How to Create a New Race

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Volume 1 - Creating a new race / folk / species.


Contents

TL:DR Version

Here is the short version. Suggested things to do when creating a new race:

  • Get inspired. Read mythology, fantasy, as well as the lore already currently written on here.
  • Get a good feel for what your new race will look like, act like, and speak like.
  • Create unique signifiers for your race. Signifiers are how other people can identify you as your race. Common examples are the decorated collar for Gnolls, or the hat and trenchcoat for Hat Trolls. Try to avoid similarities between your signifiers and those of another prominent race, as this can lead to confusion.
  • Once you have your background written, share it! Post it on Creatures of Bel/Dag or within your own realm/units. Inform people how your race is unique, and they might decide to join you!
  • If you need further advice, please click the “Other Advice” sub-header or continue reading.




If you’re still reading, thanks for sticking with us for the long haul!

More in-depth things to know:

1. Roleplay is not part of the Book of War, and as such, the options for creativity are wide open when it comes to creating a new race. With that said, there is still a long and rich history of culture (monster culture in particular) that your new creation will need to work alongside. While creating a new race can be challenging, you will always find more experienced people willing to help you. Many Belegrim have invested a lot of time and effort into their creations, and they can assist you to ensure that toes are not stepped on and your new creation fits in well with the overarching lore of Belegarth.

2. That being said, there are some basic categories that all races fall under. Pinkies (generally good-aligned races of Men, Elves and Dwarves, etc.), classic monsters (the original Monster races that built the foundations of lore in Bel and are ever at war with the pinkies), and the Other-folk (those who fall somewhere in between). Most new races will likely be in this last category, as the other two are largely established and have been so for at least a decade now.

3. Consider the fact that Geddon.org is a graveyard of unused or under-used races. Many races have at most 2 or 3 members still active. Some races no longer have any members at all. It is advisable to check the Races listing and see if there might be an under-represented race that you can breathe life into rather than having to create something new from scratch. But if not, here are some questions to consider when writing your new creation.


Idea Generating Questions

These answers are not required in order to create a new page on the Wiki. They are here to give you things to think about to make your new creation something really interesting and different that people want to play.

Appearance/Signifiers

- What does your new folk look like?

- What do they wear?

- What about their appearance makes them instantly recognizable on a crowded field?

- Are your racial signifiers similar to that of another race? What is totally unique to your group? This can be a tricky one and I'll give an example:

As you know, there are a number of creatures that are water-based in the game already. So, from across the field, how do you tell a Water Elemental from a Deep One or from a Syren?

  • Does it wear a giant amorphous poncho making it look fluid and flowing and just a little bit like the shape of a jellyfish? That's a Water Elemental!
  • Does it wear tentacles on its face and look really scary with nets and seaweed and lots of dark colors? That's probably a Deep One!
  • Is it beautiful and covered in shiny face decorations and scales? That's likely a Syren!

- So, even though all three of these groups wear blues, greens, and ocean related attire, they have each found a way to make themselves unique, instantly recognizable, and feared! This is super important because if your race isn't recognizable, no one will know you exist and that means no one will join you in the fun of building your new group! You might get mistaken for something else or walk right by someone who wants to be part of your race but doesn't see instantly that you are the person to talk to about joining!

Racial History

- What is your new culture's "creation myth"? Were they created by the same god that created another race? Or do they have their own creation story? If you need ideas, a common starting point for many races is The Casting of Stones story. Keep in mind, your new folk does not have to necessarily fit into that story. Much like real life, creation myths differ vastly from culture to culture with much argument about whose god was best/first etc. You can either use a different known event in the lore as your creation point, or make up a totally different origin if you like. Just remember, the more you are able to tie in to the existing lore, the more fun you can have with members of other races, which is kinda the whole point.

- If they were not created, where do your folk come from? How did they get here?

- Do they live near any other folk? Have they ever had to fight or ally with any other group for resources? Why?

Interactions

- How does your new group relate to other races?

- Do they have any allies? Enemies? Forbidden associations?

- What do they admire or hate about the other folks in the world?

- TIP: When considering relations between your folk and another race, it's a good idea to reach out to whoever wrote the entry for the other race to see if the story you are coming up with jives with their idea of what their race is like, and if they are generally agreeable to adding it to canon so you can have fun playing out that new dynamic at events. For example, Elementals and Ogres are currently in the process of figuring out how we relate to one another, given that Ogres in Belegarth are elementally aligned. Cooperation often builds better, more satisfying lore and RP opportunities. Don't hesitate to reach out!

Society Details

- Are they especially skilled at a particular craft or science?

- Are they known to be excellent at something? Really bad at something?

