Monday, January 14, 2013

Mercenaries Continued: Part 3

Welcome to another installment of Mighty Mercenary Mondays! I've come up with a name for the continent of this campaign, Myrecenar. Because, well, you know, sometimes I write silly things because I am silly. Anywhosen.

So back to the topic of races. In the previous post about this campaign idea I said something like three or four noble city-state races. Jason suggested that if a race had risen to power, they probably wouldn't be willing to share it among three other races. So I think what I'll do is have the majority of the continent divided into five pieces. An area controlled by noble race one, one controlled by noble race two, a section where all the non-noble and mercenary races kind of bum around and set up their towns, the Shale fungus ruins, and the untouched frontier. The way I am conceiving of the two noble races is that they've always been allies, even in their tribal days. Since we have that whole long-lived and slow to change thing going on we'll kind of say they are of the mentality that they've always been allied with each other so they'll always be allied with each other. Nevermind the fact that they both still want power and riches and wheel and deal behind closed doors to undercut each other's power. But no hard feelings, I mean, it's just mercenaries dying in their disputes, right?

I think I have a place for the Kroot-esque race, but I'm not sure. I may find a place to put them, but I'm not entirely adamant on having them in this campaign. It's probably better that I don't, but we'll see. I've perused the Advanced Race Guide a bit and I have one idea for a mercenary race and another for the sentient fungus race. I'm not sure if I'll use either but I have some thoughts. I still plan on putting in something human or human-like though, so that'll be in there for those that love themselves some humans. I still don't have any clear cut thoughts on either of the main noble races, but that'll come with time, and I do want to throw in a half-breed race of the two noble races. One thing I am considering is pulling races from other continents. When you look at most game worlds, you don't have every continent full of completely different races, usually just variations or name changes on a few common ones and I think it might be appropriate to do the same here. I mean the Mork of Orcunraytrel are related to the Dwenoren. The Goebleen, Hulderfolk, and Cinder Ghosts are related to the Ethryll of Fresgulen. The Norvenmik and Nock races are also related.

Actually, it might make sense for one of the noble races to be a breed of Dwenoren. Dwenoren are the oldest native race of Hekinoe and have literally spread everywhere in one way or another, except the south pole. The second oldest and most plentiful are the Glenwighta. So maybe the noble races are the Glenwighta and the Dwenoren. Hmm, but how to place the Glenwighta, as that is a race of three breeds in and of itself? Ah, ideas. So the Glenwighta are composed of three races, the Okwighta (the smart scrawny guys), the Conwighta (the bigger tougher brute guys), and the Solwighta (the even bigger, even tougher, longer lived guys that are supposed to be born to be kings). The weird feature of the Glenwighta race is that their eggs hatch into whichever breed is most needed by the nest (i.e. because magic). But how do we slim them down to a single race though? Perhaps because of the long history of not battling it out and instead using mercenaries, they don't really produce Conwighta or Solwighta? Or perhaps that occurrence has been made rare and the Solwighta have ceased to exist, but the rare Conwighta that are born are typically thrown out? Maybe bundled off to mercenary towns or something along those lines?

Ok, so we have our two noble races, the Okwighta and Dwenoren. However, now we can't have a half-breed as the Okwighta are an egg laying mammal and the Dwenoren reproduce by asexual reproduction, specifically through budding. Now, to the next issue, lifespan. Both the Okwighta and Glenwighta are short lived creatures in The Known World with a human lifespan, 90s being the upper limit of their age. In Myrecenar, we want two long-lived races that have been running things for a long time. There is some evidence in The Known World that the sorcery there does have a tendency to limit lifespan (full blooded Fell Humans have shorter lifespans than Uncout or Fell Descendants), but there are also creatures like the Sereth, Vyanth, Eldumans, and Children of Volung that have lengthy or eternal lifespans. The Children of Volung originate from a very different place than The Known World and perhaps their immortality would have protected them from the hostile to life nature of The Known World's sorcery? A similar kind of situation is in play for the Eldumans, plus they aren't exactly living flesh. The Sereth and Vyanth are an odd case, as they have been completely reshaped by their use of sorcery from their original form and have in fact built up a resistance to sorcery. I don't think is is out of the realm of possibility to say that Okwighta and Dwenoren would perhaps live longer if they've never encountered the flesh warping sorcery of The Know World, so I think that is what I'll go with. We won't make it extravagant like a thousand year lifespan or anything, but maybe something in the vein of a few hundred years. I'm not 100% certain about the inclusion of the Okwighta yet, but I do like the Dwenoren as one of the noble races. If I come up with an idea that I like better, I'll probably throw out the Okwighta for something else.

Well, apparently this post is about races. So let's come up with races. I have a soft spot for the Goebleen, and I am a big fan of the Ethryll (I blame Dark Sun), so I think we'll add them in as a mercenary race. They're small and sneaky, so any differences from the Goebleen will have to come up during construction of their background info. In terms of game mechanics, they'll basically be Goblins. I think with the mercenary races I want to stick to somewhat uncivilized races, tribal societies and that sort of thing, or at least go with that theme for the majority of them.

Already we have five races  so far (Dwenoren, Noble 2, human equivalent, Shale, and Goebleen), though technically it is six because the Shale are dimorphic. In The Known World there are fifteen different races to choose from, though two of them are just subraces and two more are sort of offshoots from another race. Let's start with ten races (not including offshoots and subraces) and see how that goes. Fifteen races seems like a lot when you look at the core book and the seven races it contains. So we'll start with ten and go from there.

