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As GM how do you RP unusual characters and abilities in game?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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In pathfinder its not exactly unusual for a player to decide they want to play some off the wall concoction like a half demon lizard man with flaming wings and a pet huge sized flaming spider.

while most GMs want to allow their players to have fun playing what ever character combination they want... do any of you force the players to deal with the role play consequences of their decisions?

Drow for example are supposed to be rare to the point of myth to the average citizen of golarion.

so what happens when a player insists on playing a Drow caracter...

or what if the party summoner insists on walking around town with his edilon that looks something like a zombie dragon....

hell... even just the average ranger who insists on walking through the streets of Magnimar with his horse sized tiger companion.

Im just wondering if most people just hand wave it for the sake of game play or force their players to deal with these things for the sake of role play... and if so, how


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I always make it clear that if you are unusual, the populace will react to you as such. If you are frightening looking, the people will react as such. It's the same thing as generally speaking, having reasonable consequences to party actions. Different places may have different reactions--the metropolitan crossroads where people of many races live and espouse views of tolerance may look at someone really odd but still try to treat them as they would any other; the xenophobic human nation may be much less friendly and may ask for the offending person to have their weapon peacebound or be restrained in some way. How to get around that is part of the encounter's challenge. I talk to the player beforehand to make this clear, "Yes, you can play a tiefling, but if you've got horns and baleful red eyes, that's going to freak people out."

That said, as a GM, I also always hold the right to say no to a very unusual racial concept, especially if it just won't work in my world. I try to be reasonable as possible but for example the half-demon lizardman would not be allowed in a typical campaign of mine.


Trying to play a Drow in Golarion is near-impossible under normal circumstances. They are alien and weird to humans, and kill-on-sight for "normal" elves. When it comes to homebrew races, I'd allow them as a DM but I'd set them in categories of "NPC reaction" accordingly. Something like a part-minotaur lady with hooves, horns as well as bovine ears and tail might be mistaken for a tiefling, or then the fact that she looks human enough might ease the tension, unless said individual also had those demonic red eyes that minotaurs tend to have.

However, I'm usually happier with DMs who take into account the unusual position of a character, but not when said DM is deliberately "punishing" me on every occasion for it. An even easier way to tick me off (which that one guy did) is arbitrarily banning material (especially races) without even checking the story and other such info a person has made on such with blood, sweat and tears. Just disrespectful, if you ask me. And there's one thing I feel like ranting about, even though it's going a bit off-topic. The DM does not (and most certainly should not) automatically get respect from his/her players. He/she has to work for it. Expecting the king treatment and making the players bend over backwards from the get-go is one reason why we have stories of horrid game sessions and gaming groups.

Silver Crusade

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I'm curious as your previous example states. Playing "a half demon lizard man with flaming wings and a pet huge sized flaming spider" seems quite ridicules. I deal with this by reject the player to play a "half demon lizard man with flaming wings and a pet huge sized flaming spider." Especially if the rest of your characters are playing regular races. Correct me if I'm wrong but i believe pathfinder hasn't made a book for humanoid races. So if you wanted to play one you would have to take it strait from the Monsters Manuel, leaving the character completely overpowered. If the person insists to play such a cacophony I would have city guards attack them on site and peasant folks run in terror, but most importantly I would face him against enough guards that they could not survive.

Unusual characters are okay in my book but there is a limit that people should not cross. Characters like such i think are only useful in bs level 20 campaigns. Not for a module, and damn sure not for low level.

Either your playing with children who have wild imaginations, no offense, or you need to take control of your games and keep them realistic. Unless the a random and just for lulz.


I agree with Syberfang. There is a limit.

However, slightly unusual beings (like my example) should be allowed in my opinion. This same discussion happened on another thread already.

Silver Crusade

There's a difference if it's one player wanting to do this or all of them. If it's only one player, the GM will have to place restrictions on it, as in my experience, people who play such characters are just looking to get more attention and be "special". This will annoy the other players unless there is a consequence to said player's attention needs. Maybe a compromise like being an elf with luminescent blue hair and hooves will do. Call the race some fancy new name, give it some background (and social acceptance), and all is well.

If all the players want to play such characters, just change the game setting to make their "extraordinary" characters normal. Or maybe the point of the game is that they're a band of misfits. In the case where all the players want to play strange characters, there is no reason you can't have an enjoyable game with such characters.


