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

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Aldarc

Legend
Why can’t it be both about valuing our own work and believability and wonder?

If the world was an actual painting that players felt the urge to ‘impose their own creative opinions on’ people would almost definitely react differently to them ‘drawing on it’, why? Because that painting would be an actual physical item rather than lore and worldbuilding? Despite effort going into both why is the setting valued less?
If you want the setting to be a painting that others look at without touching it or painting on it, then I would suggest writing a novel rather than a roleplaying game setting. TTRPG settings IMHO should be valued in terms of their utility for the player characters' play.
 

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Hussar

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In a word "Jawsome."


That's not so clear cut, and I hope you don't mind my irrelevant aside. It's something of an anquitated view now to regard the -s plural ending as derving from Latin or Anglo-Norman French, as similar -as, -os, and -oz plural endings could also be found in Old English, Proto-West Germanic, and Proto-Germanic, respectively. I believe that the nominative plural reconstructed for PIE is also -oes. I recall reading that the -as plural was used for A-stem nouns in Old English, but this shifted to -es and simply to -s over time and became the general plural ending for nouns. Someone with actual linguistic training in Old English or Germanic languages could tell you better.

Old English: wulf -> wulfas
Old Saxon: wulf -> wulfas

High German (commonly just "German") isn't really some sort of Ur-form for English or even West Germanic languages. Modern day High German represents the German dialect/language that won out (and subsequently imposed) as the dialect chosen for unifying the German nation-state. It's similar to how Tuscan was selected by the Kingdom of Italy to be the derivation for the standarized Italian language. It's something of an artificial product of modern 19th century nationalism.

For a long time most of northern Germany spoke the Plattdeutsch / Low German language,* which derives from Old Saxon, making it closer kin to Old English than High German. Plattdeutsch served as the lingua franca for trade in the North Sea and Baltic during the Middle Ages as a result of the Hansa League. (Plattdeutsch subsequently had a strong influence on Scandinavian languages and vocabulary.) There are a number of consonant sound shifts that affected High German that did not affect Plattdeutsch, which makes the latter somewhat easier IMHO to understand than the former. And low and behold, one can find -s plural endings in Plattdeutsch, though one can also find -(e)r and -(e)n plurals that are closer to the neighboring High German. Plattdeutsch has different dialects, much like High German has. I believe that Dutch also has multiple noun plural endings, including -s as well.

* My partner comes from a town in North-Rhine Westphalia. They speak High German natively, but several of their grandparents were native Plattdeutsch speakers and a number of the signs in the town are still in Plattdeutsch.
From my understanding, English standardized the "s" plurals out of the mess of plurals it had before because the Scandinavians who invaded and then settled more or less forced the issue to the point where no one remembered the older forms anymore outside of a few holdouts which are typically household worlds like teeth and mice.

IOW, we went from having hundreds of different plurals in old English to having mostly just one because of the Vikings.
 

Aldarc

Legend
From my understanding, English standardized the "s" plurals out of the mess of plurals it had before because the Scandinavians who invaded and then settled more or less forced the issue to the point where no one remembered the older forms anymore outside of a few holdouts which are typically household worlds like teeth and mice.

IOW, we went from having hundreds of different plurals in old English to having mostly just one because of the Vikings.
The Norse accelerated a linguistic process that was already under way, but the Norse did not "[force] the issue" on the Anglish populations of northern and eastern "England." That makes it sound far heavier handed than it likely was. Intermingly did shift the language, but it was an organic process. We don't know how English would like now if the Norse and Normans had not invaded or what the plural would be like. It's possible it would have likewise simplified like in Dutch because a number of languages haves similarly standardized over time.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Personally, unless you are doing a nightmare, apocalypse, post-apoc, or small world, I think it is harder to cause a full setting with less than 25 cultures. You cant fll it up. And if you do this with few races, you are forced to do more work splitting up every races into 4-5 distinct bits.

I just dont get the "fewer races" argument as the most popular unless you are a skilled world builder. It's just harder for no reason.

Why split up elves 8 ways instead of making a new race if you aren't going to go deep into elvish uniqueness past elf subrace #4?
 

Personally, unless you are doing a nightmare, apocalypse, post-apoc, or small world, I think it is harder to cause a full setting with less than 25 cultures. You cant fll it up. And if you do this with few races, you are forced to do more work splitting up every races into 4-5 distinct bits.

I just dont get the "fewer races" argument as the most popular unless you are a skilled world builder. It's just harder for no reason.

Why split up elves 8 ways instead of making a new race if you aren't going to go deep into elvish uniqueness past elf subrace #4?
Because you want non-humans to be diverse like humans instead of being weirdly fladerised and thematically narrow.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Because you want non-humans to be diverse like humans instead of being weirdly fladerised and thematically narrow.
From my experience, the majority of non-video-game settings that go few races don't make non-humans even half as diverse as human.

The many races folks are more likely to have some races with a ton of subraces and subcultures.

I only really see "a few race many diverse subraces/subcultures" in video games and card games.
 

From my experience, the majority of non-video-game settings that go few races don't make non-humans even half as diverse as human.
I mean fantasy humans are unlikely to be half as diverse as real humans.

The many races folks are more likely to have some races with a ton of subraces and subcultures.

I only really see "a few race many diverse subraces/subcultures" in video games and card games.
I really don't see why it wouldn't be valid approach for tabletop RPGs.


In any case, I watched some Pirates of Dark Water as it was recommended in this thread. It has cool weird fantasy setting, I really like those. Though it doesn't seem to have nearly the amount of diversity implied here. Most non-D&D fantasy settings don't. They might have dozen species at most, and that's a lot. Over sixty is unheard of, even that famous Star Wars cantina doesn't have even near that amount. I like settings that feel really weird and alien, but still seem to make internal sense. Throwing in everything various D&D writers dreamed up over the decades in one setting is unlikely result this sort of internal coherence.
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
I have a player that will always take the weirdest available race. To his credit, he is as interested in the quirks of playing the race as he is the mechanics of that race. He is a min-maxer to the core but one who also loves to roleplay so I usually relent because I know allowing him to play whatever the dumb nee WotC race is will make the game more fun. I have another player who is just a min maxer without the spark of creative fun. I push them away from weird races as best I can.
 

If it’s because they are out of towners, cool. If it’s because they’re not human, Lif is a bigoted dingus and he’s gonna get robbed later. Or have a song circulate around town satirizing and humiliating him.

Honestly, swindling out-of-towners is xenophobic, not better than racism. And swindly people randomly, while inclusive, is still something that would be, like racism and xenophobia, be considered illegal and despicable, at least worthy of a song if the authorities don't deal with it.

As a side note, having the guards do nothing about it was totally common in the past settings, because morally corrupt authorities were commonplace, as much as on Earth. The more the settings implies a much better general awareness of societal issues among the fantasy population, to the point that the population of fantasy settings is more advanced than us in that regard, the more it sounds strange to me that the population to tolerate those authorities as much.

(I understand it wasn't the crux of your argument, but I needed to react to the idea that it a bigoted barkeep would be worse than a xenophobic one or a scamming one).
 
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