Racial stereotypes and Golarion.


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Diego Rossi wrote:

Probably because, for the above mentioned reasons, they get less images in the books. If you skim some product you tend to remember more the images than the text.

Think about Numeria. There are a few images of creatures from that land but I don't recall a single image of the crashed spaceship. So it stick less to memory if you aren't particularly interested to that part of the setting.

And this not a jab to the OP, no one has the time to read carefully all the material.

True. I'm just saying that Golarion does in fact have original nations that don't really defer to real-world cultures. Again, I point at Geb, Nex, and Numeria.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Re: Eberron

My problem with Eberron is that it's a setting that has spent an unearthly amount of pages and energy on making sure it's DIFFERENT for sake of being, em, different. From all those historical/mythological/fantasy/D&D tropes. Your Drow live underground and have a spider fetish? Well, our Drow live aboveground and have a scorpion kink! Your halflings are happy go lucky hobbits that hatch on to human communities? Well, our Halflings are dinosaur-riding barbarians! Your setting has t-rexes? Well, we have SHARDTOOTH SPINESLASHERS! Your settings have a thinly veiled Lovecraftian madness cosmic horror place? Well, ours has that too, except it's a different sort of thin veil. Take that Gygax! Screw you, Salvatore! Smell our donkeys, Tolkien! We're different! Vintage! We're Eberron, the hipster setting! Damn, I even have photos of Keith Baker twisting a moustache somewhere.

Now the problem was that at the very same time, there was the top-down requirement of "everything that exists in D&D exists in Eberron", so the setting existed in a perpetual schizophrenia of being forced to incorporate every D&D staple YET at the very same time trying to turn it all upside down.

And once you got through all this, there was little time and energy to actually have the setting live a life, and the amount of backpedalling and retconning was frustrating.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Yeah I hated the dinosaur names and their reason behind them. Made no sense whatsoever.


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Gorbacz wrote:

Re: Eberron

My problem with Eberron is that it's a setting that has spent an unearthly amount of pages and energy on making sure it's DIFFERENT for sake of being, em, different. From all those historical/mythological/fantasy/D&D tropes. Your Drow live underground and have a spider fetish? Well, our Drow live aboveground and have a scorpion kink! Your halflings are happy go lucky hobbits that hatch on to human communities? Well, our Halflings are dinosaur-riding barbarians! Your setting has t-rexes? Well, we have SHARDTOOTH SPINESLASHERS! Your settings have a thinly veiled Lovecraftian madness cosmic horror place? Well, ours has that too, except it's a different sort of thin veil. Take that Gygax! Screw you, Salvatore! Smell our donkeys, Tolkien! We're different! Vintage! We're Eberron, the hipster setting! Damn, I even have photos of Keith Baker twisting a moustache somewhere.

Now the problem was that at the very same time, there was the top-down requirement of "everything that exists in D&D exists in Eberron", so the setting existed in a perpetual schizophrenia of being forced to incorporate every D&D staple YET at the very same time trying to turn it all upside down.

And once you got through all this, there was little time and energy to actually have the setting live a life, and the amount of backpedalling and retconning was frustrating.

On the other hand, you have two different elf cultures, while maintaining the option to play your standard treehugger. You have a struggling hobgoblin nation that tries to reconnect with the leftovers of its imperial history. You have dwarves as mercantile powerhouses. A theocratic nation of supposedly lawful good alignment with quite a dark spot in their history. You have varied political players within a former unified country that vie for control, and who are deathly afraid of being the target of the next mourning. You have sea raiders/mercenaries/traders who are nothing like vikings. You have a new race of mechanical beings trying to find their way in the world. You have a nation of gnomes that is militarily weak, but has never been conquered by its neighbours, because they are scared to death of what the little buggers might know.

I am thankful that Eberron is different. I am also thankful that the world fits so well together. Unlike Golarion, where many parts feel out of place to me.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Fabius Maximus wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:

Re: Eberron

My problem with Eberron is that it's a setting that has spent an unearthly amount of pages and energy on making sure it's DIFFERENT for sake of being, em, different. From all those historical/mythological/fantasy/D&D tropes. Your Drow live underground and have a spider fetish? Well, our Drow live aboveground and have a scorpion kink! Your halflings are happy go lucky hobbits that hatch on to human communities? Well, our Halflings are dinosaur-riding barbarians! Your setting has t-rexes? Well, we have SHARDTOOTH SPINESLASHERS! Your settings have a thinly veiled Lovecraftian madness cosmic horror place? Well, ours has that too, except it's a different sort of thin veil. Take that Gygax! Screw you, Salvatore! Smell our donkeys, Tolkien! We're different! Vintage! We're Eberron, the hipster setting! Damn, I even have photos of Keith Baker twisting a moustache somewhere.

Now the problem was that at the very same time, there was the top-down requirement of "everything that exists in D&D exists in Eberron", so the setting existed in a perpetual schizophrenia of being forced to incorporate every D&D staple YET at the very same time trying to turn it all upside down.

And once you got through all this, there was little time and energy to actually have the setting live a life, and the amount of backpedalling and retconning was frustrating.

