DMs, GMs, and opinionated players,
It's no secret /tg/ has some strong opinions about fantasy races.
So, what is your favorite race in fantasy settings, and how are they best depicted and implemented into a world's lore? Provide a description of your preferred personal interpretation of your favorite race.
Alternatively: How would your LEAST Favorite race be better implemented and depicted in a fantasy setting?
I need opinions on some species:
Daomu Zhe (Chinese for Ghoul/Harmful Spirit) are the most common of the human offshoots. From birth they begin developing scar tissue on the top of their skin, which builds up over time. The top of which calcifies into numerous hard plates covering the body. They can't sit still for too long because the plates will begin to grow together, this will happen if a Daomu is bed ridden. They also shed hair, teeth, and nails constantly, and are normally nearly bald except for hair coming out of their oversized ears (one of the few things that don't scar as badly). They have roughly the same physique as humans but are often perceived as shorter due to having a hunched look because of their plating giving them a bulbous back.
Xingxing (Chinese for Ape) are the last one. Take a human, make it stout and pot bellied (essentially giving a human the shape of an orangutan). Give a set of long muscular arms, each with a second set of elbows allowing for better movement (these joints are all double jointed with free movement). Their faces are much more ape like than normal humans, with large lips and flattened nose. Xingxing are often employed as engineers due to the fact their arms can easily reach into holes normal humans could not reach at all.
Mifeng (Chinese for Honey Bee), which are what would occur if you made humans aquatic. large and blubbery like a manatee, grey skinned with many folds. Nearly no nose, and instead prehensile nostrils they can open and close. Large eyes with black irises, making them sun sensitive, and a second set of eyelids to close over them when underwater. No ears, just holes in the side of their head which are also closeable. On their arms are large fleshy flaps that are fairly rigid and used for movement in the water, and their feet are longer and flattened.
Shetou (Chinese for Tongue) are taller and more lithe than humans, base humans describing them as "skeletal". Their originally developed and lived in caves. Their eyes are beady and also light sensitive. They have no lower jaw, instead a single massive tongue that hangs heavily downwards (making them prone to dehydration in hot climates). Their speaking patterns are warped due to an inability to use a lower jaw.
So far they sound cool, they're far enough from the standard fantasy races to make them interesting. I'm glad for the most part that you focused on physiology rather than the "they're good at x and y but suck at z" that most other homebrew races suffer from.
My favorite race is usually some combination of cursed or undead. I also generally like to pick a race that's subjugated or generally hated due to racism- such as half-orcs and half-elves- because it gives me an excuse to be a belligerent asshole to people I don't like despite having a good or neutral alignment.
Something I'd like to see in games that isn't done more often are some type of plant people. That'd be pretty sweg, just because I would be able to not have to eat much and could be confused at other humanoids' sexual organs.
Plus, look at that pretty flower on his head, he's so cute!
AndroidArts does a fuck ton of fantasy race sketches, I just chose this one because this is part of the Skeleton Lords page he has, which is more generic fantasy and it has more races on one image.
Insectoid races are my jam. Specifically bees. Something about bees, the society system, hives they build, queens, their general behaviour, something about it really makes me love the idea of a humanoid/insectoid intelligent bee race. Ants as well. The society systems are there, the quirky behavior as well, I don't know why more settings don't have insectoids.
I amalgamated halflings, elves, and giants into a single race for my campaign setting. They're just different stages of the lifecycle of a species that lives for potentially millenia and grow continually throughout the whole thing.
They're born as babies the size of a human fist, and grow to be adolescents/young adults in the first 100 or so years of their lives as halfling sized. They get to be about human sized by 250-300 and only start growing to 7+ feet at about 400. The rate of growth actually gets faster past 750 and most are pushing 15 feet by 1000. The oldest and largest are multiple millenia old and easily larger than a house.
This is actually pretty smart. Except your setting would need to have significantly more halflings than elves. It makes sense that naive halflings eventually grow to be wise elves over the course of 400 years. I could see giants' isolated natures explained by the fact that they must have survived thousands of years, and most haven't lived this long, thus they haven't gathered in large groups and formed a society of giants. So naive halflings are practically everywhere, wiser elves form societies and cities of their own, and giants are in small tribes as not many live to their age.
