RPG without humans

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RPG without humans

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:05 am UTC

I recently read something Rich Burlew wrote:
I think most players need humans as a baseline from which to proceed when creating characters, even nonhuman ones.
So I immediately began to think deeply about how that might be wrong.

Can anybody think of a game (either table top or video) where you create a character but can't create a human? The only game I can't think of where can't play a human have you playing something that's basically a human, a cartoon animal, or are so abstract or simple that you are basically not playing a person.

I think that some of these tropes are so well established in our culture that gamers could do without them. More that they're always included as a "sure, why not?" or a safeguard if a players happens to dislike all the other races. I think, maybe, that some game designers need humans as a base point; but (good) game design is involved and requires some pretty solid baselines.

Does that strike anybody else a dealbreaker to them to not be able to play as a human? I think some things that get lumped in with humans in fantasy are essential to many players, (like being good or being attractive) but we can separate the conditions. Like a my-little-pony rip of race is good and beautiful (okay, and maybe not classically masculine), but decidedly non-human.
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Re: RPG without humans

Postby Deva » Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:51 am UTC

Mice and Mystics? Transformed into mice, admittedly. Imagines something Redwall-based somewhere as well. (Edit: Also, Mouse Guard. Based it off of graphic novels.)

How far does "cartoon animal" go? Expects Sonic Forces to fall under that. Does Spore qualify? Perhaps E.V.O.: Search for Eden? (Technically can become a human, late-game.)

Similarly, what counts as "not basically a human"? Are elves sufficiently inhuman? Do Kerbals escape it?
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Re: RPG without humans

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Jan 17, 2018 4:32 am UTC

I've been wondering if there's any scifi/fantasy media of any form (movies, books, etc, not just games) that doesn't feature humans at all.

In my Chronicles of Quelouva about a third of the stories focus on an alien race that just barely ever has any contact with humanity, which contact is treated a fascinating encounter with a strange alien race (that is, humans are the alien, or Other, from the point of view of those stories). And I've been wondering for a while if there's any other stories that are like that, and how audiences reacted to them. Stories that don't star humans, nor are they principally about humans from a non-human point of view, if they even feature humans at all.
Last edited by Pfhorrest on Wed Jan 17, 2018 4:34 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: RPG without humans

Postby Xanthir » Wed Jan 17, 2018 4:34 am UTC

Magic: the Gathering has had the same experience - the last time they tried to do a no-humans set (Lorwyn/Shadowmoor), sales suffered for it. Mark Rosewater has been very clear that they'll continue putting humans in every world now.
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Re: RPG without humans

Postby Ginger » Wed Jan 17, 2018 4:47 am UTC

I hope it's not too off topic and I'll say somethin'-somethin' else: I support RPGs w/o humans. You can have humanoid races I guess? Like tauren or shivarra or elves. Yet too much human centric themes kinda ruins ruins RPGs for me. I'd rather even have one w/just like. Not even humanoid looking robots or something? Than ANOTHER ONE about humans saving everyone w/their magical determination to survive and The Holy Light. And I had a Black/Blue fairies deck in Magic: The Gathering are fairies considered humans? Sometimes they have skin and hairs tones like green or pink or purple and no human has those unless they dye their hairs and you can't dye your complexion. Anyways, I liked my non-human decks like Red goblins decks or Green dryads/tree peoples decks.... good times~ <3
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Re: RPG without humans

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:24 pm UTC

Is this considered "too cartoony"?

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Re: RPG without humans

Postby rmsgrey » Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:53 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:I've been wondering if there's any scifi/fantasy media of any form (movies, books, etc, not just games) that doesn't feature humans at all.


In general, fantasy (and other fiction) works off a baseline of "like what you're used to in real life, except where otherwise stated", so any setting without "humans" (either homo sapiens or the setting's close analogue) has to do a lot of world-building in order to establish the alien culture(s). And humans have a vast variety of cultures, so getting something truly alien is a respectable challenge in itself - getting something more alien than, say, Japanese culture is to a typical Westerner is an achievement in itself. Then making it relatable to the human reader/viewer/listener/player is a major feat of creativity.

Having baseline humans around gives a reference point for people to recognise the weirdness of the rest of the setting, so it's natural that the vast majority of creative works have humans around - or something that the reader can co-opt as human-equivalent.

For example, Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles has 4 races: Clavat, Lilty, Selkie and Yuke. Officially, none of them is baseline - Clavats get a defense bonus; Lilties get a damage bonus; Selkies get high agility/evasion; and Yukes get bonuses to magic - but Clavats have been adopted as the "humans" of the setting as a way of fitting it into more familiar patterns.

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Re: RPG without humans

Postby doogly » Wed Jan 17, 2018 4:49 pm UTC

Flatland barely even tries to veil that it's really about humans, just with some weird shapes as a front operation.
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Re: RPG without humans

Postby Zohar » Wed Jan 17, 2018 6:43 pm UTC

The game Dust: An Elysian Tale only has anthropomorphized animals.
The novel Diaspora by Greg Egan stars transhumans - humans who have become AI. There's a few "us humans" in it at some point, but they're not significant to the plot.
The novel A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge probably has more aliens than humans in it, but humans still feature prominently. Or this is A Deepness in the Sky? I don't remember, it's been a long while since I've read it.
The Hobbit would fit this criteria as well.
The game Neir: Automata features androids and machines almost exclusively, but the androids are modeled after humans.
The game FTL : Faster Than Light has humans but they're the worst race and people generally opt to using other races (also a fantastic game).
The game Spore has you create creatures that are decidedly non-human.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy features very few humans.
Many Doctor Who stories don't feature a human other than the main companion.

I'm sure I know of other examples but these popped to mind relatively quickly.
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Re: RPG without humans

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:14 am UTC

Deva wrote:How far does "cartoon animal" go?Does Spore qualify? Perhaps E.V.O.: Search for Eden? (Technically can become a human, late-game.)
In the sense that Pluto is not a cartoon dog, but just a fictional dog that happens to be in a cartoon. Usually it's an actual animal (cat as opposed to cat person) anthropomorphized with abandon. They also tend to be middle class and of the same culture as their creators.

Search for Eden (from the little I saw) doesn't qualify from as a role playing game (from a narrative perspective).

Spore in complicated. It has all of the the essential elements, but not at the same time. They're people, but not when you're playing an individual. There's creature creation screens, but you don't pick any aspects of your creature's character there.
Similarly, what counts as "not basically a human"? Are elves sufficiently inhuman? Do Kerbals escape it?
If, at no point in the story, anybody actually says they're not a human, is it fair to expect the audience to know that the character isn't human? or at least of no real world culture they are familiar with?

As for Kerbals, I don't think there's any character development or role playing?

With elves, it depends on how lazy the author is. Could we tell if somebody was raised by elves in that setting? If an elf wants to hide their elveness, do they just need a hat that cover their ears, or do they need to hide their accent, change all their clothes, their gait, avoid using figures of speech, et cetra.
Soupspoon wrote:Is this considered "too cartoony"?
No, I would not consider Watership Down to be "cartoon" animals. That is a great example, thank you.

@Zohar, are you responding to me or Phorrest? If me, None of those (except arguably spore, which I discussed above) were games with character creation.

As for Phorrest's question, I think having human's feature prominently, or just regularly having a human straight man around disqualifies it.

Although, the Hobbit (and Lord of the Rings) are notable in that non-humans are used as straightmen and the humans act less like people of modern society than the hobbits.
rmsgrey wrote:And humans have a vast variety of cultures, so getting something truly alien is a respectable challenge in itself - getting something more alien than, say, Japanese culture is to a typical Westerner is an achievement in itself. Then making it relatable to the human reader/viewer/listener/player is a major feat of creativity.
I think it's not so much a question of the culture being so different that it must be alien, that's almsot never done, for the reasons you articulated.

I think creating fantasy cultures are generally about three things:
  1. Cultures that don't exist in our world by pure accident. There's nothing unrealistic about these cultures, but they just don't happen to exist anywhere.
  2. Cultures that are a consequence of the world in which they are set: You have to fight monsters to travel between villages? I bet people travel less, I wonder how that would affect people's attitudes towards outsiders?
  3. The culture focuses a theme in some useful way.
Because of two, non-humans may have to deal with different biological realities. Even if it's just appearance or finding mates, and certain amount of "apart-ness" could be expected, which would naturally lead to culturally differences.
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Re: RPG without humans

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:02 am UTC

Quizatzhaderac wrote:As for Phorrest's question, I think having human's feature prominently, or just regularly having a human straight man around disqualifies it.

I'm confused, what is disqualified from what now?
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Re: RPG without humans

Postby Ginger » Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:22 pm UTC

I think he means that for example races that look more or less like us such as elves, shivarra, tauren/animal people/humanoid races don't qualify b/c they have human features.
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Re: RPG without humans

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Thu Jan 18, 2018 1:38 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
Quizatzhaderac wrote:As for Phorrest's question, I think having human's feature prominently, or just regularly having a human straight man around disqualifies it.

I'm confused, what is disqualified from what now?
I was reffering to your statement "'I've been wondering if there's any scifi/fantasy media of any form (movies, books, etc, not just games) that doesn't feature humans at all." Zohar's list included mostly non-game media, so it seemed to make your sense in regard to your (most recent) statement.
As to what is disqualified: FTL is disqualified as it does feature humans "at all" even if they suck mechanics-wise.
The Hitchhiker's Guide is disqualified because the main character/straight-man is human.
and so on, with most of the other things on that list.
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Re: RPG without humans

Postby Dauric » Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:45 pm UTC

Quizatzhaderac wrote:The Hitchhiker's Guide is disqualified because the main character/straight-man is human.

Not to mention Ford Prefect is essentially physically human, Trillian is another human, Zaphod can (apparently) pass for human by hiding a head and his extra arm...
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Re: RPG without humans

Postby Yablo » Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:33 pm UTC

Most RPGs, whether they have humans or not, have races with qualities based on human traits and cultures. It makes understanding and relating to the non-human race easier for the majority of players. Creating or playing a completely alien race is difficult for a human mind, and when most people try it, it tends to boil down to random choices (which still nearly always have human elements behind them).

As a long-time Call of Cthulhu/Delta Green GM, I may have more experience than most regarding completely alien and non-human creatures, but even then, it's difficult. For a recent example, in the game write-up in my sig, there was a recent game session where two of the characters (humans, by default) provoked some alien creatures. To play these creatures (Mi-Go, for anyone who knows the Cthulhu mythos), I have to understand their fundamental differences from humans.

They are multi-dimensional beings with a collective knowledge - a limited hive-mind to some extent, but also everything one knows and understands, the others do. They aren't capable of the sorts of leaps the human mind is, but they're trying to understand. The result is a creature (or group of creatures with the same thoughts) that doesn't think so much in terms of direction, distance, and obstacles, but instead in terms of relative position, orientation, and vectors. They think so logically that even a Vulcan would be put to shame, but they know that's a liability when dealing with humans, so they try (and fail horribly) to think outside the box.

