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Old 02-24-2020, 07:37 PM   #1
Moneval
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Default Designing Racial Templates

Hi Everyone,

I'm getting ready to launch a fantasy-in-space campaign in a couple of days, and unfortunately several of my racial templates are... incomplete. I have a good sense of the concepts for the races, but am having a difficult time coming up with mechanical traits.

The first race is a race of hyper-intelligent dwarves. These dwarves aren't much for fighting, being (typically) physically frail. While they have a great knack for science and magic, they tend to come off as aloof, and tend to even get a little arrogant in that they assume others can't possibly match their wits. (As a side note, I'm highly influenced by the Dwemer from elder scrolls for this race). So far I have:
SM-1
-2 ST, +2 IQ, -1 HT
-1 PER, -1 WILL
Versatile, Less Sleep 2
Short Lifespan 1
Insensitive
I feel like what I have so far doesn't really match the concept well, but I'm not sure how to fix it.

The second race are my elves. This one I'm a little more confident in, but still feel like it's incomplete.
These elves have a natural connection to the memories of their predecessors, granting them insight into how to act in certain situations. As a result, nearly every one of their cultures has some form of ancestor veneration. Their focus on the past can restrict them somewhat, and they tend to favor tradition over progress.
So far:
-1 ST, +1 WILL
Extended Lifespan 2
Racial Memory (Passive)
Autotrance
It's fairly minimal right now, so I'd like to be able to add some depth.

Thanks in advance for any advice!
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Old 02-24-2020, 07:40 PM   #2
awesomenessofme1
 
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Default Re: Designing Racial Templates

There's a supplement specifically meant to help with this, Template Toolkit 2: Races.
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Old 02-24-2020, 09:10 PM   #3
aesir23
 
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Default Re: Designing Racial Templates

I think some racial talents would help round out your races.

On a separate note, whenever I make races these days, I like to make a cultural template that's separate from the racial template. This distinguishes the traits that are a genetic legacy and those that are a result of being raised in a certain culture.

Your Dwarves might have Overconfidence or Mild Intolerance as part of their cultural template to reflect their feelings of intellectual superiority. They'd also have various scientific, technical, and magical skills that were part of their education.

This approach also allows for some mixing and matching by your players, e.g. you can have a human raised by elves who therefore has a Human racial template and an Elvish cultural template, etc...

Should do a lot to make your races feel more "complete" and it should help you conceptualize your world-building as well.
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Old 02-24-2020, 10:24 PM   #4
AlexanderHowl
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Re: Designing Racial Templates

One of the major issues with designing races is figuring out their relative power compared to humans. Traditionally in fiction, rare races are powerful, but they have low fertility (a powerful race with normal fertility will quickly displace humanity). PCs are balanced by CP values, so a 250 CP human character and a 250 CP nonhuman character from a 200 CP race are equivalent (though the human is more flexible).

For example, let us have a fantasy race called to Vwyr. The Vwyr are an all female race created by an ancient race of sorcerers to serve as concubines to their forgotten gods. They are interfertile with humans, with children taking after the parent who shares their sex, but they rarely interact with humans.

Vwyr [200]

Attributes: ST+2, DX+2, IQ+2, and HT+2

Advantages: Allure 4, Appearance (Transcendent), Charisma 5, Magery 0, Regeneration (Regular), and Voice

Disadvantages: Lecherousness (12-) and Xenophilia (12-)
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Old 02-25-2020, 07:21 AM   #5
Flyndaran
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Default Re: Designing Racial Templates

Stuck in the past could easily result in a lack of innovation. On a species level even the quirk, Dull would have strong effects. The not always true stereotype from others could be that they all have the full Hidebound disadvantage.

But this could either be innate, cultural, or a mix of both like many real world psychological traits.

Fantasy settings tend to paint with a broad brush, so if it's not your goal to create fully fledged plausible species with multiple varied cultures, don't sweat it.
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Old 02-25-2020, 07:55 AM   #6
Donny Brook
 
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Default Re: Designing Racial Templates

Quote:
Originally Posted by aesir23 View Post
On a separate note, whenever I make races these days, I like to make a cultural template that's separate from the racial template. This distinguishes the traits that are a genetic legacy and those that are a result of being raised in a certain culture.
I would echo this advice. It makes for a much deeper characterization.
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Old 02-25-2020, 01:07 PM   #7
maximara
 
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Default Re: Designing Racial Templates

I did a 'off the back of an envelope' package for the Sanjiyan Unkara of GURPS 3x3 Eyes.

Sanjiyan Unkara [35]: Unaging [15]; Magery (Ritual) 3 [35]; Split Personality [-15]
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Old 02-26-2020, 05:36 PM   #8
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Default Re: Designing Racial Templates

If you want to characterize a race as "smart", I find that eidetic memory or lightning calculator go a long ways towards giving the proper feel without accidentally making them good artists and talkers.
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Old 02-26-2020, 06:44 PM   #9
Moneval
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Default Re: Designing Racial Templates

Thanks everyone, this has been very helpful. I made a few adjustments, tried to lean less into attributes and more into advantages/disadvantages. Unfortunately, I still haven't gotten a good feel for all of the advantages out there, so I may have missed or misinterpreted something. Any critique, input welcome:

Dwarf
-2 ST
+1 IQ
Intuitive Mathematician, Photographic Memory, Versatile
Racial Talent: Alchemy, Astronomy, Engineer, Mathematics, Physics, Thaumatology
Short Lifespan
Unfit
Chauvinistic, Insensitive, Thin Skull
SM-1

Elf
-1 ST
+1 WILL
Autotrance, Extended Lifespan 2, Intuition
Racial Talent: Hidden Lore, History, Meditation, Occultism, Ritual Magic
Hidebound

I feel like the elf still needs a little more fleshing out, but I'm not sure where to go.

Thanks again, everyone
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Old 02-26-2020, 06:50 PM   #10
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: Designing Racial Templates

IQ plus disadvantages work as well. A race with IQ 12 and Hindbound will be quite smart, but they will not be talented artists or inventors and, with Shyness (Severe), they are also not good talkers. The combination is worth 25 CP and is well worth the expense (they effectively get +2 on IQ rolls and on all other IQ-based skills for 5 CP after the value of +2 Per and +2 Will).
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