

    Rarely a troll will be able to attain great size and power. This requires that either it eat the flesh of a truly diving being or that it eats the soul energy of tens of thousands of mortals.

    It becomes a regenerating man mountain and magical powerhouse with a dangerously cunning mind to boot. For trolls this is ascendency, this is divinity and these beings are capable of miracles both dark and terrible.

    Trollkin

    Trow

    Trow stand between 2’ and 4’6”. They are violent, cunning and perpetually hungry carnivores. They have short wide heads and thin mouths full of razor edged teeth. They hate and fear mundane fire and love the dark. Whilst they have no casters themselves they are exceptionally resistant to magic in all its forms. It is said that they have a great love for eating babies and children.

    Hrulden

    Trow who do not partake of only human and not trow flesh get stuck at just about human size, they are called Hrulden and whist fertile with humans they are a dead end on troll development. The children of the hrulden are the goblins.

    Ghoulkin

    These are what become of trow who eat rotting carrion. They are afflicted with a disease of the spirit that makes them rabid living dead monstrosities. Trolls loath them and like all undead reject eating their flesh. They are the preoginators of first ghouls and through them vampires.
    My Home brew setting:

    Concentric circles
    Necrotheism

    Quote Originally Posted by JusticeZero View Post
    How very Machiavellian, professor Doom.
    Clever, effective, and anyone who agrees with it is a grade A global supervillain.

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Default Re: Race: The conundrums and contemplations.

    This threed is getting really quite messy. I am probobly going to restart a tidied up version of this over in world building pretty soon.

    In the mean time here is the curent version of the half-elfs post merger.

    Elan

    Spoiler
    Show
    They are the human descendants of the Alfar and form the backbone of the entrenched aristocratic clans throughout much of the land. Most are staunch traditionalists who worship their alfar ancestors with pride.

    They stand between 4’8” and 6’4”. They are usually considered adults by 21 and venerable at 90. They have slim athletic physiques as well as high sharp cheek bones and slightly pointed ears. Many have nonstandard hair and eye colour.

    Fading

    The Elan are caught between the devil and the deep. With each generation that passes they fade just a little; they need a fresh infusion of Alfar DNA to their genepools at least every fifth generation. This process is not helped by their unpredictability and meagre fertility of the Alfar. To expedite matters the clans greedily seek out Alfar scions to marry into their family as well as giving some of their children to the alfars service or sending a daughter of to a “convent” and hoping for the best. When an elani talks about a personal relationship with her god it is understood that she is not talking about a little voice in the back of her mind and a general sense of spiritual wellbeing.

    By intermarrying normal humans their blood line fades; their longevity is diminished. Because of this many clans are endogamous and obsessive with purity. This carries its own risks and a great many clans struggle with infertility, congenital deformity and insanity. More pragmatic individuals accept that the extremes lengths that others go are even more damaging then taking normal humans into the family; those family attempt to strike some sort of a balance.

    Magic

    The elani produce few wizard or divine casters. They are known for their sorcerers, enchanters, artificers and inordinate numbers of fae pact warlocks.

    Culture

    Drineagh

    Also known as fallen or wild clans; the Drineagh are nomads. Of all Elani they possess the strongest connections with the Alfar and their sihdees. It is said that they act as the eyes and ear and knives of the Alfar amongst the human lands, that each clan has its own patron who personally ensure their continuation.

    Amongst the elani they act as spies, assassins and scouts for hire. Few trust them but all respect and fear them. The only thing worse than Drineagh knives in the dark is being captured; for there are no more sadistic and imaginative torturers to be found outside of the fairy courts than they.

    They are most often in direct conflict with each other; either at the behest of the godlike masters in their intrigues or because of the vicious vendetas and generational feuds that can result. These shadow wars bear little resemblance to the open battles, duels and skirmishes of other peoples and are known for their convoluted pileups of gambit and counter gambit all covered in a thick fog of deceit and misinformation.

    Geidic

    Of all elan the Geid possess the most extensive holdings. From their halls and fastnesses they rule huge swathes of land, their people owe them featly and tribute. At best they are firm but fair rulers and protectors; at worst they are arrogant and exploitative tyrants who think nothing for the welfare and happiness of their people.

    The Geid are notorious slavers and raiders. They take great pride in border raids against neighbouring lands to take slaves, goods and cattle; some are also known for daring sea raids. They permit slavers to traffic, trade or even take captives in their territory, caring more about their honour and their cut than about the injustice being inflicted.

    The clans create, breed, use and trade manbeasts. Whilst they don’t possess the true speech of their Alfar ancestors they use injections of ritual circles, injections of alchemically altered blood and potions to achieve this. Manbeasts form the cutting edges of their armies, lending firmness and power to their peasant levies.

    Aintiarna:

    Of all the elan the Aintiarna are the most cosmopolitan. The clans live together in large fortified towns. This arrangement of adjacent clan halls, compounds and vassal estates can make for a vibrant if tense society.
    They are renowned for their metalwork’s; for the smithying, crafting and enchanting of high quality arms and armour. It is the trade in their crafts that provides the Aintiarna with the majority of their wealth and influence; the competition for trade and trade secrets is intense and at times cut throat.

    Officially they acknowledge no human slaves in their lands; unofficially the Elani nobility can command any of their vassals in any way, punish or even kill them for any or no reason. The common folk can be ordered, bought, traded and sold into an indentures servitude that doesn’t even have the honesty to admit slavery. No slavery just means that the base state of most humans in many Aintiarna clan holds is no better than a slave.



    Notes:

    The Geid where supposed to be city dwelling drowalikes and the Aintiarna the feudal lords but I think that it works much better the other way around. I am thinking of putting the whole "creates manbeast" thing over to the Aintairna. The best way I can describe the Drineagh is think wood ninja.
    Last edited by Blightedmarsh; 2012-11-04 at 06:50 AM.
    My Home brew setting:

    Concentric circles
    Necrotheism

    Quote Originally Posted by JusticeZero View Post
    How very Machiavellian, professor Doom.
    Clever, effective, and anyone who agrees with it is a grade A global supervillain.

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