On the topic of Race

Crew DM/Gaming Advice

On the topic of Race

Elves and Dwarves, Humans and Cylons and millions of other races from every part of the fiction genre all form the core of what makes your character. Now last week (Two weeks ago.. Sadly..) we discussed the importance of a backstory. Exactly how that forms the core of the character but after we have the bare bones we need to add a little meat to the mess. A Characters race determines who they grew up around, what cultures they were party to and what kinda of parents they might have once had. This factor is one that many gamers ignore upon the initial character creations.

For example, a gnome is thought to be more tinker minded than a elf. Which means that there is a higher chance of a gnome being raised around mechanics rather than an elf. Vice versa a elf would probably  have grown up with a lot more archery training than a gnome would have. This cultural difference alone helps determine what class the character would fall into! Racial founded backstories are one for the most sound places to start.

Every human child in a fantasy realm is taught that a lord, king or duke is reigning over them. They will forever aspire to either love or hate that person. This reality causes them to foster that feeling and one day they may join the kings knights or attempt to assassinate an innocent noble. This was all founded because as a child they were given that upbringing.

Race in a Sci-Fi campaign might determine what culture they came from. The Bothan in Star Wars probably never understood the human mating ritual of courtship, while to humans the idea of scent based relationships would seem strange. I will note that my understanding of Bothans is VERY limited so this is a fluffy* example.

So racially your character would have different rituals, upbringings and all in all different back storys than a fellow character. In origin at least. The origin story of a character is the foundations of the character. Not to mention (As said in a previous article) DMs love backstory. Thats all we are discussing here. The ability to use a characters race for more than just a stat block is for the love of backstory. Stat blacks attempt to reflect culture but they can never replace it.

Take an orc for example. An orc might get a +2 to strength, but is that plus 2 because his tribe of orcs (Or villages, cities… My orcs are tribal so whatever your DM is using for your orcs) push the young to survive, like Spartans, or maybe it is because they are taught to hunt early on! Subtle differences to explain stat blocks cause a story to spark and maybe even glow! Who knows!?!

So my advice for you is to research! Research the culture of your race, understand that by writing the word Elf on a character sheet you are accepting everything that comes with Elf! Stuff you probably would have not thought of to add to skills or equip could be founded in that center that is Elf. So hey, Race is the muscle of the character. Racial skills, languages and culture should grow to be more than just words on a page. Maybe one day they could grow to be the embodiment of who you saw the character to be!
Thats all for now though. Next week we will tackle the skin of this creature, Class. So come and join me again at the captains table, ill buy ya a pint.. Well sorta.. Digital Pint!

And Cheers! ~

~Howl, Captain of ATA.


Hello, my name is Howl. I am a ‘professional’ gamer and reviewer that works with the NERD community. This is my personal blog and podcast and if you would like to get updates or see more please follow me on Twitter: @HowlPhilinish. or even my Instagram: HowlPhilinish. I hope to see more of you and feel free to comment! I read every comment so don’t be shy!

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