There have been a number of threads about reinventing many of the popular fantasy races. On one hand, we want to change them because everyone knows these basic races inside and out, and there is no wonder or mystery left to them. So we come up with new, innovative and really interesting new races. Except that no one is going to use them. Why not? Aren't they better than the old races?
In a word, no. The four traditional fantasy races, the elf, dwarf, human, and orc all have associations that transcend racial bonuses and abilities. More often that not, one of the first things that is changed is that certain thig, that certain element that links them to the human psyche.
To anyone who has toiled at hard, and seemingly insurmountable work, can you not find a common link to the dwarves? They burrow deep into the mountains, and hew out great works, and they are beset by trolls and giants and dragons. How is this so different that one of us going away to a menial job where the weight of work and responcibility seems like the mass of a great mountain itself. We are beset by challenges from coworkers who want our promotion, or our position, and by outside rivals who want to topple our company to make room for their own. In the end, we labor alone, why alone? Are there dwarven women? Logic says yes, but fantasy says no. There are no comely dwarven lasses, they only have the works of their hands as their prize and comfort.
The elves, is there a race more despized? Immortal, ever young and capable beyond our simple reckoning. They are unmoved by death, untouch by frailty, and illness. Tolkiens elves had a strong religious tone, akin to Angels, even to the point of a great fraction of them revolting against the gods in the name of pride and hubris. We fear sickness, and death, and even fear to defy that which we are not even sure exists, but they do not. They are unbound and unfettered to the material world in which we meager humans are shackled.
The orcs/goblins whatever you want to call them are the great and terrible enemy. They are the shadow of our psyche. They are free from the tillage of the soil, free to rape and pillage and plunder and burn and in this they are the dark reflection of who we really are as a people. Yet all to often they fall under dark sway, and are bent to evil purposes. How often have we been led astray, from fear or cowardice, nationalism or blind simple greed?
And last but not least are the humans. No matter the skin color, they get along, they speak the same language. They hold the gates against the enemy while the elves play and the dwarves delve ever deeper into their mines. Who could we be? We could be these humans, who stand a little taller, and are unbiased by creed and nationality. These mutable creatures able to adapt to any class and set of skills.
Enough of that.
The Common Language
The universal language is mathematics, the common language is money. Everyone understands gold. Right now, the US is the predominant economic and military super power. The world speaks our language, in some countries children are required to learn English. Some countries actively deny anything of our western culture in the same manner that some satanists would invert any and every symbol of Christianity to deny God. In thirty of fifty years, China could very well take our place at the top of the heap, and then the common language is going to be Chinese. Or a garbled mix of english and chinese, like English is a garbled mix of Gaelic, French, and Saxon.
now for the last battle. TSR, and Dungeons and Dragons. Yes, it has lost its roots in the soil of it's birth, now consumed by the megalithic corporations. Yet, despite its many flaws, and its many shortcomings, there is one thing that cannot be denied. It was the first. For many of we gamers, it was what drew us into the world of gaming. Sure, some of us had read the Hobbit, and seen some keen movies, but it was that book that drew us in. Mine was the glossy black 2nd ed. While she (D&D) has fallen on worse days, it seems both moraly wrong and an affront to the hobby in general to make such sport of bashing such a grand old lady who brought so much entertainment and frustration to two generations of gamers, and compared to the cost of movies, cable television, and prostitution...asked so little in return. Go to Comment
Certainly a mythic element for Tarrod and it's aquatic inhabitants. The idea could be fleshed out more, giving the mighty Eshal a reason to look more closely at the Cuada. If the gods must die to feed the great mother, surely their firstborn could make worthy appetizers. Go to Comment
One cannot forget one of the evil Kitchen Gods, the Arch-Demon Lag. Lag infects the computers of those who fail to offer up money at his temples (BestBuy, CircuitCity, computer retail outlet of choice)Anger lag and you will find your computer slowing, windows taking longer to open, games running slower and slower until you weep and gnash your teeth and tear at your breast. Go to Comment
I thought this was a good post even before I got to the cannibalism and the making of long pork sausage. Now I think it is a great post, a man who grinds people up into sausage and smoked hams is squeamish and wont even kill animals, master stroke there. I like the post because it mixes a quality mundane post with a devious spicing of evil. I can just imagine the street urchin from A Christmas Carol looking into the shop at the finely spiced ham shank, and imagining eating it, never knowing it was once the meaty thigh of a local noble who opposed villian X and was also kind to the almshouses. Chilling. Go to Comment
In the modern era it is not uncommon for even massive buildings to be constructed in a short term of months to a few years. Yet back in the dark ages, the construction of a great cathedral could take 20 years or more of labor. A fortress, being more about function that appearance could take about half as long. Well done. Go to Comment
I can see an interesting spin on this, and it comes from the basic RTS game. The city is analogous to the base, and the base has survived a massive raid, the walls are breached, most of the defenders are weakened or destroyed, and large swaths of infrastructure have been decimated, to the point that the tech tree is in shambles. Support structures and resource generating structures have to be replaced before the other things can be rebuilt.
Inside the ruins of the walls, where there is still safety from sporadic raids, farms start popping back up. The halflings do have the advantage of being adept diggers, living underground, so that they can co-occupy farmland with their homes, rather than giving up one for the other.
As mentioned, in time the tech tree will be repaired, and the hobbit farms will be replaced by more useful or more efficient land uses, but for the time being, it is a wary area, still remembering the wounds from the fire, the destruction, and not keen to lose what they were able to save last time around. Go to Comment
Mixes pragmaticism with blind beauracracy, creating an ultimately believable setting that is simply more than a riverside area yet still within the bounds of being usable. Curses on the local nobles for never being able to get around to building any sort of dam to fix that pesky water problem. Go to Comment