My DM would beg to differ, sadly enough. He was unwilling to compromise with me to the point that we both blew a fuse for basically nothing, and he himself said he'd never let it slide if everyone wants to play an "unusual" race while he is DM, except in very extraordinary circumstances. This is also why I'd want to see him comment around here, so he'd at least be heard out, though I doubt he'll get any sympathy points since he did legitimately ruin a few good campaigns for me.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
blue_the_wolf wrote:

In pathfinder its not exactly unusual for a player to decide they want to play some off the wall concoction like a half demon lizard man with flaming wings and a pet huge sized flaming spider.

It may not be unusual for YOUR games, but for the bulk of us, that's fairly off the beam. I don't allow that kind of nonsense into any campaign I run, unless it's a deliberately silly campaign.

Silver Crusade

Icyshadow wrote:
My DM would beg to differ, sadly enough. He was unwilling to compromise with me to the point that we both blew a fuse for basically nothing, and he himself said he'd never let it slide if everyone wants to play an "unusual" race while he is DM, except in very extraordinary circumstances. This is also why I'd want to see him comment around here, so he'd at least be heard out, though I doubt he'll get any sympathy points since he did legitimately ruin a few good campaigns for me.

Sounds like the root problem is your GM wants to run one type of game (traditional) and the players want to play a different type (unusual). Have someone else GM an unusual game, and the GM-now-player can play whatever traditional character he wants. His traditional character just may be the most unusual of all in that game.

Silver Crusade

like i said playing a character that obscene throws off the legitimacy of the whole game and makes you look like a fool to experienced gamers. Trust me on that.


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Playing unusual races has nothing to do with how experienced a player is. Your statement is elitist in nature, and I hope you take it back. As for Riuken, I am going to DM the next Kingmaker starting at the end of this month. They're rolling mostly normals, but I made it clear that they WILL run into at least one of the homebrew races that I have established as canon on Golarion. The only one voicing any negative on that was that DM (who is now a player), but only because of one race of mine he just seems to hate.

Silver Crusade

Icyshadow wrote:
Playing unusual races has nothing to do with how experienced a player is. Your statement is elitist in nature, and I hope you take it back. As for Riuken, I am going to DM the next Kingmaker starting at the end of this month. They're rolling mostly normals, but I made it clear that they WILL run into at least one of the homebrew races that I have established as canon on Golarion. The only one voicing any negative on that was that DM (who is now a player), but only because of one race of mine he just seems to hate.

You should probably have a conversation away from the game addressing his concerns towards the race. Hopefully he has legitimate reasons he doesn't like it and you can work to make it more enjoyable for both of you. You may have to remove or alter the race. Homebrewing is fun, but you have to be careful as even slight changes can have game breaking effects, both mechanically and to the feel of the world. Sometimes a race of half-dragon half-angel half-half-elves (yes, 2 halves and 2 quarters) just doesn't fit.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Icyshadow wrote:


However, I'm usually happier with DMs who take into account the unusual position of a character, but not when said DM is deliberately "punishing" me on every occasion for it. An even easier way to tick me off (which that one guy did) is arbitrarily banning material (especially races) without even checking the story and other such info a person has made on such with blood, sweat and tears. Just disrespectful, if you ask me. And there's one thing I feel like ranting about, even though it's going a bit off-topic. The DM does not (and most certainly should not) automatically get respect from his/her players. He/she has to work for it. Expecting the king treatment and making the players bend over backwards from the get-go is one reason why we have stories of horrid game sessions and gaming groups.

You're the perfect example of the player I'd never want to judge for in PFS, because I'd never allow you at my home games.

The player that really ticks me off is one that comes to the table with that sense of self-entitlement and self importance who totally discounts the fact that DM's are busting their hump to do the donkey work, and perhaps even providing the space in the first place. You don't seem to cotten to the idea of deference out from the sheer fact that by default the DM is doing YOU a favor by running in the first place.

You also seem to take offense that I might not permit out of hand to have you run your homebuilt race of Sentient Squashes because of my "arbitrary" decision that said race has no place in my world.

A table can generally survive with one less player, especially an obnoxious one. Most however have more difficulty with one less DM.

General guidelines though, if you walk into a civilized town looking like a monster, you'll generally be treated like one.


Quote:
General guidelines though, if you walk into a civilized town looking like a monster, you'll generally be treated like one.

