OK, Farland, so here's the thing (and don't take this badly): I was recently invited to take part in a game on this board that will be set in Farland. I am interested, so I headed over to read the character options. I had read them before, but not with playing in mind. As I read them, though, I became concerned over a trend in which all but a few types of characters face social stigmas of one kind or another:
Number of available races: 6
Number of races that use the word "rare" or some form of the word in the description: 4 (elves, half-elves, halflings, and gnomes)
Number of races likely to be hated and feared by everyone met: 2 (half-orcs, and gnomes, if they ever use their arcane spell-like abilities.)
Number of available classes: 11
Number of classes that use the word "rare" or some form of the word in the description: 2 (bard, monk)
Number of classes likely to be hated and feared by everyone met: 4-6 (druid, paladin, sorcerer, wizard, sometimes ranger, and possibly cleric, depending on the territory)
Basically, it seems like every race other than dwarf or human has some sort of built in social disadvantage; they'll get strange looks, possibly be hunted, or at the very least never be able to rely on help from their equally rare countrymen. Every class but the basic warriors and skill-users suffer heavy disadvantages just walking around town, it sounds like. So out of 66 possible single-class/race combinations, roughly 30 of them are going to suffer from some kind of social burden everywhere, and another 10 or so will suffer a burden in occupied lands. If I want to play a character who does not toil under suspicion, shock and surprise, or outright hatred, I can basically be a human or dwarf who is a fighter, barbarian, rogue, or sometimes ranger. Anything else suffers from some kind of problem. At the very least, I have to justify my background in terms of why I want such a rare character.
My question is this: Aren't you worried that Farland restricts too many basic options for characters? It feels like the setting wants to strictly limit characters to a handful of formats and make it very difficult to operate with any of the other options.
A review of the PCs from your ongoing campaign reveals exactly what I'm talking about: a preponderance of dwarves and barabarians. I'm actually afraid to make the character I thought of (gnomish sorcerer) because I can't help but feel that everyone who meets him will either be shocked by such a "rare" race, or run in terror/try to kill him, just for his class or raceóno matter how high his Charisma is! Thus, my creativity in inventing my character is limited based on how willing I am to put up with those disadvantages.
I'm interested in if you have strong design reasons for the decisions, or if it is simply a matter of taste?