Do these different age groups live together? Or is there more separation between each stage of the lifecycle?
I'm OK with both of these, more or less.
Why are the Meifeng sensitive to light? If they still have to breathe air (which is what I'm getting from the elongated nostrils), shouldn't they have to come back up to the surface to deal with the light?
How to the Shetou eat solid food?
I have a race of upright-walking eloquent gorilla slavers in my world that wield giant halberds, wear emerald armor, use chimps as slave wardens, and live on an island where fruit is an extremely abundant resource. Their empire started in the central jungle of the island and grew outwards, until it reached the barbarous fringe where the chimpfolk lived, chimps, being more savage than gorillas, were angry raiders who looted the ships of human pirates, but were fewer in number because infighting and lack of food (meat). Upon encountering the chimps, the gorillas quickly dominated them by lieu of being 4x the size and 5x the population, and refined the chimp looting into a more efficient, sustainable economic system based around slavery and looting. They are somewhat respected in the wider world because they're fairly intelligent and polite, and not particularly sadistic towards their "property."
I've been looking for cool races, and I would love octi! Tell me /tg/, how would you play them
without making it hentai?
I'll give it some thought and come back to this thread.
Android Arts "Starsword" and "Starsword 700"
A lot of random stuff is scattered around the internet though, on his twitter or some forum posts on coolminiornot and stuff like that.
One of the reasons octopi aren't smart enough to make a civilisation is they have no concept of teaching, of instructing their young (they are r strategists). Go with that.
The octopi have no concept of parenting at all. Not only does that make their society radically different to human ones, but it also slows down their devlopment. They're fiercely intelligent and swift learners, but their inability to effectively pass things on that they've learned (maybe make it so that they can exchange knowledge as adults) means that they have difficulty forming their own culture. Hell, maybe they have no language of their own and simply absorb that of other races (assuming they can speak).
Should be different to what players will expect and offer great fodder for interesting situations.
Can I get some feedback on a couple races that I put together for a sci-fi homebrew that I'm working on? These are two of the principle races: the kastrani, a race of deer-lion centaur men whose society is based around game theory, and the z'hak, community-centered desert lizard people (that sometime have feathers)
I think I've got a pretty good thing going with the kastrani, but the k'hak I think could use some more social fleshing out.
I've got a soft spot for the sort of "swampy" races like Goblins, trolls, ogres. They're what I like to call part of the "outcast" sort of sapients, for one reason or another, I find them good fun. And its for the same sort of reason I like anthro races too, aslong as they're nice and reasonable.
I don't like elves, they r dum and smelly and fink they so smrt.
I however, don't much mind proper devoted woodelves.
Post apocalyptic occult sci-fantasy is the best I can describe it as. It's called Chinafornia.
Yeah, they're all human offshoots, there is only one non-human sapient race in the game.
>Why are the Meifeng sensitive to light? If they still have to breathe air (which is what I'm getting from the elongated nostrils), shouldn't they have to come back up to the surface to deal with the light?
The same reason manatee are. They look as if they spend most of their lives between 10-15 feet under the surface. They would close their eyes when coming to take a breath.
>How to the Shetou eat solid food?
They don't, which is why if there was not already a stable society in place when they showed up they would have died out.
Does anyone want more info on the setting?
I love Cyclopes and they're always seemed to be glossed over.
I usually fluff them as being master craftsmen (like the greek myth) but very unsociable and shy. However, the giants in the realm cause considerable amounts of harm to the people so they are grouped in with them.
That raises another interesting concept. Unlike most species that are considered notable for their intelligence, like apes and dolphins or crows, octopi are solitary. they only come together to mate, and that kills that mate pretty instantly while the female dies once the eggs hatch, so not really the cornerstone of a society. (btw, you might want to change that detail with sapient octopi, but parenting would probalby still be far from impressive). This means that octopi have very little use for the concept of empathy as we know it, since they do not really belong to a group and need to understand complex group dynamics and shit.
This would mean, effectively, that the octopi wouldn't understand concepts like selflessness, friendship. or "the greater good of all", since they have no reason to care about the feelings and well-being of others except for the times when they would effect him personally.
this would probably be a hamper on society forming, not to mention provide a really alien outlook on life.
