Thursday, April 19, 2012

Genius Loci races: Garren

The lizard people of Kitas are called garren, or singular gar. Don't be irritated by the race template, they normally wear clothes. Their long tail is flexible, if clumsy, and can be used as a weapon, mostly they drag it on the ground. Smaller body parts like the tail or fingers can be grown back, although it takes several months. Garren can have practically any colour and pattern; they can change it by eating certain foods, and after a little while they change in appearance. The patterns are never quite certain. The crest is covered in soft thin scales and flexible between stabilizing spikes. Garren have quick reflexes and lots of stamina; since they are also cold-blooded, they prefer the southern region and are most common in northern Lozir, but can be found anywhere.
Psychologically, garren are impulsive and usually the first to act. They tend towards polarized views; because of the trouble the combination can get them in garren are often found in voice houses getting counsel before deciding anything big. On the positive side, life isn't boring with garren around; while they can be incredibly lazy, they like sports and love to experiment.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Genius Loci races and cultures

I think of Genius Loci as a world of its own and not a sibling to earth - different but the same - an especially not in any medieval terms, like cold dark castles, muddy streets, and dirty people, but not in unproblematic high fantasy terms either.
The peoples of the setting are the classical races - there are humans and elves, dwarves and lizard people -  but I also invented some races that have not appeared elsewhere, and the "classics" are a little different, as are the relations between them. I am often bored with stereotypes and try to avoid them in my own creations. For example, elves and dwarves are not at odds, but in fact friendly towards each other since both are long-lived; elves are not superior. There are other creatures that take the place of the traditionally mysterious elves; the elves themselves are very down-to-earth, because I am bored with the overly powerful, overly magical, overly beautiful guys you meet in every fantasy forest. Many of the creatures will be removed from what we know as well.

What will probably make the biggest difference to most settings I have come to know is that not the race defines a person's culture, but their origin. Two dwarves meeting will not have common ground unless they are from the same place; there are no such things as "dwarven lands" or "human realms". While some countries have so many of one race that the country's language might be called "elvish", and of course larger numbers influence the minorities, the fact remains that people's culture and race are not linked. Just as we here live with the fact that not everyone is the same height, or some people have impairments, people on Kitas live with neighbours that can fly, or a shopkeeper who has been around for centuries.