Thursday, October 10, 2013

CORPS - Player Races (4 of 4)

For the last installment of the playable races of CORPS we'll be looking at two more commonly known races in fantasy RPGS, humans and halflings. Humans are the staple race of the game.  They are as varied and abundant as they are here on Earth.  In the Overview for humans we give a brief detail based on what would could be considered the default CORPS campaign setting, similar to what you might find with D&D 4th edition ignoring any of the extras like Dark Sun or Forgotten Realms.  However since this game is a system first and a campaign second the overviews we've described in this character series could easily be changed.  The other aspects of each of the characters, Physical Traits, Personality Traits and Lifecycle could be carried through to nearly any campaign setting.  Some might be wondering why we even bothered giving background information on humans as a race but the answer is really based on two parts.  One being for completeness sake, since there are unique races introduced in this role-playing system and we needed information to explain them. The second reason as mentioned in Player Races (3 of 4) is because the races and their backgrounds were based on in game mechanics which were created prior to coming up with the actual races themselves.  Giving a description of each of the races explains why a race gets the benefits and bonuses it does.

Unlike the human race which was fairly straight forward, halflings proved perhaps the most difficult of the races to create.  This was because the fantstic is common in other game settings.  So when someone hears halfling, they can assume they already know everything there is to know about the race.  Originally I had tried calling the race 'Halfman', to try and distinguish themselves from what other may know about halflings.  But ultimately the name halfling sounded the best so that is what we went with.  Coming up with the reasons and background for why halflings are the way they are in CORPS was like walking a fine line.  I had to avoid slipping into my own biased knowledge of halflings and keep their story unique enough to describe why they have the mechanical benefits they get in the game.  Looking back on it, I feel like the halflings of CORPS are a mix between Dungeons and Dragons' halflings, kinder and perhaps leprechauns all rolled into one.

Human (Hyoo-mah n)


An embodiment of everything that is both good and bad in life, humans are the most adaptable and diverse of all the civilized races. Humans strive to build and expand, reaching above and beyond their current means. Unfortunately, this drive to succeed often puts them in direct conflict with both the other races of the world and other humans during the course of their lives. Humans tend to thrive on the concept of the empire. In fact most races attribute humans with the invention of the true concept of an empire.

Before humans started organizing in mass and building up empires, the majority of races were mostly tribal with only a few towns or villages scattered throughout the world. Then man came into power, organizing, building up kingdoms and cities as astonishing speed. Before man, there was rarely need for such large congregations as the other races in small groups tended to fare just fine in the world. But man wasn’t as gifted as the older races, they couldn’t see as well, they weren’t often as quick or as strong as the other races but where they lacked in their personal attributes they made of for in adaptability and determination. So formed the first empires of man which were great and powerful and forever changed the world. However with it came new hosts of problems.

The largest and most devastating problem among the first empires of man were disease. As populations swelled in walled cities, due to mans quick birthrate, so did disease and famine. Man prayed to their gods but such prayers fell on deaf ears in those dark times. Among the other civilized races most agree that if not for the early plagues of man they would have surely endangered the world with over population. As man worked to recover from these plagues the older races came together to form their own versions of an empire and to be more organized to deal with and respond to the forces of man.

Physical Traits

Humans are the most numerous of all the civilized races. They inhabit all areas of the world that can sustain life, and even a few that can’t. Human eye color tends be brown or blue but can also occasionally be green or hazel or orange. However among humans, their eyesight is rather mundane operating effectively only when there is a strong light source available. Their skin color can vary from white to black with varying degrees of brown in between but their flesh is thin and offers little protection from the elements or from physical dangers. All humans are born with some degree of hair. The color can vary, generally based on their complexion. In a broad generalization fair skinned humans tend to have fair hair while dark skinned humans have darker hair. Most commonly their hair color is black or brown or blond with some varying degree of red. Human males are usually between 5’ 6” and 6’ 2” and range in weight between 135 lbs and 230 lbs. Human males can also grow facial hair although not nearly as quickly or as thick as burman or gryx. Human females are usually between 5’ 0” and 5’ 9” and weigh between 105 lbs and 170 lbs. It should be noted however that even these averages can vary a good deal from region to region.

Despite all that humans are seemingly lacking they do possess a few incredible traits. Perhaps the most notable is the humans ability to adapt. As a result humans tend to have very diverse customs and cultures from region to region. Despite these differences the humans ability to adapt to new challenges is constant. In areas with rocky terrain humans quickly discover ways to better navigate it, either by physical training or by equipment they can make from the nearby area. In areas where flooding may occur, humans readily learn to swim and make cities that can float on the rising waters. In areas of extreme heat humans develop grab that helps keep them cool and build homes and structures that help ward off the scorching heat. Where as other races may avoid a given location due to the environment humans will move in and look for ways to change themselves, be it diet, training or education or change the environment for it to suit their needs.