- How do they organize their families? Cities? Societies?

- Who makes decisions? How many people hold the ability to participate in decision making?

- What values do they prize?

- What behaviors are considered abhorrent?

- Do they, as a people, share a common goal or are they more individualistic?

- Generally speaking, think about what it would be like if you personally met a representative of a brand new species neither you or anyone else had ever seen before. If an alien race from outer space came down and wanted to hang out, what would you be curious to know about them? Consider it, and answer those questions about your own new creation.

Recruitment

Congrats! You have created a new fantasy race in the world of Belegarth! It's time to recruit!

- Write up your lore and get it seen on Geddon!

- Make a facebook group for your new race and post it on the Creatures of Bel/Dag group to invite interested people to join!

- Encourage your new members to make their own lore for their character as well so it's just as fun for them as it is for you!

- Keep your folk interested and engaged by asking their opinions on fleshing out the look of the race or the race's lore!

- Meet up on the field and fight as a group! MAKE THE WORLD KNOW YOUR NAME. ;)

CAUTION

- Stay away from creating races that are unintentionally or intentionally rooted in racist caricatures. If your new race is inherently evil, all have black skin, and speak in broken English, absolutely reconsider. There is far more than enough of that in fantasy already.

- Generally, choosing NOT to paint your group members in skin colors real life humans actually come in is VERY smart and appreciated.

- Additionally, since we want the game to be inviting to all types of people, it's also very appreciated if your garb is not straight up lifting a real culture's garb whole-cloth and using it on people who are not of that real life group. Elements of real life cultures may be one thing, but straight up jacking the whole thing is another. Tread carefully and respectfully.

- Putting offensive symbols on anything for ANY reason is not going to go well for you, regardless of your intentions. Just don’t do it.



Other Advice

Falnir Firewalker: My advice is to always see what's out there first. Branch off of others ideas, such as how the deathrisen god Hod is an aspect of the hobgoblyn god Phobettus. Or how your kind have interacted with other groups/species throughout history. Writing a cool independent story and universe is freeing, but doesn't tell others how to engage with you. Lore is a story about history and culture, why you do what you do, and the more logic and ties you can make to what already exists helps legitimize your creation.

Caleidah: Read a lot of mythology. Get a feel for what you like. You should be able to summarize your race and its lore in no more than three sentences. Get a good image in your mind of what you want your monster race to be, and stick to the core. Avoid story/feature creep as much as you can, at least upfront. Come up with defining garb/characterization features so that people can tell at a glance what you are, or at least get close.

Mekoot Gorlock: Remember that first drafts often suck in writing. That isn't a you thing; it is a writing thing and can be frustrating when people point out the issues along with the good bits you should keep. Since you are operating in a shared world structure it is easier if you have a good handle on the other things going on so you don't duplicate another race.

Rasheab: If you're gonna do it, own it. Make people believe in your species. Show, don't tell. Do that, and own it, and it'll be a thing. Don't, and you'll be made fun of and/or ignored. And nobody wants that.

Raxis: When writing a new race, it's important to have some footholds in reality. If your race comes from Chinese mythology, pull some names from related stories. Mash them together, see what works and what sounds good together. Not everything needs to be exactly like the source region, but you want people to recognize some things without having to be told. This can also be done through garb. What are the staples of the race? What can this race wear to make it instantly recognizable? A kitsune might wear a modified kimono, while a lizardperson might wear the traditionally geometric patterns of the Mayans, Aztecs, or Egyptians. As with that second example, some races take inspiration from several locations across the globe. Using myself as an example, when I was writing Merfolk lore, I took a little bit of various mermaid myths from all over, including Russia, Polynesia, the Mediterranean, and northern Inuit tribes. Even if the race you are building isn't based on any existing mythology, I recommend choosing a culture to base it on. Having more or less official source material will help later generations of the race build upon it more. While it’s easy to get attached to a race you create as your baby, it’s super important to remember that the whole point is to get other people as devoted and excited about it as you! People aren’t gonna want to join a race that has no room for growth, so leave some gaps for other folks to explore. One of the most important parts of race building is the creation myth. It’s one of the first things the other races are going to ask about. Even if you aren’t the best writer, you can still come up with a name for the deity, using the method I explained at the beginning. The deity and the corresponding creation myth should lay down the basis for the personality of the race. Are they violent and warlike, or intelligent and magical? Things like that should be reflected in the deity that created them.



- Thank you for reading. This page was collaboratively written by Garnet the Earth Elemental and Witchdoktor Galya.
- If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to us, or post your questions on the Creatures of Bel/Dag group on Facebook here: (https://www.facebook.com/groups/855303031154789/)

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