Monster Taxonomy #DnD #RPG #biology

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Okay, I know. I went to Vegas, and you don’t care. Fine. Back to 1e AD&D.

My friend and I are developing a game system. It’s unlikely it’ll ever see the commercial light of day, but it constantly keeps me thinking about what I like and dislike about game design. I had an idea that’s apparently not novel (I’ve never even read Shadowrun, let alone played it), and it was brought up a couple of weeks ago on Facebook: Monster taxonomy.

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Obviously, I think it’s a fun idea. Despite someone complaining that the mere discussion of monster taxonomy was stifling creativity and story, the only use for developing taxonomy is creative in nature, producing a story element with no real mechanical effect. All taxonomy would do (at least as I envision it) is tell the player how closely related two species are. Are elves homo sapiens dryadalis (a subspecies of human), or are they something like dryadalis sapiens (in an entirely different genus from humans)? This would depend on your origin story for each species. Matching the nomenclature with the origin story can be clever and fun, but as a story element, players and GMs that disagree could completely ignore it.

And that was today’s lesson on how to take something nerdy and make it even nerdier.

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