Non-human Races in BoB

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DannyBoy
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Non-human Races in BoB

Post by DannyBoy » 26 May 2015, 01:31

So boys, I was wondering: is Band of Bastards is going to have rules for playing as non-human races? Am I going to able to play as an Elf or Dwarf or is it humans only?
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hector
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Re: Non-human Races in BoB

Post by hector » 26 May 2015, 06:03

I suspect the default will be humans only; but adding races shouldn't be too difficult, and I seem to recall mention that the game will come with some advice on how to hack it for different settings. Not to mention that it might be possible to treat race in a similar way to how AD&D does - minimum and maximum attributes and a couple of minor edges.
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Re: Non-human Races in BoB

Post by higgins » 26 May 2015, 07:05

Hector pretty much summed it up -- we were hoping to give so many cool edges to the players that having pointy ears would pale in comparison to everything we have to offer, but...

We're pretty much resigned to the fact that if we don't provide you guys with rules for demihumans, it will be one of the first mods the community comes up with. So, yeah... there will be rules, but we're not yet sure what form they will take. That much is sure -- they probably won't end up in the core.
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Re: Non-human Races in BoB

Post by Agamemnon » 26 May 2015, 14:51

Higgins is mostly correct. Our default setting and the book itself is written to assume a human-only, more or less renaissance setting. Nonhuman races aren't meant to be core material. On the other hand, we agreed early on that if we didn't actively support nonhuman races from the beginning, it would be the first thing people tried to hack in.

If you've seen the introduction chapter that was floating around, you'll know the game is intended to be a single volume that is sub-divided into four sections we've just called "Books." Book 3 covers a whole bunch of optional or situational materials, among these are the rules for creating nonhumans to play. We have the actual system set up so that they are more or less balanced, and it doesn't involve modifying the priority chart to gain access to them.

Using the information there, at the beginning of the campaign the GM can decide they wants races X, Y, Z, and stat them up themselves, use some of the examples we'll include, or they could just tell the player what the guidelines and point them to the section to create their own race. This last option is especially useful in a setting like Star Wars where there are dozens if not hundreds of sentient races floating around.
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Re: Non-human Races in BoB

Post by higgins » 26 May 2015, 14:54

Clearly we're still laying out Book 2 since I totally forgot about this! Ha! :)
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Re: Non-human Races in BoB

Post by DannyBoy » 26 May 2015, 18:16

I kind of figured that the game would be mostly human only. Now, don't get me wrong, I love me some good old humanocentric universes. Basically ninety percent of my homebrew settings are in that same vein. But recently I've been having wierd flashes of inspiration regarding our pointy-eared friends and I don't feel that other systems can truly capture the feel I'm going for.

I do like that you guys seem to be making it really easy to add other races on your own impetus. Keep it up boys. :)
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Re: Non-human Races in BoB

Post by nemedeus » 10 Feb 2016, 19:32

Seeing as i am leaning more and more in the direction of having non-humans be just humans with a few traits added - one, two that are restricted to this race, and maybe sometimes one more general one they get for free...

My own system was previously set up so that every race/species gets a +1 to one stat, but i have recently elected to have the "increased maximum" technique instead - seeing as a stat difference of 1 is, in my system, supposed to be a substantial step.

I'll just go ahead and post my notes, pardon me:

Size explanation (they don't grow linearly ) :
- Small (numerical value 1) : less than 50 kilograms or 1.5 m
- Medium (nval 2): 50 to 150 kilograms, 1.5 to 2.2 m
- Large (nval 3): 150 to 250 kilograms,


Helvetes, the Fair Folk (Brancian, Seulian or Kytian)
Stat Maxima: Willpower +1, Size: Medium
Traits: Fast Learner, Determinator (Brancian), Double Surge (Seulian), Hot-Blooded (Kytian)
essentially Homo Sapiens. Culture is mix of various Central European and British cultures, from 16th to 19th century. Note they are called Fair Folk not due to any supernatural heritage, but simply because they are of light skin tone. The Subraces are really more cultural differences than true races.
Brancia is a Wilhelminean Germany with turn-of-the-century technology (that is, 19th/20th century).
Seule is Scandinavia, with a pinch of Edema Ruh (with apologies to Patrick Rothfuss.)
Kyta is, by and large, Tuscany.

I would like to add that I wanted to fit in a Gothic Clock-Punk Nation of Divine Order somewhere in there. It's a work in progress.


