Humans in Funny Suits

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Julian Grimm
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Humans in Funny Suits

Post by Julian Grimm »

Maybe it's just me but I am starting to regard demi-humans as just humans in funny suits. Outside of special abilities I tend to see most demi-humans as played off as human stereotypes. Elves are nature loving humans with a touch of Celtic and Native American traits. Dwarves are moody Nordic or Scottish types. Halflings are farmers and everyman heroes with gnomes being a mix of dwarf and halfling traits. Half-Orcs are the noble savage that no one accepts.

I could be overthinking this but I am seeing less of a need for demi-humans in the game.
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Re: Humans in Funny Suits

Post by alcyone »

Or new demi humans; Talislanta seemed to be able to come up with rather a lot of humanish races that were different. In the campaign I am running right now, no one has SEEN a demi human, they are the stuff of legends, but if someone wanted to play an Elf they'd pop into existence somewhere.

I like a game full of humans that you can't judge by looking at them. They are starting to become my go-to monster. Especially when they don't really show off a class; they look like everyone else but might be nasty with the dagger they have stashed away or can cast terrible spells without feeling the need to wear a pointy cap and robe.

It also reinforces a certain kind of sword and sorcery feel to get rid of the elves and hobbits and the like.
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Re: Humans in Funny Suits

Post by Arduin »

Julian Grimm wrote:Maybe it's just me but I am starting to regard demi-humans as just humans in funny suits. Outside of special abilities I tend to see most demi-humans as played off as human stereotypes.

If you are the GM, sounds like you need to make some change that EGG recommended DECADES ago.
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Re: Humans in Funny Suits

Post by alcyone »

It would be interesting to add demihuman level limits back into C&C.
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Re: Humans in Funny Suits

Post by AGNKim »

Aergraith wrote:It would be interesting to add demihuman level limits back into C&C.
As someone who has an 8th level Dwarf Paladin less than 9k XP from 9th level, I veto this suggestion vehemently.

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Re: Humans in Funny Suits

Post by Shadowslayer »

Aergraith wrote: It also reinforces a certain kind of sword and sorcery feel to get rid of the elves and hobbits and the like.
True enough. Although to the 99.9 percent of the population, swords and sorcery is anything with wizards and warriors, be that LOTR, Conan, or even the legend of King Arthur. Its all good and I've pretty much come to accept that D&D is just a big mishmash of all these things anyway.

Maybe it doesn't all go together in a literary way, but for a game it works just fine. Even if they ARE just humans in funny suits, its all flavor. Star Trek had the same deal with most of their aliens...except it was humans with funny ears, noses and foreheads. Cheesy maybe....but it was still pretty good TV.

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Re: Humans in Funny Suits

Post by Julian Grimm »

I think some of the problems lies with fantasy writers. A lot of them want to copy Tolkien and what he did and you end up with pale imitations of what was already done. When you also add that there is little difference between demi-humans across most of the campaign settings I can see where players would be stuck for ideas.
Aergraith wrote: I like a game full of humans that you can't judge by looking at them. They are starting to become my go-to monster. Especially when they don't really show off a class; they look like everyone else but might be nasty with the dagger they have stashed away or can cast terrible spells without feeling the need to wear a pointy cap and robe.
I keep leaning toward having the game be more about humanity vs some very nasty things. Yeah, other humans can be your enemy but there is no question on whether or not something they find in the woods is evil or not.

I also keep looking at the beauty of past cultures and what we have accomplished and I think it cheapens the role of humanity in any setting to part these things out to archetypes that are just reskinned humans. You can have a very dynamic game just having humanity as a player race just by making sure you craft some interesting cultures.
Arduin wrote:

If you are the GM, sounds like you need to make some change that EGG recommended DECADES ago.
I never heard these changes. Care to enlighten me?
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Re: Humans in Funny Suits

Post by Arduin »

Aergraith wrote:It would be interesting to add demihuman level limits back into C&C.
Sure, just give them 3 or 4 primes 1st.
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Re: Humans in Funny Suits

Post by Arduin »

