Kobold Quarterly: Racial Discrimination.
No, not that type of discrimination.
Fantasy roleplayers love their nonhuman races. What started in AD&D with elves, dwarves, halflings, half-elves, and half-orcs has mushroomed into dozens of player-character races in RPGs. Players seem to have an inexhaustible appetite for more races to dabble with. The choices have expanded from humans through the so-called demihumans and well into subhuman, suprahuman, inhuman, and not-the-least-bit human.
Yet, in too many cases, they’re all still basically human. (read more ...)
Good article! Reminds me of a similar post over at Monsters & Manuals from a few years ago.http://monstersandmanuals.blogspot.com/2009/05/towards-theory-of-demihumans.htmlReplyDelete
That's an interesting link, and it leads to another interesting link on universal human traits. (The internet is fun that way!) Thanks!Delete
This seems to come up whenever I get into a discussion of level caps with anyone. I feel like they go a long way towards making demihumans less human and more like a totally different race of beings that have different outlooks and different desires.ReplyDelete
Ahh, level limits. Chiefly they either motivated everyone to start over at 1st level when the demihumans topped out, or the limits got ignored. They were an interesting experiment, but I can't imagine they'll be missed by very many players.Delete
That's a real shame, because I found them extremely helpful as a model. I'm not saying I have ever enforced them as a hard limit (I always defaulted to the 2x xp beyond the cap) but I think they are a powerful tool to help shape the demographics of a race.Delete
Generally, denying players anything is frowned on these days. We've entered a carrot-based environment where before we had large sticks and maybe a few carrots hidden here and there to encourage certain behaviors.
I, for one, don't think that restrictions are bad. Restriction defines the parameters of sense and while they certainly don't need to be the same across all campaign settings and house rules, a baseline is inductive to creativity rather than inhibitive.
I'd say it is a lazy person indeed who claims that some restriction makes it *harder* for them to be creative!
I can't really disagree with much of that. Settings are defined by what they include and by what they exclude. Having no dwarven clerics above level 5 says a lot about a world.Delete
I prefer to have story based reasons to justify restriction. If there are no dwarven clerics above level 5, this is because there are a clan of mad atheist assasins drarves that kills high level priest. That is a much better approach that level cap.Delete
That doesn't really address the issue at all. The question here is whether or not dwarven social formation allows for the paradigm that gets priests to high level, not whether or not someone is culling high-level priests.Delete
Nice article. I agree with you wholeheartedly, Steve. Something that the Mystara community has been kicking around lately is the idea of a system-less edition of the setting, thus allowing it to be used with any system. Your ideas here really bring this into new clarity for me, because I realise that while game statistics and rules can help to define a setting and its races and characters, it is by no means necessary. What *is* necessary is the psychological and cultural background for each race and character.ReplyDelete
By the way, nice background. :-D