ZEITGEIST How do various races fit into Zeitgeist? (5E)
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  1. #1

    How do various races fit into Zeitgeist? (5E)

    So I'm looking into running Zeitgeist as my next campaign, which means doing some lore building. But I'm curious as to how the various D&D Races can/do fit into the universe. I know the Player's Guide lists individual nations with some insight on to their demographics, but the actual section on "Race" is quite limited.

    Does anyone have a condensed version of how they fit into the world, and which additional races might fit in more easily?

    At the moment I'm definitely allowing the Core + Zeitgeist races. I'm definitely tempted to allow the Volo's races as well (or at least most of them) and a selection of Eberron Races (I like warforged.)

    How do the standard races differ from their normal depictions? And how did you work these other races in?

  2. #2
    Orcus on an Off-Day (Lvl 22)

    RangerWickett's Avatar

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    Jan 2002
    Decatur, GA
    Got something in mind in particular?

    For instance, in my playtest we had a 'warforged,' who was an experimental construct loaned to the RHC by Benedict Pemberton.

    Something like a Tabaxi would be unfamiliar to almost everyone, sort of like a Mayan showing up in London. Or at least that's how I'd default things; but if a player wants to play, like, a genasi, and be integrated into Risuri culture, who's to say there isn't a thriving culture of Genasi who live there. The nation is a bit of a melting pot (on account of multiple invasions over the millennia).

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Austin Lang View Post
    How do the standard races differ from their normal depictions?
    Racial culture is less pronounced than in D&D fantasy. Replace half of it with stuff that's more like European cultural concerns from the Age of Sail.

    Quote Originally Posted by Austin Lang View Post
    how did you work these other races in?
    Without nailing it down. Exotic races exist as rarities and if a player wants to play one, they can propose it. So far I haven't found a need to work any into the background.

  4. #4
    I tend to think the plane touched races don't fit well but if one of my players had wanted to play one I would have found a way. I think the existance of Ber makes monstrous races (Goblins , Kobolds, Orcs etc) more playable than normal as they are more integrated with society and I have ended up with a Kobold and a Goblin PC something I would be unhappy with in most campaigns
    XP Tormyr gave XP for this post

  5. #5
    Cutpurse (Lvl 5)

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    Russia, Moscow
    Checking Volo's guide... I'd say the main problem is not making RHC into a zoo of exotic races (and that's closing eyes on abnormally high concentration of eladrin women in first adventures...) instead of, you know, kinda serious FBI-like structure.
    • Aasimar - see Lynia in Vault of Herecies. Angels were present in the world thousands of years ago, but their bloodline should be extremely rare and definitely deserves a personal quest of uncovering PC's history. Can you make a player an aasimar without him knowing it?..
    • Firbogs fit naturally with all other weird things of Dreaming, but require an especially strong reason to serve Risur king favoring technology
    • Goliath - Ber residents, no questions asked
    • Kenku - perfect race for personal stake in deducing the mystery of Avilona's Fall. I'd place them in Yerasol just to give the islands some unique flavor
    • Lizardfolk - subspecies of dragonborn? Complex relationship with dragons included in the package.
    • Tabaxi - either just another "weird people from distant land" or you can somehow link them to Hewanharinmau's curse of tiger-thropy in Eifaywar
    • Triton - resident of Mavisha, which became stranded on material plane somehow? Adventure 3 definitely gives a way to introduce him, for example.

  6. #6
    That makes a lot of sense: the main ones I were concerned with were Kobolds, Orcs, Goblins, Warforged, and perhaps Changelings. Thinking of leaving Changelings as is (are Dopplegangers a big thing?) or tying them to Fey Stuff.

    Other stuff would need to be worked out based on player preference and the story. But just having Ber as a thing helps a lot.

  7. #7
    Cutpurse (Lvl 5)

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    Russia, Moscow
    Kobolds are Beran spies, led by El Extrano, they act a lot in later adventures. I gave them passive racial ability "hiding in plain sight", hence a Beran proverb that kobolds don't exist. Orcs and goblins are similarly in Ber, Warforged are not mentioned, but tie in nicely with Pemberton dublicant project. Changelings are explicitly mentioned exactly once, Ekossigan (Herald of Four Seasons, adventure 5) is named as Patron of Changelings by Asrabey. By complete coincidence 2 of my players are changelings with radically different demeanors, I mostly assumed that this race is blended in native population, only recognized at birth of another white-skinned and black-eyed monstruosity.

  8. #8
    So, here are my thoughts of some of the non-standard races based off of a deeper reading of the campaign and players guide (still need the actual books but the game is a ways out)

    Aarakocra: Culturally mixing these guys with the Kenku into a grounded species of general bird people.
    Bugbear: Residents of Ber, part of the greater amalgamated Goblin tribes.
    Centaur: Similarly of Ber.
    Changeling: Natural phenomenon, due Dopplegangers being a thing.
    Firbolg: Group of giant-kin in Risur who still follow the Old Faith and work on appeasing the Unseen Court. A few decided to live in cities, but it's uncommon.
    Genasi: Tend to pop up at random near the appropriate Ziggurat, though Air genasi are exceedingly uncommon.
    Goliath: From Ber.
    Hobgoblin: Also from Ber
    Kenku: See Aarakocra. From Yerasol.
    Lizardfolk: Also from Ber, but with a complicated relationship to Dragonborn.
    Shifter: Largely also from Ber, unless there's a place with more lycanthropy.
    Tabaxi: Small tribes from Yerasol.
    Tortle: Also from Yerasol.
    Triton: Dropping the noble aspect for more general mer-folk vibes. Live near Ber. Were stranded long ago when Axis Seal and Ziggurat was created and went native.
    Warforged: Part of Pemberton's projects.

    Aasimar, I worry, are too close to Deva. I love Gith, but their story is too tied to Illithid and planar travel. Kalashtar could be linked to the plane of dreams or the Gidim (as could the Gith, admittedly) but I don't want to overcomplicate things.

  9. #9
    I would find out what your players want to play before putting too much effort into the obscure races. If no one is interested in them then no need to complicate the world with them. I actively discourages Aasimar because of the Deva issue and warned that Tieflings would suffer from prejudice as they are seen as being linked with Danor

  10. #10
    Fair enough! And I'll be sure to scratch out Aasimar as an option.

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