So, previous Largely Finished But Unworkable Iteration of A Wilder World represented the concept usually referred to as race in fantasy RPGs by the use of Folk Qualities, which were the same as any other character-defining Character Quality (the basic building block of character concept in AWW) in complexity and impact, just with some special rules regarding things like prerequisites. The basic rule was that you had to take one Folk Quality, but you could take more than one.
There were a few problems with this.
First, there was the exceptions. Some Character Qualities weren’t quite folk types, but could take the place of one: Automaton, Undead, etc. You could have those alongside a Folk Quality to be something a zombie elf or a steam-driven dwarf, but you could also *just* be an Automaton or an Undead. The reason they weren’t just Folk Qualities was one part that they didn’t have all the same external pieces to hook into, and one part that there’s a connotation to “Folk Quality” that doesn’t apply if you don’t have a folk.
Second, making folk type occupy the same level of character resource as any other quality and making every character have one means either you reduce the amount of component pieces you have to build your character or you increase the power and complexity of all characters at chargen by the magnitude of one major piece.
Third, this system forced all the myriad different types of people/beings you could play as to be defined at not just the same power level but the same approximate complexity and level. Do you know how hard it is to describe humans and halflings in terms of special abilities that look like a parity choice alongside semi-humanoid snakes and arachnids? It means making the simplest (from a human’s point of view) character types more complicated than they need to be, and trying to make the more complicated (ditto) ones simpler.
The current AWW build has you picking three qualities at level one, with a bit more of a structured approach. The recommendation is you pick one outstanding personal attribute (from a long list… we’re not talking STR/DEX/CON/INT/WIS/CHA but more like Charm, Honor, Fury, Strength, Tranquility, Valor, Perception, Intuition, Valor, Cowardice, Dexterity, Empathy, Presence, Willpower, Ingenuity, Knowledge, and many more) to represent your character’s heroic potential, one character type/skillset quality (with things like Alchemist, Fool, and Scholar alongside the more traditional choices like Bard, Druid, Expert Treasure Hunter, and Warrior) to represent your heroic archetype, and one from any category including those ones, signature gear, magical ability, etc. to represent your heroic edge.
As previously described, those qualities are all less a collection of concrete special abilities and more a descriptive rundown of “So here’s what this makes you good at.”/”Here’s what this lets you do.”
The “Folk Quality” concept does not exist. Instead, separately from your three foundational heroic qualities, you pick one Nature. This includes the standard fantasy folk types and the unique ones created for the A Wilder World setting (including the aforementioned reptilian and arachnid folks), but also the fundamentally different natures, like the undead and mechanical ones.
The only really mechanical list is a list of things that every Nature shares is a list of areas they have advantage and disadvantage in, here meaning a simple +1 or -1 bonus to result checks. Like a Quality’s scope, they may be defined rather loosely.
For instance, Humans have a -1 on perception-and-intuition related tasks compared to others, but a +1 when it comes to adapting to or withstanding environments and enduring pain or physical deprivation. That’s Humanity: a bit dull of senses compared to most beings with similar sensory organs, but can overcome anything and thrive anywhere.
And that’s really all the game needs to say about Humans, because since it’s being written for a presumed audience of human beings, there’s no need to modify your assumptions. With Dwarves, Gnomes, and Pixies, though, there has to be some discussion about stature. For characters of a non-biological and/or non-living nature, the lack of a metabolism and what it means for things like fatigue, hunger, and natural healing must be addressed.
And so on.
We could represent these things in mechanical terms, with statistics and rules that govern the statistics and then special abilities that modify them, but A Wilder World is at its core a storytelling game, even while it eschews a lot of typical narrativist components. Changing your character’s Nature doesn’t change the rules of the game, but the rules of the story.