That a million times. In most fantasy world's, the populace is usually fearful of the unknown.


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Most games I play/run in, the GM states up front what races and classes are available in the world (and if necessary, why). These things, by agreement with all parties involved, are generally immutable (with exceptions where there are vagaries, in which a player may ask for clarifications and reasonable exceptions -- in a campaign I ran, I did not allow drow as a player race, but a character wanted to play a character who was a mixed race elf with drow ancestry, which mechanically he himself offered to write up as a normal elf--he just wanted the flavor. I was fine with that.

If a race or class you want to play is not in the list, you either put that character concept aside, alter that concept to fit the specs, make a new character that fits the specs of the campaign, or you find a campaign where your concept is allowed. There shouldn't have to be drama over that. Either the campaign is for you, or it isn't. Either the GM for you, or it isn't. But trying to force the campaign or GM to be something other than what they are is just going to make you frustrated and everyone frustrated with you.

It's different if a GM says, "Play what you want" and then starts vetoing things randomly. That's BS. Consistency and fairness are essential. You find a better GM at that point.

But otherwise, it's the GM's world, and the parameters established are there for a reason--and ultimately, IMO, that is so everyone can feel like they are in a real, living world with consistency and consequences. It's not even about the "GM is always right" it's that, as LazarX notes, "the GM is busting his ass to design you a cool world that makes sense, and will continue to bust his ass so you can have fun in that world." The GM also has the right to want to have fun as well, for that matter, and if excluding something makes it easier and more fun to run--ultimately that also means the game is easier and more fun to play for everyone. Happy GMs generally equal happy players -- and where that is not true, find a better GM or better player.


I normally allow races without racial HD. I think the drow noble is the only one that I don't say yes to*, but even when I do say yes I let the player know there may be consequences in certain areas.

As for the specific example the OP mentioned that would not happen unless I was running a special campaign.

*I have not checked every race in the ARG yet.

Silver Crusade

Icyshadow wrote:
Playing unusual races has nothing to do with how experienced a player is. Your statement is elitist in nature, and I hope you take it back. As for Riuken, I am going to DM the next Kingmaker starting at the end of this month. They're rolling mostly normals, but I made it clear that they WILL run into at least one of the homebrew races that I have established as canon on Golarion. The only one voicing any negative on that was that DM (who is now a player), but only because of one race of mine he just seems to hate.

I wasn't being elitist, i don't care if people play unusual races, but if you let people be uncontrolled, and play walking gods or just obscene characters it's not fun for anybody. I am against power gaming.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Part of the unwritten social contract of gaming is that a DM is due a certain amount of deference until he or she proves unfit for it. Icy seems to think that the DM has to "earn' that respect since all the work that's been done for him already doesn't count.

The flip side of that contract is that DM respects his players as people, that he'll be fair and even handed, not favoring or penalizing one player over another, and that he'll try to make his rulings as consistent as possible.

Both sides need to sit down with the mindset that they've already agreed to this unwritten contract, or there will be problems.

Osirion

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Depends on the situation.

In the Realms, the dark elves are pretty well known as 'bad-guys.'

In Golarion, thanks to a huge conspiracy of silence on the part of the elves, and more common variations in human skin tones, the average human is going to have no freaking clue that there's anything odd about a drow. "Huh, I didn't know elves came in that color. Then again, I imagine that most elves have never seen a Mwangi, so it's probably the same thing..."

Monster looking races, on the other hand, like 'half-demon lizardfolk,' may end up being run out of small villages, or regarded as freaks recruited to fight in the arena (and safer wearing shackles and surrounded by guards, representative of that status) in larger cities.

The players, if they care to, can work around such things. (Buying a set of manacles and sabotaging them to 'break away,' and forging up some documents that prove that 'the beast' is indeed a gladiator and their property.) After second level or so, a hat of disguise is a trival expense, making the problem somewhat moot for a player who isn't deliberately trying to make his life difficult by refusing to hide his appearance.

I'm a fan of trying out the 'base' stuff first, and then branching out into the oddballs. Never cared for Prestige Classes. Still not entirely in love with Sub-Domains or Archetypes. I had friends introduced to Vampire who leapt straight for the funky bloodlines, and yet I wanted to try out each of the seven 'basic' Clans before going on to the various rarer Clans or Bloodlines or clanless vampires. And then there's the guy who shows up to the vampire LARP, and insists that he wants to play a Mokole or a Highlander or whatever, 'cause he's just that special. I think those sorts of encounters have left me with a knee-jerk reaction to 'I gotta be different!' players.

