Runemaster - Dev Diary 19 - Race: Humans

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Rubidium

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We decided to, not exactly split up, but make some gods more important for certain races. So Frey is a god that the Lightelf revere more than any other god or goddess, because the gods gave him Alfheim, the realm of the Lightelfs, as a teething present.
Interesting. So, do the Loki-aligned races revere gods from the Aesir pantheon as well (other than Loki)?
 

SolSara

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I'm very happy (but not surprised) to read this. A very good decision.

This game is fantasy, so why should it perpetuate sexism? And before anyone cries "PC censorship", go look at the other PDS games based on history, like CK2. No gender equality there, because human history is full of sexism. This, however, isn't a game trying to represent or simulate RL history. If your fantasy is a world where women are little more than sexual objects, you'll have no trouble finding games that suit you.
:)

Nice writeup Solsara, I agree with you completely and it's one of the reasons I'm excited about Runemaster! :)
:)

As a human can you recruit other racial units as the game progresses (or you gain reputation with a race)? If not six units for the entire game seems awfully limited.

Also, I agree with you SolSara, but wish that extended to being able to play any gender-class combination as well (and yes I know the reason why this is not the case).
Yes, if you gain enough reputation with another race you will be able to recruit their troops, but which ones you'll be able to recruit might be limited. So, as a Human, you can get better reputation with Lightelfs or Darkelfs and thus be able to recruit from them, but maybe not their greatest fighters or unique units. That's a design decision we haven't taken yet, so it might be changed.

I have but a single set of questions for the time being:

How much interaction will there be between the races and the gods?
Will the gods be seen as NPCs at all or will they only be things of legend?
Are you able to move between the worlds freely or are you stuck playing in the homeland of whomever you're playing?
Music, is Andreas composing some bad-ass music like this or this for both ambience and high-action scenes?

I think he's referring to not having the choice of being a male Skale or Female Beserker so his point still stands.
Some. We'll have a couple of quests that involves gods, but we'll talk more about that in a later dev diary so I won't go into details :)
There will be 3D-models and portraits of some of the gods, so they'll be NPCs.
You start in one world, the Humans in Midgard for example, and later on you will be able to visit the other worlds.
Yes, Andreas Waldetoft is working on the music for Runemaster (and doing an awesome job, as usual :)).

Other races have female Berserkers and male Skalds, the Giants for example.

People need to get into their heads that this game is not about our world, or our history. It's a fantasy game where one of the worlds is loosely based on old Scandinavia. For all I know women are stronger than men in this imaginary world, and men are the ones who stay at home taking care of the household. Open your minds, it's an RPG not a Viking simulator.

As for allowing you to turn a race, I'd rather if you couldn't do it. Part of the attraction of replaying an RPG is the ability to do things you couldn't do the first time, but if you can do anything, recruit any units regardless of your 'side', then the incentive to replay (in my case) is greatly diminished, regardless that the maps are randomly generated. I would like that when I play one way, I have access to certain things, and restrictions to other things... it wets my appetite imagining another playthrough where I have access to those other things.
Turning a race from one side to another is an idea that we have thought about, and we'll see what happens with it. I am a bit torn, on one side it would be cool if your race shuns you if you choose the other side, on the other hand there could be tons of awesome quests if you want to try and turn your race. If we would have it, I think it would be best if it was optional, nothing you need to do to finish the game or so.

Interesting. So, do the Loki-aligned races revere gods from the Aesir pantheon as well (other than Loki)?
Yes. We'll tell you in other dev diaries which gods they revere ;)
 

V1ribus

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Yes, Andreas Waldetoft is working on the music for Runemaster (and doing an awesome job, as usual :)).
So happy with this. If I had to pick my favourite aspect of any PDS game it would most certainly be Andreas' compositions. (Least favourite aspect is, funnily enough, the lack of music DLC)
 

the cool guy

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I would like to be able to turn a race. That said many things should be exclusive to one another to encourage more playthroughs.
 

PhroX

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Cool background info here. Really looking forward to this game. :)

Though, (and I know, I really shouldn't jump into incendiary topics like this....) I have to admit, I'm a little dissappointed, if not surprised, at the decision to make the setting gender equal. Part of this is a matter of suspension of belief - while it's a fantasy setting it's still inspired by history and human society in general. And gender inequality is, sadly, a fact of life in every human society, even today. But even more importantly to me than this, it's boring. It's a real missed opportunity to add a lot of depth and variety to the game from a roleplaying and storytelling perspective.

