Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 05-28-2009, 10:45 AM   #31
Join Date: Feb 2009
Default Re: fantasy races

You could look at the Ancient Egyptian gods for ideas, quite a few animals all with human bodies and some research into the background of the gods will give your races some interesting traits for the race.
Kenny is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2009, 01:07 PM   #32
Vaevictis Asmadi
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota, U.S.A.
Default Re: fantasy races

Myths are full of potential fantasy races that aren't often used: Urmahlullu (lion-centaurs), Girtablullu (scorpion-bird-human hybrids), Kinnari (similar to Greek sirens), Suparna (similar to the god Garuda), snake-shaped spirits of the dead, bizarre Egyptian dragons, Lamassu/Shedu, anthropomorphic griffins, Adaro (horned merfolk that fly in the sky), the flying Orang Bati of the Moluccas and Alan of the Philippines, unconventional therianthropes (weresharks, tanuki, were-hyenas, semi-undead land otter people, encantados/weredolphins, skatini/were-owls, etc.) . . . D&D does have write-ups for some of these, like lion-centaurs, lamassu, and some unusual therianthropes.

I started to develop a fantasy setting that I thought was fairly original, but compared to some of the stuff you guys have written (such as Celestial Ocean) the races are unfortunately rather unoriginal... the four main races are minotaurs, catfolk, underwater humanoids, and a dwarf-like race based on Philippine mythology. There are also minor races such as centaurs, talking dolphins, and dragons, plus various invading aliens, and the setting has no humans. I'm trying to develop some more unique races though, starting with Tikbalangs, which are hideously mutated minotaurs in my setting, and forest nymphs based off some half-deer and half-lion creatures in southeast Asian myth. My eventual goal is to increasingly draw elements from Indian, Southeast-Asian, Indonesian, and Philippine myth into it to get away from the overdone pseudo-European fantasy cliches that I started with.

Hmm, maybe I could replace the Centaurs with Urmahlullu or something.

Last edited by Vaevictis Asmadi; 05-28-2009 at 01:18 PM.
Vaevictis Asmadi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2009, 01:49 PM   #33
Join Date: May 2009
Default Re: fantasy races

you need furry gurps
Rickoise is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2009, 02:35 PM   #34
Johnny Angel
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Pennsylvania
Default Re: fantasy races

Originally Posted by Vaevictis Asmadi View Post

Hmm, maybe I could replace the Centaurs with Urmahlullu or something.
If you're looking for an alternate to Centaurs... based on your interests, I think a centaur-like race based on Komodo Dragons might work in your setting.
Johnny Angel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2009, 02:37 PM   #35
tantric's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Athens, GA
Default Re: fantasy races

I had an inspiration for a DnD style world that used Fae vs. Goblins as invaders from another world. The Fae were: Elves, Sidhe, Pixies, Sprites, Trollkin and others who use spontaneous Arcane magic. The Gholb were: Hobgoblins, Blues, Bugbears, etc who are psychics. Both groups are immortal and abhor iron: it blocks psionics and poisons the Fae. Both groups have pursued their Final Conflict across numerous worlds, utterly ruining them in the process. In this campaign, there is no good or evil: only winners and losers (or so they think...). Crossbreeds are: the half-Fae, half-Gholb humaniods. Tengu, Halfings, Men, Chims and Ogres, all able to use Arcana and Psi, and all tragically mortal. Yes, Chims are basically chimpanzees. The native inhabitants of the planet were: Grippli, Saurians, Aarakokra, Thrikreen and Dolphins. These guys are caught in the middle of a worlds-spanning war.Unlike the Fae and Gholb, they are in touch with the lifeblood and history of Sha-Ur, and thus its sacred Domains (aka clerical magic).

Unfortunately, I couldn't convince myself to spend the time trying to adapt DnD to this, when GURPS would be so much better, and I already have a GURPS world in the oven.

Do the Arcana Wiki have a page for mythological sophonts?

Last edited by tantric; 05-28-2009 at 02:40 PM.
tantric is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2009, 03:46 PM   #36
Cyratos's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Zagreb, Croatia
Default Re: fantasy races

Originally Posted by RedMattis View Post
Wow, this sounds really cool. Mind giving a short description for the lesser/ethereal races too?

Faerel (plural -faereli - Ghost - like, ethereal race that lives only in the Dead Sands on Nullan side of Terg'Haron (nulla = south). They communicate by telepathy, and cannot create any other sounds whatsoever (except when moving and breaking things with telekinesis). Their eyes usually glow in blue or green colors, while their faces , along with their body, is completely invisible. However, some of them have bandage-like clothes wrapped around them, defining their curves. There are no sexes, Faereli are born out of mana storms, phenomena typical for Dead Sands, since all negative magical energy concentrates in this very desert.

EDIT: I am uber tired, I'll list the lesser races tmoz.