On the other hand, you have two different elf cultures, while maintaining the option to play your standard treehugger. You have a struggling hobgoblin nation that tries to reconnect with the leftovers of its imperial history. You have dwarves as mercantile powerhouses. A theocratic nation of supposedly lawful good alignment with quite a dark spot in their history. You have varied political players within a former unified country that vie for control, and who are deathly afraid of being the target of the next mourning. You have sea raiders/mercenaries/traders who are nothing like vikings. You have a new race of mechanical beings trying...

And all this means that in order to explain the world to the players, everybody pretty much has to read the campaign setting book, because everything is so forcibly original that you can't even use a single trope to help you out. Nothing is familiar, nothing is like something that you used to know.

Eberron feels like a setting that's written to showcase the creativity and flair of the author (and given that it came to life by the way of a creativity contest, it's no surprise) and not to be a setting that tries to makes running the game easier for the GM.

I guess that if you're looking for a setting that does away with tropes and goes 120% original creative left and right, Golarion is just not the setting for you. However, having played as a player and ran as a GM a couple dozen settings of all varieties, I keep coming back to those that entrench themselves in tropes (Golarion, 7th Sea, Rokugan,Ars Magica's Mythic Europe, heck even FR) and find turbo innovative ones (Earthdawn, Eberron, Midnight) a chore because you basically have to spend an ungodly amount of time making sure everybody at the table knows just how different the dwarves are over here instead of just rolling with the good old celtic norse bearded drunkards shtick everybody's got used to over the decades.

Game settings are not novels. In the latter, creativity and originality is great because the only person that has to handle it is the reader. In the former, the reader (GM) gets to pass all of this on to several other people, and every GM who's time starved knows the value of being able to pass on information easily.

Oh hell, now I'm defending Golarion dwarves. Go figure.

Liberty's Edge

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Fabius Maximus wrote:
On the other hand, you have two different elf cultures, while maintaining the option to play your standard treehugger. You have a struggling hobgoblin nation that tries to reconnect with the leftovers of its imperial history. You have dwarves as mercantile powerhouses. A theocratic nation of supposedly lawful good alignment with quite a dark spot in their history. You have varied political players within a former unified country that vie for control, and who are deathly afraid of being the target of the next mourning. You have sea raiders/mercenaries/traders who are nothing like vikings. You have a new race of mechanical beings trying...

Oddly, Golarion has almost all of that stuff too. The elves of Golarion have at least 4 different cultures that have been discussed in detail: the "Avistani" elves of Kyonin and Varisia (your standard standoffish, tree-hugging Wizards and Rangers), the Mordant Spire elves (seafaring xenophobes whose society revolves around the ruins of a dead human civilization, and seem to have a vaguely polynesian thing going on), the "wild elves" of the Mwangi Expanse (proud jungle nomads who never left Golarion and guard a mysterious ancient evil), and the elves in Tian Xia (who are lawful instead of chaotic and have adopted many of the trappings of Minkain/Japanese sociey).

That's not including the aquatic elves (who haven't really been explored in detail), the drow, the elves who still live on their home planet of Castrovel, forlorn elves raised among humans, the snowcaster elves, or the various minor elven societies that have apparently adapted to every environment in Golarion.

Likewise, while the dwarves of Golarion are mostly pretty "vanilla," they also have a number of interesting permutations.

The Prophecies of Kalistrade attract nearly as many dwarves as they do humans, and the dwarves of Druma and the Five Kings Mountains are the driving force behind the most powerful economy in Avistan.

Osirion is home to both the Pahmet (dwarves who believe they were sent by the ancient Osiriani gods to protect the Pharaohs and their ancestors) and the Ouat (an fairly mercenary organization of dwarven monks who frequently work as bodyguards for Osiriani wizards).

Farther south, the dwarves of Dongun Hold are pretty much responsible for the existence of the nation of Alkenstar, while the dwarves of the Shattered Range are nomads making annual migrations along secret tunnels and ravenes built by their distant ancestors

Finally, the Teralu or "jungle dwarves," who may share a common origin with the Shattered Range dwarves, practice animism and ancestor worship and revere dragons as divine beings.

Wow... that was a lot of text. Regardless, the point I'm trying to make is that I think Paizo has managed to strike a good balance with Golarion. GMs have the option of starting a campaign in a setting as familiar or exotic as they want, while still having the option to take it in a totally different direction without breaking story continuity or giving up the advantages of using a published setting.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Pretty much what Gnoll Bard said. Golarion has its differences living side-by-side with the more traditional elements of fantasy in order to grab a wider audience, then slowly introduce them to something different or expanded upon. All it takes is actually reading the setting and not just making assumptions about it.

Osirion is based heavily on Egyptian culture, but is expanded upon. Much like the Northern Water Tribe is based heavily on Inuit culture and expanded upon. Paizo took four aspects of Egypt and expanded upon it; ancient ruins and monuments, ties with the dead, 'ancient astronaut' theories, and the politics of independence. This leads us to what they expanded it to. Osirion is littered with monuments, not just pyramids and sphinxes. The palace itself is inside of the husk of Ulunat, a massive scarab-like Spawn of Rovagug. That's right, the palace is inside of what is essentially the brother of the Tarrasque. Osirion is also steeped into necromancy and has special metamagics, spells, and artifacts dedicated to the art. They even use necromancy for the royal guard, the Risen Guard, to constantly have a small retinue of elite guards that can keep coming back to protect their pharaoh. The "ancient alien" theory leads into the more Lovecraftian elements in the setting, as well as the Dominion of the Black and Osirion's reverence of Aucturn, the Living Planet. This is probably the least expanded upon, but with Distant Worlds' popularity, I can imagine that this will be expanded upon more in the future.

