Talk me down: Exotic Race Antipathy


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Grand Lodge

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99% of the time, I play human because they are for me, mechanically superior.

If I'm given a choice amongst only the core races - Human.

If I'm given a choice amongst all the ARG races, I agonize over my discussion. I look to Kobolds and Ratfolk and Catfolk and their like. I look at the ability to blend multiple spell lists together with Samsaran.. and in the end, I chose human with a kobold heritage, just so I could be a sniper with a musket.

In 3.5, If i was given the choice though, I'd play lupin. they were my favorite race, because they were so close to human, but it didn't /look/ like a human.

Dwarf - Short drunk human with a beard and growth issues
Elf - Flamboyant human with pointy ears. Loves trees.
Half-elf - Questionably flamboyant with slightly pointy ears.
Half-orc - Ugly, angry human with terrible teeth
Gnome - Really short human who loves glitter.
halfling - Gary Coleman.

That is pretty much how I look at the core races. I love animal-people races.. because they are quite a bit less human, and I often idealize them to bring them further from just a human with an animal head. My lupins for example would often wear a collar, which gave them AC vs a vampire bite, but I wore them cause Its a dog.


Rynjin wrote:
Umbral Reaver wrote:
Actually, now I'm curious. How many GMs out there are running campaigns wherein you would allow a player to play an undead exoskeleton of a human-sized termite (presuming it's a 0-HD race)?

Honestly, I'd be all over it. Would have to find a place that makes sense for it in the world (and probably make it rare), and make sure it's balanced (it actually having all those Undead immunities would be pretty unbalanced from 1st level), but it sounds hella cool.

A little weird, yeah, but is it really any weirder than the Half-Eldritch Abomination covered in eyeballs and weird tentacles (Qlippoth spawn Tiefling, which is also coincidentally a rare type of Tiefling) in the grand scheme?

The hollow hivekin (and regular hivekin) are playable races in the game I'm working on. Undead have extra problems that roughly balance out their immunities (which are far fewer than in D&D/PF). They are not well received by other races, but are grudgingly accepted in the more cosmopolitan places. The hivekin and their hollows have a complex culture based largely on a belief that the self is a non-entity apart from the hive. They can have individual wants and preferences, but think of them in terms of 'this is what I think would benefit the hive best'. Selfishness is alien to them. So they are totally okay with being undead if it means they can serve the hive longer than their lifespan would allow.

Hivekin adventurers tend to be more open-minded but are still usually motivated by curiosity at what relics and knowledge might be out there in the world to make their hive stronger.

Fortunately for the hivekin, it's hard for non-carapaced humanoids to tell the difference between a living hivekin and an undead one.


[threadjack for Umbral Reaver] I created undead skeletal upright tool-using crabs - the k'kin - in Kobold Press' Journeys to the West - that the exo-skeletal/carapace is on the outside is totally creepy and does make it hard to tell whether they are alive or dead from a distance...

I like the sound of the hollow hivekin - can you PM me more details? [/threadjack]


They don't have PF stats, I'm afraid. They're for a homebrew system that works rather differently.


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Sissyl wrote:
There are today literally hundreds of different races in the game. When making a campaign, is there anything wrong with never repeating race for NPCs? Would it feel strange to you to play in such a world, and if so, why?

Welp, now I have to do that. Thanks :)


Hmm..I'm with the other people that's said it already. Generally speaking, I don't like playing humans. I've actually banned players from playing humans because I got sick of seeing them. They can be great characters, but I tend to find them really boring.

In the world I created, which is generally the world I DM in, pretty much all races are acceptable. Some may have social backlashes, which I'll always point out. But I almost never tell a player they can't play an exotic race*.

* I generally won't let one of my cousin's play anything except for base races because he'll wait till the last minute and want to make a super complicated character. And I got sick of that, so he generally does not have exotic race privilages.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
My Razor Coast campaign looks to be an average mix. I have one guy thinking of playing an ifrit or sylph, but the only other person to mention a race has said dwarf. It's more a discussion of classes right now than anything.

Final lineup:

Elven Wizard
Gnome Oracle
Aasimar Bard
Ifrit Monk


It must suck to be a Golorian Human. I mean think about it. Every time the world needs saving, not only does a group of heroes have to come along to save it. But your fellow humans hardly ever measure up to being part of that group. It's like you are a second-class species, even though you are in s human-centric world. Gotta be a bummer.... :)

Pump Up the Volume & Golorian Humans wrote:
Everything decent's been done. All the great themes have been used up. Turned into theme parks. So I don't really find it exactly cheerful to be living in the middle of a totally, like, exhausted decade where there's nothing to look forward to and no one to look up to.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Aroden doesn't count?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yeah Aroden is the first mythic human turned bad @#$. :)


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In our current (about to go into hiatus) campaign it's just core races (we started out core-only, and added books in as the GM started to feel more comfortable). But now, in our next campaign, we haven't even decided on classes yet... but for races, we're tossing around the idea of doing something like: Ifrit, Oread, Slyph, Undine, Aasimar.

Not for mechanical advantages, or because we want to use character stereotypes in our RP, or because we want to be "special snowflakes" from each other... but because we thought it would be cool to do a "themed" group where the overall story-concept is the whole "bringing together all the elements" sort of thing.

And maaaaaaybe even asking the GM if we can have a special, extra-powerful summon spell that, instead of one person taking a 1-round action, only works when we all take 1-round actions at the same time to pull it off.

