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How can I make these races better?

Discussion in 'Games' started by Jesse Booth, Aug 16, 2014.

  1. Jesse Booth

    Jesse Booth Scribe

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    This is a list of races I plan on including in a video game someday. I prefer to keep the descriptions brief for now, but if you think of anything I can do to improve them, please let me know. In all, there are twelve of them:





    4 high races, consisting of the oldest and most advanced societies/cultures. 3 Elven races and Gnomes. little interest in expansion, as they are already at the apex of their civilizations, though the individual races have varying levels of activity in international politics.

    *Gnomes, a race of brilliant inventors who, while lacking in warrior potential, are talented rogues and mages. magical automatons and constructs are a hallmark of their race's militaries. they have several worker castes, made up entirely of lesser races they have conquered, "for their own good." readily intervenes in the affairs of other races.

    *your standard High Elves, they're arrogant, aloof, and somewhat xenophobic, but have the credentials and history to back up their claims of superiority. their government is something between an aristocracy and a meritocracy. highly isolationist.

    *a separate High Elven culture based on free markets and independence, a loose federation of sorts. vigilantism is a popular method of dealing with government corruption, and will definitely be featured in an important plot arc. trade is encouraged, but alliances with other nations is avoided as much as possible.

    *Dark Elves, a violent and militaristic subspecies of Elves. powerful warriors, lacking the frailty most Elven peoples are prone to. they are barely considered a High race, and owe that title entirely to their Elven heritage. readily ally themselves with warring nations, and have a military that they often hire out to other countries.


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    4 middle races: less political power than the High races, but much more ambitious and more interested in forming empires. They developed later, and on another continent. definite distrust of the more "exotic" races. all human races.

    *a French analogue. poor class making up most of the population, and a corrupt monarchy in charge. at some point in the series, the aristocracy will be overthrown in a violent rebellion. this will not end well for anybody involved, regardless of which side of the conflict they fight on.

    *a German analogue. pre-Germany, based on the people before there was a single unified German nation. a loose confederation, the people are fiercely loyal to their region, rather than the country as a whole.

    *an old-english analogue. probably the most amalgamated of the human races, names and voices will be based more on England prior to Roman domination, but will include several dialects from other places in the UK. tend to be stubborn and superstitious.

    *a Greek analogue. the only human race that does not govern by some form of feudalism, they have a representative democracy. not actually on the continent humans developed on, mostly inhabit a large island to the west.


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    4 lesser races. little to no political power, and frequently resentful toward other races. very nonhuman appearances. even more lesser races, but they will not be playable and will mostly exist as enemies in the game.

    *an insectoid race. no hive mind, but still incredibly loyal to the hive, where a literal hive mind exists; centuries of accumulated knowledge and memories from members of the hive are stored in a magical construct of some sort. all player characters are gender-neutral drones, so you don't end up with something like the Argonians (seriously? Boobs on a reptile?). appearance of your character will have little room for modification, as appearance will mostly be determined by what hive your character was born in, and what class they are.

    *a shark-like race. little magical potential, if any. has an ability to take on a bestial form that is extremely powerful, similar to Lycanthropy in some regards. armor and weapons will not carry over to the bestial form. oldest race in the game world. they are more muscular than most races, and their skin comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns found among actual shark species.

    *goblins. not comical like in many games. very cunning and intelligent. a tribal people that rarely stay in one place for very long. they are very humanoid, but with sharp, angular facial features, and their skin usually has a dark greenish tint.

    *a canine race. chaotic, ruthless, but with a pack mentality that allows for a surprising empathy for other members of their concept of a pack, regardless of race. essentially anarchy, with all the instability and danger that comes with such a government. the members of this race tend to be more than a little insane. appearance tends to favor coyotes, hyenas, and jackals. they have warred with the gnomes for thousands of years.
     