Like Osirion, the Northern Water Tribe is expanded upon quite a bit. Osirion's focus is on necromancy and how it affects their daily life, while the Northern tribe's focus is on how water bending affects their daily life. Since it's about water bending, they set them in the north where they can meld the ice. The architecture combines their magic with igloos, creating a large city of ice.

That's about all I can remember from the Osirion book and Distant Worlds. There is much more about the nationalist pride the Osirions have, but I don't recall much of it.


On Settings: I love me some FR, some Eberron, some Spelljammer (which I never got too into because no one had anything about it), and some Golarion. Greyhawk's pretty cool but feels a bit... I dunno, I just never got into Oerth all that much, though it's got some really nifty bits in there. I'm not all that big on Dragonlance; it's not a bad setting, but it's just kind of meh, even with the novels - I often feel it's a bit overblown and melodramatic (which is strange considering I hear that often about FR from others, even though I feel that setting handles its melodrama better); similarly to Greyhawk, though, it's got some really nifty bits. I'm just plane (hah! Get it?!) underexposed to Planescape, having never really had the chance to play anything there; similarly Ravenloft (though the basic ideas of both are kind of nifty). Since we never got into settings at all other than homebrew prior to 3E, I can't really tell you about stuff before that. I guess my tastes run through the super-unique (Eberron, Spelljammer), to the troperific (Forgotten Realms), to the Expy-Central - with super unique bits (Golarion).

Off topic, of what measure is a hipster?:
(I don't think I'm a hipster. A nerd, maybe, but not a hipster. I don't even have good fashion sense: everything I wear is pretty much button-up long-sleeve shirts with rolled sleeves and blue jeans. Partial exceptions include weddings and funerals. Besides that: there's nothing particularly wrong with being a "hipster", from what I can tell, other than they're kind of "cool to shun" now.)
Anyway, point is, I like a lot of different settings with very different ideas from each other, each of which set apart their own style.

And Golarion is pretty much on the top of the list - one of my top four. Like any good setting, it has both the straightforward "this is awesome" hooks, and the far more subtle, "the more you dig at it, the more interesting and varied information you find" sides. I understand that some people don't like it or don't like certain parts of it - I certainly have a problem with the hardline "no non-evil undead" stance that James Jacobs has taken for the setting (among other things) - but the setting as a whole, and in most all of its parts is a rather amazing piece of work... I have to respect the skill, dedication, and focus that went into making it, even when there are things I don't like. I'm a huge fan of Golarion, and to call it 'bland' is simply incorrect. I'd love to see another setting with the U.S.A being a small country that occupies the south-western border of France, bordered itself by the super-empire of Spain/others and the opposing super-empire of SATAN-WORSHIPER/England. There isn't another setting that I've seen that has demons literally about to burst forth at any moment that are held back because... um (oh, yeah, and there's a crusade or whatever)*. I've not seen another setting that has an Old Man Jatambe: he's kind of like a variant of Mordenkainan done even better. Also, he's black and super-awesome. (Parts of me kind of wish that he had become the god of humanity instead of Aroden. There's nothing wrong with Aroden, mind, but only one of the two literally stitched up the mouth of the evil snake-god who sought to destroy all of humanity - though neither of them actually beheaded the guy - and it wasn't the last Azlanti.) And these are some of the more 'bland' or 'straightforward' parts that people often complain about. I dunno, maybe I'm weird (well, okay, even weirder), but to me these things just scream awesome and unique.

* Representative of a potential demonic view, not the view of this poster.

Liberty's Edge

I never really got into many of the AD&D campaign settings, with two exceptions: Birthright and Planescape. The two were a fascinating study in contrasts, and I loved them both.

Planescape was about as "different" as a D&D setting could be; low-level characters on the outer planes, living in an urban setting more inspired by Victorian London than any traditional fantasy setting, where philosophies shaped the very structure of the campaign world and knowledge and wits were far more important than any measure of physical or magical might.

Birthright, on the other hand, was a very traditional fantasy setting; cultures that were mostly analogues of real-world peoples, divided into squabbling feudal baronies surrounded by monster-filled wildernesses.

What made Birthright unique, of course, was that the setting was *dynamic*. It represented a canvas upon which your characters could struggle to create their own kingdoms and empires, and had a wealth of fluff and mechanics to help you do just that.

I'm not sure what endears me to Golarion so much; maybe it's just that it's new enough that it's not as overburdened with superhero NPCs as Forgotten Realms or Grayhawk. Maybe it's that I can find something interesting to me in just about every country they've described. Maybe it's just that I've spent too much time reading sourcebooks and I've got fluff-hypnosis. I dunno. :P

Edit: Incidentally, Nethys, like Aroden, started out as a mortal... he was purple, apparently, but I think he was described as having more-or-less african features. Also, I'm not sure anybody knows what ever happened to Jatembe...


Actually I forgot about Birthright. I've heard of it and been interested in it, but, like Planescape, I haven't been exposed to it enough to know it well.


