What makes you play as non-human races?

Supergrass
Supergrass

I don't want to make this sound like a "no fun allowed" thread, I am just a new DM and I want to know what people expect out of a campaign by choosing a non-human race.

All urls found in this thread:
http://theangrygm.com/making-race-and-culture-matter/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ok9GZf-aICs
BlogWobbles
BlogWobbles

@Supergrass
Generally, some kind of interesting visual and cultural personality which fits with their look and feel.

I typically play humans, but that's because the non-human options are always so damn boring and copy-paste. If you're including non-human races then give them some personality. I don't even care if you take inspiration from real world human cultures, as long as you distinctly contrast it with the in-universe human societies.

Techpill
Techpill

@Supergrass
Not being a boring ass human that is almost guaranteed to just be modeled after 13th century England

Spazyfool
Spazyfool

@BlogWobbles
So it is more about the culture, rather than the race itself?

@Techpill
I mean, I do have plenty of different human cultures in my setting, anything from feudal Japan to ancient Egypt.
Even the 5e Player's Handbook describes humans as extremely diverse and versatile, I don't see how humans can be boring.

Nojokur
Nojokur

@Spazyfool
So it is more about the culture, rather than the race itself?
Bingo. When you create a non-human race which has only the barest surface elements of a culture, it feels boring and pointless. This is a big party of why humans are often so popular I think: the writer almost always puts in far more time conceptualizing their culture and society than he does with his nonhumans. You'll get pages of setting backstory describing human towns, human kings, human social rituals, but the dwarves are just beer n' beards and he orcs are just marauding savages.

Fuckin' put some effort into it, man.

cum2soon
cum2soon

@Supergrass
It sounds like fun. It doesn't really go that deep, I just make character concepts and roll with them.

massdebater
massdebater

@Spazyfool
So it is more about the culture, rather than the race itself?
That and the aesthetics of the race help a lot

I don't see how humans can be boring
Because in almost every setting human boil down to just being real world analogs, the mundane "familiar" race for people who don't want to take full advantage of being in a fantastical world unlike our own.

GoogleCat
GoogleCat

@Nojokur
@massdebater
Thanks for the feedback people, it helps a lot!
One more question: How do you feel about races having multiple cultures attached to them? Like having two nations of dwarves with drastically different cultures, you know just like humans would?
Do you think thats a good idea, or will it just confuse the players?

Evil_kitten
Evil_kitten

@Supergrass
Disphoria.
It's easier to lie to yourself about how much you hate your body/life while pretending to be a perfect elf than while pretending to be a perfect human who isn't you or anything you could ever be.

idontknow
idontknow

@GoogleCat
@GoogleCat
It's a good idea provided you can communicate it well.

A good tip for worldbuilding is brevity is key. Make your setting too bloated and it's harder to follow, both for you and the players.

I also recommend adding mechanical differences between the different cultures. Not necessarily the best writing, but it does encourage your players to actually explore different options. You become more invested in your chosen race's society when there's more to it than just fluff.

lostmypassword
lostmypassword

@Spazyfool
I mean, I do have plenty of different human cultures in my setting, anything from feudal Japan to ancient Egypt.
I don't want a not!culture, I want something fantastical.

StrangeWizard
StrangeWizard

@GoogleCat
Personally I think it's be better than having several cultures among races than just one, different Dwarven Kingdoms, different Orcish tribes, etc...
Main problem with that is you have to put a lot of time into making the lore since now you're writing dozens of cultures from the ground up, and then get the idea across to your players, and if you go too wildly different with the cultures (this orc tribe lives in the desert and wears almost nothing, but this orc tribe are basically hyper fanatical mormon's who are all about studying and modesty) it might get a bit confusing, hilarious as Mormon orcs sound.

5mileys
5mileys

@Supergrass
When I play non-humans a lot of time it is because I have a character concept that doesn't work as well with a human, or more commonly that can be exacerbated with a nonhuman. Like my elven wizard whose primary motivation in life was learning and knowledge. Yes you can do it perfectly well with a human, but with an elf you can make it so that he has been studying for hundreds and hundreds of years.

whereismyname
whereismyname

@StrangeWizard
Mormon Orcs sounds fun and different. I could play that.

WebTool
WebTool

@whereismyname
Orcmons in white button-downs
riding around towns on well-groomed wolves instead of bicycles

PurpleCharger
PurpleCharger

@Supergrass
I like to play robots because it's fun to self-sacrifice to protect the other PCs and get repaired from beyond death.

Nojokur
Nojokur

Somewhat relevant to the discussion: http://theangrygm.com/making-race-and-culture-matter/

CodeBuns
CodeBuns

@WebTool
Sounds a lot cooler than the bike I was on :/

Illusionz
Illusionz

@Supergrass
From a roleplaying standpoint, I don't do anything with non-human races that I couldn't do with only humans, it's just an extra layer of mechanical options and I'm a sucker for synergy.
It's completely okay with me if the GM insists on a human-only party.