Even with all of this, I can't describe the extent of their inhumanity without using all-too-human concepts. And this is for a creature I'll only use once in a while. If I were a player, and Mi-Go was my character's race, I would either get a headache trying to think like they should, or I would be forced to make random decisions and then justify them as non-human logic.

It's far more efficient to simply have races that seem non-human but describe them and think of them in human terms. I've been known to play humans, and often, I use "human" as a baseline, but I would have no problem playing a game without humans. As long as I understand the existing races in human terms, of course.
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Re: RPG without humans

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:36 am UTC

Yablo wrote:Creating or playing a completely alien race is difficult for a human mind
I feel like that's a non sequitur, but you're the second person to see that in this conversation, so I expect it's in something I wrote.

By "without humans" I meant with nothing more human than the fantasy alternate races or aliens with scrunched up noses. Yes, those are much closer to humans than anything truly alien. When I said "basically a human" significantly more minute differences, where there's not even gimmicky or superficial differences. Basically "saying but not showing" non-humans.

But your contribution is both appreciated and useful, and has given me another perspective on this:

Good games typically strike a balance between to easy and too hard, be it in combat, puzzles or roleplay. Role-playing a Mi-Go is hard (or possibly even just roleplaying with one around) and not for everyone. Is roleplaying an elf/dwarf/ hobbit actually hard for anyone already immersed in nerd culture ? Or is that just game makers giving us a super easy option?

BTW, just to be clear everyone, those are not rhetorical questions: I have no idea what's hard for you and no desire to judge you for not being good at doing something as esosteric and impractical as roleplaying an elf.
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Re: RPG without humans

Postby Ginger » Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:49 am UTC

I role play as elves both blood and night elven varieties... and they're not... too alien? However they definitely have different cultures and values. Blood elves like, and are even variously addicted to, magics from demons and the arcane. Night elves like nature and their Moon Goddess/Warrior Woman Elune. And my blood elf is a high class high society lady and my night elf is newly rich and trying to make a name for herself and her families. So they're almost, just about human, yet not quite. No human conjures food and drinks. No human except maybe... tribes... celebrates by smoking herbs and animal hairs? Or do they? Anyways so with my experience with night and blood elves I'd say they're just about humans yet not quite.
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Re: RPG without humans

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:21 pm UTC

Quizatzhaderac wrote:Is roleplaying an elf/dwarf/ hobbit actually hard for anyone already immersed in nerd culture ? Or is that just game makers giving us a super easy option?

Hobbits are easy - they're rural English c. 1930. They're Jane Marple's neighbours in St Mary Mead. Sure, they live in burrows rather than houses (for the most part) but that's not very different from the traditional roundhouses that are mostly roof and superficially resemble an artificial hill... They have the natural stealth of poachers and smugglers, and the quiet stubbornness and practicality of Dunkirk and the Blitz.

Elves and Dwarves are harder - elven immortality is a huge thing that make them very hard to get into the head of, and dwarves don't have a lot of background - Tolkien's dwarves explicitly didn't share their culture or language with other races, so pretty much all we know of them comes from Bilbo's journey with the company in the Hobbit, and Gimli's association with Legolas - both examples of dwarves in public...

The other thing that's relevant for RPGs is that most races are not hive minds, but rather individuals over a range of personalities, and often have at least some overlap with baseline humans, so the individual you play could be the one who is practically human even when most others of their kind are decidedly not. Or culturally human but physiologically other "raised by" type, or the "edgy and different" Drizzt Do'Urden archetype, or any other way of playing the character as mostly human, while the GM can still play others of their kind as different.

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Re: RPG without humans

Postby Yablo » Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:50 pm UTC

Quizatzhaderac wrote:Is roleplaying an elf/dwarf/ hobbit actually hard for anyone already immersed in nerd culture ? Or is that just game makers giving us a super easy option?

Not to generalize, but in at least some cases, it can be nearly impossible. The more detailed the history, culture, and lore surrounding a race, the more there is to understand if you want to "play the race properly." Many people don't care about the history and lore, and so they play the race how they want. Those people aren't even considered as role-playing partners by the ones who do take the time to learn every nuance.

Look at Night Elves in World of Warcraft, for instance. If I want to make a Night Elf on an RP server, and I want to find a role-playing guild, I'm going to make the character, come up with a few ideas, and let it evolve. Many people won't care that I made a 5,000-year-old female Night Elf Druid, and they'll role-play with me as long as the character is interesting. Other people will totally brush me off as unworthy of their time because it wasn't until relatively recently that females became druids. They were always priestesses before.

Now, those people who would ignore me because I got my lore wrong might tell me how to correct it or ask what makes my character's situation special, but they might not. Personally, I love to research, and I'll try to make my characters special and yet consistent. I'll definitely help others do the same, but I'm not going to fault them if they want to play the "wrong" thing. If the character is cool, and the story is good, I'm all for it.
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Re: RPG without humans

Postby Ginger » Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:38 pm UTC

Yablo has it down about my little game. Night elves live for thousands of years, the oldest are like, ten thousand plus... and they don't age past age 20 until thousands of years later, and the changes are so gradual, you might not notice you had a ten thousand year old grandfather or grandmother b/c they look so young. And being young for so long can breed... well, I won't go too far, but it can be so complex to come up with a detailed back story for a woman that lived well past me and anyone I know.

Anyways my general issue is: Get your lore semi-accurate if you want to respect the rules of the game for other players. Please. No nice chaste succubi, they mostly serve darker powers and want to corrupt, no orcs that go around mating with humans without any repercussions. They hate humans so much and were even enslaved by them. But the longer the race lives the more complex it gets... I can't possibly hope to ever virtualize and simulate thousands of years of experiences without writing text walls no one wanna reading.
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Re: RPG without humans

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Tue Feb 06, 2018 3:27 am UTC

Okay, so as the conclusion of my musings, I've devised a setting without humans. Since this is obviously not a setting where I just forgot the humans, I've decided to make the absence of humans an integral part of the setting.

Since this is already a huge post, I'll do geography , history, and current affairs in another post.

When the gods created the world the created many terrains and climates, each of which they populated with custom crafted plants animals and sapient species.

The gods do not have alignments, but rather each has it's own moral framework with differing values and meta-ethics. Detect alignment spells exist, but are essentially asking one specific Deity for an opinion.

On the whole, we would characterize the gods as on average being slightly good and mostly hands off (only mostly). They mostly influence the world via who they grant their magic to and communicating vaguely to a hyper-minority of mortals.

Arcane magic comes from the mindless elemental deities who neither discriminate how their power is used, nor guide anybody in how it's used.

Both afterlives and reincarnation happen. Afterlives are mostly worlds with different physics that are mostly made better or worse by the company. Afterlife assignment happens by by the mutual wills of the deity and deceased, or just the deceased for reincarnation. The closest things to hells are places for people who weren't allowed into their choice afterlives, but refuse to reincarnate.

All afterlives are finite in duration.
The world is roughly triangularly shaped; circumscribed on the south by the venom lands, the mirror of worlds to the east, the deep ocean to the west , north and east-southeast, below by the underworld, and above by the over-world.

For magic purposed those adjacent areas are all slightly different planes.

Deep oceans:
In addition to the real life perils of ocean travel and the monster attacks standard to RPGs, the open ocean has a dynamic geography and aquatic nations who protect their territories.

Basically, stories like the Odyssey, Sinbad the Sailor, or Guliver's travels where a week long trip gone wrong involves a twenty year trip and ten places you've never heard of can totally happen. Sensible people don't try to travel the deep ocean.

Natural cave systems as well as fantasy biomes that spread under the world.

Eventually, travel further downward is impossible for terrestrials as all biomes become filled with magma, water, brimstone (sulfur), or water.

Overworld: Cloud world.

Clouds more around like in the real world, but many persist for years at a time.

Under the right conditions, you can walk there from mountains.

Travel indefinitely is impossible for terrestrials as standing surfaces become rarer and the air becomes non-breathable aether.

Venom Lands:
Everything is at least mildly poisonous there. Terrestrial travelers must bring their own food and water, and even then the air itself can slowly poison over days.

Appears to be a very nice place to live, if you have the biology for it. The portions known are fertile and have friendly inhabitants. Very few things there are poisonous to the locals. Animals from there cannot digest the main world's plants, and their plants cannot grow in the main world.

There is a seem in the world at the edge of the venom lands. The seem is slightly thinner than the blade of a knife and glows with a deep purple light. Water will not flow over the seem, but it can be carried or thrown over.

Mirror of worlds:
The landscape is fractal and crystalline. Most surfaces are either mirrored or translucent. This is disorienting as a hall-of-mirrors illusory effect coincides with the fractal totally-how-it's-actually-shaped effect.

There appear to be many more paths home than there should be, but most only lead to an illusory world. Should one end up in an illusory world, a doppelganger returns home in your place. Sometimes you can catch doppelgangers pretending to be your "reflections".

Food is available and addictive. People who eat, will not want to leave. If forced to leave, they will starve rather than eat regular food again.

Images of people not present, dead, or imaginary will show themselves to travelers. Sometimes they will do nothing worse than waste an afternoon reminiscing, sometimes they will try to trick the traveler into getting lost, or convince them to kill themselves. Images know things no humanoid could, and for that reason some come seeking knowledge or to test their character.

When glimmering objects are removed to the outside world, they become common stone. They few dull stones there are the valuable ones, as they posses magic enough to resist their world's glamor. Stones that turn invisible under the glamor are also present and valuable, but understandably hard to find.

Occasionally, lost travelers from strange worlds can be found there.
Assume like DnD where information is not provided.

Free races (aka main player races)

Biome: Desert
Favored class: Cleric
Stat adjustments +2 wisdom, +1 con, +1 str -4 char
Average size: 6'5" 228 pounds

Hyena like in appearance.
Gnrolls value friends and family above all else;
they value principles, ethics, religion and customs second;
they values themselves third;
anyone or anything not covered by those three is a very distant fourth, often given outsides the impression they have no morals.

Gnrolls females have no outward secondary sex characteristics when not pregnant or nursing, and both of those are done in private. Gnrolls have no gender. Children are raised with the help of the friends and family of the mother, with no acknowledgment of paternity.

Gnrolls struggle with loose social structures, but none-the-less feel compelled to seek out new friends and acquaintances when familiar ones are not available.

Biome: Temperate mountains
Favored class: Fighter

Orcs take joy in their adversity. If labor and war are parts of life, than the orc seeks enjoyment in them, or at least stoic acceptance. They are contradictorily always at war with everyone, while at peace with themselves (individually, they fight among themselves)

While known for their love of war, they are probably the most restrained in their practice, taking great care to avoid civilian casualties and property damage.

