Thursday, October 3, 2013

CORPS - Player Races (3 of 4)

Today we're continuing our third installment of the four part series on Playable Races in CORPS. When we were designing the races for CORPS, along with nearly all of the tactical parts of the game, we were focusing on keeping things balanced. Many games try to follow this 'different but equal' creed of balancing options but it's much easier said than done. Learning things as we went along while designing CORPS it quickly became apparent that using templates with rubrics were an effective way to keep common things balanced among each other. In this case, the case of player races we found we wanted to make sure that each race addressed one of each of the following aspects of the game.

All races should have:

  • Attributes that they can increase, either assigned automatically because of a particular race or as free floating attribute points the player can assign as they seem fit
  • Prevent excessive min-maxing from any given race; a race cannot increase any 1 attribute by more than 2 points
  • Approximately 2 racial powers; these can be something that can be activated in combat or can be passive occurring whenever a triggering condition is met.
  • Some basic knowledge of languages they would have likely been around
  • Something extra; this 1 to 3 things that are a free form benefit of the race to players who pick it.  This is usually a one time benefit like additional talent points or some kind of passive ability like keen eyesight in low light settings.
Now given this rough template we were able to mechanically design races that we felt would give a dynamic feeling across the multitude of builds people could create from the classless system.  We also wanted to try and give options among the races that simply went beyond attributes.  With D&D 4e, there were some classes that went very well with a given race or two while fitting in rather poorly with others.  That still exists to some extent within CORPS but there are also a lot of interesting combinations that can work out if a particular races' attribute bonuses don't benefit the type of character you are making.

While it may sound kind of backwards once we had come up with a lot of ideas that matched the template outline listed above I started coming up with stories and histories that helped explain the how and why a particular race got any given mechanical benefit.  I would think normally people would come up with a story about a race first, and then from there try and derive what mechanical benefits that race might get.  Using this approach I was able to make sure races were mechanically balanced first (or at least pretty close to it) before coming up with why each race got what it got.  This was also another reason for straying away from many of the common fantasy races other RPGs use over and over again.  In earlier posts, the guy who actually read the post might have noticed strong similarities between a the Burman and Dwarves from other games.  Many of the concepts are alike but some of the mechanics used for the Burman didn't fit in with some concepts of a dwarf from other games.  For reasons such as that we decided to put our own twist on them and branded them as such.  But enough rambling.  Moving on lets start and finish by unveiling 2 more player races of CORPS.

Gryx (Gricks)


Over a thousand years ago the Gryx were rulers of mighty and vast empires. Their reach and influence extended to far corners of the world. During the emergence of a great and powerful magic into the prime world the gryx were driven to insanity. Much of the recorded history at that time from such bastions of power had been destroyed as the world plunged into chaos. The ending result spawned the birth of what is now commonly known as orcs. The gryx as a race have never recovered from this devastation and the remaining settlements of the gryx are far and few between, scattered on the edges of civilization.

Despite the events that happened so long ago there exists a great deal of tension between the gryx and other races. Tomes of history vary wildly from blaming the gryx for turning into common orcs and slaughtering those within their walls by the millions across the world to making accusations that it was the gryx who brought on the malevolent surge of magic that corrupted them in the first place. Only a handful of scholars throughout the ages have attempted to defend the gryx arguing that as a people they have a very weak affinity to magic and therefore couldn't have been responsible for the destruction caused by the orcs but much of that has fallen on deaf ears.

Time has slowly started to heal the wounds of old and although there is still often tends to be deep seated animosity towards gryx among many, there are gryx present in most of the worlds larger cities. As a people gryx have persevered and continue to survive both among their own settlements as well as within the larger cities of other races often striving to recapture their former glory.