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  2. Hainted

    Hainted Sage

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    I dunno, I get the descriptions are brief, but they all seem to be White Hats/Black Hats, and play off Tropes. Also I wonder how much diversity you're allowing for in your human cultures. 4 European based analogues? I'm not being the PC police, but diversity in videogames and fantasy is becoming a hot button topic. I've been to several sci-fi and fantasy cons over the past year that have devoted panels to this( and been a panelist on a couple). Just my thoughts.
     
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  3. Ophiucha

    Ophiucha Auror

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    Agreed with Hainted if only because France, Germany, and England are borderline indistinguishable in most fantasy settings and it'd have to be handled very well to see distinctions here given the fact that they're all in the same tier of races. If it is intentionally all European for the sake of allegory, I'd consider perhaps switching in a Nordic or Russian inspiration for one or two of them just so they all have their own distinct cultures. Or really buckling down for some heavy research.

    My subsequent question would be, culturally, what are the top and bottom tiers like culturally? Arrogant aristocrats isn't really a 'culture', whereas 'French' and 'Greek' carry everything from art, politics, and language with them. It seems almost odd that only one tier are direct analogues of Earth cultures while the others are more generic 'proud warrior race' or 'magitech geniuses'. And similarly, that the others lack a primary trope of sorts. The French analogue is going through a revolution of sorts (fair enough, for France), but is it because they are a race of scholars whose leaders have become dimwitted? Are the land-loving Germans a mining race, perhaps? Are the superstitious English fearful of magic, or are they the 'mysticism' race? Each separate tier works on its own as a set-up for a fantasy world, but put together they seem incongruent.
     
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  4. Jesse Booth

    Jesse Booth Scribe

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    I'm planning on expanding into additional continents, and I figured it would be difficult to pull off having an Aztec-like civilization living in the same hemisphere as the Germans. I am aware that the cultures are very similar to each other, and that is by design. The continent that the human races have developed on is smaller than the one inhabited by the other races; it's crowded, tense, and looking to make room for itself in the world around it. I'm still not entirely certain I even want to include both latin and germanic languages on the same continent. The biggest distinctions will be governing style. The English will be based on what England was like before they had even heard of the Roman empire, the Germans will be an association of states just beginning to form a unified nation, the French will be the oldest and most entrenched nation on their continent, at the very apex of corruption, and the Greeks will be disorganized city-states, that end up losing a lot of territory before they start working together when the Germans begin to expand their own territory. The two continents will have only come into contact with each other barely a century ago; racial tensions between the Human species and the rest of the world will be an important part of the storyline.

    The French will be going through a violent revolution, because the peasantry is sick of being abused by the absolute richest and most powerful members of society. This will also involve several ideological groups vying for control of the revolutionary forces, even as the war rages throughout their nation, including ideas for Socialism, Democracy, Anarchy, and even some people who want to base their government on some of the functioning governments present among the High races. All the while, the remaining members of the aristocracy will be experiencing similar infighting, as the entire royal family will be assassinated early on in the war. The rising powerhouse of the Human race, the Germans, will begin expanding into their land, taking advantage of the chaos and disorder.

    The "English" (the word barely matches the culture and language of the time period) are going to stay mostly out of the fighting, as they are not prone to join in on a bunch of foreigners' infighting. However, their country will be taken over in a coup instigated by a ruthless leader among their people who is backed by German agents that supply her (yes, her) with funding, supplies, and mercenaries. And, to answer Ophiucha's question, the "English" are incredibly hostile toward anything that has anything to do with magic. They are so vehemently opposed to anything arcane, NPCs of that race will go out of their way to focus their attack on enemies that use magic in a fight.

    Again, the Greeks will be on the losing end of a fight with the Germans. They will have some of the oldest and most refined architecture and artwork of any of the Humans, and you will see entire cities that have been razed to the ground as the game progresses. Places you have already been to, masterpieces you have looked at, people you have met, all of these things will be destroyed because the Greeks refuse to unite for their own protection for so long. Their culture will survive, but they will lose a lot.

