Monday, March 17, 2014

Why the Stoutling?

One thing that will be different in Saga of the Splintered Realm is that the Stoutling replaces the Halfling. This is, in many parts, a cosmetic change. It’s the Halfling with a different flavor.

So Mike (you ask), why the stoutling? I mean, you’re keeping almost every other classic element you can – so why change Halflings? Haven’t they suffered enough? Do you have to take away their identity too?
It’s a fair question (nice job, you!). I don’t know for sure, but here are a few reasons…

- the decision to lock the game at level 14 is an echo from the Dragonlance setting, where character progression was locked at level 15. I always liked this conceit, and ported it over in the early days of the Splintered Realm (justifying this through the backstory of the game world, which will be in volume 2 of the rules). That - and the idea that Krynn didn’t have Halflings, they had kender - helped to define the setting in my mind. Kender were somehow more specific and interesting to me (at least in my memory) than Halflings. Stoutlings are ‘my take’ on the Halfling – although they are nothing like Kender.

- the game world is relatively harsh and unforgiving, and the happy-go-lucky Halflings may not have as much of a place in it. I’m not doing much to change them mechanically, but I feel like a bit of a shift in worldview leads to a different ‘take’ on the race.