Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Image and video hosting by TinyPic



Being the Official Discussion Forum for Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea™


Visit us at the HYPERBOREA web site!

You are not logged in. Would you like to login or register?

12/10/2018 8:17 pm  #1


Human racial mods?

Hello!  I'm a fairly recent fan of AS&SH, and brand new to the forum.  

While browsing round, I found some past discussion of porting demi-human races into the game, and this idea clearly draws mixed responses.  What more interests me is the idea of assigning variant game stats and modifiers to the 12(+?) established human races of Hyperborea.  I'd be surprised if no one else had made house rules for these, or at least thought about it.  

Examples could include, but not be limited to attribute bonuses; Esquimeaux might get +1 CN, +1 WS whilst Kelts get +1 ST and +1 CH.  Vikings advance faster in the berserker and runecaster classes (needing only 80% of the listed XP per level).  All Esquimeaux, regardless of class, have weapon skill in the long spear and are able to train and drive dogsled teams.  And Atlanteans (as hinted by the rules) can breathe indefinitely underwater, but suffer penalties if not immersed regularly.

The designer(s) obviously decided in favor of making the races homogeneous, stat-wise.  The choice of race in AS&SH is intended mostly for roleplaying "fluff" and cultural nuances.  But whereas race is essentially an optional block on the char sheet, it also appears to be a very popular element of the game, if posts here are any indication!  So I'm not saying the game needs racial stats, but it's already a familiar concept:  and not just from dealing with race rules in traditional high-fantasy games.  If memory serves, at least one iteration of the Conan RPG offers modifiers for the various Hyborean Age races.

Iä Xathoqqua!

 

12/10/2018 8:46 pm  #2


Re: Human racial mods?

Welcome to the forum, Q-sub. You will find we are a good group, happy to chat and generally pleasant even when we disagree. 

For various reasons, I've never really had an interest in adding race-specific mechanical modifiers, but I'd be surprised if someone here hasn't toyed with it and offers up their ideas.


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
 

12/11/2018 6:18 am  #3


Re: Human racial mods?

Yes, the Conan D20 game from Mongoose did add cultural changes to the list of peoples in the lands of the Hyborian Age and I do agree with the idea; it does add an interesting concept to the game, though I could note it also adds some time to character creation if one is in a rush, but it adds structure to the character which I enjoy and you can fell the difference which makes the game more exciting!

I not thought about it in this game much, I enjoy AS&SH as it is, because it is a reminder of my first game, Basic D&D, so I play it for sentimental reasons (and it includes by favourite pulp stories, predominately Conan), but I would be interested in seeing what you (Q) or others put together...

 

12/11/2018 12:30 pm  #4


Re: Human racial mods?

Q-sub wrote:

Hello!  I'm a fairly recent fan of AS&SH, and brand new to the forum.  

While browsing round, I found some past discussion of porting demi-human races into the game, and this idea clearly draws mixed responses.  What more interests me is the idea of assigning variant game stats and modifiers to the 12(+?) established human races of Hyperborea.  I'd be surprised if no one else had made house rules for these, or at least thought about it.  

Examples could include, but not be limited to attribute bonuses; Esquimeaux might get +1 CN, +1 WS whilst Kelts get +1 ST and +1 CH.  Vikings advance faster in the berserker and runecaster classes (needing only 80% of the listed XP per level).  All Esquimeaux, regardless of class, have weapon skill in the long spear and are able to train and drive dogsled teams.  And Atlanteans (as hinted by the rules) can breathe indefinitely underwater, but suffer penalties if not immersed regularly.

The designer(s) obviously decided in favor of making the races homogeneous, stat-wise.  The choice of race in AS&SH is intended mostly for roleplaying "fluff" and cultural nuances.  But whereas race is essentially an optional block on the char sheet, it also appears to be a very popular element of the game, if posts here are any indication!  So I'm not saying the game needs racial stats, but it's already a familiar concept:  and not just from dealing with race rules in traditional high-fantasy games.  If memory serves, at least one iteration of the Conan RPG offers modifiers for the various Hyborean Age races.

