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Are the Races of D&D races of Human or seperate Species according to lore?

PsyzhranV2

Explorer
Except, well, canon. But, other than that...
5e is walking that back. Most Orcs are disinterested in sex with non-Orcs except as a way to strengthen their tribe by bringing in new blood. As a result, they are very strict in choosing their mates. Most "savage" Half-Orcs are the result of political marriages between allied Orc and Human tribes.
 
This, to a degree. The word "ethnicity" is also a word that looks too modern to put in the game. "Races" in D&D are things like dwarf, orc, goblin, and elf. Gygax's early modules referred to non-human creatures like bugbears and gnolls as "humanoids". I prefer the term "demihuman", at least in a setting where human dominance is inferred. I like the implicit/explicit "fantasy racism" of "demihuman". In more cosmopolitan settings, or among parties or groups that are majority non-human, I use the less offensive "metahuman", a term I shamelessly cribbed from Shadowrun. I mean, except in like, elf society. In high elf society I imagine that everyone who is not an elf is just looked down upon as a lesser being, full stop.
I'm pretty use metahuman wan't first coined in Shadowrun. Comics where the original source I think.
2nd Edition (and other editions) used demi-human mostly for elves, dwarves, and the other 'goodly' races and humanoid for orcs, goblins, and the other 'evil' races.

3rd edition used the humanoid type for all of the less fantastical races that have two arms and two legs and are not too big, including humans, elves, orcs, and so on, but excluding things like pixies (fey type) and mind flayers (aberration type) and giants (giants type).
 

Hussar

Legend
Canon changes, and also doesn’t matter unless a group chooses to care about it. 🤷‍♂️
BURN THE HERETIC!!!!!!

LOL. Good grief, we had four years of people constantly bitching about canon changes to show you how important people think canon is.

I totally agree with you, but, good luck in convincing others.

Now, as far as the "political marriages" thing goes, where is that from? I'm looking at the 5e monster manual right now and it says:

5e Monster Manual page 245 said:
Luthic, the orc goddess of fertility... demands that orcs procreate often and indiscriminately... The orcs' drive to reproduce runs stronger than any other humanoid race, and they readily crossbreed with other races.
That doesn't really sound like much of a change.

Granted, there is a line in the 5e PHB about barbarian orc and human tribes sometimes coming together. But, let's be honest here, the whole "product of rape" thing is still very much part of the game even if it is largely lampshaded in the PHB.
 

lall

Explorer
2e book of elves: “The other gods saw this example and set about infusing life into their own sadly misshapen vessels, with varied results. Alas, all other races were but sad imitations of the Elves.”
 

PsyzhranV2

Explorer
Now, as far as the "political marriages" thing goes, where is that from? I'm looking at the 5e monster manual right now and it says:

That doesn't really sound like much of a change.

Granted, there is a line in the 5e PHB about barbarian orc and human tribes sometimes coming together. But, let's be honest here, the whole "product of rape" thing is still very much part of the game even if it is largely lampshaded in the PHB.
Volo's Guide to Monsters said:
Half-Orcs
The lore of humans depicts orcs as rapacious fiends, intent on coupling with other humanoids to spread their seed far and wide. In truth, orcs mate with non-orcs only when they think such a match will strengthen the tribe. When orcs encounter human(sic) who match them in prowess and ferocity, they sometimes strike an alliance that is sealed by mingling the bloodlines of the two groups.

A half-orc in an orc tribe is often just as strong as a full-blooded orc and also displays superior cunning. Thus, half-orcs are capable of gaining status in the tribe more quickly than their fellows, and it isn’t unusual for a half-orc to rise to leadership of a tribe.
Copied from DnDBeyond, so I don't have a page number. It's underneath the table of Orc names in the section Orcs: the Godsworn in Chapter 1 of the book.
 

Hussar

Legend
Cool. Don't have that book, so, was unaware of the changes. Totally see why though. It's a fair bit more PG 13.

Funny how WotC can now get away with chucking decades of lore - the whole product of rape thing goes all the way back to AD&D and possibly before - without pushback. It's spectacular to see.
 

Paul Farquhar

Adventurer
Cool. Don't have that book, so, was unaware of the changes. Totally see why though. It's a fair bit more PG 13.

Funny how WotC can now get away with chucking decades of lore - the whole product of rape thing goes all the way back to AD&D and possibly before - without pushback. It's spectacular to see.
"Before" would be Tolkien, and Tolkien's half orcs are the product of selective beading by Saruman.
 

Paul Farquhar

Adventurer
I honestly don't recall half orcs from Tolkien. Is that a Similarian thing?
No, Lord of the Rings (not the movie). First appearance is Saruman's spy at the Prancing Pony. Tolkien is vague about if they are men of Dunland bred with orcs, or humans corrupted into orcs in imitation the way Morgoth corrupted elves to make the first orcs.
 

MGibster

Explorer
I don't typically concern myself with modern notions of species when it comes to fantasy games. In setting I'm working on (but may never play) I decided all the sentient beings were created by the gods and while some of them can produce viable offspring others cannot. But I'm taking some of my queues from ancient myths where a woman can have sex with a bull and produce the Minotaur. When that's a possibility where does the modern notion of species enter into it?
 

aramis erak

Explorer
Kinda. The system will always, always color the way the setting manifests.
I concur
That's to be expected and no one should really lose sleep over it.
And here, you jump the shark. It's directly something that designers NEED to keep in mind. They need to use it. GM's as well.

