Thoughts from a New Year, New Campaign: Have a Homogeneous Party
One of my Gaming Resolutions for 2012 was to be in a campaign that started right in January. The goal of this ‘New Year, New Campaign’ was to try out various concepts/ideas which would hopefully ‘level up’ our collective game. So we moved our record keeping over to Obsidian Portal, completely re-organized the basement where we play, & started the in game calendar to match the real world one from 2011 (since there were some extras) allowing them to sync. Then, prompted by one of the items from my Geek Bucket List, we all agreed to make a racially homogenous party. Of Dwarves.
After having played with 6 other fellow ‘stunties’ for the past few months, here are 3 observations about this sort of setup:
1) It is much easier to get the party together. One of the tricky things about a new campaign is how the group initially forms. I’ve had games where the DM sticks us together via a few sentences- “Well you’ve all known each other for awhile and decide one day to become adventurers.” Or there is a Job Tree that points everyone to a certain tavern to be hired. But if each character is from the same race either of those coincidences are much more realistic & therefore believable. In our group, 2 of the characters are half-brothers (although there relationship is strained), another lived nearby their town, mine came to the region specifically seeking out other Dwarves, etc. Much how immigrants/ethnic groups can conglomerate in pockets in communities, by having a homogenous party, like will attract like. And the coming together part will naturally fall into place.
2) The party will have to be non-stereotypical. If you only have a single halfling in the band, odds are that the halfling is burglaresque. And an Elf would likely be the ranger. And the half-orc makes the barbarian. This for of predestination is simply a natural outgrowth of racial modifiers with their various pluses & minuses to key ability scores. But if everyone is a halfling, then there will be a halfling fighters/paladin or a halfling wizard/sorcerer. With an all-halfling party, there could even be a Hairfoot barbarian. Wild huh? So you’d see nontraditional builds, each which would have to come with interesting backstories to explain their rarity. Moreover this arrangement gives people an opportunity to play a character they might otherwise never run.
3) The party develops a sense of pride. One of the things that I’ve noticed in being in a 100% Dwarf company is how quickly expressions of racial pride happened. We’d make statements boasting about the greatness of all things Dwarven as well as vice versa: i.e. the shoddiness of other races’ construction or how weak their beer was. Or we’d purposefully speak only in Dwarven both for tactical reasons as well as to separate ourselves. Soon even Humans were being called ‘Hurms.’ Now certainly there are negative aspects to such beliefs in racial superiority however even these can provide amazing roleplaying opportunities. Especially when 2 homogeneous groups meet & have to work things out somehow.
Although it can be tricky to organize, having a party completely made up of a single race creates multiple interesting game-based results. Have any experience with a homogeneous group? Want some suggestions to make it work? Just post a comment below.