Narbonians, the Small Folk
Stat Maxima: Intelligence +1, Size: Small
Traits: I'm having trouble finding anything fitting here except a Knack for Craftsmanship.
Gnomes or Halflings, if you will. Culture inspired by 19th century Paris. The Small Kingdom, their homeland (name shamelessly stolen from Kingkiller Chronicle), is naturally known to make the best goddamn cheese in the world.
The Free City States - think industrialized North America / London - are largely Narbonian endeavor, although all Folks hold presence in them seeing as they are the world's leading industries.


Bejan, the Dark Folk (Trow or Sevjan)
Stat Maxima: Strength +1, Size: Medium
Traits: Darkvision, Toxin Resistance (Trow), Frenzy (Sevjan)
Think Dark Elves, if dark elves were Peruvian or Slavic Airship Nomads. Probably the most religious folk around (being mostly spirits of ancestors or spirits of nature).

Uruee, the Skyfolk (Reti or Ruki)
Stat Maxima: Aptitude +1, Size: Small (Ruki) or Medium (Reti)
Traits: Winged, Magnetoreceptor (Ruki), Eagle's Eyes (Reti)
Bird People, culturally drawing inspiration from Ancient Greece in a modern time. Love debate, and prefer to hire other Folks for menial and martial purpose. They also basically invented modern finance, and hold most of the financial institutions of the world. Their vertically extending Cities are world famous. Ruki are more a kin to sparrows or pigeons, while Reti are more a kin to eagles or crows.

Kornish, the Beast Folk (Basatian or Ryonian)
Stat Maxima: Agility +1, Size: Small (Ryonian) or Medium (Basatian)
Traits: Nightvision, Claws, Fox Ears (Ryonian), Cat Reflexes (Basatian), Hypersomnia
Basatian are Feline Spainard Pirates. Ryonian are Canine/Vulpine Irish+Hebrew Sheep and Cattle Herders.

Tatsu-Jin, the Scale Folk
Stat Maxima: Toughness +1, Size: Medium
Traits: Claws, Prehensile Tail, Cold-Blooded
Lizard Men, culturally drawing inspiration from 16th to 18th century Poland and feudal Japan
Seeing as i also have an entire page on Less Common Species, it is rather obvious that i had way too much fun with this.

Togoka-Jin, the Hidden Folk
Stat Maxima: Sharpness +1, Size: Small
Traits: Camouflage, Gecko, Prehensile Tail, Cold-Blooded
Chameleon NINJAS. They do well keeping hidden from the other Folks.

Svedians, the Wolfenfolk
Stat Maxima: Endurance +1, Size: Large
Traits: Claws, Dog's Nose, Monster Maw, Made of Iron
Wolfman Vikings. 'Nuff said.

Crevine, the Kinfolk
Stat Maxima: Sharpness+1, Size: Small
Traits: Claws, Hardboiled Immune System
Rat people. Don't really have notes on their culture as of yet, but probably like Skaven. I'm not sure whether they are canon.

Balrja, the Tall Folk (“Bal-rA-ja")
Stat Maxima: Strength +2, Size: Large
Traits: Horn Plating, Inhuman Regeneration, Multi-Armed and Dangerous, Alchemy Null
Stipulation: Your species is practically extinct. That kinda sucks.
Ogres. Not much culture here, as the few surviving ones left mostly do live as Eremites.

Rxaseti, the Shark Folk (“Rk-sha-sEti”)
Stat Maxima: Agility +1, Endurance +1, Strength +1, Toughness +1, Size: Medium to Large
Traits: Gills & Fins, Monster Maw, Shark's Sense of Smell, Aquatic
Stipulation: Your species is practically extinct. That kinda sucks.
Shark People. On Land. Which floats. Playing one is intended to feel a bit like a (super-)fish out of water, strong but unskilled. As in, fewer skill points at creation

Arachnids, the Spiderfolk
Stat Maxima: Agility +2, Size: Small to Large
Traits: Spiderbutt, Poisonbite, Clicking Speech, Chitinous Plating
Ancient Egypt Giant Intelligent Spiders. Have i mentioned that i suffer from Arachnophobia IRL? Clearly I must be mad.
No one knows where they haul from, but they are most commonly encountered as "exotic merchants" out in the wild. They don't have facilities for human language, but both can they learn to understand it, as can humanoid folks learn to understand their language of clicks.


