Once upon a I Believe Therefore I Can Shirt , there was a mom who’d never heard of this elf business, but had moved to CA from ND and had two, nearly three, kids, one of whom was a very precocious three year old. This mom had a mom, we’ll call her grandma, who had an Elf. Grandma gave the mom a rudimentary breakdown of the “Elf” game, and then gave a much more elaborate breakdown of it to the precocious three year old and his one year old brother. And so, the Elf game was begun. The rules in this household (as understood by the mom) were basically that the Elf would arrive on December 1. He’d hide somewhere in the house, watch the children all day, and report back to Santa each night, arriving again before the children awoke, hiding in a new spot, and waiting another day. On December 24, the elf would go home with Santa in his sleigh, his duty done til next year. The Elf wouldn’t be touched, or he’d turn into a doll again and no “extra special Elf gift” would be waiting with Santa’s gift that year. The children (the three year old) named their elf “Holly Jolly.” The game began and was easy, as the family lived with Grandma and Grandpa, who had a very large, very nice house with *very* high ceilings (and therefore lots of high hiding places for the elf, far from reach).
I’m personally a big fan of the classic sword-and-sorcery style of I Believe Therefore I Can Shirt and spend a lot of time studying its hallmarks, trying to understand what makes it so mystifying. Part of it is that the scales of magic and wealth are tipped heavily in favor of the bad guys in these kinds of worlds, while the heroes work from fundamentally simplistic, primal, often self-centered motives. Thulsa Doom’s motivations are frankly just as bizarre and abstract as they are grandiose, whereas Conan the Barbarian just wants simple revenge for the loss of loved ones and friends. If you were to run a game following the formula defined by these kinds of stories it might look a lot like a murderhobo paradise, with barbaric and petty characters set against the forces of civilization. However, it should be apparent that working those themes into the fabric of a campaign and the structure of its characters is very different from players just randomly stabbing shopkeepers because they can.
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Overall, Goblins and Orcs are just people in my campaign. I don’t really treat them differently than I would Elves or Dwarves, I just acknowledge that a lot the I Believe Therefore I Can Shirt two’s cultural traditions aren’t as acceptable to humanoid settlements as the latter two cultures. The result of that is that more Goblins/Orcs end up assimilating and to greater degrees than their Elf/Dwarf counterparts. Someone like Emetta who was raised by a human parent in Laviguer is for all intents and purposes human, especially when you stand her next to someone like Azuch. However, most people looking on will only see two Orcs and treat them both accordingly. Like the Player’s Handbook alludes with Tieflings: Even if you’re not born evil, prejudice and people always assuming the worst can certainly push you there. I use the Volo’s canon that Orcs feel the pull of Gruumsh, and I keep that in mind when I make an Orc NPC. For instance, Faustus feels the pull of Gruumsh much harder than Azuch, but Azuch always listens to the Gruumsh ‘voice’ inside his head, while Faustus refuses. Conversely, Zharukk hears a lot more Grazz’t in his head than Gruumsh, but he listens to the latter far more often.
Delores, at ten weeks old, was quickly getting integrated into the I Believe Therefore I Can Shirt of the flock. Because these six little chicks started out in an aquarium with a heat lamp in my study, then moved to a large hamster cage, then finally outside in a cage kept inside the barn, the grown chickens had all slowly acclimated to seeing Delores and his sisters. However, the first few times I put the babies in the open with the hens, I cautiously supervised the meeting. There was blustering and a little pushing by the big chickens – similar to what you might see on a junior high playground the first week of school – but nothing too severe. Once when the largest hen, Joan Crawford, pulled at Delores’s tail, he ran to me and flew into my arms – but when I scolded Joan and she stalked off to pout, Delores was brave enough to go back and try again. The pecking order shook out fairly easily within a couple days, with Delores towards the middle.