Methnerd
Methnerd

@Supergrass
Interest in an inherently different perspective or situation.

I don't do it very frequently though.

Bidwell
Bidwell

@Supergrass
I hate my body but love being sapient so I like to play inhuman monsters that do it better. Skeletons are best, followed by insectoids, then robots. I can roll with lizardfolk and kobolds, too.

Supergrass
Supergrass

@Supergrass
I only play non-humans when I find the DM's setting uninteresting and I default to playing a generic archetype (and I pick the best suited race for it since they're usually archetypes). This could be applied to human cultures in settings where there's no supernatural races, like having a not!viking instead of a half-orc for your archetypical barbarian.

If I have an interesting concept for a character there's almost never a reason to mak them non-human (unless humans aren't the default people). Most exceptions are better used as NPCs than PCs, also.

Garbage Can Lid
Garbage Can Lid

@Nojokur
This is a big party of why humans are often so popular I think:
Humans are so popular because people aren't willing to go outside of their own box. Case in point: It's the reason Bioware cut the other races for Dragon Age out of 2, because so much of the player data had them only picking the humans.

massdebater
massdebater

@Supergrass
I really like planetouched races, particularly genasi, and especially water genasi. The wonky way planar genetics work gives you just as much freedom for your character background as any of the standard races, since it has a tendency to "skip" generations. It's a good way to "cheat" a bit of fantastical spice into otherwise mundane character concepts, since I generally don't enjoy playing full casters.

The elemental tendencies are also good easy inspiration for character quirks. My two previous water genasi characters would always get more confident and upbeat when they were in water or on a ship. An air genasi can be claustrophobic but love climbing, while the opposite might be true for an earth genasi. A fire genasi might volunteer to do all the group's cooking, just because she loves being close to the heat of the oven. And so on.

Plus, supernatural but low-powered racial abilities are fun. You'd be surprised how much mileage you can get out of permanent water breathing.

viagrandad
viagrandad

@Garbage Can Lid
In some fairness it's hard to want to go out of your box when 9 times out of 10 all that's waiting for your is another, slightly smaller box. Don't get me wrong, I detest the Male Human Fighter crowd and all the superiority they think their stunted views on roleplaying grants them, but a majority of the time non-human races just aren't interesting at all.

It's all about finding that sweet spot between being too human and being too alien.

haveahappyday
haveahappyday

@Garbage Can Lid
People who only do one playthrough
People who do multiple playthroughs but always pick the same starting option
I don't know which is more disgusting

Burnblaze
Burnblaze

+2 Agility

Garbage Can Lid
Garbage Can Lid

@Supergrass
Building on the cultural reasons previously mentioned, I like pondering how morphology can effect culture.

SniperGod
SniperGod

@Supergrass
Normally it's a piece of art or concept that inspires me, I'm a simple man.

askme
askme

@Supergrass
boredom mostly

ZeroReborn
ZeroReborn

@GoogleCat
One more question: How do you feel about races having multiple cultures attached to them?

I can already see you are a good worldbuilder.

SniperWish
SniperWish

@GoogleCat
I think it should be the standard. Monocultures lead to much of the dissatisfaction that affects the genre already

DeathDog
DeathDog

@viagrandad
Male Human Fighter
actually really like Male Human Fighters
no reason other than enjoying the archetype and sometimes "anchoring" the party to reality if it's majority demi-human holy spellcaster tricksters
but I have no qualms with other races and classes and roll them as well if I feel like it
I just like that he can be a knight, a thug, a mercenary, etc.

S-should I feel insecure now or something?

TreeEater
TreeEater

@Supergrass
I don't like being human. Why would I want to play one in tabletop? I don't care what the culture is. They are human. So I don't want to be a part of it. So I prefer to play elves, or shapeshifters. Sometimes I find a DM who will let me play something more odd like some kind of abomination-skeletal creature or a scarecrow.

VisualMaster
VisualMaster

@Garbage Can Lid

citing company cheapness and development shortcuts as something people wanted because it's relatable

there was a time where citing dragon age 2 as "what nerds want" was essentially baiting a thread, y'know?

BunnyJinx
BunnyJinx

I like 5e D&D’s half orcs because their special trait is they don’t die when they are killed

Fuzzy_Logic
Fuzzy_Logic

@TreeEater

are you sure you're human, though? have you reached the capacity of what being human is, or like a boring cutout fantasy race=culture shitter, are you just looking at the base value and saying, fuck it, i'm good?

i've never met a shapeshifter player who was mentally grounded enough to be tolerable for one full session.