Physical Traits

Gryx usually stand at about a height of 6’, with females averaging a few inches shorter. Gryx are extremely muscular, the average Gryx weights close to 250 pounds. Gryx surprisingly look more like Altwani (on steroids) than orcs, they have small pointed ears and fine well chiseled facial features. Gryx to have rather strongly defined canine teeth that often slightly protrude past their lips. Skin tones can vary greatly among gryx but most commonly vary between gray, light green, brown, and even red. Gryx tend to have red or violet eye which seems to play a part in granting them the ability to see clearly with low levels of light
In addition to their large size gryx are also often very skilled in the ways of combat. Given their impressive physical stature and heritage its not hard to see why swinging an ax or sword is a inherit as learning to eat with a spoon for the gryx. Their speed and strength in combat is the stuff of legends. When a gryx has their adrenaline up they have been known to be able to cover great distances into a matter of seconds slaughtering those in their path without so much as breaking their stride. As the gryx have reemerged into the civilized world over the past century it has been noted that the remainder of the race that survived fall of the gryx so long ago have developed a slight tolerance towards most magics. While this trait exists in a few other civilized races this relatively recent change among the gryx and further sets them apart from their orc counterparts that haven’t changed much since their violent introduction into the world.
As the gryx have reemerged into the civilized world over the past century it has been noted that the remainder of the race that survived fall of the gryx so long ago have developed a slight tolerance towards most magics. While this trait exists in a few other civilized races this relatively recent change among the gryx and further sets them apart from their orc counterparts that haven’t changed much since their violent introduction into the world.

Another difference among the gryx and altwani is that they possess a profuse amount of facial hair. Gryx beards often times can rival the beards of burman in their length and intricacy. Much like the burman among male warriors there beard is a source of pride and status among their kind. Female gryx cannot grow facial hair but will instead grow their head hair, usually draping it over their shoulder to display it.

Personality Traits

As a result of their past most gryx are distrustful of others, even other gryx. The large race while by most appearance are brutish and primitive they possess a keen insight that sets them apart from their orcish cousins. Gryx aren't the quick to temper creatures they once were. Most gryx have grown wise to their old ways and think things through before acting on a whim. While they still possess their fury in the heat of battle most gryx have their emotions well under control.

Despite the gryx having grown emotionally from their personal history they are still considered to be one of the most aggressive civilized races in the world. Everything from their language to their demeanor generally comes off as being harsh or hostile to other races. Coupled with their love of physical sport and combat this can often lead to disagreements between gryx and other races.

Another very common trait among the gryx is their value in honesty. After the collapse of their civilization many gryx had to rely on their promises to other to survive the fallout. Even countless generations later the gryx’ respect for honesty and promises kept is still prevalent in many gryx across the world. While certainly not a universal trait among gryx, and often one that is overlooked by other races, it is present in the majority of them for those who care to take a gryx at his or her word.

Life cycle

Gryx have a life cycle that is very close to that of humans. They reach maturity generally by the age of 11 and hit full adulthood before they are 18. Gryx have only a 7 month gestation period and childbearing females will usually average roughly one 1 child every 24 to 30 months. Female gryx are fertile up until their early 30s at which point their fertility starts to decline. Usually by their 40s female gryx are infertile. Some gryx have been known to live to see their mid to late 80s however most commonly gryx live for between 45 and 60 years.

Primental (Pri-men-tl)


Primental are a race of humanoids whose ancestors were derived from the primordial realm. Fairly uncommon among civilized races the primentals are still considered one of the newer races among the prime world. Their plight closely resembles that of the asari but rather than a single being crossing over from the enchanted realm there were several different elemental beings hailing from the primordial realm. Similar to the asari these elemental beings quickly experienced degenerative effects the longer they stayed in the prime world. It is believed several species of elemental types were wiped out of existence completely within their first few weeks on the prime world. The few primordial that survived their transformation were forever changed and started the race of what is today known as the primentals.

Interestingly enough there are four subcategories of primental each of which mirror one of the four prime world elements, fire, earth, water and air. These elemental affinities are all that remain to tie the primentals back to the primordial realm. Since their introduction into the prime world, shortly after the fall of the gryx empire, the primentals have primarily splintered off into small factions and scattered themselves across the world. Only a handful of pure primental societies exist today. To their credit those few societies have gone to great lengths to establish themselves as a dominate force in their respective areas.

