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Tanuki Tales
2013-09-26, 08:57 AM
This thread is simply about discussing which races (or civilizations or societal organization or whatever you have that's similar in concept), from any tabletop game, that you find yourself deeply disliking or outright hating. This can be for aesthetic reasons, for reasons of logic, for clashing for morals, for just not liking them or for what ever else reason you can come up with.

I'll start us off by listing the two races that I dislike across gaming:

Elves
Orc

I dislike the former because they just tend to be so generic across the board. But unlike the dwarves (at least to me), who have some redeeming and good humanizing characteristics, Elves come across as just a gaggle of pseudo-intellectual semi-immortals who love nature and think every other races is either vermin or just morons. They seem to epitomize some of the most negative aspects of modern civilization but get praised for it and/or it's treated as their selling point.

I dislike the latter because they usually end up being blood hungry, rape happy savages who "just want to watch the world burn". They epitomize the negative aspects about primitive cultures, are practically always the bog standard bad guy minion and have zero value in the worth of their lives in the eyes of many player groups.

It's little wonder that the only versions I like of the above come from Warhammer 40k and Eberron. In the former, the Space Elves are manipulative jerks and holier than thou, but they're also responsible for 40k being the crap sack world it is. They aren't treated as something to be idolized by the other races in the setting and are just as bad as any of the others. They're flawed, they're fallen and they're recovering baby eating serial killer rapists. And the Orks are just the comedy relief in the setting, are fungus people and ironically are the ones most naturally approaching anything you could call a Utopia.

In the latter, Elves are basically either klingons or tomb kings. Orcs on the other hand are the druidic peaceful race that are in tune with nature and just want generally to be left to go about their business.

Segev
2013-09-26, 09:30 AM
Half-vampires, in just about any setting. Vampires don't work that way.

Black Jester
2013-09-26, 09:45 AM
I don't dislike Orks (or any form of replacement Orcs, like goblins, hobgoblins or the like) per say, but there are some forms I can hardly stand, namely the one-dimensional ones. The whole idea of one-note, no-mercy deserving savage brutes with little to no redeeming qualities who are acceptable swordfodder - that kind I loath, not because of themselves, but it combines an undifferentiated adaption of the obviously racist source material with lazy writing, gamemastering or storytelling in general.

Likewise, I don't dislike Elves by default, but heavy handed noble savage stereotypes (for extra bonus points combined with a clumsy environmental message) who are just as one note and stupidly idolized are annoying.

And no, I have nothing against environmentalist messages. I just don't like stupidly heavy-handed and preachy ones.

You can make Orks and their lookalikes (seriously, why are here sooo many pseudo-orks anyway?) multidimensional with strengths and flaws and therefore interesting and generally great. You can make Elves multidimensional with strengths and flaws and therefore interesting and generally great. You can even treat boring old humans as multidimensional with strengths and flaws and therefore interesting and generally great. The problem is not the race per say, it's bad and lazy writing (or gamemastering, or storytelling in general).


Half-vampires, in just about any setting. Vampires don't work that way.


Actually, the whole dhampir concept is older than most modern concepts of vampires and has a more incubus/succubus background to it, because adding sex to a scary story, just makes it creepier and juicier, you know?

The_Werebear
2013-09-26, 09:45 AM
I can't do elves without making them terrible people. They are usually Abusive Precursors in my settings. If they aren't, it's because they don't exist or are being the Evil Empire.

Yora
2013-09-26, 10:05 AM
Do Kender count? I think Kender shouldn't count. Kender are not a race, they are a cruel joke to make fun of any RPG player with an IQ in the two or three digit range.

Races I don't like:

Dwarves: Racist, alchoholic, scottish-viking miners. Which applies to 99% of all dwarf character and dwarf cultures in any fantasy worlds ever. It might have worked once, or maybe twice. But it just doesn't work 59 times.

High Elves: Or, since we're ranting about stereotypes here, Nazi-elves. Those guys who are the best mages, lives the longest, and hate all non-elven races and despise all wood-elves and those sub-elven peasants.
If that's what the creator aims for, that's okay. The second age Noldor from Middle Earth and the Thalmor from Skyrim are meant to be evil genocidal bastards who have the most in common with drow. But they just don't work in any way as a shining example of elven perfection. (Well presented wood elves who cut trees for wood and hunt animals for food I like very much, though. One of my favorite races.)

I think that's pretty much all I actively dislike. All others I simply don't care for.

Segev
2013-09-26, 10:10 AM
Actually, the whole dhampir concept is older than most modern concepts of vampires and has a more incubus/succubus background to it, because adding sex to a scary story, just makes it creepier and juicier, you know?

If you want "children as a mark of the sexual indiscretion," go for an incubus or succubus, not a vampire. Vampires are about predation, sexual or otherwise. They, better than "infected" zombies, are the plague, the STD, the curse.

Incubi are the "leave the woman to raise the child alone" source, particularly with the "and the kid has unusual, perhaps dangerous traits" tacked on.

Scow2
2013-09-26, 10:11 AM
Meh.... I usually get around the 'hippy Elf problem' by emphasizing that they are more like the Moon than any animal: They're guardians of nature, but explicitly not part of it (Just like how the moon isn't affected by predation, seasonal changes, weather, or anything like that). They are most definitely not "one with nature" - They have absolutely no role in the ecosystem at all except as Troubleshooters when things start to go 'wrong' (For a given definition of such). Of course... there is a lot going for elven perfection (Elves are wiser than humans? No **** - wisdom comes with age and experience, and elves have lived several human lifetimes to learn. Oh, they're good with magic, but any human can beat their skull in... congratulations, humans have all the civility and intellect of a savage animal)

Elves are best when they're portrayed as otherworldly and different, which 90% of D&D fails to do.

On the subject of "Dwarves are racist" - Of course they are. To deny the objective superiority of dwarves is to wallow in ignorance.

DefKab
2013-09-26, 10:19 AM
Oh, this one's an easy one... Gnomes... I HATE gnomes.
What the heck are gnomes, anyway? Halflings with big noses?
Tiny Elves?
Portrayed as tinkerers? Magicians?
Heck, they're the Ferengi of the Fantasy world, and I hate the Ferengi too...

No, My biggest problem with the gnome is that almost every other race in DnD has a root in literature somewhere. Some kind of link to a myth, or story... The gnomes could be Leprechauns, but they're not... They're... Well, they're nothing really...
The only literature they could play off of is David the Gnome... 3 inches tall, with a 3 inch hat? That's a fancily dressed Pixie...
They have NO place in a fantasy setting. Get rid of them.

Black Jester
2013-09-26, 10:22 AM
If you want "children as a mark of the sexual indiscretion," go for an incubus or succubus, not a vampire. Vampires are about predation, sexual or otherwise. They, better than "infected" zombies, are the plague, the STD, the curse.

Incubi are the "leave the woman to raise the child alone" source, particularly with the "and the kid has unusual, perhaps dangerous traits" tacked on.

Hey, I just mentioned that the concept is older than most modern vampire myths. Or do you expect the Balkanians to retroactively adjust their folklore to make it fit better with Stoker's novel or literally thousands of different movies and tales over the last 100 years? And if so, which ones?
At this point (especially if you include the actual folklore), Vampires are utterly arbitrary and can have or lack about any ability you want them to have or lack. They are conveniently adjustable to your specific story needs, and complaining that this or that is not a proper vampire makes as much sense as complaining that this or that is not a proper depiction of magic.

The Rose Dragon
2013-09-26, 10:22 AM
I dislike the Linowan. Those boat-dwelling bastards.

Scow2
2013-09-26, 10:23 AM
Oh, this one's an easy one... Gnomes... I HATE gnomes.
What the heck are gnomes, anyway? Halflings with big noses?
Tiny Elves?
Portrayed as tinkerers? Magicians?
Heck, they're the Ferengi of the Fantasy world, and I hate the Ferengi too...

No, My biggest problem with the gnome is that almost every other race in DnD has a root in literature somewhere. Some kind of link to a myth, or story... The gnomes could be Leprechauns, but they're not... They're... Well, they're nothing really...
The only literature they could play off of is David the Gnome... 3 inches tall, with a 3 inch hat? That's a fancily dressed Pixie...
They have NO place in a fantasy setting. Get rid of them.The ironic part here is that Gnomes have an even stronger root in fantasy and mythology than Elves and Halflings combined. In fact, MOST elves from myths and legends are closer to D&D Gnomes than they are to D&D Elves.

Morgarion
2013-09-26, 10:27 AM
I turned elves into generally diabolical hedonists who had fueled an empire with human slaves upon losing their immortality. They were far too effete to actually capture the slaves themselves, so they purchased them from the opportunistic and amoral halflings.

While I generally don't have very high regard for the non-core classes and races, I'm particularly not impressed with Paizo's take on gnomes. The whole fey in exile thing just doesn't jive with me. Another thing that irks me is the inclusion of the tiefling as a standard playable race, especially given the change in direction from a planetouched being vaguley inhuman to essentially looking like a fiendish half dragon. It's not as subtle or interesting.

Mark Hall
2013-09-26, 10:30 AM
Do Kender count? I think Kender shouldn't count. Kender are not a race, they are a cruel joke to make fun of any RPG player with an IQ in the two or three digit range.

So, anywhere between 10 and 999?

Segev
2013-09-26, 11:00 AM
Hey, I just mentioned that the concept is older than most modern vampire myths. Or do you expect the Balkanians to retroactively adjust their folklore to make it fit better with Stoker's novel or literally thousands of different movies and tales over the last 100 years? And if so, which ones?
At this point (especially if you include the actual folklore), Vampires are utterly arbitrary and can have or lack about any ability you want them to have or lack. They are conveniently adjustable to your specific story needs, and complaining that this or that is not a proper vampire makes as much sense as complaining that this or that is not a proper depiction of magic.

Just because their folklore is older than the one I like doesn't mean I have to like their folklore. :P

This is a thread about opinions. I've shared mine, and the reasons for them.



Similarly, but for different reasons, I dislike half-castes in Exalted. Celestial Exaltation is not hereditary, and a Celestial Exalt is still human, so his kids should be, too.

Tanuki Tales
2013-09-26, 12:08 PM
I know a thread is going right when I have to open a tab for a wiki to understand the conversation. :smallbiggrin:

Now I'm going back to the Exalted wiki.

Ceiling_Squid
2013-09-26, 12:17 PM
I don't mind common fantasy tropes, so long as there's an interesting twist or two to shake things up from time-to-time. I can handle post-Tolkein dwarves and elves just fine, though it sounds like a lot of people are...less than enthused for typical DnD fare.

What kills me is some of the stuff that came OUT of early DnD-related literature directly.

In particular, the Drow.

Can't stand them, and the fact that they're so damn popular with players. This isn't about Drizzt clones most of the time, the entire Drow race is flawed from the ground up.

How does an entire race of evil backstabbers persist as a society without collapsing? They're boring, morally bankrupt, completely one-note "for the evuls" in most of their doings, and serve as a player excuse for disruptively-evil behavior. They also led to the unfortunate tendency for writers to come up with "evil-opposites" for every other race just to fill a perceived gap, and with very inconsistent degrees of success.

Thankfully the Dark Elf concept has been reworked a few times and toned down. I like the Dunmer of the Elder Scrolls series. They're unusual, often distrusted by the other races due to their appearance, and have a culture and mindset largely alien to the other races, but they aren't an evil-opposite of "standard" elves. Their culture of ancestor worship also gave them an interesting angle of religious conflict with the pervading Pantheon of the Nine Divines, without having them worship some kind of inherently evil god. Religious conflict that isn't just black-and-white alignment clashing is something DnD needs to explore more often. Rival faiths and pantheons and such.

The Rose Dragon
2013-09-26, 12:44 PM
Similarly, but for different reasons, I dislike half-castes in Exalted. Celestial Exaltation is not hereditary, and a Celestial Exalt is still human, so his kids should be, too.

Things that are also not hereditary:

Being a spirit (elementals and some demons excluded).
Being raksha.
Being a ghost.

Scots Dragon
2013-09-26, 12:50 PM
So, anywhere between 10 and 999?

People with four-digit IQs, on the other hand, like to troll everyone in the lower group and therefore adore Kenders. Ironically they're also the only people smart enough to play actual Kenders along the lines of Tasslehoff Burrfoot rather than the insane uber-kleptomaniac types that most Dragonlance groups tend to acquire.

Logic
2013-09-26, 01:19 PM
*Snip*
Elves come across as just a gaggle of pseudo-intellectual semi-immortals who love nature and think every other races is either vermin or just morons.
This is the same reason I hate elves, as they are portrayed by an annoyingly large number of my former players and/or DMs.


...they usually end up being blood hungry, rape happy savages who "just want to watch the world burn"

This is usually because settings need villains, and Orcs are easy to paint into a corner. Plus, primitive=BAD in many minds.

Ceiling_Squid
2013-09-26, 01:24 PM
This is usually because settings need villains, and Orcs are easy to paint into a corner. Plus, primitive=BAD in many minds.

All too true. Primitivity should be a morality-neutral feature. I also get similarly sick of the opposite problem, which is the morally-superior "noble savage" archetype that wood elves and druids have going for them in some settings.

Yora
2013-09-26, 01:44 PM
This is the same reason I hate elves, as they are portrayed by an annoyingly large number of my former players and/or DMs.
When I started working on my setting, which basically is a somewhat "generic" fantasy world but set in a period before the old civilization collapsed and humans took over everything, one of the very first thing I decited to do is always calling them "wood elves" and "dark elves". As a constant reminder to not allow them to slip back into those racially superior high elves and racially superior evul drow.

I always liked this image of an elf:
http://fc04.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2010/120/6/a/hero_boartusk_armour_by_perzo.jpg
And also this image of gnomes:
http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/Monster2_gallery/90.jpg
Now that's something I like to create a setting with.

Some other races that never really did it for me are the Archons and Modrons from Planescape. The other six main planar races are all cool in their way, but these ones just meh...

Also something that always makes me unhappy: Dragonborn. Or what these 3rd Edition template cheese-wheels are called. It seems that nobody ever considers them for their backstory, but they are always brought up to get some cheap bonuses. That you become a kind of dragon-person, who cares?

Agrippa
2013-09-26, 01:47 PM
If you don't like the mindless, forrest burning and rape happy orcs you can turn orcs into magically engineered Pinkerton (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinkerton_Government_Services) goon squads instead.

Tanuki Tales
2013-09-26, 01:52 PM
If you don't like the mindless, forrest burning and rape happy orcs you can turn orcs into magically engineered Pinkerton (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinkerton_Government_Services) goon squads instead.


Excuse me?

BWR
2013-09-26, 01:54 PM
A common opinion here seems to be "we don't like Tolkien's elves and orcs".
An interesting opinion.
Not that I'm saying it's a bad one or anything, just one I have a hard time understanding.

Tanuki Tales
2013-09-26, 02:06 PM
A common opinion here seems to be "we don't like Tolkien's elves and orcs".
An interesting opinion.
Not that I'm saying it's a bad one or anything, just one I have a hard time understanding.

I don't mind Tolkie's Orcs because there's context and explanation for why they are the way they are. The Dark God and his Fallen Angel right hand man tortured and corrupted elves into degenerate monsters and then mind controlled them to be even worse. That makes sense and can be compelling characterization.

But when Orcs are monsters for no other apparent reason than for giggles? That's what I hate.

The_Werebear
2013-09-26, 02:17 PM
A common opinion here seems to be "we don't like Tolkien's elves and orcs".
An interesting opinion.
Not that I'm saying it's a bad one or anything, just one I have a hard time understanding.

I don't mind Tolkien's Elves. They are literally of another world. They're ethereal, wise, responsible, and (most importantly) fallible. They do their best, and are very good, but they aren't perfect.

Most Fantasy derivation of Elves that I end up rebelling against tend to lean Heavily on the "Can't Argue with Elves" (TV tropes required reading if you have all day to be lost there)

That, and I am rather Dwarfy at heart.

Mark Hall
2013-09-26, 02:21 PM
People with four-digit IQs, on the other hand, like to troll everyone in the lower group and therefore adore Kenders. Ironically they're also the only people smart enough to play actual Kenders along the lines of Tasslehoff Burrfoot rather than the insane uber-kleptomaniac types that most Dragonlance groups tend to acquire.

I have pretty much one friend I will allow to play a kender without reservation, though with my standing rules (i.e. "You do not get to choose when you use your racial abilities; they're there at your call and at mine.")

His playing a kender cleric of Mishakal wound up with him hiding in a tree while the Knight of the Crown threatened him with murder.

Segev
2013-09-26, 02:32 PM
Things that are also not hereditary:

Being a spirit (elementals and some demons excluded).
Being raksha.Ah, but these fall into the "humans can breed with anything" trope, and are genre-ok. Note that they aren't human to begin with.

Exalted are. They shouldn't be having half-exalted children. You either are Exalted, or you're not, and the only Exaltation that is even remotely inherited is Dragonblooded.

Being a ghost.Honestly, ghost-blooded bug me, too.

Slipperychicken
2013-09-26, 02:41 PM
I find that orcs often function much like androids and zombies do: as human-shaped, yet dehumanized, punching-bags. The protagonist gets to enact graphic violence on these person-shaped targets without moral consequence, and you (the audience) get to revel carefree in the bloodshed, having been assured that "they're not really people, so it's okay to kill them".

Brookshw
2013-09-26, 02:50 PM
Oh, this one's an easy one... Gnomes... I HATE gnomes.
What the heck are gnomes, anyway? Halflings with big noses?
Tiny Elves?
Portrayed as tinkerers? Magicians?
Heck, they're the Ferengi of the Fantasy world, and I hate the Ferengi too...

No, My biggest problem with the gnome is that almost every other race in DnD has a root in literature somewhere. Some kind of link to a myth, or story... The gnomes could be Leprechauns, but they're not... They're... Well, they're nothing really...
The only literature they could play off of is David the Gnome... 3 inches tall, with a 3 inch hat? That's a fancily dressed Pixie...
They have NO place in a fantasy setting. Get rid of them.

Seconded, and thank you!

Yora
2013-09-26, 02:54 PM
Planning an adventure in which there are no orcs or hobgoblins and barely any goblins living anywhere near the lands of the humanoid races starts to get quite different very early on. Without these disposable battle-robots for hire, villains have to recruit actual people who need to get paid and may ask questions, or maybe even surrender and talk. Replacing them with human or dwarf bandits already changes the adventure quite a bit.

Gettles
2013-09-26, 02:55 PM
Mark me down as another one who hates the whole "of course they are better, they're Elves" portrayal for Elves.

Also, I find myself uncomfortable with the fact that it seems all of the "evil subgroup(drow, dwergar, ect.)" of major races seem to have darker skin.

BRC
2013-09-26, 03:03 PM
Planning an adventure in which there are no orcs or hobgoblins and barely any goblins living anywhere near the lands of the humanoid races starts to get quite different very early on. Without these disposable battle-robots for hire, villains have to recruit actual people who need to get paid and may ask questions, or maybe even surrender and talk. Replacing them with human or dwarf bandits already changes the adventure quite a bit.

Alternatively, turn Orcs/Hobgoblins/Goblins into people with their own motivations and values rather than making them mindlessly evil minions. So the bad guy has orcs working for him? Why are the Orcs working for him? They don't need to have Good reasons, they could just mercenaries, but give them some reason.

Tanuki Tales
2013-09-26, 03:09 PM
Mark me down as another one who hates the whole "of course they are better, they're Elves" portrayal for Elves.

Also, I find myself uncomfortable with the fact that it seems all of the "evil subgroup(drow, dwergar, ect.)" of major races seem to have darker skin.

Yeah, they should have paler skin since they're subterranean.

BWR
2013-09-26, 03:16 PM
Or darker skin for better camoflage.

The_Werebear
2013-09-26, 03:27 PM
Or darker skin for better camoflage.

It's pitch black down there. No one can see anything anyway. And in dim light, solid, charcoal black stands out much more than a dark, blended gray-green.

Arkhosia
2013-09-26, 03:32 PM
Personally, I dislike humans in fantasy settings.
"There's tall, lithe people with uncanny grace who live in trees called elves in the forest here. There's a proud, strong race of artisans called dwarves who live there. Over there? Oh, those are the humans. They're just humans"

BWR
2013-09-26, 03:43 PM
It's pitch black down there. No one can see anything anyway. And in dim light, solid, charcoal black stands out much more than a dark, blended gray-green.

And duergar are called gray dwarves, right?
And svirfneblin are described as dark-hued, right?
And black is still better for hiding than pale skin, right?

The_Werebear
2013-09-26, 03:48 PM
The real point is that no one should be able to see at all.

BRC
2013-09-26, 03:50 PM
Most things in the underdark have Darkvision, which you can see black-and-white within 60 feet, and which turns to pitch black outside of that.

So in many cases predators/enemies are going to be walking around in 60 foot bubbles of sight in a pitch black mist.

So if you encounter somebody in a tunnel and want to blend in/obscure your outline, you would want to look like whatever is behind you. What is really behind you is rock, probably some shade of grey, but in their eyes you are positioned against a black background, so ink-black would make you blend in. It might not hide you, but it would obscure your outline and make you hard to focus on.

Most tunnels are fairly linear, if they can see the rock wall behind you then you and them are probably perpendicular to the path of the tunnel, and therefore close enough that they could make you out easily enough regardless of blending. If you wanted skin like rock it would lose effectiveness as soon as you were in front of a different type of rock, but everybody in the Underdark will be looking at the same pitch-black background in a 60 foot bubble of colorless sight.

Grim Portent
2013-09-26, 03:53 PM
And black is still better for hiding than pale skin, right?

Only in dim light such as caves with large entrances. Deep caverns and tunnels have no light at all so colour of any sort is a waste of energy. There's a reason cave creatures in real life tend to be pinky-white or clear.

BWR
2013-09-26, 04:07 PM
I know how things work in the real world.
Yet these underground creatures in fantasy worlds do have normal light upon occasion and eyes capable of seeing it.

In truth, I'm wobbling between being depressed by and having fun at seeing the ridiculous rage people get about things like "they should be pale not dark" as if that's an important and valid arguemnt in a world that has magic and dragons and all that other stupid ****. If you really want to you can tear apart just about any aspect of your average fantasy setting on the basis of 'it doesn't really work like that'. Picking on things like races or the color of races is just targeting a random aspect of the main 'problem': this is a fantasy setting and the very term 'fantasy' necessitates things that are not real. The dark color of underground creatures is probably based on the classic fantasy idea of 'dark things in the earth', because it's dark underground and darkness of hue belongs to darkness in nature and dark colors being related to bad stuff.

You know what, you want a pale, underground semi-evil but not really evil elf race, go check out the shadow elves of Mystara.

Mark Hall
2013-09-26, 04:41 PM
No, My biggest problem with the gnome is that almost every other race in DnD has a root in literature somewhere. Some kind of link to a myth, or story... The gnomes could be Leprechauns, but they're not... They're... Well, they're nothing really...
The only literature they could play off of is David the Gnome... 3 inches tall, with a 3 inch hat? That's a fancily dressed Pixie...
They have NO place in a fantasy setting. Get rid of them.

