Monday, 31 January 2011

Monstrous Races - What To Do With Them?

So, one of the most common elements of a given fantasy setting is non-human races. In older games/settings, this was pretty limited - elves, dwarves, halflings, maybe the odd "savage" race like orcs, goblins, drow - just a few "cultures", if you like. At some point, someone in any given group will suggest playing a member of one of these races as a character - it'll happen in every group, trust me.

In "newer" settings/games, variety seems to be key - you want Elves? Have High, Forest, Dark, Aquatic, Desert... So, not content with the usual races? Want to play a Hyena-Man? An anthropomorphic bat? Or a psychic fungus? Here's the rules, batter in!

Personally, I like players being able to play multiple unusual races - so ong as they fit into the setting. In a setting where, for example, all Drow are backstabbing, evil, matriarchal and dark-skinned, then really, you should play your Drow as all of these things - fair enough, you don't need to be Always Chaotic Evil, but I don't fancy a Lawful Good Drow without a very good reason! So long as it fits the setting, players are free to do whatever they want with their characters, within reason.

But, sometimes, you will find players who will not take the hint regarding non-human races. For every Conan-inspired Hyborean Age game, where magic is rare, and non-human means either non-sentient or evil, there's a player who wants to play a half-orc were-unicorn.

How do you guys run them?

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