12 thoughts on “Would you prefer a fantasy noir rpg that featured…”

  1. These days, I’m digging a “roll your own races” type thing. Like “tell me what makes your race different from us at the table” and then we collaborate on a racial move if needed.

  2. Douglas Santana​ It’s a nice idea and can add a lot of flavour to the setting; I love the Warforged in Eberron. Can lead to just analogues for trad fantasy races, or Star Trek racism (here are the race that are Jewish analogues, here are the Russian analogues etc…)

  3. Oli Jeffery How much of a “hack” are you thinking about? If you’re willing to veer pretty far from core Dungeon World, you might try some sort of mix-and-match between “class” and “background/people” playbooks.

    Then, for the background/people playbooks, you go with archetypes… like “the Frontier” or “Urban Squalor” or “the Wanderers” or “Noble Vassals” or or or.

    Or, for more fantasy race tropes… “the Ancient Ones” or “the Stoneblooded” or the “the Wee Folk” or or or.

    Then, each background/people playbook prompts the player to answer questions about said background and make it unique to this game and possibly their character. Like, two PCs could come from the Frontier, but each could have a different take.

    And of course, moves and drives/keys/alignments/gear/etc as appropriate for your game.

    I tinkered with this idea in a “special ops in a fantasy world war” game I was working on a while back. You can see a couple examples of what I’m talking about here:


  4. Eric Sheldahl There’s loads of fantasy that doesn’t have fantasy races. Game of Thrones, The Gentleman Bastards, Dishonoured. Even lots of stuff with potentially PC non humans (eg His Dark Materials’ rad armoured bears ) don’t have elves and dwarves.

  5. For dramatically different settings, I would prefer all new races that fit the idea you are pitching, but beware that drawing on ethnic inspirations often makes someone tag the game as racist, despite the fact that it is virtually impossible to create believable human-like cultures without using actual human references. Unless your view of the setting is like lord of the rings or dungeons and dragons with noir overtones, which could feel generic, but also work well if done with care, like the way the setting of Arcanum: steamworks & magicka handles fantasy races in a steampunk environment.

  6. Vinicius Gonçalves​​ I think there is a real danger of unintentional racism when creating species as analogues of human ethnic groups.

    Partially this is because they tend to be broad and often offensive caricatures (the ferenghi, all played by Jewish actors are a nasty Jewish stereotype, for example ). Even analogues intended to be positive (the Naavi in Avatar, for example) tend towards a very reductive portrayal.

    It’s also because the inevitable humans are analogues for the author’s (usually white, Western) culture. It’s saying that only (eg) waspy Americans are human – other cultures and races have been reduced to literally a non human species.

    Doesn’t have to be the way, of course. Mass Effect managed many distinct species without any racist caricaturing. 

Comments are closed.