Over-the-Top Games discussion.   Posted by greenvoid.Group: 0
greenvoid
 GM, 7 posts
 Jaded One
Fri 14 Aug 2015
at 13:39
Over-the-Top Games discussion
Talking about those games in a theoretical point of view...
Cubist
 member, 1 post
Fri 14 Aug 2015
at 17:19
Re: Over-the-Top Games discussion
There's a document called RPG Design Patterns [ http://legendaryquest.netfirms...Patterns_9_13_09.pdf ], which is an attempt to systematically codify the universe of all possible RPG rule-sets. I'm thinking it might be useful to work up something analogous for the fictional settings within which RPG campaigns take place. Maybe somebody else has already started work on such a thing, but if so, I'm ignorant of their work.

So. Zeroeth draft (meaning "even rougher than a first draft"):
  • Government: Who's in charge, as far as politics are concerned?
    • Anarchy—nobody is "in charge"
    • Monarchy—One guy is in charge
    • Democracy—The People vote on stuff (directly? indirectly, via representatives?)
    • Parliamentary—There's a council/committee that runs everything
    • Divided—A small number of distinct political units, each of which is a thing unto itself
    • Balkanized—Lots of distinct political units
  • Religion: Deities, and how deities interact with the campaign setting
    • Godless—No actual deities. The setting may include religions, but the gods they worship are imaginary
    • Monotheistic—1 (one) Master God. May or may not have however-many lesser divinities as well
    • Polytheistic—2 or more deities, not necessarily all on the same power level
    • Deistic—At least one deity exists, and has little-to-no interaction with the inhabitants of the campaign setting
    • Pantheon—A group of deities with more-or-less well-defined responsibilities
    • Multiple Pantheons—More than one group of deities.
  • Magic
    • Mundane—Magic doesn't exist in the campaign setting
    • Touched—Magic exists, and is rare
    • Miracle-heavy—Magic is inextricably woven into the fabric of everyday existence; everybody can do some magic
  • Economy—How does a culture/nation decide how its resources are distributed?
  • Culture
  • Scope: When the PCs do stuff, how far-reaching are the consequences of the PCs' actions?
    • Immediate—the PCs' actions affect a small part of the campaign, as small as the town they live in, or even more restricted than that
    • Mid-range—the PCs are non-trivial "movers and shakers" in the town they inhabit, and their influence extends beyond the borders of that town
    • Far—the PCs' actions affect their entire nation
    • Continental—the PCs' actions affect their own nation, and nations with whom their own nation has regular dealings
    • Global—the PCs bestride their world like giants; their actions have, at least the potential, of having an impact on everybody in the world
    • Cosmic—the PCs

Comments are invited and welcome.
greenvoid
 GM, 10 posts
 Jaded One
Fri 14 Aug 2015
at 17:33
Re: Over-the-Top Games discussion
Damn, that pdf is some seriously theory-heavy stuff
greenvoid
 GM, 11 posts
 Jaded One
Fri 14 Aug 2015
at 17:35
Re: Over-the-Top Games discussion
However, your post gives a good list of things that can be a target of over-the-topping.
I'll use it to make up some settings.
Cubist
 member, 2 posts
Sat 15 Aug 2015
at 00:29
Re: Over-the-Top Games discussion
About Magic

Is there just one 'flavor' of magic, or 2+ 'flavors'?

For each existing 'flavor':

How easy is it to learn this 'flavor' of magic? Can anybody do it, possibly even by accident? Does it require a couple hours of tutoring before you can do any magic? Are years-to-decades of intensive study required before you can cast your first spell?

How powerful is it? Is the top end of magickal capability semi-trivial (you can locate lost pets, say), fairly effective (you can toss off 10'-diameter fireballs), universe-shaking (you can create your own private dimensional plane!), or what?

Who can perform magickal feats of this 'flavor'? Absolutely any random schmoe off the street, or anybody who bothers to invest however-much time in practicing the skill, or people who are noted for a particular 'mundane' trait (i.e., high intelligence, 'animal magnetism', mathematical ability, something else?), or people who have inherited the inborn ability to cast magic, or something else?

What paraphernalia is required before you can perform magickal feats of this 'flavor'? No tools needed, some specialized reagents, a unique wand, something else?

What's the source for this 'flavor' of magickal power? Are these mages making use of the innate power of their own bodies/minds/souls, are they leeching off of a natural resource (typically called 'mana'), do they make bargains with extradimensional entities for their power, something else?