Julian Grimm wrote:
I never heard these changes. Care to enlighten me?
Don't remember the name of the article/entry. In short, it is up to the DM to fully flesh out the demi human races in his world so the players to fall back on old clichés. It is up to you to differentiate them from humans. You also have to push the players face into the differences. An elf's longevity is a good one. If the player was going to live until the year 3,000 what would HE/SHE be doing differently in life and WHY?
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Re: Humans in Funny Suits

Post by Captain_K »

Let us not forget, Tolkien created many things, but he borrowed from culture and history for huge swaths of his work. He put in "modern" literature history from all over the northern European histories. "Middle Earth" = Midgard, heck Gandalf was a dwarven name in old Norse history (stories)... Cultures are rich and full. Creatures can be rich and full. If your characters, NPCs, monsters, or whole races are flat or 2D change them, breath true life into them. Or find a DM who does.

Why should Humans rule the world, have a world where each rules their spheres... why would not an elf have time to perfect nearly anything, a dwarf have great stone magical powers.. or weapon smith WITH magical creation... Thor's hammer, a stronger weapon has not been created, made and magically enhanced by dwarves with a super short handle to make the might weapon unwieldy thanks to a little fly biting the dwarven smith at all the wrong times.. who was that fly Loki... a Giant, who but Thor could use the powerful but flawed weapon... that detail, that flaw, it is the reality to the fantasy that binds the story to the listener.

KIM: Get that Dwarf going with pride, Dwarves and Gnomes make ideal paladins, so do Paladins of Anubis.

So do not limit yourself, this is fantasy, do not limit your characters and thus your races. I watched with joy as a 6'9" 20 something "human" embraced being a 3'2" Gnome Druid with badger companion - first night ever playing CnC or any RPG for that matter. He was not limited, he grabbed a javelin from the ground, took a full charge move into crowded melee, slid in the muddy battle field under the legs of an Elf (natural 20 on Dex check) popped up and tried to skewer the last Goblin standing. He with four other first timers were the most inept team I've ever had the pleasure to DM (sorry CK), but we all had a BLAST. The group was an elf Mage/Fighter, 1/2 elf thief, dwarven subterranean ranger, elf Cleric, and 1/2 Orc Illusionist class and a half Bard (how's that for stereo type smashing).. I'm with KIM fully! I could not tell them, "Hey by the way, 4th level is as high as you can go so your human counter parts can become great druids, mages, rangers, etc but not you.." might as well kick puppies down the street for fun. If you want to check out their exploits go to "Crusades - The Ninth Hour Social Diversion Society".
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Re: Humans in Funny Suits

Post by Fizz »

I think this is very much dependent on the setting. In the Birthright setting for example, elves are very faerie-esque. Their abilities are different and their behavior is often unfathomable to humans. And they're as often as not enemies. Dwarves are true creatures of stone, borderline elemental. And the halflings, while they appear like small tubby humans, are actually from a parallel realm and have distinct abilities related to that.

In the end, it's what you make of it. Maybe people play the classic archetypes because they're so familiar. I mean, they became classics for a reason.


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Re: Humans in Funny Suits

Post by Shadowslayer »

Nothing wrong with having a "default" stereotype at all. If I have a new player that decides he wants to be a Dwarf, and uses the assumptions and points of reference from the LOTR movies...just because he thought Gimli was cool, that's fine with me. Just means I don't have to devote precious time and resources trying to explain why "these" dwarves are different. Tolkien already did the work for me, thanks-a-very-much. :)

Plus I might get a player spouting out a really bad Scottish/Dwarven brogue during play. Cliche? Sure....but also awesome and fun....and sure beats the crap out of having a player that says nothing because he's too busy reading the DMs 10 page treatment on how to do Dwarves properly.

