What is The Unconventional?
The Unconventional aims to bring Roleplaying into the 21st century by returning it to its roots. Simultaneously a project of restoration and new creation, we’re engaged in a long-term project that is half “This Old RPG” and half “Queer Eye for the Creative Roleplayer.”
Created with an eye toward world-building, The Unconventional is for Players and Game Masters alike, and also for game creators, featuring a royalty-free license. Even those who are uninterested in gaming will find these books useful when researching and creating original fictional worlds.
We’re starting with Fantasy Gaming because it has the most unquestioned assumptions. We love Fantasy. We also hate it, sometimes, when it become cliche or fails to make sense.
Fantasy Roleplaying is a bit like a great mansion that has been remodeled fifty times in as many years. JRR Tolkien laid the foundation, Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson meticulously built the original structure, a simple but sturdy farmhouse, and everyone who has come along since has added to it.
Some of those additions have been obsessively faithful to the original style, others have been daring and offbeat, and some have been decadent and wasteful, adding yet another tower higher than the last one just for the sake of being “bigger and better.”
In all this time, almost no-one had been paying attention to the basement. When Tolkien laid the foundation, he was building on a great network of stories and myths, a massive subterranean network of caves and grottos filled with horrors and wonders, traps and treasures. A veritable dungeon, if you will, one that proceeds down to the heart of the Earth.
Here there be dragons.
Created by a University Professor with a Ph.D. in Game and Comic Book narrative, and written by a diverse cast including lifetime roleplayers, fantasy authors, comic creators, and students of game writing, each book in the Unconventional series will take apart the conventions of a beloved but overworked gaming standard, show you where it came from and how it ticks, and offer a range of inspirations for what it could be.
From realistic economics to sexual mores, and from rule-breaking comedy in the vein of Terry Pratchett to desperate scheming in the vein of George R. Martin, The Unconventional will surprise you at every turn, but every surprise will be earned, every turnabout will make sense. You’ll never look at gaming the same way again.
The Unconventional Dwarf
The Unconventional Dwarf is the first book in the series, and it takes a hard look at one of the most pigeonholed races in Fantasy. In addition to exploring the roots of the “conventional” dwarf, this book will present you with a range of original Dwarven races and cultures that are radically different and yet all retain something basically Dwarven.
Inside you will discover:
- The Nanogyn, a network of matriarchal tribes that broke away from male-dominated Dwarven culture and are now feared for their prowess.
- Thalassic Dwarves, island-dwellers who have mastered the art of cave diving and possess the secret of breathing water.
- The Mono, a deeply divided Dwarven culture built upon physical perfection, philosophical rationalism, and belief in their own superiority
- The Anma Namdi’me, spacefaring and shape-changingDwarves, and their dark mirror, the Ib’zur Makim
- The Pumili: a great empire that has conquered most of humankind with combination of trade, negotiation, and Romanesque military might
- Hive Dwarves: did you know that Dwarves use spades, not axes? do you know why they sometimes forget to wear pants? you will…
- The Gamda: a diasporic people with a rich mystical tradition that takes the influence mediaeval Hasidic and Kabbalistic Judaism had on Tolkien and makes it explicit
- The Novus: short-lived Dwarves with a culture of ever-shifting fashions driven by an obsession with adventure and glory