So I'm thinking of running a game where the players are tiny. Borrowers style; maybe 2 inches tall.
I've got a setting for it, a reason they exist, differences set up between them and humans; but I'm still thinking about what being that small means. The physics of it are a particular sticking point in my mind. Theoretically, something that is that small should be able to fall a great distance and not be injured because of air resistance; like how you can drop an ant from several feet in the air and not hurt it. They would more than likely be substantially stronger than humans too, at least comparatively in terms of how much of their own body weight they could lift.
The difficulty as I see it comes in striking a balance between familiar and interestingly different. For instance, they should be able to climb and skitter about much easier than a human; which would enable them to get around and explore more easily. But should falling still injure them in a "Human" kind of way? Ie if they fall a few body lengths should it be theoretically fatal?
And what would a society of intelligent beings that small be like? Would farming be reasonable? Forging metal? Or would it be an unreasonable expenditure of time and effort to try and grow food when you can easily just gather it in massive quantities? Or to try to make your own things when you can just take them?
Would beings that small float on water like we do or would they, assuming they laid flat, not even break the surface?
I don't particularly need answers to any of these specific questions, I'm just looking to have a discussion about what it would be like to be 2 inches tall and the various things you'd have to consider when you were said height.
One of the things I remember from the Ghibli Borrowers movie was that water behaved differently for them. It sort of beaded up in big drops on them and they could swat it off.
I wonder how true that would be.
Except for that time when the boy says "Welp I guess your race is doomed! You're a dying breed!"
Out of fucking nowhere this kid channels hard core Nihilism and then is confused why arietty is kinda pissed at him.
The way I'd handle the weird scaling things is to say that while they externally look human, internally they've got different structures. So they might be a little bit proportionately stronger and more durable, but not as much as a two-inch human should be, because they've got a different skeletal system that's more porous and can't support as dense a muscle arrangement. This also helps with the issues of how a human's heat dissipation and moisture management are designed for something six feet tall, and scaling someone down directly would have them rapidly die of hypothermia and thirst. They've got different organs, with different ways of maintaining homeostasis, and you don't have to worry about them self-destructing.
>And what would a society of intelligent beings that small be like? Would farming be reasonable? Forging metal? Or would it be an unreasonable expenditure of time and effort to try and grow food when you can easily just gather it in massive quantities? Or to try to make your own things when you can just take them?
If anything I'd think these things would be even more important to a species that's essentially faced with the constant threat of kaiju attacks.
They look human but the inherent idea here is that they're magical constructs, homunculi, created for the purpose of doing specific work. After their creator dies or they are for some reason released from the spell enthralling them, they gain free will. And they're seen as pests or vermin so they're exterminated when found.
There's also a whole thing with them being quite different in terms of their reaction to injury and what constitutes a fatal injury, etc. It's not so much a thing of "how do I prevent my characters from just fucking dying" and more "how harrowing should the climb to the top of a dresser be?"
I'm leaning toward "Sorta", a mid range between "human rules" and "Realistic". Where they can fall farther, but not infinitely without getting hurt.
I can understand the need for that sort of thing in survival, but it becomes a question of expenditure of energy.
Is it better to create a little forge (somehow) and cut and then melt and form bits of metal from nails, for instance, into blades and armor, or should you just sneak into a home and steal a pin to use as a sword?
It becomes an issue of energy spent/risk taken vs end result. For the players I don't really care, but for the npcs I'm wondering if they, as a species, would go more tribal hunter gatherer or if they would try to find someplace reasonably safe and grow crops?
Or maybe it would vary.
>If anything I'd think these things would be even more important to a species that's essentially faced with the constant threat of kaiju attacks.
If you like that, I'd recommend CRIMSONS: THE SCARLET NAVIGATORS OF THE OCEAN, a manga about
a school of sockeye salmon going through their natural life cycle
It's probably best for them to get away from human settlements and take their chances with dumb creatures that might try to eat them instead of smart creatures that definitely want to kill them. Bone would be more useful than steel because it's relatively easy to harvest, but the largest settlements might have a forge depending on the population size. Fixed settlements are still the way to go because you can at least put up a net to stop birds attacking.
Let them skitter the fuck around as a standard action. Their sight blurs and they skitter forward at human walking speed for a few feet.
If a light is suddenly turned on in the room they're in, everyone has to roll a will save or skitter away randomly and involuntarily. If they succeed, they can choose whether and where to skitter.
Ooh! Also let them train mice, birds, lizards and rats as mounts. Maybe even spiders. And flowers can be harvested for nectar in addition to seeds and parts.
I actually had that in mind. That there would be "Homonculi hunters", essentially larger more combat ready homunculi that are created for the purpose of hunting and killing other, "feral" homunculi.
I like the idea of 6" people more. They can weild some household utensils as weapons. An idea I had a while back for an abandoned forest mansion overran by woodland critters featured fairies in the kitchen. Not pretty, lithe fairies either: ugly, knobbly little grey bastards. One of them, the biggest of the group, carried a potato peeler.
Other ideas include shrimp forks, toothpicks, eyedroppers full of toxic chemicals like lye, and shards of glass.
Bonus style points: magic mirror shards that reflect certain offensive spells.