Aqirona, the Oceanfolk
Stat Maxima: Intelligence +2, Size: Small to Gargantuan
Traits: Aquatic, Camouflage, Willful Mutation, Tentacles
Giant Squids and Octopi; Basically the Cthulhu Race. They live in the oceans and are only known as fables and legends to the Skybound Folks - but certainly not as an intelligent (albeit completely incomprehensible) species.
Last edited by nemedeus on 11 Feb 2016, 03:07, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Non-human Races in BoB

Post by EinBein » 11 Feb 2016, 02:40

I have to admit that I get repelled by any setting containing more than the classic fantasy races and begin to get bored by those either...

We tryed to play Pathfinder once and quickly realized that there was neither good support of roleplaying in the system nor the feeling of an authentic fantasy realm coming up in our minds. The illustrations were far too cartoony and the multitude of different monsters paired with the grade of standardization a d20 rulebook emits took away the immersion very quickly.

We even played D&D 4e for one or two evenings and had - zero - roleplaying, just boardgaming experience. We blamed the rulesystem for the major part, but were of one opinion that playing minotaurs and other fancy stone men didn't help either.

As none of my players ever bothered to play an elf and only two tried dwarves once, we use those races as mystical otherworldly NPC creatures mostly and concentrate on them being really different from humans instead of inventing new creatures.

The Dark Eye had some good source books on dwarves, elfs and orks that really tried to think about the impact of racial particularities on everyday life, appearance and behaviour. They mostly were copied from Tolkien though, who really tried to breathe new and authentic life into the creatures of fairytales (but no one cares to depict them as described).

As a matter of fact: All those new races you came up with nemedeus wouldn't be needed if one would just concentrate on the differences between individual personalities of humans. This is a realm of fantasy few ever dare to play with ;)
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Re: Non-human Races in BoB

Post by thirtythr33 » 11 Feb 2016, 02:56

EinBein wrote:I have to admit that I get repelled by any setting containing more than the classic fantasy races and begin to get bored by those either...
That's funny, I have the same response to original fantasy races but for some reason original sci-fi races don't bother me at all.
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Re: Non-human Races in BoB

Post by Agamemnon » 11 Feb 2016, 04:01

I've never been a fan of non-human races. I don't mind them so much in my OSR games because having dwarves and elves around (particularly as separate classes) does add a bit of nostalgic flavor. In more role-play focused stuff, though, I really prefer to stick to humans.

A bit like Einbein said, the difference between personalities is going to be way more interesting than the difference between fantasy races anyway. This is only heightened by the fact that most portrayals of fantasy races tend to be relatively one-dimensional exaggerations of a human culture or personality anyway. I've (almost) never seen a portrayal of an elf or a dwarf that wasn't just a regular person in a funny suit. This only gets amplified by the time you reach 3e or 5e levels of nonhuman diversity in player characters. It quickly gains the Mos Eisley cantina effect, where the party is often this extremely random freakshow mix that seems to have nothing in common with each other. The interesting thing is that the only place this really works is in sci-fi, where you almost completely ignore the racial differences much of the time outside of the broadest traits - "the warrior race," "the cold logical race," "the religious race," etc.

I read a commentary on early Sword & Sorcery fiction once that wondered rhetorically whether later authors used fantasy races to explore territories that were no longer politically acceptable to explore with human ethnicities and cultures. Where Robert E Howard might invoke the exotic and foreign by introducing some strange stock of people, later writers play with the same themes by introducing intelligent humanoids. This is nowhere more prevalent than in the success of the Witcher series. The core themes about racial politics expressed in the outright xenophobia, hatred, extremism and supremacy between various factions can be explored comfortably when the victims are elves and dwarves. If it was one ethnic group of humans against another ethnic group of humans (even if both groups were wholly fantastic in nature) it would instantly become uncomfortable and unpalatable to many modern audiences. Just look how much butthurt floated around due to the "Skyrim is for the Nords!" plot in the last Elder Scrolls game.

