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

Since you want to know about dragonborn...

In the FR setting;
were a race of draconic creatures native to Abeir, Toril's long-sundered twin. During the Spellplague, dragonborn were transplanted from Abeir to Toril
And the origins of the species;
Some legends of Abeir told that Io, the first and greatest of the dragon gods, created the dragonborn as servants for the first dragons.
or another view;
The Platinum Cadre posited an alternative theory in their efforts to spread the worship of Bahamut, that the dragonborn were the ancient creations of the Platinum Dragon.

Now, in the DragonLance setting, dragonborn are generally considered to the draconian race and they have a different origin story;
Created in order to fill the ranks of the dragonarmies of the Dark Queen Takhisis, the generals of the dragonarmies generally used draconians as shock troops. They are not natural creatures of Krynn. They were created from the eggs of metallic dragons using dark magic called the corruption ritual.

So let's go to other races.... well, at least in the earlier versions of the DragonLance setting, their were no half-elves or half-orcs, so no inter-species or inter-racial concerns there.

Now, in Greyhawk, half-elves and half-orcs exist, but other than saying that they are the offspring of human/elf or human/orc parents, nothing else is said. But of course as others pointed out, early sources indicate that with orcs breed with anything the result is almost always an orc. So maybe orcs are just bastards and mongrols, but again, it was never important enough for anyone to say much more than that.

So, again you said you are interested in all of this for world building, but are you rebuilding FR or some other setting? Are you building something new of your own? Then are you just looking for ideas? Because any answer you come up with is acceptable. Their is no single solutions. And finally, don't worry about it that much.

Honestly, decades ago I thought as you did, that to competently build a world, I had to have every detail worked out (though I admit I never worried about the offspring of inter-species intercourse). But you don't. And I will strongly emphasize that if you are going to this level of detail for your players, you are absolutely wasting your time. If you are doing it for your own edification, fine. But your players will not care. They won't. If you make a plot line or story interaction based around this, they will simple accept whatever you layout, whether it is "true" or not.

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aramis erak

Coming at this from a rationalist perspective, and looking at current taxonomic vs genetics...
Most interspecies breeding only works within genus, viably, rarely within subfamiliy, with sterile within subfamily or family.

Given the multiple D&D half-breeds... it's pretty clear they are all Family Hominidae, subfamily Homininae, quite possibly all genus Homo.

It's why, when I do break down and run D&D, I disallow half-races... except when magic is used to enable it. Which makes the half-orcs even more painful a reminder - rape on multiple levels.

aramis erak

@ClaytonCross, you can't have a rule for everything. And until now I've never seen anyone interested in a rule for cross-breeding.
Given that they exist in some non-skeevy games, and in several very skeevy ones...
Non-skeevy: Rolemaster. A whole raft of useful spells for nursmaids and midwives, too.
BECMI D&D allows half-elves and even quarter-elves... so there is implied mechanic... half or more count as elves; under half as humans.
I know a couple other games I've read have had rules for it, too... but I cannot recall which. (ISTR Jorune.)

Skeevey: FATAL.

If there's a literary element, there's someone out there who wants to read it, watch it, or roleplay it. Even socially unacceptable things.


So let's go to other races.... well, at least in the earlier versions of the DragonLance setting, their were no half-elves or half-orcs, so no inter-species or inter-racial concerns there.

Half-elves were a core element of Dragonlance from the first novel and the first module. Tanis Half-Elven is pretty much the protagonist leader of the series. :)

Orcs do not seem to exist in Krynn so no half-orcs, but there are still half-ogres as well.


It's why, when I do break down and run D&D, I disallow half-races... except when magic is used to enable it.

I did this for a few campaigns, mechanically half races were the same but narratively they were subspecies of the non-human half so I had "gray orcs" instead of half-orcs and they fit alongside normal green orcs and various variants from monster books like black orcs.

Narratively I also allowed origins of mechanical halves to be stuff like a ritual that infused the mystical essence of dragon power or an outsider into a mortal or their bloodline.


Old myths & tales have tons of interbreeding between gods, humans, fey-folk, spirits, dwarves, trolls etc etc. The general approach is that these are all created separately, by the gods (etc), but can all interbreed.

In my version of Primeval Thule the Elves are actually human-descended time travellers from a distant future Mars. But that kind of Modernist approach is much better in swords & sorcery than as a general default.


