So having gone through the nine new races of NeoExodus, we came to a crossroads. A point where we had to decide what to do about two things: Humans and the Core Pathfinder Races (Elves and Dwarves).
Humans of Exodus
I will not lie and say one of the things that really drew me into Greyhawk and later into Golarion was the distinction and variety of human races. Their background and their history, along with their looks. I still want to play a caster from the Mwangi Expanse just because a caster with a shamanistic mask really appeals to me. Though the Dungeon Bastard says: Playing human is like choosing vanilla when you go to Baskin Robbins, I believe the flavor of vanilla matters, silky French and Italian delight have a common taste, but do not taste the same. Love to the Bastard, but he has a narrow view of the race.
The NeoExodus Campaign Book does not merely present “humans” as an entry. It presents six human subtypes, with details about their appearance, origin, common favored classes and alignments.
The human subraces are Arman (from Abaddon/Sametia), Cardosians (from the Abaddon River basin), Cordelian (from the deserts of Cordel), Khymerion (from northern Exodus), Nasian (from Nas) and the mongrels Sametians (from Sametia). Three races are also included: the jao, the original sametian and the sorceran who are either based on dead cultures or who live beyond Exodus. NPC entries for humans do not say “Human”, but use the correct subrace. Humans are the most numerous of all the races on Exodus and thus form the majority in almost every nation. Most of the human subraces are strongly tied to the nations they inhabit, that is by design. Going back to medieval times, You would find people with common ethnicity in one area.
The short answer about those: they have been removed from NeoExodus.
But JP, I want to play an elf! I hear some of you whining to me. Where are the elves? Where are the dwarves? Halflings? Gnomes? Half-Orcs? Those are all cool.
We thought about that. Should we include or exclude them? A lot of positive on both sides…
On the plus side, adding those races meant that players immediately knew them, no need to re-introduce them. They appear in many different books and products and are well defined.
On the con side, the races of NeoExodus are very unique and are a definite selling point. We did not want to have to re-invent the elves or the dwarves for NeoExodus. Including them meant we would have to support them: include leaders, assign lands and a history to them. They would have to appear somewhat regularly in adventure and other products.
Louis and I angst much over the decision: should we cut them or include them? I was in favor of cutting them out and focus on the NeoExodus races. Louis was not so sure (and neither of us had an argument to resolve this). So we kept on working, leaving them behind, but not really dropping them. We pushed the decision to a later time.
In the end it was an adventure that had already been published than decided the matter. Since one of the NPC was a half-elf, we needed to include them. If you do not know me, I consider published material to be set in stone. Once some element of background is published, then we cannot change it without justifying it to the players. My strong preference towards dropping them took a blow. I could not drop them and forget about them.
I had to include them. I spent quite a while avoiding the issue, trying to come up with a way that would satisfy everyone. Explain that rare NPC, and give us an “out” to include further races.
Then inspiration struck (as I was working on the adventure).
A major element of NeoExodus is the Nexus Gateways. These gateways, as Louis explained to me are ancient magical portals that function well like Stargates (but don’t tell the studios). These are generally known and can be activated to and from given points. But like the teleport spell, sometime they malfunction. Or rather, they operate on their own. They activate and poof, a number of things appear. Often times those things are monsters, but sometimes refugees or surprised spell casters appear. These exiles from other worlds would thus have moved into ghettos and small isolated communities. Among these refugees we would find the elves, the dwarves and all the races a GM wants to include in his NeoExodus campaign.
Next: Nations of NeoExodus