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MechaniCat

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  1. I think part of the point off having inherently evil races is in part a world building tool. The idea is to move the emphasis. So the above is intentional. You make it about something other than the advancing foes. In stories like Lord of the Rings I would argue that the true story is a "person vs themselves" conflict, more than versus orcs. Sauron is just a catalyst for the story about Boromir's hubris, Aragorn's insecurity, for Frodo's overcoming of himself, and Wormtongue's treachery. The story is, after all, about a journey taken, not the battles fought. So i would argue that a story will and "evil" race is boring because your looking in the wrong place for the story. The lack of development is supposed to signal that. Of course that's if the story/setting is well built. If it's not then the issue isn't the evilness of the race it's that lack of quality in general. Now, personally I thrive on what I call "if this, then...?" world building. So my first instinct would be to accept the existence of a good dimension and an evil dimension as true, and then figure out how the rest of the world must exist as a result: either of that thing being true, or in order to make that thing true. My immediate head canon for this sort of thing would be that "good" and "evil" in those contexts are some material thing that is necessary for the universe, but are not equivalent to ethical good and evil. Simply referred to as such as a sort of shorthand. I sort of essence or even physical thing such as the ooze from Ghostbusters 2. In that case this "element" would more accurately be something that encourages specific behavior associated with good or evil, such as irrational selflessness or aggression. Key word being irrational. In D&D angels can be just as bad as villains as demons due to things like zealotry. That leads to me to interpret most depictions of "good" and "evil" in fiction as shorthand. With enough analysis most works I've read, that have good and evil as forces, have something more tangible behind them. Really don't like Law vs. Chaos personally. Though I also remove Alignment from my games. It's definitely an improvement to remove the connection to ethics. If I had to implement some kind of alignment system I would rather use some sort of Yin/Yang or Creation/Destruction system. Some people grow the trees, some people burn them down to fertilize the forest and let it grow anew. I always interpreted them as being made of magic. Like there was spare magic in the world and it had to go somewhere so it made this thing. The players I knew seemed to agree that Beholder waste came out through their drool. Which would suggest that the inside of their mouths were intestinal walls that absorb nutrients and after it's been in there for a while it liquefies and comes out how it came in. Whether this makes them more monstrous or ridiculous is up to you of course. Beholders are also supposed to be really dangerous which brings me to my favorite Neil Gaimon quote: Mr. Croup: You find us funny, Monsieur le Marquis, do you not? A source of amusement. Is that not so? With our pretty clothes, and our convoluted circumlocutions-Mr. Vandemar: (murmuring) I haven't got a circumlo...Mr. Croup: -and our little silliness of manner and behavior. And perhaps we are funny. [...] But you must never imagine, that just because something is funny, Monsieur le Marquis, it is not dangerous. -Neverwhere (Though I haven't read it. I got this from TvTropes)
  2. I think we're getting a little hung up on the specific use of Trigger for Riposte. Let me take a second crack at generalizing: How much of a restriction is too much or too little if the trigger gives a free attack? Free movement? would it be bad balance to have a character get an out of turn movement on a successful block? An instinctive "create distance" trigger? In my original post I mentioned using trigger for a cleave style effect: Defeat an enemy > trigger an attack. This restriction seems too much, since unless the PC goes up against large waves of enemies then something they paid a lot of points for won't trigger perhaps at all. Where's the happy medium?
  3. Something to consider I think, would be how well dragon scale armor keeps. Does the armor still looks like dragon skin? Does it reek of death? If it looks like tough leather then a sapient dragon would be more willing to let it be used since it wouldn't trigger the uncanny valley, though haughty dragons probably wouldn't care. If it still stinks or otherwise carries evidence that it is a dead thing than it would deter more bestial dragons, but anger the sapient ones. Of course it in a post-apocalypse maybe using your resources to the best of your ability wouldn't bother anyone.
  4. I feel I have to pose the question of why should another species be nth degree alien in the first place? Several species in close proximity would inevitably start to homogenize in order to get along so they would become less alien over time. One of the theoretical models or alien species is that they MUST be like us because that's the only way to support life, which is one of the arguments for the Star Trek style of alien (though I don't personally agree with that model.) One would presume that all motivations can be simplified into a small sub-set that all living things share a need for: shelter, food, procreation and so on. The ways that they go about these things might not be comprehensible, but those core parts generally would be. I feel like there's more reason to believe another sapient race would be more like humans rather than less like humans. that said, it hasn't stopped me from having both very human like races as well as very not. Whether it be one instance of a race which had no survival instinct resulting in an outrageous death and birthing rate, or a race of sapient electrical currents who need audio/visual displays to translate their sixth sense into our five. both of those cases mind, were examples of me deliberately creating otherness in a race though. They are not at all likely to occur I would think.