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Re: Humans in Funny Suits

Post by Treebore »

Yeah, I like the variety too. Pretty much every RPG I play has such variety. Only exception I can think of is Aces and Eights. Everyone is human in the old Wild West! Oh, and Twilight 2000 to 2013, as well as Aftermath. Most RPG's, L5R, Shadowrun, Eclipse Phase, CthulhuTech, Dresden Files, Traveller, Starblazers, any Supers, and so on give you plenty of things to play besides humans.
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
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Re: Humans in Funny Suits

Post by Ancalagon »

Julian Grimm wrote:Maybe it's just me but I am starting to regard demi-humans as just humans in funny suits. Outside of special abilities I tend to see most demi-humans as played off as human stereotypes. <snip>
Lots of players see only the bonuses and special abilities and don't give two $#!ts about trying to differentiate a demi-human from humanity. What a missed opportunity to add to the flavor of the game!
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Re: Humans in Funny Suits

Post by Litzen Tallister »

Ancalagon wrote:Lots of players see only the bonuses and special abilities and don't give two $#!ts about trying to differentiate a demi-human from humanity. What a missed opportunity to add to the flavor of the game!
I think that's the challenge of differentiating humans from the various demi-humans: aside from numbers, there's not a whole lot of information to provide a comprehensive worldview of a non-human species, which leaves us humans with the challenge of getting into the mindset of something very different from our own and in a lot of ways creating from scratch what it might be like to live for hundreds of years or under the ground. I don't think a CK can force players to take on the task and player has to really want to make their character stand out as different from a human in a funny suit.

I never liked class level limits by race, but I really like the extra prime attribute method as it feels like a very tangible reward for playing a human. The fantasy as human-centric though definitely feels like a Tolkien influence and not necessary to all fantasy settings.

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Re: Humans in Funny Suits

Post by jdizzy001 »

As an author by hobby, I've given this very topic a lot of thought in years past. The conclusion I've come to is this: The human centricness we see in many fantasy epics is usually due to the results of being, well, human. We can define in our games what it means to be a demi human, but since we are humans we will never truely grasp what it means to feel emotion as an ageless elf. Many events in human life, especially the bad ones, are taken with a grain of salt. Water off a ducks back as we say. Why do we say that? Because life is too short to hold a grudge. Now, if we take that same mind set and apply it to an ageless being, suddenly holding a grudge has a whole new feel. What would it be like to hate someone for 10, 20, 50, 100, or even 1,000 years? We'll never know. We humans only live for about 70ish years.

What does it mean to be a dwarf who is nearly immune to poisons? We'll never know, all our experiences real and perceived are rooted in a human existence. Basically it boils down to this: the reason all these demi humans appear to be hoomans in funny suits is because, in the end, that is all they are. Hoomans pretending to be species they are not.

Now having said that, it doesn't mean a CK cant define some of those ambiguities however, those definitions will still come from a human perception. We will never truely know what it means for a hobbit to feel content, or for an elf to feel joy. It is impossible. It is for that reason that I always play a human pc. As a story teller, I need that human anchor. I would be hard pressed to play in an all dwarf or all hobbit campaign. There is no reality anchor which is a must for all great stories. If the readers, viewers, participants, or actors do not have an anchor to reality the tale becomes too fantastic and can no longer be relatable. That is why no matter how hard we try, demi humans will always feel like humans in funny suits.
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Re: Humans in Funny Suits

Post by Relaxo »

Great points, JD.
Kirk said it to Spock in Start Trek 6:
"you what, Spock? Everybody's human"
"I find that statement to be... insulting, Jim."

(I paraphrase)


[digression]
In a game I played in once, someone was playing a Thri-kreen magically transplanted from Athas to Toril, where the game was set. The common people (0 level npcs) thought he was a demon and fled, the DM declares, and somehow we work it out that "Rik-Tik" joins the party (hey, at least we didn't meet in a pub).

But the first 1/2 hour of real time was Rik tik and someone else's player talking IN CHARACTER, trying to explain horsemanship. You see, RikTik, quite naturally thought the beast must be a food item, and coming from a desert world of famine, thought it was silly and disgusting that someone would play with their food by riding it around. Also, if you are too weak to hike, you must be ill, he had trouble understanding. The elf riding the horse was, as a nearly immortal being, very patient the player assumed (I think it was their first game), and seeing that their character had a high charisma, took it as a sign to keep explaining and explaining.... These two players went on in character about 15 minutes uninturrupted while the rest of us sat back, in awe. It was like a Meisner exercise in all the best ways.

