TVTropes builds a campaign setting!:

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Totally Not A Doctor
No I totally don't want to make my vision of dwarfs as something other than a stereotype of an extremely rare group of people a reality in terms of RPG.
27 Sijo10th Nov 2011 06:50:31 PM from Puerto Rico
I'm game. (And yes I'm a gentleman. In every sense of the word. wink )

edited 10th Nov '11 6:51:05 PM by Sijo

28 Exelixi10th Nov 2011 06:53:32 PM from Alchemist's workshop , Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
Eccelente. Four is a good number.
Mura: -flips the bird to veterinary science with one hand and Euclidean geometry with the other-
29 Bluespade10th Nov 2011 10:55:15 PM from Fort Worth, Texas , Relationship Status: I only want you gone
Are you gentlemen actually going to be working on the project, or are you simply depositing your two pence on racial reinterpretation?

I'd love too but I honestly don't have the time right now. I'll definately be checking in on the thread cause it's interesting, so I'll post my opinions on things here and there. But I don't think I can really be one of the actual designers at this time.

A few things:

Another possibility is simply not to use Elves, Dwarves, etc. and make a whole bunch of wholly unique races. Would definately be more original, but less accessible.

Humans: I always wanted to see a setting that made humans unique instead of just the "generic race." One option would be to give the humans a special power, like latent psychic abilities or some kind of inherent magical power. Or anti-magic.

Or we could just not have humans.

edited 10th Nov '11 11:02:11 PM by Bluespade

30 Exelixi11th Nov 2011 07:41:30 AM from Alchemist's workshop , Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
Blue: Issue with that is what Kayeka brought up earlier- if we simply deign to exclude any of the standard fantasy races for fear of not being original, we miss out on all the awesome ways we could use said races (like cyborg dwarves, yo'.)
Mura: -flips the bird to veterinary science with one hand and Euclidean geometry with the other-
Totally Not A Doctor
I might further develop the societies of the Dwarfs at least to create 2-3 distinctive cultures to avoid the whole planet of hats, "one race, one land, one king" issue that crops up with non-human races in fantasy settings.

EDIT: But before I do any of that I want to get some more concrete particulars in, like the actual geography, metaphysics and the religion issue. I can easily get to work now, but I don't want the dwarves to be the defining facet of the setting, even if they're not the same cliched copies we've seen since Lot R.

edited 11th Nov '11 8:09:21 AM by Eyclonus

32 Sijo12th Nov 2011 05:57:44 AM from Puerto Rico
I have no problem including the traditional fantasy races, though I'd like to see more exotic ones as well. Heck, why should they always be humanoid? We could have talking cats, for example, or weirder creatures. (In fact, the gods themselves don't need to be human, specially if they precede humanity.)

Totally Not A Doctor
[up] I think we should not create too many "exotic" races, not saying No, just cut back a bit, but lets take the traditional races and make them so distinct from the usual they seem exotic. We're a wiki about tropes, and so many fantasy racial tropes are played straight that I think we must play with/zig-zag/subvert/avert them.

For example Elves are often portrayed as traditionalists because of their long life span. In a setting where guns are used by the other shorter lived races often we see the elves stick with bows because they require age to master. What you don't see is Elves wholeheartedly adopting the gun as a tool of warfare as their greater experience of war should would compel them to adopt the superior weapon for success, and likely adopt it earlier, unless they're luddites.

edited 12th Nov '11 6:31:10 AM by Eyclonus

34 Exelixi12th Nov 2011 08:21:39 AM from Alchemist's workshop , Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
Elves are begging for deconstruction, really. For instance, in D&D, a level ten human wizard is nearly identical to a level ten Elf wizard, even though the elf is presumably several centuries older. Now, assuming the human is thirty and the Elf is a hundred (old for a human adventurer and quite young for an elf) this means that Elves develop skills/knowledge at one-third the rate of humanity. Now, being more realistic, most human adventurers are in their early to mid twenties and most Elf adventurers are four or five hundred.

In short, all Elves suffer from severe MRDD.

UNLESS we do as Kayeka suggested and make at the very least Elves absolutely Troperiffic, which is what I support in this instance. Yes, they're traditionalists, perfectionists, and think all this newfangled technology is insane, but that doesn't mean they can't take out a stone golem with nothing but a longbow and six centuries of developing enough skill with that bow to make it count. Thus, the Elves could use experience to keep up with human/Dwarf/whatever technology, substituting near-perfect mastery over what they do for any sort of innovation.

Now, exotic races for the sake of being exotic is a no-no in my book; it tends to make the races and characters of those races rather shallow.

edited 12th Nov '11 8:28:27 AM by Exelixi

Mura: -flips the bird to veterinary science with one hand and Euclidean geometry with the other-
35 Durazno12th Nov 2011 11:59:33 AM from Academia , Relationship Status: Drift compatible
All business!
Unless they only started with the intention of being exotic and grew from there.

