We are building a new party for an occasional game that my Brother in Law, my 2 sons and my nephew are trying to play whenever my BIL and nephew are in town. My nephew will be playing a Dragonborn Wizard or Warlock, my younger son will be playing a Tiefling rogue and my oldest son will be playing a Minotaur Runepriest.
While I tried to figure out which character would be a good compliment our party, I kept looking at the other party members. But instead of concentrating on the various classes and roles these characters would fill, I found myself looking at the races of the characters, and wondering where they had come from.
As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I started playing D&D about 30 years ago. Most of my D&D life involved what I consider the "classic" races: Human, Elf, Dwarf, Halfling, Gnome, Half-orc and Half-elf. Halflings were less "really short elf" and more "Frodo Baggins", and "Gnome" was generally followed by "Illusionist." Noone in my groups ever considered playing anything outside of this group of choices, and I think it had alot to do with our Lord of the Rings, Sword of Shanara view of the fantasy world, growing up in the late 70's and early 80's. Back in those days, if you weren't one of the core races, you were a monster, and only the more "outside the box thinker" DM's would even use a non-core race as an npc, let alone a hero.
Now, it is a post-Drizzt world, and there are all these choices for players to pick from. Tiefling, Goliath, Dragonborn, Minotaur, Githrazai, Shifter and a million more, seemingly. I know the boys love having all these choices, and seem to start their character building based upon a cool-looking mini, which isn't necessarily a horrible way to choose. If that was the way I did it, I would be lobbying for either an Ice Archon or Shoal Reaver Water Archon PC. Whether all these choices are good or bad remains to be seen, but I cannot argue the positive point that it has gotten at least 3 of the New Generation of D&D players excited about playing. I'm still at the point where it feels too weird to play anything but one of those core races, like I'm trying for some kind of gimmicky PC to either min-max or force some awkward role playing scenarios.
I still haven't figured out what class to play, and any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, but I am fairly confident that I will be sticking to one of my "classic" races. Eventually, I might try out one of these new-fangled races. A Tiefling Infernal Pact Hexblade looks like it would have a ton of flavor, and his backstory would almost write itself. But, for now, those old school dwarfs, elfs, gnomes and halflings are calling to me like my favorite spot on the sofa.