[added after initial post]

For campaigns in which there are 2+ 'flavors' of magic:

How do the 'flavors' interact with one another? For instance, do the energies of Thingy-mancer spells interfere with, or reinfornce, the energies of Whatzit Adept spells? Does Thingy-mancer magic depend on prerequisites which have an effect on Whatzit Adept magic? And so on, and so forth.

How do the practitioners of the various 'flavors of magic interact with one another? Do Thingy-mancer mages get along well with Whatzit Adept mages, do they have philosophical differences which make it difficult for them to work together, are Thingy-Mancer mages generally condescending towatds Whatever Adept mages, etc etc?

This message was last edited by the player at 22:56, Thu 20 Aug 2015.

chupabob
 member, 1 post
Sat 15 Aug 2015
at 05:46
Re: Over-the-Top Games discussion
In reply to Cubist (msg # 5):

That last part about the source of magic seems to be problematic for some game designers. I have even seen gamers get frustrated when others discuss the topic; they cry, "It's magic! You aren't supposed to understand how it works because it's supposed to be mysterious!"

Take the Palladium games for an example. In the Palladium Fantasy RPG, it is the words of power which have the innate ability of magic. The vocabulary of magic is derived from the names of the Old Ones themselves. In all other Palladium settings like Rifts and Beyond the Supernatural, the source of magic is the inner resource of energy inside of the magic caster and the words are just one method of directing that power. Yet, characters are able to pass among these worlds freely, and none of them experience any disruption in their abilities to cast spells despite magic working by a very different process.

The worst offender might be the classic AD&D method. Magic in that system is basically a form of math. Magic Users spend hours every morning going through their spell books and memorizing formulas. When they cast their spells, these formulas burn themselves out of the Magic Users' brains. Instead of lobotomizing the wizard, they suffer no ill effects outside of this bizarrely specific form of amnesia.
chupabob
 member, 2 posts
Sat 15 Aug 2015
at 06:18
Re: Over-the-Top Games discussion
moved this post to link to a message in this game (Ideas thread, msg #7)

This message was last edited by the GM at 05:18, Tue 18 Aug 2015.

greenvoid
 GM, 12 posts
 Jaded One
Sat 15 Aug 2015
at 08:01
Re: Over-the-Top Games discussion
Ideas thread unlocked.
GHornet
 member, 1 post
Sat 15 Aug 2015
at 15:44
Re: Over-the-Top Games discussion
I see a lot of the same things popping up here.

I'd like to write a bit about why games have different races. Like-- really, why not just humans? The "easy" answer is that it is "boring" but... what does that really mean?

So there are a few different reasons one has different races or what they functionally do within the realm.

If, and only if, your world is very visual-based then you can get away with races that exist simply because you thought up some kind of weird looking people. This is often seen in Science Fiction movies. Basically you give someone a weird skin color or a funny head accessory or other odd anatomical features that are are probably inspired, if not outright lifted, from other animals. And you don't even really need more than one to exist-- you can fill the whole background with these various sorts of beings and the person viewing this piece will get the idea that this is some fantastical alien place.
The problem there is that these races are inherently underdeveloped. What notes about their culture there are come only as an afterthought to the visual effect they have and generally one cannot infer much of anything about the person due to their race other than they just look odd. There is no real reason to be one over another unless one is engaging in a game where that visual style is really going to come into play. Or, possibly, if some were given real spotlight in an arching storyline where people had reason to like the one particular character of that race, then they are likely going to play it merely mimicking that character with only the slightest shift. And if these races are given various mechanical advantages or disadvantages over one another in an attempt to differentiate them in that way, people are naturally going to flock to playing the one that was clearly given the most advantage. Good examples of this are Star Wars or Final Fantasy's Ivalice.


