Yep, time to talk a little about races and the very different connotation that has in geek culture as opposed to other cultures. First of all, no I’m not talking about skin color…well, not as the most important part of this though there are some tone differences based on where some of these fictional races grew up. Anyway basically you choose races for role-playing games. Sometimes in LARPing people choose different races to be, if it’s that kind of LARPing. These races also show up in DnD and most RPGs. Some RPGs offer different types of races based on the worlds they take place in, like Mass Effect would offer some alien races created specifically for that game, and in the newest Dragon Age you get the chance to play as a Qunari which is a race specifically used in that game. But there are some races that pretty much always show up when there is that option in a game.
Elves are a huge part of most race choices. Depending on the game you might get further options, like light of dark elf. This usually affects the skin color of your character. Dark elves tend to be black, blue, purple, or grey. Some games don’t have actual elves but have elf-like creatures that are basically elves. Each race usually comes with bonuses to certain things, since I forgot to mention that earlier, and Elves usually get that bonus to dexterity and/or magic. Elves are usually known for being more sensitive to magic and are often the archers in lore, which is why they get these bonuses.
Dwarves are also, almost always part of the race options. They are pretty straight forward, no magical abilities, and not sub groups. They all live underground in the rocks and such. They are a hearty bunch and usually play the part of warrior. I have never seen Dwarves get the option of sub-races, but that does not mean it’s not out there or possible, it just means I have never seen it in any of the games I play. They usually get their bonuses to constitution, which would be health because they are such rugged characters.
Giants are big characters, but are hardly ever called giants. These are your tanks, the characters meant to take lots of damage and never fall. They, like dwarves are given bonuses to constitution, but like elves vary in appearance. In Dragon Age this is the Qunari, in DnD it’s Goliath, in Skyrim it’s Orc, but you can always tell who this character is because it is always heads above the others and insanely muscular.
Lizard people…yep, humanoid lizards are actually decently popular. They are usually highly intelligent, sometimes magical creatures. They are stoic and strategic. These would be your generals. They would plan the attack and if you are not playing one, their the one attacking the other guys instead of the guy you’re fighting…only some of you will understand how helpful that is. Since general isn’t an actual class you’d find them mostly playing tactician. Their bonuses usually go to intelligence.
Cat people, which are some of the most popular humanoid animal characters. This race is very popular and used quite often, though the amount of cat in the character varies. Sometimes they just have ears and a tail, sometimes it’s basically all cat that just happens to be able to walk and talk and is about the average height of a person…and everywhere in between. They are, since they are cat people, usually very agile characters. Often meant to play the assassin. They will get their bonus to dexterity or agility.
Humans! We suck as far as race goes in gaming. Sorry to tell you guys this but we are pretty much the lamest thing there is to be. We are so lame game makers usually give us bonuses in everything to make us as appealing as they can manage…and people still don’t want to be us! On the plus side, we are built for any type of job and can play any position…not that these other races can’t play any position, they were just built with bonuses that make them more appealing for certain classes and jobs. True to form, we vary in name and features because we usually spread out and hate each other.
Alright, there are the most popular races found in gaming. There are plenty more out there, since the game makers are only limited by their imaginations as far as creating races go, but these are some you will see time and time again.