Demihumans in S&S

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Shingen
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Demihumans in S&S

Post by Shingen » Sun Nov 29, 2015 12:40 pm

I've been reading some Crawl! Fanzines (which are great fun) and noticed in the first issue that it says:
Crawl! wrote:For DCC RPG to fit the S&S mold, the removal of demi-humans (such as elves & dwarves) is the first obvious step.
I think this a correct intention but an incorrect execution. While the Elves, Dwarves and whatnot have become associated much more with the Tolkien strain of fantasy, I don't think that Sword & Sorcery or Weird Fantasy is served by losing demihumans entirely - rather, it needs the right demihumans. Certainly the presence of elves and co. signals to the player or reader a certain genre or style, but the presence of races that are not human is not the sole possession of a specific subgenre.

Instead, it seems to me that the right thing to do is to include different demihumans. I think race-as-class still works admirably here; those nonhumans who are found on the path of the treasure-seeker are less likely to come from the more specialized and specific strains of society, and will tend towards the "standards" of their race.

I would propose a swap out, then; certain races, like amphibian-people dear to Bobugbubilz, or Lankhmar ghouls, would replace dwarves and elves. Alternately, those classes could be reconfigured flavor-wise; a sword-and-board wielding humanoid comfortable with the underground and desirous of wealth? No need to be a dwarf, it could be a race of rat people who hoard things below the earth.

Thoughts on my ramblings?
SILAS, L, Ostler, S14, A13, S12, P11, I14, L5, AC11, HP3, Staff +1 1d4+1, Init 1, R +1, F0, W0, 10' Chain, Bridle, Path of the bear (Melee damage rolls), Com +1

PERCIVAL, N, Halfling dyer, S12, A10, S9, P13, I6, L12, AC10, HP2, Staff +0 1d4, Init 0, R0, F0, W+1, Small sack, 3 yards fabric, Righteous heart (Turn unholy checks), Com

DERVOS, N, Corn Farmer, S13, A8, S8, P12, I13, L13, AC9, HP 1, Pitchfork +1 1d8+2, Init -1, R-1, F-1, W0, Waterskin, hen, Path of the bear (Melee damage rolls) (+1) Com +1

EIBUR, C, Potato Farmer, S8, A7, S12, P11, I13, L7, AC 9, HP 2, Pitchfork -1 1d8-1, Init -1, R-1, F0, W0, Torch, Goat, Struck by lightning (Reflex saving throws) Com +1

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Max_The_Judge
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Re: Demihumans in S&S

Post by Max_The_Judge » Wed Dec 02, 2015 4:07 pm

Elves, dwarves, and halflings seem distinctly out of place in S&S style settings. Definitely Tolkien-centric. I like the idea of other types of non-humans, though.

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Re: Demihumans in S&S

Post by Gameogre » Wed Dec 02, 2015 7:17 pm

I think dwarves and elves and the rest are fine for S&S play. I just would make the flavor a more S&S one and less middle earth one.

Doomed Norse type Dwarves fighting the giants in the peaks.

Alien Elves from another dimension or world with superior technology or magic who conquered the world long ago and then went into decline.

Gnomes who worship ancient Earth Elemental Lords and sacrifice the unwary to them for favors.

Dragonborn as sorcery created forces controlled by the necromancer kings and used to subject the nine city stats to their will.

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Shingen
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Re: Demihumans in S&S

Post by Shingen » Wed Dec 02, 2015 7:31 pm

Gameogre wrote:I think dwarves and elves and the rest are fine for S&S play. I just would make the flavor a more S&S one and less middle earth one.

Doomed Norse type Dwarves fighting the giants in the peaks.

Alien Elves from another dimension or world with superior technology or magic who conquered the world long ago and then went into decline.

Gnomes who worship ancient Earth Elemental Lords and sacrifice the unwary to them for favors.