I think Lost Empires and some other material here and there make it pretty obvious that Nethys wasn't human, and probably not originally from Golarion


I do not mean this to be pedantic, but do you mean Lost Kingdoms, or is there something I don't know about?


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Was about to say... purple with African features? Sounds familiar...

Although the picture I've seen from Gods and Magic, he looked lighter skinned. More Arabic than African.


Yeah I mean Lost Kingdoms

I might be that Nethys has adopted a more human guise for his worshippers, plus his origins are a big mystery, so he might be choosing to downplay/obscure extraterrestrial origins


ever setting has some cool garbage.... but for everything someone likes in it, there is someone out there tthat someone elses doesnt like.

I detest eberron... it has some good races..... the changelings and wahtever that one race si that startes wth k

thats it.......

( so markustay are golarion elves evil?)

Liberty's Edge

MMCJawa wrote:

Yeah I mean Lost Kingdoms

I might be that Nethys has adopted a more human guise for his worshippers, plus his origins are a big mystery, so he might be choosing to downplay/obscure extraterrestrial origins

Huh, that never occured to me. When I read Lost Kingdoms, I just assumed he was... weird, and magical. A living demigod, like Aroden, who had been transformed by his own magic. There's a brief reference to him coming from the West, so I figured there was some possibility that he was another survivor of the sinking of Azlant.

Liberty's Edge

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Tacticslion wrote:
Actually I forgot about Birthright. I've heard of it and been interested in it, but, like Planescape, I haven't been exposed to it enough to know it well.

Both are quite good, and still have fan followings online, You can find a lot of setting information and even attempted 3e adaptations at Planewalker.com and Birthright.net, if you're interested. The Planewalker site has some issues these days, and I find it a little irritating that their 3rd edition campaign setting stuff is almost all post-Faction War, but there's still some cool stuff on there.


where's the Mwangi countries and kingdoms and empires. why are all Mwangi savages/primitive or slaves under the power of colonial forces like tyrannical Sargava . why are there no civilizations


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
xavier c wrote:
where's the Mwangi countries and kingdoms and empires. why are all Mwangi savages/primitive or slaves under the power of colonial forces like tyrannical Sargava . why are there no civilizations

You should probably re-read everything we've posted in the first page. You'll find that that is incorrect in the setting. Sargava is one small example, but if you read Pathfinder Heart of the Jungle, you'll get introduced to some of the actual empires of the Mwangi.

Sovereign Court

xavier c wrote:
Where's the Mwangi countries and kingdoms and empires? Why are all Mwangi savages/primitive or slaves under the power of colonial forces like tyrannical Sargava? Why are there no civilizations?

Read this and it will become clear that your questions are built upon false assumptions.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

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Why all the Eberron hate?

Keeping on topic, I think what you get with the races (and cultures) is kind of like what you get looking at Appalachia. First glance gives all the sterotypes; hillbillies, dumb hicks, Moonshine and Nascar (That show Moonshiners clearly isn't helping) When you dig deeper, you discover more things. Music, culture, history, legends, etc. that completely blow away the initial sterotypes.

As a result, you can play a Legolas knock-off elf in Golarion, while your buddy plays a Mordant elf. (Aside, it would be funny to play a forlorn elf who buys into every racial stereotype, because that's how he beleives he should act.) You can play the noble savage Mwangi next to the cultured Mwangi wizard. Your buddy can play his heavy metal playing, Asmodeus worshiping bard, while you play the Genteel Cheliax noble who maintains the traditions dating back long before that upstart House of Thrune stole the throne. etc. etc.


Odraude wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:

Probably because, for the above mentioned reasons, they get less images in the books. If you skim some product you tend to remember more the images than the text.

Think about Numeria. There are a few images of creatures from that land but I don't recall a single image of the crashed spaceship. So it stick less to memory if you aren't particularly interested to that part of the setting.

And this not a jab to the OP, no one has the time to read carefully all the material.

True. I'm just saying that Golarion does in fact have original nations that don't really defer to real-world cultures. Again, I point at Geb, Nex, and Numeria.

You just managed to list my three least-favorite Golarion nations.

Not everyone is going to agree. A good setting (IMO) is one that 75-80% of the material is greatly liked by 75-80% of the fans. No setting is ever going to get around the 100/100% marks. If you can get around 90/90% you've hit one out of the park (and I think Golarion might actually sit somewhere around there).

As for Golarion's dwarves, I found them to be different... but not different enough. Same goes for the Elves. Interesting back-stories, but the flavor is still very generic.

Now, the gnomes... there I think they did hit one out of the park. Finally, someone had the good sense to get them the hell away form the 'Tinker Gnome' concept (damn you, Dragonlance!).


Fabius Maximus wrote:
Why did you hate Eberron (if that's too off-topic, I apologize).

I guess it's not really hate, it's more like apathy. Eberron just doesn't look fun to me. It's very bluh.

Like I said above, nothing intrinsic to the setting interested me. I liked the Warforged, Shifter, and Changeling (renamed them Morphling to avoid confusion with Paizo's hag-spawn race) races, I liked some of the classes so long as you could rewrite or ignore the fluff that tied them to the setting, I liked some of the magic and some of the monsters (LOVE Living Spells for example!).

