D&D 5E D&D Needs "Weirder"/More Unique Races

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I liked some of the creativity you saw with the sprawling options in 4e, but at the same time saw a lot of people just pick whatever for the optimization and then just play the PC like a human wearing a funny skin-suit. Granted, you can still see that with dwarves, elves, halflings, and the other core options as well, but it seems that much more egregious when the PC is a plant person or a being of living crystal.
Yeah, that and what I tended to see, was that in a world where 95% of the population was elf, dwarf, halfling and human, parties consisted of plant man, living crystal being, aarakocra, living sludge and undead monkey. It just gets too weird for me.
 

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Talislanta's races are just so wonderfully strange and flavorful. Someone can play an Ice Giant Warrior and someone can play a Maruk Dung Merchant. They're so weirdly not-balanced. The Ice Giant gets way more than the Dung Merchant, but also just plain cannot exist in warmer temperatures and slows everyone down around them, including allies.



The custom lineage sidebar is so wonderfully powerful. I've yet to see anyone take advantage of it, but it really opens up so many creative possibilities.



I liked some of the creativity you saw with the sprawling options in 4e, but at the same time saw a lot of people just pick whatever for the optimization and then just play the PC like a human wearing a funny skin-suit. Granted, you can still see that with dwarves, elves, halflings, and the other core options as well, but it seems that much more egregious when the PC is a plant person or a being of living crystal.
perhaps they have simply never seen it done well, let us face it a well-built example ends up getting copied on mass thus give a few good ones for each race and people will play better.
Yeah, that and what I tended to see, was that in a world where 95% of the population was elf, dwarf, halfling and human, parties consisted of plant man, living crystal being, aarakocra, living sludge and undead monkey. It just gets too weird for me.
have you considered removing the common races instead if no one wants to be an elf or a dwarf they need not be in play?
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
perhaps they have simply never seen it done well, let us face it a well-built example ends up getting copied on mass thus give a few good ones for each race and people will play better.

have you considered removing the common races instead if no one wants to be an elf or a dwarf they need not be in play?
No. Why would I want to play something that is guaranteed to be too weird for me?
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Supporter
What would a world look like where the entire population is made up of Plant People, Living Crystals, Aarakocra, Living Sludge, and Undead Monkeys?

For one thing you can kiss most ideas of society goodbye. Plant-People have no need of food or drink due to the abundance of sunlight, soil, and water in the world. So any kind of economy is going to be either Communal or purely exterior to their day to day lives. Even "Shelters" is a bit iffy for Plant-People. Most of the driving factors for the baseline of a social structure are out the window, since most carnivorous predators aren't going after them and herbivorous animals can be slapped on the snoot to make them back off. Why band together at all, if there's no physical need?

Living Crystals? Everything I just said about Plant-People dialed up to 11. Same thing with Living Sludge and Undead Monkeys. There's no incentive to form societal bonds because the vast majority of dangers don't apply to you, so why bother sharing resources and effort when there's no benefit to doing so?

Aarakocra would be the one species liable to have any kind of reasonable economic exchange and food requirements to fulfill the basic narrative for an agrarian-based society.

That world would likely have a cliff-dwelling feudal system for the Aarakocra that the rest of the peoples occasionally visit for no reason in particular...
 

No. Why would I want to play something that is guaranteed to be too weird for me?
weird is a point of view besides your not the only player.
I mean... what setting?

Warforged explore dynamics of created inhuman life Frankenstein Style, Weapons Development, and the ethical questions of creating life for specific purposes in Eberron.

Also in Eberron, Changelings explored shifting identities and personalities, transgender thought experiments, and the relatively constant societal demand that people hold to one identity selected by that society by hunting changelings down in some cultures.

And because WotC is all about "Everything in every setting always and forever" they created some suggestions for how to put them into FR and stuff.

Also, of course, there have always been players who are all "Cool stats" or "Neat, a metal man!" and decide to play them without any narrative identity at all beyond "Look how cool I am!" because that kind of play is also totally cool.

I suspect you're among the latter group? That's cool.
explain your point better as this sounds mildly insulting but I suspect that was not your intent.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
weird is a point of view besides your not the only player.
Sure, but I'm not going to get into a game or run a game that I find to be weird. Other players who like it can organize games of their own where they will have fun. I don't begrudge them that. I just don't have to put up with it myself..........................and won't.
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Supporter
I'm not sure I can explain my point better, @Mind of tempest?

Some people think that races should have a narrative purpose. That they should fit into a specific world, or into various worlds in specific ways, in order to examine different perspectives on situations. Like Thri-Kreen filtering everything through an alien (Bug-Like) mindset that doesn't really conform to standard human morality. Or Warforged as characters interacting with a given situation through the lens of a constructed person who has to grapple with their own inhuman nature while interacting with a society that both created them and is not constructed -for- them to exist within it.