Dragonborn as sorcery created forces controlled by the necromancer kings and used to subject the nine city stats to their will.
These are all cool ideas. Mechanically, the race-classes can cover a wide variety of cultural representations; I know in an old thread someone mentioned Elves as Melniboneans, for example. Even with minor tinkering, there can be some fun ways to keep the S&S flavor with the other races.
SILAS, L, Ostler, S14, A13, S12, P11, I14, L5, AC11, HP3, Staff +1 1d4+1, Init 1, R +1, F0, W0, 10' Chain, Bridle, Path of the bear (Melee damage rolls), Com +1

PERCIVAL, N, Halfling dyer, S12, A10, S9, P13, I6, L12, AC10, HP2, Staff +0 1d4, Init 0, R0, F0, W+1, Small sack, 3 yards fabric, Righteous heart (Turn unholy checks), Com

DERVOS, N, Corn Farmer, S13, A8, S8, P12, I13, L13, AC9, HP 1, Pitchfork +1 1d8+2, Init -1, R-1, F-1, W0, Waterskin, hen, Path of the bear (Melee damage rolls) (+1) Com +1

EIBUR, C, Potato Farmer, S8, A7, S12, P11, I13, L7, AC 9, HP 2, Pitchfork -1 1d8-1, Init -1, R-1, F0, W0, Torch, Goat, Struck by lightning (Reflex saving throws) Com +1

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Ravenheart87
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Re: Demihumans in S&S

Post by Ravenheart87 » Thu Dec 03, 2015 12:23 am

Elves and Dwarves (especially if based on the nordic version) do have a place in sword & sorcery. Just ask Moorcock and Poul Anderson. Sword and sorcery is more than just Howard and the rest of the "antediluvian barbarian fiction" writers.
Vorpal Mace: a humble rpg blog with some DCC-related stuff.

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Shingen
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Re: Demihumans in S&S

Post by Shingen » Thu Dec 03, 2015 7:44 pm

Ravenheart87 wrote:Elves and Dwarves (especially if based on the nordic version) do have a place in sword & sorcery. Just ask Moorcock and Poul Anderson. Sword and sorcery is more than just Howard and the rest of the "antediluvian barbarian fiction" writers.
Certainly! My issue was more with a blanket ban of Demihumans than with using elves or dwarves specifically. At the same time, I do realize that the stock Tolkien races exert a certain degree of creative gravity over their more mythological kin though, and that using their Nordic forebears requires a few more reminders for players of which interpretation is being utilized.
SILAS, L, Ostler, S14, A13, S12, P11, I14, L5, AC11, HP3, Staff +1 1d4+1, Init 1, R +1, F0, W0, 10' Chain, Bridle, Path of the bear (Melee damage rolls), Com +1

PERCIVAL, N, Halfling dyer, S12, A10, S9, P13, I6, L12, AC10, HP2, Staff +0 1d4, Init 0, R0, F0, W+1, Small sack, 3 yards fabric, Righteous heart (Turn unholy checks), Com

DERVOS, N, Corn Farmer, S13, A8, S8, P12, I13, L13, AC9, HP 1, Pitchfork +1 1d8+2, Init -1, R-1, F-1, W0, Waterskin, hen, Path of the bear (Melee damage rolls) (+1) Com +1

EIBUR, C, Potato Farmer, S8, A7, S12, P11, I13, L7, AC 9, HP 2, Pitchfork -1 1d8-1, Init -1, R-1, F0, W0, Torch, Goat, Struck by lightning (Reflex saving throws) Com +1

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Max_The_Judge
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Re: Demihumans in S&S

Post by Max_The_Judge » Thu Dec 03, 2015 7:53 pm

I agree, Shingen. In my campaign, which is set in a fantasy version of Norway, the elves and dwarves are very "nordic" in their feel. In fact, dwarves are almost unheard of anywhere else.

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Ravenheart87
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Re: Demihumans in S&S

Post by Ravenheart87 » Fri Dec 04, 2015 12:57 am

I have to mention RuneQuest's Glorantha here. There are still people out there who are stuck at the "omg it haz duckz!" mentality, but the game has some really unique and cool twist on traditional races, like elves, dwarves, and trolls.
Vorpal Mace: a humble rpg blog with some DCC-related stuff.

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