Humans and elves scoff at the informality of their martial training, but they learn, practice, and teach, all to great affect.

Ogres Extinct (see history)
Biome: Frigid mountains

Biome: Badlands

Goblins are known for their complicated and shifting political structures. For every great goblin leader, there are ten potential leaders. While many goblin leaders are conniving, the common goblins' suspicions mercuriality keep them under check

Biome: Unknown extraplanar location (natural), migratory and transient (actual)
Favored class: Wizard
Stat adjustments: -2 con, -1 dex,-1 wis,+4 int
Average lifespan:56 years.

The Fashren have translucent, pastel colored flesh (all hues, but yellow is most common) with a pattern of dark splotches the opposite hue in their eyes. All Fashren have female secondary sex characteristics. Nursing is split between the mother and her close friends and family (for example: brothers).

They cover the vast majority of their skin, as they are poorly suited to all biomes without them. In all climes their clothing comes is in all varieties of loose, tight, flamboyant, and modest. Usually a few runes are included to add protection from the elements, as well as a great deal of rune-looking designs.

The Fashren hold no emotional attachments to places, and eventually the places they've yet to see and the friends they've yet to meet will win out over staying where they are. Many travel continuously or seasonally.

They are curious about all things and love to debate (but seldom do they argue).

Despite their extraplanar origin, only exceptional few have direct involvements with other planes. However a great many can do small feats of arcane magic.

The Fashren have a huge number of genders that have no correlation to one's sex. They adopt gender norms from all of the cultures they encounter, and mix and adjust they to create as many new genders.

Dominion races

Humans (extinct, see history)
Biomes: Savanna (natural). Until recently, also majorly present in grasslands, mountains, jungles and temperate mountains.

Biome: Grasssland
Favored class:Rogue
They love comfort and care little for wealth, strongly favoring to lead unremarkable lives and avoid larger conflicts in the world (and conflicts in general). The recent collapse of the social order around them (see history) has made that impossible and seeking security now often means going out and dealing with the greater world first hand.

Elves (high)
Biome: Forest

Favored class: ranger.
Lifespan: 750 max, old age deaths rare.

High elves have dark complexions from their exposure to the sun.

Elves love peace and freedom above all. However, they can be very pragmatic in pursuit of peace and they often really just love thier own freedom.

They practice a complicated mixed use type of agriculture that involves dozens of types of plants growing in a controlled area, given the uninitiated the impression these areas are wild. As with their gardens, so with their society: they don't present any clear leaders or social order, but they act in unison when the need arises.

They control their birth rates as a check on the fecundity their long loves allow. An individual elf will often go through multiple professions in their life. Marriage is seen as temporary, only lasting about 60 years on average.

They have highly trained solders, but know that their population can't manage losses as well as the shorter lived races.

They hold no malice and little respect for the "lesser" races, deeming it ridiculous to judge them by elven standards. By contrast, they do hold low elves to their standards, and hate them for failing to live up to them.

Biome: Jungle
Favored class: Bard
Stat adjustments -1 str, +1 dex, - 2wis, +2 cha
Average size: 5'2" 142 pounds.
Average lifespan: 98 years
Capybara like appearance.

The Barcaypa are split into a great many cultures and sub-cultures intertwined and blending into each other in ways that are very confusing to outsiders.

They are peaceful and welcoming by nature, but jungle fauna and recent history have forced them to learn to have something of an edge.
Barcaypa are known for telling and thinking in stories (including complicated and nuanced ones).

Between extra digestive organs and food processing techniques, the Barcaypa are able to consume more types of plant matter than most sapients. This results in denser populations, little time spent growing food, more time spent processing it, and complex diets.


Biome: Small islands on deep ocean (natural), saltwater marshes and small terrestrial islands (aquired)

The Lizardfolk are the natural seafarers and the only ones able to reliably cross the deep oceans. They can swim for days at a time, but sail when they need to travel great distances or carry cargo.

Their strong constitutions, low metabolisms, and ability to drink saltwater allow them to comfortably endure trips that would kill most terrestrials.

They established a number of small colonies on remote islands, river deltas, and major ports.


Biome: Elevated stone (i.e. under mountains)

Before a dwarf can be born, the space they occupy must first have been carved from the rock. As with the space they occupy, so our most other aspects of a dwarf's existence prepared for them. They have a sophisticated infrastructure, which they cannot survive without. They are the only sapient race to be created with tools.

A dwarf's full name includes their given name, a name chosen on adulthood, a materinial name, and paterlinial name, their nationality, and their profession.

Dwarf maidens are know to braid their beards and decorate them with ribbons. (There's no larger significance to that, I just find it an amusing mental picture).

Biome: Undergrowth (natural), small numbers present through locations of human civilization (see history)

Elves (low)
Biome: Undergrowth (acquired)
The exact same species as high elves. Grotesquely pale due growing up without sunlight.

They consider that life is not a right, only an opportunity for life is a right; and that those living must justify occupying space that might be occupied by new life. They breed very quickly for elves, and few live to see old age. They enslave other races as well as the weaker members of their own race.

The only masculine occupations are fighting, hunting, catching/managing slaves, and entertaining. The only feminine occupations are leadership, skilled crafts, and proprietorship. (slaves are not considered real men or women and are often castrated).

Biome: Brimstone.


Loci (extinct, see history)
Biome: Evanescent nimbus, larva stage in Savanna
Bodies like locusts, faces like mens', hair like women's, horns shaped like crowns, and tails like scorpions.

Every 21 years, they go through extreme population growth and devastate their biome (which is part of it's natural cycle). The population then mostly eats or spreads to other biomes (much to their inhabitants dismay).

They become intelligent at about the same age as other species, but reach their full size and reproductive capability much younger.

Biome: Temporal stratus
Preferred class: Sorcerer
Size: tiny
Stat adjustments: -4 str, -4 con,+2 dex, +1 wis, +1 int, +4 cha, +2 fort save
Special abilities: flight.

Largely pacifistic: diplomacy first, and trickery second.

Venom lands

Horse-like appearance with coats appearing in all colors. They typically style both the hair on their heads as well as their tails.

As skilled in magic as they are in friendship.
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Re: RPG without humans

Postby Ginger » Tue Feb 06, 2018 5:09 am UTC

I Love Love your setting. I love the Fashren the best and wanna be... a non-binary Fashren female? And the Venom Lands are j-just... a-a-awesome. You made an amazing setting.
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Re: RPG without humans

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Feb 06, 2018 3:03 pm UTC

Star Fox, anyone?

There's a couple of twilight zone episodes where the plot twist is no one is human. One memorable one is where the cold war is about to get hot, so one of the scientists steals a spaceship and escapes with his family, heading for some remarkably similar planet... called Earth! Do dee do do, do dee do do...

Another is about a society of people that have surgery to fix ugliness, and it turns out that they are pig faced monstrosities and "ugly" people that would be supermodels here are sent away, implied to be internment camps, but it's not clear if they are human or alien. I just love the cinematography of that one.

Oh, just remembered, Ascendancy. Old school sci-fi 4x game, which suffered from horrible AI and clunky controls. Startopia didn't have humans, IIRC.

While we are at it Zelda I think was all non-human.

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Re: RPG without humans

Postby Ginger » Tue Feb 06, 2018 5:03 pm UTC

I saw the Twilight Zone episode about ugly pig beasts men and women doing cosmetic surgeries on models or part of it you reference. ANYWAYS: My try at making a character for Quiza's li'l set thingy.

Name: Sharavi Dulfar.
Age: 28.
Appearance: She has pastel yellow skin and dark colored spots in her eyes, which are purplish, and her hair is long and feminine. She often braids it on one or the other sides, wears high ponytails and up hairdos. She has a slightly malnourished, skinny body, from: Not taking as much cares as she could for herself on her multiple travels. She is dressed in leather and cloth mixed clothes, namely: A dress that covers down to her knees, long boots, bracelets on her wrists, long gloves that covers her hands and arms and a big backpack slung over her back. Sharavi has earrings and a bellybutton piercing.

The woman wears: Makeups that match her skin tones. All kinds: Face makeups, eyes shadow, eye liner, mascara, lip gloss... nail polishes on her fingernails and toenails. Her fingernails and toenails are slightly feminine long because she likes them that way.
Background: She has spent most of her years in the Venom Lands, as an herbalist/botanist, studying why is everything so venomous and dangerous there? She has some minor knowledge of animal behaviors too and tracks: How the plants grow and the animals' behaviors. Sharavi has been isolated from others in the remote places she travels to yet still makes times to stop by towns and cities and date others, socializes, drink and be merry and actually see other peoples for changes. Sharavi has done mostly babysitting of younger children, taking care of pets, cleaning and cooking meals for her partners and employers. Sharavi sometimes does entertainment jobs like: Dancing and singing, yet, she not very good at either of those and mostly sticks to her housework, and cooking and cleaning jobs. She has an enviable closet full of clothes back in her home apartment and never wears the same outfits twice when she's in civilization.
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Re: RPG without humans

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Wed Feb 07, 2018 5:01 am UTC

Ginger wrote:ANYWAYS: My try at making a character for Quiza's li'l set thingy.
I'm glad you like it, your enthusiasm in the best compliment I could hope for.

I'll aim to get you some locations that aren't logistical nightmares before too long. (which is why they make up the edge of the map)

Since my big theme is postmodernism, one thing I realized is that I can't have people agreeing on history, so I'm going to have to do several versions, and avoid any "true" version.

Also, with the maps, when it gets time to label them, I'm thinking each background gets a map labelled differently.

I made adjustments to my last post (added a new section at map's edge, added extra note about venom lands, revamped the orc and goblin's text.

Loci wrote:Beginning of history? That concept does not apply, all things come in cycles, only when we speak of part of a cycle or we do not understand the greater cycle do we speak of the beginning and end. Egg must come from mother, and mother from egg; to have cause without effect simply doesn't make sense.

Memory goes back to great grandmother. Gave grandmother's egg young, before she knew herself.

Grandmother born in Jubilee, like most. Grew wise in time in between. Harvest grew. Next jubilee we grew, mother hatched, consumed harvest, consumed our excess, went to surface to consume and lay caches.

The crawling races tried to stop us, like they always do. Small concern; most loci consumed by loci.

I hatched in rest time two years before last jubilee. Humans try to destroy cache; is same, is pointless. One cache destroyed, another safe. No matter how many times we halfed, we made whole again on jubilee. What matter it if half perish in morning or night?

Different details, same cycle.

- Loci Matriarch twelve years before extinction
Ogre mages wrote:In the age of wood, the first age, the gods made all creatures.
Most creature were made without the ability to react; these we call plants.
Many creatures were made with the ability to react, but not to speak; these we call animals.
Seven races were made with the ability to speak, but not to think; these we call humanoids.
One races was created with the ability of thought, the ogres.

