The Grove, a Fantasy Race for RPG or LARP Games

I’ve got little interest in following the game route career wise, not that I don’t think it is an incredibly valuable and wonderful route, but these days, I like keeping that part of my life a passion instead of a profession. That doesn’t mean any real gamer ever stops imagining and creating stuff (even if they have no practical or immediate  use for it, grin).  For me, that will probably take the form of an occasional blog post or meandering discussion over drinks. This time I’m pulling an old idea for a fantastic race out of the mental notebook called “The Grove”.


The Grove were literally transplanted to these lands. They arrived on the shores of the known world during the period of cataclysm, disembarking from their strange ships.  As tumultuous as these events were to the realms, The Grove told stories of absolutely apocalyptic events from across the eastern sea. The disasters that had almost broken the back of the empire were merely ancillary fall-out from even greater tragedies.

The Grove claimed that their homeland was doomed and that the elders of their race made The Sacrifice so that the young, vital portion of their people might escape. Though they do not speak openly of the details of what this sacrifice entailed, there is a profound aura of loss and reflection when they dwell on this topic.

Their willingness to reside in undeveloped or marginal areas, work relentlessly but patiently and preference to build rather than destroy quickly dissolved most suspicions the empires harbored about these strange arrivals. In the much-needed rebuilding, The Grove were a welcome respite from the internal strife and chaos that followed the cataclysm.


The Grove are humanoids, sharing the same basic size and shape as humans and other common races. They do not have a term for an individual of their kind and always refer to themselves as The Grove. When young, they have only a few distinguishing traits such as a distinct green pallor, more pronounced on the brows, cheeks and other facial features. Indeed, they might might even be mistaken for a human under very poor light or at a significant distance.  As they age, however, their physiology undergoes several changes such as mossy beards, leafy hair, bark “spurs” or ridges and hard, thorn-like claws.

The Grove reach maturity at the same rate as humans, but in their late teens they become subject to a powerful desire to wander and explore. This is the stage at which most humans that do not dwell near a Copse (a Grove community) encounter the The Grove. After a few decades, The Grove are inexorably drawn back to their Copse or strive to establish a new one.


All members of The Grove have an affinity for the collection, preparation and growing of both mundane and rare plants. Additionally, they require substantially less food than humans of the same size and activity level.

As they pass through their life cycle, The Grove can exercise some control of the basic nature and form of their life cycle.  This often manifests as extraordinary physical and physiological abilities and traits.

Cultural Knowledge:

The Grove have a peculiar life cycle compared to many other races. Wanderers and explorers in their youth, as they age they become more sedentary and begin to display more tree-like traits. Eventually, they become Rooted and form the small collection of trees found at the center of every Grove settlement (called a Copse).

These elders of the race become less and less responsive and lose their mobility.  Instead of dying in the human sense, they “root” in ancestral groves slowing becoming trees as their individuality diffuses into the Copse as a whole. Here they serve as a repository of knowledge, wisdom and guidance, but do not directly “rule” over their community.  In due time or under duress, the Rooted may Coppice, a process which gives rise to new members of The Grove.

Small copses have been established by the survivors in scattered places, but they are dim  shadows of the originals if legends are to be believed. Among themselves, The Grove tell stories of vast forests of towering elders in their homeland before the cataclysm. These are all lost, however, having sacrificed themselves to warp, grow and then die to form the great fleets that transported the younger of the species to these lands. After years adrift, these creaking and rotting hulks succumbed, but not before depositing the last of The Grove on these shores.

A few small trinkets and relics from the old lands remain among The Grove, invariably shaped from a few pieces of The Old Wood. Those Grove who know the whispering tongue claim they occasionally hear secrets and stories from these treasured remnants of the past.

If you enjoy reading fresh ideas in game content and design, you might also enjoy the professional work of my friend Brandes Stoddard at Harbinger of Doom.


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