Iä Xathoqqua!

For me the lack of racial modifiers is a feature.  Not sure having them increases the fun factor.  The role-playing fluff is far more important to me than the mechanical advantages of a race. When you have mods you begin to advantage certain class / race combinations and nerf others. I like the char gen the way it is but the world is yours so have at it!!


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
 

12/11/2018 2:18 pm  #5


Re: Human racial mods?

mabon5127 wrote:

When you have mods you begin to advantage certain class / race combinations and nerf others.

This is an important factor for me. Once you begin to push races in certain class directions, even if it's only at the margin, it definitely changes the way players make choices when they roll a new character and it presumably would have a ripple effect on how distributions shake out among NPCs in the campaign world. So, for me, it feels too prescriptive because of how it changes the thought process, even if, again, it's only at the margin mechanically.

As always, we bring in different expectations and different players, so we end up running our games a bit differently. Do what works for you! 


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
 

12/11/2018 4:20 pm  #6


Re: Human racial mods?

I'll join the chorus of "I think it ain't broke so I ain't gonna fix it, but you do you".

I did a campaign that brought in the the Exceptional Strength modifiers from the Greyhawk Supplement, and I got to see first hand what a Berzerker with 18/00 STR can do. It's a lovely sight to behold. The party is/was very smart to quickly leave the "zone of crazy" when the PC goes berzerk. +4/+6 for "to hit"/damage bonus is a bit too for for Hyperborea.

I'm not saying don't add your flavor to your game, just account for how the game my shift once those things get added.


What? Me worry?
 

12/11/2018 5:00 pm  #7


Re: Human racial mods?

I, too, considered the idea and abandoned it: I prefer the main differences to be through role-playing, background, and prodigious use of the "Non-Standard Task Resolution" system: while this doesn't address attribute bonuses, it does allow for the Ref to "mod" races on the fly by assigning odds of Esquimaux knowing how to fish, Vikings to sail, Hyperboreans to identify ancient artefacts, etc. And I would always allow a player to suggest why their character might know or be able to do something, but anything outside a class ability is easily handled with the decoupled "x in 6" chance. 


"My own concepts in this regard are easy and clear, and I am sure that the word 'simplistic' will be used by my critics. These folk are callow and turgid of intellect; I am reassured by their howls and yelps."
Jack Vance, The Face
 

12/11/2018 6:40 pm  #8


Re: Human racial mods?

Same here. Same initial thoughts. Same conclusions...


3d6 straight.
 

12/12/2018 12:38 pm  #9


Re: Human racial mods?

rhialto wrote:

by assigning odds of Esquimaux knowing how to fish, Vikings to sail, Hyperboreans to identify ancient artefacts, etc. And I would always allow a player to suggest why their character might know or be able to do something, but anything outside a class ability is easily handled with the decoupled "x in 6" chance. 

Hadn't really thought of this. This is a great idea particularly if the character fell along the stereotypical background of the chosen race,  Though I guess the Hyperborean that was raised by Esquimaux could avail himself of that background racial knowledge.
 


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
 

12/12/2018 1:27 pm  #10


Re: Human racial mods?

mabon5127 wrote:

rhialto wrote:

by assigning odds of Esquimaux knowing how to fish, Vikings to sail, Hyperboreans to identify ancient artefacts, etc. And I would always allow a player to suggest why their character might know or be able to do something, but anything outside a class ability is easily handled with the decoupled "x in 6" chance. 

Hadn't really thought of this. This is a great idea particularly if the character fell along the stereotypical background of the chosen race,  Though I guess the Hyperborean that was raised by Esquimaux could avail himself of that background racial knowledge.
 