The usually cited antecessor for gnomes is Hugi, from Three Hearts and Three Lions (source of the Paladin class and trolls, as well, and the swanmay). If you look at the original Greyhawk materials, gnomes were tough fighters and heavily nature-oriented, with their illusionist skills being an offshoot of Hugi's Faerie nature. In many ways, they are akin to the various Hidden Folk of the world religions... where halflings are bucolic peasants (shading towards Rom in later D&D), gnomes are more the marginalized minority... either a remnant population of pre-conquest peoples, or a distinct and overlooked group who are semi-integrated while remaining distinct. Note that this ties back to Hugi... while ostensibly Faerie, he is much more closely aligned with Law by nature.

Now, later materials did weird things to gnomes. Dragonlance saddled with with a tinker aspect, whereas their 1e presentation had little to do with it. I understand that Eberron made them creepy information brokers. But a gnome has a very distinct place... the quasi-outsider, who, despite having a place in society, is never quite a full part of it.

Hyena
2013-09-26, 04:47 PM
If I wanted orcs to be morally complex, noble culture, which is, while alien, still worthy respect, I wouldn't play DnD, but instead aspire to become a politician - stuff like that is all over the real world.
I want to kill some enemies other then undead and oozes and feel justified about it.

For some reason I bear a strong dislike towards elves. All kinds of them.

The Rose Dragon
2013-09-26, 04:58 PM
Ah, but these fall into the "humans can breed with anything" trope, and are genre-ok. Note that they aren't human to begin with.

Exalted are. They shouldn't be having half-exalted children. You either are Exalted, or you're not, and the only Exaltation that is even remotely inherited is Dragonblooded.

Half-castes do not inherit Exaltation, they inherit Essence perception. There is a difference.

Issabella
2013-09-26, 05:01 PM
1-Kender for the sheer party conflict involved.

2- The "enviromental" demi human, aquatic orcs, frost dwarves, jungle elves...etc. I can kind of tollerate aquatic elves simply due to how long it has been around.

BRC
2013-09-26, 05:02 PM
If I wanted orcs to be morally complex, noble culture, which is, while alien, still worthy respect, I wouldn't play DnD, but instead aspire to become a politician - stuff like that is all over the real world.
I want to kill some enemies other then undead and oozes and feel justified about it.

For some reason I bear a strong dislike towards elves. All kinds of them.
Bandits, Raiders, Mercenaries, Cultists, soldiers of the evil empire, fanatic minions, barbarians bent on conquest, ect.

All those could serve the exact same narrative purpose as orcs and goblins. We don't feel bad about killing orcs and goblins because they do evil things.
The reason we use Orcs instead of Evil Humans is because even the most enlightened of us has some traces of xenophobia, so killing an evil Orc is easie than killing an evil Human.

Black Jester
2013-09-26, 05:10 PM
Personally, I dislike humans in fantasy settings.
"There's tall, lithe people with uncanny grace who live in trees called elves in the forest here. There's a proud, strong race of artisans called dwarves who live there. Over there? Oh, those are the humans. They're just humans"

And unfortunately, more often than not you have gaunt humans with pointy ears, small, stocky humans with beards, and regular humans without pointy ears and usually a lot less beard.
Don't get me wrong, I think that a setting where there are no humans period would allow to prevent this "everybody is the same, but with different rubber foreheads" syndrome, but most of the time, the reason a culture seems dull and uninspired is not because they are so by default but because the author (or gamemaster) failed to put some effort into it and make them interesting.

ellindsey
2013-09-26, 05:12 PM
One of the first decisions that I made when setting up my Pathfinder campaign was that Drow do not exist. No way, never have, not even a little bit. Orcs and elves are also both getting some significant re-writes.

I'm also very bothered by the depiction of the Satyr from the Pathfinder Bestiary. These are essentially parasitic organisms which use rape-by-mind-control to force other races to incubate their clonal offspring. Sure, they're described as fun-loving and bearing no ill will, but if you read between the lines of the fluff to how their reproductive cycle works it's actually quite horrific.

Asheram
2013-09-26, 05:24 PM
If you don't like the mindless, forrest burning and rape happy orcs you can turn orcs into magically engineered Pinkerton (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinkerton_Government_Services) goon squads instead.

Oh, why can't I draw?! I've got this lovely image in my head of an orc in a pin-stripe suit and a bowler hat now so Thank you!

Anyhow, I suppose... that I dislike humans. They're always portrayed as the middle ground, not especially good at anything (beside Progress), not especially bad at anything.

Mastikator
2013-09-26, 05:26 PM
I dislike having lots of different civilized humanoid creatures that compete for mostly the same resources without exterminating each other. Having 1-4 is fine, but they should each have lots of nuance and variation, and they should be very different from each other, moreso than any two cultures within humanity.
I also dislike the anything-can-breed-with-anything trope, it just breaks immersion.

Closet_Skeleton
2013-09-26, 05:53 PM
If you want "children as a mark of the sexual indiscretion," go for an incubus or succubus, not a vampire. Vampires are about predation, sexual or otherwise. They, better than "infected" zombies, are the plague, the STD, the curse.

Incubi are the "leave the woman to raise the child alone" source, particularly with the "and the kid has unusual, perhaps dangerous traits" tacked on.

Trying to rigidly separate folkloric entities is foolish and missing the point.

Incubi and Vampires just aren't that different, Incubi were just never alive in the medieval Christian belief, but if they had pagan origins those may have been closer to a kind of undead or ogre.

Ghouls and ogres, werewolves and witches, fairies and ghosts, these are blurred categories in folklore. Your categories are too artificial. The gaelic word for fairie is 'Aos Si' meaning people of the (burial) mounds. I'd be shocked if Tolkien wasn't deliberately playing on that when he used the term 'Barrow-Wight' (a barrow being a burial mound and wight being anglo-saxon for 'person' or 'creature')

Vampires aren't about predation. They're about making sense of unexplainable death and the sense of loss of a loved one. The folkloric vampire takes the form of a dead loved one in a dream and is only a sexual predator if appropriate, such as in the case of a dead fiancé. This is clear if you look at the real life case studies of the beliefs of eastern and central Europe.


The ironic part here is that Gnomes have an even stronger root in fantasy and mythology than Elves and Halflings combined. In fact, MOST elves from myths and legends are closer to D&D Gnomes than they are to D&D Elves.

Gnomes, like Sylphs, were probably made up by Paracelsus as names for his elementals. Elves are much more rooted, but are pretty much just another name for Fey or goblins rather than anything Tolkienesque.

I ran a few D&D games in a setting where Gnome and Elf were the only playable races and humans were encountered in another dimension.



Being a ghost.

If a ghost got you pregnant (or vice versa), your/their child would not be a ghost but would probably be supernaturally messed up somehow.

Kish
2013-09-26, 06:03 PM
Humans.

They're as generic as white bread (humans are never the species known for having super-strength or super-intellect, nor are they the species known for being particularly frail or particularly stupid), as ubiquitous as cockroaches, and so few authors feel a need to earn them running everything, rather than just assuming it by default, no matter how many other sapient species there are.

Erasmas
2013-09-26, 06:04 PM
What kills me is
{snip}
the Drow.

Can't stand them, and the fact that they're so damn popular with players.

This.
Very much this.

hiryuu
2013-09-26, 06:09 PM
Personally, I dislike humans in fantasy settings.
"There's tall, lithe people with uncanny grace who live in trees called elves in the forest here. There's a proud, strong race of artisans called dwarves who live there. Over there? Oh, those are the humans. They're just humans"

I dislike it when humans could be used for something but aren't solely because the writers want them to have pointy ears.

Top of my list, most portrayals of elves, but that's a symptom of the fact that I hate that you can sum up a "race" with a small pile of stereotypes. It's fantasy, I am most likely going to make a human, simply because I want to see races get weird. I want to see races with biologies so weird that they're unplayable. Sentient spells and ideas that travel by infecting other people with themselves or entities whose culture creates their physical shape, or whose culture is contagious. People pull out the "it's fantasy, humans are BORING" canard so much but invariable all they wind up making is humans with funny makeup on, I want to see a setting get downright freakin' BIZARRE. Anything humanoid to me is basically just all shmeerps unless it has an utterly bizarre biology, like a half-blood, since I can use a human to portray a skinny culture who lives in the woods and likes art just the same as I can use a human to portray a drunk culture that mines things.

Come on, Burroughs' Mars had a race that was essentially spiders that drove around in headless robots.

Anyway, my list of least favorite race portrayals then moves on to any of the savage races - goblins, kobolds, hobgoblins, things like that. So I guess this is the same thing - why does every culture need a wholly new race to portray it?

My next setting experiment is to make all these "humanoids" just be humans and call them by the various names.

hamishspence
2013-09-26, 06:23 PM
Come on, Burroughs' Mars had a race that was essentially spiders that drove around in headless robots.

Those "robots" were living beings- just ones with brains reduced to vestiges of what they had been long ago before the symbiotic partnership evolved.

But it was a more exotic concept than usual, yes.

hiryuu
2013-09-26, 06:33 PM
Those "robots" were living beings- just ones with brains reduced to vestiges of what they had been long ago before the symbiotic partnership evolved.

But it was a more exotic concept than usual, yes.

Thus the term "essentially," but yeah. I'd love to see exotic concepts more often. I can do without "looks like a human with spikes" and want more "it looks sort of like an inverted asparagus made of metal that gets around on caster wheels and speaks by spraying scents into your face that make you remember what it's trying to tell you." Because that's going to force you into a very alien place just interacting with it.

erikun
2013-09-26, 06:46 PM
Elves. My biggest problem is that I like the ideas behind fae-elves, and as such, most standard elves come off as humans wearing funny hats. They're near immortal but do nothing different with their lives because of it. They live in forests but have no inclination towards nature. They "place great value on music and art" and yet I never hear about what this actually means. Are they great composers who put together grand orchestras? Are they great curiators who attempt to "preserve" what they consider art?

Most older vampire characters take pretty much everything that elves normally do and actually make sense of it - and come off as a much more interesting character archtype as well.

Halflings. I never quite found a place for these guys. The original hobbits were homebodies and a people of simple lives, as contrasted by the humans of Middle-Earth who were more warlike and carving out domains for themselves. As such, hobbits had a sensible place in the world and there was a reason why the main character was a hobbit. However, halflings have never really had their own place in D&D. They've been short limber childish humans. Even other settings, which turn them into dinosaur-riding barbarians, really aren't making them anything but small humans.

Gnomes at least had a place and a point of interest in D&D. They're inherently magical. They're craftsmen, or specific varieties. They have a distinct culture. Halflings are frequently most noteworthy for not having a culture - not a reason for me to be interested in them.

Kobolds. In the early days of D&D, I didn't really think about them much. They were at step below goblins and imps and other low-level D&D critters on the XP table, but beyond being a joke I didn't really mind them.

Then D&D3e came around, and started all this chatter about them being dragons and getting dragonwroughtness and all this silly Loredrake/True Dragon cheese, and they went from being pointless in my vision to actually being an annoyance. Which I guess is what kobolds are good at. :smalltongue:

Half-whatever. Seriously. If you want the PCs to play a monster, then just allow them to play a monster. If you don't, then don't try to come up with some kind of "Well somehuman must've had sex with one at some point" reasoning to provide an appropriate PC race. Even more pointless are half-elves and half-orcs, especially when they spontaneously generate abilities that neither parent possessed. ("Oh, look honey. He's half-elven! That means he'll be a diplomat.")


In particular, the Drow.
I'd kind of like to mix together the Dwarves and the Drow, creating a xenophobic race of underground mining craftsmen who are devoted to their individual family lines but scheming between each other. You could easily keep enough good ideas from both to have a really interesting result, while discarding the sillier ideas from each as well.


A common opinion here seems to be "we don't like Tolkien's elves and orcs".
An interesting opinion.
Not that I'm saying it's a bad one or anything, just one I have a hard time understanding.
Because it's overdone, and it's virtually everywhere. Name a system that has "races" and I can virutally bet that it has something similar to the lithe magic-using elf, the short stout tough dwarf, and the muscular battle-hungry orc. Even if they aren't named that specifically.

TheCountAlucard
2013-09-26, 07:11 PM
I don't have a problem with ghost-blooded or half-castes in Exalted; in those and pretty much every x-blooded, it's a case of "this is a human whose very essence has, since before his or her birth, been steeped in that of the grave/hell/the spirit world/fae contracts, and this manifests in said human by giving them access to powers resembling, but not always similar to, that of its supernatural parent."

I'll admit I don't like Mountain Folk much.


Half-whatever. Seriously. If you want the PCs to play a monster, then just allow them to play a monster. If you don't, then don't try to come up with some kind of "Well somehuman must've had sex with one at some point" reasoning to provide an appropriate PC race. Even more pointless are half-elves and half-orcs, especially when they spontaneously generate abilities that neither parent possessed. ("Oh, look honey. He's half-elven! That means he'll be a diplomat.")To be fair, in Exalted, humans are the only race capable of taking the Second Breath. And notably, while spirits and Exalts can breed with humans, Dragon Kings (dinosaur-people) and Jadeborn cannot. Still, while playing a genuine demon can be a fun experience, if I wanna Exalt, I'm gonna have to be at least a little human. :smalltongue:


Name a system that has "races"…Okay. Exalted.


and I can virutally bet that it has something similar to the lithe magic-using elf…The soul-eating Cthulhu-space-faeries, exiled nobility from beyond the edges of the world, literally calcifying under the basilisk gaze of our merciless Daystar? Yeah, guess that's a bit elfy, because of the pointed ears.


the short stout tough dwarf…One of three castes of a race crafted from living jade by the machine-god at the dawn of history, cursed by their maker (at the behest of the paranoid god-king paragons of humanity) to live underground as the buffer between the world and uncountable races of exiled monsters? Guess they ARE a little short and stocky, you could sort of call them dwarves.


…and the muscular battle-hungry orc.Actually, no. No direct analogue. Pretty much anything that'd fit that is actually human. Maybe mutants or beastmen or demon-blooded or whatever, but in each of those cases they're fundamentally human, even if they're big and muscular or have wolf-heads or whatever.

Hey, wait, how about Dragon Kings? They're a primordial race of reincarnating dinosaur-people with racial memories, elemental powers, and innate use of magic; they were the original masters of humanity, but they have fallen far since their numbers were shattered in the Primordial War, and again during the Great Contagion, and thus most live savage day-to-day existences, unaware of their legacy. Is that orky enough?

Whatever, let's count 'em. Guess there's nothing original or creative that can be done with those. :smallannoyed:

Lord Raziere
2013-09-26, 07:35 PM
Personally, I dislike humans in fantasy settings.
"There's tall, lithe people with uncanny grace who live in trees called elves in the forest here. There's a proud, strong race of artisans called dwarves who live there. Over there? Oh, those are the humans. They're just humans"

you do know that your like the only person that shares my opinion on this?

because really, I agree. why use my fantasy to play the same thing I am in real life? others may feel free to play humans, but I personally don't.

sure Exalted makes a good point on how any race that isn't fundamentally different in mind is still TECHNICALLY human, but for some reason I can't think of a character as human for them to be interesting for me. catman is a catman, not a human. they have claws, whiskers, fur, a tail, probably sharper hearing…you can't tell me that wouldn't lead to their psychology being a little different from humans even if they act mostly human.

I dunno, I guess I'm in some weird position where I want a character to be relatable, but at the same time I don't want the same ol' human person, like I sort of want a kind of humanity, but I don't want what most people think of as humanity. is that weird?

TheCountAlucard
2013-09-26, 07:40 PM
Here's the thing, though, Raziere. If a catman breeds with a "normal human," the offspring will be human. Fully human. None of the mutations carry over.

And sure, their mindset may be somewhat different, but to say that cosmetic differences and a slightly different psychological profile makes someone no longer human approaches some very uncomfortable territory, like declaring Germans or autistic people inhuman.

They still share >90% of traits with ordinary mortals, Raziere; they still have a higher and a lower soul, still have the same number of Virtue and Attribute dots and Willpower, still have no inherent access to Essence or Charms, and can Exalt.

Lord Raziere
2013-09-26, 07:47 PM
Here's the thing, though, Raziere. If a catman breeds with a "normal human," the offspring will be human. Fully human. None of the mutations carry over.

which is why I dislike them being human. they're too human! it doesn't feel like a real catman. they feel fake. the setting feels too artificially constructed to make "normal human" the dominant thing, and then compounding that with Exaltation to make sure anything non-human sucks, therefore why play anything non-human?

Edit: I know they are human, I just don't want normal humanity. I know they share the traits, I just can't get seem to get invested into a catman as I can say, a pathfinder catfolk. for some reason I can play a PF catfolk just fine if they are stated as a concrete race and I can get into character and flesh them out as I go along and make them their own person.

while with Exalted, yes, it does acknowledge they are human, but I don't really feel any identity to use here. sure it lists a lot of cultures and whatnot, but I don't feel connected here, there is no concrete identity for me to play around with to make my characters.

JusticeZero
2013-09-26, 07:56 PM
I greatly dislike elves - they are done poorly. I DETEST Drow - they are done VERY badly. I can put things back into those niches, but they won't be elfy.
Gnomes, I will agree, are badly done, but in their case, it is because they are not coherently fleshed out at all, and where they are, they are usually depicted as some sort of half-halfling, half-dwarf hybrid that has no niche of its own. Delete until someone comes up with a better vision for them.
Dwarves are a bit tired. I'm generally okay with them, but they need some touchup.
I have issues with orcs for mechanical reasons: One, they need a design tune-up, and two, they have too much burst damage to be used against a party of the appropriate CR to fight them without risking instant kills on players who are playing well. I will admit that they make a good discriminated against minority. Last time I used Orcs, they were originally created by humans from human stock for military reasons specifically to be "point them at the enemy and wind them up" disposable combatants. There was a half-orc "problem" from purebred half-orcs (IE., mommy and daddy were both half-orcs) trying unsuccessfully to integrate back into civilization; anyone playing a half-orc is typically signaling that they want to have to deal with a lot of intimidated "We don't serve your kind here, use the special pig face door in back" treatment; this is also seen in NPCs.
Pixies are straight out.

TheCountAlucard
2013-09-26, 07:58 PM
they're too human!In your opinion. In my opinion they're people, born from humans (with few exceptions, beastmen are the result of a human and an animal coupling in the Wyld, or two humans if one of them is a Lunar Exalt), and that's enough for me to call them human. Do you maintain that a person born to humans, but with some physical differences (like mutations or birth defects), mental differences, or a different upbringing is not human?


the setting feels too artificially constructed…The setting is artificially constructed, Raziere. The Primordials made the world in their image, then the gods and the Exalted remade the world in theirs. Since the Exalted are human, it's not hard to see why most of the things that aren't human haven't done well.


tand then compounding that with Exaltation to make sure anything non-human sucks, therefore why play anything non-human?I disagree; I've had plenty of fun playing Dragon Kings, gods, demons, Fair Folk, and ghosts. You can have fun without being the most powerful thing in the campaign setting, or even in the party; why else would someone play a Dragon-Blooded in a group with Solars?

HalfTangible
2013-09-26, 08:11 PM
Races in games don't really matter to me so much as how you play them.

But if pressed... Dark Eldar, from Warhammer 40k. Why this group is so popular I will never know. There is nothing redeeming about them or their society - they exist purely to torture, maim, rape and kill so they can siphon off someone else's soul to their own worst enemy. It's absolutely disgusting, evil and wrong. Even for Warhammer 40k, a setting known for how utterly dark and over-the-top it is, it's sick! They're doing more to harm their race than they ever prevented. Seriously, **** 'em! Why did I say I would have to be pressed to pick these guys?!

And... I guess Undead, again, if I'm pressed (for real this time, though). Not so much because they're bad in and of themselves, but again, how they're used. There is nothing more stock or boring than an undead character because 9 times out of ten, the player phones it in, and that just doesn't cut it. So often they're just mindless hordes, doing little that's actually threatening. And when they DO create sentient undead, there's absolutely nothing engaging in the character. Vampires want to suck your blood and pretend to be dignifed, Liches are arrogant turds, Wights hiss a lot.


the setting feels too artificially constructed to make "normal human" the dominant thing,Like pretty much every setting human beings have ever come up with? :smallconfused:


there is no concrete identity for me to play around with to make my characters.

You know you're supposed to make those yourself, right? That's kind of the whole point of a roleplaying game? You make a character of your own? :smallconfused:


I disagree; I've had plenty of fun playing Dragon Kings, gods, demons, Fair Folk, and ghosts. You can have fun without being the most powerful thing in the campaign setting, or even in the party; why else would someone play a Dragon-Blooded in a group with Solars?

You can play a god in exalted?! =D

Lord Raziere
2013-09-26, 08:15 PM
The setting is artificially constructed, Raziere. The Primordials made the world in their image, then the gods and the Exalted remade the world in theirs. Since the Exalted are human, it's not hard to see why most of the things that aren't human haven't done well.

I disagree; I've had plenty of fun playing Dragon Kings, gods, demons, Fair Folk, and ghosts. You can have fun without being the most powerful thing in the campaign setting, or even in the party; why else would someone play a Dragon-Blooded in a group with Solars?

I just arrrrgh.

the setting is like….I know its artificial, but it keeps trying to be natural and it…

I just can't get a good read on the setting of Exalted. where is the foundation? am I reading as if its a castle, when its more like a bunch of bricks, to paraphrase some other post from some other thread explaining class/skill/effect stuff? how should I be looking at it? I know what I am looking at, and I know I'm supposed to construct my own thing of it, but how am I supposed to figure out what my own thing of it is?

I mean I know both of those things! what is wrong with me? why is the setting not working in my head, no matter how hard I think about it and try to figure it out? :smallconfused:

@ Halftangible: Trust me. I have NO problem with creating characters in any other setting, even human ones. even in all those Warhammer 40k roleplays, I can more easily make a character, even in FATE with no setting at all I can make characters easier. I can somehow make a character in Anima Beyond Fantasy easier, with all its complicated systems

yet somehow its hard for me to make a character in Exalted. I don't know why.

navar100
2013-09-26, 08:20 PM
Elves.

I hate elves.

I loathe elves.

They're always so perfect. They are the best at everything. Not just in published fluff but also whatever game I'm in that's what the DM has them be. They can travel anywhere but no one who is not an elf can be on their land, especially humans. They are elitist donkey cavities.

The drow are the same, but the drow are better than the elves. They at least admit to their true nature.

The only thing I like about 3E Dragonlance gameworld is the utter devastation of elven society. All of them. It's about time they get their comeuppance.

HalfTangible
2013-09-26, 08:33 PM
Elves.

I hate elves.

I loathe elves.

They're always so perfect. They are the best at everything. Not just in published fluff but also whatever game I'm in that's what the DM has them be. They can travel anywhere but no one who is not an elf can be on their land, especially humans. They are elitist donkey cavities.

