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 donโ€™t have enough over the top epic fantasy movies to watch, hereโ€™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 -dรณttir.

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

@Canageek They're gonna ruin the day of a whole lot of aphids. There's an immense conflict taking place with bugs as the proxies, and we are only dimly aware of it...

@edheil It can be effective in pain management for the people who want relief from pain that regular analgesics canโ€™t do much for but donโ€™t want all the problems that come with opioids. Federal law makes it hard for scientists to study it, so sifting out solid data from the hype is very difficult.

@OpenTableGamesMN My GMing style is โ€œworldbuild until thereโ€™s conflict that draws the players inโ€. That leads me to everything from ecology to infrastructure.

Currently pondering badgers as a good basis for a sentient species that fills the โ€œdwarfโ€ niche. Omnivores, good at digging, gruff temperaments.

Now we have a clue as to what fire giants eat when theyโ€™re at home. And now you donโ€™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 assassinโ€™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.

Iโ€™ve been pondering a fantasy setting where thereโ€™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 โ€œtheyโ€™re just wired that way and donโ€™t really have free will in the matterโ€ or โ€œa god told them to do itโ€ in there. Lots of room for inventing more interesting motivations.

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