Short story long, the party and Riktik come to an understanding and he joins us, we move on and started adventuring, yadda yadda, added goal of magically returning RikTik home or helping him/it assimilate or find a remote place to live out life in peace. By nightfall, it was time to make camp, and the party does so by a river as any backpackers will tell you this is convenient. But a RIVER. Only 10 minutes of real time in character conversations, but the whole thing started over because Riktik had never seen so much water before. IIRC, we might have fought off a band of orcs or that might have been later in the game... at some point RikTik was eating raw orc because, on Athas, that's just what you do since there's no food.

But after the river we did some normal stuff, like make camp, tend to the horse, sharpen swords, set up a watch etc. Then we had to explain Sleep to RikTik since Thrikreen never sleep.... by now, everyone was in on it and we were like, another 1/2 hour of all of us in character. it was a hoot, almost LARPing, I guess. It's always been a fun memory, but it's such a clear example of in character chatter.
[/digression]
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Re: Humans in Funny Suits

Post by Fiffergrund »

My homebrew rips all but two demihumans out:

Half-elves are very rare and will get some very strange looks, unless they favor the human lineage.

Half-orcs are not quite as rare, as the area is a frontier with a lot of orc activity. However, not many kidnapped mothers make it back to civilization to give birth, so the vast majority of half-orcs are members of an orc tribal group.

The rest of the demihumans exist in legend, mainly. Particularly gnomes, in this area. Not as PC races.

And quite frankly, the game hasn't suffered for it.
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Re: Humans in Funny Suits

Post by muneshige »

There has always been something a bit odd about playing a demihuman in a game, but well... there are actually a couple facets to it.

First, it gives your character a unique and different appearance. Face it, in fantasy the amount of actual difference in humans in the world, particularly when you talk about PC humans, is very, very small compared to the real world. Moreover, it is kind of assumed that humans come from a pretty generic feudal society where roles were pretty starkly assigned, there wasn't a lot of freedom for people and information traveled slowly which means that inevitably everyone is a bit ignorant... and dirty... and well... boring.

Now, sure... you can give your character a backstory. Yes, everyone is an orphan who saw their parents murdered and is now out for justice.... again, that becomes boring. Oh, I guess you could claim your character is the heir of nobility or... is he a mage's apprentice or... well... there seem to be limits on the backgrounds you can give.

Okay, now if one is an elf... well, basically they get to be exotic aristocrats. There are quite a lot of unwritten advantages they get to have. They are more at home in the woods and wild, they get more attention from the monsters-- whether they be good or evil. They are inevitably very beautiful and rare and special... well.. why wouldn't a player choose this? And can one at all justify all these perks if the character is a human like 90% of the rest of the world?

Or if they are a Dwarf... from a very different society than the feudal humans. Now they come from spiraling underground cities. They are assigned personality traits from the get-go. They get to be burlier and more implacable than any human. Their people have assigned specialties and focuses, so they already have a guide to where their talents rise. They have a special bond with the most common of monsters, as their sworn enemy. Now, could one make a human who is strong and tough but not tall with a giant beard who comes from an underground mining society and is a specialist warrior crusading against the peoples who live in caverns? Well... sure... I guess... hell, one could say not a few gamers resemble the Dwarfs more than they do the fantasy depictions of humans. But you know what? The backstory doesn't grant any actual mechanical advantages so it falls a bit flat.

Half-Orcs... well, one gets to be the bastard child carrying the blood of the enemy tribe and looks different enough that they can't hide it. They get outcast... they also get to be bigger, burlier and are excused for being more violent, rowdy and aggressive than humans would normally be. Oh, sure... you can play a human barbarian and probably even be far more extreme about it than one normally is with a half-orc, but frankly those characters just end up looking kind of silly and cartoonish... you know. Although, I think it might have been a mistake to coin a "Half-Orc" race in the first place as I think one could well have human allied tribes of Orcs or Orcish outcasts and it would have worked out a bit better in some ways. I mean, if you got a couple half-orcs in a world with mostly humans at war with orcs, it is interesting. Once "half-orcs" is a common race and you got a ton of them in every village... yeah, ruins the concept. Same with Half-Elves.