In the age of wood, we had only what we found.
In the next age (the age of steel) we had what we made.
In this the age of magic we have started to transcend nature.
With our growing mastery of the planes, we may be coming on a new age.

Already had we opened our cities to the thinking races of the neighboring planes (the casfae and the dwarfs). Now the Fashren join us by way of Enverse-Ull, they who take such delight in exploring our wilderness and speaking with our ferals. Soon we may be joined by yet more, the Archons and Demons.

- Text recovered from ancient ruins, best attempt dated at five years before cataclysm

Ogres wrote:Gods created ogres smart, create ogres strong.

Ogres created cities, created magic. Archons and demons saw our world and grew jealous. Archons stole our smarts, demons stole our magic, both tried to steal our world.

Without smarts, without magic, ogres took back world with strength.

Without smarts, tricky humanoids stole our cities and tried to build their own.

Humans became powerful, they have seen our strength, our cities, our greatness, and grown jealous.
They think if they destroy us, then they become great.

They are many, they are sneaky, there is no hide, there is no fight.

- Ogre Shaman, two years before extinction.

Low elves wrote:In the beginning, most creatures stayed where the gods created them, many generations were spend filling up our homes. Before we could spread to the edge of the forest the Barcaypa and Halflings had already filled up their homes, so to grow we need to travel among the other races and find new niches among them.

Eventually the ogres came down from their mountains and didn't live in grassland or forest, or lakes, or savanna, but in cities. They mostly left us alone, thinking us too small, stupid and weak to be of interest. They may have been right, but we've learned a lot since then.

The ogres made the mistake of letting the Fashren in. Through that same open door all the heavens and hells broke loose. The ogres were rendered idiots, demons kept trying to take over, the archons kept trying to exterminate anything with an impure thought.

There was a long period of violence. The elves struggled to breed as fast as we were dying. But those of us that did not die in combat , did not die of age; they were strong and taught the young strength.

Eventually, we gained the advantage over the Outsiders.
There grew a sect who said that (now that we could) we must limit ourselves too our ancestral lands, we must contain out numbers, we must strive to live in peace and to grow old.

But, by then, most of us had been born to replace a dead elf; what right had we to deny the next generation by clinging to our lives for centuries?
What of our new homes, away form the forest, why must we abandom the homes we bled for?
What of our new strength, must we ignore it and lead mediocre lives?

And so this naive sect secluded themselves in the ancestral lands and grew more isolated and antagonistic to us.

Eventually we grew too ambitious and took too much and became a target for all the other races. In the natural course of events, this would mean we were lowered at the expense of the other racess raising themselves up.

But the sect hated us and saw our moment of weakness. They fought us, not to raise themselves up, but to lower us, to force us to be like them. The orcs took what they wanted and stopped. the two-faced elves pursued as endlessly, well beyond any rational gain they could have.

Our small settlements in the undergrowth offered security and eventually became the center of elven civilization. Better to be at home among ourselves here than war endlessly and pointlessly on the surface.

Since then, we've mostly avoided becoming too deeply involved with the affairs of the surface; but we watch, we scout. The humans had ended two races already and had started on a third. To be complete, by the end they we trying for a third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh; but they just could not accomplish that much.

We know what they though of us. After the surface had been emptied of everything but humans, halfings, and two-faces; what would the humans decide about us living under their feet?

We became involved, we did our part to ensure no human could find escape in the underworld, or in any other.

- Low elf trader, six months ago.
Orcs wrote:History is learn from the past. Culture is what group learns.

Orcs are smart each culture. Laugh wants, look you; Free laugh! Laugh is good! {Translator's paraphrasing: Orcs are smarter than each and every other culture. I see you want to laugh; feel free to laugh! Laughter is good!]

Many races clever than orcs, no race smart than orcs. Clever is know much things, smart is know things much important.

First begin, gods:

Gods created the world, gods created the races, then we learn.

We learn about the world; we learn about us, we learn about the gods. We learn from gods teach; we learn from gods mistake [translator's paraphrase: we learned when the gods made mistakes]; great learn from look world.


We each race grow. We find others. We learn about others; we learn from others. Early, each race much need learn: much violence, much mistake from not know others. Ogres not know others are people. Ogres not learn others are people. Ogres think others not clever: others not people.

Regardless, ogres grow smart and learn much, Learn magic. Learn build cities.

Fashren come; talk to orcs, talk to each.

Ogres grow great clever. Think each outsider nice how fashren nice.


Demons come. Demons not nice. Archons come. Archons think archons nice. Archons think much people mean.

Demons steal Ogre power. Orgres ask archons for help. Archons teach Ogres; then, ogres not clever, ogres smart. Ogres learn content. Ogres learn other races are people.

Demons steal much power. Much fight, long time. Races help archons fight demons. Archons fight not end: archons never content. Races fight both.

Races learn fight outsiders. Races learn not fight each other. Archons beat, demons beat.


Elves learn love fight; learn content of death. Elves fight each. Elves that not learn fight elves. Orcs learn great fight; learn great content death. Orcs and stupid elves win.

Orcs, rise:

Orcs learn love fight. Orcs continue fight. Other cars fight apart; orcs fight together.

Orcs much travel, much fight; orcs take other races lands; take most of Savanna, take much of badlands; take all of grassland, take rivers of dessert, take large islands in west.

Orcs, peak:
Orcs learn build cities from ogres cities. Orcs build much cities. World dangerous for people who fight orcs, safe of everyone else. Because safety: much races travel far and share culture.

Orcs fall:
Much time happen. Orcs learn content not fight. Not take other races lands. Other races learn fight how orcs fight. Other races take own lands.

Goblins learn travel quick, learn travel far. Goblins learn content not take lands. Golbins travel and take and return.

Much time happen. Gnolls learn stop goblins. Gnolls learn content take little. Great take other races kings. Gnolls take other races kings, leave land. Happy other races: no kings, little fight gnolls.

Much time happen. Gnolls grow clever and learn content much small things. Gnolls learn different small things.Gnolls argue. Gnolls force try teach other gnolls and other races.

Other races decide happy without gnolls. Much races fight gnolls. Gnolls lose much land.

During fight: humans learn much; learn fight together how orcs fight, learn farm ho elves farm, learn build how dwarfs build, learn fight fast how goblins fight, learn take little how gnolls rule.

Humans take human lands. Haflings give humans rule: for pay humans fight, no haflings fight. Humans build cities in jungle.

Humans grow small clever. Humans take much; take dessert rivers, take mountains cities, take Barcaypa lands.

Humans not learn content; forget not fight other human. Much time, humans fight each other.

Humans grow great clever. Humns learn not fight each other,: learn fight each other race!

Humans learn great fight Loci. Loci end. Other races happy, no like Loci.

Humans not learn talk Ogres; ogres not learn humans people. Few times Ogres eat humans, eat halflings.Humans great fight Ogres. Ogres end.

Humans try take orc mountains. Orcs great fight. Humans try end Orcs. But! Orcs smart! Orcs Learn!

Orcs great talk with other races. Humans think orcs not much talk; humans are clever. Orcs teach other races about humans. Orcs and goblins and gnolls fight humans.

Humans great fight; but soon great disease of humans. Orcs begin win.

Humans learn wrong. Humans great fight Orcs and goblins and gnolls. Humans stupid fight Fashren and Barcaypa.

Much fight. Humans try magic end much races. Magic great disease on orcs and goblins and gnolls.

Much races use human magic, end humans.

-Orc loremaster
Translation note: Orcs have strong prohibitions against false quoting. As a consequence, it is considered rude to add distinctions/words not present in Orcish to translations.
Goblins wrote:Lies of the outsiders

First the gods created us all. The gods don't agree with each other, and that is perhaps the greatest mercy of existence. If they would agree, then they would have their way, then we could not have our way. Some of them our nicer than others, but none want exactly what we want.

A long period was forgotten. There are many stories, too many to all be true.

Eventually the demons and archons came. The demons taught us magic to trick us; they taught us writing to teach us magic. Our memory became longer than any goblin's life. With new memory, we did not let demons trick us anymore.

We even learned the lies of the archons; they are such good liars! You see, the gods lie to the archons, and the archons do not know they lie, so they can never accidentally tell the truth!

Lies of the elves

All races fought the demons, enough fought the archons. Things did not improve, for the elves tried to take everything the demons and archons ever held, and slowly, one by one, problems with outsiders were replaced by problems with elves.

Once it looked like elves would need to take from other elves to keep taking, elves split. A new group wanted control of the forests. They told the lie that they were the only real elves, that only they lived the way elves were "meant " to live. The lie worked and the lying elves took the forests.

They convinced many others that elves were good, that the "low" elves were the only bad ones. At the same time, these "good" elves fought brutally, not just to kill individuals, but families and communities. With the help of the orcs and the humans, the "good" elves killed or banished every low on the surface.

Lies of the orcs

But the orcs wanted this thing that the demons had taken, that the archons had taken from them, that the elves had taken from them. This thing they called "empire". "Empire" is the lie that one group controls all things in many lands. The empire controlled many orcs, and many things outside the mountains, but still: one group is just one group.

For example: One city was build with a thousand goblins working and a dozen orcs giving orders. Do the orcs think those dozen built the city!? Do they think those thousand obeyed for fear of the dozen? No! The thousand wanted a city, and the thousand built a city,

Eventually, the orcs told themselves there were no great battles left to be fought, so they trained less warriors and made fewer weapons. The world saw through the lie of "empire" and realized they were many, the empire few, not even most orcs. The empire ripped in a hundred directions as the hundred sides realized they could pull.

Age of truth

While the empire was decaying, a great leader emerged among the goblins.For the first time, we knew we could trust each other. We rode among the collapsing empire and took what the orcs only pretended they could protect. We did not stay, to try and take the "empire", for that would be a trap of our own making. We took only what we could carry and left.

Our great leader was one goblin, and he died. None among his generals and friends could be trusted to take his place. Goblins became divided, but would sometimes unite to raid those who could not unite.

The "good" elves lied: they said the were not united and they were forgiving. When a goblin tribe raided them, they would wait a long time, until the tribe was vulnerable, then the "good" elves would destroy that tribe.

Lies of gnolls

One day, a gnoll told a lie about empire. She didn't even control anything yet, but they lie was believed. Gnolls followed and forced more to follow. As more followed, the lie became more believable. The gnoll empire spread out from their lands, they told the lie of "empire", the told the lie that the empire was not just for gnolls.

As they did this, they exposed the lies of the kings they replaced. With one lie exposed, people easily believed the empire's lies. The empire spread across the dessert, the savanna, the mountains, the islands, small part of the grasslands, and a few cities in the jungle.

Lies of humans

But one groups is just one group. Groups of humans decided to steal the lie of the empire that was not just gnoll or just human. There was much fighting and for a time all could see empire was a lie and there are many groups.