Oread: "EARTH!!!"

Ifrit: "FIRE!!!"

Slyph: "WIND!!!"

Undine: "WATER!!!"

Aasimar: "HEART!!!"

Summoned Creature: "By your powers combined..."

...yeah, this one's looking to be a much less serious campaign than our current one.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Rynjin wrote:


So your solution is to make Humans even BETTER mechanically than they already are?

No. Humans are just the same as they have always been, but the races of my world aren't mere 'human in a mask' types. Elves are 'immortal precursors', not just more alert humans with pointy ears. Dwarves are significantly tougher than CORE, incorporating traits that they have had for 38 years of my game. Halflings are an offshoot of Human, not a separate race. My 'catman' races are seriously different in terms of attributes, traits and whatnot. It's...complicated.

I pointed out the races as the are in my game and by my reckoning, Dwarves are about 2 points better than base as is. My Elves aren't remotely CORE, being an ancient race of formidable power and having better stats, traits, etc. They are worth the points by consensus of my players. One is currently playing an Elf and having a great time.

The current crew is 3 humans of 8 players, so they don't flock to Human as the 'best'. My power gamer/min-max player runs a Dwarf and a brother/sister team are Halflings. The Elf is a bow-oriented Paladin.


Rynjin wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
Come to think of it, Aragorn was 87, but still youthful due to his unusual racial background. So that makes Boromir the only 'normal' one, and look what happens to him.

That's true, I forgot about that.

The Rangers were basically Aasimar (or some kind of Fey descended type of race "First Men" or something, it's been a while), were they not? Albeit ones whose bloodline thinned and grew weaker over time entirely instead of just showing up in fits and spurts.

An ancient and superior race of men from and island kingdom that was destroyed by a cataclysm? I'm pretty sure pure blood Azlanti is a near perfect match in Golarion for Numenorians.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
claymade wrote:

In our current (about to go into hiatus) campaign it's just core races (we started out core-only, and added books in as the GM started to feel more comfortable). But now, in our next campaign, we haven't even decided on classes yet... but for races, we're tossing around the idea of doing something like: Ifrit, Oread, Slyph, Undine, Aasimar.

Not for mechanical advantages, or because we want to use character stereotypes in our RP, or because we want to be "special snowflakes" from each other... but because we thought it would be cool to do a "themed" group where the overall story-concept is the whole "bringing together all the elements" sort of thing.

And maaaaaaybe even asking the GM if we can have a special, extra-powerful summon spell that, instead of one person taking a 1-round action, only works when we all take 1-round actions at the same time to pull it off.

Oread: "EARTH!!!"

Ifrit: "FIRE!!!"

Slyph: "WIND!!!"

Undine: "WATER!!!"

Aasimar: "HEART!!!"

Summoned Creature: "By your powers combined..."

...yeah, this one's looking to be a much less serious campaign than our current one.

That is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen, and precisely what I was talking about. If your GM lets you do it...that'd be sweet. Summon aspect of nature in tights, go!


Espy Kismet wrote:
In 3.5, If i was given the choice though, I'd play lupin. they were my favorite race, because they were so close to human, but it didn't /look/ like a human.

My first char was a 3.5 lupin warlock!


There are always racial tensions in my campaigns. I allow pretty much any race but Svirfneblin. And I may allow them if a lesser version is ever made.

But the more rare your race, the more people distrust you. And if you come from a race that others know nothing but hostilities from, you are going to have more problems.

This includes forigners of the same race. Some people here have stated that people would be less inclined towards racism within their own race if they have other races to focus on instead. So color would mean less to humans when there were elves and dwarves around.

This is a very modern assumption. The idea of race by just color is actually relatively recent. Look at how Irish imigrants were treated in the united states in the mid 1800's. While slavery and the civil war were both in full stride. A person didn't used to define themselves as white or black. They used to define themselves as Italian, German, Irish, Etc. A couple of world wars, and world wide communication and transportation network have changed this, but you can still see this in old writing and even some old movies.

Actually watch Band of Brothers and look at how the characters treat eachother at the begining. They are all making assumptions of eachother based on race, and they are all white.

Grand Lodge

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Riggler wrote:

It must suck to be a Golorian Human. I mean think about it. Every time the world needs saving, not only does a group of heroes have to come along to save it. But your fellow humans hardly ever measure up to being part of that group. It's like you are a second-class species, even though you are in s human-centric world. Gotta be a bummer.... :)

Pump Up the Volume & Golorian Humans wrote:
Everything decent's been done. All the great themes have been used up. Turned into theme parks. So I don't really find it exactly cheerful to be living in the middle of a totally, like, exhausted decade where there's nothing to look forward to and no one to look up to.

Well, lets look at the races..

Human
Human+Orc = Half Orc
Human+Elf = Half Elf
Human+Angel= Asamier
Human+Devil= Teifling
Human+Vampire=Dhampire
Human+Hag=Changeling
Human Trapped in Shado plane = Fletching
Human+efreet=Ifrit
Human+Shaitan = Oread
Human+Djinn= Sylph
Human+Marid = Undine
Human+Genie = Sulis

It is a human centric world. Just humans have a hard time keeping it in their pants.


