PCs are, by and large, a bunch of freaking weirdos. You’ve got monsters with character levelsmonstrous humanoids, awakened animals, bizarro mounts, and the default weirdness of the unpopular races. It’s this last group that I’d like to talk about today.

Half-orcs, drow, and tieflings all have to deal with the bad PR of their respective races. However, given all the weird crap that the average NPC encounters on a daily basis, it strikes me as more than a little weird that the guy with the dental problem is the one who’s getting hassled. I mean, if you’re an NPC and you’ve got the misfortune to be within 100 yards of the party, chances are you’ve seen some shit. There are necromantic servants walking around in broad daylight, tyrannosaurs getting stabled at the inn, foul fiends being summoned left and right, and dudes casting horror show spells like it ain’t no thang. If you stop and think about it for a second, how the crap is it Drizzt that’s causing a hubbub?

Despite their suspect nature, those preconceptions become ingrained over time. If you choose certain races, you expect a bit of friction when you’re hanging out in town. This came up in one of my recent games when the party went to visit a local armorsmith. I was a half-elf. The armorer was a dwarf. I was expecting a little animosity and a lot of hard bargaining. When we showed up on his doorstep however, I wasn’t the one getting the stink eye.

“What’s all that blue shit on you?” asked the dwarf. The android arched an eyebrow.

“And what the hell are you supposed to be? Some kind of fancy house plant?” The seedling took offense.

“And how may I be of assistance to you, kind Sir?” he said to me. I guess he didn’t notice my pointy ears.

It was a bizarre experience, and I was actually a little put out with the exchange. I was supposed to be the one getting surly-dwarf’d! Why were the other PCs stealing my outsider status? I signed up for the standard-issue persecution backstory, gods dammit!

Upon reflection, it occurs to me that fantasy games need increasingly outlandish races and creatures to maintain their gee-whiz factor. That leaves the aforementioned unpopular races in a bit of a tight spot, forcing them into a weirdness arms race with the new freaks on the block.

Am I the only one that’s encountered this? Have you guys noticed your PCs becoming weirder over time? Let’s hear it in the comments!


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