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I’m Max Kaehn, probably most known for my old Shadowrun page at , though I’ve been more into narrative systems like Feng Shui and Fate and Gumshoe lately. My main Mastodon account is; is where I blather about gaming.

This article begins a series on respectful religious representation in games and fiction. First, let's learn to identify common misconceptions and pitfalls which marginalize traditions outside the colonial mainstream. The default doesn't have to define us.

If you don’t have enough over the top epic fantasy movies to watch, here’s a an awesome one from Tollywood: Baahubali

A useful detail for people giving Norse names to their NPCs: a gender-neutral -bur suffix, instead of -son or -dΓ³ttir.

I was going to leave orcs out of my next high fantasy campaign setting, but this post persuaded me to include Hot Orcs.

Currently pondering badgers as a good basis for a sentient species that fills the β€œdwarf” niche. Omnivores, good at digging, gruff temperaments.

Now we have a clue as to what fire giants eat when they’re at home. And now you don’t just have to worry about giants throwing boulders at you, you have to worry about volcano goats head-butting you into the lava. THE WIZARD BACK IN TOWN HIRED YOU TO GET SPARKBEE HONEY AND NOW YOU HAVE TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO MAKE TRADE DEALS WITH FIRE GIANTS.

Lava clover, emberberries, and ifrit peppers can sink roots even into igneous rock, where they are pollinated by sparkbees and eaten by pyroguanas, igneous turtles, pumice voles, and volcano goats (some of whom can reach 800 pounds). Lava ants are a form of army ant; their venom causes burns, and can be harvested for an assassin’s use to cause a body to burst into flames, making the target extremely difficult to resurrect. Intermediate predators include salamanders and obsidian owls.

I figure it starts out with fleshing out the ecology. Where do all these top-level predators come from? Gotta invent some magic-infused ecologies that live on volcanoes and glaciers, and in the Underdark.

I’ve been pondering a fantasy setting where there’s no shortcut for detecting good or evil and conflict arises from consistent motivations. Going through the 5e and Pathfinder source material, there is a whole lot of β€œthey’re just wired that way and don’t really have free will in the matter” or β€œa god told them to do it” in there. Lots of room for inventing more interesting motivations.

I’m still pondering a good denizen for the dwarf niche.

For the halfling niche, I’m going with ursine creatures with enough variation in ear and muzzle shape, body type, coat pattern, tail length, and furriness that some look more like bears, foxes, or cats.

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