As a player making a character for an rpg, what do you like in a race option?
A wide variety? Just humans?
Weird new stuff? Traditional fantasy races?
I've heard the opinions of plenty of other DMs and worldbuilders, but I recently realized that their opinions don't really matter at all compared to what players want.
My favorite thing in a race option? A reason for that race being in the game. So often it seems like a bunch of different races are added to a game because that's the thing you do in a roleplaying game, but it's rare that you find one that feels like it ought to be there.
What does this mean, as far as concrete advice goes? First off, you're probably not going to want a million races. Making another race that fits well with a setting and provides the means to create interesting story is hard. It requires a niche to fill, or a specific mechanical goal. Making ten? Twenty? You're getting into D&D territory now.
Think about what the race brings to the game. What do you want from it? What do you want players to get from it? If it's a race whose differences are mainly mechanical, in what way do they change the way a player interacts with the world? Do they fly, or are they super strong or tough? If they don't offer a significant mechanical change, consider just rolling whatever mechanics that did interest you into your "base" race. A race can get away with being a gimmick, but it's got to be a *good* gimmick.
If the differences aren't mechanical, your job is a whole lot tougher. You need a compelling non-mechanical reason for these things to exist. Are they just very rare? Do they live in vastly different areas from the rest of the world? Are either of those things conducive to being made into a PC at all? If you can find a reason, go for it, but be prepared to take a step back and ask yourself "is there a point to these guys?"
I think the kinds of options I want for character creation depend on the tone of the game to be played. For example, standard fantasy races are fine if I'm buying in to a good ol' fashioned DnD-style fantasy adventure, or even an adventure meant to play around with the tropes of such a familiar setting, but they would be out of place in a game with themes otherwise entirely unrelated to that standard high fantasy fare.
"Weird" character options can be very interesting of done correctly, but run the risk of seeming like a standard fantasy race with the numbers filed off. Don't just bring in new races for the sake of being different; consider how the new race fits into the game world, and in a broader sense how it fits into the overall concept you have for your game.
I'm not a fan of different races only being marginally different mechanically. The differences should be noticeable, not some small bonus to one thing or another.
It's a bit of an old fashioned concept, but races as classes had that quality.
I ran a freeform RP long ago when I was shit, but I knew people didn't want to play straight up just humans but also everyone wanted to murder each other despite being a War RP against some country
God I was dumb
I wanted balance but for everyone to look like whatever but im bad at math.
So I had humans, British elves, 10% furfag Russians (animal ears and tail at most), and mermaids who wore outfits similar to the bitch from mass effect to operate on land (the country was a desert so they usually never held much advantage is why I allowed it)
Shit was hard and I regret many things but at least it's dead now
People tried to powergame and were surprised their rabbit PCs couldn't run or jump as fast as one and everyone tried to kill each other
I figured if power level wise they were equal then it'd just be up to writing to determine who survibed
I love a wide variety, but only if they each actually have a noteworthy place in the world. So the variety isn't really satisfying if the DM doesn't bother worldbuilding and just tosses things in.
But the fun part is the challenge. Deconstructing which of your values are products of your society, innately human, or just basic motivations for anything alive and building new ones based on whatever the hell this weird alien thing values.
New stuff please, without going overboard.
I'll make a list of criteria
>Not an immaterial being
>Not an amorphous slime
>Not inorganic beyond a shell or similar
>Can not look like everything/ multiple characters (no changeling, Doppelgänger, Shapeshifter)
>Not excessively goofy (for example Puppeteer is fine, Brachiosaurus with additional arms on the side is not)
>Not ugly by default (bestial or alien works, but I'd like to have visualy distinct pretty and ugly members of a species)
>Not a recolored human
>No elemental template (half elementals, Genasi)
>can wear armor
>has two reasonably dexterous manipulators
>can wear minimal head protection (not the whole head is horns and spine ridges)
>No body part is oversized/undersized enough to considerable unbalance the design visually (porn hips, tumblr shrink legs)
>Doesn't halfass the concept to much (catgirl, ears and tail only)
>Doesn't destroy objects on contact (fire hair, skin is acid)
>Isn't written as complete slave to a religion or has other entities looking over it's shoulder.
>Isn't written as annoying by default
>not super small (Fairy)
>Not defined by single magic ability (Telepath human)
>Not a part of another race, acting on it's own (Skeleton/Zombie, you are human or other race who is undead)
I'm mostly concerned with fluff and aesthetics over crunch.