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Espy Kismet wrote:
Riggler wrote:

It must suck to be a Golorian Human. I mean think about it. Every time the world needs saving, not only does a group of heroes have to come along to save it. But your fellow humans hardly ever measure up to being part of that group. It's like you are a second-class species, even though you are in s human-centric world. Gotta be a bummer.... :)

Pump Up the Volume & Golorian Humans wrote:
Everything decent's been done. All the great themes have been used up. Turned into theme parks. So I don't really find it exactly cheerful to be living in the middle of a totally, like, exhausted decade where there's nothing to look forward to and no one to look up to.

Well, lets look at the races..

Human
Human+Orc = Half Orc
Human+Elf = Half Elf
Human+Angel= Asamier
Human+Devil= Teifling
Human+Vampire=Dhampire
Human+Hag=Changeling
Human Trapped in Shado plane = Fletching
Human+efreet=Ifrit
Human+Shaitan = Oread
Human+Djinn= Sylph
Human+Marid = Undine
Human+Genie = Sulis

It is a human centric world. Just humans have a hard time keeping it in their pants.

we're sexy and we know it,

Now look at our charisma,
Now look at our charisma

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

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When I walk on by, I hover like I just cast fly
I'm critting it hard, rocking it like a bard with my high CR, yeah
This is how I roll, min-maxing stats out of control
Lit up with bling like a Christmas tree
And like a high-level monk I've got the ki

Girl look at that stat block (x3)
I leveled up
Girl look at that stat block (x3)
I leveled up

When I walk in the dungeon, here's what I see
All the dragons there are staring at me
I got Charisma in my pants and I ain't afraid to show it

I've got XP and I know it (x2)

When I'm back in town, my party just can't fight 'em off
When I'm sipping my booze in a loincloth showin' off my thews
This is how I roll, come on lady PCs it's time to go
We headed to the tavern, baby don't be nervous
I've got plenty of gold, so I always get service

Girl look at that stat block (x3)
I leveled up
Girl look at that stat block (x3)
I leveled up

When I walk in the dungeon, here's what I see
All the dragons there are staring at me
I got Charisma in my pants and I ain't afraid to show it

I've got XP and I know it (x2)

Level, level, level, level, level yeah (x3)
I just got a new level yeah

I'VE GOT XP AND I KNOW IT...

Girl look at that stat block (x3)
I leveled up
Girl look at that stat block (x3)
I leveled up


Espy Kismet wrote:


Well, lets look at the races..

Human
Human+Orc = Half Orc
Human+Elf = Half Elf
Human+Angel= Asamier
Human+Devil= Teifling
Human+Vampire=Dhampire
Human+Hag=Changeling
Human Trapped in Shado plane = Fletching
Human+efreet=Ifrit
Human+Shaitan = Oread
Human+Djinn= Sylph
Human+Marid = Undine
Human+Genie = Sulis

It is a human centric world. Just humans have a hard time keeping it in their pants.

TO BE FAIR, the other races have a hard time keeping it in their pants too. Aasimar/Tieflings of non-human races and things like "Dragon/Undead Crossblooded Gnomes" (*shudders*) proves that.


Rynjin wrote:
Espy Kismet wrote:


Well, lets look at the races..

Human
Human+Orc = Half Orc
Human+Elf = Half Elf
Human+Angel= Asamier
Human+Devil= Teifling
Human+Vampire=Dhampire
Human+Hag=Changeling
Human Trapped in Shado plane = Fletching
Human+efreet=Ifrit
Human+Shaitan = Oread
Human+Djinn= Sylph
Human+Marid = Undine
Human+Genie = Sulis

It is a human centric world. Just humans have a hard time keeping it in their pants.

TO BE FAIR, the other races have a hard time keeping it in their pants too. Aasimar/Tieflings of non-human races and things like "Dragon/Undead Crossblooded Gnomes" (*shudders*) proves that.

In 3.5 I played a half farspawn/half troll/gnome fighter...pleasant dreams thinking how that came about.

Liberty's Edge

I personally enjoy playing "non-human" races for the role play fun.

What could be more fun than playing that crazy hyped-up catfolk getting into everything and having the human rogue look at you and say "did you get into the catnip this morning already?"

Response: "I sure did! Hey look a cave! I'm going to go run!" *run run run, fall in pit trap* "Uh...found the trap guys! Ow, meeeowsers!"

Human rogue: *face palm*

Grand Lodge

Rynjin wrote:
Espy Kismet wrote:


Well, lets look at the races..

Human
Human+Orc = Half Orc
Human+Elf = Half Elf
Human+Angel= Asamier
Human+Devil= Teifling
Human+Vampire=Dhampire
Human+Hag=Changeling
Human Trapped in Shado plane = Fletching
Human+efreet=Ifrit
Human+Shaitan = Oread
Human+Djinn= Sylph
Human+Marid = Undine
Human+Genie = Sulis

It is a human centric world. Just humans have a hard time keeping it in their pants.

TO BE FAIR, the other races have a hard time keeping it in their pants too. Aasimar/Tieflings of non-human races and things like "Dragon/Undead Crossblooded Gnomes" (*shudders*) proves that.

I don't know where the non-human races of Aasimar/Tiefling are.

Quote:
Aasimars are humans with a significant amount of celestial or other good outsider blood in their ancestry.
Quote:
Simultaneously more and less than mortal, tieflings are the offspring of humans and fiends.

Every single race I pulled was mentioned as being a race where a human mated with something else.