Now, before anyone jumps on me, I'll make this clear - I certainly think women should be capable of the same as men in the game. There should be no difference in abilities or stats or so forth. What I think should be different is how they are treated. How other characters in the game react. In general, I would like to see a setting where a female fighter, a female military leader is, while not completely unheard of, rare. Where that kind of character is somewhat looked down on for taking up a "non-womanly" role. Make groups like the "Shieldmaidens" into almost pariahs - respected for their combat abilties, but discriminated against for their sex, and for taking up roles that doen't fit their percieved position. So most men won't want to follow you at first. People won't want to aid you. So you have to do more than a male character to convice them to join your side and so on. You're faced with more, and different, challenges. Not because it is a good thing for women to be treated like that, as it isn't, but because a) it happens, and b) it's interesting to play a character faced by such challenges.

The Witcher was used as an example of a fanatsy setting with rampant sexism, and while this is true, ultimately, it doen't really affect you, as you play a male character. I'd love to see a game with this kind of setting where you can play a female character. Where the sexism of the world is directely impacting on you, and you have to fight not just against whatever the big bad is, but the predjudices of society. A game that, instead of either (deliberately or accidentally) exasperating sexist tropes or trying to pretend they don't exist, puts the player in a position which demostrates the problems of sexism.

The same applies to race. I mean, I hope that, if I were to play, say, a troll, but tended to side with humans, that, while they would tolerate me, as I've proven to not be an enemy, many humans will treat me like crap, as ultimately I'm a different race. Again, not because this is a good thing, but because it makes for much more interesting storytelling. As an example, a major missed opportunity in recent years for this kind of thing was Dragon Age - if you play as a city elf, in the origin story, you come face to face with massive discrimination, of being treated as a lesser being than the humans. It's a really promising start. Once you leave the origin...well,, there's a couple of dialogues that are different. And that's it. Despite playing a race which is subject to rampant institutionalised racism, the game is pretty much identical to playing as a human.

Now, I will admit, things like this aren't by any means a dealbreaker for me. I'm still gonna buy RM even in it's idealised equality setting. But I do think it's a real missed opportunity to both add a lot more depth to the storytelling, and address some serious issues.
 

Raph

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But even more importantly to me than this, it's boring. It's a real missed opportunity to add a lot of depth and variety to the game from a roleplaying and storytelling perspective.
If you want variety, why not write a long post about how fun it would be to play a game where male warriors are pariahs and men are discriminated against? I'm all for variety, but if the only variety we get to play is one that is as bad as or worse than RL sexist societies, that's boring to me.

If PDS wants to go for "variety and depth" as you put it, they might of course have different gender systems in all of the different races/societies. For now, we only know that humans are gender equal, right? Or will all of them be?
 

ThePirateMan

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I'm very happy (but not surprised) to read this. A very good decision.

This game is fantasy, so why should it perpetuate sexism? And before anyone cries "PC censorship", go look at the other PDS games based on history, like CK2. No gender equality there, because human history is full of sexism. This, however, isn't a game trying to represent or simulate RL history. If your fantasy is a world where women are little more than sexual objects, you'll have no trouble finding games that suit you.
To imply that the only alternative to women and men being seen as entirely the same is women being little more than sex objects is ridiculous. They weren't in the societies and mythology that the earlier post wished that Runemaster would more so reflect.
 

Red Rook

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We don't base the game on Viking society, we only take some inspiration from it and base some things on it (for example appearances).
We base the Humans on Vikings, so well, no. Maybe in a DLC or something.
So I think the gender equality approach is totally valid and something I'm looking forward to. But shouldn't all the same arguments apply to racial diversity, too?
 

Abnwtwtud

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As for allowing you to turn a race, I'd rather if you couldn't do it. Part of the attraction of replaying an RPG is the ability to do things you couldn't do the first time, but if you can do anything, recruit any units regardless of your 'side', then the incentive to replay (in my case) is greatly diminished, regardless that the maps are randomly generated. I would like that when I play one way, I have access to certain things, and restrictions to other things... it wets my appetite imagining another playthrough where I have access to those other things.
I have to REALLY disagree here. I think that difficulty of a task should be a barrier, not actual mechanics blocking you from doing something regardless of your character's desires. If I want to slaughter all elves and still be friendly with one god or the other, I should be able to do that providing I am willing to invest the time/effort to do so. To me, that's what would create replay value, as it would enable a far different number of ways to play through the game. Allow me to provide an example.

