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Kheprera
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Here are the two races I've managed to do some sort of write up for. I'd like some feedback on if what I've written so far is viable.

 

Orcs: Reptile-like, with snake-like skin and smoother faces. The also have sharp, carnivore teeth as opposed to tusks and ear holes instead of ears. Poor hearing and average eyesight and scent, they have an exceptional touch sense, often being able to tell when an enemy is sneaking up on them from the tremors of the ground. Aggressive and warlike, they separate into tribes that don’t cooperate well. Certain tribes harbor deep antagonism towards specific others, leading to a natural rivalry. With a male dominated caste system where strength and battle skills are revered, females are often treated no better than slaves, taking second place even to livestock. As nomadic hunter-gatherers, they may herd some animals more for food-stock, keeping only a few around as pets or for labor. Carnivorous and slightly cannibalistic, they eat their dead in prominent ceremonies with the belief that imbibing their flesh imparts characteristics of the dead upon the living. They have a shamanistic belief system with several different animal gods, often one particular deity as the patron over a particular tribe. They do have some magic ability, though it’s a rare trait. Their skin/scale color tends towards black, dark blue, dark-brown, or dark red, depending upon the tribe. Eye color is generally a yellow or amber color although green is not uncommon.

 

Elves: Ranging in height from four and a half feet tall to over seven feet, the elves have history dating back to the pre-dawn of civilization. Whispered rumor and a widespread belief on the more commonly known sub-races has led to an inaccurate image of the elf as a whole. Most elves enjoy a lifespan of approximately 400 to 500 years, giving them the illusion of immortality, but some have been known to live beyond the average expectancy, with the eldest known elf to have lived to an age of about 650.

  • Plains: The most common sub-race, the plains elf tends to be more fair-skinned, with blond or light brown hair, green or blue eyes, and are taller than their woodland cousins, more along the human standard. With a nomadic lifestyle, they herd animals (different ones depending on the tribe – elk, horses, cattle, sheep) for food and clothing and travel in caravans. Magic is mostly divination type (gypsy) and clothing is quite colorful.
  • Forest: A fairly common type, they typically have brown or black hair, brown, green or blue eyes, and a ruddy skin tone. A greenish hair color, however, is not unknown and those with such coloration tend to be more magical (no known reason). They live in elaborate tree-top cities with a barter system and utilize druidic or elemental magic. Average height is around five feet. Monarch, patriarchal society, they are strict vegetarians and are often referred to in the derogatory as “plants” or “dandelion eaters.” Very protective of their forest homes, they challenge any who would enter, even other elven sub-races.
  • Desert: These hardy elves are dark of skin, generally a rich, toffee color, with dark brown or black eyes. Hair color ranges from a platinum blonde to medium brown. Standing as tall as the average human, these nomadic travelers specialize in surviving in the harshest climate of the desert. Utilizing camels and horses, they scavenge from failed caravans and long lost cities. Often found on the fringes of towns along the desert’s edge, they frequently sell their merchandise at town bazaars or trick the unwary out of their hard earned gold with their often cryptic prophecies. Divination and prophetic magic, as well as some elemental, run through the veins of these hot-bloods.
  • Aquatic: Found only in the salt-water seas and oceans, these extremely rare elves live in magnificent cities of rock and coral deep beneath the waves. Generally reclusive, they tend towards iridescent green and blue skin tones with greenish-blue eyes. They don’t have hair. Instead, they have fins that run down the length of their backs, often to their tails, which have long, thin, sharp spikes. These spikes are tipped with a neurological poison that paralyzes their foe. With a patriarchal monarchy, these beings have been known to trade with other races using gold, silver, and other valuables found in the deep ocean depths that other races cannot reach. Magic is rare and nearly unknown, with those who do have the ability usually never knowing as there are no known practicing mages. Aquatic elves do, however, have a penchant, perhaps a psionic ability, that allows them to communicate with most other sea creatures on a basic level. Having finned feet and hands, as well as an eel-like tail that helps to propel them through the water at speeds, they almost never leave their watery home. If they do, they can only survive on land without magical aid for an hour, during which time breathing is quite difficult and they start to die within fifteen minutes.
  • Ice: Found only in the cold, inhospitable Northern snow wastes, the Ice elves are the fairest skinned, typically with a pale ivory skin or blue-tinged white skin. Hair color is white at the lightest color, pale blonde at the darkest, and eyes are blue, gray, or, extremely rare, topaz. Ice elves tend to be about six feet tall, on average. Clothing is always warm furs or thick cloth woven from the wool of the Snow Camel. Armor is normally made of thick hides or the magical scale armor from white dragons. These rare elves have a matriarchal monarch society with a barter system. Magic ability runs rampant in their blood with even the lowliest being able to perform minor feats. Living only in their hidden city, they rarely venture beyond the frozen wastes, preferring the cold. Some rangers can be found along the border towns, however, acting as guides through the blizzard prone tundra to magnificent cities beyond.
  • Shadow: Living deep in the jungles of the Dark Land, these elusive, strange creatures can barely be seen to be related to the elves. A fine fur, often brown, reddish brown, black, or blue-black in color, covers their body, with a fine, longer trail of hair running from their forehead down the spine to the small of their back. Towering well over seven feet in height, they have exceptional hearing and remain the most reclusive of all the elves. A diplomatic society, they are quite magical, often knowing several different doctrines and utilizing them to their fullest extent. In addition, they have the ability to change their shape into any other humanoid they have seen. Their typically blue eyes tend to have a milky, pearlescent sheen. Most remarkable about this strange sub-race is the thin membrane stretched between their arms to their knees. This membrane, when unfolded fully, gives them the ability to glide so long as the elf has a high enough perch from which to catch a draft. Their arms are in three segments, much like a bats, yet fold up to allow the elf to use their long, three-fingered claws as hands.