Elves and dwarves originally derive from myths about the souls of dead ancestors and concepts of the afterlife and reincarnation. I like to revisit that in my settings, and in effect roll the two races into the undead.
When a person dies, the essence of their soul responsible for their ideals, their higher ambitions beyond the self and their whimsical and fleeting tastes and proclivities leaves the body to form a white Wisp. Wisps usually agglomerate in the wild, where they can be seen dancing by lone travellers or children. A wisp will only linger in places of civilisation if their live self died in great sadness or with burdens, and will reveal itself only very rarely and carefully to the living. Wisps can agglomerate into larger beings capable of large-scale manifestation, but they aren't very powerful; however they are difficult to remove or defeat.
Wisps are at their most influential when they bind to mortals. A Wisp can greatly empower a living friend of theirs, or a descendant of their own or a friend. Powerful wisps, and groups of similar wisps, can greatly energise an individual and temporarily transform them into a god-like figure, capable of magnificent acts. Alternatively, a single powerful Wisp, usually one only recently deceases, can work with others to manifest as a full spectral humanoid, usually with wings and powers of light. These are called Angels, for their only exist for short lengths of time and perform largely symbolic or signalling acts before dissipating.
Sometimes Wisps, Angels and those empowered by them will mate with the living, and the resulting child will be an Elf. Elves are half-alive, and so are proof of many of the frailties of flesh - they are long-lived, recover very well from injury and illness, stand tall and move with grace. However they are also fragile beings, both physically and psychologically. Great societies of Elves thrive in rare parts of the world, as do Elven and half-Elven individuals play vital and (cont)
society and academia. However a lone elf is often a flightful and skittish creature, apt to flee to the woods with little provocation and avoid contact with others.
The body of the dead retains the other have of the soul - that which concerns the common and mundane interests and tendencies of the living, low ambitions and raw desire. This self can be scattered by the destruction of the body - most keenly through cremation, which is almost assuredly unrecoverable - but never destroyed. A scatter set of ashes merely settles into the earth, leaving a lingering trace of the lower soul's essence in that winds through its body and drinks from its nitre. At times of great magical convocation - including solstices and equinoxes - largely intact corpses may arise from their barrows and crypts as Shades. Shades usually head straight for civilisations once they have their bearings, halted usually only by a squabble or conflict with their fellows - perhaps someone they knew and disliked in life.
Reactions to Shades have differed across time, geography and culture as well as among individuals. Warlike societies greatly fear the rising of their own dead and quickly seek to eliminate the revenants and burn their bodies, a gesture repaid in kind by their own fallen ancestors. Mercantile cities offer a more open-minded approach. Shades are generally a grumpy but predictable bunch - looking to quench a thirst they left behind among the mortals, or to trade a buried trinket tarnished by dirt and moisture for a nicer bauble. Some come to seek old debts repaid or exact a revenge, on their killer or perhaps just on their son for burying them upside down. Whole guilds have adapted to this seasonal but lucrative market, not only catering to the Shades but putting their revenant resilience to use as well.
Sometimes the partially broken bodies of multiple shades are resembled, whether by themselves, accident or the works of science and medicine. Such agglomerations are (cont)
known as Golems. A Golem has very few limits on the size and scale of their bodily proportions, or indeed the very structure and arrangement of their limbs. Golems can incorporate animal features - which will undoubtedly influence the overall character of the construct - as well as inorganic matter, which was discovered after experimenting with different types of graveyard dirts and clays. Golems can sustain themselves above the surface of the earth much longer than a normal Shade, and are often modified, especially with age, which increasingly masonic and mechanical components to better extend their functionality and longevity, though a portion of an original corpse always remains for the soul. Removing more of the founding dead body proves a risk, as destroying or removing the components will deactivate the whole.
Shades and Golems can - remarkably - mate with the living, and sometimes indeed do. The resulting offspring is a Dwarf. Dwarves appear to be born old - they are hairy and bear mature facial features, as well as a hard skeleton. Dwarves do not grow much and have an almost invisible puberty - however science has confirmed Dwarves do indeed grow - very slowly - throughout their lives. Dwarves are universally grumpy and vengeful beings, fond of material wealth and vice, but they are honest and serviceable and make hardy and reliable contributions to the crafts and the military if their honour is not pricked.