But the setting itself? Meh. No interest whatsoever. I don't like politics games, so the main draw of 90% of the urban stuff in Eberron is lost on me. (Same reason I didn't care for Drow in FR - everything about them was more like playing cloak-and-dagger politics scheming than evil would-be surface-conquering elves.) Most of the cultures were bluh.

And yes, the lack of familiarity was a point down for me. There was nothing I could latch onto with a "Okay this I get, this is familiar, I can start from here and learn the weirder stuff as I go". Greyhawk had that, but Greyhawk was pretty standard fare. FR had it, and I played FR for years, though the constant retcons and contortions of the setting, expansion via novels I never read, and bazillion other things eventually got on my nerves and I quit. Golarion has it, and if I hadn't started work on my own custom homebrew setting after getting fed up with FR I'd probably be playing there; as it is, I'm occasionally borrowing a couple things as I stumble across them if I think they're cool.

Simply put - you and I are at two opposite ends of what we want out of a setting, and if it appeals to you it's probably going to be irritating, confusing, or bluh for me. If it appeals to me, it's probably going to be too "normal" or real-world borrowed to you.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

@Orthos,

That makes sense. I didn't worry about the background differences as I just consumed the material as it came out. The culture shifts for the elves and halflings were different, and in the halfling's case, revived the race for me (much as Golarion has with gnomes). I also enjoy the politics thing, so yeah, different strokes and all that.

Though for 'latching on' the Kaltashar/Inspired/Qu'ori aways made me think of Tok'ra/Jaffa/Go'uld, and I went from there :-)


If I'd ever seen Stargate I might have caught that, but I never have so... *whoosh hand over head*

I like my vagrant, homeland-less Halflings, personally, they've always been one of my favorite races with the basic flavor. Though I've tied their presence and existence much closer to Humans in my setting. I'm still toying around with them a little... I keep coming back to the idea of them being relentless information-collectors, but never sure where to go with it from there.


Its weird for me. I'd love to play in an Eberron game, but I'd never run one. I like lots of parts about it, but not the setting as a whole. Strange, I know.

I think the halflings are one of my favorite bits.

As for Stargate, I've used quite a lot of that flavor (in the background) of my games. In FR, the Imaskari ARE the Goa'uld. They had settlements on Earth (so I reversed the FR canon there), Oerth (Greyhawk), Eberron, and dozens of other worlds... which I guess includes Golarion, now that I'm a fan.

The only major change I made is that the Goa'uld are not so much space-based, but were Planeswalkers (to give it less of a Scify vibe).

Birthright was one of my least favorite settings simply because it didn't feel like an RPG to me. However, as I've looked back through the older material, I realize now that the world itself (Aebrynis) wasn't half bad.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Honestly, I didn't like the halflings in Eberron. Felt they were stuck just being cannibals and nothing more and the decision was just more for shock value and to try and be different.


MarkusTay wrote:


Now, the gnomes... there I think they did hit one out of the park. Finally, someone had the good sense to get them the hell away form the 'Tinker Gnome' concept (damn you, Dragonlance!).

I find that amusing since "Tinker gnomes" were themselves an attempt to do just what you want: Take a different approach to one of the existing races.

As for that matter were kender. Basically halflings with the fluff of being annoying.

Mind you, I think they were both bad approaches, but then I want my core races to be recognizable as traditional, generic if you will, dwarves, elves, what-have-you.
A new player who says "I want to play a dwarf", should be able to do so and have that experience roughly match his expectations. That means sticking fairly close to the traditional mainstream fantasy dwarf - short, stocky, bearded, underground, miners and warriors. Play with the fluff from there, but keep the basics accessible.


thejeff wrote:
I find that amusing since "Tinker gnomes" were themselves an attempt to do just what you want <snip>

Its not what I want at all - when it comes to gaming I'm a traditionalist. I want everything recognizable as well.

However, I am an avid reader (as I am sure most RPGers are) and I love reading new takes on old ideas - the weirder the better (so long as the writing is good). I guess I am strange on this count as well - the kinds of worlds I like reading about aren't necessarily the kinds of worlds I want to play in. I went from Greyhawk (and Mystra) to Forgotten Realms to Golarion; I've never had interest in playing in Dragonlance or Dark Sun. It becomes very hard to play in a world where none of the things are RW analogs. Trolls hate fire, vampires don't like the sun, humans don't breath water, etc... there are just too many variables we need to take for granted. Unique creatures, locales, and villains are fun, but when the whole world is unique, it becomes unsettling.


All this reminds me of when I was playing an Elf rogue in pathfinder society, and the DM actually asked where I was from and what I looked like in order to gauge how the NPCs would react to me. I told him what I looked like, but I was embarrased because I didn't know jack about the setting, or where elves come from, or anything. All that was in the extra source books that I hadn't read, and I wasn't sure how I would short of buying them (which is unlikely).

I guess that's not the game's fault, but still. It sucks.

Liberty's Edge

Odraude wrote:
Honestly, I didn't like the halflings in Eberron. Felt they were stuck just being cannibals and nothing more and the decision was just more for shock value and to try and be different.

