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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 68 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Shadow World Keywords - Races?  (Read 8083 times)
Mike Holmes
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« on: November 04, 2003, 02:08:24 PM »

OK, I have a dumb question. Well, I hope it's not dumb, anyhow.

Looking at my work on creating Keywords for the races in Shadow World, I note that one of the things that's used to define races is a description of their average heights. Also, some of them have other special abilities like the typical See in Dark. I'd like to get these in somehow, but I'm kinda torn on how to handle it. These are all human races. And despite the potentially racist overtones, I'd like to have these things impact play. They're interesting.

But do I give everyone a Race Keyword?

Elves in this game are less different from humans in many ways than Glorantha Elves. They might even be thought of as a race of humans for all practical purposes with the possible exception of the fact that they don't age. The differences in humans is usually less than this.

The largest humans average about 6' 6" (some elves are taller), and are massive. Is this enough to include with a Large Ability? How Large? What about a race that averages about the same but is just tall, and not all that massive? Does that deserve an Ability? Tall?

I could just leave these descriptions to color. But what about a race that's "resistant to cold" and has an actual mechanical bonus in the original system?

Worse than all of this is that the world is very old, but despite the time the races persist in not genetically mixing, though they culturall do mix. What this means is that for a particular homeland you can't assume a particular racial background. So a Sel-Kai Homeland character could be Laan, Shay, or Elf of some sort (or many others, really).

So, to get these in, it seems to me that you'd want to have Racial Keywords separate from the Homeland ones. This is especially important because Racial levels shouldn't be pegged to the 17 for the Homeland, right? And anyhow, that would require a separate keyword for each race in each Homeland...I'm thinking about 150 or so altogether. This would be the most accurate way to do it, I think, given that races living together are often in different social strata.

So, should I just abandon the racial stats as too minor to worry about? Races and Homelands? Combined Race/Homlands?

I realize that I'm probably trying to keep data that's not all that pertinent to the play of the game. But, like I said, I'll be darned if I don't find it interesting.

Mike
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2003, 02:22:37 PM »

Hi Mike,

A good model might be the regional differences that show up in the Lunar homelands descriptions in The Imperial Handbook. For instance, in Darjiin, there are four geographical regions, each of which contributes a "free" ability.

It seems to me that "race" in Shadowlands, for all the reasons you state, could be handled similarly: it's really a small variant in rules terms, but just a little bit of mechanical support goes a long way for Color, in this case.

Best,
Ron
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dunlaing
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My name is Bill


« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2003, 09:07:02 AM »

I like Ron's suggestion.

Another way would be to write up Species keywords for each subrace. Species keywords have values for each ability, not one value for the whole keyword, so you can be particularly fine about it.

For the 6'6" and massive group, I wouldn't give them Large, but I would give them, say, Massively Built 15. They could use that to augment wrestling, certain types of hand to hand combat, or if the contest were to see whether they survive being eaten alive by a demon that cuts off strips of flesh and eats them one by one before the heroes' friends arrive to save her.

For the race that averages about the same but is just tall, give them a Lanky 15. Couldn't use it for augmenting wrestling, but could use it for climbing, or reaching things on high shelves.

The resistant to cold one would depend on how powerful it was in Rolemaster. If they got a +25 to cold RRs, I'd give them something n the order of a Resist Cold 5W. If they're immune to cold or reduce crits from cold, I'd just say that they can't be hurt by cold. No number, just don't allow any cold attacks on them.

Elves would end up with something like:
See at Night 17
Unaging 13
Lanky 15
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2003, 09:27:48 AM »

I agree that it goes a long way towards color, hence my strong urge to keep these elements in.

I'm not precisely sure what you're suggesting. It sounds like you're advocating separate little racial abilities that aren't part of Keywords, per se. Just abilities.

Hmmm. A rules question for the Cognoscenti, are the abilities included in, for example, the Troll section part of a Keyword proper? It says they are a Keyword, but the real question is whether or not I can roll against the Keyword at some level for stuff not covered by the actual abilities? Are these real Keywords, or just packages.

On a related note, most of these packages in HQ give some substantial advantages, and the flaws that do exist seem interesting to play. IOW, when I was reading through them, the seemed very attractive to me. Basically a whole nother pile of Abilities that I get for free just for joining that Race. I assume that races also get Homelands? Or are these Species Keywords somehow a substitute for Homelands?