Since there are a few different people working on this, it should be possible to flesh out any wacky idea into something distinct and detailed.
Totally Not A Doctor
Are they going to be Traditionalists or Neo-Luddites?
37 Exelixi13th Nov 2011 06:33:01 AM from Alchemist's workshop , Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
Both. Someone already stated that avoiding the "One race, one king, one creed" issue would be nice; not all members of a race need be alike.
Mura: -flips the bird to veterinary science with one hand and Euclidean geometry with the other-
38 Exelixi14th Nov 2011 08:44:41 AM from Alchemist's workshop , Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
Anyway, Kayeka brought up a question before he randomly disappeared that needs answered.

What are the gods (we've settled that they're simply very, very old beings that grabbed a large cache of primordial power, no?) and what do they want with the mortal races/the world/etc?Thing is, if gods don't require devotion as a form of sustenance, what reason do they have to

  • Listen to mortals
  • Grant divine power to the Cleric and Paladin archetypes amoung others
  • Possibly perform the occasional miracle?

edited 14th Nov '11 8:48:08 AM by Exelixi

Mura: -flips the bird to veterinary science with one hand and Euclidean geometry with the other-
39 Sijo14th Nov 2011 05:40:08 PM from Puerto Rico
I suggest that it varies by deity. We could have everything from say, the God of Cats who just likes to play around and help protect his kind, to the I'm-SO-convinced-I'm-Divine-because-I-wield-great-power types with excruciatingly detailed demands for their followers.

Also, count me as wanting this to be as "troperrific" as possible. It is after all, a TV Tropes original setting.
40 Exelixi14th Nov 2011 05:46:38 PM from Alchemist's workshop , Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
Sounds good. There might even be a couple deities that few people even know about because they simply don't give a damn or lack any desire for followers.
Mura: -flips the bird to veterinary science with one hand and Euclidean geometry with the other-
41 God_of_Awesome15th Nov 2011 12:34:54 AM , Relationship Status: And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson
Couple of things I do:

The Stout Three races, the dwarves, the halflings and the gnomes. The legend states they were a slave race of an earth-spirit. The dwarves and the gnomes both were artisans and miners but differed in philosophu. Gnomes did gems and precious metals, crafting things mostly of clever magic, dwarves did metals both precious and not and prefered reliability and strength, magic and not. Halflings were made to the surface, forced by the gnomes and dwarves below them to farm.

Halflings state they figured out they really didn't have anyone looking over their shoulders and simply took off. Their are colonies of farmies, caravans of constantly 'taking off' gypsies and only a few who take back to cities of stone and steel the bring up ancestral memories of their task masters.

Without food, the earth-spirit lost its grip upon the other two and they rebelled up to the surface. Gnomes, much more glib, made friends with every other race with their clever toys and integrated themselves into ever society. Dwarves, eh, not so much. They got the short end of the stick and they hated it. So rose a prophet who taught them life was miserable but if they can let go of wordly possessions and needs it won't seem so bad, the Enlightenment of Oblivion.

Some small but influential radical groups of dwarves took his words too far. They sought to spread to all others that life was misery, let it go, and waged a campaign of grandiose suffering. All other races rose against them and for it almost all dwarves were banished back underground long ago. Their still exists an underground society that rises up to wage war on the Delusion of Life but surface colonies who shun their nihilistic kin and give themselves to quiet contemplation in mountain monasteries.

Humans The basic form shared by most civilized races is called humanoid. This word did not originate from humans, humans originated from it. Humans arose later in history, during periods when other races were brought under a single banner and lived in coexistence. They are the mongrel race, a hybrid of every other humanoid race that eventually created stable populations of their own. What started as a slang word for a being with an indeterminable race became the official term for this new breed. They are so numerous simply because when they crossbreed, the result is not considered a 'half-orc'. It is a human closer to their orc heritage.

Elves Elves state in their legends they are nature spirits made flesh. Indeed, their is a type of elf for every concieavable environment, their even exists elves that are underwater. Scholars postulate that the elven blood is inclined towards almost supernatural adaptation, transforming a transplanted people in just a few generations. The only elves not so suited to a particular environment are the high elves.

The history of the high elves particularly is marked with genocidal violence against non-elves and then non-high elves, resulting in the near extinction of the cavern dwelling dark elves who fleed deeper into the earth until about recently. This turned inward until they nearly killed each other. A philosopher, much like with the dwarves, led them to a new school of thought. An incredibly magically inclined race, the powerin their bodies inclined them to fits of madness, fits which became rigidly controlled by total focus on reason and emotional detachment.

>Tell me your face when you realize they are magic Vulcans

Every race of elf is marked by a tendency to regard their individual races as nations unto themselves, even when under a multi-racial banner. One vast empire has to deal with a dozen criminal empires, the Elven Mobs, characterized by a different sub-race of elf. Even the high elves.

