Archive for October 18th, 2013

October 18, 2013

Setup Questions for Nonhumans

So, when you’re running a game, you need to spend a bit of time coming up with what elves and dwarves and stuff are like, right? Or you could just let one or more of the players do all that and spend your time doing more important things, like thinking up exciting situations to put the PCs in. So here are some questions you can ask people playing elves and dwarves and children halflings to get them to tell you about their societies.


  • Do all dwarves have beards?
  • Do dwarves have books, or some other kind of writing? How do they make them?
  • How does one build up a good reputation for themselves amongst the dwarves?
  • What dangers do dwarves face, deep down below the earth? How do they deal with them?
  • What do dwarves think of halfling pipeleaf?
  • What does dwarven romance look like?
  • What does family mean to dwarves? What must a dwarf do to be disowned?
  • What is your favourite kind of stone? What does this say about you, compared to other dwarves?
  • What kind of music do dwarves like?
  • What place do oaths have in dwarven society? What happens when someone is branded an oathbreaker?
  • When do dwarves wear masks?
  • When dwarves leave their homes to live amongst humans, what do most of them do? Is there a guild for dwarves? Do humans expect you to all perform the same kind of work for them?
  • Where do dwarves get their wood from?
  • Which animals do dwarves keep in their underground homes? Do they have steeds or cattle, that are praised amongst other races for their ability to live and work underground?
  • Why do dwarves have such a rivalry with elves?
  • Why do dwarves live underground? Are there dangers on the surface, some kind of enemy scouring the earth for dwarves to kill?
  • Why haven’t dwarves poured forth from their halls to conquer the kingdoms of the other races?


  • Are elves really as stoic as the other races think, or are there times where they express their emotions more readily?
  • Are musical instruments just as prized by the elves as song is?
  • Can elves really talk to plants? Why do people think they can?
  • Do elves change colour with the seasons, just like the trees do?
  • Do elves ever eat meat or are they strict vegetarians?
  • Do elves only live in forests? Where else do they live?
  • How common is magic among the elves?
  • How long do elves normally live?
  • How well do elves get along with dragons?
  • What are elven naming conventions like? Do you have a secret name, or more than one, even?
  • What do elves think of fire? Do they believe in a god of fire?
  • What happened the last time the elves went to war?
  • Who are the natural enemies of the elves? What creatures do they fear the most? Are these the same things the other races fear?
  • Why are elves so secretive?
  • Why are there so few elves?


  • Are there barbarian halflings, living in the wilderness, with no hint of civilized agriculture?
  • Do halflings tend to feel small and uncomfortable in the company of other races? Do you?
  • Halfling lawyers—you opinion?
  • How many songs does a halfling know? Do your people prefer to write their own, or do they borrow whatever songs they like?
  • Is there such a thing as halfling literature? If not, why not? If so, what is it like?
  • What are halflings like after they find religion?
  • What contributions have halflings made to human society?
  • What do halflings think of theatre?
  • What does red hair on a halfling mean? Are there limericks about red-headed halflings?
  • What is the most popular halfling sport? What do you think of it?
  • What kind of reputation do halflings have amongst the other races?
  • What’s the one thing no halfling would be caught dead without, when they go travelling?
  • Why are halflings such good gardeners?
  • Why do halflings love to gamble so much? Is it all halflings or just some?

cc-by unported 3.0

Oh, hey, if you want to take a bit of Red Box Vancouver cannon for your own game:
Dwarves all talk like Sean Connery.
Elves talk like surfer Keanu Reeves.
Halflings all have Italian accents.

Last post was this stuff for character classes.