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The Face in the Mirror

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Post by Celestria on Fri Jul 02, 2010 6:23 pm

Note: This Guide was originally posted on another Site and so there are aspects that are pertinent only to that site, but the document as a whole is helpful and so I'm including it here.

The Face in the Mirror
A Guide to Races in Final Fantasy

Next to choosing a character's classes, sometimes the most difficult choice in regards to character design is deciding on a Race. Most of the time players choose to play Hume (called humans on other worlds) as a default. It removes much of the confusion because Humes receive no benefits for being human, take no disadvantages for being human, and can have any background that the player may wish because they are, literally, everywhere.

Even the world of Vana'diel, which ascribes Racial flaws to each of the races, only saddles them with Apathy, or the tendency not to care about anything outside their own little spheres. Admittedly, that is a very human trait.

Should the Hume in question originate in one of the worlds of the first six games then they aren't even limited to the "natural" hair colors. Technicolor hair is common in the worlds created when the games were made using the sprite graphics. Princess Sarah, from Cornelia, had green hair.

Still, always playing Humes seems a bit . . . boring.

So some time ago, before I came here to play, the decision was made to add special abilities to the non-hume races to make them more appealing to players. In some cases these abilities are considered "gamebreakers" in which case they are highly appealing, but there are social and background aspects to everything.

There are details to these races that are not mentioned in the brief descriptions of them that are included in the on-site listing (here for basic races and here for beastmen) so if one piques your interest, a good place to look for more information would be Wiki or some other online source, or best yet, the games themselves.

I will be clear, not all of these races I know the origins of. Some of the races I happen to know are not included (Elf of Elfheim, Dwarf of the Dwarven Underground Fortress, Green Dwarves of Conde Petie, Manufacted Black Mages, and Hypello to name a few). Some races have their origins in more than one world, like the Selkies and possibly the Clavats are similar in appearance to characters who appear on Gaia of IX as well as being canonically part of the Crystal Chronicles world. (Honestly, if any of the Crystal Chronicles races wanted to have an on site native location, Gaia of IX would be the likeliest place.)

A little bit of research is not a bad thing.

A Race is more than just a Racial Ability. There are social traits to consider and there are traits which might influence your Stats, or your Class choices. Some races just lend themselves to certain classes and vice versa.

For instance, let's say that you are looking at the Elvaan from Vana'diel (who are not the same as the Elves of Elfheim on Cornelia). The Elvaan have the racial trait of being able to automatically Dual-Wield from Character Creation. They're a little bit slower when dual-wielding, but they can do it "out of the box" so to speak.

But there's a problem with the Elvaan. They have those frigging side-pointed ears. Personally, I don't like side-pointing ears. I think they look absurd. So my Elvaan is going to have more "natural" looking ears, at least to me because I grew up reading ElfQuest where the elves have ears that look like wings on the side of their heads, conforming to the side of the head to an extent. Because I'm an ElfQuest fan, an Equest-Lder as a matter of fact, my Elvaan is also going to have the four fingered hands of the Abodian Elves.

This, though, is more than just a matter of aesthetics. And I'm not going to short my character by not taking these things into account.

According to Vana'diel, each Race has a downfall, a social trait that affects them all in one way or another. For the Galka it is Rage. For Humes, it is Apathy. For the Elvaan, though, it is Pride.

This Elvaan, though, doesn't look like the others. Just because I don't like the way the Elvaan are supposed to look doesn't mean that I can change how all the others look, just my character. To the Elvaan in general, my character would be deformed, congenitally deformed. To a Race known for its Pride, a deformed daughter would be a mark of shame.

So I take the Pride of the Elvaan and turn it into a character point. My deformed Elvaan girl is a mark of shame to herself and her family. She would have been the scapegoat for everyone and possibly physically abused or simply abandoned and ignored. Instead of pride that tends towards hubris (the sort of pride that is the downfall of heroes and kings) she has self-image problems and thinks she is the worst of the worst.

There are any number of ways that this can show up in RP from constantly seeking reassurance from those around her to going out of her way to prove how awful she is. Think about the character and think about how the background is going to influence behavior.

Everyone is the product of their upbringing in one way or another.

Race also affects Stats, in some cases. It's obvious in the case of those races which are granted an ability that affects one Stat or another. Humes start with 10 in all areas. To gain in one area, another must be lowered, generally. For those Races who receive a benefit, though, the 10 in that Stat is instead a 20, and that is Racially Average for them.

Even in the absence of actual Racial traits, some things are simply logical. Ronso and Galka are going to be stronger. Selkies are going to be faster and more agile. Tarutaru are more magically adept.

Note: This provides an alternative explanation for Kimahri's extra 4 points in relation to Tidus' initial totals for the seven stats. 1pt in Str, 2 pts in Mag, 1 pt in Agl. Racial bonus for being non-Hume in Spira.

At present there is no true System for figuring stats in relation to Race and Class choices, but they should be considered when developing the character.

The more that you, as a player, consider the various factors influencing your character, the deeper and more fully developed that character is going to be. It's about adding layers and seeing how those layers interact.

In the case of Tiraleen, I chose the Race of Selkie. This means that she get a third class to add to her main and sub classes that I choose. All Selkies are thieves. Thief, for a Selkie, is a second Primary Class, which means that they can use the Class Ability.

In terms of her background and personality I said that she has a natural tendency towards stealing and shady tactics. She doesn't tend towards cruelty or using it for meanness, and she *does* have a sense of ethics, but those ethics do not tell her, on an instinctive level, that it is wrong or morally reprehensible to steal or deceive. It also affects Mairi in a way, because some of the things that end up in her pockets the former owners don't really know she has. She's sorta like a Dragonlance Kender in that. She's not even always aware of it.

I also have it affect her base abilities by saying that she is fast and agile naturally, which was helpful when she was a Rune Knight/Mage and now will be similarly helpful that she is a Summoner/???.

The issue of Race can affect any character, really. Aegyls are stated to be physically fragile, so they would have a lower than average Defense score. Guado are likely to be strong with magic and weaker with strength, but I'd have to actually look at some character stats and the main example wasn't exactly typical. At the very least the cultural aspect of secrecy and taking care of their own would affect the character personality and style.

Taking the Racial description into account can give you some insight into how to describe the character's Strengths and Weaknesses. These details are not presumed, they can be included in the character app and make your description that much more in-depth.

A little bit of research can pay off hugely in helping to develop a bare bones character concept. And can make building your character that much easier.

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