Thursday, July 18, 2013

Humans Only! Part 2

Part 2? Yeah I didn't think there was going to be a part 2 either. I didn't realize when I wrote my post about humans only campaigns that I would have hit such a nerve. Way more page hits and comments than I usually get...

But it made me wonder, what exactly is it that hits such a nerve?

Is it the role playing aspect of it? The humans with funny costumes thing (which I always think of more along the lines of the bumpy forehead alien of the week from Star Trek The Next Generation)? Is it a desire to see players (not characters) stretch their role playing skills rather than their roll playing skillz?

Or is it more of a wish to run something more historical? A setting or campaign idea that the DM has stuck in their brain and needs (or at least really wants) to get it out onto the table and share it with their friends? Musketeers or Greek heroes?

Do I even dare ask if it falls somewhere in the conflict between story games and more gameist games?

Might it be merely the novelty of it? I know I've played in games where I do something other than my usual. Heck, my highest level flailsnails character is just a mercenary fighter, well away from the usual bookish wizard that I tend to favor, and that isn't anywhere near the weirdest/most out there character I've ever played.

Is there the same longing to play an all dwarf game (dragon hunting anyone?)?

An all elf game (dandelion wine all around)?

Drow only? (not for me, thanks)

What about a Vulcan or Klingon only game for Star Trek? Wookie or Jedi only for Star Wars?

Isn't one of the big reasons we play RPGs to experience something different, something "other"? To do the things we can't do in real life like slay dragons or explore strange new worlds? Is this a urge to run a more homogeneous game purely a DM thing? Or do those who only roll dice on the PC side of the screen sometimes feel the same way?

I don't have any answers. Obviously I have questions, and a few ideas.

My guess is that it's a DM thing more than a player thing, and it's more a novelty thing than a dissatisfaction with the games that the DM is running. Probably spurred by a movie or book that just left a little something in the back of their brain that just needs to get itched.

But I could be completely wrong. Let me know if you think so, or if you have a completely different idea.

And if you've made it this far, have a map of a wizards lair from a 3x5 card.

Keep cool!


  1. Demihumans are boring. They're just monocultural humans with rubber ears. They can't be anything else, because simplistic stereotypes are the only thing that can be communicated and remembered easily enough for everyone at the table to get the idea, unless you're all obsessive types.

    Humans are fascinating, of course.

    I don't have a problem with players running whatever they like, obviously, but when I play I always run humans for preference. Although we had fun with a Planescape game where several players made up their own unique races.

  2. Planescape is best for that. I tend to use systems where it's easy to create your own race, or to add your own spin to an existing one, whenever I run game sout on the Planes.

    I was thinking about running a Conan/Thieves World-inspired game, with only a few token non-human races - but not allowing any to be available to the characters. Instead, there will be various "flavours" of Human, with different cultures and mechanical benefits.