I liked this blog so much that I asked the author if I could run it here in Trollhalla. Apologies if you’ve already read it, but this site is also for those who may not be card-carrying members of trollhalla, and as such, it needs to talk about subjects of general interest sometimes. Plus, I had a few thoughts on the topic that I will add at the end of this essay..–trollgod
My post on a potential Human Kindred Modifier at the beginning of February sparked some good discussion here and seemed to spark even more at Trollhalla (or at least I assume it was my mention of the topic; I could be wrong). So it seems to be a worthy topic to continue here.The fundamental question raised by most is: why play a human inTunnels and Trolls, or any fantasy role playing game for that matter, given the inherent mechanical advantages of nonhumans? I typically play human characters in T&T and other games so I feel that I can provide an answer to this question. The primary reason has nothing to do with game mechanics and everything to do with role playing.Playing a human provides a sense of awe and wonder.Nonhuman characters, dwarves, elves, hobbs, leprechauns, fairies, are fantastic in nature; they are a part of the fantasy world that you are exploring. If everything and everyone is fantastic in nature, then where is the marvel over the fantasy? Where is the awe and wonder as you explore the world? Dwarves were raised in huge underground cities. Elves live hundreds of years and are effectively immortal. Leprechauns and fairies are inherently magical. Fairies can even fly. You may even decide that some of the nonhuman kindred like dwarves and elves can see in the dark (I am glad Ken did not).Will these nonhuman characters care if they are exploring an ancient ruined temple or castle? Will exploring a cave be anything other than like returning home? Will that dark forest fill your characters with a sense foreboding or a sense of nostalgia instead?Raised in a small town or even a city, human characters will find such locations to be mysterious and wondrous. An alien world lies out there waiting to be explored; lost cities, lost civilizations, and lost treasures guarded by unknown beasts and strange creatures. All of these things have a powerful force of attraction to adventurous humans, but they still instill fear and even terror. What is a man or woman in comparison to these supernatural forces after all?My basic point here is that the fragility of the average human character is an appealing trait to me. Those human warriors, wizards and rogues are heading out into a world where most things are tougher than they are with just some skill, knowledge, and equipment to set themselves apart. When they do go to explore those ruins, caves, or dark forests those locations will be as alien to them as another planet, full of mystery and unknown terrors.Of course I don’t expect everyone to agree with my opinion. Feel free to give your own thoughts on the matter.
(This blog, and other interesting ruminations can be found at “http://danhemsgamingblog.blogspot.com/“)
Trollgod speaking now: Many people have wondered why anyone would want to ever play a human in T & T when other kindreds get game advantages with multipliers on some of their attributes. Humans are times 1 all the way across, and that was done deliberately to set a standard to compare all other fantasy races to. Most other races have disadvantages. Dwarves are unlucky; Elves are puny; Uruks are disgusting, and so forth, Still, one can overlook those flaws and work on building up the weak spots in the characters.
I’m not going to change the rules and give humans a multiplier of greater than 1 in any area. It was suggested that they get extra money, but not all humans have extra money. I do, however, have an idea that should make Humans more enticing at the character creation process.
Heritage. All kindreds that have no attribute multiplier greater than 1 get an advantage called Heritage. Heritage is something the character inherited through his/her family from some earlier adventurer. For example, Jaysee the warrior might have inherited a magical sword from his grandfather–it glows in the dark and gets double its normal dice against any nonhuman Kindred. Or, he might have inherited a perfectly good, if old-fashioned suit of plate armor, that he wouldn’t have enough money to buy as a beginning character. Or he might have a magical charm that helps him locate gold/girls/gaggles-of-geese–you name it. Heritage is a free gimmie for Human characters that can only be used once when making up the character, and is subject to the approval of the G.M. It is also subject to the Be Reasonable rule. The player wants a family recipe for making delicious pancakes, give it to him. If he wants a nuclear bomb, don’t give it to him. She wants her one Talent at +7, give it to her. Wants the Talent at + 100, don’t. Heritage is meant to be a slight advantage for a new human character–not a game-destroying Edge. There are bound to be some people who habitually “game the system” who will say that Heritage is such an undefined advantage that players can use it to “break the game”. Such people are “rules gamers” not “roleplaying gamers”. Yes, Heritage could be used to get an overwhelming advantage for Humans, but it shouldn’t be. That’s why the Game Master has ultimate power, not the game rules. If something is unreasonable, and breaks the system, you, as Game Master can simply disallow it.
With the addition of Heritage, I hope that Humans will be seen as just as viable as any other Kindred in Tunnels and Trolls.
If you have any comments or thoughts about playing Humans in T & T, why not make those comments here?