Gigastrength
Gigastrength

@Fuzzy_Logic
Oh I don't buy into most fantasy races having more interesting or implied culture or 'because elf'. That's up to DM and setting to make quality, not 'Oh look it's elves so elf culture my dude.' I take it as 'Does the DM set up options that are interesting for not-humans, or can I work with them to set this up?' Like I said with my scarecrow comment. As for am I human? Fuck if I know maybe I'm a weasel.

If it's any consolation I don't do the 'I use my shapeshifting to get away with colossal retard behavior' like stealing from my party members or backstabbing them. I tend to prefer using the shapeshifting for scouting, storytelling (like taking on the likeness of characters in the story when at the tavern and sharing with drunken patrons), infiltration, and potentially identity crisis they can go through for a character arc (in this case I work with the DM on setting that up).

AwesomeTucker
AwesomeTucker

@Garbage Can Lid
A big factor in this is that non-human models in Bioware games tend to be second only to Bethesda's in disturbing ugliness. If you cared about your character's looks in DA:O you were basically stuck playing a female human, male humans looked like they had comical miniature toupees instead of hair and everything else looked like misshapen aliens.

girlDog
girlDog

@haveahappyday
I can. It's people who are capable of going through the same game in a didifferent way, as if every reveal, dramatic occurrence, and amusing mishap isn't totally ruined by the prior knowledge.
You're very similar to people who write fanfiction, but not even the potentially okay kind where post-epilogue events are theorised about, but the shit kind where you change the events that actually have happened in the story.
The only games worth replaying are linear ones for the nostalgia, and even then not very.

JunkTop
JunkTop

@Supergrass
Coolness factor of the race and desire to try soemthing different.

Also, sometimes it is nice to make humand mythical precursor race then went extinct milenia ago to make the human-only players step out of their comfort zone.

w8t4u
w8t4u

@girlDog
it's pathetic to read a book you liked twice, you already know what will happen
it's dumb to pick different options when playing a different character, your first playthrough is set in stone as the only true way things can go

Supergrass
Supergrass

I do it for a different kind of roleplaying, usually I'm a human or occasionally an elf, if I'm being an elf it's because I want my character to have a reason for being so smug about himself, usually because he's not only twice the age of the human party members but also because he's generally pretty good at what he does.
My most recent character is a Killoren in D&D, a fey race from Races of the Wild. Because I wanted to try something different. So I have this kind of uppity brat that's like 12 but is also completely convinced it's her duty to protect the natural balance and I'm trying to roleplay her developing an actual personality and so far she's developed from "I must defend nature" to "best way to defend nature is to kill anyone who tries to disturb the natural order in the first place" and has spread herself thin trying to handle multiple roles in the group despite not needing to.
Sometimes players just want to try a different character, don't ask why they're doing a race, just ask what they want from the character, all of them, even the humans.

cum2soon
cum2soon

@Supergrass
developed from "I must defend nature" to "best way to defend nature is to kill anyone who tries to disturb the natural order in the first place"
That's not so much a personality as much as a function.

Playboyize
Playboyize

@cum2soon
At first she was true neutral but her experiences have made her chaotic and slightly paranoid.
hit by three traps
"Fine, I'll find the damn traps and disable them myself"
drink cursed water
"Guess I'll have to keep an eye out for magic."
wolf companion killed by an orc
starts standing in front of allies with shield up

Garbage Can Lid
Garbage Can Lid

@Supergrass
I love animals and speculative evolution so I like trying to figure out how a non-human with comparable intelligence would act. but I'll play humans too.

TalkBomber
TalkBomber

@Illusionz
agreed

I highly doubt anyone who has claimed as such in this thread sees "the culture" as a large part of the experience at the gaming table. That's what reading books and fluff are for.
I pick non human races for metagaming reasons and mechanical options, I do not mind the copypasta in the least. I LIKE being resistant to poison or being able to hide behind an ally, not because of muh story but because those are cool alternative options.
I cannot stand zoomorphs and would never play as one, yes I realize how hypocritical this is. I won't knock anyone at the table for it, I'll just bitch on Veeky Forums about it.

Imagine, the silhouette of an epic humanoid party cresting a hill at dawn, and then suddenly you see a big goofy assed two legged lizard in tow. So disappointing

TalkBomber
TalkBomber

@TalkBomber
I highly doubt anyone who has claimed as such in this thread sees "the culture" as a large part of the experience at the gaming table.
I really, really wish it was. It upsets me most game don't really give a shit about what actually makes the races different

viagrandad
viagrandad

@Nojokur
How did manage to get through everything to get to Pat to kill him?

Need_TLC
Need_TLC

@Supergrass
i play a human in real life, fuck that shit

BlogWobbles
BlogWobbles

@Gigastrength
Playing a Changeling in a well developed game is solid. I went that way for reasons other than a 'face' Rogue would and lack the skills to infiltrate, etc. The GM set up an entire outline of the culture that has been slowly filled in during play. Every class differs from the norm, bringing something different into play.