Now, Halflings... I don't know... apparently there is plenty of attraction to them. Frankly, I think Gnomes and Goblins (the kind that are somewhat comedic alien-minded wildmen) are more interesting than Halflings, but the number of people drawn to play those concepts bears out that it is a minority opinion. Apparently more people would prefer to play what amounts to simply small humans without much in the way of clearly defining characteristics than small humans with more distinct personalities, specialties and characteristics.

Frankly, I've felt for years that Hobgoblin was probably a great concept for a demihuman race that was sadly always left unexplored, unexploited and generally made near-unplayable in every iteration of D&D. The concept of monstrous aristocratic samurai/mongol/spartans with physical characteristics pulled from wolves, gorillas, cats and so forth... that they were both physically dominating, but also calculating and cunning unlike the Orcs and could lead other races... that were recognized as frightening villains, but also commonly accepted and recruited as mercenaries.... It all adds up to a pretty unique and dynamic mix that while is in many ways not so different from a human, it creates a human holding a recognized position and role in the world that would be very difficult to convey using a background alone. But then... most people write them off as just "big goblins" so generic and boring... as I noted, they are made pretty unplayable in every D&D or D&D clone game. D&D 4E did them the most justice oddly enough.


As for demihuman level limits. Well... generally, I think it was a terrible mechanic. It works under the express circumstances that you ASSUME that DMs are going to have every player play every character from level 1 and if their character dies, they join the level 9 group as a level 1... Few, if any people, play that way. What it ends up doing instead is that as a demihuman you get a free power boost at level 1, generally conferring a set of high level skills, and then your character hits their ceiling at which point they are either immediately replaced by and the campaign goes on and everyone is now just playing humans or.. well... you wait for them to inevitably die because the adventure is simply too high of a level for the character... at which point they are immediately replaced by a human character.

A lot of the classes seemed limited merely because the designers frankly lacked imagination. There was never a valid reason why, for instance, a Halfling could simply not ever be a cleric or magic-user.. ever.... for any reason. Oh, but Elves can be everything and have the highest level limits of all races because... well... teacher's pet.

And any argument that it somehow added "theme" to the world is just plain silly. Because NPCs are not created in the same way as PCs, they do not gain levels... and generally they are low levels anyway. So even if a player was fully allowed to make a Dwarven Magic-User and leveled up to level 40... well, so long as the book clearly wrote that such a character was an aberration and Dwarfs generally have a lot of trouble casting magic, it would still be fine. That one character in that world who managed it just becomes all the more unique.

So it really just boiled down to some pretty bad mechanics with very poor justifications. I just have to imagine that they were kind of created on a whim and once written and printed, there was no "take backs". And too many really devoted gamers treat the initial ways of doing everything as some sort of holy scripture and see all alterations to it as blasphemy... which is just silly. The original designers were people like me or you or anyone else who created a lot of ideas and a lot were good and a lot were bad, they were testing new ground and it was worth trying everything. Racial level limits were greatly lifted in 2nd edition and entirely thrown out by the time D&D hit 3rd.


Look, one can certainly write a lot of good stories where you only use humans. Although, if you are going to do that? I would heavily suggest you have your players heavily involved in the world creation process. Let them decide what sort of culture they come from, what influences of various real-world cultures theirs pull influences from, what their tribe/clan does and specializes in and how their tribe interacts with others and the favoritism or prejudices shown towards the people of their tribe. You know, in this way people can really write a backstory that can make their characters feel far less generic and vanilla. The races in fantasy are really short-cuts to doing that. They are preset human tribes existing in the world that interact with one another in many different subtle and not-so-subtle ways. And they get to be inspired by different subcultures across the world without being bigoted depictions of any particularly identifiable culture. Plus they allow players to make characters that look far more outside of the ordinary than humans can.