Humans also possess to varying degrees their own kind of inner resolve. Among the Altwani they might call it the ‘human will to survive’ while the gryx might call it ‘human blood lust’ but whatever its called humans have demonstrated time and time again that they can be fierce and deadly in combat. While this isn’t necessarily a physical trait as much as it is a mental one, it does have a strong impact on their physical abilities. While in this state of ferocity even common farmers and peasants with no military training can wield weapons as if they were trained soldiers for a short time. Amongst the more skilled warriors and knights of human civilizations these bouts of ferocity have been known to turn the very tides of battle.

Personality Traits

Humans constantly strive to better themselves, whether it is to expand the land of a lowly farm, the territory owned by a gang of street thugs, or even the size of great nations. Humans forever desire more and are compelled to advance their lot in life in any way possible. It should be noted, however, that while not every human shares these extremes they all possess this trait to some degree. It is natural for parents to want life to be better for their children and given the relatively short lifespan of humans this often means humans are constantly wanting more from themselves and those in they care about in their lives.

The morality and mentality of man is almost something of an unexplainable phenomenon among humans. By themselves humans can be submissive or even cowardly in the face of great peril. However given a large number of them and a leader to rally them and they’ll gladly kick in deaths door with weapon in hand and should they live, return for more. While in battles other races will often look at the outcome, humans will look to their leaders. If their leader can convince them they’ll win, humans will believe it, regardless of their actual odds. Much to the frustration of other races that have engaged in fights with humans this has many times proven to change the outcomes of wars and battles throughout the ages.

The diversity among humans is another impressive trait among humankind. While it cannot be narrowed down to any particular individual, one only needs to look at any human civilization that humans can do nearly anything if they apply themselves. Human blacksmiths in their short lifetime have been known to rival the greatest of craftsmen among the burman and the gryx. Human archers have been known such mastery of the bow that they can rival that of the altwani and halfman. Humans magic users have been known to match the mystic cunning and magical influence of the primental and the feydra. On top of that, all of this could be found in but a single kingdom of man. While these specializations may take other races centuries to perfect all in their own specialized regions, humans seem to be able to band together anywhere where choose and pursue all of this at once, in only the course of a generation or two.

It is often for this reason that among all the civilized races of the world human kingdoms, cities and towns are most prevalent. Because these population centers have so much to offer quite often members of other races will choose to coexist among the humans. While sometimes this can cause racial tension for the most part it is an accepted and fairly common practice. As humans mature as a race so does their respect for other races and what they have to offer humanity.


Among the civilized races humans have the shortest and most rapid lifecycle. The gestation period for a human female is roughly between 8 and 9 months. Child bearing females can commonly average 1 child every 18 to 20 months. They do have a fairly high mortality rate for their young often keeping their populations from expanding too rapidly but among the other races they still grow much faster than any other. Females usually remain fertile into their mid to late 40s but drop off fairly quickly after that. Humans can reach maturity as early as 9 or 10 but more commonly will be 11 to 13. Humans reach full adulthood by their late teens. The average life span for humans ranges between 60 and 70 years if they die from natural causes although a few long lived members of their race can reach into their 80s and 90s or more. These ranges however, like most qualities of humankind, vary from region to region.

Halfling (Haf-ling)


Halflings are a curious race of small people. Their introduction into the world has no recorded history but based on the oral history of the halfmen, they claim to have come from sprout from the woods, the hills, the rivers and mountains all during the time when the alternate realms were joined to the prime world. Although no evidence exists to suggest this, nothing exists to disprove it either so for now it is the prevailing belief.

Halflings have spent much of their history silently watching their larger cousins in the world. Their diminutive size often put them at a physical disadvantage to the larger races so more often than not groups of halflings would continually wonder the world until finding a place they deemed safe. As time changed and safe places became threatened, the halflings would simply pick up and move on without drawing attention to themselves.

It wasn’t until the introduction of mankinds first empires that the halflings truly let themselves become known to the world. It was then that something strange and new was born with the inception of cities and kingdoms and halflings were able to experience it first hand. Halflings with their appearances almost identical to a human child, were able to walk amongst the humans without drawing attention to themselves. This was the halflings first interaction with another race and so great and varied were their customs that it birthed a new found curiosity in all walks of life that had been dormant in the halflings for generations. Word spread among the halflings of the humans and soon entire villages of halflings were sneaking into cities and walking amongst the humans.