The one game I thought did a pretty decent job with nonhumans was Burning Wheel. Dwarves, Elves, and Orcs each had their own distinct custom lifepath options that were different from Humans to help root you in their society. They had their own custom skills and custom magical traditions. More than anything though, the 4th Belief mechanic really pushed you to play the character as something greater than a human in a funny suit. Grief, Greed, and Rage (or whatever they were called) each leant the character a slightly skewed psychology that emphasized that they weren't really human.
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Re: Non-human Races in BoB

Post by nemedeus » 11 Feb 2016, 05:10

EinBein wrote:I have to admit that I get repelled by any setting containing more than the classic fantasy races and begin to get bored by those either...
It's the complete opposite for me (like THAT wasn't obvious). I'm bored of the classical Fantasy Races. I mean, Fantasy is ANYTHING otherworldly/fictional. There is as of yet so much untapped and unexplored Ground in the genre, because most anything anyone ever does is either Tolkien or Humans Only. I don't have anything against those, not at all, but i feel like creators are stipulating themselves.
However, there is a catch to that, and i'll come to it further below.

Personally, I like both: to reimagine/reinvent EDO races, and to come up with entirely new ones.
Oh, and, i guess i'm somewhat of a furry.
EinBein wrote:The Dark Eye had some good source books on dwarves, elfs and orks that really tried to think about the impact of racial particularities on everyday life, appearance and behaviour. They mostly were copied from Tolkien though, who really tried to breathe new and authentic life into the creatures of fairytales (but no one cares to depict them as described).
I've read the one they had on Elves. I don't wanna say it's bad, i just thought it was rather cookie-cutter (as is very much common in TDE), if you know what i mean.
Einbein wrote:As a matter of fact: All those new races you came up with nemedeus wouldn't be needed if one would just concentrate on the differences between individual personalities of humans. This is a realm of fantasy few ever dare to play with ;)
I always knew i'm one of few.

I'm a fairly visually thinking guy. I draw, sometimes, and, yes, as said, i like animal motifs.

I concede that my races from above are humans in funny costumes. I embrace it. Does it look like a Mos Isley Cantina? indeed, it does. It's not science fiction; it's non-traditional fantasy. That's the only difference.

thirtythr33 wrote:
EinBein wrote:I have to admit that I get repelled by any setting containing more than the classic fantasy races and begin to get bored by those either...
That's funny, I have the same response to original fantasy races but for some reason original sci-fi races don't bother me at all.
I know where you're coming from. I have encountered a few woks of fantasy fiction with "nonstandard" race, and it was almost always terrible. Mostly because they were trying too hard to be weird and as unhuman as is humanly possible to still write about.

In comparision, i would say i prefer "humans in funny costumes" - although the line between the two is a blurred one, and even funny humans can and probably should have (some) weird parts about them.
Like, as mentioned by Agamemnon, Burning Wheel's ones for example.

Agamemnon wrote:I read a commentary on early Sword & Sorcery fiction once that wondered rhetorically whether later authors used fantasy races to explore territories that were no longer politically acceptable to explore with human ethnicities and cultures. Where Robert E Howard might invoke the exotic and foreign by introducing some strange stock of people, later writers play with the same themes by introducing intelligent humanoids. This is nowhere more prevalent than in the success of the Witcher series. The core themes about racial politics expressed in the outright xenophobia, hatred, extremism and supremacy between various factions can be explored comfortably when the victims are elves and dwarves. If it was one ethnic group of humans against another ethnic group of humans (even if both groups were wholly fantastic in nature) it would instantly become uncomfortable and unpalatable to many modern audiences. Just look how much butthurt floated around due to the "Skyrim is for the Nords!" plot in the last Elder Scrolls game.
This is an interesting point, and, i think, an added benefit. These conflicts and grinding edges between the Folks are very much intended, although i admit that i never thought about it as a circumvention of taboo (i don't believe in taboos).
The moral is, yes, these people are all separated by species, but they are nonetheless "human" - being a term that is defined by sentience, rather than species or even qualia.
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Re: Non-human Races in BoB

Post by nemedeus » 24 Feb 2016, 04:31

I have thought about this subject again, and i'd like to ask the forumites the following:

How'd y'all feel about Non-Tolkien mythology inspired races?

I'm mostly thinking of Greek myths here - Centaurs, Satyr/Faunus, Harpies... maybe even Dryads or, you know, Cyclops.
Also possibly asian stuff like the Indian Naga, Kumiho from Korea...

Then there is also an entire category of northern mythology that i feel Tolkien never incorporated, mostly the non-Edda Scandinavian mythology (Huldra, Trolls, Jotuns and the like). I get that he incorporated many of the terms in the works, but i feel that Middle Earth was very much original in the kinds of themes it employs - not a bad thing.
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Re: Non-human Races in BoB

Post by EinBein » 24 Feb 2016, 08:20

nemedeus wrote:I have thought about this subject again, and i'd like to ask the forumites the following:

How'd y'all feel about Non-Tolkien mythology inspired races?