On the other hand, some of our most memorable AD&D games, back in the day, were the 'anything goes' games like Spelljammer where it was *expected* for the party to include whacky stuff like a Giant Space Werehamster Tinker Gnome Clockwork Mage, a Giff 'demolitions expert', a Xixchil Myrmidon, a Wemic Ranger, or Dark Sun, where Half-Giants and Thri-Kreen were 'normal' party members, or even Al-Qadim, a setting where some tribes of orcs, hobgoblins, ogres, etc. were 'enlightened' races and as welcome in the cities as elves and dwarves.

Silver Crusade

DeathQuaker wrote:

Most games I play/run in, the GM states up front what races and classes are available in the world (and if necessary, why). These things, by agreement with all parties involved, are generally immutable (with exceptions where there are vagaries, in which a player may ask for clarifications and reasonable exceptions -- in a campaign I ran, I did not allow drow as a player race, but a character wanted to play a character who was a mixed race elf with drow ancestry, which mechanically he himself offered to write up as a normal elf--he just wanted the flavor. I was fine with that.

If a race or class you want to play is not in the list, you either put that character concept aside, alter that concept to fit the specs, make a new character that fits the specs of the campaign, or you find a campaign where your concept is allowed. There shouldn't have to be drama over that. Either the campaign is for you, or it isn't. Either the GM for you, or it isn't. But trying to force the campaign or GM to be something other than what they are is just going to make you frustrated and everyone frustrated with you.

It's different if a GM says, "Play what you want" and then starts vetoing things randomly. That's BS. Consistency and fairness are essential. You find a better GM at that point.

But otherwise, it's the GM's world, and the parameters established are there for a reason--and ultimately, IMO, that is so everyone can feel like they are in a real, living world with consistency and consequences. It's not even about the "GM is always right" it's that, as LazarX notes, "the GM is busting his ass to design you a cool world that makes sense, and will continue to bust his ass so you can have fun in that world." The GM also has the right to want to have fun as well, for that matter, and if excluding something makes it easier and more fun to run--ultimately that also means the game is easier and more fun to play for everyone. Happy GMs generally equal happy players -- and where that is not true, find a better GM or better player....

well put


@Icyshadow

would you mind telling what that custom race is, that so irks your ex-DM-now-player?

Just wanted to say that Monster races can be a plain in the back for players, too:

my old D&D3.5 group had a half-dragon-group (DM made the Half-Dragon template mandatory)... right now that campaign is on indefinate hold for lack of general fun.

now another person (we switch DMing, so everybody get to do some) felt like doing a were-tiger campaign: we are all half-elves with the were-tiger template... I asked to leave that campaign after 5 sessions because I simply don't like it at all.

with both monster-games, one of the biggest problems is:
- offensive spells are worthless (the enemies make their saves 90% of the time and Magic Missile does pitiful damage when you are a weretiger with 3 levels of spellcaster)
- healing through anything but items is pointless (and restorations/curing spells too high level)
- the only thing we are really good at, is melee with claws

well that's not totally correct, my weretiger druid (3 levels, yay :-/), was brutal in half-form (large) with a self-made large quaterstaff enchanted with Shillelagh. Still melee though. We were actually squabbling over who gets to stand in the front row as everybody wants to be in the front row: those who are not get to twiddle their thumbs

Oh and as a side-mention: in both campaigns we found out about our "heritage" during the 2-3 session, sucks to be the spellcaster, when you find out.


LazarX wrote:

Part of the unwritten social contract of gaming is that a DM is due a certain amount of deference until he or she proves unfit for it. Icy seems to think that the DM has to "earn' that respect since all the work that's been done for him already doesn't count.

The flip side of that contract is that DM respects his players as people, that he'll be fair and even handed, not favoring or penalizing one player over another, and that he'll try to make his rulings as consistent as possible.

Both sides need to sit down with the mindset that they've already agreed to this unwritten contract, or there will be problems.

I've been a DM before, and I'd rather not be a conceited, self-entitled arse about it. You might just wanna look in a mirror before judging my attitude, though I doubt you'd do that since you seem to assume that being a doormat towards the DM is the "one true way" and by that I am automatically wrong. You might not get kicked out from a table, but neither will you ever have fun if you get stuck with a DM who happens to like things you don't.