By your suggestion there would be only two possible ways to play through (discounting any changes that playing as a particular race would create): Thor or Loki, with set hostiles and friendlies on each side. This makes a maximum replay value of one time, once again allowing for the unknown of how different a play through will be dependent upon race.

On the other hand, if the races can fluctuate in their allegiances, that could easily change each game, depending on how you choose to play your character. In one game you could attempt to drive the light elves out of Thor's faction by slaughtering them, thus making them an enemy to face later in the conflict. In another game you could bring humans or dwarves over to Loki and unite to create a world without elves. There's just so many more ways to create allegiances or conflict with fluctuating races than there would be if they were static. It would add substantially more to the replay value of the game as a whole.
 

Mauer

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From the other dev diaries I already knew the game would allow for playing as a female and male with the same capabilities, just posting to show my support.

Why are people making such a fuss about it anyway? It's not a historical game.

So I think the gender equality approach is totally valid and something I'm looking forward to. But shouldn't all the same arguments apply to racial diversity, too?
I don't know if you're being sarcastic, but that's a false equivalence. If the game took place in a more diverse setting than the germanic mythological world of Midgard (that's Earth as the Germanic peoples knew it when coming up with their mythology) then yes, having only white blondes/redheads would be racist as you seem to be implying.
 

Abnwtwtud

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From the other dev diaries I already knew the game would allow for playing as a female and male with the same capabilities, just posting to show my support.

Why are people making such a fuss about it anyway? It's not a historical game.



I don't know if you're being sarcastic, but that's a false equivalence. If the game took place in a more diverse setting than the germanic mythological world of Midgard (that's Earth as the Germanic peoples knew it when coming up with their mythology) then yes, having only white blondes/redheads would be racist as you seem to be implying.
Don't worry, we can still be racist against redheads if there's no one else around. Damn soul-stealing gingers! Better than elves though.
 

Sarius1997

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Generally nice post SolSara, and i can agree with a lot of parts in it. But on the one hand i think that even this problem has two parts, and that there is certainly sexism against men in games too. And i can also understand why you want to make Runemaster gender equal, and i think that this may be a great idea, but it has to be believable. If gender equality won´t fit in the world you create, it´d make the game a lot worse. It really needs to fit in naturally, and not just feel like a "ok, we created this world, and now decided to make it gender equal". I think this´d be very wrong, and would stop me from having the immersion a RPG needs. But i think/hope that PDS should be capable of designing the game like this.
 

Thure

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Don't worry, we can still be racist against redheads if there's no one else around. Damn soul-stealing gingers! Better than elves though.
So you will be allways on Lokis side? I mean... Thor is a redhead too... There are many of them in Norse countries.
 

Secret Master

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Not all games have to, but I think gender equality in Runemaster will be great.
Well, let's be honest with ourselves. If I wanted to play a Paradox game with historical sexism, I'd play CK2. The number of girls I've had in that game that I wish I could grant titles and assign to important advisory positions is astounding.

I'm glad that humans won't be the "boring" or "normal" race.
 

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I'm glad that humans won't be the "boring" or "normal" race.
Agreed. Normal, boring humans are, well.. boring; this 'mixing up' of humans will be a welcome change for me.
 

darthfanta

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Can we sacrifice other humans, elves,Jotuns,dwarves or trolls in blots just like we do in CK2?
 

Ivashanko

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I do think that a fantasy game that discriminated against men could be interesting, but I think it could well fall into the trap of making that the #1 focus of the story and becoming ridiculous. I'd love to see a game where men being discriminated against was a background element, rather than a major one.
 

KPJ

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I do think that a fantasy game that discriminated against men could be interesting, but I think it could well fall into the trap of making that the #1 focus of the story and becoming ridiculous. I'd love to see a game where men being discriminated against was a background element, rather than a major one.
Anything with Forgotten Realms drow. Enjoy.
 

Seli

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It's not a historical game, it is a fantasy game. And we only base some things on Vikings, not everything. In our version, males and females (no matter the race) have the same opportunities. I feel very strongly for this, and I think gender equality is something we should strive for, no matter if it's IRL or in a game.
...
Nice :)
 
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