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

ParanoydStyle

Peace Among Worlds
The scientific concept of species isn't really a part of the game....

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.

But anyway, if Race is whether you're a Tiefling or a Gnome, what then do you call the actual-real-world-definition-of-race "subraces" of humanity, like (in Greyhawk) Flan, Suloise, Oeridian, Baklunish, etcetera? Does the word race need to do double-duty here, or is there another word that applies? Bloodlines? Tribes? As mentioned, I don't think the word "ethnicity" fits in D&D.
 

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Voadam

Legend
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".

Basic and AD&D had a split in definition for defining nonhuman races. Those generally friendly to humanity with good alignments were demihumans (halflings, gnomes, elves, dwarves) while other races were classified as humanoids.
 

aco175

Legend
There seems to be a lot here. I do not think that there is an overall answer to cross-breeding and origin stories for each published world and edition of the game, as shown on the last few pages. Your game and my game are different, or the setting that stands apart is one of these differences, ie Dragonlance.

All of this has me thinking on how the gods affect all of this. How powerful are the gods in my/your game helps to determine if the racial origin stories are actually true. I would think that gods that actually communicate with people can tell you the right story, but they may have an angle that are working like the other gods telling their race's their origin story. Is there something above the gods that made things work a different way completely? This is unique to your world as well.

I guess part of me never really thought about this much. The older I get, the more I tend to focus on parts of the game the players will interact with. We have other discussions on things like holidays, tracking torches, and language where some people focus a lot and other skim over to get to something else since the players at that table do not/ will not care. I may not incorporate much here, but I like the thread and see where it can help your game.
 

Mercule

Adventurer
Since AD&D 2E, the setting has been tied to the rules of current edition...
Kinda. The system will always, always color the way the setting manifests. That's to be expected and no one should really lose sleep over it.

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.

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.

The settings are best viewed as examples and starting points for the group. There's absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to play in the Realms (or Greyhawk or Eberron), but the game should not become "The Greyhawk RPG" in one edition, "The Points of Light RPG" in the next, and "The Forgotten Realms RPG" in the latest. That's not a marketing/branding strategy. That's an identity crisis.

3E was also Greyhawk.
This is a difference between theory and practice. 3E was Greyhawk, in theory. In practice, it split the difference between being multi-setting and being FR-first.

Even had theory matched practice, it would have been a mistake. D&D is at it's best when it's not about a setting. I don't care whether that's Greyhawk or the Realms, it's a mistake to put one setting at the center.

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.

Unsurprisingly, I think this was a bad idea. It's fine to make the Realms the "generic" setting. It's fine to publish SCAG as the first setting book. It's bad to put story hooks for the FR factions in every adventure. It's bad to only publish information for the Realms. It's right and correct to tweak mechanical representations in Realms material to conform to 5E rules. It's bad to have lists of ethnic human names from the Realms in the PHB. It's bad to have a sidebar talking about the Weave as if it applied to any setting besides the Realms.

Yes, Gygax threw a bunch of random Greyhawk fluff into the 1E core books -- especially the DMG -- but he had a unique style of prose that was very conversational. His examples read as just that, examples. They were also largely in a book that was telling a DM how to control a game. This includes a lot of advice on how to build a setting or to take parts of an existing setting and make it your own. The context was totally different than the current books.
 

ClaytonCross

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

Sure, and I in hind sight perhaps overstepped and regret my first two sentences. They were made out of frustration and I should have proof read myself with a moment of stepping away before posting. I apologize for airing that. It was less intended as directed at you but more of an exclamation of "this again" being that I have had ALOT of dismissive comments stating the value of a thread or a post was not significate instead of just ignoring my post if they don't care. I typed out my jerk emotional reply and should not have. That's not an excuse. I should not have said that and I apologize again for being out of line.

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

Totally your point and off topic to the conversaton, not relevant to anything I am talking about.

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.