Syberfang wrote:
I wasn't being elitist, I don't care if people play unusual races, but if you let people be uncontrolled, and play walking gods or just obscene characters it's not fun for anybody. I am against power gaming.

Anything left uncontrolled can go wrong. And some people actually like RPing gods or obscene characters.

Kyoni wrote:

@Icyshadow

Would you mind telling what that custom race is, that so irks your ex-DM-now-player?

The race in question is called the Holstaur. The backstory, put shortly, is that a deity of humanity (in Golarion that'd be Aroden) tried to change back a group of minotaurs (all female) back into humans after said minotaurs found out that their kind were basically just cursed humans, which is true in both Golarion and a few other settings. Instead of fully being able to turn them back, the deity was interrupted by the one who actually created the curse (Baphomet in most settings, Lamashtu in Golarion), leaving them half-way between human and minotaur though far more human than monster. Basically, they are somewhat taller than average humans with some minotaurian traits, such as hooved feet, a bovine tail (and bovine ears) as well as horns on their heads.

And they would not be the only all-female race in D&D, as shown by harpies and other beings.


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blue_the_wolf wrote:
In pathfinder its not exactly unusual for a player to decide they want to play some off the wall concoction like a half demon lizard man with flaming wings and a pet huge sized flaming spider.

People.. The OP was exaggerating for emphasis. Don't get hung up on semantics.

He's saying that some folks have unusual character concepts that they'd like to bring to a game.

The point being... How do you all handle unusual builds, races, and or pets?

For my part as a GM. If you are off the beaten path (core books races) you are going to take some penalties to Diplomacy and similar skills in most civilized towns and may have to have your more "normal" companions vouch for you to even be let in at all with a potential additional "gate tax".
If you are playing an "Evil" race (Drow, Svervneblin (sp?), Orc, etc) then you may be attacked on sight.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Icyshadow wrote:
I've been a DM before, and I'd rather not be a conceited, self-entitled arse about it. You might just wanna look in a mirror before judging my attitude, though I doubt you'd do that since you seem to assume that being a doormat towards the DM is the "one true way" and by that I am automatically wrong. You might not get kicked out from a table, but neither will you ever have fun if you get stuck with a DM who happens to like things you don't.

If you can't see any middle ground between being an arrogant diva with a sense of entitlement, and being a "DM's doormat" as you put it, then there is no point in any further conversation with you on this topic.

I expect a certain amount of respect and deference as a DM and in turn give the benefit of the doubt that anyone who's taken up the burden of doing so deserves the same when I'm the player. If you consider that being a "doormat" so be it.

Hopefully, we'll never meet at the same gaming table.


You do know he didn't just ban my homebrews without even looking at them, but also has many times suddenly put new houserules in power without asking any of the players. When we called him out on it, he took it as if we were throwing a tantrum over something silly, when he was more or less beating us with a stick for something he himself had set.

While I am ready to give respect, I only do it to a degree. You seem blind to that as you continue to judge me.
Do tell me, what would you do if the DM puts something in the game that you don't like?
And what if he just tells you to "deal with it"?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
BltzKrg242 wrote:
The point being... How do you all handle unusual builds, races, and or pets?

I'm very big on verisimilitude in the serious campaigns I run. (Look up that word it's good exercise). That being such, this means that Sentient Squashlings don't have a place. as they shift focus from the primary theme, that being the heroes and the story.

In silly campaigns like most Spelljammer ones, almost anything can go.


I don't even know what a Squashling is.


Icyshadow wrote:


The race in question is called the Holstaur. The backstory, put shortly, is that a deity of humanity (in Golarion that'd be Aroden) tried to change back a group of minotaurs (all female) back into humans after said minotaurs found out that their kind were basically just cursed humans, which is true in both Golarion and a few other settings. Instead of fully being able to turn them back, the deity was interrupted by the one who actually created the curse (Baphomet in...

Ok they sound kinda nifty but.. how do they breed?


They usually breed with humans.

Some go with elves, or more rarely dwarves.

Evil ones (especially followers of Baphomet or Lamashtu) go with minotaurs.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Icyshadow wrote:

You do know he didn't just ban my homebrews without even looking at them, but also has many times suddenly put new houserules in power without asking any of the players. When we called him out on it, he took it as if we were throwing a tantrum over something silly, when he was more or less beating us with a stick for something he himself had set.