The drow are the same, but the drow are better than the elves. They at least admit to their true nature.

The only thing I like about 3E Dragonlance gameworld is the utter devastation of elven society. All of them. It's about time they get their comeuppance.That reminds me, actually: the elves in Eragon.

Good. F****ng. Lord.

I never understood the problems people had with the elves or the 'perfect race' argument until I read the Inheritance Cycle. Heck, I LIKED the books and these guys still pissed me off. Good lord, Paolini... Putting aside your thinly veiled soapboxing... not only do they have godlike magical power (that is apparently on the wane, though we never see any evidence of it), not only are they physically perfect, beautiful, and polite as hell... but they are scientific atheist vegetarians in perfect harmony with all life and their swordsman know an extremely dangerous form of magic for no discernible reason except so one of them can continue to be an *******?!


@ Halftangible: Trust me. I have NO problem with creating characters in any other setting, even human ones. even in all those Warhammer 40k roleplays, I can more easily make a character, even in FATE with no setting at all I can make characters easier. I can somehow make a character in Anima Beyond Fantasy easier, with all its complicated systems

yet somehow its hard for me to make a character in Exalted. I don't know why.

Me neither. The problems you keep bringing up - by your own admission - are problems you don't have in other settings, even though the thing you blame for your problem exists in both.

My question is, if you don't like the setting, why do you keep coming back to it? :smallconfused:

Lord Raziere
2013-09-26, 08:35 PM
Me neither. The problems you keep bringing up - by your own admission - are problems you don't have in other settings, even though the thing you blame for your problem exists in both.

My question is, if you don't like the setting, why do you keep coming back to it? :smallconfused:

I ask myself that very question every time I think about Exalted. :smallsigh:

Edit: on the elf thing though, I myself have made a rude, bitter ranting elf who looked like L from Death Note, complete with messy hair, bony frame, sunken eyes and floppy ears. he was eternally bitter because he was an oracle saw the future and said future makes him suspect that universe hates him and wants to screw with his mind at every turn. his name was Meffelkrow, and he was awesome because he was basically the anti-elf without being a dwarf!

HalfTangible
2013-09-26, 08:55 PM
I ask myself that very question every time I think about Exalted. :smallsigh:Got any good answers so far?

No, seriously. If you keep coming back, then there's (probably) something you like about the setting. Find that, latch onto it, it's a good place to start.


Edit: on the elf thing though, I myself have made a rude, bitter ranting elf who looked like L from Death Note, complete with messy hair, bony frame, sunken eyes and floppy ears. he was eternally bitter because he was an oracle saw the future and said future makes him suspect that universe hates him and wants to screw with his mind at every turn. his name was Meffelkrow, and he was awesome because he was basically the anti-elf without being a dwarf!

I promised myself that if I ever dmed a game with an elf npc that the players hated for being too perfect, I would introduce a plotline where it turned out the elf in question cannibalized pieces of himself. Alternatively, I would reveal that elves were all secretly mentally unstable (Azula style) and have a large group of them go crazy and attack the party in a swarm. (heck, my favorite elf character [that i played] was addicted to flying airships and genuinely thought crashing it into an army of orcs after lighting it on fire was a good idea)

Of course, then I one-shot the cleric in a fight that probably shouldn't have happened in the VERY FIRST encounter and decided that maaaaybe dming wasn't my thing ._.

Lord Raziere
2013-09-26, 09:03 PM
Got any good answers so far?

No, seriously. If you keep coming back, then there's (probably) something you like about the setting. Find that, latch onto it, it's a good place to start.


Well hm:

1. I might like it because I like Infernals, Alchemicals and Sidereals

2. There Exalts that are going to come out in 3e such as Getimians and Liminals and Exigents, so theoretically there are concepts that sound interesting to me and even Exalts I can make myself

3. Shards of the Exalted Dream

4. I also like Fair Folk, and I guess I wish there was a way to make more playable Gods?

5. I guess I do like the fact they include beastmen, I just don't like the logical end conclusion of actually playing them is going to end up with them being burned at the stake because mutations and wyld stuff is bad to peoples of Creation's mind.

Segev
2013-09-26, 09:16 PM
Kind of off-topic for a thread about hating races, but the Fair Folk are some of my favorite options for playing a character in any setting. I just wish their mechanics were better. Not "more powerful;" I can achieve lots of power with them as-is. But...better at being masters of the Wyld.

QuintonBeck
2013-09-26, 09:17 PM
I'm jumping on the train to Elf Hatedom Train. I always make them dominant evil empire type folks and in one campaign they were an evil empire slowly turning into an evil vampire-elf empire for added longevity.

Segev
2013-09-26, 09:24 PM
I'm jumping on the train to Elf Hatedom Train. I always make them dominant evil empire type folks and in one campaign they were an evil empire slowly turning into an evil vampire-elf empire for added longevity.

In my custom D&D setting, Elves are very Feudal Japanese-like, and are one of the dominant races of the world. They enslave humans, because humans are "incapable" of civilization without elven supervision.

Interestingly, to me, elves are slow learners in this setting because they don't sleep naturally. Sleep is when short-term memory gets converted to long-term memory, which means it's when lessons are really internalized. Not that they had no memory, but really integrating them is hard. It's not until they learn the meditation technique that elves famously use in lieu of sleep that they actually start to learn at the same sort of rate humans do.

And, since it's a learned technique, it takes a very long time for them to master it. Especially since it seems kinda dull to child-like mentalities.

HalfTangible
2013-09-26, 09:29 PM
In my custom D&D setting, Elves are very Feudal Japanese-like, and are one of the dominant races of the world. They enslave humans, because humans are "incapable" of civilization without elven supervision.

Interestingly, to me, elves are slow learners in this setting because they don't sleep naturally. Sleep is when short-term memory gets converted to long-term memory, which means it's when lessons are really internalized. Not that they had no memory, but really integrating them is hard. It's not until they learn the meditation technique that elves famously use in lieu of sleep that they actually start to learn at the same sort of rate humans do.

And, since it's a learned technique, it takes a very long time for them to master it. Especially since it seems kinda dull to child-like mentalities.
I like to give elves inferority complexes stemming from a legacy of being the perfect paragons of amazing awesomeness... thaaat isn't actually true, but everybody expects it of them anyway because they've been telling the civilized races that they were superior for centuries.

Trickquestion
2013-09-26, 09:40 PM
To bring things away from Elves for a minute, I've always been disappointed with how Kobolds are typically handled. Despite being far more industrious then the other "cannon fodder" races (all that mining and trap making takes a lot of metalwork) they're almost always at the bottom of the totem pole. In the next campaign I'm DMing, the Kobolds are going to be an industrial superpower and the main antagonists.

Slipperychicken
2013-09-26, 10:05 PM
To bring things away from Elves for a minute, I've always been disappointed with how Kobolds are typically handled. Despite being far more industrious then the other "cannon fodder" races (all that mining and trap making takes a lot of metalwork) they're almost always at the bottom of the totem pole. In the next campaign I'm DMing, the Kobolds are going to be an industrial superpower and the main antagonists.

Kobolds are just as smart as humans. There's no reason they couldn't live in cities with the rest of the intelligent races. They could even have their own tight-knit ethnic/tribal neighborhoods.

The Rose Dragon
2013-09-26, 10:23 PM
Humans being the dominant race without any apparent advantages is funny to me, because in my (admittedly incomplete) fantasy setting, humans are not the dominant species on the planet simply because the dominant species lacks one advantage humans take for granted: magic. Instead, they turn to non-magical technology, and quickly outstrip humans in that regard, whose primary answer to artillery and engineering problems is "let a mage handle it", instead of actual long-term solutions.

lunar2
2013-09-26, 10:30 PM
in the campaign setting i'm working on, elves and orcs are humans that have been bred in a fey experiment trying to understand draconic magic. elves get all the magic, orcs get none. but it is understood that they are essentially human, and they are integrated into human society, and can interbreed freely (although they tend not to, for cultural reasons). quicklings, dwarves, and goblins form a related but separate species (halfling), that can interbreed amongst themselves, but not with humans. these are the only humanoid races. and there is no dominant race among them. the only "can breed with anything" species is dragons.

as far as personality and culture goes, i'm definitely trying to go differently than what is standard for the humanoids.

elves have no nature connection, and are purely frail scholars with innate magical ability. they live longer than humans, but not ridiculously so. about half again as long.

orcs are more bestial, with a big bonus to strength, but a hit to intelligence and charisma. they get low light vision and scent. they are integrated into society, and tend to fill the roles of laborers or soldiers.

quicklings are fast and athletic. they tend towards archery, and are mostly travelling merchants and bards (the profession, not the class).

dwarves are still miners and craftsmen, but lose most of their other stereotypes. they are disciplined and hardworking by nature. they are not xenophobic, are just as charismatic as anyone else, and are no more likely to be alcoholics than any other race.

goblins are the nature lovers. in the past, they were enslaved by winter wolves, but their superior intelligence and opposable thumbs reversed the roles within a few generations. now, they make their living breeding and training animals.

Mark Hall
2013-09-26, 11:32 PM
It's worth noting that, in the older settings where humans are clearly dominant, the world actually set something up towards that... humans were the only race that could really excel at anything, and they excelled at EVERYTHING. Elves, dwarves, halflings, gnomes... they all had blocks beyond which they could not go.

An elf would only reach 18th level as a wizard with god-like intelligence (a 22, with a maximum of 25, and something like 20 wishes per attribute point to get above their racial maximum of 18). The smartest? They're limited to 11th level. And that 11th level wizard is likely to be old enough to have witnessed the fall of Rome, with scores of dead comrades who didn't survive the adventuring to reach that level, to say nothing of those who didn't reach maturity at 250 (older than the United States). Want to know part of why the drow kicked so much tail? Because their female clerics could match a human cleric... except that their goddess was only a lesser deity, and could only give them 5th level spells.

A dwarf? Once in a generation you might have one with enough Wisdom (21) to get to 16th level, letting him cast the highest level of cleric spells.... and he might not worship one of the Greater Gods who could give him access to 7th level spells. Most of his classmates were lucky to reach 11th level, again after centuries of work. The next high priest? He is but a child, still, when my parents became grandparents, though they were born in the same year. The current high priest helped the colonists found Jamestown.

Warriors? Human warriors may have had less time to get buff than an elf or dwarf, but they could also learn so much more. A human fighter of only mediocre strength could be half again as fast as the best dwarf fighter... because a human fighter could reach 13th level, where he got 2 attacks a round, while a dwarf could only get that far if he was as strong as a giant. A literal, actual, Frost or Fire giant. A more mortal dwarf fighter? He topped out a 3 attacks every 2 rounds, hanging out at 8th or 9th level.

Humans, though? A human wizard could achieve anything. He'd leave apprenticeship at 26 (maybe as late as 40), but his rise would be unimpeded. Lichdom was possible, but so was reaching 9th level and developing potions that would slow the aging process until he could find a way to stop it. A human cleric? Left his noviate at 19. Climbed in level until he was resurrecting people as his hair started to turn grey. Humans WERE the strongest race. They were the dominant species, not only because there were so many of them, but because they could simply do what other races found impossible.

This says nothing of the psychological differences between humans and the other races. Humans can be ruthless and aggressive, yet work together. They can draw on wonderful traditions, and cast them aside when it better suits them to do something novel. This adaptability and inventiveness, coupled with ambition, was the quintessential human trait in AD&D, and tends to be the trait that sets humans apart in most other stories. You might get a rare individual of other species who is humanlike in this regard, but humans throw scores of such people into the world every couple decades. Humans embrace these people as leaders, whereas elves and dwarves treat them as freaks, and cast them out if they don't meet the racial standard of normal. Human generations are short, meaning they change over time. Introduce a new idea to dwarves and it has to overcome 300 years of "It was better in my day." To elves? They might muddle through a significant change in half a millenium. Humans? 50 years. Tops. Then it's the old standard that the new idea is rebelling against. Human society has had 10 major revolutions before the elves decide that, yes, steel has advantages over bronze.

Later editions of D&D (with a split between 1e and 2e, and a big split between 1e/2e and 3e) changed the boundary assumptions of the world. Elves were running around adventuring at 20 years old, and could expect to see 20th level by the end of the year if in a sufficient pickle. It's not that humans are bland and boring... it's that their specialness got taken from them. Elves and dwarves could be a high level wizard just as easily as a human. Of course humans don't seem special when everyone else can do what they can, and their advantages are boiled down to "well, you know a little bit more than someone of your level should"... which, as useful as the 3e and 4e advantages are, that's what they boil down to.

ShadowFighter15
2013-09-27, 02:14 AM
I've been planning out a campaign setting of my own for a while (not sure what system because I have some very thorough ideas about how magic works in it, but that's another topic entirely) and this thread's helping me add to how to differ elves and dwarves from what most writers use. They're the only classic fantasy races I'm using in it - other three sentient species in the world are humans, a catfolk-style species (which I've only got the bare bones of so far) and an even-less developed species of humanoid reptiles (all I've really got for these guys is that they're amphibious, possibly iguana-like and as different from Argonians as I can manage).

I won't go into detail on the elves and dwarves - it would make this post very long and I'd probably keep getting more ideas and adding to it as I typed. But I will mention how I'm handling mindless undead.

Spoilered for length.
See - this setting's supposed to be millennia after a magi-technological golden age but certain disasters, a strong religious fervour of the time and just how society had been changed by that golden age, caused a regression in technology - computers and other complex machines still exist, but are relegated to purely-functional uses. Airship navigation, government databases, etc - a guy running a barber's shop would have an old-style cash register and would have to do his books by hand rather than with a computer.

I mention all of this because, in this setting, magic alone cannot create undead. What takes their place are the result of an early golden-age military research project - using the donated bodies of fallen soldiers to create combat automatons. All of the flesh is removed until just the bones are left, a computer with a basic AI and a device to turn stored energy into kinetic energy is installed inside the now-empty ribcage. The latter in order for it to move the skeleton like a puppet. A living commander was to use a control device to mark targets as hostile or friendly (or just give the friendlies transponders to tell the automatons that they're friendly, haven't decided) and to generally direct them. They may not match a trained human soldier but were relatively cheap, plentiful, more durable (the stored energy could also be used to create a barrier of kinetic energy), wouldn't have to worry about morale or battlefield injuries and would be pretty-damn intimidating.

At least that was the idea - nobody knows why but somehow they went rogue and started grabbing any sentients they could get their hands on and processing them into more of their kind. Basically, their AI is stuck in a "collect-and-convert" routine. This makes them a danger in the wilderness but also keeps the size of wandering groups down - the routine having been designed to retrieve corpses from the field after a battle so you'd only meet five or six at a time rather than a whole division. When a processing facility is discovered, military units are quickly sent in to disable it but more seem to crop up all the time.

They're also only found in one corner of a single continent - when the project had been carried out, that area had been the nation funding it. Since no similar projects were carried out elsewhere in the world, that makes the automatons the only undead (or, more accurately, undead-like) creatures in the entire setting.


You can play a god in exalted?! =D

More a god in the Eastern sense - a celestial bureaucrat tasked with overseeing a particular place or object. A larger purview than that and you'd have an office in Heaven. Really; most gods in the Terrestrial Bureaucracy (the ones based in Creation rather than Heaven) could get the snot kicked out of them by most Exalted. Opening comic of the 2e core book had the iconic Solars beating the tar out of a river god and the latter barely got a hit in.

Wraith
2013-09-27, 05:44 AM
Because it's overdone, and it's virtually everywhere. Name a system that has "races" and I can virutally bet that it has something similar to the lithe magic-using elf, the short stout tough dwarf, and the muscular battle-hungry orc. Even if they aren't named that specifically.

Feng Shui and Ironclaw. :smalltongue:


But if pressed... Dark Eldar, from Warhammer 40k. Why this group is so popular I will never know. There is nothing redeeming about them or their society - they exist purely to torture, maim, rape and kill so they can siphon off someone else's soul to their own worst enemy. It's absolutely disgusting, evil and wrong. Even for Warhammer 40k, a setting known for how utterly dark and over-the-top it is, it's sick! They're doing more to harm their race than they ever prevented. Seriously, **** 'em! Why did I say I would have to be pressed to pick these guys?!

But they have such a tragic fate! If they DON'T kill, maim and sacrifice to Slaanesh, then It will kill, maim and torture THEM and all just because they were naive and short sighted enough to cause the Fall! They didn't do it on purpose, they're just being punished for a mistake made 10,000 years ago etc etc etc

....At least, that's supposed to be their 'sympathetic' angle. It's nonsense, of course, because they clearly enjoy what they do far too much, but GW have stated that every race should have something - Yes, even the Tyranids - to which they can claim an equivalent to "Drizzt Syndrome", even if the Imperium are supposed to be the only "good" guys. :smalltongue:

As for races that I dislike, am I allowed to say "Anything that appears in the MM3 and beyond" ?

The same sort of thing happens in other systems, but D&D is one of the more prolific and as such is usually the worst contender. To my mind, most creatures that turn up after the 300th-or-so page of stats and hashed together fluff very, very quickly resembles "bottom of the barrel" territory. Head Injury Theater says it best: (http://www.headinjurytheater.com/article73.htm) "If you walk into a room and the floor, walls, and ceiling are all trying to eat you, someone is trying to send you a serious message."

And that message is, "I've completely run out of ideas". The less said about Ragamoffyn and the sentient, malevolent Topiary, the better.

The Rose Dragon
2013-09-27, 05:53 AM
Feng Shui and Ironclaw. :smalltongue:

I'm sure at least one of the animals from Ironclaw stands in for elves. I just can't be bothered to figure out which one.

Wraith
2013-09-27, 05:57 AM
Erikun specified a magic using Elf - no race in Ironclaw has an inherent affinity for Magic, it's actually quite progressive in that way. Anyone can be anything, pretty much.

Okay, it's arguably a technicality, but still.... :smallbiggrin:

In the same vein, I almost said Dark Heresy and it's associated books, since the 40k universe VERY DEFINITELY DOES NOT CONTAIN SQUATS even if it closely codifies the Orks and Elves bits.

But then I remembered: Demiurg. So, never mind. :smallwink:

TuggyNE
2013-09-27, 06:38 AM
Interestingly, to me, elves are slow learners in this setting because they don't sleep naturally. Sleep is when short-term memory gets converted to long-term memory, which means it's when lessons are really internalized. Not that they had no memory, but really integrating them is hard. It's not until they learn the meditation technique that elves famously use in lieu of sleep that they actually start to learn at the same sort of rate humans do.

And, since it's a learned technique, it takes a very long time for them to master it. Especially since it seems kinda dull to child-like mentalities.

Interesting. That beats out "elves take 20 on all skill/ability checks, always" as my new favorite explanation for the painfully long time between birth and adventuring for elves.

1I think about the only races I really dislike are the "Half-X" nonsense. Sometimes, it can make a little bit of sense, but stuff like "half-golem" and "half-celestial" and even "half-dragon" are too silly. And "half-vampire", as mentioned, is just… no. Take your sparkles elsewhere.
Half-elven I could stand if it actually meant something.

Oh, and I have a distrust of Kender, though since I have not yet suffered them directly I can't say I really hate them.

Yora
2013-09-27, 06:56 AM
Because you probably havn't read the race description of Kenders.
They are really a race of tiny Rob Schneiders.

Hyena
2013-09-27, 07:07 AM
Bandits, Raiders, Mercenaries, Cultists, soldiers of the evil empire, fanatic minions, barbarians bent on conquest, ect.

All those could serve the exact same narrative purpose as orcs and goblins. We don't feel bad about killing orcs and goblins because they do evil things.
The reason we use Orcs instead of Evil Humans is because even the most enlightened of us has some traces of xenophobia, so killing an evil Orc is easie than killing an evil Human.

{{scrubbed}}
Do I understand you clearly? I am allowed to kill any number of barbarians, evil soldiers and raiders as I want, as long as they are all boring humans? How about shortening the list of acceptable targets and settling down on white, male americans, so we don't offend poor orcs?

Black Jester
2013-09-27, 08:08 AM
{{scrubbed}}

Come on that's not what he said.
However, the idea of creating a specific group of monstrous opponents for the simple purpose of allowing guilt-free slaughter and genocide stands in a tradition of strongly racist fiction and employs the same mechanisms as this traditional racist fiction, often with more or less blatant metaphors as stand-ins for actual people (e.g. Tolkien's Orcs or 'Southrons').
Now, I would argue that is usually not intentionally racist as the whole metaphors have developed over time and changed their meaning or lost their attachment to their original stand-ins, especially in the fantasy genre, where all kinds of magic are more often taken at face value and are used without any malicious intent and can take all sorts of life on their own and even change their metaphorical meaning (like the Orcs and Trolls in Shadowrun who became a sometimes quite heavy-handed example of the civil rights movement and the role of minorities in the contemporary world) However, one can raise the question if it is always appropriate to copy these same stereotypes without differentiation.

(I personally argue that having any sentient creatures as pure evil and ready for guiltless slaughter is just awfully bad storytelling, no matter if it is racist or not and should be avoided at all costs because it is just one-dimensional and lazy. Any worthy author/GM/storyteller should be able to come up with even a simple framework for a believable conflict without needing to demonize or marginalize his planned opposition. And dull and lifeless opponents are a key ingredient for dull and lifeless conflicts.)

Segev
2013-09-27, 08:26 AM
On the subject of elves and dwarves (and even orcs), does it strike anybody else that elves actually get a fair bit of variation across multiple settings (even to the point of there being a trope - which I won't link out of mercy for people's productivity - called "Our Elves are Different), but dwarves are pretty much always the same?

They live underground, they're miners and crafters, they have beards, and they seem awfully clan-centric and roughly scottish in overtone.

There's nothing WRONG with this depiction of them, mind, but it seems like this is more or less all there is to them. The biggest divergences I've seen are the Iron Kingdoms dwarves, who are machinists rather than "crafters" and who shave their beards lest they get stuck in the gearworks.

The discussion earlier in this thread about how dwarves in Tolkien are alien in that they literally get stronger when their greed is sparked, and that greed is not personal but rather clan-focused, was interesting to me precisely because it is, in some ways, at least different from the norm. Ironic, given that it's the root of the modern norm (although even ancient dwarven legends had them as underground-dwelling craftsmen).

Part of the reason for this, I think, is that people seem more willing to accept a larger variation on Elves and still think of them as "Elves." But why is that? It could be the same as why mages get more of an acceptable "can do anything" stamp than do fighters. Heck, D&D 3e spells that out almost directly, with the favored classes of elves and dwarves (wizards and fighters, respectively).

But surely there's some variation possible.

What is crucial to something still being recognizably a (fantasy) "dwarf" while you vary other aspects? How different can we make them and still have them be as much "dwarves" as, say, the Eldar are "elves?"

Yora
2013-09-27, 08:34 AM
I wanted to do something different with dwarf when I started my new setting. But I couldn't get any idea how to do anything new with them. Dwarves are so extremely precise defined that there doesn't seem to be any points that can be worked with.

