Friday, December 30, 2016

Racial Traits: Humans

Counting squares on the playmat is a universal activity
Continuing the mini-series on Race, we come to Humans. This might be a bit contentious, since when most players think of humans, they just think they can act without regard to race. While this is generally true, humans in fantasy settings have slight differences that can be best understood by comparing them to the other demihuman races.

In the Player's Handbook, it notes that humans are conquerors, civilization builders, and tradition-makers. I believe the reason for this is that most humans in fantasy settings will invariably compare their life and works to other races. Is it worthwhile to become a wizard when elves live seven times as long and are trained in magic from birth? Is being a fighter viable when you might have to go toe-to-toe with dwarves, orcs, or ogres?

Humans are not the strongest, fastest, smartest, or wisest. But they do have an advantage: their brief lifespan gives them great ambition. They spread over difficult lands, they dare to press further and build bigger and dig deeper than the other races. They yearn for immortality, which they have been denied, and so they place their future in the hands of their cities, their songs, and their organizations.

With that in mind, I give you a list of traits that are more or less uniquely human, in a land where being a human is anything but special.

Human Traits

Brave enough to be stupid, stupid enough to be brave
d8 Personality Trait
1. I hate being idle, and am eager to meet my goals as soon as possible.
2. I can sleep anywhere, from marshes to mountains.
3. I never dwell on the past, but I often dream of the future.
4. I'll jump on any opportunity that benefits me. You never know when it might come up again!
5. I enjoy creating new and unique things, and can get depressed if I hear it's already been done.
6. I love dedicating myself to a cause that's greater than me. It makes me feel like I'm doing something worthwhile.
7. I never turn down a chance to look good in front of others. I hope to have songs written about me someday.
8. I'm always aware of the political dynamic of a situation.

d6 Ideal
1. Innovation. I want to make something that has never been made, live a life that nobody else has, and do things that have never been done. (Chaotic)
2. Society. By building institutions and organizations, the legacy of a single person can live forever. (Lawful)
3. Acceptance. The world is vast, and there is room for all types and peoples within it. (Good)
4. Ambition. Power is its own reward, and any price to be paid for it is well worth the sacrifice. (Evil)
5. Glory. To be seen as worthy in the eyes of your fellows is to be worthy to the Gods. (Any)
6. Achievement. A life is measured by the impact it has upon the world. (Any)

d6 Bond
1. I have a dash of nonhuman blood from a distant ancestor, and I strive to be more like that race.
2. The kingdom I live in is whom I serve first and foremost, it is greater than I will ever be.
3. I have a plan for my life, and I will stick to it no matter what.
4. I fight for a cause that is greater than any mortal. I'd gladly lay down my life to support it.
5. Someday, I will discover the secret to immortality. That is what drives me forward.
6. I have a big dream and it's going to take more than just me to do it. I am always looking for followers or recruits.

d6 Flaw
1. I am quick to mistrust nonhumans. They don't act quite right.
2. Meeting my goals is more important than those I have to step on along the way.
3. I often make the same mistake more than once because I hate dwelling on my errors.
4. I jump from cause to cause like a butterfly on the wind. I'm not really sure what I believe.
5. Unless someone follows the rules of my organization, they will never really achieve greatness.
6. I believe that everyone is trying to usurp my goals, no matter how much they help me.


With such diverse emotions as angry, angry, angry, and annoyed!
If you would like to read more about why I am writing these, or how I use them in my games, please check out my first post on Dwarves.

Thanks for reading!

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