    Everything is going to Hell in a hand basket for the Human race, and similar problems will be brewing among the rest of the known world. Several lesser races will begin to mass into large hordes, a behavior not seen in thousands of years. A series of assassinations and sabotage will put serious strain between the already estranged groups of High Elves. The Dark Elves will witness the return of a primal, ancient enemy that they had believed to be long extinct. The Gnomes and the canine race will see an escalation in their long and bloody feud.

    And all of this will be enacted by a malevolent entity that has been plotting this for eons, and works behind the scenes to cause as much instability as possible, in preparation for its return to the Mortal Plane. Your character will be acting as an agent for a group that has been trying to prevent this for thousands of years. You will be traveling throughout the world, desperately trying to stop the political machinations set into motion by this unnamed enemy. As you save one part of a nation, you will hear reports of significant losses in other areas of the world you simply did not have time to go to. You will be able to control some of what happens, and you will be able to prevent some of the worst, but for every thing you save, something else will be lost. Your decisions and mistakes will be seen throughout the game as well. Refugees will pile into cities, entire sections of the map will be turned into charred battlefields, prices throughout the game will fluctuate wildly as the world burns. Only when the true enemy of all sapient life in the world is revealed, will you begin to make a real difference. The entire world will have to unite, else civilization will perish from the face of the earth, as entire nations are snuffed out one by one.

    Holy crap, that's a long post.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2014
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  5. Hainted

    Hainted Sage

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    I'd look at other European cultures, or other periods in history to draw from. Swap out say Spain under the Inquisition for England, and the Greeks with the Russians or something close to Europe like Persian.
     
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  6. Jesse Booth

    Jesse Booth Scribe

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    I was actually going to use a Persian-like race for one of the eventual expansions, but I'll keep your idea in mind.
     
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  7. Hainted

    Hainted Sage

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    I was thinking Persia mainly because unlike Incan, or Hindu or Chinese culture, in our world Persia's not that far from Europe. You could still have a small continent, but mix it up a little. In the end though it's YOUR idea, and everything I'm throwing at you is just noise, and an alternative view.
     
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  8. Jesse Booth

    Jesse Booth Scribe

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    True, Persia is close to Europe, but it's a million miles away culturally. I came up with the idea that there could be some multicultural sections of a few port cities, and when you go through them, you can see a wide variety of decorations not native to any of the playable races' cultures, and hear dozens of NPCs chattering in foreign languages. This'll be a bit hard to do with dead languages, however. One would suspect little chance of finding voice actors that are fluent in, say, Egyptian or Mayan. This could also open doors to even further expansions into other human continents, although it would make the overcrowding concept much harder to pull off (I mean, if people are moving there...). I'll keep the Human civilizations on a back burner for now, since I can't even decide those are the races I'll put in those roles.

    Does anybody have any comments on the Dark Elves or the lesser races right now? I'm working on making those more specific, and I'l gladly share more information as the comments and questions role in.
     
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  9. Hainted

    Hainted Sage

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    The Elves kinda remind me of the Elves in the Elder Scroll games. I'm not sure how to tweak them, but the High, and Dark Elves just seem bland. It's just nothing that makes me more interested in them. Maybe a little more info?
     
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  10. Ophiucha

    Ophiucha Auror

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    High elves, I'd concur with Hainted, but the dark elves are different enough to not remind me of ES. What they could use, based on their description, is something that is more strongly associated with a sense of culture beyond militarism. A faith that rewards honour, or a warrior poet tradition. Are the women of the dark elves warriors, and if not, how does the culture view motherhood? Many 'barbarian' cultures in history were actually less misogynistic than their more settled, peaceful neighbours. How is mercenary work treated? Could it be worked - since the dark elves often ally themselves with warring nations - that they have built a mercenary economy? To the one who gifts the greatest spoils goes the victory, if you will. Certainly if they are tossing themselves into wars for the sake of it, I'd wonder at how many of the men (or women) are around to be craftsmen and miners and whatnot.

