Help with some race modifications? How should I do this in BW?

Okay, so I’ve just picked up BWG, and want to start a campaign in it with some ideas that have been milling in my head for a while now. The system seems to lend itself pretty well to the world and general feel I want to use.

The problem is, that the Elves and Dwarves just don’t match my concept of the world.


Elves are basically castaways from another… level of being? Dimension? Not sure of the right word. They consider this world to be, effectively, a dream. As such, their desire is to awaken, but they’ve forgotten how.

Elven society has fragmented into two sects. The Sashin’Arras, and the Saranashi. The Sashin’Arras are loose analogues of Chinese society, while the Saranashi are loose analogues of Japanese society (maybe a better way to put it is that those two are starting points).

The Sashin’Arras are believers in tradition, of following the paths of those few that have managed to Awaken. Obedience to those further along their “Path” of Awakening is tantamount. They primarily live in the (rapidly becoming decrepit) cities that existed before The Cataclysm (doesn’t every fantasy scenario need a cataclysm of some sort?). Their general concept of Awakening is to try to remember what it was like to be Awake.

The Saranashi, on the other hand, believe that the way to Awakening is to master the Dream. In so doing, they believe that they can learn its rules, and learn to transcend it. They live in new settlements, that work with the land. They are not nearly as hierarchical, believing that each individual must find their own path, and cannot simply ape those that have gone before.

So, Grief doesn’t really seem to work here for me. Neither does song-magic, as magic in this setting is basically ripping a (small) hole to the dimension/plane/whatever that the elves are from, or at least ones like it.

Really, what I’d like in an emotional attribute for the Sashin’Arras is something like Detachment - their firm belief that this world is of no value causes them to detatch from it over time, to the point where they can become almost catatonic.

The inverse of that, for the Saranashi, would be something more like becoming Feral - becoming such a part of this world that they give themselves over to it, forgetting their origin entirely, and possibly in the process losing their capability to reason.

Also a good question is how to Awaken, as that’s a goal (and achievable!) for both groups of Elves.

Dwarves, on the other hand, are the flipside of Elves. They are part and parcel of the world, essentially created as primal guardians. They refer to the earth as Mother, and the sun as Father - and really, that’s more than just an analogy. Pre-Cataclysm, they were hesitant of the outsiders, but tolerant. However, the Cataclysm (magical in nature), scarred the earth horribly and fundamentally (it’s not just the physical damage, but an actual tear in reality), and the Dwarves, due to this attachment, feel this. Constantly. Dwarves basically walk around with a low-grade migraine all of the time.

Since they’re part and parcel of the world, they have no ability to use “typical” magic (as that involves powers from outside this existence). Also, such powers can cause the Wound (what they call the constant pain) to become worse. Being in the presence of Elves has the same effect.

So Greed doesn’t really work for me here, either. It would probably work for pre-Cataclysm dwarves, and if I ran a pre-Cataclysm game I’d probably use them as is. But, for this scenario, I see them their emotional attribute being something tied to the Wound - their ability to shut it out or ignore it, and the rage that they can fly into if they fail (if you’ve been around someone with a migraine, you’ll understand!).

Since I’m new to the system, any pointers in how to develop these in a reasonable way?

Don’t you hate it when you erase your post?!

Dwarves sound awesome, sharing mother earth’s pain & Fixing her problems. They are T-Cells for Gaia. Do they die when they reach Exp10?

I’d like to know how the Elves attributes manifest, I can imagine gaining lucid control over the dream would make you very powerful being able to add to many different rolls in the game; But eschewing the dream, what can that attribute do? Does it add to Steel because you know the dragon isn’t real? Does it let you resist wounds and magic? How does it manifest?

It’s not currently up to date for BWG, but the Monster Burner would be very helpful to you. First, though, I’d suggest kicking the tires a bit with what’s in BWG to get a good feel for what the numbers mean and how the systems interact.

Exp10 for their emotional attribute? They could… I was thinking more along the lines of losing control over their internal pain, and effectively going into a final berserker mode.

Basically, magic would, in general, be breaking the barrier between this world and the next.

While the elves are here, they would be subject to the same rules, though some level of overall magic ability is probably reasonable. Adding to Steel is certainly a good way to show detachment. Resisting wounds doesn’t quite make sense in my head, but resisting magic certainly could.

Yeah, that’s next on my purchase list. I’m going to run some of the sample systems and play with the game before I actually start the campaign.

This trips a red flag for me. While I firmly believe that being non-reactive helps tremendously in real life, it makes for really dry gaming. (“Put down the map, son, the treasure you seek is within yourself, not in that dungeon. You already have everything you need.”) You want characters that will take the bait, who go forth, overreact, intervene. It’s non-acceptance that leads to action, to interesting consequences.

My suggestion would be to make the emotional attribute Longing. They’re desperately unhappy with the state of affairs, and it drives them to do almost anything. Detachment (as a way of life) is a coping mechanism they’ve developed - that’s Meditation and Doctrine skill, perhaps, for the Sashin’Arras. For the Saranashi, give them Longing and Hedonistic as a die [edit: I mean character] trait.

(Incidentally, it’s appropriate and all that those names are linguistically related, but my players would be forever mixing them up.)

+eleventy billion to this idea. The Longing/Detachment mechanic could work much like the Grief/Lament mechanic.

For the other guys, I believe there’s a Lust mechanic somewhere on the wiki. It was the emotional attribute for a lizardman type of race. The gist is that they can tap into their primal nature and use it fuel themselves. Sounds like it’s along the lines you’re thinking.

I agree that “detached” is not really a direction that makes for interesting characters, unless something prods them to work against or around their detachment.

Here’s a thought. You don’t really have two races so much as you do two primary settings - one of disciplined semi-mysticism and one of almost hedonistic embrace of nature. This can easily be done with some lifepaths and skills. One of the Sashin’Arras lifepaths could give a special skill that is used to combat the primary emotional attribute. The Saranashi setting could have lifepaths that reflect what happens as you embrace that emotion.

Awesome advice guys, thanks. That’s an excellent point about detachment being a really poor trait to encourage in roleplaying, kind of ashamed I didn’t go through that thought process myself :confused:

That’s why we have forums! Nobody can think of every possible scenario themselves.