But, and I suspect this is more your point, one thing that WotC brought to the table was the idea that the game should have a flagship setting. Not just in the sense of a setting that had a few more books, but one that is incorporated into the rules.
Not quite. The rules ARE a setting. That's my point. The, as you dubbed it, "Flagship" should reflect the rules, and vice versa... and there was implicit and explicit setting material in ALL editions of D&D. In OE, it's very vague. In AD&D, there's a lot of setting built into the classes (monks and druids especially) and . 3E has a bunch of setting, too... much of it built into classes, races, magic items, and spell descriptions. Ignorable, but still present. And classes and races have strong mechanical impact, too.

I think this was one of the larger missteps by WotC. We'll never know whether I'm right because WotC also made some pretty radical changes to the rules and did a few other things that changed the landscape. There's no way to analyze what would have happened if they'd only changed the focus on setting. The flailing between settings with each edition is a symptom of this.
Well, we can draw some inferences, and both WotC and Paizo did plenty of market research before launching their games...
At the time they were prepping 3E, WotC decided they needed a flagship... but picked the wrong one. The fans generally seem to prefer the Realms. And the mechanics for the realms upped the power level.

When Paizo realized they wouldn't be able to support 4E the way they had 3E, they started their research. They, also, decided they needed a setting - Golarion is a more gonzo setting than either Greyhawk or the Realms.

Meanwhile, 4E was trying the no strong setting elements... Which, as JeffB notes, made it easier to trim and prune... but it also meant more work for the GM. 4E isn't a bad game... but between the lack of D&D feel, and the lack of a strong set of setting elements in the rules, plus no explicit favored setting...

Then, the 5E era dawned. The realms are it. No mods (just specific racial labels) for the realms. ANd 5E has set new records for sales.

Paizo isn't ditching Golarian with 2E, either.

The preponderance shows a reasonably strong correlation to good setting integration and good sales.

Hell, I picked up Pugmire for the setting.... and, largely, it's worked in through in-character narrative blocks, and "calling" descriptions. plus some introductory material...

Complex rules games all have a built in setting built into the mechanics, and this might not match the prose. People tend to complain, loudly, when they don't match.
 

doctorbadwolf

Adventurer
Until 3E, it was fairly strongly implied that rape was the cause for most half-orcs in AD&D. So while it's not of need, it's definitely "as intended by Gygax"....
I don’t give the least little damn what Gygax intended. Bad ideas don’t become good because their from the creator of a thing. DnD has improved over time in many varied ways, and this is one of them.
 

doctorbadwolf

Adventurer
BURN THE HERETIC!!!!!!

LOL. Good grief, we had four years of people constantly bitching about canon changes to show you how important people think canon is.

I totally agree with you, but, good luck in convincing others.

Now, as far as the "political marriages" thing goes, where is that from? I'm looking at the 5e monster manual right now and it says:



That doesn't really sound like much of a change.

Granted, there is a line in the 5e PHB about barbarian orc and human tribes sometimes coming together. But, let's be honest here, the whole "product of rape" thing is still very much part of the game even if it is largely lampshaded in the PHB.
That quote literally doesn’t even obliquely imply rape.

And canon is completely without any importance outside what an individual fan or group of fans at a table think of it.

Further, old edition canon isn’t canon when playing the new edition, unless you are home-brewing a world and add it in on your own.

5e half orcs are no more the product of rape than 5e humans.
 

MGibster

Explorer
Further, old edition canon isn’t canon when playing the new edition, unless you are home-brewing a world and add it in on your own.
He's right, y'all. WotC has taken steps to change the interpretation of half-orc origins from what it was back in the old days. I was never particularly bothered, intrigued, or offended by the origins of half-orcs and I can't say I'm particularly upset that WotC has changed it. D&D isn't the same today as it was in 1982 and I'm okay with that. It won't be the same in 2046 either.

And really, how many people have really noticed the change? In what was has this changed the way people play half-orcs or react to them? But I come from the perspective that PC race doesn't really matter very much. Most published adventurers will play exactly the same whether the PCs are dwarfs, elves, humans, or half-orcs.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Oh, Great another person who thinks only they understand this is a fantasy game and thinks the rules of the world don't matter.... Let me guess your a story GM how hand waves inventory management? Look, I am not saying your wrong but forget genetics (Not once did I mention genetics, so your the only one talking about that), you don't expect a human to sleep with a horse and create a Centaur. If that happens one time and never before or again it makes since their is an in world reason for it. The same is true with all the other races. I am not saying the should follow genetics but that they should have a consistent world. If all races can inter breed where are the half-Gnome half-orcs? They introduce that some races can hybridize so they should state why, when, and which ones. …. Nothing about that requires real-world genetics and your condescending implication that this is a pointless exercise is a meaningless post attacking people for talking about D&D and providing nothing tangible or constructive to the conversation. If your here to imply that people are stupid for talking about D&D rules and mechanics of world building … please start your own thread. This thread is about which races can mix with which other races and why. If you don't want to talk about he topic other then to say the topic is stupid, don't post on a thread. If you actually have something constructive to say on the subject, the please post that with out the dismissive comments about the subject of the thread.
The MM and PHB indicate that Half-Orcs can be of Orcs with any other humanoid race, including humans, dwarves, gnomes, what have you. Half-Orcs and Half-Elves in 5E lore are not neccesarily half-human: the Chaos magic of Orcs and Elves is what makes the half-races possible, same with Half-Ogres.
 
Just wanted to add that in the Dark Sun campaign setting the lore had it that once Halflings were the only intelligent race, dominated and controlled the world, and that due to a ecological/magical catastrophe they caused way back when, some of them turned into Elves, Dwarves, Humans, etc. so that all those races actually descend from Halfling stock in that setting. No gods created them. (Which of course contradicts what Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes asserts, that every Elf owes his/her ultimate origin to Corellon Larethian, even if the god is unknown in that Elf's world. Since the book passed through the hands of an Arcanaloth editor, maybe take what it says with a grain of salt? :unsure:)
 

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