More on humans in fantasy RPGs

So I got quite a lot of response to my post last week on humans in fantasy RPGs. A couple of thing I had already been thinking considering, which I think coulkd make human characters more interesting to play were:

– Making humans more limited than other races (more like commoners, more like people in Magic the Gathering’s Innistrad setting) so that they are more like a challenge to play.
– Giving humans subrace options that are more suited to an urban or agricultural or hunter-gatherer society.

I also got a lot of feedback from other people who play or run RPGs:

– Players will either always play human or never play human
– If your players are human they will see ‘human’ as ‘no race’ and probably won’t be interested.
– There’s nothing wrong with players not wanting to play humans. A dungeon master shouldn’t try to make players choose humans.
– In the D&D Players’ Handbook there isn’t much detail about different human cultures to draw players in who are interested in lore, flavour or narrative. A dungeon master will have to flesh this out more to give humans more of an interesting backstory for the players.
– There is a curiosity about playing a non-human, because many games only allow you to play as a human.
The free Innistrad supplement has interesting options for human subraces.
– What humans need is subraces. What happens to humans who lived in weird environments for generations?
– Make humans all royalty.
– Make humans the remnants of a once-great empire.
– Increase humans’ natural healing rate.
– Human variants get a feat at first level and this makes them attractive because of the diverse range of feats available.
– Give them an XP bonus to reflect the relative shortness of their lives.
– Make them the leaders of a caste-based society.

(Thanks Jason, Jacob, Tim, Brian, Tom, Nicholas, Duc, Charles, Lex, Patrick, Ivan, Dianne, Jacob, Micah, Argirios and Ollie for feedback!)

I’m going to keep pondering this, and I think I’m going to experiment with putting together some human-specific personality traits, ideals, bonds and flaws – like the race-specific one’s in Volo’s Guide to Monsters

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