Gods Gods are ideas, philosophies and beliefs that have taken shape upon the spiritual realms and gained sentience. They enjoy worship, for indeed it feeds them directly but as long as the idea they embody is practiced they could live off of it indefinitley, albeit in a muted state. Those without worshippers constantly whisper into the ears of those close to their concept, trying to draw in devotees. In exchange, they may petition for powers of the god's 'domain'. These followers work to spread the philosophy of their god, feeding him passively, or incite direct worship, active feeding.
Totally Not A Doctor
Sorry nice idea and all, but why must Dwarves be tied to earth as an element and The Stout archetype still? I wrote that initial post as a way to separate dwarves from Our Dwarves Are All the Same as I felt that its a trope that has been used to a point in fantasy where its difficult to not justify it being an example of poor writing. Off the top of my head I can only think of 2 settings where this Trope is not in force: The Elder Scrolls and Dark Sun.

Same goes for Halflings, except theres only one where they get something different and thats' that really f***ing messed up origin in Dark Sun, which might have worked if it had been part of the setting from the very start.

Gnomes on the other hand lack a standard archetype, although the D&D gnomes might feel normal, outside of RP Gs Gnomes tend to be anything small that isn't a dwarf.

I left the reference to underground cities, that are non-mainstream, as a way to ensure that alternatives could be inserted later.
Totally Not A Doctor
As for Gods theres something thats never really been addressed where Divine spells exist is what is the difference between Arcane and Divine. I mean heres an interesting view:

Gods and Magic are two sides of the same coin, this coin being the nature of what came before reality and the Gods.

Gods wield Divine power that seems to flow like arcane magic, is the because Magic comprises there being and wizards are simply using the protoessence of a God, or the remains of one, when they use magic.

Gods aren't creatures. Gods are what happens when the random probabilities of nature come into play with magic, essentially they are spells that cast because magic must fit a pattern to become a spell and because it flows naturally then this natural birthing is rare event. Therefore clerics do not worship creators, but spells that have achieved sentience as they have been cast and recast in nature since the dawn of existence. The reason their magic is different is because it is magical essence that is being taken from a spell that has already been cast. Worship and the ritual used to pray/honour a God may have some aspect to the casting of the Godspell and so this grants God's further power with which to bequeath their followers with and to wield against each other and other beings.
44 Exelixi15th Nov 2011 09:13:33 AM from Alchemist's workshop , Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
God of Awesome: I like the idea for the Humans, very clever; however, the Dwarves sound rather. . . Buddhist.
Mura: -flips the bird to veterinary science with one hand and Euclidean geometry with the other-
45 God_of_Awesome15th Nov 2011 10:15:11 AM , Relationship Status: And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson
It is. Evil Buddhists.
46 God_of_Awesome15th Nov 2011 11:18:47 AM , Relationship Status: And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson
Orcs Based off 'Elves of environments' thing above, Orcs are Elves who adapted to some of the more barren wastelands their were. They are like Dominic Deegan Orcs in that they are vegetarians who feed off the tough roots that are all that will survive in their homeland. They are buff and strong and most people get the impression they are dumb. They are actually autistic idiot savants, extremely intelligent with a narrow field. They approach their individual expertise with brute force, resulting in very slapdash creations.

Like other Elves, they tend to regard their kind as a nation apart and tend to build criminal empires within legitimate empires. Their strong herd mentality gives itself to very stable cohesion in their ranks but an inability for individuals to adapt hurts their enterprises.

Drow Driven into the Underdark, the dark elves did not live like Machiavellian kings in spider-driven religions. The underdark was the untameable, the unexplored, it was The Wild West. The Drowish Crime Family are descendants of the most ruthless criminal scum that ever terrorized the Underdark. They are also a race with those with a strong sense of justice, still stuck in the mentality of frontier justice, making some of them vigilantes just as ruthless as their criminal kin. Even as they've moved to the surface, their racial culture still encourage such things, and a sort of suspicious xenophobia mixed with a aching need for the exotic, as outsider to their underground towns were often there to rob them blind or save them or so their lore states.

47 Exelixi15th Nov 2011 12:54:43 PM from Alchemist's workshop , Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
I'm personally not under the assumption that there needs to be eleventy-five different breeds of Elf. Not everything has to be Faerun.
Mura: -flips the bird to veterinary science with one hand and Euclidean geometry with the other-
48 God_of_Awesome15th Nov 2011 01:27:33 PM , Relationship Status: And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson
Faerun has eleventy different breeds of everything.

But if Our Elves Are Different is a trope all applying different sub-races of elves, then this would make it a Justified Trope.
49 Exelixi15th Nov 2011 01:46:56 PM from Alchemist's workshop , Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
By that logic, we're obligated to make fourty-eight kinds of dragons, four kinds of Goblins, seven species of Orc, et cetera. Point being, there can be ideological differences within a race; there's no need to make each political group within the race a different race.
Mura: -flips the bird to veterinary science with one hand and Euclidean geometry with the other-
50 Sijo15th Nov 2011 02:18:53 PM from Puerto Rico
Re: Divine vs Arcane magic: To me, Magic is Magic; Gods use the same thing everyone else does, just more powerfully. The difference comes in the Elements, eg. forces and substances of the world once they mix with magic. If your deity happens to be born from Ice, for example, he'll have ice magic simply because that's the element it is composed of.

The art of magic use comes from learning to manipulate raw magic to bend different elements to your will.

edited 15th Nov '11 2:20:13 PM by Sijo

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