Physical Traits

The physical appearance of a primental closely resembles that of a human with only a few exceptions. These exceptions almost always seem to be a result of their elemental affinity. As each affinity differs across individual primentals so does the affinity materialize in different physical characteristics. Perhaps the most obvious characteristic among the primentals is that of their hair and skin. Primental with an affinity to fire and earth tend to have reddish brown and dark tan skin while those with an affinity to air and water have a very fair and pale complexion. Regardless of their affinity however the skin of a primental is surprising resilient offering a degree of protection against harsh elements or other physical dangers they may encounter. Likewise their hair can have some extremely unusual characteristics such as those with a water affinity resulting in bluish tinted hair or air affinities with semi translucent silvery hair. Fire affinities generally range between bright red and dark red hair while earth affinities have all shades of brown and black as their typical hair color. While a primentals eye color will usually share similar traits of the affinity it doesn't seem to have any actual impact on their vision, which is roughly the same as their human counterparts.

Another common physical trait among the primental is a natural resistance to their elemental affinity. While the strength of their resistance varies from individual it does seem to be present among all members of the race. An example of its effect can vary from things like a fire primental being able to hot foods without burning their mouth to being able to walk through a burning building without so much as getting singed.

When compared to humans primental are generally a little bit taller, males usually between 5’ 9” and 6’ 3” for males and 5’ 5” to 5’ 10” for females. Their weight is fairly similar as well with male primentals usually weighing between 160 lbs and 225 lbs and females between 130 lbs and 170 lbs. Primentals are also noted for generally having a commanding presence about them. It could be their unusual color and skin tone or perhaps somehow apart of their highly magical nature or a combination of the two.

It has been documented among the four variants of primental that each affinity to a certain degree possess some inherent magical capabilities. The range of these capabilities vary greatly among the primental. One primental may be able to cause a few drops water to to fall from their finger while others may be able to make the very earth quake around them. Regardless of their initial capabilities it does appear that this is a trait. while natural to the primental. is inherent to most commonly practiced magics in that given practice and training its power can be increased. This has unfortunately led some practitioners of more nefarious magics to hunt and capture primentals to be used as living spell reagents for their spells.

Personality Traits

The primental like most civilized races display a wide range of personalities but commonly among them they are known to have stronger than usually emotional outbursts. Whether cries of joy or of telling battle primentals exhibit a whirlwind of emotion compared to most other races. Despite the general well intentions of the primental such overwhelming emotions have often caused more problems then they've solved.

In addition to their strong physical characteristics that result from their elemental affinities, primentals also have some personality traits also tend be tied to particular affinities. Fire affinities tend to be aggressive and loud. They often been compared to a cross between a burman and a gryx in their behavior and general rowdiness. Water affinities tend to be noncommittal as they will be of one opinion one day and be from the complete opposite the next. The earth affinities are almost the polar opposites generally desiring continuity and routine in their lives, almost as much as the elder. The air affinities tend to vary the most but commonly them seem to be instigators. Some might say they try to look at any problem through all points of views but all too often they come off as playing the devils advocate, especially among other primentals. They’ll argue with the fires, suggest alternative solutions to the waters and insist on change for the earths, generally amounting to no end of problems.

Another interesting trait among the primental is their tendency to talk or vent to inanimate objects that share their elemental affinity. This habit seems to start in early adolescents but carries on throughout their lifetime. While races not familiar the primental and their mannerisms often find this a very odd behavior the primental have described it to be the somewhat similar to the verbal prayers made by more pious races of the world. That isn't to say there aren't pious primental, it just seems they have some inherited tendency to talk to the rocks and the water like a human might pray to the gods.

Life cycle

The primental have a life cycle that most closely matches that of the burman. Primental children usually reach maturity in their early teens are adulthood in their early 20s. The gestation period for the primentals actually seem to vary depending on the mothers elemental affinity with fire and water usually averaging between 8 and 9 months while air and earth affinities tend to be closer to 10 or 11 months. The birth rate for childbearing primentals is usually about one child every 3 years. The fertility of primental females can vary greatly but in a general water and fire primentals will be fertile into their mid to late 50s while the other affinities are usually fertile into early 60s. Primental females have been known to give birth later in life but the infant/mother mortality rates seem to jump drastically at that point. Again a primentals affinity seems to play some part in their overall life span with water and fire primentals usually living to see their early 100s while most air and earth affinities will live into the 110s. A few rare primental have lived to see 120 years of age but only its only a fraction of a percentage. Unlike the majority of the other mortal races of the prime world the primentals only show minimal effects from aging up until only months before they die at which time they rapidly decline in health.

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