The next is to stand in for real world nations. Let's take culture X and turn them into rat people and take culture Y and make them into lizards and culture Z and make them rampaging braindead mushroom people-- and, of course, MY ancestors culture is going to either be the "humans" or the elite ethically superior superman race (generally elves). WarHammer is this way and it is what bob just suggested.
And... okay, if your concept is generally that you are playing a game where a player is controlling an army to clash against other armies, then it sort of works. In fact, the people from the dominant culture who the game is exclusively aimed at might even be inclined to play the armies of other cultures that they wouldn't otherwise. And... maybe the cultures that the designer is really having a go at by portraying only the most negative aspects of their culture in a negative way and wrapping them in the garb and architecture and a few other key aspects of their culture while portraying them as universally unrepentantly evil creatures that need to be purged from the Earth (but, it is okay, because we turned them into rat people first!) for the good of all of humanity (i.e. your culture, the only one that counts as real humans)... maybe it'll never enter their field of attention or maybe them being lampooned will go right over their head?
Yeah, it still comes across as grossly mean spirited and is about spinning a narrative that falls in line with many very ugly hate movements whether it is supposed to be all-in-good-fun fiction or not. Even if you say that you wouldn't mind if someone else had a go at your culture like that (but, let's face it, no one ever does and you would be furious if they did.)
It is almost certainly inevitable that when one creates their bad guy humans who aren't technically humans despite having 90% human body shapes and features and use human tools and wear clothes and speak languages, etc. because you called them "orcs" which means they are monsters despite being clearly taxonomically/zoologically speaking being a sort of human, it is probably going to have features in common with at least one real world culture or subculture... when one launches from the outside saying "Let's portray Indians in the most ugly and negative way possible so the people slaughtering them are heroes," it has some real ugliness behind it.

Another very common reason to have non-human races is to function as short-hand for a number of cultural and personality traits. These are paired up with physical traits that support the concept. Even if the finer details of the cultures of the races remain unknown, one can pretty easily grasp how they are supposed to be portrayed and what kind of things to expect from them-- which doesn't mean they can't be counter-culture and buck the trends of the majority of their people.
This was the way races existed in Lord of the Rings to a great extent and exists in many games like D&D and most of its knock-offs where there can be dozens of different elf or dwarf kingdoms, but the idea of what an elf or a dwarf is like and what they do remains pretty consistent. Even games that don't use 'elf' or 'dwarf' tend to use relatively transparent stand-ins.
Of course, the downfall-- to which D&D is deeply guilty of and so too did many of the things that followed suit, is that there are only so many you can do before they start stepping on each others toes and the differences become murky. And, in case of the bad guy ones, the earlier ones that filled that role tend to disappear and get replaced by others who fill the same roles.

Typical roles are...
Grounded - Traditionally masculine race who are logical realists, they work hard and mak their gold. Very centered and opposed to taking too many risks. They are likely a warrior race if they engage in combat at all and tend not to have any affinity for chaotic and unpredictable stuff like magic. They might be good at trade and business, except they also likely don't like to travel and would prefer to be tied to whatever place they work. They are liable to be highly religious and very family/tribe/clan/nation-oriented. Likely to fall prey to greed and hatred. Their weapons are likely to be reminiscent of tools (axes, picks, etc.) and they are likely to be short and fat (or "bulky"). They tend not to be surprised by fantastic things so much because they have read about them or heard stories about them and that was good enough. Very cynical and salt.

Fairy - Wild, free, close to nature. Very traditionally feminine and usually young, vibrant, extraordinarily pretty and sexually inviting female by default. Thin, agile, quick, but not at all physically imposing suggesting they could be dominated physically (and then need saving promising 'rewards'.) Likely to have magical powers and other advantages that make their lives easy and carefree. A good part of the reason for existing is to be sexually titillating as they are not only sexually attractive, but hedonistic and don't take relationships too seriously. They are the most likely to have half-human members running around who were created of free will or possibly they might even require humans to reproduce. In more recent times races like this have considerably downplayed a lot of these male sexual fantasy elements and they become more subtext, but even without downplaying them they are the one that the overwhelming majority of female players will choose to play. A large amount of young male gamers will also tend to flock to this it lets them be closer to those sorts of females.

Noble - The dominant race in the world who commands respect and fear among those who oppose them. Regal and cultured, more intelligent than all others and with hidden ancient secrets at their disposal. Physically perfect, morally perfect, culturally perfect, ageless and tremendously wealthy and powerful. Some might feebly suggest their downfall is their arrogance, but often they are given all the power necessary to back up their claims of racial superiority. It is usually stressed that they are few in number and fiction happily, necessarily, hand-wave exactly how they manage to get all their basic necessities fulfilled. Elves often awkwardly occupy both this role and the fairy role which is why you usually end up with two kinds of elves.

