In the last few Design Journal entries for Heroes of Legend I’ve focused on some more mechanical aspects of the game. Now I would like to talk about developing some more of the setting for a little while. First, I’m going to focus on tribes.
In HoL, tribes stand in for concepts like species or races in other games. Basically, each tribe is a group of people with a unique culture and possibly a different physiology. Players will choose their character’s tribe during character creation and that will have a small amount of influence on their character’s attribute ranks. It will also have a large amount of influence on what skills they may have. In addition, at first level a character gets one feature, a special ability or bonus, specific to their tribe. At every odd numbered level thereafter, they can choose to gain another feature from their tribe or one from their class. So, your character’s tribe will have an immediate influence on who your character is and what they can do, but you will also have the option of deepening that influence as your character progresses – or not, if tribe isn’t as important to you as class.
So, here are brief descriptions of some of the tribes that will be in the game. Probably, not all of these will be available immediately upon the game’s initial release, but will be added as the game is expanded later.
The terith are the most versatile and diverse people in the world of HoL. They are basically the “humans” of this setting. There will be more than one terith tribe, and members of each tribe can be told apart from members of the other terith tribes by small differences in their features – hair color, complexion, average height, etc. However, all terith are essentially the same genetically. The biggest differences among the tribes are in their cultures and in where they choose to live.
The vyrden are a species of humanoid plants. They resemble human children in appearance and behavior, except that their hair is leaf-, vine-, or moss-like, and their ears have a pointed shape to them. They have a deep connection to the forests in which they live, and have a very unusual life cycle. They are born from fruit with the physical and mental maturity of a five year old human. They live about a hundred years, but mature physically and emotionally at the rate of about one human year for every decade. (At age 10 they’re like a 6-year-old, at age 20 they’re like a 7-year-old, etc.)
The pyrophos are a species of living statues, carved from the rocks of an active volcano. They are androgynous, having no distinction between male and female, and are born full grown when one pyrophos gives life to another – their masterpiece. Pyrophos are skilled miners and craftsmen. Many are also inventors. They are an intelligent and thoughtful people, but their tempers can grow as hot as the volcanic mountain on which they live.
The auquids are a species of amphibian humanoids. Although they can survive just as well on land or underwater, they prefer the comforts of the rivers and ocean. There will likely be at least two auquid tribes, a freshwater tribe that lives in lakes and rivers, and a saltwater tribe that lives in the ocean. Other than that, I still have a lot of development to do on these people.
The ayviden are a species of avian humanoids. Haven’t developed much on these people yet, but I know I want them to be in there. It could be one tribe, or possibly more, since there is a wide variety of birds out there.
The world of HoL will have ordinary animals that function much like the animals in our own world, but in a few rare cases there will be small tribes of sentient animals. Right now I’m thinking of an owl tribe, a hare tribe, and a monkey tribe. These tribes will be the result of special intervention on the part of the gods or goddesses, meaning that not every owl, hare or monkey will have human-like intelligence – just these specific tribes.
That’s pretty much all I’ve got for now. I’m contemplating a tribe of fairy-type folk along with a ghastly tribe of “evil” looking people, but I have to hammer out a lot of details about the setting in general before I can say if those tribes would really fit into this game. I’ll be posting more details about these tribes in the coming weeks, starting with the various terith tribes. In the meantime, I’d love to hear any initial thoughts you may have on these ideas, so post a comment below. Thanks!