On the Shoulders of Dwarves

Avoiding Character Cliches (episode 2)

On the Shoulders of Dwarves
Avoiding Character Cliches (episode 2)
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[](https://dwarves.podiant.co/e/35a558edec85c6/download.mp3?referrer%5Bdomain%5D=dwarves.podiant.co&referrer%5Bformat%5D=episode_detail) __ **2:35 What's a cliche?** [Tropes are not bad](http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TropesAreToolshttp://). Things are not cliched by themselves - it's the way we portray them, bring them into the game, that might make them cliche. Stereotypes can be useful tools, by establishing expectations. [Drizzt Do'urden](http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/Drizzt_Do%27Urden), the drow. **4:45 Two types of cliches** At the character level, and/or the campaign world level. [Orcs in Warhammer](http://warhammer40k.wikia.com/wiki/Orks) **7:30 Avoiding cliches** Changing one thing - and asking "what's the reason for this?" On the personal level: Why is this person different in this way, from the rest of their race? On the campaign level: What are the consequences that must arise out of this change? How does this sub-race behave? **9:50 Retro justification creates depth** Just avoiding a cliche isn't, really, enough. Usually, we also want to also add complexity. Consider not only what is different about this character, but also the reasons that this character _decided_ on that change. **14:20 Sub-races and ethnic groups** Having some sub-races in your campaign encourages the players and the GM to think about the possibility that this specific character is different in some way. Whenever you encounter "a dwarf", you'll all find yourself asking "Okay, but WHICH dwarf? What's different about them?" [Eberron](http://www.dmsguild.com/product/121301/EBERRON-Five-Nations-35?affiliate_id=29668) [Golarion](https://pathfinderwiki.com/wiki/Races_of_Golarion) [Curse of the Crimson Throne](http://paizo.com/pathfinder/adventurePath/curseOfTheCrimsonThrone) [Chelaxians](https://pathfinderwiki.com/wiki/Chelaxian_\(human_ethnicity\)) [Forgotten realms human ethnic groups](http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/Human) **19:45 Creativity through constraints** Find a picture of your desired race in it, and ask yourself, why is this happening? **23:15 Help yourself play a less cliched character** Challenge yourself, maybe a little more than what you're used to, a bit out of your comfort zone. Use a one-shot or a mini-campaign as a testing ground. **28:35 Help someone else play a less cliched character** Have them play a sub-race, and ask them to say something about it. Introduce NPCs of cliched races, that are not cliched themselves. **33:10 Some examples** [Earthdawn](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthdawn) (The excellent Denizens books: [1st](http://drivethrurpg.com/product/2199/Denizens-of-Earthdawn-Volume-One?affiliate_id=29668), [2nd](http://drivethrurpg.com/product/2632/Denizens-of-Earthdawn-Volume-Two?affiliate_id=29668)) [Warhammer Fantasy dwarves](http://warhammerfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/Dwarf) [Mistborn](http://drivethrurpg.com/product/95856/Mistborn-Adventure-Game-Primer?affiliate_id=29668) (based on the [book series](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mistborn_series)) [Legend of the Five Rings](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legend_of_the_Five_Rings) **37:25 Summary** If you want to dig deeper: [Stratified NPC Complexity](http://www.uptofourplayers.com/2017/07/stratified-npc-complexity-the-weekly-podcast/) **38:37: Taking the load off** Uri is angry about misusing latin phrases ([online etymology](https://www.etymonline.com/)) High Realm from [Exalted](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exalted) I talk about creating a character in [Mouse Guard](http://www.mouseguard.net/ "Link: http://www.mouseguard.net/") _The intro and outro are taken from “Silly Fun” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com); Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)_ _On the Shoulders of Dwarves is shared under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/)_
Brought to you by Eran Aviram of On the Shoulders of Dwarves