The Little People - Yes, inevitably physically small, but that is not all there is to it. They exist to represent the peasant, the urchin, the nobody-- the kind of person everyone else overlooks and expects nothing great from. They might have some weird quirks or some curiosity, but generally speaking if adventuring involves danger-- something has probably forced their hand to make them be here. The whole world to them is huge and things many other people would take for granted are wondrous to them as they are seeing the things for the first time through eyes like those of a small child (or rather a sheltered adult). For them doing something that truly alters the world is a small miracle (while for the noble it might be just part of the job.) They are the easiest to play annoying as it is well within their culture to not quite understand the correct etiquette in various situations and to incessantly ask questions (which for a writer is a nice point in which you can both show characters and do exposition dump).

Barbarian - Big, dumb, brutish. They solve their problems through direct force, usually physically bullying their way through the world. They are portrayed as generally exclusively male (a female one might pop up just to buck the trend) and almost always coded as the bad guys you can shoot on sight. However, there might be a good version (half-human product of rape). They are invariably ugly with non-human features taken from various animals, perhap even looking more like an animal than a person, generally weird skin colors in the cool range are the norm as well as big, sharp, nasty teeth and beady little eyes. Just how much closer they are to the intellectual capacity of a gorilla than a human all depends on the story... These guys image might be softened post-Dances with Wolves and such, but generally they are universally evil unless you have somehow come up with a more pressing threat than savage tribes on the edge of civilization.

Foreign Enemy Soldier - Uniformed jackbooted thugs who will do all the nasty things to the good people that real soldiers do to real people during real war. They are tall, physically imposing and very organized. Probably dressed in black uniforms of some sort or at least as close to it as makes sense. Even though they generally aren't stated as being so, they will generally be portrayed as all male all the time by default. Maybe once in a blue moon you get a female commander just to be different, but usually if the race name is used it is a safe bet it is a male. If not just humans with a paler or darker skin color, they will be given odd color skin and animal features like the barbarian, but more refined and intelligent. Though plenty clever enough to do everything a soldier must do, they are inevitably not as bright as the good guys and likely to fall for foolish tricks. They don't question their orders, likely have some sense of honor and may or may not be willing to give up information or betray their fellows if captured (all depending on what the writer thinks seems the more alien version). They are cruel, arrogant and all likely follow some mastermind behind the scenes carrying out their acts with zeal. As I noted, they can be just another sort of humans or they can be zombies as the most extreme version though zombies tend to lack even the cunning that the not-human human ones have.

Fallen - Like the noble, just evil. A people who have or had everything, but wanted more. They have all the flaws of the good guys-- greed, arrogance, hedonism, all rolled into one. Generally very physically attractive and defaulting female, even generally dressing in only the bare minimum clothing absolutely required looking more like dominatrixes than enemy grunts. They are probably associated with either a sinister animal (spiders) or with demons (or possibly being demonic themselves!) They seek domination of all things and don't treat things under their control with any sort of kindness, gentleness or mercy. They might use the other sorts of bad guys as their minion armies because they tend not to look physically imposing enough to serve as a real threat on a battlefield-- though they are generally gifted with plenty of agility, combat techniques and magic so that mechanically they are far more a threat. Of course, since they are sexually titillating, players are going to want to turn them good or even play as one and never once show any of the negative aspects of this race that they are supposed to embody, just wanting the powers and the look and the 'cool' factor of being a bad boy/girl without ever being one.

Worthless - These are the ones that are likely small in stature, come in absolute endless numbers, don't take much effort at all to kill and live such short lives and are incapable of any sort of productive act that one needn't feel guilty for exterminating them like rats. They are likely to be described as "infestations". Even if they are said to be sexually reproductive creatures (and plenty of times they are asexual), they will be universally male in portrayal or it will just be said that it is impossible to tell their gender from looking at them. These are the things you throw at players when the players want the thrill of cutting through waves after waves after waves of enemies without any issue and feel empowered.