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Espy Kismet wrote:


I don't know where the non-human races of Aasimar/Tiefling are.

Quote:
Aasimars are humans with a significant amount of celestial or other good outsider blood in their ancestry.
Quote:
Simultaneously more and less than mortal, tieflings are the offspring of humans and fiends.

Every single race I pulled was mentioned as being a race where a human mated with something else.

I posted it up thread, lemme snag it again.

Sidebar Non-Human Aasimar wrote:
Not all aasimar are descended from humans. Aasimars can be born of any intelligent race, though human aasimars are the most common. Aasimars of other races usually exemplify the ideals of beauty and skill as seen by their base race. For example, halfling aasimars are small, beautifully proportioned, and display exceptional grace. Half-orc aasimars are slightly larger and stronger than ordinary orcs, with tough skin and metallic claws and tusks—they are likely to be neutral rather than evil, but still display aggression and incredible combat prowess. Less common humanoids, such as lizardfolk, catfolk, tengus, and others, can also produce aasimars, though given these races’ exotic appearance, members of the more common races may have trouble telling such aasimars apart from their kin.
Sidebar Non-Human Tieflings wrote:

The creatures of the depths of the Outer Planes do not limit their foul miscegenation to humanity. Elves, dwarves, halflings, and gnomes all have tales of tieflings in their histories, and those who appear among them now often suffer even greater stigma than those born to humans.

Other humanoids see tieflings in their midst as well. Many of the monstrous races of the world have demonic origins—most notably gnolls, who still thank the Mother of Monsters for their birth. Ogres, orcs, half-orcs, goblins, and other creatures that call upon the powers of the evil Outer Planes are equally likely to see tieflings living among them, but unless a given race holds to a code of racial purity, tieflings are far less likely to be shunned by such populations


Interesting Rynjin. What book/s is that stuff culled from? Are there mechanical stats/templates for example: gnoll tieflings and half-orc aasimars?


Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
Interesting Rynjin. What book/s is that stuff culled from? Are there mechanical stats/templates for example: gnoll tieflings and half-orc aasimars?

No. According to RAW, a character with pretty much any amount of celestial/fiendish blood is considered an aasimar/tiefling and replaces their normal racial stats with the aasimar/tiefling stats. There are variations for aasimars and tieflings, but they are based on what type of celestial/fiend they descend from rather than what their base race is.


Pandora's wrote:
Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
Interesting Rynjin. What book/s is that stuff culled from? Are there mechanical stats/templates for example: gnoll tieflings and half-orc aasimars?
No. According to RAW, a character with pretty much any amount of celestial/fiendish blood is considered an aasimar/tiefling and replaces their normal racial stats with the aasimar/tiefling stats. There are variations for aasimars and tieflings, but they are based on what type of celestial/fiend they descend from rather than what their base race is.

although size modifiers still apply. This came from the blood of angels/fiends set of books.


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This will probably be my last post here, because I think everything that has been said has already been discussed. If you're having a good time in your game, I'm thrilled for you, too many gamers don't have the opportunity. Everyone has their own style, and probably has as many or more thoughts on what an ideal game would be. The rough consensus is that the GM has a greater duty to accommodate the players, than the player has to accommodate the GM. I.E. We talk about railroading, and GMs that shouldn't insist on core characters; but the language doesn't exist for a player that wrenches a campaign to fit their character; it's the GMs responsibility to include that character and make the game interesting for them.

The player at my table that asked to play a minotaur has now also asked to be a half dragon minotaur, meaning that the table now has two half dragons, (the other being a Vanara), and a chatoic good half-drow dual wielding bloodbending magus with a pyrokinetic catgirl cohort, and several other undecided characters. This is not the sort of party I'm comfortable with and have decided to change the campaign to be more accommodating. I recognize that this is exactly what I did not want to do, so, I'm sorry, but this experiment has failed. If I was a better DM, my home setting would be able to seamlessly integrate these characters and the rest of the party together, but I don't think I'm good enough to make that work.

I wouldn't describe my preferred style as "grim and gritty." It's certainly less spectrum spanning than Golarion, but its very far from GRIMDARKness. But, I can't rectify the hard scrabble characters and settings I enjoy with the demigods my players want. They won't be having fun playing sellswords and tomb robbers that are lucky to get home to the pub for a pint. I feel that I'm in the wrong here, I'm the "No Fun Allowed" guy that can't see the joy in being super awesome.

Thank you all for the input, and happy gaming!


FWIW, in general low magic, low gonzo hardscrabble settings seem to be things that appeal to GMs more than players. I see the same dichotomy happening time and time again.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Yeah, it really messes with my head as a GM and player.


ericthetolle wrote:


FWIW, in general low magic, low gonzo hardscrabble settings seem to be things that appeal to GMs more than players. I see the same dichotomy happening time and time again.

My players prefer the more gritty / lower magic setting. I think it would be more accurate to say peoples opinions on campaign types differ. DMs and players alike. Play what you like, run what you like. In the end that's all that matters.


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Zorajit Zorajit wrote:

This will probably be my last post here, because I think everything that has been said has already been discussed. If you're having a good time in your game, I'm thrilled for you, too many gamers don't have the opportunity. Everyone has their own style, and probably has as many or more thoughts on what an ideal game would be. The rough consensus is that the GM has a greater duty to accommodate the players, than the player has to accommodate the GM. I.E. We talk about railroading, and GMs that shouldn't insist on core characters; but the language doesn't exist for a player that wrenches a campaign to fit their character; it's the GMs responsibility to include that character and make the game interesting for them.