Eberron has cannibal Halflings? Man, when did that become a cliche? As far as I know, Dark Sun was the first setting to do it, but now Eberron and Golarion have em too. Heck, there's even a setting-independent one in the NPC Codex.

About all I know about Eberron comes from hearsay and playing a little bit of DDO, so I'm sure whatever opinions I have on the setting are ill-informed at best. That said, I've never really found it all that interesting... it just doesn't feel right to me, somehow. I think my taste in fantasy was shaped at an early age by The Hobbit, the film Excalibur (my mom got really mad when she found out that my dad had shown me that one...), and the Lone Wolf gamebooks by Joe Dever. As a result, I feel like I get turned off by settings that seem too... shiny.

I mean, fantastical flying cities and crystal castles and such are great, but I prefer it if the world has a sizeable population of mud-caked dirt farmers, too. I know that Pathfinder assumes that magic is all over the place and that characters with PC classes can do some pretty over-the-top things, but I like that Golarion has places like the River Kingdoms and Brevoy, full of hard-bitten people who have to struggle to survive and for whom magic is unusual and not to be trusted.

Every time I've heard descriptions of Eberron, they made it sound like a "better living through technomagic" kind of setting, where people tended to have more modern-style conveniences and were pretty much used to crazy things like sentient magical robots and the like. Like I said, though, I could be totally wrong.

Liberty's Edge

thejeff wrote:
As for that matter were kender. Basically halflings with the fluff of being annoying.

Ugh, too true. I actually really like halflings; tinkering with halfling characters has recently become something of an obsession of mine. Not sure why, exactly; I think it's just that I have an affinity for underdogs and unlikely heroes, particularly those who come from a background of "regular folk."

I can't stand the Kender... even before I'd read any Dragonlance stuff, I'd heard of them, and grown to despise them. They're sort of like every Halfling Rogue steriotype rolled into one. Actually, they kind of remind me of the time I ran a game and let one of my players play a leprichaun. x_x

There are a lot of strong opinions, both positive and negative, about Golarion gnomes, but I think Paizo actually did a really good job with Halflings, as well. In most settings they seem to pretty much be hobbit clones that are just sort of... around, but don't really do much. Birthright had a pretty interesting take on them, actually, which is similar to what Paizo has done with gnomes, but in Golarion they're more tightly integrated into the setting than I've really seen before.

They're still recognizable to long-time D&D fans, and they're still easily overlooked, with no real nations or settlements of their own, but they've been given a rich enough history in the Inner Sea Region that they're actually one of the more interesting races to play, in terms of role-playing opportunities. The "escaped slave from Cheliax" is always an option, but far from the only one. In Andoran, they're among the most dedicated supporters of the Republic. In Galt they've gained a measure of freedom but are imperiled by their past association with the old nobility. In Osirion they're mostly still an underclass, but they take pride in having played a part in creating the great monuments that dot the land. In Katapesh they can do quite well if they're willing to take advantage of local superstitions.

In short, halflings in the setting have a unifing history of servitude, but the halflings of different countries can be as different as the human cultures there, which I think is really cool.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Actually I was mistaken. I was confusing Dark Sun with Eberron. My bad.


here are some relatively overused racial steriotypes involving elves and dwarves

Elves

  • are pricks with a superiority complex
  • gravitate to guerilla warfare
  • are flighty and dodgy
  • have surnames like Sunflower, Moonwhisper and Shadowsong
  • wear dresses, regardless of gender
  • their bones snap like twigs
  • have the most effeminate deities

Dwarves


  • are greedy to the point they will flip out and commit a spree of murders over a single missing copper piece
  • are alcoholic enough to flip out and kill a guy over spilling a single drop of vodka
  • carry axes and hammers
  • have surnames like Axebeard, Stronghammer, and Earthbreaker
  • are often berserkers who will flip out the moment a rival organization enters their mine, and murder the potential competitors who dare cut into their profits
  • wear heavy armor all the time
  • have few arcane casters that aren't also blacksmiths


Odraude wrote:
Actually I was mistaken. I was confusing Dark Sun with Eberron. My bad.

Heh, I just thought you were over-exaggerating the whole "barbarian" thing. So they were actually cannibals in Dark Sun? Strange (and creepy) choice.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:

here are some relatively overused racial steriotypes involving elves and dwarves

Elves

  • are pricks with a superiority complex
  • gravitate to guerilla warfare
  • are flighty and dodgy
  • have surnames like Sunflower, Moonwhisper and Shadowsong
  • wear dresses, regardless of gender
  • their bones snap like twigs
  • have the most effeminate deities

Dwarves


  • are greedy to the point they will flip out and commit a spree of murders over a single missing copper piece
  • are alcoholic enough to flip out and kill a guy over spilling a single drop of vodka
  • carry axes and hammers
  • have surnames like Axebeard, Stronghammer, and Earthbreaker
  • are often berserkers who will flip out the moment a rival organization enters their mine, and murder the potential competitors who dare cut into their profits
  • wear heavy armor all the time
  • have few arcane casters that aren't also blacksmiths

It's kind of funny. In my homebrew, I somewhat flipped the elves and dwarves a bit. I took a page from Santa's Workshop and made a set of elves that were good at crafting and tinkering. Had an NPC Elf Blacksmith named 'Delgado' that built weapons for the players. Also had a set of dwarves that were more nature based, but not in the 'pansy' way but a more stolid, taciturn way.