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Since they are some reptile like race, I would give the orc an original name. Orcs are a staple race in fantasy and people are used to them. I wouldn't borrow the name if there are so few traits in common with traditional orcs. Seems kinda like naming Elves, Dwarves. Sounds like you basically made your world's type of lizard man. I think you could use a more creative name than 'lizard man' though.

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Yeah, I had been thinking that, just wasn't certain what, exactly, to call them. Same thing with the "Draconian" race I have.

 

The reason my orcs are this way is because for some strange reason, when I first started on Basic D&D, I actually thought these were what orcs looked like. :huh:

 

 

So if anyone has any ideas on what to name them, let me know.

 

 

And thanks, ON. I wanted to make my elves a little unconventional, like everything else. Dwarves probably won't change overmuch, but there will be some differences, as well as distinct advantages, to playing them.

 

Right now I've got Humans, Elves, Orcs (orc-snake-like whatever I want to call them), Draconians (which will also change), Dwarves (which is going to be a longish writeup, similar to the elves), and a (gasp) anthropomorphic lionish race (yes, me) that is a main adversary of the Desert elves.

 

Notice: No Drow or drow-like beings? The Desert elves are the closest I have. No really "evil" race as "evil" is based on the individual in my world as opposed to the race of human/oid or the perception from the more "civilized" races (as the orcs are percieved because of their culture).

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Yeah, I had been thinking that, just wasn't certain what, exactly, to call them. Same thing with the "Draconian" race I have.

 

The reason my orcs are this way is because for some strange reason, when I first started on Basic D&D, I actually thought these were what orcs looked like. :huh:

 

 

So if anyone has any ideas on what to name them, let me know.

Iquanoids? ::P:

Reptarians? :poke:

 

Umm, no sorry, I'm no good at names. All mine would be cheesy and dumb.

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There's always Sleestak. ::P:

 

But in all seriousnessm I like their description. I always felt that reptilians got the shaft in most fantasy worlds. I like the spin you've given them. I immediately got the impression that the worst thing that could be done to dishonor one of the dead was to refuse to eat them.

 

Nice work.

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There's always Sleestak.  ::P:

I always thought they were insectoid rather than reptilian... I'd love to see minis of them.

 

But in all seriousnessm I like their description.  I always felt that reptilians got the shaft in most fantasy worlds.  I like the spin you've given them.  I immediately got the impression that the worst thing that could be done to dishonor one of the dead was to refuse to eat them.

yuk. It is good work though.

 

Serpentines, perhaps? Or Lizardos (visions of Buckaroo Banzai dance in my head...)

 

Or maybe something completely original... hit a random name generator and look for something close.

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I might hit some ancient languages and come up with something that way. First I need to figure out how they originated (area of the world).

 

 

The world itself is basically a mirror image of ours, literally. Take Italy, flip it horizontally, and there you go. There are other differences, like east of Turkey and most of Russia is almost all inhospitaple, horrific desert, and the Congo is even darker, denser, and scarier (Africa = Dark Land). I'm still working on place names and will probably use a mix of the current, local languages to come up with something.

 

 

This is a world I've had for a while, but I'm finally trying to get it down on paper and mapped out. Some of the races, such as the Shadow elves, I wouldn't allow as player characters for the simple reason of game balance. I want to keep the rare races rare (which is why when I get to it all, all sub-races will be listed in order of how common they are).

 

Once done I'll be posting it on my website for others to use. I might get it put into pdf format as well if I have enough graphics to add, but that depends on how much time I have to do sketches in between work, my son, and painting.

 

I would love to see some of my "orcs that aren't orcs" in miniature, though. In my world they can be organized, intelligent, and quite scary. It's almost a good thing they have a tendency not to work together. :unsure:

 

Keep the ideas coming, though.

 

For dwarves I'm kind of putting gnomes and hobbits in with them so the listing is thus (although not fleshed out yet):

 

Masons: Stone work specialists - mountain regions

Forgers: Metal workers - various areas but close to mountain ore sources

Wood: Carpentry specialists - ranger and druidic types

Burrow: Miners and farmers (re: more hobbit/halfling like)

Tinkers: Builders (machinecraft - gnomish)

Articifers: Magics and artifact creators.

