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Practical Elder Race Play Questions

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4 minutes ago, Ian Absentia said:

I was actually thinking that I was going down with a typical Sci-Fi trope.  "On your planet, we have assumed forms your species can understand without fear..."

The more I think about it, the more inclined I am to suggest that Aldrya and Mostal are up to the same game when it comes to player-character versions of the elf and dwarf species.

!i!

I don't think the cultures-at-large have a sufficient understanding of humans to be able to adequately produce a close-enough-to-be-useful pseudo-human.

Maybe they each maintain a small lineage of human-interface individuals, part of whose duty it is to inform a new generation of such individuals, before they die?  That'd make a good explanation for Elder-Race PC's:  their REAL job to to learn about humans such that, if a crisis occurs, their respective races have a resource when they need one, not having to wait for a breed-and-grow or design/build cycle (that would only produce an entity without sufficient experience for the task, anyhow!)

Maybe there are Mostali human-interface units that can be put into a "hibernation mode" for long durations, so they can be re-used later?

 

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11 minutes ago, Ian Absentia said:

The more I think about it, the more inclined I am to suggest that Aldrya and Mostal are up to the same game when it comes to player-character versions of the elf and dwarf species.

God, what if they tried something similar vis-a-vis each other once upon a time? Rock loving plants and plant loving rocks, each with an ulterior agenda.

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43 minutes ago, g33k said:

 it often really IS "the myth is driving it" -- both the pieces as we expect them, and the pieces that very-much are UNexpected.

Oh I certainly get that, I just don't see a useful/meaningful reason to pull conceptual rugs out from under players for no compelling reason (IMO) because of unintended consequences.

Boiling down to RPG Meta:

RPGs are fundamentally consensual stories.  When the GM says "you come walking into town on the dusty south road and see a handful of buildings on either side of the lane" already the players are broadly building a visual "set' in which their characters exist.  Unless you specify otherwise, they're compelled to make assumptions to fill in the unstated blanks - the sun is in the sky, not sitting on a nearby hilltop; the dusty road is from dirt/gravel and not ground-up--beetle-carapaces, down to details of the scene like water dripping downward & smoke rising through chimneys.

I'm not a supergenius; I can't imagine all the possible consequences from changing a fundamental physical constant, and it's entirely possible my players might either a) intuit something clever using a reasonable assumption from the real world and want to apply it in-game, or b.) find some unanticipated loophole resulting from an asserted fantasization of physics, chemistry, whatever that ends up being ridiculously overpowered.  Some GMs say that's gamey rules-lawyering by players; I'm the opposite: I'd blame poor rules-writing (and beta testing) that leaves such loopholes unanticipated.  (cf Bag of Rats problems https://rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/124869/what-is-a-bag-of-rats don't come from exploitative rules-lawyers, they're born from lazy rules writers)

And I frankly despise telling a player "oh, no, yeah: that seems like it would make sense but you can't do that in this universe." (the negative version of "a wizard did it").  Bluntly, that's just poor worldbuilding.

I prefer real-life where possible as it has the lowest number of potential loopholes, and maximum breadth for player creativity without them having to wonder 'oh wait, is that even possible in (X) fantasy universe?'  It's just flippin' simpler.

It's one reason I'm so ardently in favor of well thought out, logically consistent magic rules.  The more arbitrary they are, the less predictable they are OUTSIDE the margins of the rulebook and imo that stifles players that want to be creative.   

Sorry if I sound ardent but this is pretty core to how I approach GMing a game.  

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10 minutes ago, g33k said:

I don't think the cultures-at-large have a sufficient understanding of humans to be able to adequately produce a close-enough-to-be-useful pseudo-human.

Not that would fool any human, certainly.

I think one of the compelling parts of Glorantha are the Elder Races being TRULY alien in everything from outlook to physiology.  IMO they need to be more mercilessly inimical to humans than presented in most of the game materials to date.  I have elves that like plants care nothing for their seeds, reproducing in bulk to outstrip the creatures that eat them, not "protecting" each seed as if individually precious.  This makes them frightningly merciless to human children (and likewise, willing to remorselessly sacrifice their own young if it helps the collective) and a wonderful "oh shit this isn't Dungeons and Dragons, is it?" moment for players.

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39 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

God, what if they tried something similar vis-a-vis each other once upon a time? Rock loving plants and plant loving rocks, each with an ulterior agenda.

...

Pavis?

Edited by g33k
also, just consider the name for a moment: ROCKWOOD
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1 hour ago, g33k said:

Maybe they each maintain a small lineage of human-interface individuals, part of whose duty it is to inform a new generation of such individuals, before they die?

For Aldrya, it'd just be cultivating another specialised plant.  In this case, a closely-related phenotype of elf, perhaps with a relationship with mainstream elf society similar to the one that elfs have with dryads. 

By the way, I found that reference I was looking for -- Guide to Glorantha, Vol. 1, p. 61, sidebar: "This female Aldryami ... looks almost perfectly human - almost too human, bred and grown to easily interact with the nearby human tribes."  Woo!  Canon!

1 hour ago, g33k said:

Maybe there are Mostali human-interface units that can be put into a "hibernation mode" for long durations, so they can be re-used later?

Almost certainly!  That's the way the Machine works.

!i!

Edited by Ian Absentia
Elfs, not "elves". This ain't Tolkien.
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16 hours ago, Ian Absentia said:

Even a dragonewt may have an inscrutable reason for mimicking human behavior for several years before resuming more traditionally draconic pursuits.

You know, that could make for a very interesting character (PC or NPC)!  A beaked dragonewt for instance might very well explore "being a human" to work through its various aggressive traits such as curiosity and apathy, leader and follower, impulsive and cautious, nervous and calm, and suspicious and trusting. (Of course, a crested one could, too, but as they are more likely to be under another dragonewt's orders, it might be less interesting.)

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5 hours ago, g33k said:

Maybe there are Mostali human-interface units that can be put into a "hibernation mode" for long durations, so they can be re-used later?

What if, with the collapse of jrustela, there was a ragtag fleet of ships, merchants, traders, pleasure craft, all fleeing the sudden and total destruction of their home? 50,298 survivors.  They were shepherded, led, and protected by the lone remaining jrustelan warship, a mothballed old vessel formerly commanding the Brithos Service Group, aka BSG-1.  But there were exactly such Mostali agents aboard, unknown even to each other...They look and feel human. Some are programmed to think they are human....

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1 hour ago, styopa said:

What if...

Well, now you're just being absurd.*  Though you do raise an interesting point.  Why does Mostal make stunties and giants. but no human-sized and -shaped gears for the Machine?

!i!

Edited by Ian Absentia
* Flagged for sarcastic content.

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13 hours ago, g33k said:

...

Pavis?

I keep telling people, Pavis dwarves are so heretical that they have to keep just how heretical they are a secret from other heretical dwarves.

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5 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

I keep telling people, Pavis dwarves are so heretical that they have to keep just how heretical they are a secret from other heretical dwarves.

It is known. (I hate that show but it's a good catchphrase.)

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