Liberty's Edge

Tacticslion wrote:
Odraude wrote:
Actually I was mistaken. I was confusing Dark Sun with Eberron. My bad.
Heh, I just thought you were over-exaggerating the whole "barbarian" thing. So they were actually cannibals in Dark Sun? Strange (and creepy) choice.

I think that in Dark Sun, all the remaining Halflings inhabited (one of) the last forest(s) on the planet, after defiler wizards had reduced most of it to a desert. There had also been, as I recall, several massive campaigns of genocide carried out against the various demi-human races. So you wound up with nature-worshiping, "use every part of what you kill" type halfling barbarians... who were also homicidally xenophobic. If they caught you in their forest they would, to misquote Firefly, "kill you, skin you, butcher you, eat your flesh, carve weapons from your bones, and sew clothing from your skin. And if you were very, very lucky, they'd do it in that order."

At least, that's what I remember. I never got into Dark Sun all that much, so I could be totally wrong.

Sovereign Court

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:

here are some relatively overused racial steriotypes involving elves and dwarves

Elves

  • are pricks with a superiority complex
  • gravitate to guerilla warfare
  • are flighty and dodgy
  • have surnames like Sunflower, Moonwhisper and Shadowsong
  • wear dresses, regardless of gender
  • their bones snap like twigs
  • have the most effeminate deities

Dwarves


  • are greedy to the point they will flip out and commit a spree of murders over a single missing copper piece
  • are alcoholic enough to flip out and kill a guy over spilling a single drop of vodka
  • carry axes and hammers
  • have surnames like Axebeard, Stronghammer, and Earthbreaker
  • are often berserkers who will flip out the moment a rival organization enters their mine, and murder the potential competitors who dare cut into their profits
  • wear heavy armor all the time
  • have few arcane casters that aren't also blacksmiths

What is interesting here is that a lot of the most negative ones are things I was never aware of until the interwebs: writers just don't put them in stories or settings.

Notably, dwarven pychosis was something I only saw as a one-off character in a single novel, and that guy was seen as dangerously weird.

Similarly, the kind of pseudo-homophobic elf-hate stuff seems to be purely the creation of forum trolls and people who think pointing and laughing at people is a substitute for genuine humour.
Nobody ever put that stuff in a novel or CS that I read, I remember an Elaine Cunningham book with an elf who believed in racial superiority: he was a villain...

Liberty's Edge

Gnoll Bard wrote:
Odraude wrote:
Honestly, I didn't like the halflings in Eberron. Felt they were stuck just being cannibals and nothing more and the decision was just more for shock value and to try and be different.
Eberron has cannibal Halflings? Man, when did that become a cliche? As far as I know, Dark Sun was the first setting to do it, but now Eberron and Golarion have em too. Heck, there's even a setting-independent one in the NPC Codex.

Looking Halfling of Golarion I don't see any reference to cannibalistic halfling. Halfling are often slaves and are luck bringers (or bad luck bringers with the appropriate feats).

So where have you found this reference to cannibalistic halflings?
I suppose there can be some halfling tribe somewhere that is cannibalistic, but that is valid for human too and it don't make humans a cannibalistic race.

The Exchange

Golarian Gnomes are the first gnome to deserve to live.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jeff Erwin wrote:
Odraude wrote:
Jeff Erwin wrote:

Tekumel (website)...

The most recent edition came out in 2005, actually.

I tried looking at some sites and I can't figure out where to buy the newest edition.
It went out of print not long ago. Try here. The Tri-stat 2005 rules go for about 40.00.

You can purchase PDFs at DriveThruRPG.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Diego Rossi wrote:
Gnoll Bard wrote:
Odraude wrote:
Honestly, I didn't like the halflings in Eberron. Felt they were stuck just being cannibals and nothing more and the decision was just more for shock value and to try and be different.
Eberron has cannibal Halflings? Man, when did that become a cliche? As far as I know, Dark Sun was the first setting to do it, but now Eberron and Golarion have em too. Heck, there's even a setting-independent one in the NPC Codex.

Looking Halfling of Golarion I don't see any reference to cannibalistic halfling. Halfling are often slaves and are luck bringers (or bad luck bringers with the appropriate feats).

So where have you found this reference to cannibalistic halflings?
I suppose there can be some halfling tribe somewhere that is cannibalistic, but that is valid for human too and it don't make humans a cannibalistic race.

Arcanis had savage psionic hafling races which were one of the ten races hunted to extinction by the Ellori on orders of their Lizard masters. (turns out they missed a few)

Sovereign Court Contributor

LazarX wrote:
Jeff Erwin wrote:
Odraude wrote:
Jeff Erwin wrote:

Tekumel (website)...

The most recent edition came out in 2005, actually.

I tried looking at some sites and I can't figure out where to buy the newest edition.
It went out of print not long ago. Try here. The Tri-stat 2005 rules go for about 40.00.
You can purchase PDFs at DriveThruRPG.

Those are the original game, not the cleaned up newer edition.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Jeff Erwin wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Jeff Erwin wrote:
Odraude wrote:
Jeff Erwin wrote:

Tekumel (website)...

The most recent edition came out in 2005, actually.

