Roleplaying non-humans

From: Paolo Guccione (
Date: Fri 04 Apr 1997 - 15:09:09 EEST

The elf thread has triggered another interesting discussion about which
non-humans are suitable for PCs and whether non-humans _are_ suitable
for PCs. I think a distinction is needed: there is a difference between
playing a non-human in a mostly-human group and playing a non-human in a
homogeneous group of non-humans.

I agree with most contributions about the choice of races for non-human
PCs to be mixed with humans. Not all races are suitable, but many are:
ducks, baboons, newtlings and superior trollkin are, since they manifest
many psychological traits in common with humans (yes, they do!). Melo
Yelo is among the best examples of this sort of non-human PCs - and he
_can_ be roleplayed well. I have even roleplayed and GMed young
wandering elves to some degrees of success, though this creates some
difficulties. Dwarfs are to be barred in most cases.

However, you can always roleplay non-humans in a pure non-human group,
it is just a problem of how skilled the GM and the players are in
dealing with Glorantha. I have started my Gloranthan experience by
running an all-troll campaign with success for years, so I know it can
be done - but this is because I had a lot of cultural background
available in official materials. Even their spirit cults are described
in detail! This is the reason why I complained about the lack of
information about the elves: I know it can be done with Aldryuami, too,
but one should write down a lot of information that is already freely
available for the Uz. Has anyone ever run a year-spanning all-aldryami
campaign? A friend of mine did, but since it was his first experience as
a GM, not only with Glorantha, I was told it was only a partial success
and stopped soon. I think that the real problem with running an
all-aldryami campaign is the lack of a detailed elfpak, not an intrinsic
unsuitability to becoming PCs. If we had enough published material we
could roleplay real elves, not just "humans in green clothes". Hint:
could anybody put all the late contributions together and write
something for Tales or Tradetalk? That would be useful.

Paolo Guccione


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