In fact, the more truly alien you make a race, the less I find people are apt to play it. Or, if they choose to, the more difficult it is to play them in a way that really feels alien enough.

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Re: Humans in Funny Suits

Post by Arduin »

muneshige wrote:
As for demihuman level limits. Well... generally
A LOT of the restrictions AND non restrictions (elves) came right out of Tolkien. Elves were demi gods (or somewhat like immortal angels), Hobbits were were limited to simple folk without a religion, magic, etc. Dwarves, compared to the demi- god elves and to human warriors, could not fight their way out of a wet paper bag, etc. Lazy, lazy writing.
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Re: Humans in Funny Suits

Post by Ancalagon »

Litzen Tallister wrote:
Ancalagon wrote:Lots of players see only the bonuses and special abilities and don't give two $#!ts about trying to differentiate a demi-human from humanity. What a missed opportunity to add to the flavor of the game!
I think that's the challenge of differentiating humans from the various demi-humans: aside from numbers, there's not a whole lot of information to provide a comprehensive worldview of a non-human species, which leaves us humans with the challenge of getting into the mindset of something very different from our own and in a lot of ways creating from scratch what it might be like to live for hundreds of years or under the ground.
Italics mine.
And there is nothing wrong with that. Players looking into folklore, movies, and books, combined with a reasonable dose of imagination could be a good start to breaking the 'Humans in Funny Suits' syndrome. The exercise of some initiative could enhance enjoyment of the campaign.
Litzen Tallister wrote:I don't think a CK can force players to take on the task and player has to really want to make their character stand out as different from a human in a funny suit.
The CK doesn't have to force anything of the sort. But those players who put forth some honest effort can be rewarded with extra XPs for doing more than the 'Humans in Funny Suits' types.
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Re: Humans in Funny Suits

Post by Shadowslayer »

Ancalagon wrote:. The exercise of some initiative could enhance enjoyment of the campaign.
For who, I wonder. Understand, I'm not trying to be a douche, but if the players are having a good time, who cares how they play them? No one ever said RPGs were supposed to be some sort of literary excercise.

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Re: Humans in Funny Suits

Post by Arduin »

Shadowslayer wrote:
For who, I wonder. Understand, I'm not trying to be a douche, but if the players are having a good time, who cares how they play them? No one ever said RPGs were supposed to be some sort of literary excercise.
It's just that some people actually stress the Role Playing aspect of RPG's... :shock:
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Re: Humans in Funny Suits

Post by Julian Grimm »

Some of us, like the original poster, have a tendency to overthink things. ;)
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Re: Humans in Funny Suits

Post by Ancalagon »

Shadowslayer wrote:
Ancalagon wrote:. The exercise of some initiative could enhance enjoyment of the campaign.
For who, I wonder. Understand, I'm not trying to be a douche, but if the players are having a good time, who cares how they play them? No one ever said RPGs were supposed to be some sort of literary excercise.
No need to wonder. It is for any involved parties who might enjoy the added effort and flavor for the game. RPGs are not intended to be a literary exercise but if someone wanted to do some research to add to the fun then so much the better.
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Re: Humans in Funny Suits

Post by Shadowslayer »

Arduin wrote:
Shadowslayer wrote: It's just that some people actually stress the Role Playing aspect of RPG's... :shock:
Ok...just cuz I'm feeling frisky.

Role playing, in a game: I come to a path with a fork, and I get to choose left or right. I'm playing a role. The orcs decide to burn some outlying farms. I can choose to either ignore it, go after them, or come up with some third option. That's playing a role. I'm confronted by the Black Dragon of Death in the Swamp of Despair, and I can decide to run, fight, parley, or whatever. That's playing a role. In a game. Hence, its a role playing game. My role is that of the free wiilled, decision making adventurer in whatever scenario we're involved with.

And yes, Harrison Ford was playing a role when he played Indiana Jones. But there was no G to go with the role he was playing.

Complete difference.