The player at my table that asked to play a minotaur has now also asked to be a half dragon minotaur, meaning that the table now has two half dragons, (the other being a Vanara), and a chatoic good half-drow dual wielding bloodbending magus with a pyrokinetic catgirl cohort, and several other undecided characters. This is not the sort of party I'm comfortable with and have decided to change the campaign to be more accommodating. I recognize that this is exactly what I did not want to do, so, I'm sorry, but this experiment has failed. If I was a better DM, my home setting would be able to seamlessly integrate these characters and the rest of the party together, but I don't think I'm good enough to make that work.

I wouldn't describe my preferred style as "grim and gritty." It's certainly less spectrum spanning than Golarion, but its very far from GRIMDARKness. But, I can't rectify the hard scrabble characters and settings I enjoy with the demigods my players want. They won't be having fun playing sellswords and tomb robbers that are lucky to get home to the pub for a pint. I feel that I'm in the wrong here, I'm the "No Fun Allowed" guy that can't see the joy in being super awesome.

Thank you all for the input, and happy gaming!

I hate to say this, but I think you are incorrect.

There is more of leaning toward Player-empowerment, but that is not the universal (or even heavily held) opinion.

Further: you don't have anything to feel badly about saying that you can't fit X characters into your campaign setting. One of the arguments ("You'd change the setting to accommodate!") sounds neat in theory and easy on paper, but is quite a bit more difficult in practice.

Settings have certain characters, styles, and feels to them. I get that.

The lesson you should be taking away isn't, "I'm not a good enough GM." so much as, "Right now, my players prefer a different type of setting than the one I'd envisioned and wanted to play."

See, I'm a bit of a strange character. On boards like this, I speak of player rights and options and freedoms (and I believe it). In real life I talk of GM-empowerment and assistance (and I believe it). In games I'm generally the one that (often unintentionally at the time) throws the most wrenches in their plans (such as doing a castle in reverse order, for example).

As a player, I like power and survival ability. As a GM I like theme and consistency. In truth, I like both in both roles, but I value them at slightly different levels in my different roles.

However, as a player I've made concessions for the sake of the GM.

As a GM, I've made concessions for the sake of my players.

It all is basically: be collaborative, do what's fun for both you and the players at the same time, and try to find fun within whatever.

To be clear, I think you're doing the right thing by abandoning the setting rather than changing it. That is the sign of a good GM more than arbitrarily changing a setting.

However, I hope your players make concessions to you as well to make it fun for you, too.

And you're probably a pretty good GM. :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

allowing anything and only allowing core (or more extreme, only human) are pretty extreme ends of the spectrum. Especially when you have players throwing on templates and stuff. I would think for your first time opening it up, if your players are going that direction, say "ARG only" or "Common and Uncommon, ARG only) would have perhaps been a more reasonable route.


Zorajit Zorajit wrote:
The rough consensus is that the GM has a greater duty to accommodate the players, than the player has to accommodate the GM. I.E. We talk about railroading, and GMs that shouldn't insist on core characters; but the language doesn't exist for a player that wrenches a campaign to fit their character; it's the GMs responsibility to include that character and make the game interesting for them.

I don't think the situation between DMs and players is symmetric.

The main thing it comes down to is that DMs have more power over the form the game takes than individual players. There's the obvious ways this manifests. For example, he DM has much more control over the setting than players do. This is obvious and I don't think it needs to be explained. The DM is also rules arbiter. They can choose to disallow a certain feat, or spell, or class, but a player cannot do the same for the DM. I'm currently picturing a player telling their DM that they aren't allowed to use any dwarf NPCs and the image in my head just comes off as absurd. On the hand, a lot of people seem to think it normal and acceptable for a DM to make the same demand to a player.

It's certainly true that players as a whole could exercise a fair amount of influence, especially depending upon the group's norms (see, for example, Kirth's comments in this thread). However, individual players don't have the same power that the DM does. What people think (or at least, what I think) is that DMs shouldn't abuse the power of their role to make the game not fun for others. Not letting players play certain races is just one manifestation of this. Yes, players can do things to ruin the game for others, but it's not coming from the same position of authority, so I don't think it makes sense to claim the situations are symmetric.

That said, there's still a world of difference between wanting to include something in the game world, and wanting to exclude something. Wanting to play a dwarf isn't the same kind of thing as wanting everyone else to not play a dwarf.

Silver Crusade

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Another problem with "any concept could be played as a human":

Many of us have very specific visuals in mind for our characters. Some of these visuals are best served, and in many cases are available exclusively through, non-human races.

Speaking only for myself(because we have too much speaking for others already upthread), visuals are a very important part of my characters for me. And that's something that renders non-human races irreplacable for many of my concepts.

Grand Lodge

Mikaze wrote:

Another problem with "any concept could be played as a human":

Many of us have very specific visuals in mind for our characters. Some of these visuals are best served, and in many cases are available exclusively through, non-human races.

Speaking only for myself(because we have too much speaking for others already upthread), visuals are a very important part of my characters for me. And that's something that renders non-human races irreplacable for many of my concepts.

I'm the same here as well.

I sit there and look at the characters, heck I build most of them human and then sit there.. biting my nails and such. (Not literally mind you) I built the character, the character has massive amounts of power, but..