Seems wrong to me, but either way there's a problem. Either the character gets an extra Keyword, or he's deprived of the most important one, IMO (Homeland). Have I misinterpreted something?

Anyhow, it seems to me that what you are suggesting is just a simple version of having unique Keywords for each possible cross, Ron. Do I have that right essentially? If so, then I better get to work as that's a metris assload of writing. Just doing the continent of Emer is going to be difficult.

Hmmm. Maybe that's the problem. Perhaps I should just try to focus on a smaller area, much like HQ focuses on certain parts of Genertela, and then leave the rest for "supplements". :-) I wanted to be comprehensive, but that ignores the fact that SW has a huge pile of races thought out.

Again, the reason that I like this so much is that what a write up like this does is to take the skeleton that exists in the SW material, and make it a mechanical frame from which to explore the setting. Instead of the sparse material just sitting there, suddenly 90% of the verbage comes to life. I'm being rather literal, there. Like writing up a character with the "narrative" method, I use just about every line of description available in coming up with the keywords.

I think I'll do a smaller chunk, and present it and see what people think (If I can get any interest at all... :-))

Mike
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2003, 09:42:14 AM »

Hi Mike,

This is what I'm suggesting:

Quote
It sounds like you're advocating separate little racial abilities that aren't part of Keywords, per se. Just abilities.


But this is not:

Quote
it seems to me that what you are suggesting is just a simple version of having unique Keywords for each possible cross, Ron. Do I have that right essentially?


What I'm suggesting is this: full-on HeroQuest keywords for Homeland, Occupation, and whatever else you'd like (e.g. Magic type, who knows) ...

And then every race gets a couple-three minor abilities as well. That's it. Strikes me as exceptionally easy and consistent with your source material, especially as "races" in this material are nothing at all like "race/species" in Glorantha or even, for that matter, like they are in, say, Planescape.

Best,
Ron
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2003, 10:36:43 AM »

Ah, I get it. That makes sense, too. It's simple, straightforward, and the variations of one race from homeland to homeland is probably too small to be considered (or, if there is one, then they'll be considered separately). Sounds good. Maybe most telling, that's pretty much what I had already done. I was just wondering if it made sense. Thanks for the well considered council. Especially since I'll bet that you think the whole thing somewhat Quixotic. Heck, even I have some of that feeling.... :-)

If anyone else has an opinion on this, feel free to chime in.

Mike
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dunlaing
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My name is Bill


« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2003, 12:33:26 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Hmmm. A rules question for the Cognoscenti, are the abilities included in, for example, the Troll section part of a Keyword proper? It says they are a Keyword, but the real question is whether or not I can roll against the Keyword at some level for stuff not covered by the actual abilities? Are these real Keywords, or just packages.


They are Species Keywords. Species Keywords do not work like other Keywords, though. They just provide a bunch of abilities at different values. There is no one value for the Keyword so you can't roll against the Keyword for anything not covered by the actual abilities. By your apparent definition, Species Keywords are not "real" Keywords.

Quote from: Mike Holmes
On a related note, most of these packages in HQ give some substantial advantages, and the flaws that do exist seem interesting to play. IOW, when I was reading through them, the seemed very attractive to me. Basically a whole nother pile of Abilities that I get for free just for joining that Race. I assume that races also get Homelands? Or are these Species Keywords somehow a substitute for Homelands?

Seems wrong to me, but either way there's a problem. Either the character gets an extra Keyword, or he's deprived of the most important one, IMO (Homeland). Have I misinterpreted something?


I believe you're interpreting correctly (apart from the "joining" part, you don't join a Race, you're born into it). A Duck who was brought up among the Heortlings would have one more keyword than his stepbrother. The stepbrother would have Heortling, Warrior, and Humakt while the Duck would have Durulz, Heortling, Warrior, and Humakt.

It seems like HeroQuest is designed with the assumption that PCs will be human. Allowing non-human PCs does give those PCs an edge.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2003, 03:09:37 PM »

Hmmm. So by giving all the races some Species Keyword stuff, I'm balancing them out some, eh? Well, that's my rationale and I'm sticking to it! ;-)

Thanks,
Mike
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