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Day 2: Favourite playable race.

ClassPortAssassinWhen I started playing, I played a half-elf. My best friend at the time played a dwarf. I guess it seemed romantic or exciting, or something. I see now that there is a bit of a trend to have all kinds of playable races including Tiefling, which I would guess is linguistically related to Teufel or devil, meaning a small devil or creature with a taint of chaos.

However, as time has gone on I’ve increasingly come to view Human as the only valid race to play. Perhaps the jump into a fantasy environment is easier if there is this connection to race (species) already made. After all, I know what it feels like to be human… pretty much… but I do not know what it feels like to be 750 years old. What I want to experience is walking down strange ancient pathways, not having pointy ears. Perhaps it is easier to imagine and interact with the ‘other’ if the ‘other’ is actually external to you – “You meet an elf, who behaves like this… ,” is an easier conversation than, “You are an elf, so you should behave like this…”

Fantasy literature is predominantly couched in terms of human protagonists and there is a concrete reason for this. It is taught in every ‘how to write’ course.

There is an old saying that American humour is about extraordinary people doing ordinary things and British humour is about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. This model can be extended in to many other genres of fiction.

I am already an extraordinary person doing ordinary things. I want to be an ordinary person doing extraordinary things.

Having said that, I guess I do understand and remember the desire to be something great or different, where greatness and differentness is measured by having specific skills and feats and pluses on a character sheet. Is this a psychological expression of alienation? Is this an age thing, or merely a stylistic difference? Ah, the questions that role-playing throws up…