Thursday, November 6, 2014

Races Without Abilities

Today I was thinking over my old Stars Without Numbers games, one with my old Sunday group at Mindy's and the other that I ran with Nathan and Dan. In each of those games, a new species was brought into the setting by the actions of the characters. I decided that next time I run SWN, both of these races will be available as PC races.

...one race, however, doesn't really have any special abilities beyond absorbing minerals and light for food instead of the normal digestive processes most humanoids have to do. It begs the question: Will players play a race entirely for flavor? Must every race be designed with powers and ability modifiers?


An interesting thing to consider before my next foray into SWN or some similar game.


5 comments:

  1. A race with no (written, specific) abilities is more than flavor. It bears a handful of characteristics that are not measured in stats.
    Consider this: a member of ANY race has some intrinsic bonuses. Let's elaborate...
    -Familiarity with a particular region/home-world;
    -Boons to social abilities with members of the same race;
    -Fame/Reputation/Notoriety based on the perks of the race; and the list may go on forever.
    No, you don't need to write "+1 bonus to basketweaving and needlework skills" when everyone knows that race is known for that. It's flavor? Yes. But much roleplaying is, after all, just flavor.
    But it's a fantabulous flavor, if you ask me.

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    1. I think I've seen more than one Norse-based writeup for B/X that just makes the Alfar the old school elf class: warriors who also have magic.

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  2. @ DMW:

    Yes, I think people will. I think some folks would play elves or shiny vampires even if they didn't have "cool abilities."

    [consider a "Norse myth" style game where the Alfar/elves are simply humans that live in a parallel world with more magic]

    This is why (I feel) "less is more" with regard to races. Gygax had to put race disadvantages in his game to keep everyone from playing demihumans!
    ; )

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  3. Absorbing minerals and light sounds like a fine ability to me. When everybody else is busy dehydrating out in the wilderness, that guy's gonna take charge and lead them all to safety. Rocks or metal blocking your path? Bandits brandishing broadswords? More like snack time!

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  4. Actually, these guys are partially plant, so they actually still need water, perhaps moreso than other species. They also can't eat a broadsword any more than a human could eat a cornstalk raw. They need minerals mixed in with soil. I should've clarified.

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