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


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Beleriphon

Totally Awesome Pirate Brain
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."

Isn't that just a bunch of weird recessive genes then?

On half-whatevers. Half-elves are a thing because Elrond Half-Elven: his mother was a hamster an elf and his father smelt of elderberry was Numenorian. The children of this union could choose either to live their life an elf or the mortal life of a human. Elrond chose the former, his brother the later, and Liv Tyler Arwen chose mortal life as well.

Half-orcs are from Tolkien but he defined them as goblin-men so some kind of combination of goblins and humans (being that orcs and goblins are the same creature in Tolkien).
 
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Celebrim

Legend
Half-elves are a thing because Elrond Half-Elven: he mother was an elf and his father was Numenorian.

Well, in the case of Middle Earth we know from the author's commentary that both elves and humans were the same species. They differed from each other physically no more than two human ethnic groups would differ from each other physically. Any apparent differences in them was solely the result of differences between them on a spiritual level, that is they were physically very similar in their bodies but had very different souls.
 

Mercule

Adventurer
So the concept of half-elfs and half-orcs seems to imply that Orcs and Elves are actually human off shoots but I am not aware of any lore as to why or how this happened.

One of the best things about D&D is that there isn't a canonical answer to questions like this. D&D isn't a setting. It's a toolkit with which to build a setting. WotC has been nice enough, over the years, to have provided some settings made with that toolkit.

As others have said, half-elf and half-orc are largely due to Tolkien's influence on the game. Also, there was originally a strong human bias in the tone and mechanics of the game -- it was considered the only rational "frame of reference" for players who were all humans. From that perspective, it's humans that are special. That's why tieflings aren't elf/fiend hybrids and genasi aren't gnome/elemental hybrids. Humans are the axis around which everything else spins.

To the best of my knowledge, there are no official settings that have elves and/or orcs as part of the human "family tree". I've seen a couple of home brew settings that have done that. Personally, when I home brew, I tend to leave out half-elves and half-orcs. Even though I still keep the human bias (I'm an old gamer), I find half-elves and half-orcs to be a bit played out. I allow genasi, tieflings, aasimar, and the like, but those are never in the sense of a true-breeding race. They're either first generation (my mom didn't know that guy was Dagon) or a random manifestation of an ancient indiscretion.
 

Beleriphon

Totally Awesome Pirate Brain
Well, in the case of Middle Earth we know from the author's commentary that both elves and humans were the same species. They differed from each other physically no more than two human ethnic groups would differ from each other physically. Any apparent differences in them was solely the result of differences between them on a spiritual level, that is they were physically very similar in their bodies but had very different souls.

Which explains the difference in what happens when they die. Given the nature of the Silmarillion's creation story, and the fact that not even Manwe understands what happens to the souls of Men after they leave the Halls of Mandos. It's strongly implied they go to some of kind of Heaven like place where in Eru Ilúvatar resides, unlike elves who get reincarnated in the same bodies to live forever in Valinor.

For D&D though clearly we've taken a slightly different approach since the default involves Corelleon and Gruumsh,.
 

Isn't that just a bunch of weird recessive genes then?

On half-whatevers. Half-elves are a thing because Elrond Half-Elven: he mother was an elf and his father smelt of elderberry was Numenorian. The children of this union could choose either to live their life an elf or the mortal life of a human. Elrond chose the former, his brother the later, and Liv Tyler Arwen chose mortal life as well.

Half-orcs are from Tolkien but he defined them as goblin-men so some kind of combination of goblins and humans (being that orcs and goblins are the same creature in Tolkien).
Weird extradimensional recessive genes:devilish:. D&D elves are definitely genetically different from Tolkein elves: they were celestials that became fey that became humanoids (and some of whom became fey and/or celestial again). D&D elves are the poster children for this "theory" (to abuse a term)--look at that sequence, how could they not have viable children with just about anything?
 

Celebrim

Legend
Which explains the difference in what happens when they die. Given the nature of the Silmarillion's creation story, and the fact that not even Manwe understands what happens to the souls of Men after they leave the Halls of Mandos. It's strongly implied they go to some of kind of Heaven like place where in Eru Ilúvatar resides, unlike elves who get reincarnated in the same bodies to live forever in Valinor.

Precisely. Although, it's only strongly implied to the reader who is presumed to be Christian, or at least familiar with Christian theology in at least a casual way. In the setting, Illuvatar is an unrevealed deity. The majority of mankind doesn't really know he exists, and even those that know he exists can only guess at his character and motives. Humans in the setting don't really know what happens to them if they die. For them it is really nothing but a complete terror, and even those with some knowledge can only hope that what they hope for has some basis in fact.