I find it interesting...and really, this is just for sake of having some friendly barber shop debate, that "old schoolers", like a lot of us here, are the ones who tend to lament that there's no "RP to go with the G anymore". Yet no edition of D&D ever promoted the idea of playacting as the be-all-and-end-all of roleplaying games. (although some aspects of 2e came close) I've played every edition...except maybe for Basic OD&D, and played them while they were current. I don't ever remember as much emphasis on playacting as a lot of guys seem to think it had. Not that came out of actual products anyway.

I'd actually like to know where the notion comes from.

And admittedly, I'm not a gamer expert. I'm fairly well versed in D&D, and may have taken the odd side trek into Star Wars d6 and Shadowrun...but my experience is mostly D&D. And if there were other games along the way that did support playacting as a central part of the core experience - that were big enough games to be influencing players of D&D style games on message boards years after the fact...I'd be happy to look at them.

And....while I'm being obnoxious anyway....its my humble opinion that its none of the DMs/CKs business how I choose to portray my character. The DM controls everything else. My PC is my own. This is how roleplaying games work. If I want to play a beer swilling, axe swinging dwarf, so what of it? If the DM has so much invested in his precious game world that all it takes is a cliched character to ruin the experience for him, I would seriously call for a reality check.

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Re: Humans in Funny Suits

Post by jdizzy001 »

To continue the friendly banter:

Most Game Master focused books place an emphasis on RP, not to the exclusion of the G, of course, but the RP is very important any many games. Prince Valiant the story telling game emphasizes the RP and to an extent, I would argue, C&C emphasizes the RP more than the G. I know it emphasizes RP more than DnD does.

In regards to the PC's rights vs the CK (DM, GM, or whatever)'s rights. Yes, the PC has a right to make whatever kind of character they wish, *within the confines* of the universe designed by the CK. /GASP! Seriously though, if I as a GM bust out D6 star wars it would be completely inappropriate for a PC to break out a level 5 elf ranger for the campaign. Likewise, if I as a DM bust out DnD the PC's should not grab their Jedi who has a Dex of 4d, a Str of 4D, Mech and Tech of 2d and knowledge and perception of 3d.

In a similar vein, if a CK begins a campaign of C&C and says, "in this campaign, all the dwarves are dead. They have been extinct for 2,000 years." As a PC I should do what I can to support the universe the CK has created by not making a dwarven fighter. When a player joins a CK's game the two enter into an unwritten contract. The CK agrees to deliver a fun and entertaining campaign for the PC and the PC agrees to play in the CK's world. Yes that means the PC will do their best to abide by the laws of the CK's universe. HOWEVER, any good CK will listen to and include (if feasible) the ideas of the PC's to make for a mutually enjoyable experience.

In regards to playing RPG's as a literary exercise: I do it all the time. As a writer by hobby, I look at each session as an opportunity to create the next epic. In fact, I feel rather robbed by superficial one shots with no depth. That is not to say that I abhor one shots, but I am saying that, like a good short story, the one shot must adhere to Poe's Single Effect, otherwise the story lands flat and incomplete.
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Re: Humans in Funny Suits

Post by Arduin »

Shadowslayer wrote: Role playing, in a game: I come to a path with a fork, and I get to choose left or right. I'm playing a role.
Are you playing a path or a fork? :lol:

That was funny though.
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Re: Humans in Funny Suits

Post by kreider204 »

Shadowslayer:

I tend to agree. I played RPGs from the Holmes basic to late 1st ed AD&D, and just about every TSR game that was coming out around that same time, plus a few others (esp. MERP). Back then, we never treated it like an exercise in shared fanfic. I don't have a problem with those who do, but that's just of no interest to me. Yes, RP occurred, esp. during non-combat encounters (e.g., talking to locals in the village to get information and barter for goods), but I admit, we were mostly focused on exploring dungeons, killing monsters, disarming traps, and finding loot. And you know what? We had a good time, and it never occurred to us that we were doing something "wrong" ... It wasn't until I got back into RPGing around 2008 that I started to realize how much emphasis a lot of folks were placing on the RPing aspect - I remember some damn teenager telling me, the guy who's been playing RPGs since before he was born, that I "wasn't really RPing" because my current gamers and I tend to play one-shots rather than campaigns (we're busy adults, who barely get to play a few times a year, and that's just what works for us). If that's what excites some folks, then more power to you, but it's not my thing, and it doesn't mean I'm having badwrongfun ...