Last edited by Cyratos; 05-28-2009 at 03:47 PM. Reason: EDIT: I am uber tired, I'll list the lesser races tmoz.
Cyratos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2009, 09:45 PM   #37
Phoenix_Dragon's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2005
Default Re: fantasy races

Bugs are good, yeah. Typically, Insect Men seem to be portrayed as ants, both in appearance and "society," although with a hive mind. I like to mix things up when I can, though, so the ones in my campaigns are more beetle-like, with a social structure more like bees than anything else. They have no hive-mind, but they have various castes, and some of them are incredibly simple-minded. The smarter castes generally consider the other species to be rather disorganized, poorly-structured, and chaotic in their social structures (And why do you give your menial laborers free will and no bred-in sense of selflessness? Then you wonder why you're facing yet another revolt...).

I also stole the name Coleopteran from DF, just because it both sounds cool and exotic enough to fit them, but it also seems like a much better name than just "Insect Men" (Even if that's what most people still refer to them as, for simplicity).

As for others... Even in the very D&D-style fantasy settings (Like my Kaldrum world), I like to both mix up the species a bit, so they're not quite the stereotypes (Mainly, this involves fleshing out the "monster" species, such as gnolls, to be less slavering-mindless-evil-monsters and more of actual beings with some more depth to them), as well as adding in some new ones. And quite often removing some, as well, for various reasons (Ranging from "I don't like them" to "there's no room for them" to "they got killed off!").
Phoenix_Dragon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2009, 10:15 PM   #38
Join Date: Dec 2004
Default Re: fantasy races

There's a couple of interesting columns on races in fantasy rpgs on that you can find here and here. Basically, you want to think about which niche each race fills. I would suggest approaching it as follows:

1. Figure out what kind of races you want - e.g., a strong and tough race, an agile race, a magical race, etc.

2. Create races that fit these niches and fit into your world.

3. If possible, base the races off of pre-existing mythology so the players can get a quick grip on each race. The problem with creating entirely new and original creatures is that you have to give a lot of background for the players to understand them. Part of the reason for the persistence of elves, dwarfs and halflings is that players come into the game with some knowledge of these creatures.

For example, say you wanted to create races for a sword & sorcery/Greek mythology themed fantasy. You want a strong and tough race, an agile race and a magical race. For the strong and tough race, you go with minotaurs - everyone knows what they're like. For the agile race, you go with a satyr type race similar to the fauns of Fantasy Folk. For the magical race, you go with Atlanteans - defined as magical, smarter and longer lived but frailer than ordinary men, typically decadent and arrogant. In GURPS terms, increased IQ, Magery, reduced HT, increased life span and possibly social stigma and intolerance of other races. You've got a set of races that fit your world and are easy for players to get a handle on.

- DW
Infornific is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2009, 12:18 AM   #39
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: NYC
Default Re: fantasy races

There's the Hradrani from David Webber's Oath of Swords Universe. Very large humanoids with furry fox ears, the Horse Stealers regularly top seven feet. They have unnatural endurance, stamina, and strength (hooked into the magical feild, but they can't cast spells) to the point where, on foot, they can keep pace with men on horses. The Horse Stealers are so tall because they spent generations chasing down and eating horses. (There's a reason why).

However, the males are all berserkers. Though recently, if they summon 'the Rage' they can control it and it makes them calm and focused deadly.

I'm personally cooking up some non-anthropomorphic spiderfolk, and am thinking about doing a presentient ant species based upon SimAnt. (Hive mind, instant reincarnation?)

Hmm, if you're willing, there's a wealth of nonhumans in Sci Fi, which can't take their cues from fantasy. Off the top of my head from James White I recall Huldars, which are huge, vacuum adapted, six legged and no mouthed creatures. And this three legged nonflying bird/stork creature with a frightening dexterous beak...
Nemi3e is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2009, 07:51 AM   #40
Gudiomen's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: in your pocket, stealing all your change
Default Re: fantasy races

I have made a ton of fantasy races in the past, from basically human to stuff that escapes classification.

My basic approach is amalgamation, either physical or conceptual.

Physical would be like a hybrid between a human and some animal, or example the Giants in one of my setting are roughly the cross between humans and orangutans... they have bodies covered in long reddish hair, long arms, grayish skin... they have low tech (TL0), and are very big... about 3 yards tall.

Conceptual is more an amalgamation of the subjective characteristics you'd expect from a cross with pretty much anything. Dwarves for example, are to some extent, what Tolkien expected that humans made from stone would develop into. The sithi of Memory, Sorrow and Thorn draw on conceptual tones from birds of prey... the way they move, think and build their societies... differences are much more on the abstract level than on the physical one, both dwarves and sithi are very human-like physically (one is short, the other has pronounced cheek-bones and other minor differences). Elves are a pretty good example too, they are "elevated humans", they draw on the conept of perfection (they are beautiful, immortal, everything they do is better be it a song, a weapon or a boat...).

You can do both, physical and conceptual amalgamation. One of my races is slight physical amalgamation with hunting bats, they're hairer than humans, have sharper teeth, are slightly smaller and lighter, and have keen hearing. They are the conceptual addition of Id, humanities primal instincs, so all things emotional are enhanced, pride, lust, love, taste for fighting, etc... very visceral.

You have to be careful not to overdo it though, ideally anyone playing in your setting shouldn't spot the origins of the species without putting a lot of thought. The same goes for conceptual amalgamation, if it's too strong or brash it becomes stereotypical or unbelievable.
Gudiomen is offline   Reply With Quote

brainstorm, fantasy, ideas to share, random thought table

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:51 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.