So after a few days of thinking and pondering and whatnot, I have an idea for the second noble race. A very tough and hardy race with a slightly martial bent. Now, as we've stated earlier in this series, I want the noble races to favor dueling over outright fisticuffs and battle. This race will be called the Ashlar, because that was a kind of cool sounding name that popped into my head. They'll be very long lived, and strong and hardy. I think they'll favor more physical endeavors, management of mining operations and that sort of thing. They'll still be a noble race and their involvement with hands on stuff will be minimal, but they'll favor running operations that are more physical, whereas the Dwenoren of this continent will favor more mental operations like accounting, banking, and that sort of thing. Again, I don't have all this set in stone or completely thought of yet, but this is kind of the way my brain is going.

I think I want a really savage nasty race as well. The kind where when you want bodies on the ground and don't care about collateral damage, these are the guys you hire. Something animalistic too...hmm. I think I want these guys to be lizardmen. These guys will still be mucking about in the stone age I think. All tribal, feathers and bones and witch doctors and that sort of thing. I think I like the lizardmen army from the Warhammer game too much, all their faux-Mayan stuff looks kind of neat and has always stuck with me whenever I picture lizardmen. I'll go with lizardmen as one of the other races, and a particularly tough and savage breed at that.

With the human equivalent, I'm not too worried. I'll come up with something mundane to fill in the blanks with something mundane enough that people can relate to as a human type thing. It'll have the variable +2 to ability scores, a bonus feat, and bonus skill points but they'll be different enough that it isn't just a repeat of Asosans and Uncout. I think I want them as some kind of farmer race. Populous, and present among the mercenaries, but primarily kept around by the nobles for their large population and use as laborers and workers and that sort of thing. Working for the nobles is probably safer in the long term, but probably much harsher on their minds and will to live.

So we have both noble races, a Goebleen cousin, a human, a really nasty savage race, and the Shale. We're at six races and we're shooting for four more. I dunno, now that I am typing about it, it seems like a lot. Looking at the fifteen races in The Known World, actually, let's be honest, it's seventeen separate races to choose from in total. In the threeish campaigns played using the rules from the campaign book, the only races players have used are Elduman, Elduman Descended Uncout, Fell Human, Fell Descendants, Rankethlek, and Sereth. Six of seventeen available races have been chosen over the course of three campaigns, so perhaps we don't need a full ten races plus their offshoots. Maybe eight is enough. That actually sounds reasonable, enough for variety but not so many that there is an endless section of race descriptions and statistics to be found in the campaign book, if I decide to do one. Two more races.

What are we lacking in this continent? We have a race that will favor stealth, a race that will favor warriors, a race that will favor everything, and a race that will favor psionics. I won't say we have a race that favors magic yet, but the noble races do have a monopoly on the most powerful magic using class in terms of sheer spellcasting power. One of the decisions that always plagues me when I make a new set of races is the choice to either make something completely alien and new and weird, or something mundane or a mere variation on what has already been done. We've got humans and Goebleen, and lizardmen and I think those are familiar enough. Let's go with something strange and new and wondrous.

Spider men? Nah, we have the Mawkethnay of Fresgulen. Panther men, nah, we have the Panthermen of Ieanegatniv, and this continent isn't a jungle so panthers would be slightly out of place. I have an idea, and it isn't exactly new and unusual, but I like it. So, one thing I am pretty much obsessed with is the Plane of Shadow. Shadow dragons are my favorite type of dragon in DnD (Negative energy breath weapon? Come on! That's pretty badass.) and the Shadowdancer is pretty much my favorite prestige class (Hide in plain sight and summon your shadow self to do battle on your behalf? And fake conjuration and evocation spells? Come on!) I think what I would like to add is some variation of the Fetchling, which is a kind of Plane of Shadow Tiefling sort of race that Paizo has. I'll modify them a bit using options from the Advanced Race Guide so we don't have to deal with the issue of a planar race in a cosmology that doesn't have planes, but I'll include them. For background material, I am considering a race that a long long time ago started experimenting with sorcery in an attempt to modify the occasional unreliability of it and was over time altered by their experimentation. Maybe at one time they were a third noble race, but were exiled from their status because of said experimentation and now they are the most mercenary of the mercenary races? I dunno, just spitballing here.

Alright, one more race and we're up to a total of eight or so. I don't think I want to go with a perfectly Kroot-like race. Some of their features from 40k, like absorbing genetic material through eating dead enemies, would be nearly impossible to write up as just a feature of the race. I think I will stick with something avian themed though. I have a soft spot for the Tengu, little crow bird men guys. I don't think I'll copy and paste them precisely, but I think that'll offer a good starting point for a bird race. 

So, our roster stands as follows: the Dwenoren and Ashlar as the noble races. The psionic Shale as a sort of nearly extinct keepers of psionic secrets race. Then we have the mercenary races, the human-like, the Goebleen-like, lizardmen, birdmen, and the Fetchling-like race. So there's our roster of races to pick and choose from. I think they offer enough variety that everyone will have something they'll like.  Now I just need to write up their stats, but there's no real rush for that. 

That's all for now. 

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