Thinking about Iconics and Races
So, in the middle of last week, while sitting around in a van on my way to one of the many satellite locations throughout the Central Valley, I decided to start creating iconic characters for the StarSea. Unfortunately, that requires me to start making some decisions about races.
One of the things I’ve started to do in that direction is to get out my 4e Preview book, Races and Classes, and re-read the sections about the various races and why they were chosen, and what roles they play. I’m less looking at the specific races than I am what roles the races play in the game. I’m thinking I also need to go back by the Guild Wars 2 web site and re-examine the articles by Ree Soesbee about the design of the races for that game. I remember reading some of them before, and thought they were very well thought out.
One of the races I already know I want is an elder race. Elder races are those like elves in most settings, the ancient race that seems inscrutable and knows a lot more than they’re telling, etc. That role has been played by Vulcans in the Star Trek series, and the Minbari in Babylon 5. I had such a race in my old versions of the setting, but I’m feeling they need a bit of a redesign. I want them a bit more alien in appearance, and I want a lot more background to the race, as I did very little before, no more than a page, as I didn’t want to overwhelm my players with data for a short run campaign. They’re currently very derivative, and that needs to change.
And then I want to develop at least three more races (and preferably a couple of more), and have more than the simple background I currently have for the current elder race. I’ll need fighter races, a sneaky race (who will also be tricksters?), a tinkerer race, and maybe a couple of others. These ideas are the kinds of things I’m looking for in the other articles: What sorts of races do I need for interesting play?
So, more work cut out for me. Not that I wasn’t expecting that, but just adding to the count. I think I’m at a point at which I’m starting to make setting decisions that will likely hold throughout the rest of the world building. I think I’m at the point which the setting itself will get built, and then I’ll be porting it to one game system or another for actual play. And I’m happy for that.