Its a human.

I can build the character as a non-human race, but.. it just wouldn't be as powerful or as functional or as flexibile as the human. Like if I built a Kitsune Sorcerer. I could get more power out of it, but its flexibility goes through the drain to get that power. I like being flexible. And as a human, I could have 20 more spells known and not have that pressure on me of using enchantment spells and trying to get them to work in the later levels.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My 2 cents:

I personally have always had a love of the base races, I don't know why, but they've always appealed to me. In 3.5, I tend to like Humans and Half-Orcs. Pathfinder, my favorites are Humans and Half-Elves. This isn't to say I don't have a fondness for other races (I have an Ifrit in my head that I've been dying to play for.....waaay too long. :\ ) I just tend to prefer the base races.

The only issue I have with exotic races is when the party goes overboard with it. I've been in a few too many games with people who played almost nothing but exotic races for various reasons, powergaming, 'it's cool,' powergaming, roleplaying purposes, and powergaming. And also powergaming. Not to be confused with optimization. (I understand that this is not the norm, this is just my personal experience.) Jumping back to the beginning of the paragraph, when I say 'overboard' I mean that the party looks more like Mommy Fortuna's escaped exhibits than a group of adventurers. We once had a party made up of a Mongrelfolk, a Stonechild, an Illumian, a Doppelganger, an Asherati, a Shade, a Blue, and a Tinker Gnome.

As I said, I have nothing against exotic races, but when everyone in the group is playing something exotic with no rhyme or reason, it tends to seem a bit silly. I mostly agree with an earlier post about there is no wrong reason to play an exotic race. There are, of course, always exceptions to every rule.


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Vivianne Laflamme wrote:
Zorajit Zorajit wrote:
The rough consensus is that the GM has a greater duty to accommodate the players, than the player has to accommodate the GM. I.E. We talk about railroading, and GMs that shouldn't insist on core characters; but the language doesn't exist for a player that wrenches a campaign to fit their character; it's the GMs responsibility to include that character and make the game interesting for them.

I don't think the situation between DMs and players is symmetric.

The main thing it comes down to is that DMs have more power over the form the game takes than individual players. There's the obvious ways this manifests. For example, he DM has much more control over the setting than players do. This is obvious and I don't think it needs to be explained. The DM is also rules arbiter. They can choose to disallow a certain feat, or spell, or class, but a player cannot do the same for the DM. I'm currently picturing a player telling their DM that they aren't allowed to use any dwarf NPCs and the image in my head just comes off as absurd. On the hand, a lot of people seem to think it normal and acceptable for a DM to make the same demand to a player.

It's certainly true that players as a whole could exercise a fair amount of influence, especially depending upon the group's norms (see, for example, Kirth's comments in this thread). However, individual players don't have the same power that the DM does. What people think (or at least, what I think) is that DMs shouldn't abuse the power of their role to make the game not fun for others. Not letting players play certain races is just one manifestation of this. Yes, players can do things to ruin the game for others, but it's not coming from the same position of authority, so I don't think it makes sense to claim the situations are symmetric.

That said, there's still a world of difference between wanting to include something in the game world, and wanting to exclude something. Wanting to play a dwarf isn't the same kind of...

Not really. Why is it more reasonable to want to force one of only a very few basic things that a gm wants to exclude instead of playing one of the vast multitude of options still open to you? Telling me a players imagination can't find anything enjoyable to play unless they have their half-fiend whatever? Why not try stretching their muscles and playing so,etching within that box instead of insisting the entire world has to move to allow something that doesn't fit? Fact remains that Thea world is what it is, and that the world is essentially the gms "character" if he has one. So that player in essence is demanding that the gm change his character to suit ... And why is that any more rep able than the reverse.

I really don't go for the "players have all the power" model. I mean yes in general you should listen to see if their explanation is something that can fit in the world as presented, but once they have agreed to play in whatever you pitched to them it is THEIR obligation to try to make something odd and outlandish fit and to pitch that fitting to you as the gm.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Card Game, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Arssanguinus wrote:
Not really. Why is it more reasonable to want to force one of only a very few basic things that a gm wants to exclude instead of playing one of the vast multitude of options still open to you? Telling me a players imagination can't find anything enjoyable to play unless they have their half-fiend whatever? Why not try stretching their muscles and playing so,etching within that box instead of insisting the entire world has to move to allow something that doesn't fit? Fact remains that Thea world is what it is, and that the world is essentially the gms "character" if he has one. So that player in essence is demanding that the gm change his character to suit ... And why is that any more rep able than the reverse.

What if the GM decides no wizards. Their are plenty of other classes right?


Catprog wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:
Not really. Why is it more reasonable to want to force one of only a very few basic things that a gm wants to exclude instead of playing one of the vast multitude of options still open to you? Telling me a players imagination can't find anything enjoyable to play unless they have their half-fiend whatever? Why not try stretching their muscles and playing so,etching within that box instead of insisting the entire world has to move to allow something that doesn't fit? Fact remains that Thea world is what it is, and that the world is essentially the gms "character" if he has one. So that player in essence is demanding that the gm change his character to suit ... And why is that any more rep able than the reverse.
What if the GM decides no wizards. Their are plenty of other classes right?

Yes there are. Play a sorcerer to get your magic fix. Or a witch. Or ...


