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D&D General Do you like LOTS of races/ancestries/whatever? If so, why?

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Reynard

Legend
Supporter
Presuming races have to breed true, I think you end up with a lot of ghettoization of cosmopolitan cities in a high racial/species diversity D&D. In the real world you get that too but in a lot of cases people that can do interbreed and merge into the dominate culture. In fantasyland where tabaxi can only breed with tabaxi, you are going to end up with "Little Tabaxiland" more often than not. Especially assuming the non-dominant race are immigrants of some sort or another, they are likely to follow real world models and settle where others of their race/culture settle by and large.
 

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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
But, my point is, it wasn't until fairly recently that anything like genocide occured. These peoples lived more or less side by side for a thousand years first. Sure, there were problems. No one says it has to be pretty when you have mixed populations. But, the idea that any mixed population will always result in genocide - a point that has been argued repeatedly in this thread - or that no groups will ever mix, is just ridiculous.
It’s also got a very unsavory history.

Reality is, mixed populations have about as many problems are homogenous ones, and throughout history, most of the time the people you go to war with one generation, your people have traded mostly peacefully for several generations before, and will again for several generations more.


Like historical intolerance has much more often been extra taxes and raiding a town you don’t have a lot of relatives in when things get really bad. Not extermination.

The headlines are not the most common events, in other words.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
But, that's the point. No one is claiming that mixed populations in D&D have to represent majorities. The fact that you HAVE mixed populations throughout history in nearly every corner of the world shows that your point about there couldn't possibly be large enough numbers of mixed races (in the D&D sense) in one area as historically "accurate" is just not even close.

Entire populations of people being wiped out is a VERY modern thing. I'll delve into that more down below.

Note, EVERY one of your examples are anachronistic to a D&D world. As in centuries after D&D's presumed setting. Your earliest one, the Americas, was largely accidental, not intentional. And, all your later examples are post industrial. So, yeah, fairly recently.

Am I saying that genocide never happened? Of course not. There are all sorts of examples. But, genocide is a relatively modern invention. You didn't slaughter the indiginous populations for several reasons - one, you needed workers to work for you, so, killing them all wasn't a good idea. Two, you probably lacked the ability to do so, even if you wanted to.

And, lastly, while you have given examples of genocide, your argument that mixed groups would lead to "most of them being destroyed" simply has no basis in actual history. Groups mixed quite successfully for centuries. Heck, ask yourself why English adds an S to the end of plurals when German doesn't. Why don't we have gendered nouns like French or German? How many words in your vocabulary are cognates that you use every single day and have existed in the language for centuries? Oh, right, that's because England and English is a mish mash of dozens of different cultures that have smooshed up against each other for centuries. Yet, there are still English people.
Or look at the English and the Irish. Oh hey the Irish are still around. 🤷‍♂️
 

Hussar

Legend
Presuming races have to breed true, I think you end up with a lot of ghettoization of cosmopolitan cities in a high racial/species diversity D&D. In the real world you get that too but in a lot of cases people that can do interbreed and merge into the dominate culture. In fantasyland where tabaxi can only breed with tabaxi, you are going to end up with "Little Tabaxiland" more often than not. Especially assuming the non-dominant race are immigrants of some sort or another, they are likely to follow real world models and settle where others of their race/culture settle by and large.
Which, again, is perfectly fine and understandable. Tension in the setting this way is a fantastic idea. Lots of stuff to mine from that sort of thing.

But, the fact that you have "Little Tabaxiland" pretty much means that there are enough of a given population within that area to actually give rise to a "neighbourhood".

What I find really funny about all this is that 99% of the time when people talk about wanting half a dozen or so PC races in the setting, it's pretty much always the Tolkien races - and they live together in more or less no problems because .... reasons. But, for some reason, the notion that half a dozen races can co-exist but a couple of dozen somehow becomes unbelievable. :erm:

Just because there are 60 (ish) PC races in 5e does not mean that you will actually see them in a given campaign. This bizarre notion of top down setting creation where you must define the entire world before play starts is just weird. Every single published setting has added races after the initial publication. Every ... single ... one. Yet, apparently, I guess that means that every single published setting is totally unbelievable and unrealistic?

Good grief, even the notion of geography doesn't really apply. You have numerous races with planar ties. Fey or whatever. Never minding the underground races as well. The amount of "livable" land in a D&D world is VASTLY larger than the real world.
 


