Tuesday, 14 February 2017

What races should Dungeonworld include in the next book

As I ramp up the writing and my play testers and I discuss the next book, we're talking about what races to include.. So here's a nice big list and my thoughts on what should be included.

What races should we include in the new books..

I've currently got the stats and skills for nine races, so lets start by looking at them:

Variety is the spice of life

Humans: Pretty much need to have static classic humans. I have racial modifiers for the five variants in The Full Coyn World Book, Finno-ugric, Caucasian, Asian, Arabian, Nigerian, though I recognize that plausibly the scottish red-heads and the Irish raven heads have unique traits, which also suggests to include the islander races, Indians of both variants and Meso-americans, have some unique skills or modifiers too, but I'm careful not to include cultural differences.. Why not have Samurai culture in Africa or Scottish camel riders.

Elves: As part of the core fantasy races, but because of the world creation mythos, there are eight distinct varieties of elves, The Hearth Elves, being of sound mind and spirit, living above ground in large stone buildings, the Wood Elves, a classic, as are Dark Elves, Sea Elves and Desert Elves, but I've also included a second Underground Elves race and an above ground Evil Elven race so theres a bit more balance.

Dwarves: Again, classic core fantasy, with some small twists. Since alot of my world was developed while reading Terry Pratchett, my female dwarves have beards, but as is always plausible, not every dwarven culture will be identical, so there are the two offshoot varieties, where the men shave and where the women shave.. Also there are two 'evil' varieities, The Dark Ones, who've been trying to get magic going in their culture, very anti-dwarven.. and this has caused some bad blood.. and the Dwarvult, Dwarves that take on Mechanical advantages, but lose their humanity in the process.

Halflings: Both Hobbits and Halflings, but also the Dwarflings and Elflings, not named by themselves, but by external cultures because of who or what they remind them off.. Hobbits as we known and love from LoTR and Halflings being the curious busybodies, Dwarflings are bearded, but they're actually more into lore and knowledge and magic, and Elflings are laid back, casual and less likely to achieve anything in life, regardless of their taller, lithe, pointed ears and aloof looks.

Gnomes: come in two major varieties, the studious, well spoken, cultured artists of metal, jewellry and fine arts, with a dash of magic in there from time to time, and the uncultured nature loving tricksters who prefer to cast bogs spells on travellers than anything much else.

Interesting Goblin!
Goblins have 1 of their sub-species that's a playable race, and they in kind have two sub-sub-species. The Ugly, spiteful, yet intelligent and calculating masters of the counting houses, and the bookish, foppish readers of great works and great wit. Both of which usually reside in large cities within or around the banks and libraries respectively.

Gelfling, Friend?!
Gelfling: A shorter than elves and humans, but taller than dwarves and halflings race, they have an affinity for inner magics and attunement for nature, the females have gossamer wings that can used to float down safely, and they have a kind of telepathic ability within their race or with races that have similar abilities.

Caitshee: A race that seem to have evolved from cats, not so much a cat person, but cat-like in many ways. they have a selfish kind of nature, less likely to move about in groups, but have a need to be around others for safety and comfort. Caitshee sometimes get attached to their friends, but would never admit it.. its not sure if they view themselves as the pets or the masters (or both)

I am Groot!
Dryads: When a nature spirit leaves its environment for too long it can sometimes get stuck in its humanoid shape, often when this happens they seek out others of their kind and form communities and protect nature and its flora and forna from those who would seek to destroy it. The Dryads come in a wide variety of abilities based on their nature, be it forest, pond, stream, cave or swamp.

Half Forms can exist from any of these varieties, players choose which parent would have raised them, and typically will take the average of both races for characteristic modifiers, the common variants are half-elf, half-orc, but players being players, don't be surprised to see a half-caitshee, half-dwarf (would that be a dwarfshee or a caituarf?)

So now we get to the part where we explore the other variants, what to choose to add to the books..

I have been contemplating having one section about playing as 'bad' races, Orcs, Lizardmen, Goblins, Kobolds and such, Sometimes players find it fun to try the other side, but I always make a point of how brutishly short their lives are, the dog eat dog world they live in means constant fear, even from their own group.. 