Some people don't do that. Some people just like Warforged 'cause they're cool. Some people like Thri-Kreen 'cause they want a character with four arms and a poisonous bite. They're not concerned with any greater narrative weight or examination of socialization and human interaction... they -just- want to be cool and weird.

And there is, honestly, nothing wrong with that. No insult. No hate.
 

I get that new, weird, unique lineages appeal to some people, but it's not for me.

I'd rather be given more of what I already know I like than see space and effort given to untried, off-the-wall stuff that I can't relate to. Without a firm focus on those core cultures, it stops feeling like D&D to me; it needs certain elements and essential touchstones present in order to maintain that D&D ambience.

Some of the best campaigns I've ever taken part in have consisted of nothing but humans in low/no-magic settings.

Besides, as a human myself, I sort of resent the implication that characters aren't interesting unless they belong to some heretofore unheard-of species. :p
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
If you're just adding new races to D&D to add new races to D&D for mechanical tricks or "Weirdness" to make it more fantastical you're going to run into the problem of making your adventures feel more like a menagerie than a plot. A way to exhibit all the strangeness that ends up requiring a lot of description for each character without much added value to the story.
I’m not sure this is even true, though.

If the NPCs of an adventure are mostly non-human and include all manner of “weird” beings, but no time is spent dwelling on their weirdness, they’re just described enough to make their nature clear, just like with a dwarf would be, and they act upon the story based on their character, what you describe won’t happen. 🤷‍♂️
 

I get that new, weird, unique lineages appeal to some people, but it's not for me.

I'd rather be given more of what I already know I like than see space and effort given to untried, off-the-wall stuff that I can't relate to. Without a firm focus on those core cultures, it stops feeling like D&D to me; it needs certain elements and essential touchstones present in order to maintain that D&D ambience.

Some of the best campaigns I've ever taken part in have consisted of nothing but humans in low/no-magic settings.

Besides, as a human myself, I sort of resent the implication that characters aren't interesting unless they belong to some heretofore unheard-of species. :p
how good a campaign is has nothing to do with the races or even the setting but everything to do with players and dm so that point is technically irrelevant.

what core cultures we have humans who are every variety from real life, elves who are technically identical aside from the fact they mutate based on the environment dwarves who could all be clones and we would never know and legally not hobbits which I have never seen anyone do anything properly interesting with.

race does not make an interesting character but humans are supper dependent on world setting to do the heavy lifting for them thus without it they end up with bland characters or copies of others wholesale.
plus fantasy lets you reject your humanness which I super like.
I'm not sure I can explain my point better, @Mind of tempest?

Some people think that races should have a narrative purpose. That they should fit into a specific world, or into various worlds in specific ways, in order to examine different perspectives on situations. Like Thri-Kreen filtering everything through an alien (Bug-Like) mindset that doesn't really conform to standard human morality. Or Warforged as characters interacting with a given situation through the lens of a constructed person who has to grapple with their own inhuman nature while interacting with a society that both created them and is not constructed -for- them to exist within it.

Some people don't do that. Some people just like Warforged 'cause they're cool. Some people like Thri-Kreen 'cause they want a character with four arms and a poisonous bite. They're not concerned with any greater narrative weight or examination of socialization and human interaction... they -just- want to be cool and weird.

And there is, honestly, nothing wrong with that. No insult. No hate.
ah so your suggesting I care for only the cover and mechanics, look I do care but no one whats a character they find disgusting to think about and we all want mechanics that work well but I care about how they think and the cultures they are part of as it lets me see better how they think and what they could care about.

a default story I do not get nor see how to do those can you expand, please?

as I have been trying to hammer one out for a while that is worthy to exist.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
I played a Willowwisp Psion named Zazu in 3e and had lots of fun zapping people :) I did a gnome homebrew who had an empathic hivemind which made them hyper coordinated (swarm) and I’ve always wondered about playing an Otyugh (I’ve used Otyugh NPCs)

DnD races do tend to be a bit Humans with funny ears though
 

TheSword

Legend
how good a campaign is has nothing to do with the races or even the setting but everything to do with players and dm so that point is technically irrelevant.

what core cultures we have humans who are every variety from real life, elves who are technically identical aside from the fact they mutate based on the environment dwarves who could all be clones and we would never know and legally not hobbits which I have never seen anyone do anything properly interesting with.

race does not make an interesting character but humans are supper dependent on world setting to do the heavy lifting for them thus without it they end up with bland characters or copies of others wholesale.
plus fantasy lets you reject your humanness which I super like.

ah so your suggesting I care for only the cover and mechanics, look I do care but no one whats a character they find disgusting to think about and we all want mechanics that work well but I care about how they think and the cultures they are part of as it lets me see better how they think and what they could care about.

a default story I do not get nor see how to do those can you expand, please?

as I have been trying to hammer one out for a while that is worthy to exist.
I think people spend too much time seeing cosmetic differences between races and not enough time on psychological differences. The first is easier because it comes with abilities but the psychology is far more interesting from a RP perspective.