But the humans told better lies: the halfings, "good" elves, dwarfs, and barcaypa believed them. Thyey believed that the humans were only defending themselves and friends.

Eventually the empire thought itself strong and stopped telling the lie of "defense". They claimed everything ever called "Empire". Whenever they saw a city that they wanted in the mountains, jungle or badlands they claimed that too.

Many humans stopped believing other humans lies, and many humans fought. Once humans were used to fighting, some humans told the lie that all humans must fight together.

Self deceit of humans

Humans fought together and won many times. But the lie required humans to keep fighting others, or else they could fight the humans in charge.

The humans said the loci would always be trouble, which was not a lie. They killed most of them and cast a great spell called Genocide to finish them off.

But humans could not stop fighting, so they said the ogres would always be a problem. That was a lie, they never learned to talk to the ogres. They used Genocide on the ogres.

They wanted the orcs cities and mines in the mountains, they lied and said the orcs would always be a problem. Nobody believed them.

The gods themselves didn't believe them and sent a plague to weaken them, but they would not stop fighting for the lie humans must win to live. This lie was too much for even the good elves to believe, and they did not help the humans.

The Barcaypa suffered under the human's fears and began to fight to remove the humans from the jungle. The humans grew fearful of the Fashren, simply because they couldn't control them, and would not let them travel the dominion.

The humans tried to use Genocide many times, but it is a very difficult spell to cast, and we stopped them each time. Eventually, the gods taught us how it was cast, and we cast it on the humans.

- Goblin written consensus
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Re: RPG without humans

Postby Ginger » Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:44 am UTC

I like the adult female Loci lady woman... bug? Person? And the ogres' takes on how the gods and goddesses made plants, people and animals is just... totally hilarious and funny that they, the ogres, think THEY the only ones with thoughts and feelings? Ha-ha. <3 Ah-ha ooh... good one Mr. Q. And the Fashren commune with ogres? Good to know got to add that to Sharavi's history sometimes. And I definitely have feels about... got to populate for my races' goods, the lowborn goods, so low elves appeals to me.

And heavens and hell broke loose? AWESOME story line hooks there.
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Re: RPG without humans

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Wed Feb 14, 2018 1:38 am UTC

Included Orcs and goblins in history of in previous post.

Four more races for history: Gnolls, Haflings, Fashren, and Barcaypa.


Assume lines within the world are squiggly and natural. Lines at the edge or the world are sharp and geometric.

Light blue is normal seas.
Dark blue is deep oceans. (including that bit in the center.
Purple is venom lands.
Lavender is venom waters (venom lands, but wetter).
Light grey is mirror of worlds.

Beige is desert (warm and dry).
Orange is savanna (warm and medium).
Green is jungle (warm and wet).
Yellow is temperate mountains.
Dark grey is badlands (temperate and dry).
Light green is grasslands (temperate and medium).
Gold is forest (temperate and wet).
Dark red is cold mountains.

Red represents a bunch of islands of generally descending size with mixed biomes way to small for me to be drawing individually.
The larger ones have wet east sides, mountainous centers and drier west sider. The mountains and the moister differential is becomes less pronounced the further south you go.

There's some volcanic activity along the whole western mountain/island chain, but more towards the south.
History high elves:
High Elves wrote:Age of tribes

We each were created, separate and few. We multiplied as fast as our nature allowed; for elves, this was relatively slow.

While most of us were still children, we fought among ourselves, as we grew older; we grew out of it.

Our neighboring races (halfings, barcaypa, and humans) grew out of their homelands and spread into the forest. They did not live long and they did not fully mature.

They lived in groups called tribes, we would fight the worst all ally with the best, thus we encouraged them to grow.

The ogres spread and built cities on all the laypoints in all of the lands. We could do nothing about this incursion, but mostly they ignored us.

During this time our elders grew truly old, and we found a new way to organize ourselves, the nōrēasa, where we could act alike when needed, but act differently most others times, without needing to think the same or rely too much on any one leader. It was from this that we, as a group could decide.

Age of tyrants

From the ogres folly the demons came and tempted all with power. Those the demons empowered immediately tried to dominate other tribes, and so the world became divided by natural war defenses.

The archons tried to help, but they do not belong to our world, and did not understand it. Many they empowered became tyrants of a different sort.

Some elves fell for the demon's tricks, but the mistake was made, corrected and learned from within a few years. Unlike the other races, we did not have new generations making the mistakes anew.

We decided it was good to fight the demons wherever they were. And that is was good to fight the archons wherever they had lost their way. And so the willing went out and fought.

The fighting lasted a long time, and during this time we finally filled the forest. We learned to do what all other younger races but the loci knew to do: control our numbers so as to find some balance with nature. Those far away did not; but we did not worry, for with was with nature: life to balance the death of war.

Elves began to replace the demons and archon's as the tyrant's puppet masters. They used new power to settle their enormous families and displace the natives. This created new conflicts: war and death to balance the excess life. We decided it was necessary to fight the worst elves; for a good elf cannot ignore the wickedness of elves.

But the worst elves were the ones who loved war the most, had stolen the most power, and bred like animals. They convinced many others abroad that war was good, that it was right to lake lands from the lesser races, and the elves of home wanted, not reasonable controls of their behavior, but total control of their lives and minds.

And so the fighting continued. In truth, the younger races did more: for they are six races and we are but one. More then our arrows, we fought by spreading two truths: 1) The low elves are controlling you 2) If you cannot win this generation, you will win next generation as your fresh and full youth fights their decimated host.

The other races grew hateful, and saw us as either being with or against them. Those that had not chosen were forced to return home or join with elves that held power abroad. Eventually, we chased the low elves from every place on the surface. They had stolen the undergrowth and enslaved many of the minotaurs. We attempted pursuit, with disastrous results: for the underworld is a difficult place to wage a war.

Age of empire

After the unnatural control lifted from the younger races, the tyrannies faded. There was one group that still sought to control all of it's neighbors, but unlike the rest it did not splinter from within or exclude the conquered from future conquests. They were all orcs at first, but they came to include a great many humans, gnolls and goblins. Many lands fell to them. When they came to our borders, we fought once, then reached an accord, which the empire honored for it's life.

They had legends about the ogres, and were inspired to build cities. They lacked many of the achievements of the ogres, but these were no mere structures. They became the younger races first túrëanōrē; cities have continued to inspire community and identity in younger races ever since.

Many of your young born after the age of tyrants wished to explore the world. With accord in place (and the memory of elven aggression gone from the younger races minds), we began letting or young explore the empire. We feared this at first, but they did not follow the path of the low elves: they went only were invited and took only what was offered or traded. And so began our great tradition of elves traveling the world in their youth.

Age of kingdoms

The empire weakened and fractured. The pieces grew smaller until piece shared a cultural identity. The gbolin's identity shifts rapidly and so did it's kingdom sizes. Often where there was a great ruler, the goblins would travel far and plunder from the more divided races.

First we tried diplomacy with the goblins; we did terribly. The goblins interpreted our love of peace as weakness, our freedom as disorder, and our hesitation to guard property with life as watchlessness. So we picked the worst tribes, the ones we had warned many times, and waited. Not till they attacked us, for that is their time of strength, but at home between great leaders. (In their many years of traveling far and raiding, the goblins never seemed to realize other could travel as well.) We crippled their worst and treated with the rest.

A new empire began to spread from the dessert. This one spread itself, not just with arms, but with ideas. They were less brutal and less resisted. The leaders did not report to one another, being instead united by a culture. This empire started with the gnolls, but the rulers came to include anyone who would share the ideology of the rulers.

During this time elves become concerned with doing túrëatass. What this meant differed for every elf, but many picked some skill to excel at, and aimed to take it to a height younger races' lives wouldn't allow. This lead to our greatest age of art and culture. We also made thorough studies of the ruins of the ogres and outsiders to learn what we could of magic, and studied on our won to create entirely new advances.

The ideologies of the nations diverged and fighting began again. From the grasslands came a group of humans very eager to learn. To each race they posed every important question. To every nation they sent people to study what could be taught. They treated most fairly with the halflings and thus could count of them to rebel. They began to vigorously study and experiment with magic on their own, so that in a few scant generations we were learning from them.

At first we were joyed to see this, but after the founding generation passed away, they became just another empire: blindly perusing expansion. They eventually fell to fighting one another, only keeping the pretense that they were united. They continued to study magic, but kept it secret , even from each other. For the saw it as a power to wield over others.

Age of madness
In the western islands was a nation the humans ruled, despite not being the original or most populous race there. They reclaimed the Territory of the previous empire, and also reclaimed the human dominance of it they only imagined in the first place. They began to treat the Barcaypa under their rule harshly and impose unwise rules on the gnolls and orcs they ruled.

Once they had united humans they fought the Loci. This we understood, for the Loci were the hardest to love thing in nature. To our great surprise, a plague year came, but no Loci came.

Next, they claimed that the Ogres were a permanent, insoluble, and existential threat. They have always been brutish, but the humans were obviously tricking themselves into being too afraid of them. This time we watched, and we detected the genocide spell.

Next they claimed they must stop orc raids into the savanna, and their mountain settlements. These threats existed, but were not what they were made out to be. But the goblins and gnolls had been watching, and they joined the orcs in fighting the dominion.

For a long time the other young races could only get limited victories, for the dominion was well organized and equipped. The humans became more vicious, and lashed out at the Barcaypa and the Fashren, who in turn fought the humans.

As the fighting dragged on for many years, the dominion's economy crumbled and the human population shrunk; the dominion started to lose much territory as they other races rushed to reclaim disputed lands. Panicked at nothing before, the humans were reduced to inconsolable fury then.

We tried to broker peace, but the humans would not stop fighting, even in conquered areas. The other races would not make an concessions to race that was so weak and had recently been so cruel.

Humans tried to cast Genocide again, but the dominion was already gone and no group of humans realistically had the organization, reach, or resources to cast it. The other races panicked and feared the humans might succeed any day. Some gods have given them their own version of Genocide, which they immediately cast.

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Re: RPG without humans

Postby Ginger » Thu Feb 15, 2018 3:00 am UTC

I read most of the high elves' histories. Very interesting. I like what you doing with your setting Mr. Q. And here's my attempt to fit my fav elf: Ravasha Witchhawk in as... a despicable, war hawkish, lowborn elf.