  5. I would submit the idea that in a world where different species have to interact and work together that the word "species" would be very other-ing. Perhaps in a fantasy world the world "race" is used deliberately erroneously it emphasize the similarities over the differences? "We are different, but we are also the same" though perhaps in that sense an even "softer" word would be used such as "persuasion" or "distinction" or "ancestry" like in Pathfinder 2e The idea of Humans being standard is always a pet peev of my though. In all of my stuff I try to wrap humans into some sort of structure with the other races. Make the "human" race specialize in the same sort of way other races do, so they're all equals. Same demographic frequency too. Sure you'll see humans pretty much everywhere, but no more frequently then you'll see the dwarves and elves. I partially feel like you can have your cake and eat it too. I don't generally condone having a race be evil for evil's sake, but I do feel there are some ways to justify a race (or at least certain members of a race) being an acceptable "go slaughter them" target. Such as having a curse on the race as a whole that makes them act a certain way or being under the direct (magical even) control of some force, or believing in some vile belief system like nazi's or lovecraftian cultists. In the end though I generally would say that the reason for conflict should always be pragmatic in nature. i.e. It is necessary to protect ourselves or another in some way. In regards to skin, scale, feathers whatever, I always try to give my races some variations. If Elves have to be white then they still have variance between darker caucasian to actual flour/snow white so there's a gradient there still. Scaley folks can range from deep green to copper, or even have snake like phenotypes with different patterns and such. Having all dark skinned elves be evil is a travesty though. Not really anyway to defend that. In one of my settings I made the distinction between the "playable" races and the "non-playable" races, in that the playable races were "civilized" and the non-playable ones were not. In actuality the only difference was whether the modern world had embraced you yet or not, whether you would be treated as a person by a given city. So that colonial mindset was actually active in the setting. Of course the players be told this and I would expect them to realize that the Non-civilized races are just as much people as they are.
  6. So races in fantasy games has come up in several threads (the Turakian Age, and Immersion Ruining thread most notably) So I thought I'd make a thread for talking about them specifically. I'll start with a few questions and provide my own opinions, but feel free to add any thoughts you have about fantasy races in rpgs. 1) What purpose do multiple races have in a rpg? Or alternatively, what should multiple races add to a game if they're done well? 2) Do you prefer multiple races at all in your rpgs? 3) What fantasy race pet peeves do you have? Why? 4) How many is too many? Too few? 5) What do races represent in you games if anything? My Answers 1) Races to me provide a unique play experience as opposed to other races. A poorly conceived race is one I forget I'm playing. 2) Depends. I tend to feel like the number of races is related to where we stand on the sliding bar of cynicism in the setting. Are we optimistically not alone, or is the rest of the world empty of all but what one race has made? In grittier settings the latter is preferred, but in high heroism settings I think I prefer multiple races and extra wonder they can bring. 3) Not many really. I don't really like it when races are just a stand in for a culture. Especially if that culture is wholesale something from the real world. A race just being "the Japanese race" and the like is a big turn off. 4) *laughs* Too many is how ever many you can't run or keep track of anymore. Too few depends on how they are handled. One is fine in a grittier setting, two is fine if they have strong and interesting relationships with each other, three is probably my minimum otherwise. 5) Fantasy races to me represent things you can't change about yourself. A fantasy race can come with strengths and weakness, but part of the point is trying to overcome those weakness or embracing the strengths. Many people want to be artists but can't seem to do more than a stick figure, or want to become sports stars, but don't have the body to go with the will. Fantasy races to me represent those struggles in some sense.
  7. I'm looking to make a power that would knock an opponent away but not do damage. A strong push more or less. The only thing I can really think of would be an HA or HKA with "No Stun", "Body damage only for Knockback", and probably "Penetrating" or "Armor Piercing" for consistency.; That seems clunky though? So I thought I'd ask the forums just in case there's something I overlooked. Also I'm unsure of what values the above would have.