While I am ready to give respect, I only do it to a degree. You seem blind to that as you continue to judge me.
Do tell me, what would you do if the DM puts something in the game that you don't like?
And what if he just tells you to "deal with it"?

That depends on situation. In your specific example, I'd have left the campaign long before the question came up.

IF it's from a DM that I otherwise respect, I will "deal with it."

I pick both my DM's and my players with care. So I don't run into drama fests like this.

As a PFS judge I'm not the DM, Paizo is. And it's clearly spelled out in the campaign guidelines all the common grounds that players and judges effectively sign off on so we generally don't have dramafests like the ones you describe.

And in all of my 30 plus years of gaming, I've only run into one GM who was an arrogant player killer. Since the rest of his players seemed to enjoy the treatment they got, I respectfully bowed out of the campaign.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Icyshadow wrote:
I don't even know what a Squashling is.

It's my personal code for any oddball race a player wants to run just "because". It's also a mini-pet from World of Warcraft which is essentially an animated pumpkin.


So you basically have a derogatory nickname for people's ideas?

Just from that, I can tell I'd get along with you QUITE well, even if we weren't playing D&D.
Also, where the heck did the OP run off? I haven't seen any posts from him since the start of this thread.


*blink*

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Icyshadow wrote:

So you basically have a derogatory nickname for people's ideas?

Just from that, I can tell I'd get along with you QUITE well, even if we weren't playing D&D.

"Special Snowflake" was taken. IF you want to take it as derogatory that's your prerogative. That's my code on for something that someone wants to fit in a pre-existing world without any regard as to it's lack of fit. And no since you can't seem to cotton to the idea of giving someone respect until proven otherwise, we'd probably not get along at all.


I find it amusing that you make assumptions like that, even though I did say I have a backstory for them, and I've done lots of work to make not just them, but also my other races, fit the campaign worlds. Also, some beings found in the official bestiaries are far more silly than anything I or anyone else could conjure up, but I guess that doesn't faze you because they are "official" and such.


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Goodness this thread got nasty quick.

I'm going to ignore the bickering and respond to the OP.

For me, it depends entirely on the setting. I'm not familiar with, nor have I ever played in PFS. That being said, consider the following:

It stands to reason though that in any high magic setting, the common folk have come to accept the strange and unusual as part of their daily lives. We then go back to the "it depends" aspect of this. How frequently do bizarre things happen? How prolific are non-human races in populated areas?

For the sake of answering the 'how' part of your question, lets assume for a moment we have a village populated by humans. Let us also assume that the only non-human race they've encountered is goblin. We'll also say that the goblins have not been especially friendly, having raided the town, perhaps even killed a few people.

Here we have a populace whose experience is the tilling of earth, the changing of seasons, basic survival, the village festival, and of course all the interpersonal shenanigans common to small communities. Add a collective disdain for the only thing not like them, the goblins in this case, and a form of paranoid racism begins to flourish. Resentment festers from the deaths of loved ones. Children are taught to hate and fear any goblin they see.

Then, one day, a half-demon lizard man with flaming wings and a huge- sized flaming spider pet (I realize it is an exaggerated example, but it is functional for this little scenario) enters town. This creature is so far out of their daily experience, that most will likely respond with terror with perhaps a few with a modicum of fascination. To deal with something so strange, it is likely village elders would be summoned, guards would be alerted, and it would be the biggest event the little village has ever experienced.

We are all influenced by our environment and our experiences, and this is also so for NPCs, both individuals and groups. I'm not a psychologist, but it doesn't take a stretch of the imagination to envision the outcome I depicted above, nor does it take much to predict what would happen if a player with a goblin character were to enter town.

Unfortunately, what this means is more work for the DM. If you are going to allow strange races into your game, then you might want to have at least a basic idea of how different communities in your campaign will react.

In the world I created, Drow are exceptionally rare, so much so that most average folk have never heard of them. Elves on the other hand are extremely prolific. So, average people would see a Drow with about the same reaction as seeing an albino, or "I didn't know elves came in that color".