I'm mostly thinking of Greek myths here - Centaurs, Satyr/Faunus, Harpies... maybe even Dryads or, you know, Cyclops.
Also possibly asian stuff like the Indian Naga, Kumiho from Korea...

Then there is also an entire category of northern mythology that i feel Tolkien never incorporated, mostly the non-Edda Scandinavian mythology (Huldra, Trolls, Jotuns and the like). I get that he incorporated many of the terms in the works, but i feel that Middle Earth was very much original in the kinds of themes it employs - not a bad thing.
I believe if Tolkiens stories had involved a side-trip to the more southern regions of Middle Earth, he had used Greek (like the ones you propose) or Arabic (Ghuls, Djinni,...) creatures as well. But Tolkien wanted to provide a mythology for his home country England, which he said lacked distinct fantasy tales.

I completely agree with Tolkiens approach and would personally only include fantasy creatures if they fitted the setting at hand. I prefer the creatures to be connected to the area they live in, so a Medusa in the Nordic wastes wouldn't fit in my honest opinion. Same like a Yeti in the desert.

And I always choose authenticity over "fantasy at all costs". Blue elves with four arms and flapping wing-ears aren't my cup of tea. Why have they evolved like that or why were they created like that? What is the use of their particularities in everyday life? How does it fit the landscape they are inhabiting? What language do they speak and why is it different to others?

Our own world is so full with cross links in language and culture, both by cultural interaction and own tradition so why would this be different in a fictional setting?

Tolkien mastered these thoughts to perfection, which is often overlooked by today's audience, only knowing the simplified-to-the-core movies. Most people only see his Lord of the Rings and Hobbit stories, but miss the immensely complex background in which they are embedded.

The thing that troubles me most is, that many people today call his background generic, because they compare it with the numerous contemporary carbon copies. But the stories and tropes were mostly new when Tolkien wrote them.

Nevertheless, there is room for critizism in his deus-ex-machina plots with repetitive situations. But his world design is - from a simulationist perspective - ingenius.
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Re: Non-human Races in BoB

Post by nemedeus » 24 Feb 2016, 09:20

Well, yeah. But how does that relate to my question? All i'm saying is, and you can take that as me explicitly agreeing with you, i'd like to see more "non-generic" fantasy (even though as you say it's only considered generic because everyone copies it, which is kind of hilarious).

I feel like there are four categories in this matter:

A) Default to Humans only
B) Default to Tolkien
C) Try to do ANYTHING ELSE
D) Same as C, but extremely "out there" and jarring

To me, it seems like C has always been underrepresented.

Funny thing is, WoW, of all things, isn't even that bad an example for C (it very much presents it's own visual style and interpretation for each of the races, even though that style doesn't particularly appeal to me personally).
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Re: Non-human Races in BoB

Post by EinBein » 24 Feb 2016, 11:27

nemedeus wrote:Well, yeah. But how does that relate to my question?
This?
nemedeus wrote:How'd y'all feel about Non-Tolkien mythology inspired races?
First, I mentioned that "non-Tolkien" is barely a class of itself as Tolkien hasn't invented any of the "standard creatures" of his books but just breathed life into them. The creatures you mentioned would definitely also be used by Tolkien if they had fitted his setting.

Then I directly answered your question in saying that I'm perfectly fine with using this kind of creatures if they fitted the specific setting at hand.

So to sum that up: We agree on this one ;)
nemedeus wrote:All i'm saying is, and you can take that as me explicitly agreeing with you, i'd like to see more "non-generic" fantasy
You would say "non-generic" equals "non-Tolkien mythology inspired races"?

I would say the latter is your category "B" and the former your category "C", right? Just because I feel "mythology inspired races" are all "generic" in some way. That was partly expressed in my first post.
nemedeus wrote:(even though as you say it's only considered generic because everyone copies it, which is kind of hilarious).
Yeah. You're right in a way.
nemedeus wrote:I feel like there are four categories in this matter:

A) Default to Humans only
B) Default to Tolkien
C) Try to do ANYTHING ELSE
D) Same as C, but extremely "out there" and jarring

To me, it seems like C has always been underrepresented.
I guess this is just a question of where to draw the line.

Take Elves for example. I think there are few settings that go with 100% Tolkien (I know none, but am curious to hear your interpretation).
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