All about Aspects: D&D Races for High Concepts

Okay, now we’ve explained the basic formatting that we’re going to use to create High Concepts in this previous post and also discussed briefly using D&D concepts. In this post we look a little more closely at the idea of using the core D&D character races from the PHB as part of a High Concept.

Unlike previous articles in this series the D&D race can be substituted for the Description, Job or Twist elements of the High Concept, so far instance you could have:

  • I am a strong orc who wields an ancient weapon.
  • I am an elf sorceror who is afflicted by a curse.
  • I am a clever blacksmith who is a dwarf.

The tables below provide some details about the stereotypical races in the D&D PHB (I am using the 5E players handbook for this but a lot of this should be relevant to previous editions as well.

Please note: In most editions humans are a generic, all round race so I have not included them below, were I to run a Fate game using D&D races then the assumption would be (if race we not mentioned) that the character was human.

“Race”,”When to invoke”,”When to compel”

“Dwarves”,”Invoke on tests of toughness, to resist poison, when using with an axe, working stone or to see in the dark.”,”Compel when stubbornly clinging to traditions causes problems, to have the races hatred of goblinoids flare up, their dislike of boats or their lust for gold cause issues.”

“Elves”,”Invoke on tests involving manual dexterity, artistic expression, hearing, vision, knowledge of magic or on attempts to resist being charmed.”,”Compel to have elves disregard the opinions of the younger races even though it might benefit them to listen or to have their ancient animosity against dwarves cause issue.”

“Halflings”,”Invoke on tests involving larcenous pursuits, manual dexterity, carousing and resisting fear.”,”Compel to have a halflings small size and their reputation as pranksters cause issue.”

“Dragonborn”,”Invoke to resist damage type based on your dragon heritage, on tests of strength or to create an advantage based on your breath weapon.”,”Compel to have a dragonborn refuse to surrender despite potentially lethal odds, to have them refuse to acknowledge other viewpoints or to have people react hostily to them.”

“Gnomes”,”Invoke on tests of artisan ability, cunning or casting/resisting illusions.”,”Compel to have the gnome play a prank that will get them in trouble.”

“Half-elves”,”Invoke for rapport rolls with elves or humans, when bucking authority or resisting charms.”,”Compel to have some parts of human and elven society view them with suspicion.”

“Half-orcs”,”Invoke on tests of strenth, toughness or when intimidation is called for.”,”Compel to have more civilised races react hostily to them (particularly dwaves) or to have the rage in their orc blood come to fore and cause them to lash out at inopportune moments.”

“Tieflings”,”Invoke when dealing with demons, demonic knowledge or resisting fire damage.”,”Compel to have strange demonic omens occur around the character or to have other races react with hostillity towards them.”


 

Example:

I’m going to create a few examples rolling 3 times for each on the table (using these in conjunction with the Fantasy Concept tables and see what I get) so using the online dice roller I’ve rolled:

Example 1: Dice rolls 8, 4 and 17

I am a Tiefling assassin who is blessed by lady luck.

You can invoke this aspect when dealing with demons, demonic knowledge, resisting fire damage, attempting to take someone out from surprise, when knowledge of the killing blow would be an asset or when a fortuitous circumstance might aid your character.

Compel when strange demonic omens occur around the character, other races react with hostillity towards them, your sinister reputation has you thrown out of somewhere or ostracised, aspect could also be compelled to have you presented with a contact that you are obligated to fulfil at an inopportune moment or when an incident of back luck occur to balance out all of the good.

Example 2: Dice rolls 17, 1 and 1

I am a merciless Dwarf who labours under a curse.

You can invoke this aspect to intimidate others who have heard of your reputation, tests of toughness, to resist poison, when using with an axe, working stone, seeing in the dark or when the character rails against his fate.

It can be compelled because you may run into trouble with the law or people who seek to make a name for themselves by taking you down, compel to have these people turn up and hassle you. A compel may also be justified to have a potentially beneficial NPC or situation denied to you because of your stone-cold reputation. It can also be compelled when stubbornly clinging to traditions causes problems, to have the races hatred of goblinoids flare up, their dislike of boats, their lust for gold cause issues or strange happenstance causes the character misfortune.

Example 3: Dice rolls 3, 2 and 6

I am a sad knight who is a half-elf.

You can invoke this aspect when you attempt to play on someone elses sympathies, weave a tale of woe, when challenging someone in combat, engaging in acts of chilvary, rapport rolls with elves or humans, when bucking authority or resisting charms.

If you are confronted by someone with particularly tragic circumstances who needs your help then compel the aspect to inconvenience yourself for their sake, or perhaps ignoring something that would benefit you because you are too wrapped up in your sorrow. Compel to have your sense of honour and noblisse obligé force you into a complicated situation or to have some parts of human and elven society view them with suspicion.

Coming Next for All about Aspects: D&D alignments as aspects

Circuit board tree image designed by Mastermindsro, you can see the full design here; used under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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