Reynard

Legend
Supporter
Which, again, is perfectly fine and understandable. Tension in the setting this way is a fantastic idea. Lots of stuff to mine from that sort of thing.
It certainly implies a lot of potential adventure ideas, which for ny money is what RPG settings should do.
But, the fact that you have "Little Tabaxiland" pretty much means that there are enough of a given population within that area to actually give rise to a "neighbourhood".
Yup.
What I find really funny about all this is that 99% of the time when people talk about wanting half a dozen or so PC races in the setting, it's pretty much always the Tolkien races - and they live together in more or less no problems because .... reasons. But, for some reason, the notion that half a dozen races can co-exist but a couple of dozen somehow becomes unbelievable. :erm:
I mean it is more work with more races and "stranger" races, so it's understandable.
This bizarre notion of top down setting creation where you must define the entire world before play starts is just weird.
I agree except with the use of the word "bizarre." I understand why some folks build their worlds in very precise detail, even if I am not inclined to do it that way myself.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Which, again, is perfectly fine and understandable. Tension in the setting this way is a fantastic idea. Lots of stuff to mine from that sort of thing.

But, the fact that you have "Little Tabaxiland" pretty much means that there are enough of a given population within that area to actually give rise to a "neighbourhood".

What I find really funny about all this is that 99% of the time when people talk about wanting half a dozen or so PC races in the setting, it's pretty much always the Tolkien races - and they live together in more or less no problems because .... reasons. But, for some reason, the notion that half a dozen races can co-exist but a couple of dozen somehow becomes unbelievable. :erm:

Just because there are 60 (ish) PC races in 5e does not mean that you will actually see them in a given campaign. This bizarre notion of top down setting creation where you must define the entire world before play starts is just weird. Every single published setting has added races after the initial publication. Every ... single ... one. Yet, apparently, I guess that means that every single published setting is totally unbelievable and unrealistic?

Good grief, even the notion of geography doesn't really apply. You have numerous races with planar ties. Fey or whatever. Never minding the underground races as well. The amount of "livable" land in a D&D world is VASTLY larger than the real world.
Yeah, the only thing I can think of that would make me reduce the number of races would be that so many of them live in the wilderness, which could make it feel like there is nowhere that is truly uninhabited by sentient tool using people.

But like, I just…still have wilderness.

Because there are a few million of each race worldwide at most, and I assume most settings are as big as Earth, and any given specific population of Goliaths is like 200 people, spread over at least two tribes, so there is plenty of high mountain that they don’t inhabit.
 

Hussar

Legend
I agree except with the use of the word "bizarre." I understand why some folks build their worlds in very precise detail, even if I am not inclined to do it that way myself.
Yeah, I'll cop to that. I am very, very much not a world builder and I find most world building to be tedious and boring. If it's not directly tied to the campaign, I simply don't care. And, since I'm a big believer in disposable settings where you run one campaign in one setting and the next campaign is probably in an entirely different setting, most of this discussion is very alien to my experience.

The notion of having a single setting that you keep running campaign after campaign in just holds zero appeal to me.
 

Hussar

Legend
Yeah, the only thing I can think of that would make me reduce the number of races would be that so many of them live in the wilderness, which could make it feel like there is nowhere that is truly uninhabited by sentient tool using people.

But like, I just…still have wilderness.

Because there are a few million of each race worldwide at most, and I assume most settings are as big as Earth, and any given specific population of Goliaths is like 200 people, spread over at least two tribes, so there is plenty of high mountain that they don’t inhabit.
I do think that people underestimate just how empty the world used to be pre-industrial age.

Like about 80% of the population is gone. Think about that for a second. Whatever town/city you happen to live in right now, in a D&D world, should be about 15% of it's current size. That's a LOT of empty space. My hometown in rural Canada wouldn't even exist, nor would virtually all the towns within a 100 kilometer radius. I'm from Southern Ontario. That would largely be entirely empty of people a thousand years ago. Tiny bands (by modern standards) living more or less beside rivers and that's about it.

And most of the world should look like this. The problem is, D&D fantasy worlds aren't designed like that. Everyone takes the Greyhawk/Forgotten Realms route of a more or less Industrial Age population. Good grief, the Sword coast has multiple cities of 300 000 people or more, all within a few hundred miles of each other. That's insane. Most of these cities shouldn't exist if we're actually being rigorous about it.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I do think that people underestimate just how empty the world used to be pre-industrial age.

Like about 80% of the population is gone. Think about that for a second. Whatever town/city you happen to live in right now, in a D&D world, should be about 15% of it's current size. That's a LOT of empty space. My hometown in rural Canada wouldn't even exist, nor would virtually all the towns within a 100 kilometer radius. I'm from Southern Ontario. That would largely be entirely empty of people a thousand years ago. Tiny bands (by modern standards) living more or less beside rivers and that's about it.

And most of the world should look like this. The problem is, D&D fantasy worlds aren't designed like that. Everyone takes the Greyhawk/Forgotten Realms route of a more or less Industrial Age population. Good grief, the Sword coast has multiple cities of 300 000 people or more, all within a few hundred miles of each other. That's insane. Most of these cities shouldn't exist if we're actually being rigorous about it.
That's very true. A homebrew world with an eye toward historical population numbers would end up with far fewer people.
 

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