Name: Ravasha Witchhawk.
Age: 22.
Height: 5'0''.
Appearance: Wears black, red, pink and purples most often. She wears covering clothes on missions and feminine skirts, dresses and tops when on her leisure times. And sometimes: Scarlet or purple lipsticks, mascara and paling face makeups. She wears golden hoop earrings, has her auburn hair tied into a high ponytail with a black sash, sometimes wears expensive jewelry... or did she steals the expensive jewelry? She's good at disguises so often dyes her hair, changes her clothes to suit her needs. Miss Witchhawk has a skinny yet curvy, soft, feminine skin and body. Her hair is always shiny and well brushed and she has pale white skin.
Background: Born to a disgraced elf family that became lowborn over the generations. Ravasha is the newest child in the lineage and as the youngest of her family as well, she has dedicated her life's work to improving: Her own standing, her technical expertise at sewing and making women's and girls' clothing, her name to ALL the sentient races, learning whatever other odd skills she can along her way. Ravasha has tried dating around the lowborn elves and knows: Several men, several women... some non-binary elves... and can call on them for favors when she's in dire situations. The auburn haired low elf knows rogue skills mostly: Sneaking, backstabbing, double-crossing with flirting and bluffing and lying. She's heard some high elves' legends about forsaking war and pursuits of powers and scoffs at them. SHE wanna own whatever she can outta a world that mistreats low elves at any costs... including: When she secretly consorts with succubi to gain forbidden knowledge.
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Re: RPG without humans

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Tue Feb 20, 2018 4:14 am UTC

I was thinking that my original question could be split into two related questions: How much of a main race is there? and how much is the main race human-like?

I just finished playing the new Zelda: while there are no humans, the Hylians are both very human-like (live in villages/cities, similar life spans, one single cosmetic difference) and very much the main race (less so in this game, but some had nothing but Hylians and one or two Shiekah)

Gnoll history
Gnolls wrote:Age of infancy
We were all children when the gods first created us (literally for a few years, and metaphorically for an age). The gods needed to directly tell us how to live our lives and organize ourselves (for we knew literally nothing).

Each god taught differently, and each race learned differently; and so from this variety that many Paths emerged. (The gods did not want us to be will-less archons, so they left us to follow our Paths.)

We spread, we fought each other, and we made mistakes (as chilren do), but still, all of this was in following our Paths.

The ogres tried to rise above their Path (and so they strayed). Their stray steps beat a path for the demons to enter our world.

Age of identity
The demons came and offered power (powers of magic). Those that accepted were taught magic, but they were also taught who to be (the demon's puppets).

Archons came and taught as well (taught to to resist the demons). But archons are not free (they are not meant to live in this world), and they could not teach us to be ourselves. (After a time) Many Archons lost their Path and the children of the gods needed to banish them from our world (so that we could follow our own paths).

Age of power
We each people sought power (to secure our identities from the outsiders). We continued to lust after power (over each other).

At first the elves succeeded (more than the other races). They grew to be so numerous as to displace other races from their lands (and to so incite conflict with them). All the races fought them (including the elves who had not lost their Path).

Then is was the orcs who succeeded. They did not displace those they conquered (so as to not suffer the fate of the elves). As the empire grew many helped build it (and shared the power). The imperials held power for a long time before they realized it brought them nothing (for power is only a means, not an end).

Age of introversion
The peoples of the world began to focus only on themselves. The empire the was split into a north and a south half. The north again split into east and west. The northwest withered to nothing. The northeast shrunk to be a large mountain kingdom.

In the south the governors of the regions struggled to hold on to power (but they did) and the empire was almost as separate kingdoms (almost but not entirely!).

From the north raid raids were sent out (across both land and sea), but none were aware enough to help their neighbors.

Age of enlightenment
From the depths of the dessert came a great teacher. He taught us (The Great Teaching) how those on different paths could live together and protect each other (The Great Path). The Great Teaching spread among the people first, and then the tribe leaders. (eventually) the governors needed to listen to the tribe leaders, and so they to became enlightened.

The empire in the south became united again (although following many paths). Where it found conflict, it spread (so as to right the conflict). It spread across the whole dessert, east to the shore, and north somewhat into the mountains and the grassland.

Age of argument
But time passed. The great teacher was long gone and the Great Teaching had long spread from it's birthplace. People could no long agree what the Great Teaching was and many forgot how to live with those on different paths. And so the empire weakened and fractured.

In the grasslands was a nation that remembered something of the Great Path. They learned from the many different paths (and became great.) But once they grew powerful they forgot they needed other paths and only remembered the many paths of war (and so were only great at war).

They took much of the empire (but not the deep dessert) and much territory around the sea. They ran out of other people to war with (and so warred with themselves.

(eventually) One fraction won the wars and started to war with everyone else. This dominion grew terrible and one by one the races came to hate it.

Only humans, haflings, high elves and dwarfs did not war against the dominion. The elves stood aside for they saw humanity had lost it's path. Haflings pretend they do not war, and so aided the humans only with bread. The dwarfs stood aside (for it was not their fight) until things were hopeless for humans, then they tried to save the humans (for their loyalty is great but misguided.)

- The Epic of Time
Locations: Westjewel
Largish island midway through the western islands chain. Contains an extinct volcano. About half the population lives in it's one city:

Hilsab (previous known by the Orcish name Hylsic za'Bukdos (forge of fleets)). It was the capital of the new dominion. For the past several years it has been occupied by alliance forces. The occupying force appropriated most of the human holdings. The continued presence of occupying forces is a great source of anxiety for the locals. Most of it's shipyards were destroyed, but what remains is among the largest shipyards in the world.

Despite being the seat of a genocidal empire the island had many non-human residents, although the other residents did suffer extreme oppression and much dispossession of their properties. current demographics:
23.0% Orcs
20.0% Kobolds
16.0% Fashren
13.3% Gnolls
12.1% Goblins
08.6% LizardFolk
06.6% Barcaypa
00.4% Miontaur

Only the generals of occupying forces know their actual agendas there. The locals are liley to see Westjewlian versus outisder as the more important distinction than race.

Subterranean kobolds (that is to say, as opposed to the ones that have been living on the island for generations) have taken advantage of the situation to squat in the former human villages.
Last edited by Quizatzhaderac on Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:44 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: RPG without humans

Postby flicky1991 » Tue Feb 20, 2018 6:32 am UTC

any pronouns
Forum Games Discord
(tell me if link doesn't work)

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Re: RPG without humans

Postby Ginger » Tue Feb 20, 2018 6:38 am UTC

LOL my fav part: "You can make them kiss." A game... about anxiety, trans* lesbian loveliness, and animal peoples? YES YES a billion and two times "Yes." I wanna play that game. And LOL Melody was the name of my sex hungry, straight GF. No lesbian love for me in that 'ship. So now, I can like, play out my lesbian love fantasies by making animal women kisses each others! <3 :) Thank you a lot a lot flicky1991.
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Re: RPG without humans

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Wed Feb 28, 2018 3:56 am UTC

Hafling's history
Haflings wrote:The gods made the earth, the plant and animals. The gods taught us not to piss the carpet. We in turn taught a few of the animals not to piss the carpet.

When all races first met we were terrible at first. We killed, and did all manner of things worse than pissing the carpet.

Then the Ogres pissed all the carpet by letting the demons in.

Then the low elves were all like "We'll save you!", which turned into "We're in charge". And the carpet was still pissed.

Then we all fought the low elves, but the orcs decided that they were pretty good at fighting, which they figured left them in charge. And the carpet was still pissed.

Then we all fought the orcs and got rid of them. But then every time the carpet would dry out, goblin raiders would come in and piss the carpet again.

Then we made arrangements with some humans. We'd give them a share of our crops and they'd keep people from coming and pissing the carpet. Oh, and the humans got to wear fancy hats, that was right important to them.

But then the humans had to go around to other peoples' homes and piss the carpet there. Fair enough, they became right angry with the humans. Things got out of hand on both sides and now there are no more humans.

Specifically, our human lord has been replaced with a goblin cavalry unit. I understand that you didn't like the humans, just as I'm sure you can understand that we were fond of them not letting things come and piss our carpets.

So, now that we've established the full 'istorical context of carpet pissing in hafling lands, you can perhaps understand why I'm so bleeding pissed that one of your damned wargs got into my home and pissed the metaphorical and literal carpets!

- Drunken hafling, who when asked to explain his side of an incident "from the beginning", sarcastically started at the beginning of time.
Locations: Mountport
Montport is a city located on the west coast of the eastern mountain range, near the border of the temperate/tropical zones. It is primarily a trading city and serves as principle port for several orcish and dwarven mountain kingdoms. There is a major dwarven road going east through the mountains and connecting it to the grasslands and savanna.

The city has been a part of every empire. During the per-dominion era it frequently switched between control/influence of the nearby goblin, orcish, and dwarven kingdoms, as well as Westjewel and the Hedgemony. With the complex political situation, many people began wearing masks to separate their personal, professional, and political lives.

Masks are still worn today. The main professional use is merchants (so they can sell to anyone) and the watch (so criminals can get revenge against specific guardsmen). It is considered inappropriate to make courtly advances on someone who is not wearing the right kinds of mask. Wearing a mask you are not entitled to is a serious crime, like fraud. Adventurers are not allowed to wear masks and carry weapons at the same time.

30.1% dwarf
22.3% goblin
19.4% orc
12.1% fashren
09.3% lizardfolk
06.6% gnroll
Locations: Ogre ruins
These were built at leypoints, rather than any normal locations for cities, and tend to be in the middle of nowhere. From a distance, they appear to be rolling hills covered in vegetation.

The cities are divided into server mounts (in mimicry of Ogre's natural mountain homes) which are then layered.

The outermost layer was the garden layer. Any signs of order are gone, but special plants that naturally grow nowhere can sometimes be found still growing.

The next layer is the public layer with spaces openly connecting to each other.
Next is the semi-public layer. Signs of workshops and personal meeting places. Divided clearly for different occupants.
Next are the private layer and then the storage layer.

Apartments follow a split level pattern, with inwards usually being partly downward.

Things of obvious value (i.e. gold/jewels) have all been picked clean centuries ago. Information is still obtainable, is one knows what to look for.

The high natural magic tends to attract monsters and the more ambitious practitioners of the arcane arts. Reagent costs are reduced here.

This. This is why we have the internet.
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Re: RPG without humans

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:02 pm UTC

Fashsren mythical history
Fashren wrote:Before this world

We were created by the gods in out own world many ages ago. Our society grew advanced and peaceful and the races grew to be as one. For centuries there was no history, because nothing needed to change.

But the gods do not make the material worlds to last forever. Our world began to fall apart, and through the cracks remnants of the Fashren made their way to Enverse-Ull: a city occupying an entire semiplane that holds remains of untold races, cultures and worlds (we're very good at counting, the city is just very hard to measure).

For centuries were stayed there. Able to reach many worlds, but unable to settle, for most peoples have come to fear outsiders as demons. Eventually we found the ogres; we and they took pity on us.

The fall of the Ogres
This world was still young, and the Ogre civilization had not yet known failure. Despite our warnings, they dealt with demons. Most Fashren either returned to Enverse'Ull or traveled into the wilderness to avoid the danger.