The two halves of the souls of the dead deliberatly evade each other. It is rare for the Wisp of a dead hero or villain alike to approach the land where its Shade shambles above ground. In rare instances, where one or more Shade acting in a time of great need for its people, Wisps will intervene in the conflict. A Wisp that briefly returns to its Shade becomes a Wight. Wights are tremendously powerful beings - they have all the advantages of the living and non of the penalties, virtue invincible in mind and body. Wights are alway (cont)
shortlived without a great deal of magical intervention, and the seperated Shade and Wisp are unlikely to be seen for a long time thereafter; both need to recover and rest.
Other interesting combinations of Wisps, Angels, Elves, Dwarves, Shades and Golems are known to exist.
Orcs - The product of Elves mating with Shades. Few Orcs are directly produced these days, but at the behest of a dark lord rarely spoken outside of myth a long time ago a population of Orcs was created, which is sustained to this day. Orcs are very nasty creatures, exceptionally arrogant and competetive, and make for a terrifying if poorly discipline military threat.
Halflings - The product of Dwarfs and Wisps. Halflings are even shorter than Dwarves but a great deal more jolly. They get a bit grumpy but are easily mollified; however they're a lot less honest and tend to hide feelings and pick pockets more frequently than most would favour. They make great cooks.
Fey - When an Elf mates with Wisps. Feyries are beings of almost pure magic, fleeting but powerful. A Feyrie can alter their own size at will, but are most comfortable and agile at a very small 1' or less. Feyries can fly and enable others to do so, but cannot become intangible like a Wisp.
Ent - The product of a Dwarf and a Shade. Ents are creatures inherently made of earth and loam, and are drawn to bare soil as a means of self-sustainance. Ents do not live long unless they become host to one or more plants or fungi, which easily take hold in their forms. Old Ents are usually restricted to a single specimen, and grow very large and wise. Ents live in the woods and generally avoid the other races, though young and small Ents sometimes perform acts of mischief. The wroth of Entfolk is terrible to bear.
Adonite - A legendary race, with no known live samples or completely confirmed cases in history. The hypothetical product of union between a living being and a Wight, Adonites are towering mortals of (cont)
supervitruvian proportions. Beautiful and terrible to behold, they are treat as the greatest of heroes, villains and demigods in fiction.
Zombies and Ghasts - Necromancers can use their evil magic to bind Shades and Wisps to their will. The result are mindless animated corpses and apparitions, unleashed as a debillitating malaise on the wizard's living enemies. Strong-willed Wisps and Shades are resilient to Necromantic influence, as are those binded to a living being or arisen from the ground of their own accord at times of magic convocation. It is often considered a mercy to decapitate a Zombie or Wisp (which merely constitutes passing an object through its intangible but swift form's neck) as it relieves it from the Necromancer's hold, a fate worse than recoverable damage. After a Necromaner's death or expungence, many locals often take to reassembling dead bodies and returning them to their resting places, and performing rituals of passing for their flighty souls to return to the whimsical woods.
Lich - The ultimate abomination. A Necromancer who deliberately intervenes with the seperation of their soul on death and keeps their lower and higher selves twisted together conquers Death and lives on as a Lich. Few Liches exist in today's times of science, and little more is understood beyond their Wight-like power and magical nouse.
Vampires, Goblins, Dark Elves - These are all believed to exist as novel combinations of some of the above species. All three are considered dangerous and rare blights upon society. The Dark Elves live far away on a fortress continent of their own. Goblins are said to live in encampments in the woods and hills, and in undercrofts and burrows underneath cities and towns. Vampires are said to walk disguised among us, and convert other races into thralls for breeding. All other knowledge falls outside the realms of research, and into the realms of boogiemen and superstition. Boogiemen, incidentally, are also believed to exist.
I personally avoid making species that fit the same niche as humans or are basically just humans with a minor twist. If they are similar to the point they could be mistaken, I prefer just to make them a different race of humans and focus on making the new species things very different from us.
True. Seeing as how an entire species of sociopaths might be interesting in experimental sci-fi (see: Blindsight) but not to play as, I wanted to try and keep them different enough to have odd points of view while still being available to capture the range of human emotions. No idea why they would have developed compassion or empathy, but maybe they do have a concept of group mechanics, just no concept of family.
it was just the first thing that popped into my head when the guy I responded to mentioned sentient octopi.