I was out of line for saying that. Then you confirmed you do as I suggest in this part as a statement to your game style. While the comment on my part was/is out of line, The sentiment was that your forcing your play style as the only correct way to play and implication that "my fun is wrong". You saying my point is weekend by stepping into criticizing play style which is fair and true.... while at the same time your doing the same thing you your original post. Which is why it flipped my switch. … So here we are … together... in the "I should not dismiss points or questions in ad hominem rhetoric. … I regret my comment and again apologize . You are right it was over the line. I hope you can see you just did the same thing. Hello Pot, I am Pot too. Sorry I will try to adjust my self audit filter for stupidity, arrogance, hypocrisy, and mutual respect. I hope I don't miss anything … but obviously I have before and am likely to again. I am trying to a dissent human beng.

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

So Aliens would be an off shoot of human?!?! Or do you mean dogs and trees are off shoots and in D&D you would not expect them to bread? I really don't know what you mean here, because what I am saying is that Dwarf's in D&D were formed from stone and earth so if other "races" have equally unique origins are they intended to bread with others or not? In other words in the absences of sciences what setting rules govern what can bread with what? You trying to make this about genetics and science but that was never my statement or question. I am asking for setting rules for breading interactions.

Um... Greek mythology says otherwise?

If I had asked about Greek mythology on the Greek mythology forums, that would be a great answer. However, my question and statements are specific to the D&D settings. If you have an example of this in a D&D setting you would be answering the question I asked.... So you dismissed my desire to ask the question about D&D on not being real but answered it about Greek Mythology … why? I don't understand your assertion here. … I … what? I guess if you consider Greek Mythology a D&D campaign setting you answered my question … so if that's what your doing... Thanks? …

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.

Unless, it happens one time in mass. Forexample, Moradin created the Dwarves one time and never another race. However the act created multiple dwarves who could bread. Like wise a single "spell" or Devine act could effect more than one being to create breading pairs.

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.

I don't disagree. I am asking about setting lore. So "needs to be" and "are or are not in this setting" are different questions. No setting "needs" an answer, but if it has one there is no reason not to ask, if that is something that the setting author might have explore. So your right, but its not really relevant argument to anything I have said.

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

That's fair but if its not constant, then the one off examples would be relevant to bring up. As stated with some orc lore in some settings they can bread with pretty much anything but produce 100% orc offspring almost exclusively. That is exactly the kind of think I am asking for in this thread. So consistent and in consistencies that have lore are both bound in a way to establishing the setting. So good point, but they also establish consistency in that if a spell lets someone bypass a restraint a player could search for caster to perform that spell to break normally constant rules, which in tern makes a new but separate consistent rule form an inconstancy.

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.
Are you kidding me? I am coming to ask what setting lore exists on a subject and actually got a lot of good replies. So there is an explanation and I wanted to know it. As a result of asking I got good answers and now know more. Again, I did not ask for an answer to everything. ...42... I asked a specific question and got specific answers. Your writing of my need to ask, when D&D setting authors took the time to write answers is dismissive based on your style of play and disrespectful to myself and those on the thread who might be interested in finding information that does exist in many cases and has been presented.

Can you explain to me why you feel the need to comment "you don't need that" for those who think its an interesting setting question? Why do you feel the need to impress your style of play to discard my desire to learn more about D&D settings as a waste of time? If your not interested, why do you bother to come here and reply? Why not just leave those who are interested to discuss this?

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.
"your condescending implication that this is a pointless exercise... " …. I did not say this thread is pointless, I said, YOU are implying its is. I am here to learn about the D&D settings and my effort against your post is to call out inappropriate targeted disrespect on the forums. We are all human, and say more than we should sometime or another. But you step over the line, people call you out, then as a whole the majority of conversation becomes more civil.

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

Really, then please explain this?
In general - it is a fantasy world.
… How do you think anyone on a D&D web site does not understand this is a fantasy world so that you need to say this? How does this NOT imply a failure to grasp reality or a mental deficiency in direct reply to me? That alone is personally insulting. Your calling me stupid but dancing around the direct use of the word with implication to stay within the rules of the site. At its very best intention this is condescending, which is still a form of disrespect.

It does not strongly hold to real-world genetics.
This is entirely a different topic of your making. My original post is a question on which beings can bread with others and why? The fact that people do have kids and half races exist means even without any real world implications their are gaming rules of interactions. The use of the world species is simple a matter of we live in the real world and English has words with meaning to announce these serrations. Creatures of the same species can bread together to produce futile offspring and creatures of different species can't. Your taking the word calling it a science word then making the conversation about science with disregard to the intent of the entire post. ... thats a dismissive sentiment directly following an insulting inferance.