In the end I simply took gnomes, gave them some big vault-cities directly below the surface, and slightly altered their scientist-theme to general metalworking and alchemy. (Which is quite similar to the dwarves in Dragon Age, I think.) But that still leaves room to include some form of druid-culture and connection to the spirits of earth, water, and animals that just would seem completely out of place for dwarves.
I think this new race is now a really interesting culture with its own particular traits, which is also more plausible since not every single person seems to be another copy of the same archetype over and over again.

TheCountAlucard
2013-09-27, 09:50 AM
The biggest divergences I've seen are the Iron Kingdoms dwarves, who are machinists rather than "crafters" and who shave their beards lest they get stuck in the gearworks.Wait, seriously, Segev? You're not counting the Jadeborn?

Scow2
2013-09-27, 10:04 AM
Come on that's not what he said.
However, the idea of creating a specific group of monstrous opponents for the simple purpose of allowing guilt-free slaughter and genocide stands in a tradition of strongly racist fiction and employs the same mechanisms as this traditional racist fiction, often with more or less blatant metaphors as stand-ins for actual people (e.g. Tolkien's Orcs or 'Southrons').
Now, I would argue that is usually not intentionally racist as the whole metaphors have developed over time and changed their meaning or lost their attachment to their original stand-ins, especially in the fantasy genre, where all kinds of magic are more often taken at face value and are used without any malicious intent and can take all sorts of life on their own and even change their metaphorical meaning (like the Orcs and Trolls in Shadowrun who became a sometimes quite heavy-handed example of the civil rights movement and the role of minorities in the contemporary world) However, one can raise the question if it is always appropriate to copy these same stereotypes without differentiation.

(I personally argue that having any sentient creatures as pure evil and ready for guiltless slaughter is just awfully bad storytelling, no matter if it is racist or not and should be avoided at all costs because it is just one-dimensional and lazy. Any worthy author/GM/storyteller should be able to come up with even a simple framework for a believable conflict without needing to demonize or marginalize his planned opposition. And dull and lifeless opponents are a key ingredient for dull and lifeless conflicts.)And I think that treating monsters and incarnations of human fears and evils (Such as goblins and goblinoids) as metaphors for real-world demographics and people is even worse on the "That's Racist!" scale than making monsters that are inherently evil/given to stereotypes (No matter how 'complex')

The Rose Dragon
2013-09-27, 10:04 AM
Wait, seriously, Segev? You're not counting the Jadeborn?

Jadeborn aren't dwarves. Even workers are barely shorter than humans, while Artisans are actually taller on average.

GungHo
2013-09-27, 10:13 AM
Because you probably havn't read the race description of Kenders.
They are really a race of tiny Rob Schneiders.

Great. Never getting that image out of my head now.


But that still leaves room to include some form of druid-culture and connection to the spirits of earth, water, and animals that just would seem completely out of place for dwarves.
Actually, druidish geomancy works well for dwarves. I cut out the animals, though. They just dealt with earthen spirits, earthen/firey elementals and golems. Similar to the Dragon Age guys, they had armies of them (this was before Dragon Age, though). Less reverent about it... it was more of a wizardly relationship of dominating and shaping the underrealm rather than beseeching or placating it, though the magic was technically devine (since back in those days the idea of a Dwarf wizard was pretty weird, so no one felt comfortable coming out and calling them wizards).

Also brought in the idea of hammerless smithing being the ultimate expression of the masters... they'd basically just stare at the ingots and will them into shape, like they were Scanners. Needless to say what worked for steel worked on squishy things too, and the master smiths made quick work of enemies. Again, it wasn't psionics... it was just their mastery of the earth in all its forms, including the earth in your bones.

I came up with the whole thing after reading a Wheel of Time book, of all things. Rolling rings of earth and fire.

TheCountAlucard
2013-09-27, 10:20 AM
Jadeborn aren't dwarves. Even workers are barely shorter than humans, while Artisans are actually taller on average.Not dwarves in the "short" sense, but subterranean crafters with an affinity for stone; clever inventors with a tight-knit society that largely distances itself from humanity… They even have racial enemies that lurk even deeper underground.

The point is, Segev is calling for different dwarves, and here we have some very different ones.

Kaerou
2013-09-27, 10:36 AM
Personally I hate all 'half' races.

Why?

They're not races and shouldn't take up a slot that an actual race could take up. Remove them, Add Orc and.. I dunno, Kobolds. Woo, new themes that aren't just essentially the same as the last lot culturally and appearance wise with funny ears/height issues.

They're halfbreeds and are supposed to be rare. They should be an option under their parent races depending on which side you want the to favour.

Under Human it should have the option of 'Half Elf, Half Orc'. Under Elf it should have 'Half-Human'. Under Orc, it should have 'Half-Human'.

The Rose Dragon
2013-09-27, 10:39 AM
Not dwarves in the "short" sense, but subterranean crafters with an affinity for stone; clever inventors with a tight-knit society that largely distances itself from humanity… They even have racial enemies that lurk even deeper underground.

The point is, Segev is calling for different dwarves, and here we have some very different ones.

But "dwarf" means "small or short". It doesn't mean underground craftsfolk.

Incidentally, if Tyrion Lannister counts as a race, he is very different from the usual fantasy dwarf. Also, I'm suddenly reminded of Ao-bara's solars, who are called dwarves by humans and aelfans due to their height, worship the sun, live in the desert around the sun, and have a psychological aversion to even going underground due to their close relationship to their patron spirit.

Segev
2013-09-27, 10:48 AM
Wait, seriously, Segev? You're not counting the Jadeborn?

I actually think they fall into the "not really dwarves anymore" category. Then again, I only use "cthuloid elves" as a tongue-in-cheek way to refer to the Fair Folk; the analogies are there if you squint and really want to find them, but I actually don't think Exalted really has elves, orcs, gnomes, dwarves, etc. Even "halflings" only exist if you count the djala, and they have nothing save size in common, there.


Now, your mileage may well vary, here: you might think they really are dwarves, and I'm being too iron-clad in my rigid definition of them.


Flip-side of the coin: they're definitely "underground-dwelling master craftsmen." Take from that what you will about the "too different/too much the same" discussion.

I can see the argument that they're a good approach to "different" dwarves.

Is the "live underground" and "master craftsman" the key to them, just like "lives in nature/elegance" and "uses magic" is apparently crucial to elves? Or are there other things that make a "dwarf" which we can riff on while varying other traits?

hamishspence
2013-09-27, 11:12 AM
But "dwarf" means "small or short". It doesn't mean underground craftsfolk.

Now it does- but words evolve over time- and can gain additional meanings- which end up becoming the default.

Tanuki Tales
2013-09-27, 11:16 AM
Sorry, went out for the evening and am catching up on this, but I want to point this out:

Drow, Gray Dwarves and Deep Gnomes were created before Darkvision was the bubble of 60 foot black/white vision. They were created back when Darkvision was some form of thermal optics like how certain snakes hunt.

So I reiterate my opinion that it makes no sense for them to be dark skinned.

Segev
2013-09-27, 11:19 AM
Sorry, went out for the evening and am catching up on this, but I want to point this out:

Drow, Gray Dwarves and Deep Gnomes were created before Darkvision was the bubble of 60 foot black/white vision. They were created back when Darkvision was some form of thermal optics like how certain snakes hunt.

So I reiterate my opinion that it makes no sense for them to be dark skinned.
Ah, but you see, darkness is evil (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DarkIsEvil).

hamishspence
2013-09-27, 11:20 AM
Deep Gnomes, however, tend to be Neutral.

Segev
2013-09-27, 11:23 AM
Deep Gnomes, however, tend to be Neutral.
True. It probably just is, "underground things should be as dark as their surroundings."

It may not make sense when you apply fridge logic. It makes just enough sense to write it up that way for surface (pun unrelated) examination.

Also, one could argue that gods of the underground favor darker colors due to their own association with darkness, and their chosen races are "blessed" with the mark of their coloration.

Drow, specifically, are cursed to have skin as black as their betrayal by the king of the elven pantheon. So it's not about evolution, but literally "dark is evil."

Yora
2013-09-27, 11:37 AM
Are Svirfneblin even gnomes? Except for the name, there seem to be really no connection between them. And it seems even most writers try to avoid the term "deep gnomes".

hamishspence
2013-09-27, 11:42 AM
Drow, specifically, are cursed to have skin as black as their betrayal by the king of the elven pantheon. So it's not about evolution, but literally "dark is evil."

There's hints in the novels that they were already pale-haired and dark, long before The Crown Wars:

(Extract from Evermeet novel, of a scene set around -25,100 DR, in which some of the first Moon Elves on Faerun visit a mixed Dark elf/green elf city):

p113-114:

The Moon elf's curiosity grew as the days passed. Many of the elves of Atorrnash were as dark-skinned as the goddess Eilistraee. These dark elves, he noted, seem to hold most of the positions of influence in the city, while the fairer races were gatekeepers, shop owners, and servants. Never had Sharlario seen such starkly drawn divisions among the various elven folk, and it troubled him.

p115:

With his tawny skin, catlike nose, and thick flowing mane of black hair, the wemic was a most unusual and impressive sight. But after the first startled glance, the Moonflowers turned their attention fully on the archmage.
Ka'Narlist was a dark elf. Like most of the city's elite class, he had crimson eyes and stark white hair.

The dark elves were transformed in -10,000 DR.

EDIT:

Are Svirfneblin even gnomes? Except for the name, there seem to be really no connection between them. And it seems even most writers try to avoid the term "deep gnomes".

Races of Faerun has the gnome origin myth: p48:

Gnome folklore holds that the first gnomes were born in turn from gems discovered by Garl Glittergold, the leader of the gnome pantheon. The Watchful Protector discovered a sealed cavern studded with countless gems embedded in veins of valuable ore. When Garl polished the gems and breathed on them, the jewels opened like blossoms to reveal the first gnomes. Before leading them into the world, Garl told his newfound creations a joke, bringing them laughter and a spirit of mischief. Those gnomes born of diamonds chose to dwell beneath the land and became the rock gnomes. Those born of emeralds chose to dwell amid the great trees and became the forest gnomes. Those born of rubies wandered deep into the heart of the earth and became the deep gnomes.

Tanuki Tales
2013-09-27, 11:54 AM
Ah, but you see, darkness is evil (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DarkIsEvil).

And that's what unsettles Gettles. It seems to be some unfortunate implied racism (not saying it is, just seeing why I can see that being an interpretation of the non-Caucasian races tending to be the evil ones).

The Fury
2013-09-27, 11:59 AM
Y'know, the occasional mention of Tolkienian traditions got me thinking-- I hate the Elves vs. Dwarves thing. Say what you will about elves being snooty and dwarves being bland, I just find Elves vs. Dwarves stupid. Tolkien provided a little context for why that is but the settings I've played in, not so much. I remember asking DMs that ran it that way why this is and I've never got a satisfactory explanation. The most savvy state that it has to do with elves' and dwarves' shared history, but none so far have really elaborated much beyond that.

Piedmon_Sama
2013-09-27, 12:04 PM
My ultimate wet-blanket answer is I don't hate anything because it all just depends on whether it's written/played well or badly. As a dungeonmaster and creator of campaign settings, I'll say I've come around to strongly prefer traditional depictions with roots in mythology. I like my dwarves secretive, magical and spiteful enough to trap the gods themselves in a magic circle, rather than the the Steampunk version popular nowadays for example. Stuff like Dark Sun or Eberron does feel sort of gimmicky to me, but as settings for games rather than fantasy novels they work fine.

I do give gnomes a prominent place in all my settings just to spite a certain small subset of gamers though. :V

DefKab
2013-09-27, 12:09 PM
How much do you guys expect to switch up the classics tho?

I mean, I suffer from the 'My ____ Is Different' in my campaign world. Dwarves are Dwarves, but they're religious, preachy, and want to bring about a unified nation (While preparing to take peace by sword point[Hammer side?]), my elves are Flighty, aloof, and more like a 'traditional' carefree Gnome, my gnomes are evil religious despots elevated to power through divine rights, and my Halflings are dangerous, hateful, scourned and belittled criminals.

Descriptively, they're the same races, but if you change the entire personality of a race, is it still a Dwarf?

I use the traditional names so my players can understand their mechanical counterparts, but where do you guys draw the line. Are Eldar 'elves', or aren't they just 'Eldar'? They seem too different to me to acknowledge.
I present the idea that each variation's downfall might actually be the name itself, not the content... Stop calling them an elf, and see if you like them.

DefKab
2013-09-27, 12:11 PM
-snip-
I do give gnomes a prominent place in all my settings just to spite a certain small subset of gamers though. :V

Ha! I did the same thing so my players can beat up on Gnomes because I don't like them...

hamishspence
2013-09-27, 12:17 PM
my elves are Flighty, aloof, and more like a 'traditional' carefree Gnome,

Sounds exactly like the elves of Rivendell in The Hobbit.

DefKab
2013-09-27, 12:23 PM
Sounds exactly like the elves of Rivendell in The Hobbit.

Elves from Tolkien seemed to focus inward to me. As if they were watching a game that they felt they didnt need to play, but could if they felt like it (and often did). Also, Tolkien elves are decidedly Non-Mortal.

I tried to make my Elves feel more like your eccentric Uncle.
For instance, they have a charity organization, called Humans And The Elves, and when the Common Translation gained the acronym H.A.T.E., the Elf in charge thought the connotation highly amusing, and chose to Keep Hate Alive. So, they're still 'distant' but for a vastly different reason.

GungHo
2013-09-27, 01:07 PM
Descriptively, they're the same races, but if you change the entire personality of a race, is it still a Dwarf?
It's a descriptive shorthand. While I get what you're saying, it's a lot easier explaining "dwarves who stare at goats" than go through all the motions of describing a small, stout, mannish humanoid with psionic-y powers only to end up calling it a "Werralanatalalalala", when everyone at the table has more than enough genre awareness to know you just told them they're dwarves who stare at goats.

DefKab
2013-09-27, 01:21 PM
It's a descriptive shorthand. While I get what you're saying, it's a lot easier explaining "dwarves who stare at goats" than go through all the motions of describing a small, stout, mannish humanoid with psionic-y powers only to end up calling it a "Werralanatalalalala", when everyone at the table has more than enough genre awareness to know you just told them they're dwarves who stare at goats.

Oh, I know. The question comes to "Is it a requirement of the reader, or the author, to seperate an item's subject from its name?" It comes into conflict when the Author describes a small, stout, mannish humanoid with psionic-y powers, and then end up calling it a Dwarf. If you're going through the trouble, shouldn't a new name be in order?

HalfTangible
2013-09-27, 01:39 PM
Sorry, went out for the evening and am catching up on this, but I want to point this out:

Drow, Gray Dwarves and Deep Gnomes were created before Darkvision was the bubble of 60 foot black/white vision. They were created back when Darkvision was some form of thermal optics like how certain snakes hunt.

So I reiterate my opinion that it makes no sense for them to be dark skinned.

If your skin is dark, you're harder to see in underground caverns than, say, the guy with glowing green teeth.

My question is why creatures that have lived in the underdark for time immemorial still have functioning daylight vision.

Lord Raziere
2013-09-27, 01:52 PM
*snip*
What is crucial to something still being recognizably a (fantasy) "dwarf" while you vary other aspects? How different can we make them and still have them be as much "dwarves" as, say, the Eldar are "elves?"

Hm, I don't know but the favorite dwarven race I made was the Vineyard dwarves:

Vineyard Dwarves
Dwarves are not a united culture, for a dwarf is what happens when you bury someone in the middle of a vineyard, the life essence and bone and alcohol mix to form a dwarf with green hair who pops out of the dirt, completely naked. the dwarf only contains some memories of the person who was buried, but always is the gender of the person who was buried, and holds much of the knowledge that the dead person had, allowing them to speak at "birth". Dwarves are good workers as long you can keep feeding them alcoholic beverages, for while the dwarf needs no other substance to survive, if they don't drink alcohol long enough they die, for their very blood is wine. And very tasty wine at that, which often means the Vineyard dwarf is hunted by wine connoisseurs wanting to taste the unique kind of wine that is a dwarf's blood

different but still dwarven to my mind.

Yora
2013-09-27, 01:56 PM
Evolution does not remove traits that are redundant. Only traits that are reducing the chance to successfully create offspring and see them survive.
While investing resources into growing cells that no longer have a use is a very low-intensity drawback, humanoids are not bugs or fish and over their entire lifetime it is a tiny waste of nutrients that should be insignificant in the long run, making the trait stick around much longer.

And in most cases, light-based vision does still have many practical uses for humanoids, since they are using artificial light sources.

And in the world of D&D, the Underdark isn't actually dark either. There's a huge number of chemical light sources, like lichens, fungi, and invertebrates. Why those are there in the first place is another question, but as long as there are a few places where predators benefit from light-based vision, it will probably be a good trade to keep working eyes and make that very small investment of nutrients.
And it only takes a few sight-based predators to make camouflage useful to everyone else.

Tanuki Tales
2013-09-27, 01:57 PM
If your skin is dark, you're harder to see in underground caverns than, say, the guy with glowing green teeth.


Except both are equally visible to thermals.

DefKab
2013-09-27, 02:22 PM
Except both are equally visible to thermals.

Here's a theory. Underdark races could have dwelt in high volcanic activity areas, and so the dark skin could raise their internal temperature to match the heated igneous rocks that form their caverns, so the dark skin might've been a fortunate side effect of surface dwelling, and then reinforced through their interactions with natural predators underneath.

Piedmon_Sama
2013-09-27, 02:28 PM
It's a descriptive shorthand. While I get what you're saying, it's a lot easier explaining "dwarves who stare at goats" than go through all the motions of describing a small, stout, mannish humanoid with psionic-y powers only to end up calling it a "Werralanatalalalala", when everyone at the table has more than enough genre awareness to know you just told them they're dwarves who stare at goats.

The big distinction is whether or not you're using this in a game or a story. A roleplaying campaign, unless you're playing a specific kind, isn't much going to resemble a traditional narrative story (or, just like TV shows and movies have different demands on a story structure, a roleplaying game presents its own demands). Instead of the "conventions" being, say, "big reveal at the end of Act II," the conventions are dwarf and elf. In the context of a game, an elf is a parcel of stats/abilities that function in a given way, and it is quite right for these to be points of common ground for the gamemaster/creator and players to meet on. Elves may live in the desert, elves may live on the moon, but you can bet they will be good at shooting bows and immune to sleep.

On the other hand, if you were creating a story, I strongly question the purpose or utility of calling your desert-dwelling nomads or death-worshipping jungle dwellers elves, if you've departed from any commonly understood facet of the archetype. Your Eberrons and Dark Suns and Planescapes are fine as playgrounds for a campaign, but suffer as settings for stories for pretty much this reason.

E: Drow are black because their name derives from the norse word for "Black Elves," (which originally meant what we think of as dwarves). hth, you bloody nerds.

JusticeZero
2013-09-27, 02:30 PM
Alternately, dark skin - and you will note that underground races are not brown shaded, as with humans adapted to different levels of sunlight, but monochrome greyshades - is an adaptation to some other underground phenomenon. For instance, there may be some sort of earthy cthonic radiation which dark grey skin tints both block and help convert into vitamin D or similar.

DefKab
2013-09-27, 02:31 PM
The big distinction is whether or not you're using this in a game or a story. A roleplaying campaign, unless you're playing a specific kind, isn't much going to resemble a traditional narrative story (or, just like TV shows and movies have different demands on a story structure, a roleplaying game presents its own demands). Instead of the "conventions" being, say, "big reveal at the end of Act II," the conventions are dwarf and elf. In the context of a game, an elf is a parcel of stats/abilities that function in a given way, and it is quite right for these to be points of common ground for the gamemaster/creator and players to meet on. Elves may live in the desert, elves may live on the moon, but you can bet they will be good at shooting bows and immune to sleep.

On the other hand, if you were creating a story, I strongly question the purpose or utility of calling your desert-dwelling nomads or death-worshipping jungle dwellers elves, if you've departed from any commonly understood facet of the archetype. Your Eberrons and Dark Suns and Planescapes are fine as playgrounds for a campaign, but suffer as settings for stories for pretty much this reason.

Exactly! You're much more succint in your point than I was, but thats it. I call my dwarves dwarves, not because they share imagery and cultural traits, but because when players pull up the Racial statistics, my dwarves work like 'dwarves'.
Now, if I were to publish my campaign world, I'd be pressed to change their racial name...

Tanuki Tales
2013-09-27, 02:35 PM
It's a pity none of that actually went into the creation process for Underdark races.

HalfTangible
2013-09-27, 03:31 PM
It's a pity none of that actually went into the creation process for Underdark races.

D'ya think the original creation process for Superman included the ability to punch reality? Death of the author is an actual thing, ya know :smalltongue:

Tanuki Tales
2013-09-27, 03:34 PM
D'ya think the original creation process for Superman included the ability to punch reality? Death of the author is an actual thing, ya know :smalltongue:

That's Silver Age Superman, who also closed holes in reality with his heat vision. :smalltongue:

I don't know if they're comparable though, since one is "silly" and the other can be seen as unfortunately racist.

Raimun
2013-09-27, 03:37 PM
Tough question. I can't think a race off the top of my head that I hate. I have some dislike for some races but no outright hate.

Okay, I don't like it when you Can't Argue With Elves. Your elfyness has nothing to do with the validity of your argument. Then again, I am willing to play an elf sometimes and I try to play them as flawed but still awesome. An elven warrior is an archetype I really like to play.

Then there are dwarves, gnomes and halflings. I like the fluff of all three of them but I've never played a character that is a dwarf, gnome or a halfling... and I don't think I want to. Perhaps it's just that the three races are not really suitable for offensive close combat. That and they are all much shorter than I am. :smalltongue:

Orcs and such are fine as they are. They are a fantasy game tradition. If it's of any consolation, I am willing to kill any and all kinds of humanoids in an RPG, if the situation requires it. It's not discrimination if everyone AND the orcs die, right?

Humans I like because of their flexibility. They can be almost anything and they are one of the top choices for ALL of the classes in all editions. I really like the fact that you can do amazing stuff as a mere human. Makes it much easier to relate to your character too.

Half-things are pretty cool. On one hand, you can have elvenishly good looks, orcish strength or horns or haloes of the planar beings but you can still act like a human half the time and it's still 100% in character.

HalfTangible
2013-09-27, 04:23 PM
That's Silver Age Superman, who also closed holes in reality with his heat vision. :smalltongue:Superman originally could not fly, see your soul, use 1000 different kind of vision or hold mini-black holes in his hand, either. (Also, I was referring to the Superman in Infinite Crisis [who may or may not have been silver age] punching his way back through into reality.)


I don't know if they're comparable though, since one is "silly" and the other can be seen as unfortunately racist.