However, like any big secret it eventually became apparent to the humans that they were not along. Once the halflings were discovered in one kingdom the word spread among them all. To humans the halflings were mere nuisances with their childlike curiosity and behavior but to the halflings the humans were a gateway to the rest of the world. Realizing that their presence among civilized races wasn’t usually met with hostility like it had been in the past halflings started actively seeking out other races and cultures to walk amongst them and experience what up until this point they have only viewed from afar. Nowadays halflings are present in almost every civilized major population center in the world. Due their natural curiosity and wanderlust they rarely stay in one place for very long. Only a handful of halfling villages exist in the world today leaving much of the history of these little people left to the unknown. Despite their own curiosity for the other races around them most halflings don’t seem too concerned that they are seemingly unaware of their own heritage.

Physical Traits

Halflings or half-men as humans often refer to them are roughly 3’ 8” to 4’ 3” tall and usually weigh between 70 and 100 lbs. Males and females among their kind are roughly the same size. Their complexions vary as much as that of humans but generally have rounded faces making them look like human children. Their eyes are usually blue or violet with but also sometimes brown or even black. Regardless of their eye color halflings can see quick well in low light situations making it all the easier for them to move about in the dark.

Despite not having any facial hair, or much body hair at all for that matter the hair on their heads grow at an accelerated rate among human standards. Halflings hairstyle vary greatly with some shaving their head completely on a daily basis while others weave and braid their hair into intricate designs and patterns. Many halflings have been know to weave weapons into their hair or other personal items as many times people tend to overlook their hair as a hiding spot for such items.

Although halflings vary nearly as much as humans the race does share a natural quickness and agility. It is even accelerated by their small size as most halflings move at the same rate as other larger civilized races despite usually taking two steps for their every one. In combat the natural quickness of a halfling becomes quite obvious when trying to hit such a small target. On the flip side, halflings are surprisingly nimble and deadly with weapons they can properly wield. Although too small to be able to appropriately wield large weapons of other races, halflings trained in combat have a tendency to bury their small weapons into the most vital of spots of their opponents causing substantial damage.

Personality Traits

Like their human counterparts halflings express a full range of personalities but have a natural tendency to talk a lot. This is often attributed to the halfling being a nuisance among other races. While occupationally they make great performers, singers and bards all too often they don’t know when to stop running their mouth. The stinging insults of a halfling can often lead to hostile actions. Perhaps this would explain why halflings are so quick, because the slow ones don’t live long enough to procreate.

Another trait common in almost all halflings are their natural curiosity and wanderlust. Halflings are always on the lookout to experience new things. This is a large part of their presence in the world and the reason that so many halflings live amongst other civilizations rather than choosing to live among their own kind. While often this curiosity can lead to a halfling getting into trouble the race seems to have a kind of ‘natural luck’ that ultimately has allowed them to survive their own curiosity for generations.

The luck of a halfling often plays into their personalities in that things that are of normally of great concern to other races. For example jumping a chasm, navigating through a burning building or even fighting off an overwhelming enemy doesn’t illicit the same responses in most halflings as it would other races. From outward appearances this might be interrupted as halflings being fearless or brave but often it is merely their own curiosity about a new experience. Halflings that have experienced something they don’t like, say being burnt by fire, will fear a burning building just as much as other races. That isn’t to say that halflings are cowards or can’t be brave, it’s just that as a race, halflings need to experience things for themselves before they can respond appropriately to them. Threatening to punch a halfling in the face won’t have the same effect on them if they’ve never personally experienced something like it before. Sometimes its only a matter of helping the halfling associate an experience with something they’ve already encountered, other times it just means a halfling needs to be punched in the face before such a threat will stick with them. Even then however a halfling may not learn to associate the threat with the result the first time around.


Halflings have an unusual life cycle compared to most other races in that they are fairly long lived but mature rather quickly. This oddity is mostly attributed to the natural personality of halflings. Halfling children grow quickly, seemingly so their parents can move on to where their wanderlust takes them. Most halfling females have a gestation period of only 4 to 5 months. Childbearing females will usually only give birth once in their lifetime but usually give birth to between 2 to 5 children at a time. Occasionally females will have multiple births in their lifetime but most choose to prevent future childbirth after having already experienced it once. This tends to average out to about 1 child every 15 to 45 years for female halflings. Halfling children are very small when they are born (as 2 to 5 of them can be inside of a body the size of a human child at the same time) but grow very quickly. When a halfling gives birth it is very often that other halflings in the area will take on the role as extended family regardless of where they actually are in their own lives.
Another oddity among halfling is that they do not reach maturity until they reach full adulthood which is usually by their early teens. While halflings still have common emotional connections with their children their desire to travel and experience new things out weighs their natural parental instincts. Often plans are made amongst family members to meet at certain locations in the future. Halflings have been known to live for up to 120 years old but very few ever make it past 80. Even though halflings seems to have an inexplicable aspect of 'luck' in their daily lives they also tend to put themselves in risky situations more often than other civilized races. Tightrope walking across an open chasm might seem fun and interesting to most halflings while completely insane to most humans. Needless to say very few halflings end up dying of old age.

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