Trying to describe fantasy creatures using real-world science will ruin your fantasy.
You then tell me my fun is wrong with different wording. Don't I determine what is fun for me? Why do you get to determine what will ruin my game? More over, I never did what you are accusing me of. I asked about breading interactions in D&D and what lore explains them. The very first post is an awesome reply the answers just what I asked. As have a number of other posts. You ignored the stated intent of my first post, implied that I am delusional and in capable of understanding the difference between reality and fantisy and your saying I am out of line for calling you out for a personal attack? If you had written "I don't worry about using breading interactions at my table. I just hand wave the magic I believe button and keep going" the point would have been the same without it being a personal statement. For example:

I don't think think it should be this way. It can. It certainly wouldn't be wrong to. But when I think about it, how does having a more consistent world in this sense make the game more enjoyable for the people at the table unless certain people at the table are having their characters try to breed with other PCs and NPCs.

No problem. I get you might not self editing yourself, which is why I called you out instead of hitting the report button. My intent in reply was, "lets keep this civil and stay on topic"

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.

I agree with toning it down. My reply, may lack a curtain tact and I except that. I apologize if I am guilty of doing the exact thing you did. That's fair. That's also why I replied with a post intended to call for the same thing. Though I do regret some of my wording. I will however call out people who attack me or even others. I have in the past and will in future. Its not my intent to cause problems but I think everyone has a right to stand up for themselves and call out posts that cross that line from conversation to attacks. I don't have any other posts here like that because, while others agreed with your sentiment, they did not the "You should know D&D is not real." stance and most of them are playing off your shift in topic of D&D vs real world science, not my post askig for D&D Lore on breading interactions and if the races are actually compatable naturally from the same origin or is this an effect of magic.

I hope this covers the argement and we can get back to talking about lore.
 

ClaytonCross

Kinder reader Inflection wanted
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.

But anyway, if Race is whether you're a Tiefling or a Gnome, what then do you call the actual-real-world-definition-of-race "subraces" of humanity, like (in Greyhawk) Flan, Suloise, Oeridian, Baklunish, etcetera? Does the word race need to do double-duty here, or is there another word that applies? Bloodlines? Tribes? As mentioned, I don't think the word "ethnicity" fits in D&D.

I used species, but metahuman might be a better term. though in Shadow run all but dragons became humans in the absence of magic and some became other metahuman types when magic returned. With the exception of Dragons. So in that setting they are all humans technically and everyone know it... funny thing is there are no half anything in shadowrun because the magic change made each one unable to pair with the others as I understand it.... so its actually more clear than D&D in that there are no hybrid races.
 

ClaytonCross

Kinder reader Inflection wanted
Since you want to know about dragonborn...

In the FR setting;

And the origins of the species;
or another view;

Now, in the DragonLance setting, dragonborn are generally considered to the draconian race and they have a different origin story;

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.

I got to you tangent about methodology and play style and posted in reply to it, but I would be remise if I didn't recognize the dragonborn lore here. Its interesting I have been reading some on Io after getting this. Thank you. I am mostly looking at Forgotten Realms because it is my current campaign setting but I could see running a game in DragonLance where they simply don't mix. For now though, Forgotten Realms just seems to have a lot more minutia. I don't like writing lore, but when I can research pre-existing lore like Orcus, the Raven Queen, Kord, and I recently discovered Larloch who will be my patron if I ever play my undying warlock simply because Larloch is a little crazy and don't care about good or bad if he can gain more knowledge. That makes it easy to be good and have an evil patron who agrees to a pact for mundane takes... for example he occasionally sends for me to steel a book or copy a page out of one from somewhere protected from evil intruders. I save the world and he gets knowledge he can't seen evil minions to get and Its actually a provision that I remain good both for my characters conscience and as a requirement in order to perform the task for which I am assigned. So the GM can't have the Patron ask me to do any evil task but steel or risk losing the access I have to do it. …. until he does and we have to storm the Warlocks Tomb, lol. We will see, its an alt I have on stand bye. But I have 4 and will pick the one the party needs so … maybe.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
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.
There is no reason at all for a half-orc’s origin to have anything at all to do with assault.
 



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