To warm-up a little on writing, I decided to take some tables from bigger, better blogs and make my own additions. Hopefully no one will mind.
Today, I took my inspiration from the great material over at Rowan, Rook and Decard. Creators of the exciting looking Spire RPG and the fun Hearty Dice Friends podcast, this is the blog of Grant Howitt and Chris Taylor. Grant is probably slightly more famous due to the popularity of his amazing one-page RPGs, particularly Honey Heist. RR&D has a lot of fun and inspirational content in the form of tables, generally themed around two Dx worldbuilding projects called ‘Remnants’ (where a cataclysm splintered reality) and ‘Glimmers’ (a world of urban horror where the web of streets and roads could hold anything).
Anyway, here are some additions I came up with.
1. They all look a little too similar. Gnomes might look humanoid, but they actually reproduce like certain plants – asexually. At one point this wasn’t true as it seems like there are several ‘types’ of Gnome at large in the world, and most Gnomish settlements are made up of at least four or five. Male and female iterations are produced though only the females can breed, which has led to Gnome societies being either fiercely matriarchal or stiflingly patriarchal. Fortunately for individual gnomes, the similarities appear to be physical rather than emotional or temperamental. This weird biology may be why Gnomes have an utter lack of sexual interest – at least, in their own species.
2. They don’t eat anything raw. The act of invention and creation is pretty much the only holy thing in the Gnomish belief system. At some point in their past, this led to a social taboo on raw, unrefined materials – including food. Most gnomes feel simply preparing food (peeling and slicing an apple) is enough to honour this tradition, but the orthodox minority go so far as to employ servants to chew their food prior to ingestion.
3. They can’t read but they love books. You gain power from what you eat, so why not knowledge? Unfortunately for the rest of the civilised world, this seems to be at least somewhat true for Gnomes.
1. Sheer ignorance. Other people keep trying to tell you something but you long stopped listening to the petty comments of the haters. If someone manages to pierce the bubble of apathy you’ve surrounded yourself with, you might notice that every shirt you’ve put on comes back red and wet, but for now it’s something that your dry cleaner has to deal with.
2. Poor Diet. Things were already so bad in there that normal operations ceased a long, long time ago. Nodules of fat and deposits of starch have formed structures that can’t be disrupted by something so simple as a mortal wound.
3. A Blessing from the Deep. Leaking water rather than blood came as a surprise, but it *is* a lot easier to replace. You’ve plugged the hole as best you can and as long as you drink quickly enough, it seems like you can stay on top of this. You’re a bit sick of leaving a puddle behind you everywhere you go though.
4. The Stars Were Not Right. Something massive and ancient and beyond the physical realm stirred at the instant of your death, and with a jarring lurch you were suddenly fine. Confused the hell out of the driver who hit you and the paramedics. Your horoscopes have started to get weird though and you’re getting a dreadful feeling about your birthday next month.
5. Emotional support. The body was weak, but the heart was strong – thanks to your friends. They’re not doctors or medics but sometimes all you need is a shoulder to lean on, even when half your internal organs have been perforated. They’re all impressed by just how strong you are but you know you couldn’t do it without them.
- There’s no such thing as Elves. There never was, or at least Elves weren’t what left those ruins. The revered civilisation of ancients is actually just a group of human magic users who got carried away with a prank. During a wild woodland retreat a few centuries back, the fraternity of the Mysteris Academis couldn’t resist playing on the superstitions of the various outskirt villages. A little illusion magic and a decent set of false ears go a long way. The prank was passed down to new members of the order in time, and the claims that the woods are only safe to visit ‘during the summer court’ have worked out so far. Even the barons fell for it.
- They don’t live any longer than humans. They just eat, sleep and drink well and have good personal hygiene. Their staggering lifespans of 80 years seem magical to the peasants, and the lack of alcohol or excess (and the yoga) makes them seem so much younger than the human nobility.
