Here's an example: take your standard fantasy #rpg setting, with humans, elves, dwarves, orcs, giants, dragons, whatever other sophonts you may have. Remove the "humans". How does that change things?
@acodispo There are plenty of games that don't have humans. My question becomes: do you mean a party that happens to have no humans? Or a world with no surrogate humans? Or a campaign with no humanoids?
For me I think it was only Umdaar and Uranium Chef in which none of the players were human and none of the NPCs was explicitly human.
The party didn't have any Humans in Bulldogs either, but plenty of the NPCs were.
@DuskwoodZero I apologise: I think my usage of the term "campaign" was unclear! A fictional world in which homo sapiens do not exist, and this is the setting in which play takes place. Is that clearer? It sounds as if your first two examples might?
@acodispo Yea, by that definition I don't think any of the games i've run would qualify. Bulldogs, I think, didn't have "humans"... but they were still definitely humans.
@DuskwoodZero Would you be willing to unpack "but they were still definitely humans" a bit? I'm not familiar with Bulldogs.
@acodispo In Bulldogs humans are called "Arsubarans" because there isn't an Earth in that universe... but Arsubarans are for all intents and purposes humans. Their skin colors are the normal range, their hair and eye colors are +anime, their species aspects are all the typical human tropes for sci-fi settings: "natural adaptability" "we are everywhere" etc... their language is the common language, even though they're not and were never a major power in the cold-war universe they exist in.
@DuskwoodZero Got it. So that's essentially the same setup as in any standard fantasy setting, i.e. it isn't Terra, but there are still "humans" who are practically identical to homo sapiens. I'm becoming more curious and more curious what happens when you remove "humans" from that standard setup.
@acodispo There was a PBTA game Kickstarted a while ago in which the players create a civilization of non-anthropomorphic marine animals. Presumably humans still existed somewhere but since they were outside of the game's scope, thats probably the kind of thing your looking for. Unfortunately I can't recall it's name atm.
@DuskwoodZero @Yoric The games where you explicitly don't play human beings, whether or not there are humans in the world, sit in an adjacent conceptual space to what I'm thinking of. At least I think they do. Another example in that area would be Bunnies & Burrows. Oh and course that makes me think of Ironclaw, which probably fits my criteria, though I haven't played it.
@acodispo I don't think so, but that sounds promising.
I know of RPGs in which humans do exist, but you're playing while they all sleep, does it count? :)
@Yoric That sounds fun, what game is that? :o) But no, not what I was thinking of. Last year I ran a couple adventures in a fantasy settings with no single human analogue, and I'm curious whether others have done this & what their experience was.
@acodispo Tiny (the heroes are toys, they wake up when humans are asleep). I also think Fate of Cats but I haven't played it.
I feel like I'd be fine with it. I've been in some campaigns where there was a 'humans only' limitation, and it felt like part of the fantasy was just missing. Sometimes half the fun of escapism is being something other than human.
Also, I feel like a 'no humans' anywhere limit would help to build an attitude of racial equality, since there's no humans in the world to have as a baseline for comparison.
@BenKramer Yes, I think this question came up in my mind in response to a blog post about a "humans-only" campaign. Interestingly, I'm running a campaign now where "human" is the default for newly created characters, but new bloodlines & ancestries have been "unlocked" as the party discovers (meets) representatives of these groups in their explorations.
@BenKramer I guess once I started thinking about it it began to seem exceedingly strange to me that humans should be included in most fantasy worlds at all. What purpose does it serve? what is the rationale? And I do rather like the feeling of "no baseline" that comes about if you remove humans.
@nono I've not played it. Are there humans in Toon? Another way of asking might be: is there a baseline species choice?
@acodispo IIRC species is purely cosmetic. I only played it once or twice 25 years ago, I can't remember if there were humans but I'm pretty sure it didn't matter.
We are an inclusive Mastodon community for everything tabletop (and more).