I tried looking at some sites and I can't figure out where to buy the newest edition.
It went out of print not long ago. Try here. The Tri-stat 2005 rules go for about 40.00.
You can purchase PDFs at DriveThruRPG.
Those are the original game, not the cleaned up newer edition.

Indeed. Apparently, a newer version based on a new edition of Pocket Universe RPG will be in production. So, I'll just wait for that.

Project Manager

GeraintElberion wrote:

What is interesting here is that a lot of the most negative ones are things I was never aware of until the interwebs: writers just don't put them in stories or settings.

Notably, dwarven pychosis was something I only saw as a one-off character in a single novel, and that guy was seen as dangerously weird.

Tolkien was pretty emphatic about dwarven greed. In The Hobbit, especially, there's a thin line between most of the dwarves and the dragon.


Jessica Price wrote:
GeraintElberion wrote:

What is interesting here is that a lot of the most negative ones are things I was never aware of until the interwebs: writers just don't put them in stories or settings.

Notably, dwarven pychosis was something I only saw as a one-off character in a single novel, and that guy was seen as dangerously weird.

Tolkien was pretty emphatic about dwarven greed. In The Hobbit, especially, there's a thin line between most of the dwarves and the dragon.

The greed was exacerbated and magnified by a ring of power.... As the Rings of the elves were the only ones that Sauron did not have a hand in making.

Silver Crusade

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Fabius Maximus wrote:

Two questions:

What would be the problem in taking out everything that is typical Egyptian in Osirion (to pick one example), including the name, and replacing it with something else?

Why did you hat Eberron (if that's too off-topic, I apologize).

Speaking only for myself:

The problem with doing that to Osirion is that it kills teh reason I love it. I want that Ancient Egyptian flavor. That kind of flavor doesn't get nearly as much play as Western Medieval Europe, nor does it often get treated with any sort of depth beyond "deserts and pyramids".

I want Fantasy Egypt. I want the romance of the desert and the Nile. I want the Egyptian aesthetics. I want the fashions that range from "bald common folk in loincloths" to "My golden crown is actually an honor-bound phoenix/couatl bodyguard, your argument is irrelevent." I want the basic feel of their society. I want the god-kings. I want the Ma'at. I want the people.

Honestly, having a bunch of tombs to raid hardly enters the equation. With that flavor, it seems more natural to view those tombs as things to protect. That's more in line with the flavor of Ancient Egypt.

Regarding Eberron, I didn't hate it. There was quite a lot that I really liked. It was the first D&D setting to finally present something close to the orcs I always wanted.

And then they never actually fleshed them out or did anything with them. >:(

(scorpion-revering drow are cool, and actually work perfectly in Golarion as well considering the rampant demon worship and Aldinach)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mikaze wrote:

I want Fantasy Egypt. I want the romance of the desert and the Nile. I want the Egyptian aesthetics. I want the fashions that range from "bald common folk in loincloths" to "My golden crown is actually an honor-bound phoenix/couatl bodyguard, your argument is irrelevent." I want the basic feel of their society. I want the god-kings. I want the Ma'at. I want the people.

There was one of the Forgotten Realm Supplements that concentrated on Unther and Mulhorand. Essentially Sumer and Egypt. You might find material there to use.

If you played the last expac of Cataclysm, you'd have loved Uldum.


And then 4E ruined everything*:
Sadly, 4E wiped out Unther and Mulhorand entirely (which, along with Turmish and the Vilhoun at large <EDIT: and Halruaa!>, were some of my favorite places to poke around).

* Not really.

Frankly, I love the fact that an Osirion godking is one of the few people - ever - to actually become a god. I thought that was kind of clever, really.

EDIT: by the way, Mikaze, do you have links to any of those images of Aroden you mentioned, or could you point out anything that I could look for?

Liberty's Edge

Diego Rossi wrote:
Gnoll Bard wrote:
Odraude wrote:
Honestly, I didn't like the halflings in Eberron. Felt they were stuck just being cannibals and nothing more and the decision was just more for shock value and to try and be different.
Eberron has cannibal Halflings? Man, when did that become a cliche? As far as I know, Dark Sun was the first setting to do it, but now Eberron and Golarion have em too. Heck, there's even a setting-independent one in the NPC Codex.

Looking Halfling of Golarion I don't see any reference to cannibalistic halfling. Halfling are often slaves and are luck bringers (or bad luck bringers with the appropriate feats).

So where have you found this reference to cannibalistic halflings?
I suppose there can be some halfling tribe somewhere that is cannibalistic, but that is valid for human too and it don't make humans a cannibalistic race.

It's fairly obscure, but the Kaava Lands in the Mwangi Expanse have been fairly consistently described as being dominated by tribes of cannibalistic halflings. No real details given, save that I think they worship Zura or some similar demon lord, but the Kaava Lands are a fairly large region, so I guess there must be a fair number of them.

I never said that halflings were a cannibal race; I'm pretty sure I've seen canonical instances of cannibalism among every PC race in one source or another. Heck, there has been some suggestion that Kabriri, the demon lord of Ghouls, was an elf in his mortal life, and he was the very first cannibal, supposedly. I was just saying that "jungle-dwelling cannibal halflings" seems to have become a trope unto itself; probably because of pop-culture depictions of Pygmies.

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