Non-Human Nations


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


Two Questions

1. How do you handle Non-Human Nations in your stuff.

2. Do you wish official RPGs had more of them?


Largely by picking and choosing cultural aspects from other sources and adding in my own touches where relevant (I whole heartedly subscribe to the GM philosophy of "steal everything not nailed down and bring a crowbar for the stuff that is").

And in my experience pretty much every traditional fantasy RPG has non-human nations in spades at least in the sense you have the dwarf nation there, the elf forest there, the orc barbarians there, and the Shire.


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Considering the sheer variety of stuff humans can create and build already, I don't see why I'd handle non-humans differently.
In many cases, racial dominance would/should not even be the most defining factor.
Political system, ideology, religion, tradition, etc. should play as important a role in making a country as the race in power. Those are often linked obviously, or interdependent at least, but race doesn't have to be the alpha and the omega of the process.

As for 2, it's more that I have a hard time wrapping my head the concept that non-humans as a whole seem so incapable of organizing on that scale. I can't really accept that.
Especially since there's never really a good in-setting explanation.
We rarely get more than a couple token enclaves in a vastly human world, half of those being just "isolationist elfland", or a variation thereof.
Golarion is not too bad on that front : we probably get more than some other settings. Still not a whole lot.
Could go bit further on all that, but that's really another discussion.

Dark Archive

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Shadari-77 wrote:

Two Questions

1. How do you handle Non-Human Nations in your stuff.

2. Do you wish official RPGs had more of them?

I definitely prefer a less humanocentric fantasy world. What's the point of having elves, dwarves, etc. if you aren't going to use them?

But I also like the countries and cultures of many fantasy settings, and agonize over whether or not I want to replace any of them (or go through the work of making my own elf nation or dwarf nation to slot in), so I tend to take the lazier option of keeping the culture/nation and just race-changing it.

Examples for Golarion:
The Ulfen ethnicity is primarily dwarven (although there are equal numbers of humans living in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings, including one of the actual Kings themselves being human).

The Shoanti ethnicity is almost entirely half-orc (with a smattering of full blood orcs and full blood humans), breeding true after being used as a slave army by the Thassilonians many centuries ago.

Varisians started out as a halfling culture, but are open to others, with some entire 'Varisian' caravans consisting of humans and half-elves. But they are mostly halfling. Halflings don't have a 'country' of their own, but make up large percentages of any nation that has Varisians as a local ethnicity (such as Ustalav), and up to 30% of nations like Andoran and Taldor.

Many of the aristocratic families of Taldor have elven blood, and their longevity might explain some of the nations resistance to change. It is an unspoken tradition to invite wandering elves to 'strengthen the bloodline' of families that are starting to 'thin' and produce more human traits than elven traits in their noble brats. Too much visible elven blood is as gauche as not enough, so it's a delicate dance. Even the rare halfling noble families are reputed to get involved, and those nobles who have too much or not enough visible elven blood use cosmetics as necessary to accentuate or conceal traits, as necessary, wearing their hair to cover ears that are 'too pointy,' or using special alchemical eye-drops to 'bring out the elfiness' of their eyes.

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