There are probably a few more I could write out that would be distinct from these. I think I have seen somewhere that 5 good guy and 5 bad guy types were written out and I seem to have forgotten one type of each.
They can all be human, but the advantage of having races is that one can instantly inform others that the NPC or PC comes from a people who generally display a long list of traits and they will likely be playing them straight. If one is portraying a human, it is impossible to convey all this with a single word-- instead there are probably a large number of descriptors and visual ques necessary to give the impression of adhering to a particular trope of character. And a lot of players aren't going to be familiar enough with them to really know what traits to use to convey their character's trope and it'll become muddied.
Anyway, everyone knows which races fill these things in standard fantasy fiction and because everyone knows that those races fill these roles in the world, they can pick up and start playing one without needing to know every single minute detail about the world. Really, though, you could fill these roles with just about anything as long as you didn't stray all too far from the concepts. But if you are going to suggest replacing the default race in this role with a different one, make sure it already exists in the zeitgeist or be prepared to churn out a few pieces of amazing artwork and even then don't expect it to catch on.
An easy example.. The "Fairy" role tend to be Wood Elves. But if you decided to go with catgirl/bunnygirl/foxgirl instead then people already know exactly what that is. Your "Fallen" could be Drow or it could just be Daemons. Mass effect hits nearly every one of these pretty spot which is why its races work out so well and remaining distinct even though visually they don't look much like anything anyone has encountered before-- and it has a few roles that aren't near and mixes a few things up showing you can trade around some of the traits. But, once again, it is all visual so it kind of goes with what I first said too.


Finally... the worst reason for races to exist...
"This race has power X", "This race is elemental A, that race is elemental B, that race is elemental C and that other one is elemental D".
Maybe you can start there, but chances are if you do then what you create isn't going to be very interesting and races will be chosen for purely mechanical reasons rather than what they reflect. Yes, The Last Airbender cartoon did it pretty well starting off with 4 elemental nations, but they didn't have the world crowded with a dozen other sorts of people and they were all human nations and there were very clear cultural differences between the nations that didn't come across as gimmicky or arbitrary.
But generally when one starts off with the idea that there is going to be a race and they will have a particular magical power or something... that's as far as it goes. You end up with something empty and bland and it isn't remotely informative of anything beyond one little trick they can pull off or what color magic they will throw at you. (And, honestly, if your world has magic users, then chances are anyone could have that power with a bit of training or practice).

This message was last edited by the player at 15:53, Sat 15 Aug 2015.

greenvoid
 GM, 14 posts
 Jaded One
Sat 15 Aug 2015
at 17:35
Re: Over-the-Top Games discussion
Errr... That was quite long and interesting. No irony intended. I read it all.

But how does it connect to a "let's make up over-the-top settings and group compositions" group?
GHornet
 member, 2 posts
Sat 15 Aug 2015
at 18:30
Re: Over-the-Top Games discussion
My point is that once you understand all this, why in the world you are creating is there more than one race. That includes having "monsters" that are effectively human in every way but minor cosmetic differences but coded as evil and killable without hesitation due to those differences. And what does it really mean for either a GM or player to choose one over another for a particular role. Whether that be potagonist, supporting character or antagonist whether major or minor.

Instead of randomly placing every idea that pops into your head into the story, realize why you are putting it there and the purpose it serves. You will find people more engaged if there are rhyme and reason supporting your choices and there are hooks to grab onto, even if just subconsciously, and help guide their actions.

You can come up with what you think is a fantastic element but if only you know how to portray it and use it right, it does no good to offer that as an option to others.
greenvoid
 GM, 16 posts
 Jaded One
Tue 18 Aug 2015
at 03:56
Re: Over-the-Top Games discussion
posted by GHornet, moved here because it was offtopic

about http://rpg-ideas.wikidot.com/n...dard-fantasy-setting

There are a few obvious issues you are going to have there...

First, I have no idea what an oread or a suli or an undine is. In fact, it sounds like you just randomly grabbed the names of espers from Final Fantasy and declared them races rather than putting any real thought into them. Ifrits are fire genies, svirfneblins are dark gnomes with unpronounceable names and aasimars are angel people. 'Fetchling' due to having 'ling makes me think it is like a Halfling or an Elfling, but that is just a guess.

I have no attachment to any of these ideas and while you have spliced supposed emotional tendencies to them-- they are very vague in that whole "zodiac sign" type of thing where everyone is going to display some amount of each of them at some point regardless of where you imagine they would be balanced.

I can't make a character who is any of those things nor can I play a character that is any of those things. I don't know what they look like, much less how they are really supposed to act or what their people value. Even if I had these things, the concept is still too alien to buy into easily. On top of that, there are also way too many of them being tossed at me at once to the point that put in a position, my choice would be to make no choice at all.

The fact that they are divided by favored landscape is not a bad idea in and of itself. It certainly helps explain better why these people are not all living together as a single united society. But, inevitably, the game is going to take place somewhere and that somewhere is going to give one or another a major advantage. You cannot expect adventures to perfectly divide over all possibly landscapes.

