Sponsor

Sponsor
Visit Our Sponsor

Tenkar's Tavern Community Updates

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Is There a "Core" Fantasy Race That You Tend to Leave Out of Your Campaigns?

If there is a core race from the AD&D 1e Player's Handbook that consistently seems to get the short stick it's Gnomes.

Heck, I really want to like gnomes, but I can never seem to see where they fit. Are they Dwarven / Elven hybrids? Remember, they can cast spells as Illusionists.

Are they Dwarven / Halfling hybrids? Could be from the looks of it.

That being said, others look down on the portly halfling (LotFP Weird Fantasy makes them a "Saves" specialist, and ACKS leaves them out as PCs all together?

Is there a particular "core" fantasy race that you would rather not see in the next game you run or play in? Why?

29 comments:

  1. I have some notes here and there from a "Trad. Fantasy" setting I'd like to run (or write fiction within at some point). There, Gnomes are half-Elf/half-Dwarf. Halfings are half-Human/half-Dwarf. And, quite obviously, Half-Elves are half-Human/half-Elf. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I didn't do gnomes for a long time for Fictive Hack, until I figured out a way I could make them cool and add in some flavor and a role in the world. This is what I ended up with.

    http://fictivefantasies.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/gnome-template/

    In the Fictive Hack version of the World Between by Jack Shear, it's all human for player classes. In the Breathing World setting, I've got lots and lots of nonhumans. Different campaigns work different ways.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Down with Gnomes! I do not allow Gnomes, nor do the exist in any world I've ever played in. The same goes for female Dwarves. There just are none.

    Also, I do not like the idea of the Half-elf/orc. I just decided humans/elves/orcs can't breed.

    I had to change my thoughts on this, because Sue wanted to play a Half-elf on her first game of D&D. I did not want to discourage her initial interest.

    As you know, she is currently playing a Half-orc.

    At least not liking the half-humans is an easy reminder for me to play up prejudice expressed towards them.

    Thankfully, they've never expressed interest in Gnomes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't understand that. The idea of Elves and Humans interbreeding is from real world mythology. It's a big part of what Elves are, IMHO, being so close to mankind, yet not man.

      Delete
  4. Well, Gnomes were really, really big in the 1970s. There was a very famous book about them called The Secret Book of Gnomes by Wil Hyugen (I think just called Gnomes in the US). It wasn't quite Harry Potter, but it was close. You might not remember it, but if you look at the cover I'm sure you'll recognize it.

    But still, even if they aren't cool or fill a role, so what? This goes back to today's ADD culture - unless something is bright & shiny and with lots of explosions, it's apparently not worthwhile....just like a room with 2000 coppers and some rats.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember that book. I definitely recall the few pages where the trolls are torturing the gnomes. ;]

      Delete
    2. 2000 Coppers and Some Rats is officially the OSR's equivalent of 40 Acres and a Mule. Look it up.

      Delete
    3. @anthony - 9 rats to be precise ;)

      Delete
  5. Pathfinder does the best to make gnomes usable, by making them descended from Fey. Thus differentiating them from halflings and gnomes.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Orcs/half-orcs! I've never been fond of the idea of having them as a player race, just for what they are. If someone wants to play a gobbo, or what, so be it, but not nasty orcses.

    I liked using the gnomes in place of toymakers/tinkers/Santa's elves, or the Keebler elves. And in all my time with any D&D edition, I'm the only one of my group to play one, so I'm quite fine if they're left as an NPC race.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I do tend to leave out Gnomes, but to add a little variety to this thread I'll say I also tend to leave out Dwarves. Dwarves rarely ever clicked for me, and I don't know why. Instead, I typically just have a variety of Halflings. Underground Halflings, mutant Halflings, regular Halflings, magic Halflings, etc., all with different cultures and personalities.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I've never understood the gnome hostility. Gnomes are what I wish I could replace elves with.

    1) Elves (post Tolkien): Perfect hair, perfect clothes, pretentious language, arrogant, too superior to show much respect for any other species. The cool rich kids at the high school.

    2) Gnomes: Quirky, sense of humor, slightly unhinged, always look like they're in over their heads, match up well against halflings and dwarves in terms of their innate goofiness. The people at high school who actually played games involving elves (ironically enough).

