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Vile

What's your MW Monster Mash?

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MW has a bunch or relatively random humanoid species - Beast-Men, Centaurs (okay, not humanoid, but still), Dwarfs, Elves, Giants, Halflings, Humans, Ogres, Orcs, Satyrs, Trolls & Cave Trolls. The Southern Reaches qualifies this a bit by making most of them Fey, and adding the (presumably human) Stagali Riders.

Do you use all of these in your game, whether set in SR or elsewhere? Are there any you leave out, or any you add in? In a setting the size of SR I don't like to use too many competing humanoid peoples, so I'd rather cut more out and add a few in. But because I have use for most if not all of the above, it's more a question of reducing their numbers if I want 

OUT: I actually like pretty much all of the species except Halflings, whom I can barely tolerate in Middle Earth (though best avoided), and not at all outside. I don't need Stagali Raiders because Orcs already do that.

STAY: Even Broo Beast-Men are okay, though I might use them as a one-off campaign threat rather than having them as a normal and permanent part of the biosphere. Orcs, again, are a bit Tolkien-ish but I have them as barbarian tribes with shamanistic traditions designed to keep their mountain homes secret. They might raid from time to time, but it's more a manliness thing (orcliness?) than resource gathering - with their secrecy thing they are mainly into getting in and out unseen with prize intact. Centaurs, Elves, Giants, Ogres, Trolls are all just Fey creatures as described, though except for Elves their numbers are vanishingly small. Dwarves are not muscled brutes, they are mysterious artisans and enchanters, again few in number.

IN: I do like goblins, and they seem to fit very well into the Fey setting. I make liberal use of chaotic features to make them a highly variable species, rather like Julian May's Firvulag from the Saga of the Exiles (actually my elves are basically the Tanu). With those seafaring rules I also need some maritime humanoids, and Kappa-like creatures and Merfolk (of the Poul Anderson fully humanoid variety) fill that niche for me.

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Nasty things. Can't keep them out of your pantry, and their foot hairs turn up everywhere. 😖

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I've only ever read one good take on Halflings

Quote
Most importantly, halflings breed from spawn sacs much like goblins (though unlike goblins, halflings are not all functional self-fertilizing hermaphrodites) and halflings have little regard for their offspring.  It is possible that this general lack of parental impulse is cultural, but even then this  is understandable, as a halfling spawn are self-sufficent (if stupid, animalistic and vicious) within hours after birth, scurrying about on all fours and almost immediately hunting small animals and insects to devour.  In Denethix and other large human towns the attics, basements and alleys of halfling neighborhoods are often filled with spawn sacks and cruel little pods of cannibalistic halfling infants.  The same holds with most rural areas, except spawn sacs cluster in out of the way hollows or copses of trees that only the unwise to venture into and which can be lethal if one is not prepared to fight a pack of snarling children.  Halfing childhood is dangerous, and few survive the predations of their older siblings, wild animals or the harsh life of small fleshy creatures living in the open.  Yet this may be a good thing, as without this high infant mortality halflings would vastly outnumber the other races of man, and spread locust like, depleting land after land in their hungry hordes.
 
At about four years of age the feral halfling infant has developed enough intelligence to begin skulking around the fringes of civilized society, living as a scavenger and hunter of alley cats, but also picking up the rudiments of language and behavior.  By the age of ten most halfling infants have mimicked enough culture to become beggars and street thieves, running with a pack of their own kind until they are strong and smart enough to be noticed by older halflings and drafted into the adult halfling community as something other than vermin. The halflings’ feral childhood, a product of alien biology, explains much of the scandalous rumor about halflings and is the basis of many of their bizarre behaviors.

In my Dolmenwood game (running on top of Magic World) I've got Coblynau, which are are replacement for dwarfs, being more akin to earth spirits, elves are in fact changelings or may have a hint of fey blood (but don't have their own culture), goatmen, and grimalkin (master cat, "Puss in Boots" style cat-folk), wodewose, and veggie-based moss dwarfs. True elves (sidhe) are frequently cruel and capricious and always NPCs. I also nicked a lot of the bestiary from Val-du-Loup, and there's there's plenty of fey that come in various shapes and sizes, that people might call goblins, trolls, ogres, etc. but aren't easily classified as a race or species unto themeselves.

By and large I really don't like the D&D-style humanoids as savages, and prefer monsters to be truly alien and monstrous.

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4 hours ago, Nick J. said:

In my Dolmenwood game (running on top of Magic World) I've got Coblynau, which are are replacement for dwarfs, being more akin to earth spirits [...] By and large I really don't like the D&D-style humanoids as savages, and prefer monsters to be truly alien and monstrous.

I call my MW dwarves Coblynau. They are considerably more magical than the original Welsh types, but if you can find them they are a bit more approachable than most fey (hence House Drum's relationship with them).