    For the beast races,

    - Insectoids, seems simple enough. If they've accumulated knowledge in a more efficient way (the hive mind) than other races, are they the most intelligent - or at least the most academic? Knowledge is lost to most other races, libraries are burned and dictators ban books. They'd have kept and expanded on every mathematical discovery and philosophical question since the dawn of their race. Do they keep the knowledge of the other races? Like the Golden Age of Islam on Earth, much of Europe's knowledge of its own history comes from what was preserved by the Muslims during the European 'dark age'.

    - Sharks, seem alright. What's their culture like? Are they warriors, too (you'd have quite a few if they were)? Since they are sharks, are they great sailors? Explorers? Astronomers, even? Do regular sharks exist in this world, and if so, what is their relationship with them? Are they brethren? Do they see sharks as less evolved versions of themselves (like some humans do with monkeys)?

    - Goblins, what makes them a lesser race if they are intelligent and fairly humanoid? Particularly versus the gnomes.

    - Canines, also seem solid enough as is, but I'd say even a race of crazed anarchists probably have some traditions and rituals worth exploring. Particularly if they're together enough to have maintained a war for years, even if it's a territory war. Nations that are at war with each other often end up adapting each other's culture. Perhaps consider a group of canine tinkerers, who try to reverse-engineer great gnome inventions but lack the knowledge to make it quite right. Hastily made armour made from the shells of automatons. Since the gnomes are an imperialistic, vaguely racist race, perhaps the canines are surprisingly socially progressive despite their unstructured societies and minds?

    Those are just the loose thoughts that came to me reading the descriptions.
     
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  11. Jabrosky

    Jabrosky Banned

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    Mayan languages are still spoken by people of indigenous descent in Central American countries. As for ancient Egyptian, a modified form of it does persist as a liturgical language in the Coptic church. But yeah, getting Maya or Coptic voice actors would be difficult unless you had a really high budget.
     
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  12. Jesse Booth

    Jesse Booth Scribe

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    To Ophiuchia:

    The Dark Elves were originally a group of High Elves led by two ancient warriors: the Battlemage Xarxes, and the Justicar Vitharne. they colonized a large island called Raalenor approximately seventeen thousand years ago. After about three centuries of peace, their lives were torn apart by the emergence of the Worca, a subterranean race I have yet to define. The Worca were barely intelligent brutes, indoctrinated into the service of a powerful and ancient entity known as Balor.

    The Worca took a while to start their assaults in earnest, giving the Elves barely enough time to prepare their defenses. The majority of the food on Raalenor was gathered from the sea, as the land was poor for most farming, making it easy to resupply food. In addition, the geography of Raalenor made it easy to prevent enemy progress to and from the center of the island at various choke points. All of this contributed to the Elves' ability to repulse Worca assault. The Balor was eventually found within a canyon where Xarxes sacrifices himself and several dozen of the most experienced mages on Raalenor causing a massive rock slide, killing the Balor. Exterminating the Worca took about three centuries, with Vitharne dying during the destruction of their last hive.

    During the three centuries, the Elven government based out of Osyranthas offered no assistance, despite calls for aid from the colony. This made Dark Elven culture incredibly distrustful of their own kin. The Worca were highly resistant to magic, which forced the Elven colonists to abandon much of their magical training in favor of close combat. This was further necessitated by the loss of so many experienced mages, many of which were instructors. And the final influence on shaping Dark Elf culture was the war itself. The constant fighting led to heavy casualties, and the act of exterminating an entire sentient species led to deep psychological issues across multiple generations of the colony. By the time the last of the Worca were killed, the colonists were changed forever.

    In their current form, Dark Elves are suited only to war. They are a deeply pessimistic people with little regard for life. They look on the dark side of life, and have no illusions of how the world works. Their main asset in the economy is their mercenary bands, although the strange ecosystems native only to Raalenor's coastal waters has led to some interesting exported cuisine. The mountainous inland region has rich veins of ore, which the Dark Elves are talented at forging into fine weapons and armor, as well as more mundane items. While few of them are laborers, they have a system of slavery built on accepting prisoners from other nations to work in their mines.