YES. A setting without wizards is precisely as viable as a setting with no psions. As a player, trust the GM to make it an enjoyable ride using the options that exist in his or her setting. Don't expect to play a tinker gnome in Warhammer 40K, an orc paladin in Call of Cthulhu... and don't blame the system either. Just because you CAN play Pathfinder as gonzo menagerie doesn't mean you HAVE to.


Biggest advice there is to strip the race or class down to what you really, really, enjoy about it ... And I bet that somewhere else in the panoply of choices available to you you can fulfill almost all concepts. Perhaps a few details shifted.


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Arssanguinus wrote:
I really don't go for the "players have all the power" model.

Oh I don't either. I think it's rude and bad DMing to try to not allow players any influence on the setting or narrative, but that doesn't mean the players have all the power. Just by virtue of being DM, the DM has most of the power. It's just the nature of the game.

Quote:
Why is it more reasonable to want to force one of only a very few basic things that a gm wants to exclude instead of playing one of the vast multitude of options still open to you?

You're reframing what I said into something entirely different. To repeat myself, I said wanting to play a certain kind of character isn't the same as wanting other people to not play a certain kind of character.

Quote:
Fact remains that the world is what it is, and that the world is essentially the gms "character" if he has one.

Well, the world clearly is not "what it is", as the DM can choose to change aspects of it. And DMs already modify the world to account for player characters. If a player tells you they want to play a barbarian who comes from a group of nomads, do you tell them they cannot play that because you haven't already made a group of nomads for your world?


If I had a setting that had no wilderness for said barbarians to live, or an intrigue-heavy court campaign, or a high tech setting, or any other setting that would preclude such a character, then no barbarians it is. I would accomodate a slum gang that lived pretty much like barbarians, however. In my experience, however, players are generally not satisfied with that, and they will try to force that unspoiled wilderness with its barbarian tribe into the campaign even if it is a campaign about urban decay in an ecumenopolis where the complete lack of wilderness is a key feature and root of conflict for the campaign.


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Sissyl wrote:
In my experience, however, players are generally not satisfied with that, and they will try to force that unspoiled wilderness with its barbarian tribe into the campaign even if it is a campaign about urban decay in an ecumenopolis where the complete lack of wilderness is a key feature and root of conflict for the campaign.

Well if you've already decided what the entire world looks like, then yeah, that does cause problems in adjusting the setting. In my opinion, a better strategy of DM is to not try to fix everything about the world before the game even starts. Leave some unfilled portions of the map, so to speak.

Anyway, you had to resort to a setting which was a world-wide city to justify banning this character concept. I don't think most games are that extreme---certainly most the examples in this thread aren't like that. Besides, there are still ways a barbarian from the wilderness could be worked into that campaign. Maybe there are hidden pockets of wilderness somewhere, say for example underground jungles. Then, the PC being from one of these areas takes on a lot of narrative importance. Or perhaps they were recently released from some sort of stasis, coming from a time before the cities covered the globe. Maybe some powerful spellcasters, in an attempt to strike a blow for nature, created large demiplanes filled with wilderness and populated them with people. The barbarian comes from one of those demiplanes, perhaps not knowing that they have traveled across planes.

I mean, if I were running a campaign with this setting, I'd probably do something similar to one of those with an NPC. I don't see why it cannot also be done for a PC.


Vivianne Laflamme wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
In my experience, however, players are generally not satisfied with that, and they will try to force that unspoiled wilderness with its barbarian tribe into the campaign even if it is a campaign about urban decay in an ecumenopolis where the complete lack of wilderness is a key feature and root of conflict for the campaign.

Well if you've already decided what the entire world looks like, then yeah, that does cause problems in adjusting the setting. In my opinion, a better strategy of DM is to not try to fix everything about the world before the game even starts. Leave some unfilled portions of the map, so to speak.

Anyway, you had to resort to a setting which was a world-wide city to justify banning this character concept. I don't think most games are that extreme---certainly most the examples in this thread aren't like that. Besides, there are still ways a barbarian from the wilderness could be worked into that campaign. Maybe there are hidden pockets of wilderness somewhere, say for example underground jungles. Then, the PC being from one of these areas takes on a lot of narrative importance. Or perhaps they were recently released from some sort of stasis, coming from a time before the cities covered the globe. Maybe some powerful spellcasters, in an attempt to strike a blow for nature, created large demiplanes filled with wilderness and populated them with people. The barbarian comes from one of those demiplanes, perhaps not knowing that they have traveled across planes.

I mean, if I were running a campaign with this setting, I'd probably do something similar to one of those with an NPC. I don't see why it cannot also be done for a PC.

... But why is it not proper form to try to make a character that fits within the four corners of the setting ... Which in pretty much ANY setting are going to be rather large and accommodate a astronomically large number of differing concepts?

By the time you've agreed to play in a campaign I'm running I've already stated the standard movie line of "in a world where .." X,Y,Z" - if you have a problem with that, THEN is the time to bring it up. If it gets to the point of making characters, you have already more or less accepted the four corners of the sandbox and its somewhat bad form to then insist on brining something in that doesn't fit in it. At the very least YOU do the work to make it actually fit within the strictures of the setting that have been laid down. If I say no cat folk ... Then perhaps try to figure out what it is you really like playing about cat folk and see if there is another way to include it, or make an argument for how they might fit WITHIN THE CONSTRAINTS OF THE SETTING - but don't expect me to just shoehorn them in because you can't be bothered to explore anything but the parts left out of the setting.