Would certainly be a weird species.
I think both could do with having their cultures more fleshed out, but the z'hak seem more interesting to me. I want to know exactly how their society works. How did it expand from small bands to large-scale civilisation? How emotional are they - are they naturally emotionally supportive of one another, or are emotions considered the one private thing people possess? How do they organise their military? Do they elect dictators like Republican Rome did when faced with dire threats? Once they got off their shitty planet, did they have movements towards individuality - proto-bohemians?
I thought I was the only person to be really annoyed by that. The guy literally incorporates his fetish in everything he draws. His concepts and world building pictures are great, but no joke every woman he draws is wearing low riding panties. There's never really shoehorned in erotic art, just kind of casual panty wearing girls everywhere, but STILL. Its getting really old. I love his concept art, the guy can not comprehend not making a woman character wear panties. Its annoying and repetitive.
tl;dr : Guy draws panties on everything.
For a very tiny creature, jumping spiders fit the pattern as well. They're not as smart as octopi or crows but given they're arthropods typically smaller than the end of a pen, they're doing pretty well.
Back to octopi. Individual specimens have assembled remarkably elaborate devices and structures out of parts without prompt or given example. If octopi didn't die on mating, and further stuck around with their kids and showed them a few tricks (like elephants do with their calfs (foals? what's a baby elephant) on how to use sticks for insect swatting) then we could see octopus civilisations developing FAST.
>If octopi didn't die on mating, and further stuck around with their kids and showed them a few tricks (like elephants do with their calfs (foals? what's a baby elephant) on how to use sticks for insect swatting) then we could see octopus civilisations developing FAST.
So we just have to design them a better penis?
I like animal people because they're easy to design.
However, that leads to some "racial stagnation" in that most of my races are either cookie-cutter D&D races or anthropomorphic beasts. The only examples to the contrary are the part-construct and undead "races", which are just altered humans.
I need to reinvigorate my creativity and come up with something that isn't just a bipedal animal or Ye Olde Fantasy Trope.
There may need to be other environmental pressures and prizes to really reward advanced tool development beyond the situational and advanced cooperation and teaching. Better sex designs is the chief step.
Appreciate the feedback! You have me some excellent food for thought.
-The z'hak progressed from tribes to city-states similar to the evolution of civilizations on Earth, but the difference is that they pretty much stayed there for thousands of years until they achieved industrialization. This happened in a handful of city-states roughly at the same time, and it lead to them basically absorbing the rest of the city-states, so over the course of half a century their homeworld went from thousands of disparate city-states to about a dozen large scale hegemonies.
This inevitably lead to mass-scale pre-atomic warfare, but that gave way to a movement for global community-- recognizing the oneness of z'hak civilization while celebrating the uniqueness of each smaller society. This is comparable to the enlightenment of the late 1800s Earth that got squashed by WWI, except with the two events being reversed. This spirit prevailed through the space-age and lead to the z'hak colonizing their solar system.
These colonies eventually began to see themselves less as a part of the universal z'hak brotherhood and more as their own unique, self-reliant communities, from which sprang a war for independence against the homeworld. Over a century, this would be resolved and the idea of the great community containing many small ones expanded to embrace the colonies, and would form the general attitude of z'hak society.
Continuation. Naturally all of this stuff is up for adjustment if I feel like it can be improved by a different perspective; that's kind of the point of posting this here.
-Z'haks raised in traditional societies pretty much have two modes: their outer-persona, which is generally wary and guarded, and their inner-persona, which is reserved for when they are within their native community. That doesn't necessarily have to be a z'hak tribe. Z'haks have a word in their language that basically means "shelter from the sun" that is used to reference one's circle of comrades. It can be as narrow as a the crew of a small craft or as a broad as an interplanetary corporation, depending upon the z'hak's relationship and personal experiences. Within their "shelters", z'haks are known as extremely demonstrative, expressive and emotional, and the expectation is that they will offer emotional support and be supported by the members of their shelter.
The stereotype is that z'haks are kind of merciless to individuals that they haven't accepted into their community, but since their view of family is the community itself, once inside you're like a brother or sister.