Thursday, 22 December 2011

Delraith: New Takes on Old Races

So, as part of preparations for the Kobold Ascension Fight campaign, I'm looking at the races which would mostly be present in the setting (the Land of Delraith).

I'm not a huge fan of the "change something for the sake of it" feel that a lot of settings go for, so I'll keep some races as they "normally" are, and switch a few about where it suits.

Kobolds I have already covered - they're not the most populous, or the most powerful race in the setting - but they have the potential for power beyond the dreams of most. Aside from the whole Ascension thing, they're pretty standard Kobolds - sneaky, organised, love trap-making, follow Dragons, etc. About the only difference would be that they almost exclusively serve Dragons - there are no Kobold cities/encampments which don't have a Draconic leader. Those who lose their leader (through exile, the Dragon's death, etc.) will be picked up by other Dragons to serve - mostly so they can convince them to spill the beans on their previous employers. There might be the odd camp of Kobolds who voluntarily left the service of their Masters, but they are very rare - and most are hunted down to prevent them from telling too much to rival Dragons.

In Player Character terms, PC groups should be made up of Kobolds who serve the same Master (the suggested one is Anathraxiis). There can be Kobolds from other Dragons included, but remember - they'd be traitors to their old families, hunted down, and most likely killed if spotted fraternising with other Kobolds. Or, the PCs could be Masterless Kobolds, grouped together for safety - but then you lack a lot of the driving force not to murder each other at any given chance.

Humans are, well, Humans. Enough said. The tend to be somewhat more advanced, as far as magic and technology goes, and I imagine they'd be doing a lot of mixing of the two. Think Eberron's "Magitech" feel and you're not that far off - magic is a part of daily life, and permeates through both official business channels (divinations, magically binding contracts, healing, etc) and criminal aspects (illusions for fraud, escaping detection, etc).

Elves are a little less... majestic, if you like. Nicking a bit from 4e's default cosmology, Elves are the descendants of once-powerful Fae who were exiled to the mortal realm - losing their immortality, but retaining some amount of power. By this point, though, they've bred themselves out to a stable equilibrium - slightly magical humanoids, and nothing more. Sort of like Tieflings/Aasimar, but with Fae in the bloodline instead of Angels and Demons. Of course, they try and protect that secret, to give themselves some measure of "power", but most of the civilised peoples of the land know the truth. So, they're kinda creepy, long-lived but not immortal, and talented with magic.

Drow aren't all backstabbing crazy people. Don't get me wrong, there'll still be a contingent who live in great city-states in foreign lands, descendants of those Elves exiled for worshipping forbidden Gods - but they tend to keep themselves to themselves. The ones you're most likely to see are pirates, explorers, and adventurers. Not that they're nice, but they won't be the Always Chaotic Evil of other settings.

Dwarves... I dunno. I like the idea that they're rare, hardly seen at all outside of their mountain fortresses, almost mythological craftsmen of the Gods themselves. Some few Kings of old had Dwarf-made weapons and armour, and some are now heirlooms to the Kings of the present - though forged centuries ago, each sword holds just as much sharpness, shields and armour barely scratched through hundreds of battles, buildings which might outlast races. That kind of thing. If you see a Dwarf, it'll either be for the rarest of trade excursions, or because you've trespassed in their domain. If it's the second one, I advise running. Wielding arcane weapons and terrifying mechanical contraptions, clad in the toughest armour around, they're like miniature juggernauts of "fuck you up".

Orcs and Goblinoids are pretty standard - tribal societies, raiding other civilised peoples, etc. I do see them as having their own agriculture, spiritual beliefs that extend past "MURDERDEATHKILL", and a decent attempt at magic use, however.

Orcs are your standard "savage humanoids". They raid, they kill, they're the boogeymen of many a city-dweller's bedtime stories. They are capable survivalists, trackers, etc, and no small amount of them have managed to become part of wider society - especially in areas such as Valerian's Reach. They mostly come as "dumb" muscle and wilderness guides. Half-Orcs, however, are well accepted into Human lands - their brawn and reliability is legendary. Many become guardsmen, private bodyguards, and soldiers.
Hobgoblins are especially prevalent - they run their own cities, based very loosely on Spartan ideals. Everyone is a warrior, and if you can't fight, you teach combat and warfare. Hobs will also trade and maintain decent relations with other races, so they aren't as "warlike" as normal. Just... don't mess with them, or the toll will be worse than you could imagine. Their use of magic tends towards the more practical - straightforward offensive magic, occasional defensive and tactical uses, and healing.

Goblins are somewhat more integrated into "normal" society - taking roles as traders, with a shrewd eye for a deal, menial workers, thieves, and generally "lower class" occupations. Sort of like angry Gnomes.

Gnolls are somewhat rare, but still enough of a problem to be known and feared throughout the land. Some have made attempts to integrate themselves into society, taking roles as hunters and tamers of beasts. The rest are nomadic, originating from a desert-continent some way away, where they live as tribal hunter-gatherers, worshipping Old Gods who are seen as somewhat... barbaric (and might be a front for/the original version of current Demon Lords).

Changelings are rare - as in, one or two to a city, if that. Most people see them as monsters, instinctively untrustworthy, and they will most often find themselves at the end of a noose or tip of a sword if found out. Most sell their services to more powerful individuals, like Noble Houses or Dragons, in return for safety.

These are just a few quick notes - I'll get more up when I'm off for Xmas.

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