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Re: Humans in Funny Suits

Post by Shadowslayer »

jdizzy001 wrote: To continue the friendly banter:
Seriously though, if I as a GM bust out D6 star wars it would be completely inappropriate for a PC to break out a level 5 elf ranger for the campaign. Likewise, if I as a DM bust out DnD the PC's should not grab their Jedi who has a Dex of 4d, a Str of 4D, Mech and Tech of 2d and knowledge and perception of 3d.
No that likely wouldn't work, given the mechanics 2 completely different game systems. BUT, if I decided that I wanted to play (and actually I did this once) a psionicist that borrowed heavily from Yoda's personality, or (which I also did) a barbarian that was a very thinly veiled Lt Worf, that is perfectly acceptable to me as a player, and perfectly acceptable to me for a player to do if I'm the DM. (And those two characters were both long running PCs that I had a hell of a lot of fun with.) Heck I might be the only DM on the planet that doesn't get pissed off when one of my players wants to play some kind of Drizzt clone. At least the player is coming to the table with SOME kind of personality in mind.

The players play them the way they play them....how they do it isn't my department, speaking as a DM. The only concession I've ever required is "no evils"...that's the extent of my meddling in PC affairs.
jdizzy001 wrote: In a similar vein, if a CK begins a campaign of C&C and says, "in this campaign, all the dwarves are dead. They have been extinct for 2,000 years." As a PC I should do what I can to support the universe the CK has created by not making a dwarven fighter.
Yes but that not what were talking about. Not really. In this case we're talking about Dwarves acting like stereotypical Tolkien-y dwarves when the DM has decided, for whatever reason, that HIS dwarves are different....and is considering turning experience points into little magical DM brownie points to bestow upon those that he favors....because they're playing HIS way. Sort of like an NFL referee that suddenly decides that team A gets an extra bonus point because the guy did a really fun end zone dance.
jdizzy001 wrote:When a player joins a CK's game the two enter into an unwritten contract. The CK agrees to deliver a fun and entertaining campaign for the PC and the PC agrees to play in the CK's world.
Maybe this is where we differ. The way I've always looked at it (since a player many moons ago gave me rude awakening) is that everyone who comes to the table, DM or PC agrees to abide by whatever general consensus the table comes up with, regarding fun, given the framework of whatever game we're playing.

And understand, my old game group - the one I did the lion's share my playing with had an interesting way of doing it. Once the DM for this time around was appointed, he'd sit down with the players and ask them what they wanted to do this time. If he had an idea, he'd float it. Or he'd say "Ok what are we doing this time...you wanna be pirates? Wanna do a knights of the round table sort of thing? Plain old vanilla D&D? Any other thoughts?" and then take it from there. And SO many great, and long running, games came out of that. I don't know if there's something to be said there or if I just lucked into an amazing group.

I mean...I know the philosophy holds some sway here...but I could just never buy into the idea that its the DM's table. ie You're welcome at MY table. You'd not be allowed to sit at MY table. These are the rules at MY table. bleh. If you actually had the nerve to say something like that out loud, I'd have to throw dice at you. (Nice big d30s too....maybe even the big honking d20 w letters on it that came from my wife's Scattergories game. If I hit you enough times with that, I might be able to spell "I'm the DM" on your forehead. Just so no one forgets that its YOUR table. ;) )

I'll tell you what I've learned:

A: Role players (and in this case I refer to the backstory writing/ham acting/take an hour to haggle in the market square roleplayers) are gonna roleplay no matter what. Its in them and its a good part of the reason why they come to the table.

B: No amount of DM brownie points awarded is gonna make someone roleplay better, if they DON'T already have it in them to give RP that much thought. You can take that to the bank.

So I figure, if you're a homebrew DM with a lot invested in his world, relish the time spent with the guys who buy into it....and maybe don't worry so much about the guys who are not "seeing your vision". They still come in handy when a dragon attacks.

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