For D&D though clearly we've taken a slightly different approach since the default involves Corelleon and Gruumsh,.

Precisely. We're in a situation where the different races don't even share creation stories in most settings.

Which, interestingly from my perspective, puts them in the same situation as many North American tribes, were the various tribes word for 'people' was the same as the name for their tribe, and where they believed that other neighboring tribes had different creators and therefore weren't really 'people' in that sense.
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
Thanks for a little understand, I wasn't going to post again on this, but your actually being very civil and constructive.

Of course I like to think we are all here to improve our games even if we go about it differently.

Also, technically we are still talking about hybrid race rules. The level we choose to micro rules is up to each table but I prefer to stick to the rules of a setting both as a player and as GM. This means if there is a release rule anyone can use it as long as they can sight it. If there is a Hybrid race like half-elves in forgotten realms and they want to use it. no problem. At the same time I had a GM that ran a homebrew campaign and no hybrid races were allowed. The question is then, if Hybrids are allowed and a player wants to be a Demon Turtle (for example) using just one race for from the book for stats as "dominant" is that a door we open? Well for me the answer is "we are playing forgotten realms, so is this thing in forgotten realms?"

Now that is a bit of a sticking point for me.

Am I really running a game in the Forgotten Realms or am I running a game in my Forgotten Realms? How much leeway do I have as DM to tweak things to best run the game in a way that works for my table?

If a player wants to know if Dragon Born have breasts, the question is first are the cross bread from a race that has them or were they created as race?

Now that is not the first question that comes ot mind to me. The first question that comes to mind to me is "Does one of my Players want to play a Female Dragonborn?" The second would be "Do they envision that character having breasts?" and third would be "If so, would any other players at the table have strong objection to the character having them."

.... So I get that you don't care.
Not necessarily, and I hope my comments above clarify why I would care. I just don't care about the facts related to these things in and of themselves, but absolutely I care about how they can apply to my game, and since the DM is the Arbiter of the rules, I care about arbiting that game in the best way as I can for the people at the table.

The point of this thread is that the knowledge of where they come from and how they are born provide me with a reasonably good standing in saying they do not, if a GM or player seeks an answer to this within the forgotten realms setting.
Ah, but threads have such a way of wandering away from the Original Post. For better and worse threads belong to every poster posting in them and every lurker reading them.

I don't need a rule for everything but choosing to know the rules others consider unimportant allows me to make batter and constant judgement calls as GM
Certainly. Knowing which ones others consider important and unimportant is certainly useful to help out with DMing.
and to play better within the setting my GM is using by understanding it.
Perhaps, but less so. Ultimately the opinion that matters most should be this GM, you, and the other players at the table.

However, if the answers you have gotten to this question help your table have these conversations then the question certainly has value.
 

Hussar

Legend
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."

Exposure to someone's junk sometimes results in kids. :D
 

aramis erak

Legend
One of the best things about D&D is that there isn't a canonical answer to questions like this. D&D isn't a setting. It's a toolkit with which to build a setting. WotC has been nice enough, over the years, to have provided some settings made with that toolkit.
D&D isn't really a toolkit, either, save for OE and AD&D 2. Since AD&D 2E, the setting has been tied to the rules of current edition... and it's flipped and flopped...

Really, it's a world described in mechanics, with a few tantalizing references to a setting.
The thing is, each edition has had a "privileged" setting that didn't need any mods to the rules. OE and AD&D1, that was Greyhawk.
Supposedly, AD&D 2E was FR in the core. But 2E explicitly claimed a toolkit mentality, and avoided both Greyhawkisms and FRisms as much as possible, while heavily adapting the core for Planescape, Dark Sun, Birthright, Ravenloft, and Spelljammer... and less extensive in the form of a zillion options for the Realms . And the Realms were made to conform to the 2E rules, at least at first.
3E was also Greyhawk.
4E was "Points of Light" - but there was support for others.
5E is officially FR. All the major products are set in the FR. The FR have been changed to conform to the 5E rules, too.
BX was the "D&D Known World"
BECMI was also the "D&D Known World", but then the Gazeteers warped the setting into Mystara
Cyclopedia was also "D&D Known World", with Mystara content.

It's like Traveller - Since AD&D1, the official setting is the one described by the rules, but there is intent that GM's may, if they wish, generate their own worlds to play in. Neither fully toolkit, nor fully setting tied rules.

So, for at least Cyclopedia, plus D&D 3rd and 5th, which were explicit about the default rules, yes, there are canonical answers for the default rules.
And AD&D
 

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