Monday, 21 June 2010

Elven and Dwarfish Adventurers

I've recently added a small section of player advice to The Adventurer's Tale for those who want to play as a Dwarf or Elf. I did this in preparation for my summer break from work, where I should have time to at least run a mini-campaign and would happily welcome a character or two from the nonhuman races.

I've already talked about the basics of the setting and its hidden depths so I think fleshing out the types of characters I expect to see is long overdue.

Even if you have no interest in The Adventurer's Tale I hope someone will draw some use from my take on Dwarfs and Elves.


From their monster entry:

The otherworldly Elves stand slightly shorter than humans on average and are much slighter, but deceptively strong. They have angular features, pointed ears and never die from old age, reproducing incredibly rarely. Outside of their hidden settlements they usually wander alone or in a small band (1d6), sometimes accompanied by Sprites. Some might even integrate into a human society, as part of their innate curiosity and desire for new experiences. They are fond of animals and often ride a horse or have a small pack of dogs.

Due to their potentially infinite lifespans Elves are always looking at the big picture, considering every action's effect on the future. Elves claim they feel emotions on a much stronger level than humans, and so must control their feelings through worship and meditative craft. Those that let their feelings control them are prone to fits of rage, extended periods of depression or total arrogance. The most selfish Elves are particularly cruel and see other races as little more than cattle and potential slaves.

Playing an Elf Adventurer:
* A potentially endless lifespan means elves are rarely in a rush. They spend great deals of time pondering decisions and are always looking at the long-term effects of their actions.
* Elves value their own lives and those of other elves much more highly than those of other species, so sometimes consider humans as expendable.
* As they have many years to experience life elves are eager to experience everything at least once. Most would rather learn something new than perfect an existing skill so specialists are rare.
* Coming from small communities, elves dislike crowds and are used to having their own privacy.
* Although they form families elves rarely stay together as a family for long. Because of this they share a much looser family bond than other races.


From their monster entry:

These short humanoids can be found all over the world, living in family clans. While many are peaceful folk, focused on mastering their craft, there are some that turn to madness, usually linked to a particular obsession. If Elves are thought to always be thinking of the big picture, Dwarfs are always focusing on often petty details.

Physically they differ little from humans besides their squat build, hairiness and lifespans of around a hundred years, with many doubling this. Little is known by other races about their concepts of gender or reproduction, with all dwarfs looking male to non-dwarfs. In fact, dwarfs do not reproduce in pairs, but a single dwarf will spend years or even decades carving a child out of specially selected stone or clay. When the child has been carved with enough skill and dedication it will slowly soften to flesh and become a living, adolescent dwarf, complete with beard. The awoken dwarf already has basic knowledge of dwarfish history and language, which the dwarfs claim comes from inheriting part of the carver and their ancestors.

Playing a Dwarf Adventurer:
* Detail is everything to a dwarf, to the point where they nearly all have a specialist area of knowledge or craft that they refine every day.
* Despite not having traditional families dwarfs share very close bonds with those closest to them. They are quick to form similarly tight bonds with those that they trust.
* Dwarfs like to account for every eventuality and greatly enjoy plotting and planning, listing every piece of information they have on the matter, however trivial.
* Change generally goes against what a dwarf finds comfortable, so they usually react negatively to it. Instead they like to stick to routine and tradition, easing into new situations gradually.
* Perhaps due to the fact they do not form couples dwarfs love to indulge in the simple pleasures of food, drink, games and storytelling in the company of friends.

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