Creating a race, part 2

29 maart 2017 Door Alexandra Hofman



In my previous entry I wrote about how to create a race. I told you how to get started and make some of the basics. This week contains part 2 where I’ll guide you through everything else that has to do with creating a race.
Good luck! Alexjuh

Now that you’ve picked your basics and roughly have a race it is time to fine-tune everything. As I said in my previous entry, when you get inspiration, just let it in and try to use it. Nothing is for sure until you can say you are finished. If there is something you don’t like, than don’t use it or alter it.

Making your race compatible with the setting

A very important thing is to take a look at the setting you are going to play in. During the previous processes this will have crossed your mind more often and probably has guided you from the beginning. Now it is time to take a better look.
For example: When you are going to a high-fantasy LARP I don’t think you have created a new type of robot. And when you are going to a zombie LARP I don’t think you have created a new sub race of demons.

A good written race can be used on every LARP-event within that the type of LARP, or can be used with minor altering.
Take a look at the rules of the event and see what is possible with skills. Also keep in mind that most LARP-events use the rule: what you see is what you get.
For example: when you go to a LARP-event with a lot of skills and one of them is “Flying”. Yeah, sure, give your race wings or a hovercraft or levitation if you like and make it fly. But when you want to take this race to a different event and they use the rule: “what you see is what you get” and there is no skill for flying, than you’re in for a challenge.

You can also decide to create your race for one LARP-event only. Then make use of what is given to you by the storywriters. They have created a setting that usually is unique and has its own story characteristics. This can open up a lot for you on the event because you’ll have something your race has in common with the setting, which can result in (racial) plot. This can be as minor as worshipping an already given god or can be as big as (one of) the prominent problems within the setting/story that needs to be solved by all players.

Pick out the things you like, write these things down and play with the possibilities. If you happen to get stuck you can contact the organisation. They can help you and usually will appreciate the initiative. When you contact them early enough and they know what you’re up to, you even give them the possibility to do something with it. But here is a warning, when you change some things and don’t tell the organisation; it can mess up things pretty badly. Avoid miscommunication and be clear on what you want and what you like.

Photograph made by: Ork Model: Alysisss

Creating the environment for your race

Now you’ve written most of the basics for your race. During the past processes you probably have thought about the environment of your race and written down some things. Now it is time to give those ideas some shape!
The questions below are optional and besides that, they are not the only ones. Anything you can think of that may be/you deem important for your race; write it down and create.

Creation: How did the race came into existence? What notable events happened in their history? Are there any important moments in history that affects their present society/culture?
Persons: Were there any important persons in history? What did they do?
Miscellaneous: did anything change over time such as their looks, their culture, their religion, etc.?

Gods: Who is/are their god/gods? How do they worship them? What is their lore?
Miscellaneous: Do they have anything that is sacred? Is there something that is ‘not done’ because of their religion? Do they have special celebrations? What are the clothing customs for these special celebrations? Do they have a sacred place where they worship their god/gods such as a temple. Do they make sacrifices? Are there people who spread the word of the gods/missionaries and how are they treated?

Norms and values: How do they interact with each other? And how do they interact with other races?
Political status: What is the social hierarchy? Who is the king/queen/emperor/etc.? Who commands the army? How are mayor issues decided? Are they, as a society, rich or poor?
Characteristics: What characteristics do they have in common? How do they usually react to a thread? What unites or divides them?
Classes: what are their occupations? How do they maintain a living?
Technology: How advanced they? Do they still live akin to the Middle Ages or do they fly around in spaceships? Do they use money or do they still trade?
Miscellaneous: How do their names sound? How does the language sound? What are common letters used in the language? How do they bury their dead?

Environment: How do they live, what does their environment look like? Think about location, city or town, what is the architectural style of the buildings, etc.
Nature: What does the nature around them looks like? And how do they make use of nature? What do they eat and how do they acquire this?

Looks and appearance
Looks: What do all the members of the race have in common in their appearance? Think about the colour of their skin, the shape of their ears, eyes, nose, hands or claws etc.
Clothing: What does their clothing look like? What kind of fabrics do they use? What is a popular colour? Do they wear jewellery or do they have piercings or tattoos?
Weaponry: What kind of weapons do they prefer and wear? What does their armour look like? Are there special classes that wear certain types of weapons or armour?

Photograph made by: Maarten ter Braak

Putting it together

When you have written every element you can start putting things together, assemble the race. Make sure that everything is logical. ‘Because I can’ or ‘because it is awesome’ aren’t really logical reasons for why things the way they are. Of course you have written things you think that are awesome because you will create something that will make you feel good about it.
When putting things together, don’t make a mess out of it. Create a nice document or file with clear headers and styles. This makes reading your document bearable for others and this is also easy to find something yourself. It also shows you have put time and effort in it, which gives the impression you have thought about it a lot and really want to play this.
Creating or altering a race is difficult, but once you have something solid, it can be awesome. Write things down, don’t block inspiration, play with possibilities, ask for help and most of all enjoy this creative process!

Special mention for this entry: Doomsday General. Thank you for reading the first draft and helping with translation, grammar and filtering out little mistakes.

Next week’s entry: at the event, how to stick with your character and improvise.

Dit artikel is oorspronkelijk gepost op Alexandra’s blog (3 februari 2014) en is opnieuw beschikbaar gesteld voor LARP Platform.

Alexandra is momenteel actief met het organiseren van Dark Union, een unieke bad guy LARP in Nederland. Daarnaast is ze heel creatief meer leerbewerken onder handelsnaam Layers.

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