Monday, January 5, 2009
Races, new and old
Creating new races I find to be an excruciating process. This is somewhat of a conundrum since things like monsters, classes, items, etc are typically an ebb and flow of ideas depending on the time of day and if I ate something bad for lunch. This go around I will stick with most of the staple races and just alter them with what agenda I need to set. Honestly D&D simply is not quite the same if you fuck with the races too much so I will not adapt that overly. I am still tempted to remove Humans but the politics of the world are too human-inclined, so I will leave them in as the standard butthole race that they are. I may come up with a little twist for the other humanoids, but beyond that they should be fairly intuitive.
I will try using the three words method; that is simply put forth three descriptors and there ya go, to design the racial twists. Other methods simply do not work well for me so maybe this will:
Elf: Revelry, Self-interested, Seasons
Dwarf: Decadent, Wisdom, Engineers
Halfling: Determined, Change, Fulcrum
Humans: Superstitious, Cowardly, Violent
Elves I am leaning them to be based around the seasons. They change along with the seasons which slowly change their appearance and demeanor. I envision them as a bit mad, self indulgent and paternally obsessed with their own well being. Very few would be serious enough to do serious things with their life, and ironically these individuals probably can't stand the rest of their race. Physically they would be lithe humanoids who skin, hair, eyes, etc match the seasons i.e. winter for whites, blues and purples and so forth.
Dwarves are around because I'd like clockwork bits in the world. I shall make them a decadent old race but wise enough to know they are on a downward slope - perhaps masters of a bygone era. I am thinking something of a mix between the Melnibone and the techno-priests of Warhammer 40k. Half of their technology they do not understand and only keep the rest going through ritualized maintaince passed down from generation to generation. Physically I may make them short and stout of course but also with some Mongolian features.
Halflings I am thinking as a shaper in the world, but so limited in population that they have to work with the other races to get anything changed. I am thinking of a race that has enough precognition to know what is going to happen, but usually fail to stop it from occurring because humans keep getting in the way. So in that sense, they have a good distain for humans for thwarting the golden path that they can so clearly see. That said, they are at the fulcrum of most major events in the world; either trying to stop it or spurring it on to prod along their own vision of the future.
Humans will be the most violent of the races. When not fighting another race for patches of prairie they will likely be at war with one another. Luckily they breed like rats and the ambition for power and mates keeps the endless wars going. A superstitious lot, they are well aware they are at the mercy of the natural forces around them.
So there are a few twists to keep things a bit fresh and give some possible plot movers. I may use some new races but these will probably be non-PC since two-headed giants, salt-water turtle men and shape-changing black dogs ultimately are better when they are a mystery. I will leave the PCs with the familiar.