Also, it makes it far more difficult to begin to understand what could bring them together and why they would spend much time at all in one another's company as some number of them are going to be very uncomfortable regardless of where they are.

There are really only a few motivations behind adventures.
1) Reach a location.
A) Retrieve an object or person from a dangerous location
B) Bring an object or person through dangerous terrain
C) Return home after being brought somewhere undesirable.

2) Defeat an enemy
A) A gathering force threatens the status quo, dissolve the force.
B) The status quo is bad, disrupt it by toppling the leaders.

3) Explore a place that isn't mapped.
A) This location was used in ancient times and lost, find out what is there.
B) This part of the world (not necessarily planet) just opened up, find out what is there.

The typical D&D-type game usually involves 1A or 2A and there are many aspects about the people in the game that support this idea. Others are possibilities and there are things to support them, but not as much.
For example, generally one is retrieving items from Dungeons (which is why Dungeon is in the title) and by dungeon it means ancient ruins. This is 3A by itself but generally there is one particular object in which they need to find (1A). Elves and Dwarves live for ages and are ancient, ancient people whose histories stretch back so far that there is more of their society that is lost and lies in ruins than it current active. Elves in particular are known for having powerful magics, so generally speaking the object one is going to aim to retrieve is generally going to be of elf or dwarf origin from a place originally created by one of those races. The existence of these races serves that purpose in the narrative.

Thus there is a far larger number of dark-adapted creatures who would be found most likely underground. They are generally sweepingly evil and aggressive and will assault those attempting to explore or retrieve objects from their home on sight. Humans are about the only humanoid that doesn't have some sort of 'seeing in the dark' ability. Orcs and Undead usually gather in numbers in order to threaten the town/kingdom/nation and the PCs need to stop these sorts of plots at different stages of development (2A) possibly by utilizing the object they retrieved (1A). Since this is a common plot, there are many different sorts of creatures to use as the growing threat that might topple the peace.

There aren't nearly so many creatures in the D&D world to use if it is the current rulers of the world who are evil and need to be overthrown. Dragonlance might be the only one to heavily rely on this sort of story which is why they have Draconians there, but they aren't utilized in any other world where it is assumed that the standing powers of the society in which the PCs work are good.

Instead of simultaneously trying to create 8 brand new concepts from little more than the terrain you imagine them adapted for and then tossing them alongside the well-known, accepted, standing concepts, it would be worth asking what they actually bring to the world. With the standard, classic peoples still within your world, it is all the more reason to find these new things redundant without more depth there.

This message was last edited by the GM at 04:03, Tue 18 Aug 2015.

greenvoid
 GM, 17 posts
 Jaded One
Tue 18 Aug 2015
at 04:04
Re: Over-the-Top Games discussion
posted by Cubist, moved here because it was offtopic

GHornet:
There are a few obvious issues you are going to have there...

First, I have no idea what an oread or a suli or an undine is.

That's alright; ignorance is curable.

[ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Undine ]

[ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oread ]

quote:
In fact, it sounds like you just randomly grabbed the names of espers from Final Fantasy and declared them races rather than putting any real thought into them.

You may be right about that. Then again, you may be falsely presuming that greenvoid was as ignorant as you were.

This message was last edited by the GM at 04:04, Tue 18 Aug 2015.

greenvoid
 GM, 18 posts
 Jaded One
Tue 18 Aug 2015
at 04:33
Re: Over-the-Top Games discussion
quote:
it sounds like you just randomly grabbed the names of espers from Final Fantasy and declared them races
:)

ifrit: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/races/...ured-races/arg-ifrit
oread: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/races/...ured-races/arg-oread
sylph: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/races/...ured-races/arg-sylph
undine: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/races/...red-races/arg-undine
suli: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/races/...ommon-races/arg-suli

quote:
But, inevitably, the game is going to take place somewhere and that somewhere is going to give one or another a major advantage. You cannot expect adventures to perfectly divide over all possibly landscapes.

Often yes, and that's good in view of this group's purpose: unusual settings and group compositions

example Game advert
This game's gonna take place in the desert kingdoms, where ifrit are prevailent, so out of the six party members no more than two may be non-ifrit

Often not, as there are plenty of other areas where none of them are at an advantage compared to the others.

quote:
simultaneously trying to create 8 brand new concepts from little more than the terrain you imagine them adapted for

Actually 6 of them represent elements, and a basic attitude associated with those elements.
But I haven't included this explanation and detailed descriptions, which needs to be done in order to make them playable. That page is a quick concept, not a finished version.
Cubist
 member, 4 posts
Thu 20 Aug 2015
at 07:35
Re: Over-the-Top Games discussion
GHornet:
I see a lot of the same things popping up here.