    I can see how elves fit a sort of hyper-serious high-fantasy milieu where everything is somber and super-serious, but gnomes just work so much better for anything old-school as examples of the same party role. I'd abolish elves to powerful NPC roles and just let gnomes be the magical player race, if that niche started to feel too crowded.

    Plus, it's nice to have casters whose default setting is to do something more creative than chuck endless fireballs.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Gnomes are awesome, and I don't understand the hate. They are short, magical creatures that recall the stories of the fey. I always picture them as leprechauns. Oh, and the ability to talk to burrowing mammals: rats for sure, bats possibly? That is the best dungeoncrawling ability of any race, by a large margin.

    ReplyDelete
  10. All I can say is watch for the new GNOME class for Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG coming in CRAWL!#6, that should be out within days. You're bound to get warmer to the little fellows!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. My players love gnomes and hate elves, thus if I were to start from scratch I'd be tempted to substitute elves with gnomes and have elves be representative of the fey who are trying to destroy the world of men (or take revenge on civilization coming up with iron).

    ReplyDelete
  12. Gnomes up, Halflings down, for me. Of course my gnomes are less twee little steampunks and more little sneaky misfit screw-ups.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I leave out the half-orcs first of all, but then I don't really consider them a "core" race anyway. Next it's halflings (furry feet? WTF? and usually gnomes. I think of gnomes as fey and better off as an NPC race.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I would have to say Gnomes, there is a player who hates Halflings and really, I have gotten to the point where I am good with anything. It is just, HOW you play the Gnome. So many of them are played for laughs, that it hurts my brain while trying to run the game with them acting insane and saying, "It is how the character is..." It is just as bad as the whole Chaotic Neutral character being insane and doing the most evil things and saying they are Neutral when they are just being EVIL.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm not fond of halflings, and tend to reskin them. In the game that I am starting up, they are replaced by "bunrabs", humanoid rabbit-like creatures designed by Dennis Sustare in his Swordbearer.

    Gnomes, to me, represent the "commoner" sort of fairy creature, where elves might be the "nobles". I hate the "tinker gnome" idea from Dragonlance that infested '90s D&D, preferring the bizarre pseudo-technology to be a dwarven thing (though I hate the silliness more, and dwarven pseudo-technology is not error-prone in my conception of it). Gnomes are illusionists, which means that they are closely associated with fairy glamour in my gaming cosmology. (I have some strange ideas about illusionists and fairy creatures in my game world, actually.) Elves are something else.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Definitely gnomes.
    I don't let players take elves either, unless they have a really good explanation for why that elf isn't off meditating about his hair in a forest glade somewhere. Seriously, fuck elves!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I don't "tend' to leave out any core fantasy race from my campaigns, some just simply aren't there for a specific campaign.
    You want to see people lose their minds ditch elves or dwarves.

    Currently I'm going with all none-core with the exception of plain old humans. The race mix for a campaign is defining and the everyone in the pool approach doesn't always work.

    ReplyDelete
  18. The issue I have with gnomes is the name. Pre-D&D 'gnomes' were either very diminutive, or earth elementals. What is depicted in D&D as 'gnomes' should really be called 'brownies' or 'leprechauns' or even 'elves' (pre-Tolkien and pre-D&D elves could be very small).

    ReplyDelete
  19. Basic Fantasy Gnomes are more fey than the average. Now, many people equate fey = elf, but it's more than that... there's a bit of danger in there that is often forgotten. BFRPG Gnomes are tinkers, but not the brain-damaged tinkers of the Dragonlance era... they make traps, tricky ones. Illusionist Gnomes enjoy fooling other races, particularly the taller ones. They are as likely to enjoy mean jokes as good-natured ones. They are often haughty and dismissive, contrary at the worst possible times, and are not to be trifled with.

    ReplyDelete

RPGNow

Old School Gaming Forums

Tenkar's Tavern is supported by various affiliate programs, including Amazon, RPGNow,
and Humble Bundle as well as Patreon. Your patronage is appreciated and helps keep the
lights on and the taps flowing. Your Humble Bartender, Tenkar

Tenkar's Tavern Discord Server Events - link - https://discord.gg/fReGmuD - Click to embiggen

Blogs of Inspiration & Erudition