Although I applaud the play of all manner of species in gonzo D&D-style games like BLUEHOLME™ (though gelatinous cube PCs really slow the party down, I find), in more "serious" games like MW it's rare you come across a player who can really pull off a convincing non-human character.

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1 hour ago, Vile said:

[...] , in more "serious" games like MW it's rare you come across a player who can really pull off a convincing non-human character.

In my experience, it's usually just "people in funny hats" syndrome when you get right down to it, but I've got a couple of people I play with currently that try to lean into it. The grimalkin in the current campaign seems to be a favorite, but then again, these people own cats so they've got plenty of source material to fall back on. Personally, I've never been any good at playing a non-human convincingly. (Of course that never stopped me from constantly rolling up wood elf rangers in AD&D 1st ed. games in junior high and high school all those years ago -- gotta get them sweet racial bonuses and hiding abilities!).

Edited by Nick J.
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10 hours ago, Nick J. said:

In my experience, it's usually just "people in funny hats" syndrome when you get right down to it, but I've got a couple of people I play with currently that try to lean into it. The grimalkin in the current campaign seems to be a favorite, but then again, these people own cats so they've got plenty of source material to fall back on. Personally, I've never been any good at playing a non-human convincingly. (Of course that never stopped me from constantly rolling up wood elf rangers in AD&D 1st ed. games in junior high and high school all those years ago -- gotta get them sweet racial bonuses and hiding abilities!).

Oh I don't know Nick, I think you play a non-human very convincingly! It's human you seem to have some problems with 🙂

Note please don't kill my character!

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I'd long been pondering using the Warhammer setting for Magic World, but recently I realized I wanted to tweak its take on fantasy races.
First off... the various sorts of elves it has (wood, high, dark, sea) are not particularly like the old folklore and WAAAYYY too much like Tolkien. So I decided that the 'real' elves are straight up fae... pretty much nature spirits and seldom seen. The peoples referred to as elves are actually 'half elves' and being a half elf means you have some sort of hereditary feature that reveals a bit of fae heritage... but it's variable (I've made random table) and doesn't imply physical mating so much as some sort of magical/spiritual interaction... such as ancestors who received a blessing/curse from the fae, lived close to a fairy hill, made some sort of pact with the fae.

The same thing goes for 'goblins', which are fae as well... so all the 'goblinoids' (goblins, orcs, bugbears, ogres, trolls... and halflings!) exhibit some degree of that heritage. There's a different random table for those fellows.

But basically, 'halflings' are magical mutations... and a bit random, not a 'race'.

It all kinda fits with Warhammer's use of things like centaurs, minotaurs and other classical creatures as 'chaos' mutants.
 

Edited by Simlasa

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I'm really glad that MW includes all of the old classics. And using the RQ3 scores rather than re-writing was probably better than sowing potential confusion by remodelling them all.

Personally I grew up on Moorcock and Vance rather than Tolkien so 'Halfling' means something different to me than a renamed Hobbit. Even if I cared about Hobbits.

I've only run a couple of games with nuMW and I used the following

Goblins (small Ork stats, I'd have used Ducks but they're not in MW!)

Trolls (Earth Elemental stats)

Fey (Air Elemental stats)

Haflings (Elf stats)

 

The only other change I made was to cap the random bit of Bestiary Characteristics to 3d6 (keeping the static bonus).

Edited by Al.
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45 minutes ago, Rich Tom said:

While I love the writing of Michael Moorcock I adore Tolkien. I rather like Halflings. As for ducks, I always thought that the original writer was just having a laugh. 

Well, I don't mind Hobbits. It's Halflings I find anti-immersive. 😉

I am of the same mind regarding ducks, and if they were acknowledged as such instead of trying to convince skeptics that they are a serious thing and anyway they're called "Durulz" now, maybe they wouldn't be such a turn-off.

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On 5/23/2020 at 3:55 PM, Nick J. said:

I know absolutely nothing about the history of Glorantha's development, but always sort of assumed ducks were a riff on Howard the Duck?

I think it has more to do with the history of Four Color Comics and Carl Banks.

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Humans. I like a human centric world. It's only recently that I've loosened that up a bit.

If I step away from Human centric it becomes Humans, Fey and the weirder stuff.

Right now I'm running two games of DnD so I'm stuck with the generic fantasy bunch.

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8 hours ago, Chaot said:

If I step away from Human centric it becomes Humans, Fey and the weirder stuff.

That's basically where I am now with MW and my version of Southern Reaches. Humans are pretty much the only viable player character species, almost everything else is Fey and Fey is too alien to comprehend. Even Orcs and Woses and the Stagali Riders are too culturally removed to work in a party unless they are the old trope of the outcast/ wanderer, and that only works once.

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