- They’re very boring. The unchanging nature of Elven society has been attributed to their long lives. They often claim that they are above the fleeting glories of human fashion and change. The truth is they’re just really unimaginative. Everything they have today was inherited from their Ancient creators, who got bored and left without a note one day.
- The Drow are the first Elves. The surface ones are the exiles, cast out from the glory of their subterranean homes for their horrible crimes. For centuries they’ve been playing the long game, creating propaganda to poison the surface world against the utopia beneath their feet.
- They come from Halflings. A halfling is a baby elf. It lives a full life of fun and adventure before growing old and going on ‘one last wander’ into the wilderness. Somewhere away from prying eyes it makes a cocoon in a tree on instinct, and within 10 days emerges as a tall, slender, pompous immortal.
- They think they are hideous. That whole disdain for other races is just an act. Elves can’t stand the sight of themselves and can barely stomach looking at others of their race. There’s a reason all these half-elves keep popping up.
- They live long lives but have really short memories. Long term memory for an elf is about 20 years. Beyond that, things start to fade. It’s one reason that Elves can seem immature despite being around for hundreds of years, and why no matter how much they practice they don’t actually seem to end up all that great at anything.
- They are the dreams of the forest. Elves only appeared in these woods around the same time as the first human settlers. The sleeping psyche of the forest spirit took on aspects of the humans. When it was just woodsmen and rangers, there were only wood elves. When the first of the noble hunting parties arrived, the High Elven city began to form. Elven fatalism comes from the inner knowledge that one day, the dream will end.
- They have no sense of taste. Either in terms of flavour or fashion. This is why their society seems so rigid – once long ago a benevolent traveller convinced them that no one would take them seriously if they carried on like that. They don’t dare move away from the guidance he left, as they can’t tell if they’ll end up looking really foolish. The food thing is why they’re generally thin.
- They came from the future, to doom the past. These Elves are an offshoot of humanity from the deep future. They came back to ensure their society (which dooms the planet) will survive in a closed-loop. The other elves can smell the gene-splicing but don’t know what to make of it.
- Socks. Every victim is found barefoot. The detectives suspect some kind of foot fetish but actually this sicko just wants a bigger group of friends for his sock-puppet theatre. Although he can only have two friends at a time, the range of voices is getting impressive.
- Regrets. Often this kind of killing spree results in a whole mess of unquiet spirits, seeking some of cure for the pains they acquired in life. Not this time. The psychics say that despite the mess on the walls, floor and ceiling, there’s something almost peaceful about the crime scenes. Somewhere though a collection of frustrations, broken promises, missed opportunities and old wounds is growing.
- Brains. The visitor just needs a little more computing power and this is the only medium that’ll do the job. If only you could check out the specs before making the purchase, this could all have been over by now.
- Hobbies. After every death, some niche interest finds a new fan among their number. For a few months the murders stop as a new hobby takes up the killer’s time. Before long though the stolen-shine wears off, the passion fades and its time for something new. How about Golf?
- Library Cards. It’s a drastic way of getting more books from the library to be sure. But whilst credit and bank cards are tracked, no one is really watching out for the City Library Service.
- Recipes. All the deaths take place in kitchens, as someone cooks a recipe passed down from grandparents or cousins or old lovers. The killer’s writing a cookbook but they don’t have any family recipes of their own. This way, it becomes theirs.
- Lives. This killer is pretty derivative.
- Subway cards. The killer refuses to pay for public transport, the very idea makes them insane with rage. But they’ve got to get around somehow and they’re not going to help kill the planet in a car, no sir.
- Fingers and Toes. How else does anyone count past 20?
- Litter. Receipts, scrunched-up napkins, broken pens, empty coffee cups, wrappers – their absence has been overlooked so far. There’s a hoarder in this city whose collection is growing slowly but steadily, and no one would guess why they keep these bits of detritus and not others. The Waste God is happy with his follower though.