Notices


World of Farland

A world conquered by evil and ruled by the Lords of Sin; A unique campaign setting designed to be used with D&D 4th Edition.


limited character options

   

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?


Hey Giant, thanks for voicing your concern.

The truth is that yes, some races are limited in Farland and some classes are limited, but the real truth is that it depends where you are in the continent of Farland. In the liberated Kingdoms (Kale, Kelerak, and Daven) things look much brighter-- humans, dwarfs, and half-elves are a-ok, and elves will be looked on with awe, but will probably be looked up to and revered as well. Their words will carry weight. Gnomes and Halflings are rare in these kingdoms, but that doesn't mean they are unplayable, they just need a good backstory.

In the occupied kingdoms, it is the other way around. Humans and half-orcs are a-ok, and I would also encourage you to look into a orc or goblinoid full-blood, although I don't list them on my site. Hobgoblin would be a great choice, although off hand I don't know if they have an ECL or not. Gnomes, halflings, and dwarves will tend to be rare or slaves, but they could again exist with a backstory. Playing an elf in an occupied kingdom would be problematic, but that is seemingly unavoidable.

In the occupied kingdoms, it would be fine to play any of the rare classes- wizard, druid, sorceror, cleric-- as long as you serve evil or make a pretence to do so, pay somebody off or have connections, hide it, or find some other creative way to get around the restrictions.

As for classes, I wanted it to have a semi-low magic feel, so I made the spellcasting classes looked on with suspicion, but they are still certainly playable. Good clerics and paladins in occupied lands still exist but must hide their faith or be persecuted. In liberated kingdoms they are not rare anymore. Monks are quite rare for flavor reasons. When I say rare, however, I don't mean that players shouldn't play them-- I consider the adventurer to be a rare breed anyway, and a rare choice for class or race is fine and could make for some good RP opportunity. The classes that shouldn't suffer any RP penalty at all are fighter, bard, barbarian, ranger, and thief, and the other classes will be fine, depending on one's penchant for secrecy and where in Farland one is. Sorry if this isn't clear from my site; I will have to clarify.

As for my reasons-- yes, like Midnight (although Farland predates the publication of Midnight), I wanted it to have a dark and persecutory feel, and it is heavily Tolkien-inspired. I guess I was shooting for RP opportunities. Does this address your issue?

Great new issue of your comic, BTW. :biggrin:


Hey Giant, thanks for voicing your concern.

The truth is that yes, some races are limited in Farland and some classes are limited, but the real truth is that it depends where you are in the continent of Farland. In the liberated Kingdoms (Kale, Kelerak, and Daven) things look much brighter-- humans, dwarfs, and half-elves are a-ok, and elves will be looked on with awe, but will probably be looked up to and revered as well. Their words will carry weight. Gnomes and Halflings are rare in these kingdoms, but that doesn't mean they are unplayable, they just need a good backstory.

In the occupied kingdoms, it is the other way around. Humans and half-orcs are a-ok, and I would also encourage you to look into a orc or goblinoid full-blood, although I don't list them on my site. Hobgoblin would be a great choice, although off hand I don't know if they have an ECL or not. Gnomes, halflings, and dwarves will tend to be rare or slaves, but they could again exist with a backstory. Playing an elf in an occupied kingdom would be problematic, but that is seemingly unavoidable.

In the occupied kingdoms, it would be fine to play any of the rare classes- wizard, druid, sorceror, cleric-- as long as you serve evil or make a pretence to do so, pay somebody off or have connections, hide it, or find some other creative way to get around the restrictions.

As for classes, I wanted it to have a semi-low magic feel, so I made the spellcasting classes looked on with suspicion, but they are still certainly playable. Good clerics and paladins in occupied lands still exist but must hide their faith or be persecuted. In liberated kingdoms they are not rare anymore. Monks are quite rare for flavor reasons. When I say rare, however, I don't mean that players shouldn't play them-- I consider the adventurer to be a rare breed anyway, and a rare choice for class or race is fine and could make for some good RP opportunity. The classes that shouldn't suffer any RP penalty at all are fighter, bard, barbarian, ranger, and thief, and the other classes will be fine, depending on one's penchant for secrecy and where in Farland one is. Sorry if this isn't clear from my site; I will have to clarify.

As for my reasons-- yes, like Midnight (although Farland predates the publication of Midnight), I wanted it to have a dark and persecutory feel, and it is heavily Tolkien-inspired. I guess I was shooting for RP opportunities. Does this address your issue?

Great new issue of your comic, BTW. :biggrin:


It does; I would actually suggest that you add some of that to the character creation section. The writing in the "Classes" and "Races" section doesn't do that justice, possibly because it assumes you've already read everything else on the site. But for someone coming in as a player, that's the first thing one reads, and the wordings paint a very limiting picture.

I don't know that a persecutory feel necessarily creates more RP opportunities; certainly unique ones, but it also closes off others. But then, since that is your goal, it works out fine. I definitely get the Tolkien feel; if I had to describe Farland in one sentence, it might be, "What would Middle-Earth be like a generation later if Frodo failed to destroy the One Ring?" :wink:


It does; I would actually suggest that you add some of that to the character creation section. The writing in the "Classes" and "Races" section doesn't do that justice, possibly because it assumes you've already read everything else on the site. But for someone coming in as a player, that's the first thing one reads, and the wordings paint a very limiting picture.

I don't know that a persecutory feel necessarily creates more RP opportunities; certainly unique ones, but it also closes off others. But then, since that is your goal, it works out fine. I definitely get the Tolkien feel; if I had to describe Farland in one sentence, it might be, "What would Middle-Earth be like a generation later if Frodo failed to destroy the One Ring?" :wink:


Good description.

I will update that section. To be honest I wrote it about seven years ago when the rest of the world wasn't nearly as developed.


Good description.

I will update that section. To be honest I wrote it about seven years ago when the rest of the world wasn't nearly as developed.


Okay, I redid the Classes and Races pages. Giant (and others), please check the new pages out and let me know what you think.


Okay, I redid the Classes and Races pages. Giant (and others), please check the new pages out and let me know what you think.


Only one thing to say about Farland... You are getting paid for this, right??? If not, you need to sue someone, or at least kick some shins until you get paid.
On topic: I, too felt the burdening restrictions of character creation. That is why, in the 3e game on this site, I decided to NOT go pure spellcaster. It is an Arcane Trickster, (guess why :)) so I can be a rogue around most people and use magic only when I have to. There are plenty of ways around strange circumstances such as Farland, and I make it my goal in life to make sure I find those ways!




 

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