To accomplish this I thought it might be best to have a sliding scale of racial choices.
Str | Halflingon (Monk) - Halflingon (Assassin) - Pixie (Flying Illusionist)
Int | Naga (Healer) -------- Naga (Berserker) ----- Bugaroo (Cowboy)
Wis | Andworvian (Defender) - Andworvian (Artificer) - Troll (Juggernaut)
Dex | Cyclops (Trader) -------- Cyclops (Seer) --- Treefolk (Plant Druid)
Con | Elfulan (Bard) ------- Elfulan (Shifter) - Fungaloids (Spore Thrower)
Cha | Haniver (Puppet Master) - Haniver (Psion) - Robot (Exorcist/Paladin)
Multiple Low Ability Scores = Player's Choice (from any world)
Multiple 8s - Bipeds/Centaurids/Beast Men
Multiple 5s - Talking Beast/Intelligent Dire Animal
Multiple 3s - Magical Beast (Dragon, Manticore, Medusa)
Rather than have 18+ races, I decided that the main six "civilized" races would have a second class option. The classes are listed in parenthesis. I'll rename a lot of the races and classes later, but it gives you an idea of what I'm going for.
I explained my weird Middle-Earth/Star Trek hybrids a little bit in my previous post. By using those hybrids I'm hoping that the players won't fall into the same old stereotypes, yet the concepts are familiar enough that they can probably make up character background information without my help. I'd like for some of these societies and cultures to be my players creations as much as my own. Others are a little more exotic. Naga are like centaurs, if you replace the horse bits with giant snake. Bugaroos are insect cowboys who ride giant millipedes and shoot chitinous projectiles. Hanivers look like parasitic manta rays who attach to their victims spinal column and take over their body. Hanivers look like this.
Humans will have 3 class choices, Fighter, Magic-User, and Mixed. Humans get more flexibility and ability choices when leveling. Nonhuman classes have fixed abilities as they level, but they are often talents that humans can never pick. Thief class is absent, those abilities are going to be part of the skill system.
I need to work out saving throws too. I like the old school saving matrix with Poison and Death Ray and all that good stuff. However, I'm pretty lazy and I just mapped out 21 classes to create, so... we'll see. I'm excited to start writing these classes up and sharing a post for each of them on the blog. I'm particularly pleased with the backstory for the robot exorcists, but that's a post for another day.