When the calamity finally came, no Fashren in Ogre cities survived. Ogres fled the cities anf possessed ogres chased them. The remaining free ogres asked the gods for help at any price.

The gods rendered the ogres minds incapable of holding the demons. They invaded the world with archons to purge the demons. Wherever we could, we warned all the native races we could of the demons and archons.

- Two of the repeating segments from the epic of lost worlds.
Fashren scholarly history (These are the people best at writing things down)
Fashren wrote:0: Gods and archons begin directly raising first generation of sapient races.

25: First Loci plague, gods directly protect other races

50: Second loci plague. Gods guide mortal races on survival. Regarded as the first war.

51: Interference of gods sharply declines.

78: First Ogre city is founded.

171: First practical use of laypoints established.

174-197 (approximate): A series of first contact events between various races.

189: Ogres create portal to Enverse'Ull; immigration of Fashren begins.

204: First immigration of the "watcher" demons, cohabiting Ogres minds (viewed as point of no return for Ogres)

237: The great calamity.

240: Beginning of archon intervention.

267 (approximate): Peak of demonic influence.

283-335 (approximate): Domestication of major plant crops in all biomes by elves.

294: first archondom established/ first large area consistently out of major demonic influence.

301: Archon cults begin settlement of western isles.

325: Demons and archons removed from the "true forest". Elven campaign turns outwards.

339: Elven queendom of Amroth'orod (southern coast of western mountains and badlands) established.

345: Demons are archons driven from the Regthat valley (Northern end of eastern mountains) by the Dinpa Z'omm (all tribes) union of orcish tribes.

351: Demons largely eliminated from the deep dessert.

357: Alliance of Human and halfing tribes starts war to end eleven expansion in forest. Resulting in a series of treaties.

359: Amroth'orod begins colonizing the undergrowth.

368: The demon cult of Sunnrith (located in Savanna) leadership is replaced entirely by elves.

370: Delcartion of Asambar, seperation of high and low elves. Conflicts with Sunnrith and Amroth'orod begin.

365-379 (approximate): remaining demonic holds fall.

374 (approximate): Dinpa Z'omm begins policy of conquering all tribes in the mountains rules by demons, archons, or elves .

376-388: High elves (and allies) "great campaign": low elf holdings in jungle, and grassland fall. Archon holdings in jungle, grassland, Savanna, and eastern mountains eliminated.

396: After a treaty violation (see 355), high elves seize most of the forest lands occupied by humans.

399: Cult of Sunnrith collapses.

400: The cleansing of Yaldabaoth; divine intervention removed vast majority of remaining archons.

403: High elves organize several orc and goblin tribes into a series of proxy wars with Amroth'orod.

423: Amroth'orod falls to the Dinpa Z'omm. This is considered to be the beginning of the first empire.

423-464: Empire establishes permanent settlements along the south and eastern coasts of the great sea.

434: Fashren given formal place and legal status in the empire.

436: Westjewel shipyard founded.

438-491: Empire established settlements along the western isles and northern coast of dessert; Fashren quarters established in all major empire cities.

448: Empire undergoes a coup d'etait from field generals returning from the southern empire.

474: (approximate): [/b] most major trade routes established. Economy starts becoming much more sophisticated.

495: Empire reduces it's policy of general expansion; slowly decreases it's military in core territories.

503: Plutocrats seize control over empire.

521-523: War of the forest's edge between empire and high elves, subsequent treaty.

529: Empire reaches it's maximum size:

533-538: Civil war as military attempts to retake control.

537-558: Series of small uprisings and riots over local concerns or distribution of wealth. Legal reforms and a number of local concessions are made.

551-565: The intrigues: various political factions struggle for power through economic control, assassinations, and duels; ovep warfare is successfully avoided.

555: Empire is split between the north and south.

566-594: Southern empire loses most of the savanna.

567,569,577: Northern empire undergoes three separate major legal reforms.

589-638: 49: [/b] Lost years; records of this period are highly suspect, see events of 987

637-666: Gren Wolfspear units goblin tribes under her and sacks all empire cities in badlands, effectively ending the empire in the badlands and splitting the nothern empire into east and west.

643-726: Grassland kingdoms are either lost to human or goblin invasions, or given their own independence

655-659: Southern empire civil war. Imperial factions make series of alliances with inland tribes. War ends in stalemate and has effect of bring the empire further inland while diving it regionally. South eastern mountain kingdoms gain independence.

663: Westjewel succeeds from the north-western empire. Empire lacks navel power to contest succession; other western isles soon follow.

666: Gren Wolfspear leads raid on southern empire, attempts to sack Yahiyhilja. Wolfspear and her army disappear; accounts of how differ. Most accounts posit major supernatural action.

667: Irregular Series of smaller goblin raids on many locations by land and sea.

670: Brief war resulting from attempts (on both sides) to reunite eastern and western empires. Reunification deemed infeasible.

681: Liomul Imoisul (the great teacher) begins teaching/writing/speaking in Yahiyhilja.

688-690: Raids of the hollow woods; a series of goblin raids into high elf territory the meet with little resistance (apparently).

697: Massacre from the bloody leaf: High elven attack (in badlands) on tribes that participated in the hollow woods raids.

702: Liomul Imoisul (reportedly) negotiates consolidate agreement between the eight gods of this world and the mortal races.

709: Westjewel seizes the city of Amroth'orod from the north-western empire, leaving it without a major port. North-western empire is officially dissolved into three separate mountain kingdoms.

728: Southern empire officially dissolved into the "Hegemony". However, treaties involved actually strengthened military cooperation. (treaties were to deal with human and goblin raids and well as dessert bandits).

728-737: Hegemony recruits several western isles into joining. Most of western isles in under influence of either the Hegemony or Westjewel.

751: Hegemony backs peasant revolt in Kingdom of Soonnreeth (southern savanna)

760: Succession war in north eastern empire. Border areas are granted Independence. Approximate modern borders established. Renamed Regthot Nation.

781: Accords of commons established. Rights and remedies of hafling communities under human lords in march of Cotterm. (kingdom of Terraterm in grasslands)

788-803: "White fleet" arrives to eastern coast of world from across the deep ocean. Large undead force begins consuming southern jungle and northern venom lands. Barcaypa, Houyhnhnmen, Hegemony and elvish forces eventually destroy the host. Most of the area becomes allied with the Hegemony.

807-809: Civil war in Terraterm, Accords of commons viewed as major strategic advantage (due to extra stablitily). Accords implemented in other locations in Terraterm and beyond.

809: New King of Terraterm sends students to every land to learn various things useful to a kingdom, including (but not limited to) elven magic, dwarfish engineering, orrcish martial arts, goblin logistics, gnroll statecraft, barycapa literature. Fashren teachers were invited, and we came to Terraterm.

830: Civil war in Yahiyhilja, previously believed to be impossible between followers of the “great teaching”

850: Upon king of Terraterm's death, kingdom is divided between three neighbors, with King's heirs becoming major nobles in each. A number of civil projects are coordinated across what is known as “the dominion”

859: Dominion begins major programs of magical research.

862: Disturbances in the underwolrd causes massive emigration of kobolds to western mountains, which caused a large emmigration of ogres from the mountains.

876: Dominion efforts stop any further major goblin raids into grasslands.

878-888: Involved western isles break involvement with increasingly fractured Hegemony

888: Dominion purchases Mountport by treaty. Begins building raods to connect it (via dwarfish road under moutains) to rest of dominion.

903-933: Many Savanna nations turn to Dominion for protection from increasingly erratic Hegemony

908: Westjewel tries, and fails to invade mountport.

913: Dominion invades westjewel by surprise underworld invasion (because it was an island and major navel power).

933: Dominion becomes nakedly expressionistic. Begins to conquer areas around great sea and the jungle.

962-967: Dominion civil war. Ends in stalemate with effectively dozens of separate nations. Magic research continues, but in obscurity so as to protect relative advantage

978: Major doppelganger infiltration in multiple nations, gods only know their motives, and many suspect the gods. Among other thigs, they radically alter or destroy historical records pertaining to the years 589-638

981: Human centric group removes other races from the westjewel administration of Dominion.

988: Westjewel reopens it's shipyards to full, begins conquering parts of the Dominion. Within the dominion this is mostly a unification. Many parts willing side with Westjewel.

1000: Loci seize all major cities, declare surface races “work animals, existing only to gather our food”. Force is displaced by a larger force which soon fractures and disintegrates like a normal Loci plague. Cause of this coordination is unknown.

1001: Dominion begins policy of aggressively seeking and destroying Loci egg caches. Heavily researches assassination related divination magic.

1011: Dominion agents go to multiple major leypoints, and begin casting a major unknown spell.

1012: First casting of Genocide spell is complete. (Targeting the Loci)

1013: Dominion begins aggressively expanding into north western mountains.

1024: Second genocide spell is cast. (Targeting the Ogres)

1025: Dominion conquers Regthot Nation, established firm control over cities, but country side remains rebellious.

1032: Dominion begins casting a third genocide spell (targeting the orcs). This was easily detectable and result in multiple nations declaring war on the Dominion and them losings control over sufficiently many leypoints.

1035: Increasingly xenophobic dominion forbid Fashren from crossing into it's borders

1039: Dominion reaches it's maximum size. Economic strain begins to compromise Dominion's superior logistics.

1041: Significant Barycapa rebellion begins

1042: A number of civil disturbances between halfings and humans over increased tax burdens. Most solved without violence.

1047: Dominion has lost all badlands, western mountains, and dessert territory. Elves attempt to lead peace talks, which are unsuccessful

1051: Westjewel is captured.

1051,1052,1053,1055: Dominion further attempts to cast Genocide. Allied forces secure multiple additional leypoints.

1054: Remaining dominion cities captured. Fighting still continues from all human population centers.

1056: A divine (as opposed to arcane) version of the Genocide spell is given to the allies, who begin to cast it on the humans.

1057: Human race ends

1058: Present day
Last edited by Quizatzhaderac on Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:07 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
The thing about recursion problems is that they tend to contain other recursion problems.

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Re: RPG without humans

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Fri Mar 16, 2018 2:46 am UTC

Okay I think I'm done with developing the Posthuman setting. At least for now, and on the XKCD forum.

History: Barycapa
Here are stories of two people, these people are not real, but these things really happened to them.
Umengin and the white fleet wrote:Umengin lived a simple life with lots of small problems: One of his children would never behave, he'd occasionally argue with his wife, his and the neighboring village always disagreed over who owned some grove of trees or the other.

Then one day, the people from the next village came by, weighed down with what possessions they could carry and even more by looks of terror. "The dead march" they said. "They are many; there is nothing to do but flee."

So Umengin took his family and what possessions he could carry, and, like his neighbors, fled without knowing to were. Every problem he woke up with was now gone; no there was one problem, and that problem was everything.