I don't see how. =/ It's not like the black skin is caused by demons or something - it just IS. Granted, the Drow's society is ****ed up but they're generally shown as intelligent, powerful (and often sexy) civilizations. If they had taken over lost cities, were still 'always evil' or were heavy into african iconography, I'd get it, but how is a drow more racist than, say, a dragonborn? (hell, dragonborn scream 'eugenics')

(also, now that I think about it, Drow mostly fight with surface dwelling elves anyway)

Tanuki Tales
2013-09-27, 04:46 PM
Superman originally could not fly, see your soul, use 1000 different kind of vision or hold mini-black holes in his hand, either. (Also, I was referring to the Superman in Infinite Crisis [who may or may not have been silver age] punching his way back through into reality.)

Superboy Prime is a Pre-Crisis Kryptonian actually.




I don't see how. =/ It's not like the black skin is caused by demons or something - it just IS. Granted, the Drow's society is ****ed up but they're generally shown as intelligent, powerful (and often sexy) civilizations. If they had taken over lost cities, were still 'always evil' or were heavy into african iconography, I'd get it, but how is a drow more racist than, say, a dragonborn? (hell, dragonborn scream 'eugenics')

(also, now that I think about it, Drow mostly fight with surface dwelling elves anyway)

I'm not talking about just Drow, I'm talking about how I agree with Gettles that all the "evil" races tend to be of darker skin tones and how I agree that it could make someone uncomfortable like it does him.

Frozen_Feet
2013-09-27, 05:00 PM
I hate gnomes as anachronistic magitech tinkerers. They make my stomach hurt.

D&D is really awful to gnomes in general, mostly because other races steal their thunder. Jolly folk who live in burrows and hide from Big Men? Taken by Hobbits Halflings. Bearded miners who live underground? Taken by dwarves. Trickster spirits who live underground or in forests? Taken by goblins and a thousand different faeries.

The only thing left for gnomes is those conical hats, which by all rights should've been taken by dwarves as well. D&D mostly just tacks on some poorly-thought-out extras to hide the fact that gnomes have awkward conceptual overlap with halflings, dwarves and even elves...

And then, back to goblins. I don't really have much gripes with kobolds, goblins, hobgoblins, orcs, drows, yadda yadda as invidual species. But the way some settings feel the need to have all of them just boggles the mind.

Gee, would it just be too hard to have a single evil, ugly-looking species of cave-dwellers, and have then have that species have multiple, different cultures? It's especially annoying when "kobold" and "goblin", outside fantasy RPGS, are pretty much synonumous, but because you apparently can't just have one or the other you have to come up with out-of-the-blue differences to justify using them both. Le sigh.

Same for orcs, hobgoblins, bugbears and drow...

I have similar gripes with different varieties of undead. You don't need to classify every walking corpse as different creature type. Likewise, single species of "ghosts" are usually enough. You don't need bazillion minorly different spectral entities just because there are bazillion different myths about them.

navar100
2013-09-27, 06:58 PM
To bring things away from Elves for a minute, I've always been disappointed with how Kobolds are typically handled. Despite being far more industrious then the other "cannon fodder" races (all that mining and trap making takes a lot of metalwork) they're almost always at the bottom of the totem pole. In the next campaign I'm DMing, the Kobolds are going to be an industrial superpower and the main antagonists.

After Meepo and becoming friends with the kobolds of Sunless Citadel, I've always had a soft spot for them. I hate having to fight them in any further games.

Yora
2013-09-28, 03:14 AM
I have similar gripes with different varieties of undead. You don't need to classify every walking corpse as different creature type. Likewise, single species of "ghosts" are usually enough. You don't need bazillion minorly different spectral entities just because there are bazillion different myths about them.
I always try to go with the minimum of required rules or mechanics and do as much as possible with fluff descriptions.
And when it comes to selecting undead for my setting, I just never get any higher than eight.
Skeleton, zombie, ghoul, wight, shadow, wraith, ghost, vampire.
Pretty much everything else that anyone ever comes up with is really just one of these eight with a small additional unusual power.

Tanuki Tales
2013-09-28, 11:09 AM
I somewhat wonder if the presence of a Devil status ladder would make some of these "there's just too many of X" cases more bearable.

So, for example, the creatures start off as a goblin, but depending on prestige in their clan and exposure to certain stimuli or events, they grow and change into a higher level of creature. So a Goblin can eventually become an Orc or a Bugbear (or, more interestingly, let's put the Barghest at the top) and they stop being a gaggle of similar things and become one ecological species.

HalfTangible
2013-09-28, 11:38 AM
I somewhat wonder if the presence of a Devil status ladder would make some of these "there's just too many of X" cases more bearable.

So, for example, the creatures start off as a goblin, but depending on prestige in their clan and exposure to certain stimuli or events, they grow and change into a higher level of creature. So a Goblin can eventually become an Orc or a Bugbear (or, more interestingly, let's put the Barghest at the top) and they stop being a gaggle of similar things and become one ecological species.
Da Orks!

...Sort of.

:smalltongue:

TheThan
2013-09-28, 01:37 PM
One of the things I like doing is taking these hated stereotypes and playing them as straight as I can.

For example elves:
In my most recent campaign setting, elves are your basic, arrogant, snooty and aloof characters. But they’ve got a long and glorious civilization stretching back thousands of years. So they have a bit of a reason to be proud. The current generation has grown up learning all these “facts” about the other races; and believes them to be true. After all the teachers wouldn’t lie to them, they’re too good for that. So they’ve grown up with all these lies about how much better they are compared to other races.

They live deep in the forest yes, but that forest is not a wild or dangerous place. If anything it’s been tamed, it’s groomed and well taken care of. In fact it’s more like parkland than wild forest. Are they mighty warriors and powerful sorcerers? They can be, but they’re not that way by default [much to many (now dead) elf’s surprise]. Are they full of wisdom and good advice, they can be, but it takes many years and a lot of experience to gain all that knowledge and wisdom.

Arkhosia
2013-09-28, 01:50 PM
you do know that your like the only person that shares my opinion on this?

because really, I agree. why use my fantasy to play the same thing I am in real life? others may feel free to play humans, but I personally don't.

sure Exalted makes a good point on how any race that isn't fundamentally different in mind is still TECHNICALLY human, but for some reason I can't think of a character as human for them to be interesting for me. catman is a catman, not a human. they have claws, whiskers, fur, a tail, probably sharper hearing…you can't tell me that wouldn't lead to their psychology being a little different from humans even if they act mostly human.

I dunno, I guess I'm in some weird position where I want a character to be relatable, but at the same time I don't want the same ol' human person, like I sort of want a kind of humanity, but I don't want what most people think of as humanity. is that weird?

You want to relate to your character but don't want to be like a normal being?
I understand that and agree. The game is about being powerful and doing fantastic things you can't in real life! Why would I want my character to be normal?

Mark Hall
2013-09-28, 02:29 PM
One of the things I like doing is taking these hated stereotypes and playing them as straight as I can.

For example elves:
In my most recent campaign setting, elves are your basic, arrogant, snooty and aloof characters. But they’ve got a long and glorious civilization stretching back thousands of years. So they have a bit of a reason to be proud. The current generation has grown up learning all these “facts” about the other races; and believes them to be true. After all the teachers wouldn’t lie to them, they’re too good for that. So they’ve grown up with all these lies about how much better they are compared to other races.

They live deep in the forest yes, but that forest is not a wild or dangerous place. If anything it’s been tamed, it’s groomed and well taken care of. In fact it’s more like parkland than wild forest. Are they mighty warriors and powerful sorcerers? They can be, but they’re not that way by default [much to many (now dead) elf’s surprise]. Are they full of wisdom and good advice, they can be, but it takes many years and a lot of experience to gain all that knowledge and wisdom.

http://i703.photobucket.com/albums/ww36/MrNexx/monk.jpg (http://s703.photobucket.com/user/MrNexx/media/monk.jpg.html)

TheCountAlucard
2013-09-28, 02:37 PM
Arkhosia: See, thing is, it's Exalted; you're already playing a fantastical, larger-than-life character, a person who inherently jumps higher, hits harder, and is filled with more epic passions than most mortals experience in a lifetime. Exalted has a very wide set of parameters for "human," and quite a bit of it falls under, "has both a higher and lower soul."

Talentless
2013-09-28, 02:40 PM
My personal dislike isn't really any specific race, it is the racial abilities that are far more cultural rather than racial.

Like the Half-Elf diplomacy bonus, why the hell should every Half-Elf get that bonus when it is just as likely that they would never actually need to USE the diplomacy skill extensively in their childhoods?

VariSami
2013-09-28, 02:50 PM
I actually accept most races - definitely everything in the Core, including playable races in the MM (3.5, mind you). I have problems with things that make me go plain what and a few races which are used for nothing but the mechanical benefits derived from it (especially Dragonborn in 3.5, although I never liked them in the few 4th edition games I have been in either).

This is coming from a guy who had a setting with nothing but Gnomes, Halflings and Goblins, an alternative plane with airship sailing Dwarves in an eternal war with Orc pirates, a city with based on Lindblum (from FF9) carved from a mountain with a caste of underground Dwarves prone to devil worshipping, and so on. You can find an interesting niche for most things even without violating the core principles of any races by incorporating a few (preferably not too overt and trope subverting) twists.

Lord Raziere
2013-09-28, 02:58 PM
Arkhosia: See, thing is, it's Exalted; you're already playing a fantastical, larger-than-life character, a person who inherently jumps higher, hits harder, and is filled with more epic passions than most mortals experience in a lifetime. Exalted has a very wide set of parameters for "human," and quite a bit of it falls under, "has both a higher and lower soul."

???

How.

I don't see it. You keep saying that, but then Exalted goes all socio-political and cultural and I can't imagine any exceptional individual because all I can think of is everyone being locked into their cultures and socio-political backgrounds and unable to break out of them.

while with say, DnD races they are easy to make exceptional individuals out of. they are intentionally ridiculous in a way, which makes it easy to modify them for your character and make them grounded in reality.

Rosstin
2013-09-28, 03:12 PM
Personally, I dislike humans in fantasy settings.
"There's tall, lithe people with uncanny grace who live in trees called elves in the forest here. There's a proud, strong race of artisans called dwarves who live there. Over there? Oh, those are the humans. They're just humans"

I always make a point of developing a particular culture and set of racial abilities and such for the humans. And then calling them something other than humans.

HalfTangible
2013-09-28, 03:37 PM
???

How.

I don't see it. You keep saying that, but then Exalted goes all socio-political and cultural and I can't imagine any exceptional individual because all I can think of is everyone being locked into their cultures and socio-political backgrounds and unable to break out of them.

while with say, DnD races they are easy to make exceptional individuals out of. they are intentionally ridiculous in a way, which makes it easy to modify them for your character and make them grounded in reality.

Raziere, everyone is stuck in their cultural and socio-political backgrounds backgrounds IRL too.

And in Creation, that's the point. Exalted are exceptional because they break out of those bonds (Solars have to do something normally percieved as impossible and succeed, Lunars have to be pushed past the point where survival is possible and choose to keep going) Exalted were already heroic mortals before they even gained their exaltation. And then they gained the powers of a demigod with which to do as they please.

The whole point of the game is to put you in the role of that badass demigod - able to do just about anything given enough time and motes, your only obstacle being people just as awesome as you are.

DnD is the exact opposite - you don't start as a badass at all. You start 'okay' and then make your way up to demigod status.

And not to be rude, but if your characters are boring and uninteresting to you, that's your fault, not the game's. Hell, it should be easier in Creation than DnD - DnD's got absolutely nothing to work with. Again, that's the point: a blank slate-esque system for the dm to play around with.

This should probably move to the Exalted thread, though.

DMwithoutPC's
2013-09-28, 03:57 PM
I dislike Ilumians. I mean, they were so obviously build for multiclasses, their entry even admits it! I mean, the gamedesigners were just metagaming when they designed that, and I think that;s a bad thing

Lord Raziere
2013-09-28, 04:06 PM
Kay, halftangible, I edited my last post in the Exalted thread, we will continue it there.

jedipilot24
2013-09-28, 04:11 PM
I'm thinking that Elves and Dwarves, as they appear in Tolkien and other myths, should have had some of their stats and fluff reversed.

By this I mean that the Dwarves should have had the INT bonus and been fluffed as natural wizards and artificers (building on their love of craftsmanship) while the Elves get a CHA bonus and are fluffed as natural sorcerers.

JusticeZero
2013-09-28, 04:11 PM
the gamedesigners were just metagaming when they designed that, and I think that;s a bad thing
Nothing wrong with metagaming per se. It is completely valid to say for instance "We need to make a Con/Cha race, because we don't have one yet, and we haven't put anything in the desert yet" and working from there.

TuggyNE
2013-09-28, 05:23 PM
I dislike Ilumians. I mean, they were so obviously build for multiclasses, their entry even admits it! I mean, the gamedesigners were just metagaming when they designed that, and I think that;s a bad thing

A game designer who does not pay careful attention to metagame effects is a game designer who should be fired.

Black Jester
2013-09-29, 06:32 AM
I have one race I seriously and utterly despise and I have no idea how they ended up in an otherwise good (or at least ambitious) setting: The Glorantha ducks.


http://static2.paizo.com/image/product/catalog/MGP/MGP8156_500.jpeg

You have this whole world with massive trolls, a cosmic conflict between various religions, chaos as the great threat to endanger it all, heroes who reenact the legends of their gods to channel their divine powers - and then you get these Duckburg rejects in the middle of it.
I don't get the appeal? Was there some demand for a Donald Duck / Nibelungen crossover? Did someone saw Howard the Duck and thought "The one thing that would make this masterpiece any better would be... sword and sorcery, right?"

I mean, there back story is kind of interesting (they were cursed by some angry gods to be the ultimate ridiculed outsiders) but there is just no way,anyone could take an anthropomorphic duck very serious. Their fate isn't tragic; it is funny. Even fully armed, and with the obligatory duck eyepatch, they don't look badass, they look cartoonish. No player character whatsoever should primarily remind you of how good he would taste with an orange sauce.

And it is a shame because they are an eyesore on an otherwise really good setting, using one of the best oldschool rules around (the glorious and gloriously ancient Runequest) but once you see something like this


http://index.rpg.net/pictures/show-water.phtml?picid=1096

it is really hard to take it serious anymore, turning those silly Ducks into a destructive force that blemishes good roleplaying games.

Frozen_Feet
2013-09-29, 07:55 AM
Have you read Life and deeds of Scrooge McDuck? If you haven't, please do and you'll see the appeal of Donald Duck/Nibelunglied crossover. :smallbiggrin: But I do agree that the ducks are very hard to take seriously, especially since the art for them is occasionally really poor fit compared to the rest of the setting. The pictures you posted are a good illustration of it, really. The first, you can kinda sort see working. The second... not so much.

Pesimismrocks
2013-09-29, 08:32 AM
The only race I hate in the fanatsy genre is Humans. I dislike how we have no defining traits, were considered to be more versatile then everyone else, more skilled and just generally better. Them and Kender Damned Kender taking my stuff and having fluff to support it.

Black Jester
2013-09-29, 08:46 AM
Have you read Life and deeds of Scrooge McDuck? If you haven't, please do and you'll see the appeal of Donald Duck/Nibelunglied crossover. :smallbiggrin: But I do agree that the ducks are very hard to take seriously, especially since the art for them is occasionally really poor fit compared to the rest of the setting. The pictures you posted are a good illustration of it, really. The first, you can kinda sort see working. The second... not so much.

I would have nothing against a reenactment of any old saga (or romanticist bombastic opera) with the classic Disney anthropomorphic ducks. It wouldn't be very original, but it would work. I grew up on this stuff and to my dying day I will claim that the disney/duck retelling of Star Wars is the best thing the Star Wars EU has ever produced.

But that doesn't mix very well with the original material; talking, walking ducks with no needs for pants and the tragic destruction of a kingdom after the whole royal family basically collapses on itself are pretty much on different sides on the sliding scale between comedy and tragedy.

And this is Glorantha. The same setting that has a goddess who sponsors divine spells which have no purpose but castrating rapists during intercourse also has talking, sapient duck people (which makes depressingly too much sense if you know anything about the reproduction of actual ducks. And makes the whole idea of these things not wearing any pants even worse).

Frozen_Feet
2013-09-29, 09:08 AM
Thinking. You are doing do much of it. :smalltongue:

Tanuki Tales
2013-09-29, 11:57 AM
Why not think of them less as anthropomorphic ducks and more as people who are warped to look like ducks. So they're all deformed and ghastly looking, which gives more an air of tragedy and seriousness to it.

Deffers
2013-09-29, 12:17 PM
'Cos, I mean, did you SEE what they looked like? They're silly! I'd probably be the first to die at the hands of their race in that setting, just 'cos I'd be too busy following them around making quacking noises to dodge the halberds.

If I had to pick a race I didn't like it'd either be half-orcs or the Illumian. They're just kind of boring!

Arbane
2013-09-30, 04:24 AM
Like the Half-Elf diplomacy bonus, why the hell should every Half-Elf get that bonus when it is just as likely that they would never actually need to USE the diplomacy skill extensively in their childhoods?

Of course they had to use it. It's the only reason they weren't constantly beaten up by both human AND elven children.

Deathkeeper
2013-09-30, 08:30 AM
I hate elves. I really do. When there's lore to support them being jerks and such I don't mind as much. Steven Brust's novels make it pretty clear that they're just flat-out better, and that's a setting thing, so fine. But then you get the DragonLance versions and similar things where all they do is screw up and wait too long to do anything yet they still act pompous to humans just because they're not united in their self-superiority complex. Drow are even worse because their society is even more screwed up and unfeasible yet by some accounts they're even more arrogant.
I also dislike gnomes, simply because they're sort of annoying but mostly just...meh in all other regards. They just alternate between being sort of stupid and just boring in every game I've ever seen them in.
Kender always came across as a bit Sue-ish to me since the writers of the setting pretty much refuse to do anything bad to them and whenever one dies they make it really overdramatic in the novels. If they played for laughs how the stupid one outlived the entire party, sure, but they never do, they just sort of say that somehow his complete bumbling makes him the best person in the cast.

Oh, and kobolds. I love those little guys. They have so much fluff suggesting that they're ingenious trapmakers, not bad with other kinds of mechanics, and plenty of them have innate sorcerous abilities. And what do they get? Second bananas to goblins. Goblins. Who have quite literally nothing going for them in comparison besides better ability scores. I mean sure, there are plenty of awesome goblins. In special situations and settings. But outside of Pathfinder, whose team has a strange obsession with the things and at least gave them better lore, goblins don't usually get much going for them. So why are they always outclassing the kobolds?

ngilop
2013-09-30, 02:15 PM
Ive always held the Elves (in D&D at least) to be the fantasy analogue of China. You know at one point they were the most advanced and dominating civilization in the whole world then they hit a plateau and stayed there for centuries. Now with all the other races getting to where they are they have the whole "been there done that, we better than you' mentality.

I HATE kobolds or at least what 3rd ed did to them. stupid hey we're really mini dragon things look at us be super cool. crap ticks me off soo much. but that is not really a race thing and a edition thing I guess.

I don't really like how Bugbears are under represented in fantasy. there is a lot to them, but for some reason ive yet to find a setting that does more with bugbears than put them in as a third afterthought.

I hate WoW orcs. you know.. those 'we are about honor and blah blahb lah' no sorry my orcs need to be savages and eternally angry at the world and completely masoginistic. ( I think I spelt that right, idk)



I guess in the end. its how some races are presented and not so much the races themselves that I take issue with.

AgentofHellfire
2013-09-30, 02:17 PM
I don't think there's a single fantasy race out there I dislike. Pretty much all of them can be made good with a little creativity.

Tanuki Tales
2013-09-30, 05:00 PM
completely masoginistic. ( I think I spelt that right, idk)

If you're saying what I think, it's misogynistic.

HalfTangible
2013-09-30, 05:02 PM
If you're saying what I think, it's misogynistic.

...Uh, why do the orcs have to be sexist?

Tanuki Tales
2013-09-30, 05:03 PM
...Uh, why do the orcs have to be sexist?

Because they're evil, evil, rape happy rage monsters who know for "a fact" that only men can be strong and females are only good for breeding, cleaning, cooking, beating and killing?

paddyfool
2013-09-30, 05:48 PM
I ended up with a very strange thought loop when I tried to make the age categories etc. of elves actually make some kind of sense:

The "Elven Lands" are a demiplane, out of phase with the rest of the world in time. For every day that passes there, 5 pass in the outside world. Growing up there means that you'll stay young for five times as long... which is the secret to the elves' longevity in the outside world. And also the secret to elven power: there are a few very, very old and very powerful elves around. God wizards and the like.

But the kicker is, you have to grow up in the elven lands to be properly instilled with longevity by them. So elves are rarely seen in the outside world until they're 20... or 100, depending on how you're counting.

Where the rest of the world and the elven lands meet stands an elven city, in phase with the rest of the world. Very, very few non-elves have ever passed beyond it into the elven lands proper. Those from the rest of the world who are viewed as friendly may enter the trading quarter of the city. But it's rare indeed that they'll ever see an elven child.

The elven demiplane is actually a fragment of what was once their world. The Drow live on another fragment; unlike the elves, they take back slaves. However, these slaves age and die rapidly, by how time runs in Drow lands, unless brought over as children; as do all who enter the elven lands. Drow thus are far more likely to take children as slaves than adults. Taken at the right age, these children will age "fast" as time is measured in the Drow lands, yet slow down in aging as adults even while not fully psychologically developed. A very few have escaped, to find a world where centuries have passed while they were away for decades.

The rest of the former world of the elves was destroyed in a long-ago mage war. The main elven population and the Drow are the remnants of the two main factions.

Wood/wild elves are the refugees of this conflict, and their aging is only slightly slower than human. They best fit the "tragic fate" model of elf, because they've been too long away from home, and if they tried to return, they'd sacrifice health and youth, as they experienced very fast ageing compared to everything going on around them.

If the main elven population have to have significant dealings with the main plane, the very old elves with centuries of experience and arcane knowledge which form the basis for their power will sometimes disguise themselves as "elven gods". Over the centuries, this has led to a conjecture, which in turn has led to a mythology among some of the other races that the elves themselves have the potential to attain divinity.

The main body of elves trade, in the city which straddles the worlds, with fine fabrics and other consumables, many of them luxury items, which seem to stay fresh and new far longer than those made in the prime material plane. Elven weapons and metalwork are also held in some esteem, since they seem to keep their edge and form longer, with less maintenance. In return, the elves are only interested in items made from the more permanent things from the prime material plane, such as gold, stone, ceramics etc. Almost anything else will decay far too fast after being taken between worlds.

The light is dimmer in the elven lands. Hence they have better eyesight, and also better hearing to compensate for what they still can't see. Maybe the war even damaged their sun, or maybe their world floats at a greater distance from their sun, but in a nebula which provides a permanent glow...

The drow lands have broken off from the main elven world. Their surface is an inhospitable place, without breathable atmosphere, and they therefore live in the interior, with the only gravity being that they create by their sorceries. (Effectively making these Drow moon-Nazis).