This isn't my art but it's a good example of something I'd want to run.
Do the hunters also gain free will when their creator dies?
At this point I should probably point out the rather odd qualities of these critters:
The first thing to note is that they are, in a way, immortal. See, as long as some part of their original body remains, they are still alive. By which I mean, if you grabbed one of them and tore its head off, the body (or the head, whichever the player chooses to remain 'in') would remain alive. And if they were to, say, cut the head off of a bug or a mouse or something and affix it to that neck stump, that head would become theirs. The downside to this is that their bodies don't naturally heal, so if you break a leg, that leg stays broken forever unless you replace it.
Also, because they are made with magic, they have a bit of inherent magic to them. So while they can't normally cast spells or anything like that, if they break a finger or cut off a hand, it releases a bit of the magic in their bodies and allows them to cast spells of one kind or another.
So I fully expect characters to end up as horrifying patch works of creatures they've killed or just hastily assembled metallic prosthetics.
>Would farming be reasonable?
Yes, very much so. They might also ranch insects for their meat.
Risky. The smaller a thing is, the faster it heats up / cools down, and the closer it needs to be to the forge. It's still possible, though, if you use a furnace where you drop the metal ore into a fire, and the metal melts then flows out a hole down to your work area.
>Or would it be an unreasonable expenditure of time and effort to try and grow food when you can easily just gather it in massive quantities?
Regardless of what size you are, farming is easier than foraging.
Plus, you underestimate their need for food. As they are small, they no doubt reproduce QUICKLY, and can flood the everloving hell out of an area. Imagine how dense a city would be, if its residents could walk on walls, and could build structures 1000 times their height without much problem.
Beings that small, but human shape, would swim like humans. Surface tension is not magic. That's assuming the small creatures haven't evolved to float, which they probably would, given that they don't need bones as heavy.
You'd end up with a race that resembles sentient social spiders, or organised termites, with access to weaponry. Expect them to use poison and traps lot. Could these things be an apex predator? Yes, alarmingly easily.
Oh, and of course you'd get a variety of fetish autists trying to have sex with them. But you'd get that either way.
Leaf CUtter ants actually cut those leaves to act a substrate for farming a nutritious mold. A two inch tall human farming a square yard of mold, combined with some sort of dry storage would work. Heck, since mold doesn't need light or even to be on the ground, they could farm it vertically in the walls!
>the faster it heats up / cools down
What if you contracted your PC's perception of time? Make the larger world slower. That way fighting a rat is like fighting a panther and a human is a slow lumbering colossus.
Not necessarily. Smaller creatures tend to have faster metabolisms to compensate for heat loss, but they can run the gamut.
I'm suggesting it as an interesting work around for being able to move around a human-sized environment or not immediately get killed when they encounter something cat sized or larger.
Nerve impulses don't have to travel so far, so they would react proportionally faster.
>Oh, and of course you'd get a variety of fetish autists trying to have sex with them. But you'd get that either way.
Doubly so if they all started out as a man-made slave race.
Are you running it face to face? If so, I'd like to recommend doing it with 1" borrowers and to use 28mn figures as 1:1 scale representations. Would really help with immersion being able to compare the figure to everyday objects and so on. You could even use props to run some conflicts 1:1?
I'm not so much worried about "How" it works, I'm just trying to decide what will work. Ie, how or why they can survive dropping 2 feet isn't really the important thing, the question is "how far should I let them fall from a gameplay perspective"
It's balancing not lore.
Depends what sort of story you want to tell, and whether you want it to be more Ant Man or more Attack on Titan. Well, Attack on Titan is a bad example because of the pseudo flight but I hope you get what I mean.
You could have the safe fall distances scaled down relative to their size and you get a gritty survivalist game where they're skilled climbers having to sneak about and scaling up cupboards and stuff, or you give them similar safe fall distances to regular humans and they're diving off of tables to attack things.
I know that feel anon. It's a shame too cause it's a really cool setting idea and I really want to use it but I'm afraid I'd let it get weird.
Can I trade magical realms with someone else? Maybe a snot fetishist? Surely that never comes up.
The premise reminds me of the movie '9'. The setting was super amazing and i wish there was more content about it
Things could get interesting if there aren't easy ways to tell a homonculus is feral. On the one hand any new arrival could be a hunter sent to root out feral settlements, but on the other hand feral homonculi could hide in plain sight by pretending to be enthralled. It's a frightening scenario from either side.
I think just the idea of modern homunculi, when you could build with mechanical components.
I'm working on a setting where the only magic humans can do is golemancy.
And as a coming-of-age ritual, you fashion your own homunculi as a sort of companion. Most make them humanoids, but they can be anything. Some designs I quite like is a spider with a spool or thread as an abdomen, a lemur/monkey that folds up into a ball, and a dragon with a flint striker in its mouth.
Also, those well off have better materials, so butlers are made of porcelain
Hey, just to give my two cents, I think they could fall from about desk height without getting more than the breath knocked out of them or a sprained ankle. Cabinet height and you're looking at broken bones. I'm imaging what would happen to something the size inbetween things that size and things human size, so baby animals like puppies. It gives you some hardiness you'd expect of a constructed creature and an easy reference point