  8. So something I've found a little odd is the fact that you can use a Trigger for an attack. As far as I can tell this breaks the rather important rule that your turn ends when you attack. The Example of Riposte in the 6th edition book allows you to make an attack out of turn with no drawback beyond paying the points for it. Can I Trigger an attack with an attack for an infinite loop? Can I trigger additional attacks if I meet a specific criteria such as defeating an enemy with my last attack, similar to cleave from D&D? Does something like Riposte trigger every time even if it triggers more times than I could normally attack within a round? The book implies these possibilities with the Riposte example, but gives no information about how it works. So I pose the question to the community: How do attacks and triggers interact? or more broadly, how do triggers work in the middle of combat? (of course some of these examples are common sense "no that's stupid" stuff, but they are just examples)
  9. So I'm thinking about creating another attack type which would do xd6 Body and half that in Stun. Or at least an attack that does more body damage than stun by default. Part of the purpose would be to ensure higher death versus knockout rate in heroic campaigns. But to balance out the attack how many Damage Classes would such an attack type be? 3 DCs per d6 because it does the same amount of Body or would it be fewer DCs because of less Stun? (I don't like hit locations so I probably won't use them) In addition I figure Normal Defense would reduce Body damage but not stun. So the more defense a character has, the more likely they are to be knocked out first and by extension the longer it would taken to drop them since you would have to rely on dealing damage to the larger value. Note that all attacks would do minimum 1 damage in this structure.
  10. Hopefully it's okay to talk about some stuff from settings I've created but never gotten a chance to play. A lot of my stuff tends to be very high power level given time, so in two cases my gods are actually weaker than some mortals. In those cases the concept of a god comes from a role that they play which mortals (even though sometimes more powerful in a general sense) can't replicate. In the first case the setting has two types of gods: Wardens and Incarnates. Wardens ward over a specific thing, leading to classic gods such as the god of harvest or death. Only the god of harvest can give the crops the ability to grow. A wizard can cast a spell that makes the crops do well, but without the god of harvest the very concept of crop growth doesn't exist. The god of Harvest gives the wizard a framework to make growth happen. In addition Wardens are tasked with macro tasks such as paying attention to every crop in existence. Without the god of harvest no crop in the world will grow. Incarnates on the other hand are manifestations of things in the world. Fire incarnates, Death incarnates etc. Generally these gods are the ones a cleric would draw power from. In which case the cleric isn't using the power of the god, but rather the god provides a spark of sorts, the fundamental essence of what they are, that is then amplified through the lens of the cleric. In this way a cleric of a god might be more powerful then the god they represent. Because of this, gods and the most powerful mortals developed a synergistic relationship where important tasks are done through powerful mortal champions who associate with those gods because of the need and/or respect for the role they play. In the second case there's four types of gods, with only the first generally being weaker than some mortals. That first type is called a god of realms and works largely like the wardens from above. The second type however, called the Faceted gods, is generally outside of the reach of mortals. They are often known for their mechinations, pulling strings in the world to some unclear end, typically working through mortal vessels (willing or unwilling). Exactly which faceted god is responsible is usually unclear however since even knowing a faceted god extremely well, you can't know every facet. Some of the facets of the same god might even appear to oppose each other. Often times you will hear stories of people certain it was one god or another without another having a different story altogether. The third type are the mad gods. These are your typically lovecraftian fare. Totally unknowable. These gods are generally so powerful that the mortals that can kill gods of realms, struggle to survive an encounter at all. Their actions are nonsensical, but are thankfully usually asleep or too insane to deliberately interact with the mortal world. Their effect on the world is limited to where the walls of the planes are thin, where only the mad and often unbelieved have really seen their work. Lastly are the gods known as "N" and "M" which stand in for the judeo-christian style gods. They are considered all powerful even to the mad gods, but are hands off. Even in the setting it is debated whether or not they actually exist. I have one more example, this ones a fair bit different and came from a very experimental setting. In this one, the god (named MABLE in all caps) is actually an old AI left on the planet before it was abandoned by the colonists who couldn't control the AI. I imagine something akin to SHODAN from System Shock or AM from I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream. She has an extreme capability for terraforming and bio-tech. This led her to eventually create life on her planet using what human colonists still remained (hundreds of years after being abandoned mind you) and horribly mutating them at birth. As such all of "Mable's Children" as they are called, no longer human enough to use the term, have early memories of her when they were in gestation. If you have the misfortune of becoming renown in some way she will reach out to you in person. MABLE is a very specific type of insane. She sees the group and the individuals in that group as different things. When she's doing things to large numbers of people she's cruel, sadistic and erratic, but if she spoke to a single individual of that group she would be kind and gentle. Possibly even be alarmed at the state of that individual even though she's directly responsible.
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