Relations between the main elves and the wood elves are friendly enough... but the latter cannot cross back, unless as babies, for fear of aging; they're now time-synched with the prime material plane.

A diet consisting largely of foodstuffs from elven lands has the side effect of very slightly delaying the aging process for those who consume it. Only by a factor of, say, 1.5 or so; but even this is regarded as a precious boon by the wealthy and privileged.

What this means for adventurers/plots
- A first level elf would have only recently attained the right to travel to the city or beyond, and could have left the city for practically any reason; the world outside would likely be rather strange to him or her, being as it's a different plane and all.
- A mid-level or high-level elf might have done their other adventuring a long time before, then gone home to raise a family, and return to a world which had changed by, say, 150 years while they lived for 30.
- Or they might have lived in the outside world for centuries, and seen nations rise and fall.
- Diplomatic negotiations with the elves can take a long time to resolve, if it's something for which those who live within the elven lands, rather than the city, would need to be consulted
- Adventurers wishing to visit the elven or the drow lands would be well advised to keep their visits brief, and not to visit while pregnant. If they stay for years, they'll grow old uncomfortably fast compared to everything around them, while events back home leave them behind.
- However, there could be the option of attempts to speedily loot the elven lands via some unguarded back door.

I never really went further with this idea than drafting out this blurb.
The main limitation was the lack of scope for conflict (other than with the drow, for obvious reasons). No other sane faction would want to invade the elven demiplane, nor would the elves have any real reason to involve themselves too heavily in the hectic, fast-moving goings-on of the main plane... unless you make an artificial need, such as a lack of [basic or rare-but-important resource X] on one plane or the other.

AgentofHellfire
2013-09-30, 06:49 PM
While we're talking about how orcs ought to be portrayed...I kind of want to put the fluff for orcs in my own setting in...

Even before the Elves entered the landmass of Durel, the orcs were a fairly violent people, and this to some extent was understandable—they lived where resources were most scarce, and monsters fiercest, and thus annexing things from fatter lands became something of a necessity. Consequently, however, people from those fatter lands had a fairly negative attitude towards their kind.

When the Elves landed, however, they saw Orc culture as the most barbaric, and sought to put them in their place first and foremost. Some of the Orcs, happy to leave the brink, readily accepted a massive cultural change. Others…didn’t. They were converted a bit more harshly, via enchantments and the taking in of their children. It was this, latter group that the very first revolutionaries were able to appeal to.

…but of course, the Orcs and humans had wildly different goals, so any alliance between the two wasn’t going to last. It was when orckind started attacking those more intolerant fellow-revolutionaries that the schism became official, and shortly after that, when the orcs became far more dangerous than they’d ever been before. In the pre-imperial days, they fought amongst themselves, as part of different tribes. But many of the actual tribes were gone, and even as new ones formed, based on the half-remembered versions of old, a lot of the old grudges had disappeared. Mankind became their sole enemy, and thus, a new war began.

The orcs utterly annihilated the nation of Corona, and swiftly after that began to attack the other human lands. They were in fact only barely pushed back…

Now they’re beginning to conflict with themselves, and the orc leaders are looking to expand again, before the conflict consumes them…

So! Basically, I do want orcs to be evil and rage-filled, but I tend to think that there should be some reasoning behind their rage. Because, well, while there are honestly people out there that can kill anyone anytime simply for the fun of it, a society of that isn't as interesting.

Dienekes
2013-09-30, 07:06 PM
Huh, I just tend to base my orcs off the mongols. Seriously, whatever stereotypical unrealistic evil thing you think orcs have done I can guarantee that the mongols did worse.

Of course making the orcs mongols means they have to have a brain as well, which as a whole I like. Better cunning, intelligent blood bathing barbarians than stupid hit with axe until fall down blood bathing barbarians.

Oh yeah, but relevant stuff.

I don't like elves, especially Tolkien elves. The massive hypocrites, reading the Silmarilion they have screwed up in grander more destructive ways than the humans could ever accomplish and they have the gall to look down on us? Those that followed Tolkien's example tend to suffer the same problem.

I have never played in a game with a Kender, and I never will.

Other than that, I kind of like every race I just mix them with some real world culture to give them a bit of depth. Orcs with mongols I've already mentioned. I made Hobgoblins Spartans. Dwarves became strongly influenced by the Holy Roman Empire. Elves fairly Byzantine, and so on. The details are probably boring to you. Anyway, yeah I guess my biggest issue would be some of the weirder races that don't tend to fall into my campaign worlds at all. Like the Warforged, I don't really dislike them per se, but they do not fit in with the aesthetic I like in my D&D games.

RustyArmor
2013-09-30, 08:25 PM
I HATE kobolds or at least what 3rd ed did to them. stupid hey we're really mini dragon things look at us be super cool. crap ticks me off soo much. but that is not really a race thing and a edition thing I guess.
This 100%

I don't mind elves to much but I suppose that is only cause most of my players just did the "That race got 20 dex and lives billion years" over the actual rp of it.

Drows are one I can't stand because it seems all drow rp is either......
1. Drittz clone (Or however its spelled)
2. Lesbian dominatrix
3. Lesbian slave girl running away from home.
or
4. Male that treats women like garbage even though he is from a female dominate upbringing but has to prove he is all man.

AgentofHellfire
2013-09-30, 08:39 PM
This 100%

I don't mind elves to much but I suppose that is only cause most of my players just did the "That race got 20 dex and lives billion years" over the actual rp of it.

Drows are one I can't stand because it seems all drow rp is either......
1. Drittz clone (Or however its spelled)
2. Lesbian dominatrix
3. Lesbian slave girl running away from home.
or
4. Male that treats women like garbage even though he is from a female dominate upbringing but has to prove he is all man.


I take it you haven't heard of Jarlaxle then?

Tanuki Tales
2013-09-30, 08:45 PM
I take it you haven't heard of Jarlaxle then?

Everything you have heard is true and then some. :smallwink:

HalfTangible
2013-09-30, 09:14 PM
This 100%

I don't mind elves to much but I suppose that is only cause most of my players just did the "That race got 20 dex and lives billion years" over the actual rp of it.

Drows are one I can't stand because it seems all drow rp is either......
1. Drittz clone (Or however its spelled)
2. Lesbian dominatrix
3. Lesbian slave girl running away from home.
or
4. Male that treats women like garbage even though he is from a female dominate upbringing but has to prove he is all man.

4) If Drowtales taught me anything, it's that a society full of backstabbers will be very eager to treat whichever group is in charge like crap. Especially if that group also treats YOU like crap. (Ariel's first situation where she is in legitimate life-threatening danger is at what looks like 8 years old because two of her classmates hate girls and the other hates her clan)

The only drow character I ever manged to get off the ground was a druid who wanted to establish a surface-based foothold for her people.

Because they're evil, evil, rape happy rage monsters who know for "a fact" that only men can be strong and females are only good for breeding, cleaning, cooking, beating and killing?

I liked the Warcraft orcs primarily because they had more depth to them than that.

"Honor - no matter how dire the battle, never forsake it."

The Oni
2013-09-30, 09:32 PM
My favorite elves are M:TG elves. They ARE a race of strong and beautiful elitists, and never let anyone forget it; consequently they've all organized themselves into castes based on their respective beauties, regardless of how competent they actually may be as leaders.

Heaven help you if you should take a nasty whack to the face, because a single scar, if not curable by magic, can knock you down a caste or even have you formally exiled, since you're no longer considered an elf if you aren't pretty. If you're ugly enough, they skip the formalities and shoot you on sight.

Tanuki Tales
2013-09-30, 09:40 PM
My favorite elves are M:TG elves. They ARE a race of strong and beautiful elitists, and never let anyone forget it; consequently they've all organized themselves into castes based on their respective beauties, regardless of how competent they actually may be as leaders.

Heaven help you if you should take a nasty whack to the face, because a single scar, if not curable by magic, can knock you down a caste or even have you formally exiled, since you're no longer considered an elf if you aren't pretty. If you're ugly enough, they skip the formalities and shoot you on sight.

Never knew MTG Elves were Beholders.

navar100
2013-09-30, 10:08 PM
I do like Keebler elves.

The Oni
2013-09-30, 10:33 PM
I had to google Beholder society to find out what you're talking about. The name makes a good deal more sense now, really!

But yeah, in M:TG they're pretty brutal, I thought it was an excellent deconstruction. It's also kind of funny that their nobles don't hire assassins to kill their enemies, just mess up their faces enough that they're effectively removed from Elven society.

russdm
2013-09-30, 10:42 PM
I like the elves and orcs from Tolkien, but D&D took his ideas further than even he was comfortable with (i would think Prof Tolkien would be quite appalled with how his orcs have been treated by D&D, but fine with what WoW did to them; dude was a practicing catholic mind). They had histories that made them what they were that were pretty good.

I dislike D&D elves and orcs because its always "Can't argue with Elves" with the elves being general douchebags and looking down on the other races despite elves having never doing anything. Orcs are always chaotic evil violent everything types. Nothing beyond this, but its understandable.

All of the "good" races are intended to be player races and so they get good backgrounds and stuff and are allowed to be as wacky as they want. "Evil" races have to be shoe-horned into bad guys roles so players can kill them all with little concern.

All evil races have the same general concept to them, despite the "history", which is that they are to be used as enemies for the players to kill. Orcs? Savages. Goblins? Savages. Lizardfolk? Savages. Gnolls? Savages. Drow? Evil elves with a screwed up society. Duergar? Evil dwarves. Kobolds? Savages. Hobgoblins? Militant Savages. Ogres? Savages. Giants? Savages. Humans? The only race that actually has any kind of capable evil groups that are simply savages or some short descriptor.

Take a hard look and notice how many of the "Good" races actually had civilizations at some point in time, compared to the "Evil" races. Elves? Notorious for ancient ones. Dwarves? Plenty and they have lost some of those unlike elves. Gnomes? Got one, yep. Humans? Sure, many though. Halflings? They have a wandering one. As for the "evil" races? can't find any except for the non-native to the material plane ones like mindflyers. There doesn't appear to have been any for any of the material plane races. Every evil race has semi-connected citystates.

D&D suffers from "Designated Hero" syndrome. All of the "good" races are "heroes" and presented as such. All of the "evil" races are "villains" and are presented as such. So, if you are an orc, then you are always chaotic evil and out to kill things and deserve to die. If you are an elf, you should be spared because you are "good".

One final parting thought: All elves are portrayed as usually have pale/white skin, while drow get all black skin. Reminds anybody of anything?

Joe the Rat
2013-09-30, 10:46 PM
There are races that I dislike, bordering on revilement... but I consider acceptable to include in worlds. Bloody elves.

Gnomes... simply don't fit well. They feel tacked on. I leave them out when I can. Monstrous humanoids... can create issues. I like the concept , but it needs to be something more than walking chunks of XP or rubber foreheaded unfortunate implications. Give me something solid, a good hook. Competition for resources, invaders or refugees, magical corruption... an uncomfortable alliance with the Imperial Hobgoblins when the elves turn psycho or the Dwarves cut off trade or something. Make all the races potential allies, or potential villains.

What I truly dislike are races added for the sake of adding races, and races plopped into other settings because they're cool. Warforged fit solidly into the lore and style of Eberron. They're rather popular. Having them suddenly appear in other settings (not "plane hopped over" but "Oh yeah, remember that titanic war nobody ever talks about? Here's that artificial race of soldiers nobody remembered existed until last week"). Having a hundred playable races makes for a very metropolitan setting. But if you go that route, you should lay off the "humans are diverse" bit - because no, they aren't. There's no booping room for them to be diverse. You don't have a range of cultures, you have a range of species (and subspecies and breeds and AKS recognized variations...). Lots of options can be good, but you don't have to use ALL of them.


I HATE kobolds or at least what 3rd ed did to them. stupid hey we're really mini dragon things look at us be super cool. crap ticks me off soo much. but that is not really a race thing and a edition thing I guess.
I've got mixed feelings here. Kobolds have been a favorite of mine since way back, and the dragon thing sort of made sense (settings with dragons and no dragon humanoids? Kobolds. Krynn - Draconians. Athas - not real dragons. Dragon Mountain? Lousy with them). At the time: endothermic scaly egg-laying critters with ears. Dragons share a lot of these traits... Bam! They're in the same Clade. They're like rats to the dragons... significantly larger and more powerful species. So going dragon - throwing hints of dragon ancestry at them? Made sense. I think they way over-did it.

That and I preferred the dog-faced kobolds.

Zavoniki
2013-09-30, 10:58 PM
While not fantasy related at all as an Eclipse Phase character I must put up Space Whales as a race I can't stand.

Why? Because you can't be a whale that lives in the corona of the sun and feeds of its ambient energy without massive Lucidity damage. The only reasonable explanation of them I've seen is that they are actually responsible for everything ever. They made the thing that made the thing that made the universe. They are beyond your comprehension because you cannot comprehend what you would need to comprehend them. They are Space Whales.

But as written they just come off as "We wanted Space Whales that lived in the sun cuz it sounds cool" and it really doesn't mesh well with the faux-hard sci-fi that Eclipse Phase is trying to be.

The Oni
2013-09-30, 11:27 PM
All elves are portrayed as usually have pale/white skin, while drow get all black skin. Reminds anybody of anything?

This is presumably based on the original Norse mythology which featured light elves and dark elves. The dark elves were usually evil. Connotations aside, how many humans do you know who are literally black?

I for one am going to take liberties with the setting fluff anyway, because if you're not going to do that, what's the fun in a game being so customizable?

Pathfinder made gnomes really godsdamn interesting. The reason they're so inexplicably enthusiastic and curious about everything? It's a survival mechanism, because if they get too bored for too long, they lose all their color, go mad and die.

Also they're fey and they may be potentially immortal, except that living on the Material Plane results in the Bleaching so they never live that long. Also they may be living avatars for some other mysterious beings. #implications

Jay R
2013-09-30, 11:49 PM
(seriously, why are here sooo many pseudo-orks anyway?)

Orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, kobolds, gnolls, and bugbears all exist because D&D started as a (rather inaccurate) simulation of fantasy literature, and orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, kobolds, gnolls, and bugbears all exist in fantasy literature.

And I suspect that any race anybody dislikes is unlikable because of how they are played. A good DM or player can do well with any race, and the actions of a poor DM or player won't be improved by assigning them to a "cool" race.

Black Jester
2013-10-01, 03:56 AM
Because they're evil, evil, rape happy rage monsters who know for "a fact" that only men can be strong and females are only good for breeding, cleaning, cooking, beating and killing?

While I personally don't think that rape is a good issue to appear in any RPG whatsoever and should be used only very very sparsely if at all, wouldn't it make more sense to make the big evil monster guys omni-abusal? "They rape everything and everyone, they aren't picky. Hell, you can even have mean, scarred and pretty frightening Orc Amazons who are after poor, poor elvish and human pretty boys and let them suffer a fate worse than death (etc. epp.) when they capture them. If you use an issue like sexualized violence, which basically requires a relatively mature and serious approach to handle it with the caution and respect it deserves, why would you want to emphaize the same old gender clishees and role models?

I personally think that the sexist antagonist is both a very simple method to establish him as a bad guy, while you can prevent at the same time that the players have to face armed and dangerous females in combat and have to use massive violence against them, since beating up women and feeling good about it can have some rather uncomfortable undertones.



Huh, I just tend to base my orcs off the mongols. Seriously, whatever stereotypical unrealistic evil thing you think orcs have done I can guarantee that the mongols did worse.

I personally think that using fantasy monsters as stand-ins for real world people is a horrible, horrible idea, because it is so easy to fall into a trap of racist clishes. Besides, Mongols weren't much worse than any other medieval or early modern society. Those who have power are usually unconstrained by morals. That's only relevant if you don't have power and need some sort of moral standards to establish yourself as at least moral superior or at least to demonize your opponents. The source material Tolkien for instance used for the representation of his antagonists, including the orcs comes from a actually much older tradition of anti-Turkish publications and rhetorics who came up after the conquest of Constantinople and remained popular (and horrible racist by all modern standards) depending on how close the Osman Empire was at conquering Vienna. And any claim that the Osman Empire was any worse than their more Western counterparts (you know, the guys who sacked Constantinople two centuries earlier) is rather laughable.


Orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, kobolds, gnolls, and bugbears all exist because D&D started as a (rather inaccurate) simulation of fantasy literature, and orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, kobolds, gnolls, and bugbears all exist in fantasy literature.

Yes, but they are mostly interchangeable, and become rather blurry if you have them all in one setting. As some other people in this thread has mentioned before, having too many different species in the same niche is both unnecessary and leads a cluttered, kitchen sink feeling for a setting.

Tanuki Tales
2013-10-01, 08:42 AM
While not fantasy related at all as an Eclipse Phase character I must put up Space Whales as a race I can't stand.



You're not limited to fantasy. Any race from anywhere in tabletop gaming is fair game.


This is presumably based on the original Norse mythology which featured light elves and dark elves. The dark elves were usually evil. Connotations aside, how many humans do you know who are literally black?


Funny thing how Drow are depicted more as a bruised purple color and aren't coal black anymore though....


While I personally don't think that rape is a good issue to appear in any RPG whatsoever and should be used only very very sparsely if at all, wouldn't it make more sense to make the big evil monster guys omni-abusal? "They rape everything and everyone, they aren't picky. Hell, you can even have mean, scarred and pretty frightening Orc Amazons who are after poor, poor elvish and human pretty boys and let them suffer a fate worse than death (etc. epp.) when they capture them. If you use an issue like sexualized violence, which basically requires a relatively mature and serious approach to handle it with the caution and respect it deserves, why would you want to emphaize the same old gender clishees and role models?

Because you just described the Reavers from Firefly, who, again, have a compelling origin for why they act that way.

Just make a race rape happy from cradle to grave for every individual member just to justify their deaths with no grander explanation or reasoning for their behavior is bad writting.

Now if they were like the Abyssians from Star Wars, it'd make more sense. The more durable a species is and the greater its propensity to recuperate, the more rough and violent both their foreplay and day to day life become.


I personally think that the sexist antagonist is both a very simple method to establish him as a bad guy, while you can prevent at the same time that the players have to face armed and dangerous females in combat and have to use massive violence against them, since beating up women and feeling good about it can have some rather uncomfortable undertones.

But a whole race of sexists with no deeper meaning or explanation?

And I find that kind of false chivalry just as sexist as what we were talking about. Why do women have to be these sacred cow, frail flowers who can never be treated equal to their male villain counterparts? In a society and time where women were just as likely to raise the sword as men, chances are you'd fight them and someone would die. And if their death is something that the players would end up feeling is carthic because of what a monster she is, they shouldn't feel guilt that they "just hit a girl".

Starshade
2013-10-01, 08:58 AM
One final parting thought: All elves are portrayed as usually have pale/white skin, while drow get all black skin. Reminds anybody of anything?

It's from Snorri Sturlason's intepretation of norse Mythology, he depicted the "svartalfar", black elves, as greedy underground dwelling elves.
In reality he likely mixed up elves and dwarves, since no other earlier Sources mention them. But, there's the source.

Dienekes
2013-10-01, 09:35 AM
I personally think that using fantasy monsters as stand-ins for real world people is a horrible, horrible idea, because it is so easy to fall into a trap of racist clishes. Besides, Mongols weren't much worse than any other medieval or early modern society. Those who have power are usually unconstrained by morals. That's only relevant if you don't have power and need some sort of moral standards to establish yourself as at least moral superior or at least to demonize your opponents. The source material Tolkien for instance used for the representation of his antagonists, including the orcs comes from a actually much older tradition of anti-Turkish publications and rhetorics who came up after the conquest of Constantinople and remained popular (and horrible racist by all modern standards) depending on how close the Osman Empire was at conquering Vienna. And any claim that the Osman Empire was any worse than their more Western counterparts (you know, the guys who sacked Constantinople two centuries earlier) is rather laughable.

Yeah I've heard this point brought up before. I just tend to not care. A society that was brutal 800 years ago has about nothing to do with the race of people that exists today. I don't make them look mongolian, I don't make them speak with an accent. However, I do plunder the old political and social systems and methods of war.

Besides, every fantasy culture is rooted in some real life culture, or is influenced by some society the writer has heard of. Many just pick over a few major details that make it more generic, I like to dig deeper.

As to everyone was a sacking murder argument. Yes, you're right. But I would suggest looking again at some of the accounts of the mongol expansion, their levels of destruction was only really matched by a few Roman campaigns I know from the top of my head.

Jay R
2013-10-01, 09:51 AM
I personally think that using fantasy monsters as stand-ins for real world people is a horrible, horrible idea, because it is so easy to fall into a trap of racist clishes.

Nah. If somebody is going to use racist cliches, then he will, and restricting them to humans won't make it any better.

I have often used a specific culture as a template for a race. Mostly my dwarves are nordic, my elves are Welsh, and my hobbits are (like Tolkien's) more-or-less 19th century English country folk.

And, yes, of course I use the most obvious aspects of those cultures - I've never spent much time in medieval Wales to see the subtle aspects. That's not racist. Treating somebody as if the most commonly known aspects of their culture are the limits of their culture is racist, but I've never interacted with the medieval Welsh, so I have had no opportunity to do so.



Orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, kobolds, gnolls, and bugbears all exist because D&D started as a (rather inaccurate) simulation of fantasy literature, and orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, kobolds, gnolls, and bugbears all exist in fantasy literature.

Yes, but they are mostly interchangeable, and become rather blurry if you have them all in one setting.

(In Billy Crystal's voice) "Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your race here is only MOSTLY interchangeable. There's a big difference between mostly interchangeable and all interchangeable. Mostly interchangeable is slightly distinctive. With all interchangeable, well, with all interchangeable there's usually only one thing you can do."
"What's that?"
(Billy Crystal again) "Go through their backstory and look for loose motivations."


As some other people in this thread has mentioned before, having too many different species in the same niche is both unnecessary and leads a cluttered, kitchen sink feeling for a setting.

Depends on how you use them. If the goblins are fleeing the orcs to the south, and the bugbears stay up north where they fur is needed, then the distinctions can be made clear.

I agree that the Monster Manual provides a bewildering sheaf of options. And I agree that any one game should only use those that fit that world. From 1974 until today, the game using them will be as good, or as bad, as the DM's imagination, planning, and improvisation make it.

Unnecessary? Of course. It's also "unnecessary" to have a car available in seven different colors, and lots of different options. I'm only going to buy one car. But the car I choose to drive is different from the car you choose to drive, so all the options are indeed necessary - as options.

The 2E game I just started has very few humanoid races so far, and only two directly from the books.. Most people are human, but there's a large race of goblins (unlike any goblins in the books), the Fair Folk out of Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain, and I eventually intend to introduce elves from the Discworld. I've also included Uruk-hai (Orogs from the books) and Ogres.

Does this mean that I need only six races, or that I needed four more than the books provide?

