How to Design Races

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How to Design Races

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:19 pm

Hey everyone! After Lapis Lazily's great contributions of Griffons and Changelings, there's been a flood of awesome ideas.

Here's everything you need to know about designing racial options for Pony Tales.


How to Design Races:
No Combat Bonuses or Penalties
There are two great sides to building a character, building a great roleplaying concept and building a cool combat strategy. Since both are completely different elements of gameplay, players often enjoy playing a certain way in combat and a very different way for their roleplaying character concept. One of the core design statements of Pony Tales is that players shouldn't have to choose between the combat gameplay they enjoy and the roleplaying they enjoy.

A racial choice is clearly the purest character-concept choice you can make. It's a huge roleplaying choice, so we don't want it to have anything to do with combat. In RPGs, I'm often put in the position of choosing between a character concept I love (like a Warforged Druid, a metal construct that wants more than anything to connect with nature) and having my build be awesome in combat (other races are far superior for druids). Thus, I've never been a Warforged Druid.

This is why we decided not to give Earth Ponies a HP boost and why not a single racial option in the core rulebooks affects combat at all. Combat bonuses will be used in the traits system, items and combat talent options. Races are for roleplaying.

Mmmm.... Flavor
Racial options should, more than anything else, drip with the flavor of the race. Don't just slap Cool Ability #3 onto the race, make sure that the ability (or at least the name) feels like it makes complete sense with the race in question. The best examples of this are the Changeling's shapeshifting ability and the JasonShadow's Joke Races (they're not exactly balanced of course, I don't think they're meant to be, but the sweetie-bot flavor is out of this world!).

So Awesome
Every Race should have the capacity to excite players. Even if you're making a donkey, try to design some unique racial traits that make players excited - something that clearly sets the race apart as an interesting choice. Earth Ponies' "Epic Pwny" racial trait is kind of the ideal, and I suspect it's a major reason so many people are crafting Earth Ponies. Just think, we went from people on the forums asking why anyone would ever choose an earth pony to them being one of the most popular races.

Those are the three main elements of designing races for the Pony Tales system. I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with. Cool

Stairc -Dan Felder
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