The DM who does that extra work is a good DM, and deserves all the respect for fleshing out the campaign world at large. Just like with players, there are good and bad DMs. I consider a DM who doesn't do much work for the campaign world (or to work things out with his players) can't really be called a good one, just like how most of us can agree that munchkins and people who ignore the story completely generally make bad players.


Icyshadow wrote:
The DM who does that extra work is a good DM, and deserves all the respect for fleshing out the campaign world at large. Just like with players, there are good and bad DMs. I consider a DM who doesn't do much work for the campaign world (or to work things out with his players) can't really be called a good one, just like how most of us can agree that munchkins and people who ignore the story completely generally make bad players.

True. The more prepared the DM is, the more depth and richness will be added to the game.

Still, this can differ from gaming group to gaming group. Some groups love the complexities of social interactions in towns. Others really don't care what people think of them and are really just interested in the dungeon crawl.


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Sadly, the two groups of mine differ in that regard.

The one more lenient on homebrews and such things doesn't do much for story (the player who took a turn as DM was a pleasant exception), while the one focusing on story and such has that "tyrant" DM I keep complaining about. It's kind of a win-lose situation, no matter which group I stick with. Though by the end of the day, we're all friends and 99% of the cases where we play the session ends up being fun anyway, and that's what counts.


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There is something to be said for not forcing the GM to reshuffle their campaign world just to explain where your snowflake came from.

Mind you, I tend to play humans, so I'm biased. :/


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Arbane the Terrible wrote:
There is something to be said for not forcing the GM to reshuffle their campaign world just to explain where your snowflake came from.

I want to make this my status and my quote... and my flashing billboard, and the message I burn into the moon...


You speak of it as if it was a herculean task to just put one race in a setting.
I've been a DM, I have done that, and I can tell you, it's not that freaking hard.

Andoran

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Arbane the Terrible wrote:

There is something to be said for not forcing the GM to reshuffle their campaign world just to explain where your snowflake came from.

Mind you, I tend to play humans, so I'm biased. :/

There is also something to be said for not forcing your players to play a stolid ordinary race just so you don't have to think about how to accommodate their different story ideas.

I also tend to play humans, so maybe I'm biased too.


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None of this has ever really been a problem in may games because, by the time I add in all my third party material, I have over 50 races and 40 classes.

Usually, it is the players who end up asking for and choosing less. All well...


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Arbane the Terrible wrote:

There is something to be said for not forcing the GM to reshuffle their campaign world just to explain where your snowflake came from.

Mind you, I tend to play humans, so I'm biased. :/

There is also something to be said for not forcing your players to play a stolid ordinary race just so you don't have to think about how to accommodate their different story ideas.

I also tend to play humans, so maybe I'm biased too.

I have to agree. If people make their campaign worlds with undefined areas it will leave room for new things. That way it is easier to allow things without rewriting the history of the world. If the GM has this issue then it is by his own design, and not the player's fault.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm currently brewing my own setting, and I actually WANT player input. I want to know what my players want to play, what they want to encounter, so I can develop it and work it in there. All while including the things I want in there.

The big problem being that I don't HAVE permanent players to benefit from it yet. :(

Shadow Lodge

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One of the things I'm taking from mdt's homebrew is variance between countries.

He has a civilized continent and an uncivilized continent. He can run optimized hack and slash on the wild frontier, or heavy RP skill monkeying in the settled lands. Some places are so lawful you can't get away with being less than 100% human, others are so accepting that trolls and ogres stroll the streets.

Besides building in blank spaces to develop as needed, don't make your entire world the same, I.e. 'everyone hates orcs' or 'were-dragon-Minotaur dudes are normal citizens'. That way your setting can accommodate multiple campaign styles, just by locating them in a different geographical place.

(If you're having trouble grasping the concept, just think of any DM that has made any samurai/ninja characters come from a far off land. That's exactly what I'm talking about.)


Even in published settings I can find a way to fit things in. That is why I don't see why these GM's act like it is so difficult to fit ____ into a homebrew world.

The race does not have to be common, just make up a reason for its existence. I had warforged in Golarion before. They were a weapon of the runelords that had been forgotten about, and since very few ever saw use almost nobody knew about them. The player was one that was accidentally reactivated.


I have noticed this is society play as well. Tieflings are starting to pop up left and right and no one seems to care. In the book, with the exception of the raksasha bloodline, they are hated almost everywhere. But I hate to be the guy at the table who says "Why are people even talking to this guy, let alone helping him out?"

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