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Steel Neuron

Member Since 06 Oct 2011
Offline Last Active Aug 19 2013 03:43 AM

#5071743 Working on the three races / ethnic groups for my RPG. Feedback appreciated!

Posted by on 21 June 2013 - 04:30 AM

Thank you guys, really really awesome feedback here!


@sunandshadow: Great list of taboos! Some may be a bit out of the scope of the project, but others are spot on. In fact, I have to thank you for broadening the idea of taboos, I had only thought of them as conversational taboos, as in things you can't really talk about (such as sex in a really conservative Whisperer village). Your ideas really expand on that, and I particularly like stuff like the seasonal one (the game will involve deity festivities and events that might impose temporary taboos like that).


@Orymus: I certainly want to convey the image that Shining People are thoughtful, but it wasn't my intention to show them emotionless. In fact, the Whisperers would be closer to the Vulcan idea of emotions than them. I picture the Shining People like less evil Dark Elves from R.A. Salvatore novels, intellectual but also very prone to passion and emotion (often negative). In contrast, the Whisperers behave more like Japanese society; polite, reserved and calm.


You're right that in case of The Shining People it may be hard to put together these two concepts. I think it works best if you picture them in a frame of moral ambiguity (not sure if I'm making sense there) they're highly ambitious, and often see themselves above good and evil, so if killing an "inferior" foreigner is needed to protect their people, they will not hesitate to do it.

#5071493 Working on the three races / ethnic groups for my RPG. Feedback appreciated!

Posted by on 20 June 2013 - 10:14 AM

Hey there!


I'm working on a design document for the hobby isometric RPG I'm planning to make. I'll introduce it slightly so you have some context:


It's going to be a social-oriented roguelike. This means there will be permadeath and a fair bit of procedural generation, but very little combat. The idea is to focus on the slower paced element of exploring new villages, interacting with its NPCs, solving side quests and so on.


Villages will be procedurally generated, but obviously I know what the limits to that technology are, and I can't pretend I can use PCG to create entire cultures and architectures because that will just produce a random mess. So the idea is to have certain loosely defined races, or more precisely ethnic groups, and have the particular villages be variations on these. So rather than orcs and elves, I'm talking about the general distinction you could make between, say, south eastern asia cultures or mesoamerican pre-columbine cultures.


Since this is going to be a social game, it's not about combat related abilities and racials, it's more about how these races would tend to behave, how their languages and architecture would be, and so on. It should be a general guideline, since each particular village would be slightly different (one may prefer to paint the walls black, while other may have a particular god or idol, and so on). One important mechanic, by the way, are taboos, which are stuff you shouldn't say or do on a village. They are randomly generated based on the culture, and they're important to the nomadic player as the main task of the game will be to adapt to different NPC cultures.


So, I have a first draft of three of these races (by the way, they're all human). I'd love to hear feedback on the concept, as well as possible names (the ones you'll see are rather lame placeholders), and any ideas you may come up with. It's obvious I've put a bit more thought in the first race, so the other two are a bit lackluster. Also, I apologize beforehand for my poor descriptions, English isn't my native language:


The Shining People



Islamic Golden Age

Ancient Egypt

Dark Elves (specially the Forgotten Realms interpretation)

Mediterranean / western European.


Physical traits:

Tall and slender, their skin tones range from pearl white to a sand-like tan. They're agile and athletic, but often fragile. Natural hair colours are usually shades of brown and yellow. The most common eye colour is also brown, with the occasional honey or light orange.



Architecture is decidedly Islamic (as in 10th century Persia), with some Egyptian (and even steampunk) influence. As you will see now they tend to be the more technologically advanced people, and so their buildings are taller and more intrincate.


Social traits:

They are intellectual, proud and independent. The Shining People place great value in knowledge and protect it as their strongest asset. They are the least religious race, dismissing adoration of gods and idols as a sign of weakness. Instead they focus in studies of sciences and the arcane. Their libraries are the most detailed and complete, but they strongly restrict the access to foreigners. They're smart, provocative and enthusiastic, but can be arrogant and treacherous.


They have a tendence to technocratic and aristocratic governments. Meritocracies based on academic achievements also happen.


In conflict, they attempt to resolve disputes through discussion and logic, but they aren't afraid to poison or stab a rival in the dark when a compromise can't be found.


There are few taboos among the Shining People, but they are the most dangerous. When they find themselves unwilling to mention a certain topic or eat certain food it's often because of a mishap related to arcane experimentation, and they may easily murder a foreigner on sight before risking a second catastrophe.


Their weapon of choice is usually the dagger.




(Name pending): Medieval/Nordic guys



Medieval Europe

Norse / Viking


Physical traits:

Loud voices and muscular builds. Their skin tone is tanned by work on the fields. They have the highest variety of eye colour, with black, brown and blue being the most common.



Medieval European mostly. Sorry, can't expand much here: think Game of Thrones!


Social traits:

They are temperamental but generally good hearted. They are open to experience and have a good sense of humour, but can also get really angry really fast. They're prone to violence, choosing to resolve their disputes through dueling. However they also have a natural sense of justice. They love to eat and drink, and their culinary products are well known.


They usually adopt monarchic or democratic regimes. Their government is often unstable.


They are indifferent when it comes to both religion and magic, and a village may lean towards either, both or none.


Among the races, they're the least concerned by taboos, although they can be superstitious.


Their weapon of choice is the sword.




(Name pending): Whisperers





Hobbit-ish architecture



Physical traits:

They're usually short and have gentle facial features. Eye colour is most predominantly green.



Architecture should always merge with nature. Anything from cave-houses similar to hobbit dens in LOTR to tree villages would work.


Social traits:

Whisperers are quiet (thus the name) shy and attuned to nature. They are caring and thoughtful. They make good and loyal lovers, but have trouble when dealing with conflict. They can also be hermetic and mysterious, showing unexpected abilities in critical moments.


They are the most religious race, fearful of their gods and idols, but also most favoured by them. They generally reject the usage of magic for being unnatural, sometimes to the point of prosecution.


Whisperers are extremely respectful, and have many costumes and taboos. By breaking them, a foreigner can expect to be ostracised and kindly asked to leave, but very rarely directly attacked.



Their weapon of choice is the bow.



So that's what I have for now. Thanks for reading! I'd love to hear any ideas you have to give these groups more character. Keep in mind all that I said are guidelines: Villages will be randomized, and ethnic groups will impact the weights of each factor, but it will still be possible to land on a religious Shining People village, or a particularly peaceful and devout Castle/nordic village.