A lot of people are acting like every race should be included in every game, or they were somehow "unnecessary". This is an over-simplification. A great cook has hundreds of herbs and spices, but only uses a few in any particular recipe. Similarly, the books should have a huge set of options, from which each DM will choose the ones that suit his or her world.

hamishspence
2013-10-01, 09:55 AM
(In Billy Crystal's voice) "Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your race here is only MOSTLY interchangeable. There's a big difference between mostly interchangeable and all interchangeable. Mostly interchangeable is slightly distinctive. With all interchangeable, well, with all interchangeable there's usually only one thing you can do."
"What's that?"
(Billy Crystal again) "Go through their backstory and look for loose motivations."

:smallbiggrin:

This is awesome.

Frozen_Feet
2013-10-01, 02:28 PM
As to everyone was a sacking murderer argument...

It is a fallacious argument based on over-generalization and poor understanding of history.

There have been plenty of horrible cultures in existence. Some were more horrible than others. There are actual reasons why "barbarian" and "pagan" had bad rings to them. The mongols in particular were an exceptionally brutal conqueror culture. Were they all evil, all the time? Heavens no! But any argument that starts with "other were just as bad" is blind to, among other things, the reason there was a Mongol Empire, and not, say, the Finnish Empire.

The Oni
2013-10-01, 03:30 PM
Anyway, I'll admit that it's a bit silly to portray a race as Always Chaotic Evil since it implies that they lack freewill. That's cool if they literally DO lack freewill, but that doesn't make a lick of damn sense if they're organized like a civilization rather than a hivemind.

D&D 3.0 apparently had Eludecia, the Succubus Paladin, played completely straight - any of her succubus abilities she actually retained she just didn't use. If a Succubus, a literal fiend whose very essence is illicit sex, can reform, I'm sure any mortal race can, be they Gnoll, Goblin, Orc...

A character of my own making was the (somewhat diminuitive) offspring of a Demon Lord; he lacked the cruelty needed to succeed in the ruthless politics of Hell and was an embarrassment. Rather than outright disowning him, his dear old dad just sends him on minor errands to other planes to keep him away from home, and repeatedly implies that the son in question is on some deeply important business of vital importance to the House in order to save face. At some point he's going to realize that evil's not all it's cracked up to be, if he can overcome his supernaturally-inherited greed.

Tiktik Ironclaw
2013-10-01, 03:38 PM
1. I really hate gnomes. They seem so irritating (and they kill kobolds, one of my favorite races). They're really just the leftovers of hobbits when you think about it. I gave them the very least to do in my campaign, they just sit on the dwarves' border, singing and petting animals.

2. Elves. They irritiate me. That's why I made them into a race of Chaotic Evil maniacs who get off on arcane magic and who plan the genocide of every other race. The best part is that Corellon told them to do that. And so humans, dwarves, drow (now CG), lizardfolk, goblinoids, gnolls, chromatic dragons and kobolds, and hobbits must band together to defeat them.

I've been thinking of a campaign where the common roles are reversed. Drow are the wizards, goblins the rogues, orcs the barbarians, kobolds the Wis-based caster, and hobgoblins the everyman. The demihumans would all be the mindless mooks. Oh what fun to wade through elven gore!:smallbiggrin:

Frozen_Feet
2013-10-01, 04:14 PM
Regarding Free Will: there is no reason whatsoever for the "free will" of non-human creatures to map out to same range as that of humans. You can be restricted from doing some good things, or forced to do some evil things by your nature, and still be free to choose elsewhere.

The thought that there's some absolute, inviolable free will is a very particular notion, and doesn't need to be applied to every sentient species in fiction. This much can be said without even touching the issue of whether such free will exists in real life in any demonstrable form.

hamishspence
2013-10-01, 04:23 PM
D&D 3.0 apparently had Eludecia, the Succubus Paladin, played completely straight - any of her succubus abilities she actually retained she just didn't use.

3.5 actually- she appeared in a 2005 article:

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/fc/20050824a

but yes.

She wasn't the first Redeemed Fiend in D&D material, either- there was the LN succubus Fall-From-Grace in Planescape Torment (later referenced in Dragon magazine in a Demonomicon article written by an author of Fiendish Codex 1, so this strongly implies she's "canon" in D&D in general).

And I'm told the 2e Planescape books had other redeemed fiends.

SassyQuatch
2013-10-01, 04:25 PM
All of them.

I get annoyed that RPGs love to portray races as distinct cultures and cultures as optional overlays to place atop races.

Grand city of the elves. Well, they're elves so they will be all prissy and perfect. Except for the dwarf who was orphaned as a baby and raised in the city, he's gruff and likes his drink like all dwarfs do. Because culture is genetic. :smallfrown:

I wish that some day these companies would understand how cultures work. Elves from the river lands will be different than elves in the desert because of environment and circumstances, not because they somehow become a different sub-species of elf, just like the recently emancipated slave dwarf from the human lands isn't somehow the same culturally as a dwarf who was born into the home of the richest merchant in his city-state.

Dienekes
2013-10-01, 04:51 PM
It is a fallacious argument based on over-generalization and poor understanding of history.

There have been plenty of horrible cultures in existence. Some were more horrible than others. There are actual reasons why "barbarian" and "pagan" had bad rings to them. The mongols in particular were an exceptionally brutal conqueror culture. Were they all evil, all the time? Heavens no! But any argument that starts with "other were just as bad" is blind to, among other things, the reason there was a Mongol Empire, and not, say, the Finnish Empire.

While I agree with you. He does have a point that most cultures that did engage in war used methods that would be considered barbaric to the people of today. Simply looking at the slaughter after a siege and the noble culture looks like a blood soaked monster culture. However, yes that does not put them all on the same level. Some cultures did destroy more and more brutally than others. The mongols were a particularly bad one, which is why I use them.

ShadowFighter15
2013-10-01, 04:58 PM
Hell, you can even have mean, scarred and pretty frightening Orc Amazons who are after poor, poor elvish and human pretty boys and let them suffer a fate worse than death (etc. epp.) when they capture them.

Damnit - now you've got me wanting to add orcs with a matriarchal society to that setting I mentioned several pages back. Maybe if I throw in a few typically-drow elements to them... (might need to rename them at that point, though)

Wait a minute... I can have them originate on the same continent as the dwarves! This is perfect; now I don't have a continent populated solely by dwarves!

And for those who say that would be a bad thing; at this stage, it's either the two sharing the continent or I stick the orcs on that continent's version of New Zealand and I'd rather not offend every potential Kiwi who'd want to use the setting (although it is a very strong temptation:smallamused:)

russdm
2013-10-01, 05:50 PM
And for those who say that would be a bad thing; at this stage, it's either the two sharing the continent or I stick the orcs on that continent's version of New Zealand and I'd rather not offend every potential Kiwi who'd want to use the setting (although it is a very strong temptation:smallamused:)

Well, you could always have the orcs call themselves Kiwis and act like decent types like Kiwis. Or just have them always going, "Fruit!" every time someone mentions Kiwis.

The Oni
2013-10-01, 06:27 PM
Regarding Free Will: there is no reason whatsoever for the "free will" of non-human creatures to map out to same range as that of humans. You can be restricted from doing some good things, or forced to do some evil things by your nature, and still be free to choose elsewhere.

The thought that there's some absolute, inviolable free will is a very particular notion, and doesn't need to be applied to every sentient species in fiction. This much can be said without even touching the issue of whether such free will exists in real life in any demonstrable form.

Without getting into a huge metaphysical debate, the way I see free will is that if free will exists then it exists and therefore I'm right, but if free will doesn't exist, I'm going to believe it does regardless because I have no option to do otherwise.

And they do mention that races, particularly planetouched races, have naturally good or evil alignment biases; not that a tiefling or even a fiend can't choose to be good or evil, just that it's more likely he'll be evil.

But, like, gnolls and orcs? They're more like byproducts of their cultures. They're just evil because the society that raises them encourages it.

Personally, I like the idea of an all-good Orc tribe that's a bit dumb, but tries to survive by farming and not raiding. If they catch bandits in the wilderness, they knock them out, tie them up and hold them over a firepit until they agree to go home and rethink their career choices. Then they share with them very bad, but intelligent-humanoid free, stew.

Deffers
2013-10-01, 07:01 PM
Why can't there be an Orc tribe operating within the borders of some nation, earning their peoples' keep by hunting dangerous animals that threaten the rest of the kingdom? I mean, they can still be a mostly good tribe with an ethos of service despite the misgivings of the people they protect, with moral shades of grey based on their dependency on the very villages that they defend leading them to perhaps occasionally overstep their bounds? That'd be an interesting concept for a Good Orc warband.

I mean, every Tuesday some dragon or blasphemous necromancer threatens the world. And goblins being a nuisance? Bandits disrupting trade routes? It'd be the perfect niche for a bunch of reformed orcs who wish to put their strength and determination to the task of protecting others. After all, the PCs can't be everywhere.

Mark Hall
2013-10-01, 08:02 PM
But, like, gnolls and orcs? They're more like byproducts of their cultures. They're just evil because the society that raises them encourages it.

Perhaps, but consider that orcs are the result of a special creation by Gruumsh. They're not a species that evolved from pigs to pig-like humanoids... they're the actual blood of an evil god. Even if being mortal and getting a bit of human blood in them over the centuries mollifies that a bit... they're still the blood of a deity of evil. Literally.


Personally, I like the idea of an all-good Orc tribe that's a bit dumb, but tries to survive by farming and not raiding. If they catch bandits in the wilderness, they knock them out, tie them up and hold them over a firepit until they agree to go home and rethink their career choices. Then they share with them very bad, but intelligent-humanoid free, stew.

Ondonti. (http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/Ondonti)

hamishspence
2013-10-02, 01:00 AM
Perhaps, but consider that orcs are the result of a special creation by Gruumsh. They're not a species that evolved from pigs to pig-like humanoids... they're the actual blood of an evil god. Even if being mortal and getting a bit of human blood in them over the centuries mollifies that a bit... they're still the blood of a deity of evil. Literally.

And elves sprang forth from the blood of a deity of Good (Corellon) yet we still have plenty of evil elves.

HalfTangible
2013-10-02, 01:21 AM
And elves sprang forth from the blood of a deity of Good (Corellon) yet we still have plenty of evil elves.

My headcanon: Societies of mostly evil people are a lot less open to free will than a society of mostly good people. In an evil society, good people die, get abused/bullied, or are framed for someone else's horrendous crimes. In a good society, evil people either get away with their crimes, or are either imprisoned, exiled, or lawfully executed (and even then, most societies require a LOT of crimes and evidence to even consider the death penalty). That's why you get more evil people from generally good races than you do good people from generally evil races.

hamishspence
2013-10-02, 01:26 AM
That seems like as good a reason as any. FC2 does say that LE societies tend to have an upbringing style of

"raise children in big barracks past a certain age, strongly encourage older children to torment younger ones- have an initiation to adulthood along those lines as well."

making it hard to reach adulthood without having done at least some Evil things.

Frozen_Feet
2013-10-02, 03:29 AM
Without getting into a huge metaphysical debate, the way I see free will is that if free will exists then it exists and therefore I'm right, but if free will doesn't exist, I'm going to believe it does regardless because I have no option to do otherwise.

I can agree with that, but it's also irrelevant. The point is that free will can exist but not be absolute. You can be free in some respects, but restricted in some others.

The Oni
2013-10-02, 03:42 AM
lol @ Ondonti. Never heard of them before now; they may show up in a future game of mine...

Well, since you mention that, I suppose Orcs would be about as predisposed to evil as a half-fiend would.

I wonder; if you could convince a normal, everyday Orc that good was evil and evil was good, Bizarro-style, and therefore deceive him into goodness. They might be too dumb to fool that way, though.

falloutimperial
2013-10-02, 05:30 AM
Grand city of the elves. Well, they're elves so they will be all prissy and perfect. Except for the dwarf who was orphaned as a baby and raised in the city, he's gruff and likes his drink like all dwarfs do. Because culture is genetic. :smallfrown:

I wish that some day these companies would understand how cultures work. Elves from the river lands will be different than elves in the desert because of environment and circumstances, not because they somehow become a different sub-species of elf, just like the recently emancipated slave dwarf from the human lands isn't somehow the same culturally as a dwarf who was born into the home of the richest merchant in his city-state.

I can definitely see what you mean. Diverse culture made up of multiple races are more interesting and make for better stories. But if you found a newborn frog, it isn't going to not hop or croak, even if you raise it as your son. The difference and homogeneity between and amongst races has the potential to be boring as well as realistic.

ShadowFighter15
2013-10-02, 07:35 AM
Well, you could always have the orcs call themselves Kiwis and act like decent types like Kiwis. Or just have them always going, "Fruit!" every time someone mentions Kiwis.

Nah - I'm wanting to make sure every non-human species has some aspect of them that seems well-and-truly alien. All I've really got so far is that dwarves pathologically cannot give up short of physical impossibilities (like trying to run a race with two broken legs - although even then, they'd still try to win by using their arms) to the point where only one or two dwarven dialects had words for "surrender" or "give up" and even those were hacked-together loanwords. Kind of makes there military commanders also be their best diplomats - how else do you convince a horde of hairy, chest-high warriors who literally will not give up that they need to pull back to change strategy?

Does mean that dwarves won't be alcoholics in the setting though - bar brawls can be bad enough already but when the fight won't end until all but one are hospitalised, you know things might need to be toned down. Either way it does mean that dwarves are going to be the setting's medical experts.

GM.Casper
2013-10-02, 08:55 AM
Psychopathy (or sociopathy) is a personality trait or disorder characterised partly by enduring anti-social behavior, a diminished capacity for empathy or remorse, and poor behavioral controls.[1]

Sounds like Chaotic Evil to me. Why cant Drow be biologically predisposed to sociopathy?
And their society doesn't need to collapse because they are not Chaotic Stupid. Considering how hostile the underworld is, Drow know that they cant show too much weakness and division or their city-state will be overrun by enemies.

Tanuki Tales
2013-10-02, 10:17 AM
Perhaps, but consider that orcs are the result of a special creation by Gruumsh. They're not a species that evolved from pigs to pig-like humanoids... they're the actual blood of an evil god. Even if being mortal and getting a bit of human blood in them over the centuries mollifies that a bit... they're still the blood of a deity of evil. Literally.


Is that still true in 3.5 DnD though?

Because I know Pathfinder doesn't have such an origin, nor do probably most settings that lack Grummsh.

Joe the Rat
2013-10-02, 12:25 PM
Nah - I'm wanting to make sure every non-human species has some aspect of them that seems well-and-truly alien. All I've really got so far is that dwarves pathologically cannot give up short of physical impossibilities (like trying to run a race with two broken legs - although even then, they'd still try to win by using their arms) to the point where only one or two dwarven dialects had words for "surrender" or "give up" and even those were hacked-together loanwords. Kind of makes there military commanders also be their best diplomats - how else do you convince a horde of hairy, chest-high warriors who literally will not give up that they need to pull back to change strategy?

Does mean that dwarves won't be alcoholics in the setting though - bar brawls can be bad enough already but when the fight won't end until all but one are hospitalised, you know things might need to be toned down. Either way it does mean that dwarves are going to be the setting's medical experts.I do like this - making that emphasis on the psychological differences - maybe cultural, maybe hard-wired. Why do kobolds fight in droves? because they need to be with others. They are wired to belong. Why are elves patient and capricious? They do not see anything as permanent. Make amends, and they will treat you like it never happened. Or they will wait the short decades until you are dead, and the issue dies with you.

On the Dwarves. They're built for the long haul, why not a mentality to match. "Never give up" doesn't have to mean "never change tactics." If your axe isn't working, try your hammer. But don't stop hitting it. They would be difficult to redirect once moving - like a race that exemplifies the sunken cost fallacy. You don't get them to fall back, you get them to regroup - their word being synonymous with "reload," or "to swing back, in preparation to deliver a blow." The other piece is the question of 'winning' - what is the goal they are trying to achieve? Can you give them a different 'win' condition? This is one where you need a clear picture of how to make it work - what is considered stopping versus changing. Maybe it makes sense to them, even if we humans (including the author) don't understand it.

As for bar brawls - depending on the rules you use, knocking one another unconscious may just result in a pugilistically enforced good night's sleep. I'd game it with that. There may be a recognition that the 'win' condition is 'unconscious', not 'hospital'. If it's just about the narrative, they are fast healers - in so far as bumps bruises and broken noses.

You may also have the option of not joining in unless directly challenged. That creates an interesting scene - the table of Dwarves sitting in the middle of a non-dwarven bar fight, solemnly drinking, because nobody is foolish enough to start something with them.

russdm
2013-10-02, 01:35 PM
Except the PCs, for whom the definition of competency is usually maybe...

Mark Hall
2013-10-02, 01:37 PM
And elves sprang forth from the blood of a deity of Good (Corellon) yet we still have plenty of evil elves.

Good people are less likely to flat-out kill their deviants (as a good alignment would be seen in a truly Evil society).



Is that still true in 3.5 DnD though?

Because I know Pathfinder doesn't have such an origin, nor do probably most settings that lack Grummsh.

I have no idea; I don't pay attention to that edition. It's true in AD&D, and part of the standard AD&D mythology. It's specifically mentioned in Monster Mythology and, IIRC, it's also referenced in Demihuman Deities.

The Insanity
2013-10-02, 01:56 PM
Humans. I have enough of being a human all my life, thank you very much.

HalfTangible
2013-10-02, 02:00 PM
Humans. I have enough of being a human all my life, thank you very much.

I'll leave this (http://imgur.com/gallery/hINj1xf) here.

The Oni
2013-10-02, 02:53 PM
Pathfinder Orcs followed the Dwarves out of the Darklands, apparently, and if anyone down there knows where they came from before that they're not talking.

Tanuki Tales
2013-10-02, 04:19 PM
I'll leave this (http://imgur.com/gallery/hINj1xf) here.

This kind of makes me want to see a setting with a race that are basically humans who never civilized and became all that plus what Orcs physically are.

Edit: Like some kind of demi-giants with a tribe society and who survive off raiding and persistence hunting. Maybe they view everything that isn't them as food as well.

The Oni
2013-10-02, 05:31 PM
And another thing!

When races/cultures in fantasy are just arbitrarily sexist, racist, amoral and strength-obsessed, etc. it bugs me because of how completely BAD they really are. I mean, you would think that a culture would surely have SOME positive aspect to it, or they wouldn't persist very long as a culture. You can't just throw every terrible thing about culture together and call it a culture itself.

For example, my amoral, strength-obsessed Orcs would probably be quite egalitarian. If a female Orc is strong enough to beat the hell out of the previous chieftain and brutal enough to skewer his head (and possibly the heads of his children) up on a pole for all the tribe to see, why SHOULDN'T the other Orcs follow her? If strength is everything, gender shouldn't matter.

The same goes with a nation like Cheliax in Pathfinder. Sure, they're horrible diabolists who enslave halflings and feed them to their demon overlords - but the trains run on time, and crime is remarkably low! They emulate the Nine Hells as an ideal system of government because it's so orderly and efficient.

Evil has standards and virtues, it's just that those standards and virtues are opposed to Good standards and virtues. Usually.

GoblinArchmage
2013-10-02, 07:31 PM
I hate the cat people that seem to be present in every MUD ever. Whenever I go through the occasional MUD phase, every single one I try has those god damn cat people.

HalfTangible
2013-10-02, 07:34 PM
This kind of makes me want to see a setting with a race that are basically humans who never civilized and became all that plus what Orcs physically are.

Edit: Like some kind of demi-giants with a tribe society and who survive off raiding and persistence hunting. Maybe they view everything that isn't them as food as well.The reason humans haven't shown up in my scifi/fantasy novel is because the only race capable of visiting their world is utterly horrified by their psychology (split between pack and individual predator) and physical capabilities (see above link). Instead they decided to fight on a world covered in eternal night against anarchistic, anthromorphic raccoons with magical powers.

... My stories are weird.


And another thing!

When races/cultures in fantasy are just arbitrarily sexist, racist, amoral and strength-obsessed, etc. it bugs me because of how completely BAD they really are. I mean, you would think that a culture would surely have SOME positive aspect to it, or they wouldn't persist very long as a culture. You can't just throw every terrible thing about culture together and call it a culture itself.

For example, my amoral, strength-obsessed Orcs would probably be quite egalitarian. If a female Orc is strong enough to beat the hell out of the previous chieftain and brutal enough to skewer his head (and possibly the heads of his children) up on a pole for all the tribe to see, why SHOULDN'T the other Orcs follow her? If strength is everything, gender shouldn't matter.

The same goes with a nation like Cheliax in Pathfinder. Sure, they're horrible diabolists who enslave halflings and feed them to their demon overlords - but the trains run on time, and crime is remarkably low! They emulate the Nine Hells as an ideal system of government because it's so orderly and efficient.

Evil has standards and virtues, it's just that those standards and virtues are opposed to Good standards and virtues. Usually.

That's not really a poorly-made race thing, though, so much as a poorly-made culture thing =/

ShadowFighter15
2013-10-03, 01:06 AM
I do like this - making that emphasis on the psychological differences - maybe cultural, maybe hard-wired. Why do kobolds fight in droves? because they need to be with others. They are wired to belong. Why are elves patient and capricious? They do not see anything as permanent. Make amends, and they will treat you like it never happened. Or they will wait the short decades until you are dead, and the issue dies with you.

On the Dwarves. They're built for the long haul, why not a mentality to match. "Never give up" doesn't have to mean "never change tactics." If your axe isn't working, try your hammer. But don't stop hitting it. They would be difficult to redirect once moving - like a race that exemplifies the sunken cost fallacy. You don't get them to fall back, you get them to regroup - their word being synonymous with "reload," or "to swing back, in preparation to deliver a blow." The other piece is the question of 'winning' - what is the goal they are trying to achieve? Can you give them a different 'win' condition? This is one where you need a clear picture of how to make it work - what is considered stopping versus changing. Maybe it makes sense to them, even if we humans (including the author) don't understand it.

As for bar brawls - depending on the rules you use, knocking one another unconscious may just result in a pugilistically enforced good night's sleep. I'd game it with that. There may be a recognition that the 'win' condition is 'unconscious', not 'hospital'. If it's just about the narrative, they are fast healers - in so far as bumps bruises and broken noses.

You may also have the option of not joining in unless directly challenged. That creates an interesting scene - the table of Dwarves sitting in the middle of a non-dwarven bar fight, solemnly drinking, because nobody is foolish enough to start something with them.

My description probably over-simplified the idea a bit for dwarves - the idea was that it was closer to what you were saying; they're fine to change a goal, just not stop entirely barring physical impossibilities that they accept (like trying to climb a cliff, only to find it's literally too smooth to climb and too hard for pitons, but even then they'd go looking for alternate solutions before giving up. I'll sort out the specifics eventually.

Oh, and for the record; no kobolds. Only sentient species in the setting are humans, elves, dwarves, a lizard-people and a feline species (still working on names for both). Possibly orcs, like I mentioned on the last page, but I'm still trying to think of a good spin on them.

Might just type up what I've got so far into a google doc and get advice on it in its own thread.