I'd like to write a bit about why games have different races. Like-- really, why not just humans?

The answer to "why have different races?" is, Why not have different races? Multiple sophont species go a long way towards making it very clear, right off the bat, that the campaign setting is Far From The Fields We Know. A GM with a human-only campaign won't have that benefit, and will have to expend effort in other areas to make up for it.

Hmmm… if your campaign is going to have one single sentient species, why does it have to be the human species? You could go for elf-only campaign, or a halfing-only campaign, or whatever.

Anyway: Asking "why have different races?" is, to my way of thinking, much like asking "why have magic?". If we're talking about a mundane contemporary campaign (say, a realistic Gulf War scenario), then yeah, it makes sense for the campaign to not have the weird shit. But if it's a fantasy campaign, the campaign's creator is not constrained by the brute facts of the RealWorld, so it strikes me as odd to think that any fantasy campaign should be required to agree with any of the RealWorld's brute facts, whether "humans only", or "no working magic", or "deities are evidently nonexistent".

Now, if a fantasy campaign's creator chooses to incorporate some particular brute fact into their campaign, that's fine. I just don't think it makes sense to decree that all fantasy campaigns must follow that example.
chupabob
 member, 3 posts
Fri 21 Aug 2015
at 02:49
Re: Over-the-Top Games discussion
In reply to greenvoid (msg # 8):
Ideas thread unlocked.
I thank you for that.
GHornet
 member, 4 posts
Fri 21 Aug 2015
at 07:01
Re: Over-the-Top Games discussion
Cubist:
Anyway: Asking "why have different races?" is, to my way of thinking, much like asking "why have magic?". If we're talking about a mundane contemporary campaign (say, a realistic Gulf War scenario), then yeah, it makes sense for the campaign to not have the weird shit. But if it's a fantasy campaign, the campaign's creator is not constrained by the brute facts of the RealWorld, so it strikes me as odd to think that any fantasy campaign should be required to agree with any of the RealWorld's brute facts, whether "humans only", or "no working magic", or "deities are evidently nonexistent".


Wow... you really missed the point of what I wrote entirely. It just entirely flew over your head.

"Why have magic?" is also a legitimate question.

Because depending on how powerful "magic" is and just how readily available it is will determine what it can and cannot do for your narrative.

The middle road where magic can be gained much like any other skill and is basically as useful as any other skill set makes magic simply another way of interacting with the world and is sort of a way to have intellectual characters affect battles as directly as physical characters.

You could have magic that is weak but readily available so that it basically becomes a stand-in for technology.

You could have magic that is super powerful, but only in the hands of a few individuals which inherently makes them the destined people to affect the world for good or evil (ala the original Star Wars trilogy only much more reality warping than the force was) and everyone else exists merely to be altered by their actions, or possibly to overcome the seemingly insurmountable odds to defeat them.

You could have magic that it both rare and weak, in which case those who have it might well be hunted outcasts or something... burned as witches, it becomes a mark for people being different that could unite them-- sort of like X-Men.

And you could have magic that is both super powerful and readily available, in which case little in the world is any sort of real challenge unless one is using magic to counter magic-- then it sort of becomes a game about rule-lawyering and one-upmanship, and unless the DM is readily prepared for this then a lot of the things they try to put in front of the heroes are likely to be breezed past with a single action or spell.


The fantastical elements in the world need to make some sort of coherent sense and support a narrative purpose. If you just do everything because random nonsense popped into your head, then all you will be left with is your own pile of random, disjointed nonsense and you aren't going to be able to move forward with much of a story that others will want to participate in.
Cubist
 member, 5 posts
Fri 21 Aug 2015
at 09:54
Re: Over-the-Top Games discussion
In reply to GHornet (msg # 17):

GHornet:
Wow... you really missed the point of what I wrote entirely. It just entirely flew over your head.

I got your point just fine. Where we differ is that you're coming from an exclusively Narrativist point of view, and I recognize the validity of Gamist and Narrativist and Simulationist approaches to rolegaming. See GNS theory [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNS_Theory ] for further details.