Arssanguinus wrote:
or make an argument for how they might fit WITHIN THE CONSTRAINTS OF THE SETTING

I don't know if you read all of my post that you quoted, but a good chunk of it was an example of showing how a barbarian from the wilderness might fit into a worldwide-city setting. I think it's best to not completely define everything in the setting because it makes it easier to fit new things into the setting. This new thing might be something to support the background of a PC, or it might be something entirely done by the DM. I guess I don't know if this is the same for you, but when I DM, I don't know before the campaign starts everything I'll want to do with it. By leaving blank spaces, it's easier for me to fit in ideas as I generate them, reducing the effort I have to go through.


I like playing unusual races.

Yes, I could tell any possible story under the sun, playing a human male of the predominant ethnicity, and following the predominant religion, who had a happy childhood. But, for me, that wouldn't push me into creative roleplaying. It could. But it probably won't. I'll probably play it pretty mechanically.

On the other hand, an interesting race pushes me. Currently in a game where I play a fetchling. The GM and I colloborated over time and created a background where fetchlings were Thassolonian slaves, abandoned on the plane of shadow. When the Thassolonians were gone, the umbral dragons stepped in to be the fetchlings' slave masters. Now my character is motivated by freeing her people someday. She now serves Desna for liberation, and wishes to make Her the new ruler of the Plane of Shadow, after defeating Abraxy (Queen Umbral Dragon).

All the other characters have well-developed stories too. I'm a "special snowflake" but so is every character.

But I wouldn't have developed my storyline so deeply, if I were playing a common and well-established race of Golarion.


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Vivianne Laflamme wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:
or make an argument for how they might fit WITHIN THE CONSTRAINTS OF THE SETTING
I don't know if you read all of my post that you quoted, but a good chunk of it was an example of showing how a barbarian from the wilderness might fit into a worldwide-city setting. I think it's best to not completely define everything in the setting because it makes it easier to fit new things into the setting. This new thing might be something to support the background of a PC, or it might be something entirely done by the DM. I guess I don't know if this is the same for you, but when I DM, I don't know before the campaign starts everything I'll want to do with it. By leaving blank spaces, it's easier for me to fit in ideas as I generate them, reducing the effort I have to go through.

There are blank spaces into which many, many things can go .... But I do know ahead of time some things that will not be going into them. I've introduced an entire ancient city state which was an amalgam of a sort of Sparta like state with paladin leadership drafted onto them that was the last rememnants of an ancient royal guard for a long disappeared empire, isolated in a mountainous region just so someone could play a paladin. It went in because the players that wanted it made it sing to me in harmony with the setting. But then again, I had never really said there couldn't be any paladins - I just hadn't included them. Now there were things that aren't in the world. For example, no dragons. So no half dragons. What humanoids were is entirely different, so half orcs really don't exist. But there are things that are intentionally left out and that there is a REASON they are left out.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Zorajit Zorajit wrote:

This will probably be my last post here, because I think everything that has been said has already been discussed. If you're having a good time in your game, I'm thrilled for you, too many gamers don't have the opportunity. Everyone has their own style, and probably has as many or more thoughts on what an ideal game would be. The rough consensus is that the GM has a greater duty to accommodate the players, than the player has to accommodate the GM. I.E. We talk about railroading, and GMs that shouldn't insist on core characters; but the language doesn't exist for a player that wrenches a campaign to fit their character; it's the GMs responsibility to include that character and make the game interesting for them.

The player at my table that asked to play a minotaur has now also asked to be a half dragon minotaur, meaning that the table now has two half dragons, (the other being a Vanara), and a chatoic good half-drow dual wielding bloodbending magus with a pyrokinetic catgirl cohort, and several other undecided characters. This is not the sort of party I'm comfortable with and have decided to change the campaign to be more accommodating. I recognize that this is exactly what I did not want to do, so, I'm sorry, but this experiment has failed. If I was a better DM, my home setting would be able to seamlessly integrate these characters and the rest of the party together, but I don't think I'm good enough to make that work.

I wouldn't describe my preferred style as "grim and gritty." It's certainly less spectrum spanning than Golarion, but its very far from GRIMDARKness. But, I can't rectify the hard scrabble characters and settings I enjoy with the demigods my players want. They won't be having fun playing sellswords and tomb robbers that are lucky to get home to the pub for a pint. I feel that I'm in the wrong here, I'm the "No Fun Allowed" guy that can't see the joy in being super awesome.

Thank you all for the input, and happy gaming!

Oh...oh my. See, I thought they just wanted to go non-core races. I didn't know they wanted to go...that...far. Um...forget what I said before, if i were a DM, I'd be fairly uncomfortable with that, considering that of all the options thus decided only the half-drow is technically playable as a PC. The half-dragon template is...definitely not for players. IMO. I'm sorry man, this is one of those circumstances that I draw the line and explain issues of balance. In this case, I apologize for making it appear that blame lies in you. It doesn't. While much of the job does rely on the GM, if you aren't comfortable doing something, then don't do it. If our points have failed to satisfy you with exotic races, that's perfectly fine too. It doesn't mean you're not fun. And while I personally wouldn't deny exotic races (though I would, again, draw the line at two half-dragons...), at the end of the day, the GM still has veto power. Good luck with your campaign. Hope things work out for you in the end. Happy Gaming.

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