    Dark Elf women are more likely to be trained as rogues than warriors, but they are otherwise equal to the males.

    As for the lesser races:

    The Samebito (the sharks) are a sparsely populated people by choice. Samebito live either in small villages, alone in the wild, or in the cities of other races. In their villages, the young are subjected to a series of rigorous and brutal tasts and rites meant to thin out the weak, the slow, and the stupid. As survival rates rise, so does the strenuous nature of the rites. Usually, only about one in ten lives to adulthood. While almost all the other races are appalled by this, excluding the Dark Elves and the Kikori (insects), it is the result of their history. The Samebito are the oldest race in the known world, and possessed a large coastal empire when the Elves were first beginning to record history. about thirty thousand years ago, a massive horde of lesser races under the influence of a creature similar to the Balor ravaged Balmora (the continent inhabited by nonhuman races). The Samebito, despite their reputation as peerless warriors, were crushed within decades, and driven nearly to extinction. Since then, they have sought out and destroyed all records of their empire, and spread their population as far as possible.

    The Samebito are predators. They have little ambition for an empire, need for coin, or love of social entanglements. How they ever formed a society that inspired the Elves to build cities is a complete mystery, even to them. When they do live within others' societies, it is usually as hired muscle, or as assassins. On the island nation Raalenor, they often find rewarding and challenging work harvesting and hunting food from the unique, and dangerous, kelp forests.

    The Goblins are not a High race because they are a nomadic people. They are not as short as the Gnomes, and tend to be about six inches shorter than the average human. I'm basing them partly on Mongolians and partly on Native Americans.

    The Waraabi (the Somali word for Hyena) are the canine race. They are a deeply spiritual people, intensely loyal to their friends and allies, and twisted by equal parts genius and madness. They have no formal government, and instead, every aspect of their economy and society is formed by spontaneous connection on a local level. Their war with the Gnomes is actually the Gnomes' fault. The Gnomes have beat several lesser races down throughout their history, absorbing them into their own society. These "client races" are stripped of their culture and religion, but granted full citizenship in exchange. Trolls, Kobolds, and Orcs are their most well known successes, with most of them serving as laborers, builders, and artisans, although some of their kind have risen to the status of scholar before. The Waraabi are the only race that has survived the onslaught of the Gnomish military, thanks in no small part to their refusal to submit to any unwanted authority, and because of their high breeding rates.

    In addition to their fighting spirit, Waraabi are also blessed with a lunatic brand of genius. Their history is dotted with acts of absolute brilliance that no other race could have conceived of. For example, the enchanted metal cannons that have made Gnomish artillery so feared were originally designed by a Waraabi. A few of these cannons were then stolen from the Gnomes, by the Waraabi, tinkered with, and turned into an even more devastating weapon. This cycle of theft, enhancement, theft and reimagining has repeated more times than most could imagine.

    Contrary to your idea, I consider the Gnomes the more "progressive" of the two. While the racism is far from the typical liberal's mindset, they seek to control society through government regulation, and since they're a long-living race, they have the ability to develop a functional society and maintain it that humans simply don't have. The Gnomes have no ill intentions towards the Waraabi; on the contrary, they believe that it is their duty to uplift lesser races from the squalor and filth of poverty. They learned early on that cultural diversity made forced assimilation much more difficult, so for the sake of efficiency, they homogenized the cultures of their targets. Essentially, they're an entire race of the Templars from Assassin's Creed.

    The Kikori (insects) are a very neutral party. The sentient drones are sent out into the world to gather information over a lifetime, and return to the hive when their lifespan is reaching its end. In their search for information and knowledge, they will pick a general path in life, for no reason discernible to other races, and follow the road as far as it will take them. Whatever their chosen profession, someone, somewhere highly values their ability to learn and their lack of outside interests.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2014
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  13. Jesse Booth

    Jesse Booth Scribe

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    I'm still waiting for more tips and advice, guys.
     
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