Thursday, February 20, 2014

Humans, A Love Letter

     I often refer to the human species in the third person, instead of the collective pronoun of "we." This is partly due to extremists on either side of the socio-politio-religious (yes, I made up a word) spectrum that tend to be quite vocal about things that really shouldn't matter so much. Humans can do and say a lot of really disgusting things that make me ashamed to be included in their number.

     On the other hand, if I may borrow from one of the greatest audio shows of all time, the words of Spock, portrayed by Leonard Nimoy:

"Humans drafted the Magna Carta, invented the abacus, composed Injubulus Symphony, painted "Starry Night", danced the Dying Swan, built Stonehenge, the Empirial City, the pyramids of Giza, discovered radium, spun sugar into cotton candy, fashioned gutta-percha put into a boll, and cast it in dimpled white, hit it with a long stick five hundred yards into a tin cup and made the practitioners of this feat rich men."

     I'm really kind of a fan of humans. This translates into my gaming habits, as there's many games out there that let you pick not only male or female, but species as well. I always roll human. Sure, Dwarves might be stronger, Krogans might be more resilient, Asari might live a thousand years longer, and Elves might be bastards, but give me a human any day. Us humans, we can do anything. I can't, for the life of me, remember the source of the quote, nor can I the quote itself, but on Star Trek, probably Deep Space Nine, there was a quote about humans that's stuck with me. You take 10 Klingons, you've got 10 fierce warriors. 10 Ferengi, you've got 10 shrewd businessmen. 10 Romulans, 10 expert spies. But you take 10 humans, you don't know *what* you're dealing with. They could be anything. You can't plan for humans.

     We're so unpredictable that we even buck our own science sometimes. According to the food chain, we should be at the mercy of Lions and Tigers and Bears (oh, my), and on an individual level, there's very few humans that could survive an encounter with one of these higher-order predators unarmed. Only, we're so sneaky and unpredictable that we're more likely to, instead of facing one head-on, see the threat and do something like spend a few generations breeding a loyal pack of canine like a wolfhound or mastiff that will fight that predator for us, or build a tool that will propel bits of metal chemically at lethal velocity from a safe distance.
  • Rule 1: Humans cheat.
  • Rule 2: Humans cheat better than anything else that's ever existed within our environment.
  • Rule 3: Humans cheat so well that we've established verbal and conceptual constructs to describe cheating, as well as a library of symbols with which we can communicate these constructs to other humans, and machines that can carry those communications anywhere in the world at the speed of thought.
     So yeah. Humans suck sometimes. But I think, given the choices, I'm really happy to be a human.

     Sometimes.

6 comments:

Cody Connelly said...

It's a shame that so many people I talk to seem to find humans really boring to play. I can understand them being mechanically boring, but humans can literally be anything you want them to be. You can just look at our world and see how many rich cultures that our race has and you can just run with any one of them for your character. Its why I usually roll human as well.

another dave said...

Hear, hear! And that is why I usually choose to roll a non-magic, slash n' bash character, without the well stated reason behind the decision. Until now.

Toastrider said...

The problem is that humans are typically used as the 'baseline' for comparison with other races.

Now I wonder if I need to send Salem some of the Humanity F*** Yeah! threads I've seen in the /tg archives.

Erin Palette said...

If he reads my blog, he's seen it... I referenced it a month back.

Erin Palette said...

This is something which I have tried to avoid when writing Pellatarrum. I'm not sure how successful I have been at it, but it's something I'm cognizant of.

Cody Connelly said...

I definitely agree that you have to give the other humanoid races interesting and varied cultures as well. I also find it lazy when all elves or dwarves have the exact same culture, even if they're from two different nations or continents.

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