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay had an excellent set of essays about non-human psychology for elves and dwarves. The advice fundamentally changed the way I view these races.

Elves being functionally immortal in game terms would have totally different views on the shorter lived races, and a totally different approach to study, practice, social life, possibly even the value of life.

Dwarves also being extremely long lived, but also coming from below ground - and a place usually inhabited with things that want to kill them, would have fundamentally different ideas about permanence, honesty, making mistakes and work.
 

I think people spend too much time seeing cosmetic differences between races and not enough time on psychological differences. The first is easier because it comes with abilities but the psychology is far more interesting from a RP perspective.

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay had an excellent set of essays about non-human psychology for elves and dwarves. The advice fundamentally changed the way I view these races.

Elves being functionally immortal in game terms would have totally different views on the shorter lived races, and a totally different approach to study, practice, social life, possibly even the value of life.

Dwarves also being extremely long lived, but also coming from below ground - and a place usually inhabited with things that want to kill them, would have fundamentally different ideas about permanence, honesty, making mistakes and work.
one would also need to account for how each culture interprets things as there is the general version, a cultures specific version and the individual in questions versions of the former to help inform the latter.
 

TheSword

Legend
one would also need to account for how each culture interprets things as there is the general version, a cultures specific version and the individual in questions versions of the former to help inform the latter.
Absolutely. There can be a huge amount of variation and interest just like in real life there are lots of viewpoints that define people. It’s worth writing up the psychology of the different core races.

Often the descriptions in the PhB or various supplements describe common experiences but only go into psychology in the most superficial or stereotypical way. Tieflings being bullied for instance.

It might be worth a separate thread. I’ll dig out the old article and have a read again. Maybe post something this evening.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
Just use the new Custom Lineage and call it whatever you want. Feats can replicate many racial abilities depending on what you want to do.

Walking crystal person? Check.
Groot? Check

With the custom lineage it's all about the flavor you and your DM can agree on to work in the game.
 

I go back and forth on the "menagerie" adventuring party. On the one hand, adventurers are weird and do exist outside the bounds of normalcy. On the other hand, when this circus shows up to town, how does that look to your average peasant?

Yeah, that and what I tended to see, was that in a world where 95% of the population was elf, dwarf, halfling and human, parties consisted of plant man, living crystal being, aarakocra, living sludge and undead monkey. It just gets too weird for me.

I agree, giving a proper example of what a custom lineage could look like would have been useful. Or heck, even just an example of the customization of a standard race - walk us through building a character from a seafaring dwarven people. For just two pages, it's a remarkable game-changer of a section.

perhaps they have simply never seen it done well, let us face it a well-built example ends up getting copied on mass thus give a few good ones for each race and people will play better.
 

I go back and forth on the "menagerie" adventuring party. On the one hand, adventurers are weird and do exist outside the bounds of normalcy. On the other hand, when this circus shows up to town, how does that look to your average peasant?



I agree, giving a proper example of what a custom lineage could look like would have been useful. Or heck, even just an example of the customization of a standard race - walk us through building a character from a seafaring dwarven people. For just two pages, it's a remarkable game-changer of a section.
it looks like you were going to say something to my post what was it?
 


Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
I go back and forth on the "menagerie" adventuring party. On the one hand, adventurers are weird and do exist outside the bounds of normalcy. On the other hand, when this circus shows up to town, how does that look to your average peasant?

My PC Orbril the gnome set up a circus exactly for this purpose - it allowed any kind of character to move between towns and cities and have a reason and a base.

Otherwise I agree with you, which is why I do make a point of having town guards tell the PCs that the Dragonborn, Tieflings and Pixies will need to stay outside of town or in a cell (In larger cities I will provide caravanserai or fouburgs for them)
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Supporter
Absolutely. There can be a huge amount of variation and interest just like in real life there are lots of viewpoints that define people. It’s worth writing up the psychology of the different core races.

Often the descriptions in the PhB or various supplements describe common experiences but only go into psychology in the most superficial or stereotypical way. Tieflings being bullied for instance.

It might be worth a separate thread. I’ll dig out the old article and have a read again. Maybe post something this evening.
Consider Wealth.

Wealth has a tendency to settle in most societies. People who own the things that other people need (Land, Water, Natural Resources) are able to leverage work for pay and generally wind up on the more lucrative side of that deal with every person they employ. These resources are typically handed down by the family, but are used almost daily, or entirely daily, by everyone (In the case of food, for example).

Now imagine an almost immortal landowner. One elf gets claim to a nice chunk of River-Valley and suddenly everyone in the region is entirely dependent on his staggering wealth from various investments and businesses over the past 400 years or so.

It'd be like Bezos' brain in a jar in 2521, owning the greater part of the solar system in a cyberpunk dystopia where Amazon bought out Earth, Mars, and the Kuiper Belt for mineral rights!
 

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