Playing with Fantasy XXXI

Back on my fantasy RPG bullshit.
  • Decided that the underwater city of the thalassocratic Valyrians, who became gillmen, will also have a race of native outsiders, namely tritons but not good (they have aquatic-fiend patrons); the underground one, whose normal inhabitants are dark folk, have a fetchling ruling class. Though instead of owbs they have shadow demons as their main outsider patrons.
  • My fiends usually wrap their wings around themselves like clothes, one bat wing as a skirt and the other as a shirt (maybe the males wear both as a skirt), even though they're only anatomically correct if they want to be (or maybe they flash you when they fly, or materialize clothes over the relevant body-parts before spreading their wings). Also think the aforementioned aquatic fiends have a patagium (flying/gliding membrane) attached to their tails, like fish-eating bats, though they use it for swimming instead of catching fish.

    Think on the other hand my celestials (bird wings) and elementals (pterosaur wings) will wear apron-like shirts, like the ones used as women's undershirts in China and Vietnam. I don't think my proteans/nagas have wings, but they might grow gliding membranes like flying snakes or fins like flying fish (they also made the sahuagin, after all, and have eel traits too). Dunno what to do with the spidery law-outsiders; maybe ballooning like money spiders. Those two kinds of outsider are not particularly humanlike.
  • Not sure what to call the law-spiders. I incline to ōgumo, i.e. "great spiders", another name of the tsuchigumo. There's actually a shocking dearth of spiders in mythology, as a class—there's a bunch of specific spider gods, like Anansi and his equivalents in Africa, Iktomi in Siouan cultures, and too many Spider Grandmothers to count in other Native American cultures, and individual semi-mortals like Arachne, but races of spider creatures are actually bizarrely rare.

    In-setting the proteans/naga are called neither, but just "snake gods", with the serpentfolk as "snake people" and nagaji as "snake children", or maybe "serpentborn" to signify their partially human ancestry. (They're hybrids of snake people with humans, accomplished by the same alchemical genetic engineering as makes the half-elves and half-orcs of my setting.) I can't find a base for a hybrid aranea, here the law-spider counterparts of serpentfolk, so I guess they never made one.
  • My setting's cairn wights are basically human inugami. An inugami is a yōkai created as an artificial guardian deity by burying a dog up to the neck and letting it starve within view of its food bowl; they guard their master's property loyally but bear dangerous resentments (can't imagine why) and their protection can easily become a curse. My cairn wights are made from soldiers buried to the neck within view of an eating area and allowed to starve while watching others eat.
  • I really hate the "elves as dying race with low fertility" thing. My elves have a two-thirds longer reproductive cycle than humans—menarche at about 21 with good nutrition instead of 12½, ovulating an average of every 48 days instead of 29, average gestation of 467 days instead of 280—but their reproductive lifespan is twelve times as long. If they ever have to outbreed you, they can.

    Same goes for dwarves, who have the same reproductive cycle as humans but six times the reproductive lifespan, and gnomes, whose cycle is one-third longer—menarche at 17, ovulating every 39 days, gestation of 373 days—but have nine times the reproductive lifespan. They just mostly live in conditions where extra children are not an advantage, which always reduces birthrates even without modern contraception.
  • Realized I should revise my height-weight tables. Turns out the government standard that pretends the same BMI range is healthy for both men and women (granting BMI itself is all that useful), is hokum; the real ranges are 20.7–26.4 for males and 19.1–25.8 for females (females have more fat and less muscle, meaning they're less dense). So now my humans average 5 foot 9 inches and 160 pounds for males and 5 foot 4 inches and 130 pounds for females (yeah I'm rounding a little).

    For the nonhumans I based the relative weights on canids, with humans as golden jackals, dwarves as Borophagus, and elves as corsac foxes. (I tried humans as coyotes and elves as red foxes or black-backed jackals, but the differences weren't big enough.) Based on how much all three would weigh at 80 centimeters long (not counting tail), and then applying those mass ratios to a 5 foot 9 person, then giving the same BMI to a person of the average height of elves and dwarves (6 feet and 5 feet, both sexes, respectively), I get elves who weigh 120 pounds and dwarves who weigh 270. Then I took the common canid ratio of females 85 percent as heavy as males, and got female elves who weight 100 pounds and female dwarves who weigh 230. Gnomes are halfway between human and elf builds, which results in a gnome male of 3 feet 8 inches weighing 55 pounds, and a female the same height weighing 45.

    One interesting side effect of this is most dwarves cannot even lift each other, let alone carry each other, and dwarves probably don't roll around much in their sleep. Certainly married ones probably learn not to, fairly early on in the marriage. (Elves weigh so much less than humans of their height because they have much more fast-twitch muscle than slow-twitch, and also have smaller guts, being generalist hypercarnivores like wolves.)
  • My dwarves' special material, I realized, makes more sense if it's just seaweed grown in volcanic pools, instead of coralline algae. You take the leaves and shape them into plates, much like elven armor, but the seaweed can make bigger plates so dwarves wear plate armor instead of lamellar. I also think their hammers will be made of a bunch of the leaves curled up and pressed together.

    It also occurred to me that, since I don't have demons, daemons, or devils, but just fiends, who vary with regard to law and chaos, that I should just have cold iron be what hurts chaotic ones, alchemical silver be what hurts lawful ones, and "mountain copper" (orichalcum) be what hurts neutral ones.
  • Thinking I'll just have the dwarf stuff be like mithral, the way the elf and gnome stuff is—certainly that would make it more valuable as a trade commodity than stuff that makes your weapons and armor heavier for very little tactical advantage (sure dwarves don't slow down when carrying heavy loads, but no potential customers get the slow and steady trait).

    Weapons made from the elves' leaves have the special quality of wyroot, and armor from gnomes' mushrooms have the special quality of singing steel. Armor made from the dwarves' seaweed will just have the special quality of spiresteel. And weapons made from the humans' far rarer stuff, made from the bones of things like hydras, have the special quality of cryptstone.

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