And this is why I vastly prefer the de-coupled "x in 6" task roll: no need for a list of cultural or background skills, just a common-sense dialog between the players and the Ref. In your latter case I'd probably tell the player "Sure, you're not as good as a native Esquimaux, but pretty good, say 4:6." Done.


"My own concepts in this regard are easy and clear, and I am sure that the word 'simplistic' will be used by my critics. These folk are callow and turgid of intellect; I am reassured by their howls and yelps."
Jack Vance, The Face
 

12/12/2018 7:43 pm  #11


Re: Human racial mods?

mabon5127 wrote:

When you have mods you begin to advantage certain class / race combinations and nerf others.

This happens to be my primary objection to racial modifiers.

I feel there are a lot of ways to make racial choices interesting and meaningful without hardcoding stat adjustments and racial abilities. 
 

 

12/13/2018 1:40 pm  #12


Re: Human racial mods?

rhialto wrote:

mabon5127 wrote:

rhialto wrote:

by assigning odds of Esquimaux knowing how to fish, Vikings to sail, Hyperboreans to identify ancient artefacts, etc. And I would always allow a player to suggest why their character might know or be able to do something, but anything outside a class ability is easily handled with the decoupled "x in 6" chance. 

Hadn't really thought of this. This is a great idea particularly if the character fell along the stereotypical background of the chosen race,  Though I guess the Hyperborean that was raised by Esquimaux could avail himself of that background racial knowledge.
 

And this is why I vastly prefer the de-coupled "x in 6" task roll: no need for a list of cultural or background skills, just a common-sense dialog between the players and the Ref. In your latter case I'd probably tell the player "Sure, you're not as good as a native Esquimaux, but pretty good, say 4:6." Done.

Exactly so, Rhialto. 
 


Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea - A Role-Playing Game of Swords, Sorcery, and Weird Fantasy
 

12/13/2018 9:14 pm  #13


Re: Human racial mods?

Thank you for the kind responses.  I do see, in particular, that adding incentives to pick certain classes might be a bad idea in a game with a large (and well-balanced) class selection.  I also appreciate those of you who've helped to reinforce the open-system concept of AS&SH. 

This leaves only the question of the one potentially crunchy ability -- can Atlanteans breathe underwater?  But I see that's already been discussed, (topic id=743)

 

     Thread Starter
 

12/17/2018 6:45 pm  #14


Re: Human racial mods?

After further consideration, I may just assign each race a default secondary skill (which can be chosen in lieu of rolling a random skill) and one bonus weapon skill. 

On a related note, I'm thinking of creating a chart to give each starting character a random ability, bonus, or item.  This is inspired partially by the NPC appendix to Ben Ball's excellent Hyperborean Encounter Tables, but more by the tables in Arduin Grimoire Vol. I, by the incomparable David Hargrave.

     Thread Starter
 

12/17/2018 8:48 pm  #15


Re: Human racial mods?

Totally, completely, unequivocally unofficial, but I’ve toyed with favoured classes for each race. They’re not perfect, but I feel pretty good about the overall symmetry:

common: fighter, magician, cleric, thief
Amazon: paladin, cryomancer
Atlantean: illusionist, legerdemainist
Esquimaux: monk, bard
Hyperborean: warlock, witch
Ixian: necromancer, priest
Kelt: ranger, druid
Kimmerian: cataphract, pyromancer
Kimmeri-Kelt: barbarian, scout
Pict: shaman, assassin
Half-Blood Pict: huntsman, purloiner
Viking: berserker, runegraver

Note that there’s no mechanical advantage to a favoured class. I just use them when building random tables to weight the odds toward these combinations.

 

12/18/2018 4:28 pm  #16


Re: Human racial mods?