One day while feeling, Umengin found people coming the other way: elves, humans, orcs, and gnrolls: armed and ordered for war. With tears in his eyes, he told his family to go on without him. He knew he could not provide for them, and he knew there was only one thing he could do to protect them.

To the Captain of the soldiers, he said: "Where do you go?"
"To fight the dead!" they boasted.
"And do you know exactly where they are?"
"We will have to find out" admitted the Captain, alone.
"I will show you." answered Umengin "I will show you where they ravage, the roads to travel, the holes to hide in, the vantages to see from, and the waters to quench your thirsts. All this will you have, for while I cannot fight, I can ensure those who fight are never lost".

And so they all marched towards the dead. When they found the dead, they saw their number and turned around and marched away, but not for long. Soon, they joined others and fought the dead where they were fewer.

For years they marched forwards, backwards, and around. Sometimes they hid. Rarely they'd fight, but memories of fighting are so large as to crush memories of marching. Young soldiers would go home and be replaced by new ones.

After years, after burning the corpses of many friends, after burning the corpses of gods-only-knew what flesh from beyond the oceans, the land was safe again.

The Captain said to Umengin "Return to the jungle and take what's yours. We will keep the city the dead build as our trophy." And Umengin was pleased, for it was the jungle he wanted, and he was grateful to those who bled for his people.

Umengin found many new small problems: The jungle had swallowed his home, his troublesome daughter had not returned, but was safe causing trouble elsewhere.

He finally did join the dead, at his own leisurely pace; not to march, but to lie and rest.

Caumoonh and the tyrant wrote:Caumoonh was a successful merchant and a woman with many friends. She had traveled far and bargained with the lizardfolk, the elves, the dwarfs and the haflings.

One day, the Governor said "There is a war, we must ask a little so we can send help to fight it."
Caumoonh said to herself "I am not sure this it right, but it is reasonable. I shall pay this tax and remain friends with the Governor."

But the war did not go well, and the Governor asked for more and more. Until one day, the Governor said to Caumoonh "We must take you business and sell it to a human."
"You demand too much!" Caumoonh protested. "At lest let me match the human's price, so you can meet your need and I can keep what I built.
But the Governors heart had hardened and her mind could not see he folly.

Caumoonh traveled the lands, and each friend said the same things "they have taken what we need", "they insult us", "They grow more violent", and "This is nothing we chose".

And so Caumoonh traveled again, and found those who could teach her and her friends to fight. "We will make it too difficult to take such small things from us" they planned.

But the Governor did not let go, but tightened her grip. She found soldiers the war (somehow) did not need and set them to punishing these smell crimes with great force.

The brutality inspired many more to join Caumoonh, to pick up sword and sling. They grew good at fighting and the jungle became too dangerous for the Governor's troops. Armies came from the west and killed the governess and took her cities.

"What was the Governor's is mine" said the Conqueror "What was the dominions is the alliance's".
"No" responded Caumoonh "They had no right to what they had, to what they had taken."

And so they fought, and so they both died. But the fighting, that survives.
Location: Yahiyhilja
Yahiyhilja is a city located in the deepest, driest part of the dessert. The locals have the ability to quickly and cheaply make walls from (mostly) sand, which is how most buildings are constructed. Typically decorated with cloth hangings or potted plants.

The city is the only known producer of clear glass and zihnish (a silk like cloth of unknown composition). The city is also the only world class city to never be possessed by the dominion.

Yahiyhilja is the only modern city to be build on a leypoint. It is dependent on wells the ogres dug into the underworld for water. The ogre magic that originally pumped the water is gone, and replaced by windmills. They are many rumors that the magic of the leypoint is still being used: To make glass, make zihnish, to make enchanted tools and weapons, to summon elementals. The one use that cannot be denied is for furnaces; The common people cook using shared ovens that burn no fuel in communal spaces.

The city is divided into outdoor areas called "sects". One cannot walk from one sect to another (or even see) without going through or over a building. Rather than contiguous areas, the sects intertwine and pass through each other (thanks to many tunnels and covered walkways). Many buildings have openings to two different sects.

The largest is the merchant sect: all foreigners are welcome there.

The next largest is the Yahiydulir sect. The Yahiydulir are an ethinicity (mostly gnroll) that never leaves Yahiyhilja, and were (to a person) born there. Citizens may visit when invited by a Yahiydulir, but not true outsider may enter.

The next largest is the Fashren sect. The Fashren sect is know to contain districts wih some of the best entertainents in the city. Entrance requires a personal invitation, but the local Fashren are liberal with such offers.

Finally, there a number of small sects for cults. There are rumors that anrchons and demons walk around in these sects.
Locations: Sonrepolis
A dominion human city located in the north-eastern savanna. By the time the allies laid siege to it, the Dominion had become desperate. Refuges were scarified to power magic to raise he dead in vain hopes of breaking the siege.

After the allies seized the city, small groups of undead would continue to rise to harry the allies. The army was needed elsewhere, so rather than root out the source, they burned the city and moved on.

The Genocide spell ensured that nothing human remains there.

The greedy reader will note that one of the wealthiest cities in the world has gone unlooted. The ambitious will note that the secrets of some of the greatest mages in the world might lie hidden in that city.
Regarding the three Os:

In unison they are omnipotent. Individually they must act within limits.

They are not omnibenevloent by your standards; whatever your standards are there are bound to be some difference, or maybe huge differences.

They are not omniscient. They are very smart and can know things no mortal can, but their minds are finite and have limits. Prophecy is a things, but there tends to be the god in question making the prophecy happen.

Note about appearances: The gods do not belong to any of the mortal races, and each race tends to depict them as themselves. Characteristics not compatible with a species are generally left out or altered (for example gnroll and fashren don't have female/male secondary sex characteristics).

In alphabetical (ie, no significant) order:

Armok, god of Blood and Sweat
Ethos: To struggle and strive is good. To which end doesn't matter.
Idol: HIS idol is a muscular man with horns, claws, often forge implements, and often a large penis. These features are often greatly exaggerated: One of the most famous dwarven depictions has Him using his penis as an anvil.
Involvement: HE encourages conflict and competition.
Followers: HIS civilized followers tend to be artists, artisans, and athletes, striving for excellence. His less civilized followers tend to be brutes or people struggling to survive.

Dwotegal, god/goddess of Nature and Balance
Ethos: Accept your place in the world, and make the world a more acceptable place.
Idol: Regardless of species, Ze has wings, a tail, gills, hair, and scales.
Involvement: ZE promotes balance in both nature and civilization.
Followers: Tend to prefer simpler lives and avoid extremes.

Mechanaida, goddess of Law and Order
Ethos: Truly understanding the source of ethics is beyond mortals, I shall tell you specifically what to do.
Idol: SHE appears as a woman in scholarly clothes, with extra eyes dotting all visible parts of her body.
Involvement: Provides commandments both for personal life, and to guide the formation of laws. Commandments typically come with a time and area they apply to. HER goals are never explained, but they appear to be a mixture of respect for moderate self-interest in yourself and others, avoiding causing pain, and the development of coherent communities and civilizations.
Followers: Tend to be attracted to the clarity and certainty SHE provides.

Treowian, goddess of Trust and Duty
Ethos: Alone, a mortal is a shallow and miserable thing. Be someone others can build their lives around.
Idol: A woman with multiple sets of arms. Hands tend to be holding implements from a variety of walks of life (ex: a peasant's hoe, a warrior's sword, a noble's pen, and a craft-person's awl).
Involvement: Exposes hypocrisy and betrayals. Counteracts the natural decay of morals.
Followers: Focus on how they can become the person the seek to be. Affords a dignity available to the common person (A good housewife is greater than a incompetent king).

Tsizechen, god of Change and Fate
Ethos: All life is change, do not hide from or resist it. Accept it! Embrace it! Cause it!
Idol: A man with several grievous wounds (a knife in the back or a noose around the neck are the most popular), and an expression of great satisfaction.
Involvement: Promotes any kind of change. Seeks to speed "Inevitable" ends.
Followers: The downtrodden, opportunists, and the ambitious.

Vayam, god of Selflessness and Sociality

Ethos: Seek your joy in the joy of others.
Idol: A man with humble clothes and no face.
Involvement: Seeks to end the worst pain and suffering in the worlds, to build attitudes of love between people.
Followers: Often are interdependent on others and seek to improve the world for those they care about.

Verrtiet, god of Luck and Rhythm
Ethos: What is done is not what needs to be done.
Idol: A genderfluid male in asymetric clothes holding a spoon and yarn.
Involvement: A creator of the Fashren homeworld, but not this one.
Followers: Mostly fashren who seek a reprieve from the alieness of this world. Non-fashren tend to find HIM confusing.

Welewym, goddess of Prosperity and Power.
Ethos: <Circumstantial to time and culture>
Idol: A woman with long hair (typically twice body length, or longer), eight breasts (Two under armpits, two on floating ribs, and two on upper abdomen), and jewelry on almost every part of her body.
Involvement: Promotes that which shall prosper.
Followers: The rich and powerful, or (more often) those aspiring to become so.

Yaldabaoth, ego of Material and Energy

Ethos: What is right is that the total potential of all systems remains constant, all else is meaningless stories mortals tell.
Idol: ITS name in plain script, written in some enduring way (such as carved in stone).
Involvement: Seeks to limit/reduce magic and divine action in the world. Material favor in afterlife can be purchased with tithes or service. ITS archons banish themselves after a short time, and ITS clerics refrain from using magic lightly.
Followers: IT leaves ITS followers free to chose what is good and how to live.
Last edited by Quizatzhaderac on Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:20 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
The thing about recursion problems is that they tend to contain other recursion problems.

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Re: RPG without humans

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Mar 20, 2018 9:11 pm UTC

Yablo wrote:
Quizatzhaderac wrote:Is roleplaying an elf/dwarf/ hobbit actually hard for anyone already immersed in nerd culture ? Or is that just game makers giving us a super easy option?

Not to generalize, but in at least some cases, it can be nearly impossible. The more detailed the history, culture, and lore surrounding a race, the more there is to understand if you want to "play the race properly." Many people don't care about the history and lore, and so they play the race how they want. Those people aren't even considered as role-playing partners by the ones who do take the time to learn every nuance.

It's a major issue for most games, yeah. Even an "everyone is from another setting" can suffer from this. See also, any L5R tabletop or larp. Despite being in an eastern setting, with a great deal of available lore and what not, it's *really* easy for players to just assume various elements of western morality or traditions, which can easily lead to difficulty. Going wholly inhuman is one step past that.

That said, there are some that are...not wholly human, by default. Consider basically any white wolf game, where you're still in a mostly-human world, but for most games, it is assumed that the PCs are not, in fact, human. This allows some world assumptions to hold true, while giving a different perspective.

Alternatively, Paranoia, in which the assumption of a normal human are probably not very much like any character the PCs will end up playing. Paranoia tends to break many RPG expectations, though.

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