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Okay, instead of Orcs, they are now called "Zathi."

 

Instead of Draconians, they are "Tuatara."

 

 

I may add the normal version of Orcs into the world, but they won't be as prolific. I want the Zathi to replace the traditional role, this way players can play Half-Orc characters, if they so choose with fewer problems. Maybe they are still looked down upon because of their appearance, but no so much for their cannibalistic/carniverous "I want to eat the other members of my adventuring party" tendencies. ^_^

 

To me, Orcs and their kin have always been overly large and bulky. I still can't wrap my mind around one player who wanted to have a half-orc/half-dwarf character. :blink:

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Hmmmm Ok First I would like to say that you have a very refreshing approach to fantasy and I hope that I will in no way discourage your work.

 

That said I found my self asking what the Shadow or Aquatic elves have in common with the other Elf races. Apart from the name of the race I do not see any other thematic similarity. Those two races are still good ideas, I just think that maybe they might make better stand alone races, and leave the elf kind races to the Plains, Forest, Desert, and Ice, which has a nice " Four elemental powers / aspects " theme anyway.

 

Also I really do not see a race so distantly removed from humanity as the " Zathi " ( VERY cool name by the way ) having ANY means of producing offspring with any human or demi human race. It would be like a mix between a Dog and a Cat.

 

 

That was really the only thing that struck me as odd about your stuff. Other than that I think you have a cool start here, and look forward to reading more.

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Oh, I'm not intending for the Zathi (thank you) to intermingle well enough to copulate with humans. I mean, there aren't many people who would do such things with their food. :huh: When I mentioned using Orcs and Half-Orcs, I was going with a more traditional viewpoint of orcs, but maybe making a whole new type of race (still less "tusky").

 

As for the Shadow and Aquatic elf relationship with the other elves, that will be written into the history of the elves (when I get around to it). They have evolved to a point where it would be severly limited (if not downright impossible) for a viable impregnation to occur with the other elven or humanoid races. The reason I did the Aquatics as so different was I was looking at a picture of a mermaid and wondered why someone who is so dependant upon the sea... someone who lived there, would have hair. :blink:

 

So I thought more and came up with the image I presented. The Shadow elves have merely been twisted through magicks and the area they live in (think overgrown Congo in a high magic area). In appearance, they are very tall, lanky, winged elves, just furry. The idea for them stemmed, originally, from a Koontz novel, although I've warped it beyond recognition.

 

There is still a lot left to write. I'm just getting started in getting it all down and trying to come up with names and trying to place the climate and such in proper places based on geology and weather patterns.

 

My brain is beginning to hurt. I don't know how people do this for a living!

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Nicely written! I like the names 'Zathi' and 'Tuatara'

I've just started reading Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series. His elves area bit different than traditional fantasy elves, and are called Sithi (singular is Sitha). Using original names for your races and cultures among them will make your players take greater notice, and invest more of themselves in your game.

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That I was already planning on. I'm trying my best to steer away from the "D&D traditional" as well as Tolkien. I want something that would give players something new to discover.

 

"Tuatara" is actually the name of a lizard. It struck me as rather cool and works well for the dragon/lizard race, I think.

 

I didn't sleep well last night because of all the things running around my brain. I'm still trying to sort through how, exactly, elves are different than dwarves are different from humans, and so forth.

 

I also had an idea of how to populate the Dark Land (I'll probably rename that to something more sinister sounding). Utilizing my anthropology knowledge, I'm thinking of going with a Hominid or Australopithecine type race (or maybe a mix of both).

 

How hard, do you think it would be, to modify the T-Rex to have an additional set of forearms and bat wings? :devil:

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Even with a HUGE wing span I doubt that a T rex could ever fly. Most of it's weight is in it's hind quater extremities, legs and tail. I would look to some sleeker lizard types for a body style and justa ascaled down skinnier T Rex head type. That is if it is just the look you are going for.

 

 

Glen is 100 % correct about names and imagery.

 

 

I'm still trying to sort through how, exactly, elves are different than dwarves are different from humans, and so forth.

 

The best way I know of is to look at each race as a character in a party. What archtypes are needed and what similarities are unneccessary. Or to be more specific how can each race fill a need in the overall character of the world. If the race has no neccessity or contribution to the continuity or character of the world then what would make said race worthy of playing over another racewith virtually the same characteristics and yet more of a fulfilling role in the over scheme of the world.

 

Another way to deal with the problem is like this. Breakdown the original archtypical adventuring party; Fighter dumb flesh tank, Magician smarty pants, Cleric all holier than thou, Rogue greedy bastard, Ranger charismatic all round guy..... Orc, Elf, Dwarf, Halfling, Human. Each one has an over character device and a role to fulfill in the grand scheme of things.

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