DMPrata wrote:

Totally, completely, unequivocally unofficial, but I’ve toyed with favoured classes for each race. They’re not perfect, but I feel pretty good about the overall symmetry:

common: fighter, magician, cleric, thief
Amazon: paladin, cryomancer
Atlantean: illusionist, legerdemainist
Esquimaux: monk, bard
Hyperborean: warlock, witch
Ixian: necromancer, priest
Kelt: ranger, druid
Kimmerian: cataphract, pyromancer
Kimmeri-Kelt: barbarian, scout
Pict: shaman, assassin
Half-Blood Pict: huntsman, purloiner
Viking: berserker, runegraver

Note that there’s no mechanical advantage to a favoured class. I just use them when building random tables to weight the odds toward these combinations.

Interesting breakdown...not sure about whale jawbone-wielding Esquimaux monks, but it's a great visual. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/wink.png


"My own concepts in this regard are easy and clear, and I am sure that the word 'simplistic' will be used by my critics. These folk are callow and turgid of intellect; I am reassured by their howls and yelps."
Jack Vance, The Face
 

12/20/2018 7:06 am  #17


Re: Human racial mods?

I kind of agree, should not huntsman and Cryomancer be better for an snow dwelling person?

 

12/20/2018 8:19 pm  #18


Re: Human racial mods?

Caveman wrote:

I kind of agree, should not huntsman and Cryomancer be better for an snow dwelling person?

Well, for one, this is Hyperborea—everyone’s a snow-dwelling person! Also, though, cryomancers are Lawful (or Neutral), and the Kthulhu-worshipping Esquimaux tend toward Chaos.

 

12/26/2018 5:52 am  #19


Re: Human racial mods?

DMPrata wrote:

They’re not perfect, but I feel pretty good about the overall symmetry:
Common: fighter, magician, cleric, thief
Amazon: paladin, cryomancer
Atlantean: illusionist, legerdemainist
Esquimaux: monk, bard
Hyperborean: warlock, witch
Ixian: necromancer, priest
Kelt: ranger, druid
Kimmerian: cataphract, pyromancer
Kimmeri-Kelt: barbarian, scout
Pict: shaman, assassin
Half-Blood Pict: huntsman, purloiner
Viking: berserker, runegraver

Nice distribution, DM!  This turns out to look a lot like the list I came up with. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/cool.png
 The difference is that I covered only the nine 'pure' races, leaving the hybrids to be more generic.  (And as a tenth race, I am toying with my own take on Muvians).  So my Esquimeaux tend toward the huntsman and shaman classes, Kelts produce druids and bards, and for the Picts I picked the barbarian and witch.  Assigning the more specialised sub-classes (legerdemainists and purloiners!) to a particular race has been a bit harder...

DMPrata wrote:

Caveman wrote:

I kind of agree, should not huntsman and Cryomancer be better for a snow dwelling person?

Well, for one, this is Hyperborea — everyone’s a snow-dwelling person! Also, though, cryomancers are Lawful (or Neutral), and the Kthulhu-worshipping Esquimaux tend toward Chaos.

On the other side of that coin, what sort of people living in a frigid land become pyromancers?  This vexed me a bit, but your choice of Kimmerians (revering a god of fire and the forge) is a good fit.

~ sub 

     Thread Starter
 

12/26/2018 7:57 am  #20


Re: Human racial mods?

DMPrata wrote:

Caveman wrote:

I kind of agree, should not huntsman and Cryomancer be better for an snow dwelling person?

Well, for one, this is Hyperborea—everyone’s a snow-dwelling person! Also, though, cryomancers are Lawful (or Neutral), and the Kthulhu-worshipping Esquimaux tend toward Chaos.

True, but genetic might be more a force of nature since they come form a more apt snow-dwelling people. Even Chaos needs some laws to govern it, but no problem, the Cryo was just a guess due to their nature and cultural relation to snow and ice.

Maybe replace with Ranger?
 

 

Board footera





“Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea”, “AS&SH”, and all other North Wind Adventures product names and their respective logos are trademarks of North Wind Adventures, LLC in the USA and other countries. ©2019 North Wind Adventures, LLC.