Mod Squad
Staff member
Oh, Great another person who thinks only they understand this is a fantasy game and thinks the rules of the world don't matter....

Hardly. It isn't that I think only I understand a thing, nor that I think the rules of the world don't matter.

I think the rules of our real world don't matter to the game world, is all.

Let me guess your a story GM how hand waves inventory management?

I don't worry about inventory management when the PCs are flush with cash, and are in a place where resupply is easy. If there is no difficulty getting the inventory, managing it is not interesting, and wastes valuable time at the table. My players would rather be in an exciting fight or tense negotiation or virtually anything other than counting exactly how many iron rations they have.

But, do be careful - this discussion is about the ideas, not us as people. Slapping a label on me to dismiss my point is weak, ad hominem rhetoric. It doesn't stand up well.

Look, I am not saying your wrong but forget genetics (Not once did I mention genetics, so your the only one talking about that)

The idea that one species needs to be an "offshoot" of another to interbreed comes from the real world and our genetics.

you don't expect a human to sleep with a horse and create a Centaur.

Um... Greek mythology says otherwise?

There's a couple of competing stories about the origin of centaurs. In one, Centaurus was a man (with perhaps some godly blood in there somewhere, depending on the version of the story) who mates with the Magnesian mares. So, yes, a human sleeps with horses and begets centaurs.

Alternately, the centaurs come from King Ixion seducing... a cloud. Ixion had been trying to seduce Hera, and so Zeus made a cloud look like Hera. Ixion got busy with the cloud, and they birthed Centaurus, the first centaur. This hardly makes more sense than the prior version, biologically speaking. How more centaurs happen... is kinda foggy in this version. But they happen somehow.

Oh, and the Minotaur comes from the wife of Minos, mating with a white bull.

And, to top it off, Medusa, a human cursed by the gods to have snakes for hair, upon her death gives birth to... a giant, and a winged horse. 'Cause that makes sense, too!

If that happens one time and never before or again it makes since their is an in world reason for it.

If it happens once, and never again... you don't get a population. You get an individual. The Minotaur doesn't become a race of minotaurs, because there's only one of him, and he finds it really hard to get a date.

But, in any event, mythologies often have the various races that appear have origins with the gods of the pantheon and what amounts to the various magical spirits of the world. We don't need Elves, humans, and orcs don't have to be "offshoots" of each other to interbreed. The idea that breeding comes from "offshoots" falls apart when dragon, celestial, and infernal blood get into the mix. There's no reason to think that dragons are offshoots of humans, or vice-versa, but we get dragon ancestry as a reason for magical power among humans.

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.

Mostly consistent. I mean... magic, you know.

They introduce that some races can hybridize so they should state why, when, and which ones.

Generally, when, and which ones, sure. Why? Not so much. Not everything needs to be explained. It only needs to have a "why" if that is going to be a plot-relevant issue in the campaign that the PCs can interact with. I don't need to know if dragons and dragonborne are actually related unless a dragonborne PC is in line to be Queen of Dragons, or something.

Nothing about that requires real-world genetics and your condescending implication that this is a pointless exercise...

For a pointless exercise... you're putting a lot of effort into it. Next time, I suggest you ignore things that you find pointless, rather than get up in arms of them.

is a meaningless post attacking people

Dude. I didn't attack anyone. I made no statement about any real person at all. So, the tirade here... not really called for.

Please tone it down a bit. And definitely don't react like this to other posters. I can put up with this, but if you get in the face of regular posters, I won't really be able to let it pass.


Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
Not to get into some of the weeds of this thread, but if it’s lore you’re looking for, Forgotten Realms has in it’s publishing history discussed and detailed Half-Dwarves

In lore, dwarves could mate with humans, gnomes, halflings, and elves, with the half-dwarf/elves being known colloquially as “dwelf/dwelves”

Since there are a bunch of outsiders not made of matter as we know it (what is the atomic weight of Lawful Good?) that have long histories of having kids with humanoids, we can probably assume that any (and probably every) humanoid in D&D-land has a little bit of "weird matter" in their DNA. Maybe not enough to give you tiefling traits or anything like that, but enough to circumvent cross-species evolutionary issues (particularly when the other humanoid also has a bit of "weird matter" in their DNA). Think of it as "junk DNA" that gets triggered into being "nonjunk" by the exposure to someone else's "junk DNA."

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