But for now, lets contemplate the following:

Giants, Ogres, Trolls or Golems: The bigger problem with large bulky beasts of characters is logistics.. getting anything for them as armour or weapons is pretty much impossible in standard towns, so everything has to be crafted specifically. Also food costs, a Troll at 9ft isn't going to be eating 1.5 times his size, no, the ratios of weight and energy usage means at least double the meals, if not triple. Dungeon adventures become impossible, local towns are more likely to hire knights to slay a giant than to employ one.. so they're pretty much out.

Minotaurs, Centaurs, Satyrs and Archons: While these exist of course, and are a race that would have towns, culture, locations of interest, within their own world and in specialised places of the Coyn, I fear that humans would have not seen them as a culture of people, but as creatures, and would have likely killed off or made enemies of these races.. so for the purposes of the next book, I think they'll have to wait..  Also, Could I not just cut-n-paste any animal+humanoid together and viola another race? Harpy, Mermaid, Siren, Lamia, Naga, Manticore, Sphinx, Ganesh? Alot of 'gods' are just animal headed people..

Draconians, Gargoyles, Djinn: The only real problem I have is with these, is balance. Getting players to play their characters appropriately and not becoming the star player of the group, can be hard GMing one of these guys can be a strain, so like the Satyrs and Merfolk, they might need to be in the later books with some "Roleplaying advice" thrown into the chapter... I'll include them later, with a higher Karma cost, but maybe not for the next book.

Pixies or Sprites: Actually for a long time you could play a Pixie or a Sprite. Magic using characters as a natural effect is something that brings a little balance to early games, Magic User Sprites start with some effects and powers, rather than just "Salt" and they always have that 1-shot death danger that balances them long term.. the problem is that exact point.. 1-shot death, Pixies and Sprites are so fragile, any AoE spell will take them out of the group.. 

So what else is there?

Warforged? Being a bit anti-technology, having players rely on another form of 'magic' but one that's easier to understand or use, sortof takes the 'fantasy' out of the game for me. I represent this is many ways through the game, the only 'mecha' race are considered evil, Magicians have formed a guild to eradicate the technology of gunpowder, so any kind of AI-robot-race won't be appearing.. heck if we can't make robots work yet in modern society, it's definitely not going to exist in fantasy...

Wolf-men/Vampyres/Blended: Actually also, as long as there is some kind of balance, I don't mind the idea of a blended race, heck I have Caitshee already, so doing a Dog-man/Wolf-man/Hamster-man is going to be viable. I did have Badgerians in for a while, (Half Dwarf, Half Badger) so they might come back.. (Vampyres were Half-bat, Half Elf, a race we had for some games 10+ years ago, they worked ok, not real vampires, but more sonar-sense & day-sleepers)

Dimituative Races: The Pod People, Gibberlings or any Athropomorphic 3 foot tall creature with intelligence? Sure, why not.. If players want to play a smaller person, I think the 'easier to kill' balances with the 'bonuses to stealth' so thats going to be fair.. though I'd probably have a very very low Karma cost to play such a race.

(Rock)-Trolls: Again, Terry Pratchett influence here, but if Detrius can become a watchman, then players can play as a RockTroll. They're big, and they pack a massively mean punch, but the balance is speed and intellect. They are incredibly slow, physically and mentally, so as long as the player is a good roleplayer, I'm ok with it.

I explored the concept of 'modifying' the existing races to create new 'breeds' in the last blog, but it just felt a little .. uncomfortable.. I already had dwarflings and elflings.. but they already feel a bit 'stickytaped', but they were added such a long time ago so they sorta became canon, the gelfling might not make it to the books due to copyright, which is why I don't even consider talking about Wemics, Driders or my little Ponies.

though, I'd love to include Aughra somehow, what would she be? teifling?

And thats about it.. Sure there are a multitude of 'races' that people have invented, named and appear in books, but they all seem to fit into these categories or are just variants of what I've listed.. so maybe thats all I can do for now.. just make a chart of them all, roll some dice and blend them together?

All images were googled for, their image names unchanged, so you can copy the name and find the file to get the original locations, some come from pinterest others from blogs, so it'd be impossible for me to track down every artist for the sake of a common blog.  

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