The setting should encourage players to fill in tid-bits, allowing the development of role play. Or Orc raiding parties organize like a pirate brotherhood and even have a (brutal) code of honor (?). We got out of one TPK in the making because our Ranger suckered the fighter into challenging the warlord for the job. He bare handed defeated the Orc and we escaped days later. All this was player generated.

GoogleCat
GoogleCat

@Supergrass
For me the regular formule is
think of a concept (tank, sniper, perception)
pick a race with bonuses and resistances that would benefit my choice
pick a class
make up a backstory that is not edgy

I don't usually go for culture, appearance or whatever. I like to use what is useful.

Carnalpleasure
Carnalpleasure

@Supergrass
I play as something other than human whenever possible, because humans are boring. I've been one for 35 years, and I don't roleplay one just to be a human in another setting.

Furthermore, different races are better at all the things human characters would need to specialize in. A human barbarian is just a buff dude with low intelligence, while an orc barbarian is like a green gorilla born for combat. A human thief is just a sneaky guy, while a kobold thief is a small creature that needs to be sneaky to survive. A human wizard is just a guy that has studied a lot, while an elf wizard is an ageless scholar from a race naturally attuned towards mystical energies. And so on.

It goes even further with unusual class and race combinations, as an orc thief or a gnome barbarian are something highly unusual, while a stupid human thief or a small human barbarian just seem dumb.

This video sums up how I view people playing as a human when other options are available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ok9GZf-aICs

Spamalot
Spamalot

@Supergrass
Depending on the setting and system, playing a non-human can let me roleplay physical and cultural attributes that humans simply don't have both in reality and fiction.

Also having another element to tweak in systems with mechanical differences between races is fun from a gamey character building standpoint.

Playboyize
Playboyize

I play what's appropriate for the campaign. If I want to play a non-human, I try to incorporate that character's racial culture into my rp.

massdebater
massdebater

@Supergrass
I don’t play alien races.

I enjoy playing a human, it gives me a familiar body that I can change around a bunch (being an Arab instead of a white guy, for instance).

Humans beating supernatural odds with cleverness and force is rather fun as well.

Emberburn
Emberburn

@Supergrass
Usually as a joke, or to be the 'mascot' character of the group. I usually gravitate towards Kobolds and smaller races, because they are cute.

w8t4u
w8t4u

@Supergrass
I like to use racial tropes to put a spin on generic character archetypes. Like what would motivate a dwarf to become a warlock, or how would an elf paladin define what his holy duty is, etc. Then I toss in some racially neutral character traits and hopefully I've made something interesting to play.

As such I find race specific cultures very helpful, but racial mechanics more often than not end up becoming a hurdle. Which is painful because I also love to optimize. It hurts me to look at inefficiently built character sheets, yet I've done it to myself so many times...

cum2soon
cum2soon

Playing humans is boring once you've exhausted thier "uniqueness." And humans don't have much of that in the first place. Anything beyond racial characteristics are personality traits or professions, which do not rely on being any race.
Playing as something unhuman as possible lets the imagination flow.

haveahappyday
haveahappyday

@cum2soon
Oh an insectoid race, that could be intere-
cute girl torso

StrangeWizard
StrangeWizard

@w8t4u
Better than the other way around user! I would love to construct a character this way, but I am always overtaken by a need for optimisation.

Spazyfool
Spazyfool

@Emberburn
What's funny about playing an elf?

SniperGod
SniperGod

Because orcs have big titties

Illusionz
Illusionz

@w8t4u
Bravo user you discerned the hidden meaning behind my post. Except reading a book that happens the same way again might bring you new insight and so on, but playing the same game a different way just devalues the first playthrough.

kizzmybutt
kizzmybutt

@BunnyJinx
Half-orcs confirmed for not being people/humans.

Bidwell
Bidwell

@haveahappyday
japanese design in one single post.

Skullbone
Skullbone

@Supergrass
for interesting biological traits.
I want armor that can't fit because I have an extra arm.
I want different ways of treating wounds because of more advanced or straight up noncompatable biological systems.
I want alternate food sources.
I want strange abilities humans don't, and to have very real struggles with some things humans do well.

w8t4u
w8t4u

@Supergrass

It's a fantasy game. I can be human 100% of the time I'm not playing.

massdebater
massdebater

@massdebater
I never thought genasi were cool before I read this post. Thanks.

TurtleCat
TurtleCat

@Supergrass
Because I want to play an elf or a dwarf. I like elves and dwarves.

RumChicken
RumChicken

@girlDog
Good god, this post was so pretentious I thought I was on /lit/

Snarelure
Snarelure

@Supergrass
The Dm had a race of Viking bear people. So I thought that sounded pretty metal and played as a bear skald

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