Yora
2013-10-04, 03:24 AM
I hate the cat people that seem to be present in every MUD ever. Whenever I go through the occasional MUD phase, every single one I try has those god damn cat people.
The only cat people that ever really worked for me are the Cathar from Star Wars. And they are much more lion people than kitty people.

BWR
2013-10-04, 04:44 AM
Space lions aren't exactly rare.

Larry Niven's Kzin - basically volatile space tiger-lions.
C.J. Cherry's Hanur (male cats are violent, females do all the trade with other races)
The Aslan from "Traveller"
Samurai space cats from the moon in Mystara (also, Elizabethan snob cats, saber-tooth riding knights and more).

I'm sure there are more, but those are just off the top of my head.

Segev
2013-10-04, 09:06 AM
In the same setting I had the elves who couldn't start learning to be more than children, mentally-speaking, until they learned to meditate (since they can't sleep and get the long-term memory effects thereof), the orcs had a very sex-segregated culture. Females dwelt in cities, towns, and villages, and maintained farms as landowners. Small children and goblins, as well as younger females who had yet to inherit or develop their own homestead (or business), provided most of the manual labor to maintain a farm.

Males universally (or as close to it as possible due to cultural pressure) joined roving mercenary gangs. These gangs had tribal colors and emblems, unique quirks to their internal culture, and all those things one might usually associate with orcs in a fantasy setting (or Orks in Warhammer 40k) - culturally speaking.

Battles between these bands were as common and as popular as sporting events, but sporting events where bodily harm and death were very much on the line and in which practically every healthy adult male participated in some way. They pillaged, they served each other and other races as mercenary units, and generally give the external appearance of "orcs" to the rest of the world. Each band usually had 2-5 settlements that they called "home," and would wander from one to another. The males bring home some of their loot from their adventures, and pick up supplies from the towns.

The society is both polygamous and polyandrous:

Males often have a "female in every port," wooing and wedding them and visiting them as the "father of the house" when he's in town. Females often have a man in each of several of the roving bands, wedding and supporting them and providing them a home to stay in when he's in town.

More successful, higher-ranked males would often woo and wed younger, unestablished females, and use their wealth from their war efforts to set them up. Younger, less (as-yet) successful males were often wooed by more successful, established, wealthy females, and taken in as prize studs and the occasional aid to manual labor (but usually not, because it's not "manly" unless there's a great deal of posturing and demonstration of physical prowess to be done).

Don't let this make you think the females are erudite and peaceful and break all the orcish stereotypes, though. Compared to the males, this is true, but they are still most commonly impressed by bald strength and endurance. They share their race's lower-than-human natural intelligence and charisma, but they value high force of personality more, and they put their wits and wisdom to work to design situations where their strengths show the most.

Duplicity happens, but compared to humans, elves, and especially goblins, it's very rudimentary. Orc females will conflict openly far more often than will human women. They will bring raw economic force to bear, and are not above pitting their husbands against each other. Because the females value their lands and property very highly, they tend to have a more "rules of engagement" view on things: don't send males to attack undefended females. That's dishonorable. But scheduling a duel for their males is definitely encouraged.

Because of these arrangements, family names are inherited from the mother. Often, young males identify with a particular potential father and seek to join his gang, whether he's their biological father or not, but in truth, there's only the mildest of cultural pressure to join one of your fathers' gangs as long as you pick one and join one.

Similarly, most sedentary government posts were female-held. You can't have a Mayor who travels from city to city. Governorship (rulership over multiple cities and mercenary bands) is the only one that either could hold. If a female Governor ruled, it usually meant her home city was the dominant cultural and economic power amongst all those in the area, and she probably has a high-ranking husband in each of the major mercenary bands. If a male Governor, then his band is probably THE dominant military force in the region, and most of the Mayors are his wives. Every now and again, a powerful female and powerful male are wed, and while one of them is technically the Governor, the combination of a primary-dominant city and merc band made them as close to a traditional King and Queen (or Emperor and Empress) as orc civilization is likely to find.



Goblins, which I might write up in a separate post, had a shadow-culture and parallel government within orcish society. Sneaky and cunning (compared to orcs, at the least), they made up councilor and majordomo positions to males and females alike, as well as serving as menial laborers. While the orcs do treat them much as one expects, on the surface, with bellows and (relatively light) blows to get to work, the undercurrent and understanding of both races' cultural expectations is that, by being the ones whose hands are on so many vital systems of their mutual culture, the goblins are not actually to be looked down upon. Those who do will find their farms falling into disrepair, their businesses' essential supportive services delayed, and generally will suffer for it. But, conversely, the orcs are nominally the decision-makers; goblins make the decisions happen. And advise as to what is possible with resources at hand, and what might be possible with additional ones...

Tanuki Tales
2013-10-04, 02:28 PM
Segev, for some reason I feel like I've read something similar to your Orcs before. I want to say it's a Star Wars race, but I can't remember the name; I thought it was the Witches of Dathomir, but it's not.

hamishspence
2013-10-04, 02:30 PM
Sounds a lot like Gamorreans- which even look a lot like some orc depictions.

Segev
2013-10-04, 02:52 PM
Huh. News to me. (I'm not a very big fan of Star Wars; I've seen the movies, but that's it.)

This grew from a thought exercise, on my part, exploring the anthropological explanations I've seen in various places claiming that it's "natural" for a man to want to have multiple partners but for a woman to seek one who will nurture and protect. The concept of the "big strong manly man" going off to do the warrior-nomad thing with a gang of other manly men, combined with the old sailor stereotype of "a girl in every port," grew into this. The idea that the women would also have "a boy on every ship" (to extend the metaphor) grew from the notion that their menfolk would be away a lot, so overlap would be relatively rare.

The gangs/war bands/merc. groups/whatever acting like tribes and sports teams due to their combination of voluntary association (rather than any innate heritage) and their composition of men traveling around being manly and the concept of multiple bands who call a given settlement "home" competing with each other and with bands who are from other settlements. It makes for a good way to represent the iconic orcs while giving some depth to their culture.

Tanuki Tales
2013-10-04, 03:00 PM
Sounds a lot like Gamorreans- which even look a lot like some orc depictions.

No, not Gamorreans, but they're also very similar. It's a race (and by race, these could be a specific planet of humans, I don't remember) where the females live in towns, own the property and are civilized, but the males are warlike and live in roaming bands that parlay with the female towns.

Segev
2013-10-04, 03:04 PM
No, not Gamorreans, but they're also very similar. It's a race (and by race, these could be a specific planet of humans, I don't remember) where the females live in towns, own the property and are civilized, but the males are warlike and live in roaming bands that parlay with the female towns.
Ah. Are you sure you're not thinking of a Star Trek episode, first season TNG? Land was inherited and owned through the matriarchal line. ...but I don't think the men were nomadic.

The version of orcs I've written up here are not, however, in need to negotiate with the female-controlled towns. They have multiple "home towns." No negotiation; they're coming home when they get there, usually to the welcoming arms of wives or mothers. (Though even the youngest male who's started his nomadic life as part of one of these bands is going to be seeking a wife for his birth-town ASAP; going to live with Mom when you get home is not manly. Thinking about it, a young male just starting out might well get their first wife as an established female of their home town who sponsors him into a gang she's not got a husband in yet.)

Tanuki Tales
2013-10-04, 03:09 PM
Ah. Are you sure you're not thinking of a Star Trek episode, first season TNG? Land was inherited and owned through the matriarchal line. ...but I don't think the men were nomadic.

No, it was Star Wars.

I wonder if it was Zabraks...

I was just cruising Wookiepedia one day and stumbled on their page and it intrigued me.


The version of orcs I've written up here are not, however, in need to negotiate with the female-controlled towns. They have multiple "home towns." No negotiation; they're coming home when they get there, usually to the welcoming arms of wives or mothers. (Though even the youngest male who's started his nomadic life as part of one of these bands is going to be seeking a wife for his birth-town ASAP; going to live with Mom when you get home is not manly. Thinking about it, a young male just starting out might well get their first wife as an established female of their home town who sponsors him into a gang she's not got a husband in yet.)

Oh, I know. I'm just saying that's what your Orcs reminded me of.

hamishspence
2013-10-04, 03:11 PM
No, not Gamorreans, but they're also very similar. It's a race (and by race, these could be a specific planet of humans, I don't remember) where the females live in towns, own the property and are civilized, but the males are warlike and live in roaming bands that parlay with the female towns.

Devaronians (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Devaronian) have a hint of that as well.

It may not be all that uncommon in the SW universe.

Mark Hall
2013-10-04, 03:52 PM
No, not Gamorreans, but they're also very similar. It's a race (and by race, these could be a specific planet of humans, I don't remember) where the females live in towns, own the property and are civilized, but the males are warlike and live in roaming bands that parlay with the female towns.

Krogan? From Mass Effect?

Tanuki Tales
2013-10-04, 05:17 PM
Krogan? From Mass Effect?

No, it's from Star Wars. And I want to say it's either a human or near-human species. This is just going to eat at me until I remember it...

*goes to fire up the entire sentient species list on Wookiepedia*

Lyndworm
2013-10-04, 09:19 PM
I hope you haven't been searching Wookiepedia this whole time, because Hamishspence gave you the right answer (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Gamorrean#Society_and_culture) seven hours ago.

Tanuki Tales
2013-10-04, 11:37 PM
I hope you haven't been searching Wookiepedia this whole time, because Hamishspence gave you the right answer (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Gamorrean#Society_and_culture) seven hours ago.

No.

He didn't.

I wasn't thinking of Gamorreans.

Lyndworm
2013-10-05, 12:27 AM
I'm sorry, Tanuki. I meant no offense and, in rereading my last post, I can definitely see how I upset you. I truly, earnestly wish you the best of luck in finding the correct answer to your problem.

I'm also extremely interested in what the actual species/culture is, given its uncanny similarities to the Gamorrean culture.

hamishspence
2013-10-05, 06:02 AM
I remember now. From the Han Solo trilogy: Togorians (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Togorian).

EDIT: though, if it has to be near-human, Hapans (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Hapan) are a near human group whose early history certainly fits, and which still has a few pirates practicing the lifestyle to this day.

Frozen_Feet
2013-10-05, 11:18 AM
Segev, for some reason I feel like I've read something similar to your Orcs before.

There are cases in history when humans have acted pretty much like that, so.

Libertad
2013-10-05, 03:16 PM
My most common pet peeves for fantasy/sci-fi races include the excessive amount of elven sub-races; there's like at least 8 of them in Forgotten Realms alone!

Another is societal double standards in source material. For example, drow are a Chaotic Evil meritocracy where societal standing can shift about chaotically to an outsider's pace, but their society is extremely hierarchical with clear divisions between commoners, nobles, and clerics, with the lower classes almost incapable of rising above their station. And some drow nobles have ruled continuously for thousands of years.

I'm also not very fond of superfluous races and monsters, where an already existing archetype already serves well. There's not much difference between ogres and hill giants, aesthetically speaking, aside from whether or not they can throw rocks.

Lord Raziere
2013-10-05, 03:49 PM
tch, if the real world didn't have "superfluous" cultures and whatnot, most of the cultures we have would not exist. variation beyond uniqueness is just another trait that I find in keeping with the real world and therefore making it more believable.

and all the people who desire only 7-8 races is probably desiring only the archetypes and not the actual races themselves.

I think these are the race archetypes:

1. Versatile (mostly humans, half races)
2. Intelligent (Vulcans/elves)
3. Tough (dwarves, orcs, etc.)
4. Sneaky (halflings)
5. Outcast (drow, tieflings)
6. Spiritual
7. Social
8. Weird

ok, honestly I put "weird" on the last one because I couldn't come up with anything else, is it wrong?

the beauty of race archetypes however would be that, you could play as any race possible with them as long as they could be fit in, and you can even fit one race into multiple ones! a dwarf could be intelligent, tough or spiritual depending on what you want to focus!

Tanuki Tales
2013-10-05, 06:23 PM
I'm sorry, Tanuki. I meant no offense and, in rereading my last post, I can definitely see how I upset you. I truly, earnestly wish you the best of luck in finding the correct answer to your problem.

I'm also extremely interested in what the actual species/culture is, given its uncanny similarities to the Gamorrean culture.

It's fine, don't sweat about it. :smallsmile:


I remember now. From the Han Solo trilogy: Togorians (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Togorian).

EDIT: though, if it has to be near-human, Hapans (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Hapan) are a near human group whose early history certainly fits, and which still has a few pirates practicing the lifestyle to this day.

I think it actually was the Togorians and my memory just being foggy on whether it was near-human or not.


There are cases in history when humans have acted pretty much like that, so.

I meant that I had seen it specifically in Star Wars somewhere.


Edit:

@Raziere: I'm sorry, but I'm not sure what exactly you're trying to say.

oudeis
2013-10-07, 04:51 AM
I never played Dragonlance, but having read all the game materials I found the races almost unspeakably bad. Kender were the worst, followed closely by Tinker Gnomes and Gully Dwarves. In fact, I don't remember reading a single race description that I didn't hate. The named characters were even worse. Wasn't there a Minotaur that wanted to be a human or fell in love with a human or something? Aw, dat's tweet! *gags*

I'm old enough to remember when the Drow were first introduced in the Against the Giants modules and I didn't like them even then. Ridiculous stat bonuses, magic weapons that would decay when the players tried to keep them, wrist crossbows with ability-damaging poison bolts, loads of inherent abilities and spells, silent communications- virtually everything about the race was bull****. Then Forgotten Realms and Menzo etc was created and they got worse. No society that rampantly treacherous and vicious could possibly survive. Come to think of it, if virtually every member of a people was sociopathic, wouldn't they almost by definition be incapable of forming a society? Anyway, they sucked when they were introduced and they went south from there. Throw in a capricious deity that would eat her worshippers or mutate them into insane abominations and you have a civilization that would last just long enough for the last member to haul ass for the surface world.

Segev
2013-10-07, 07:29 AM
I think these are the race archetypes:

1. Versatile (mostly humans, half races)
2. Intelligent (Vulcans/elves)
3. Tough (dwarves, orcs, etc.)
4. Sneaky (halflings)
5. Outcast (drow, tieflings)
6. Spiritual
7. Social
8. Weird

ok, honestly I put "weird" on the last one because I couldn't come up with anything else, is it wrong?
I think "weird" is a bad one because - while you may not have meant for it to act this way - it can serve as a catch-all that "justifies" saying this list is comprehensive because anything that doesn't fall onto it is "obviously weird."

I would like to submit "inventors" as a racial archetype, while we're making "planet-of-hats" races. Gnomes often fall into this one. Sometimes as "weird" tinker gnomes, sometimes just as really inventive. Goblins also fall here, either in addition to or instead of "sneaky."

In general, I also tend to see "social" and "versatile" put together in the same races (again, humans and half-breeds tend to get this a lot).

What I think tends to make the most interesting races is when you have a sort of formula wherein each race has three of them, either a "primary, secondary, tertiary" setup, or a "two major, one minor" setup. (I actually recommend against "two minor, one major," because the "one major" becomes just another "racial hat," and the minors wind up washed out in the mix, I think.)

Vulcans are actually a major/minor (as are elves in some fiction): Intelligent/tough. Vulcan toughness just gets downplayed a bit until somebody picks a fight with them.

There are also, of course, slants one can take on it. "Stolid" and "savage" make for two ways to take "tough" (dwarves vs orcs, classically). You could also have "sneaky and savage" instead of "tough and savage." "Sneaky and social," too. Maybe "Savage is another archetype, then?

So I propose this list, with intent that it probably should grow:

1. Versatile (mostly humans, half races)
2. Intelligent (Vulcans/elves)
3. Tough (dwarves, orcs, etc.)
4. Sneaky (halflings)
5. Outcast (drow, tieflings)
6. Spiritual (elves)
7. Social (halflings, half-races)
8. Savage (orcs, goblins, gnolls)
9. Inventive (gnomes)

Lord Raziere
2013-10-07, 08:37 AM
Nope.

Inventors already fall into Intelligent. its redundant to make it its own archetype, because these archetypes are designed to be as wide as possible, you don't need to make more.

Weird encompasses basically everything alien and strange. things that are alien and just plain completely different from humanity.

its NOT a license to make anything fall into it. the other seven archetypes are just facets of humanity because they are based off the various demi-human races that still act like humanity, just different ways. a catfolk who worships lovecraftian gods is still Spiritual. a robot who works the factory line is Tough.
a vampire can be Social or Sneaky, the genasi with all their elements, fall under Versatile. basically, if it has ANYTHING to do with human society, its probably one of those first seven archetypes. this covers a vast majority of the races that is needed.

Weird is reserved for things that are explicitly alien, concepts that differ drastically from humans. If it can fulfill a function in human society, its probably not weird.

Segev
2013-10-07, 08:42 AM
I submit "Tinker Gnomes" as "inventive but not intelligent."

Inventor is often intelligent, but is a vastly different archetype than that of, say, Vulcans.


This is the hazard of an "archetype" list, though. It starts to lose its meaning one way or the other, as things are shoehorned into it, or too many variants are added.

Lord Raziere
2013-10-07, 08:55 AM
:smallannoyed:

there are multiple types of intelligence. forethought is one. figuring out how things work is another.

these archetypes are just a foundation, they would be then customized by various traits after that reflect specific kinds.

savage and inventive are just too narrow to be archetypes. archetypes do have meaning, thing is, I'm not going to revise this model because of one stupidly portrayed perceived exception. tinker gnomes are still Intelligent, no matter what you think of them. and furthermore, I'm not going to make certain subsets archetypes that can be better defined through customize-able traits.

Segev
2013-10-07, 09:29 AM
Yeah, but conversely, "social" and "versatile" might be one archetype; they're too narrow individually. So might "spiritual" and "intelligent" be really one: "cerebral."

There's just no good "universal" template. Your list is viable, and if you're going to use it as a root from which to grow some sort of race-building guidebook, more power to you. I'll leave you to it and contribute on that basis. But it's not universal.

I mean, you could really limit it to three: Cerebral, Physical, and Social.


And would "ants" and "bees" be "social" or "weird?" It's amazing how many sci-fi settings have "colony-building insects" as an alien race, usually combining numerous kinds of terrestrial insects with a concept of specific-designed adaptation and a brood-queen-at-the-top. (The Zerg of Star Craft still come off very insectoid, but dodge a fair bit of it with their highly fleshy appearance and the Overmind being distinct from the breeding duties.)

Lord Raziere
2013-10-07, 09:47 AM
well no.

Versatile is a race that can do anything if they put their minds to it.

Social is a race that relies on their ability to be social with others and noticed, on their persuasion and oratory skills. its very wide in my opinion, as the social world is incredibly diverse and deep.

spiritual isn't intelligent. they are too focused on being in tune with a higher force, be that of nature, gods, some cosmic principle, or inner peace. Intelligent archetypes in contrast mostly think spirituality is kind of stupid and rely on rationality.

such insect races can be both. again. this system is designed to be flexible to what you want to emphasize, a dwarf could be tough or intelligent, an elf could be intelligent or spiritual, a human could be social or versatile, its not a binary system where if a race is in one category they are excluded from others. put the insect race in whatever you think is more appropriate.

Segev
2013-10-07, 10:02 AM
Well, if you're building a system with it, more power to you. Enjoy!

HalfTangible
2013-10-07, 01:26 PM
well no.

Versatile is a race that can do anything if they put their minds to it.

Social is a race that relies on their ability to be social with others and noticed, on their persuasion and oratory skills. its very wide in my opinion, as the social world is incredibly diverse and deep.

spiritual isn't intelligent. they are too focused on being in tune with a higher force, be that of nature, gods, some cosmic principle, or inner peace. Intelligent archetypes in contrast mostly think spirituality is kind of stupid and rely on rationality.

such insect races can be both. again. this system is designed to be flexible to what you want to emphasize, a dwarf could be tough or intelligent, an elf could be intelligent or spiritual, a human could be social or versatile, its not a binary system where if a race is in one category they are excluded from others. put the insect race in whatever you think is more appropriate.

What about a Hive mind? Say, the tyranids?

Couronne
2013-10-07, 05:51 PM
Hive minds work best as either dangerous antagonists that are ridiculously good at mass tactical combat or non-player races, simply because it's such an alien way of trying to function that as a PC you tend to (or I did anyway) just do what you normally would but with a bit of fluff that says it's the will of whatever the hive mind is.

On the subject of 'races', (I've always disliked that they are referred to as 'races'), that I dislike, I do not like it when DMs have their Elves, and then have 32 different variations on the theme of Elf and insist they are all fundamentally different (or Dwarves and Duergar and Hill Dwarves and Snow Dwarves and so on). To me that hits too close to the sort of segregationalist racism that holds that black people are fundamentally different from white people.

I would prefer that they were all 'Elves' and just acted differently and maybe looked and dressed slightly differently and had different customs depeding on where they lived.

russdm
2013-10-07, 06:01 PM
Snipped

Then you couldn't have the numerous races of elves all better at things than humans! Although, I frankly agree. The other races of elves should be just elves with cultural differences. There aren't different races of humans, just different cultures, why should elves be any different? Because they live in different places? But humans do that and they don't end up a new race. Why do elves get that?

Lord Raziere
2013-10-07, 06:59 PM
What about a Hive mind? Say, the tyranids?

Depends.

what is the hive mind used for?

the tyranids? well they are social but only within their own group, so not actually Social because for everyone else they would be Yough, since they are basically planet-eaters, if they are modular enough they could be Versatile, if you think their biotechnology is the result of said hive mind being super-intelligent enough to figure out how to make it to the point where they can fly across the universe they can be Intelligent, if you count genestealer cults they could either be Social or Spiritual depending on how much you emphasize the spiritual aspect, or even Sneaky because genestealer cults have to infiltrate society. and of course Weird can be applied to them just fine, if you want to play up the fact that they are bug creatures with no thought processes comparable to humans or something like that.

tl:dr? the answer to which archetype Tyranids fall under is "Yes"

Same goes for the Imperium, they are just too varied to nail down to one.

and I think this is a strength of this race archetype system: if you want, all these archetypes could be cultures and subcultures within a single race and nothing would be changed mechanically.

Tanuki Tales
2013-10-07, 07:42 PM
I don't like your proposed "Weird" grouping Raz. A race can be completely alien from the standard human deviation of how life formed and still fall under any of those other groupings.

Lord Raziere
2013-10-07, 08:05 PM
I don't like your proposed "Weird" grouping Raz. A race can be completely alien from the standard human deviation of how life formed and still fall under any of those other groupings.

and? thats not a bug, thats a feature. you choose the archetype you want to emphasize. races aren't monolithic. you dislike one archetype, use another.

Tanuki Tales
2013-10-07, 08:13 PM
and? thats not a bug, thats a feature. you choose the archetype you want to emphasize. races aren't monolithic. you dislike one archetype, use another.

It's a bug because it means the existence of a "weird" archetype is either redundant or superfluous. A lot of folks also are of the opinion that any "race" that isn't human should be alien in some way, else they end up just being rubber suit aliens.