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D&D General Re-Loring Monsters

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Li Shenron

What kinds of re-loring have you done in your games and campaign worlds? Why? That is, what was your motivation for doing so?
Usually, I have half-orcs as a completely separate species from humans and orcs.

Many reasons:

  • the rape-oriented "traditional" background of half-orcs sucks big time on many levels
  • half races are generally lame
  • many players think of WoW-style orcs and want to play them, while others think of Tolkien-style orcs and want to kill them; I can use half-orcs as the first and MM orcs as the second

It doesn't matter what they are called, "half-orcs" does not have to mean they are really 50% genetic orcs, it could be an in-game derogatory word stemming from the fact that they do look a bit like orcs, like "mongoloid" was a despicable word used to refer to people who in fact had zero relationship with Mongols.


Moderator Emeritus
Do my "Orc-Born" count as "re-loring?"

This lineage replaces “Half-Orc” in the 5E Player’s Handbook.

No one has seen an actual orc in millennia, and according to legend they were exterminated in wars against the so-called “Free Peoples.” According to these legends, orcs were a savage and evil people who relished in the destruction of everything good, sought to destroy civilization, were easily enlisted in the schemes of evil wizards, and whose penchant for murdering even each other, was part of their own undoing. The institutional weight of these beliefs along with the eons of time since there were any orcish communities means that there are few to argue against them.

However, there is also ample evidence that orcs and humans once lived and thrived so closely that marriages for love or alliances led to a substantial mixing of these peoples, and that these stories of “savage orcs” are the by-product of a successful political effort to use orcs and their descendants as scapegoats and ennoble the potentially monstrous acts of the “Free Peoples.”

To this day, those referred to as “Orc-Born” are born to human families, the strong strain of orcishness receding and emerging across the generations. In some families, this strain is strong enough to be notable in most members, in others an “orc-born” child can be born to a family with no hint of it in living memory. In some places it might be considered a blessing, in others, a curse.

Notably Different
The pigmentation of the orc-born varies more widely than humans'. Some develop a dark green or dull yellow pallor, or are so pale as to be bone white or even gray in color. They tend to have pronounced brows, large eyes, pointed ears, and jutting jaws. They lean towards hirsute. They have the same range in height and girth as humans. Many descendants of orcs have a raised scarred ridge that runs along their spines. Some have black fingernails and/or teeth.

All that said, many who are orc-born can pass for human, depending on their features and the cultural context they are born into.

Found Family
Despite having been mostly gone for so long, there is a still a lingering fear and hatred of the orc-born among other peoples, including humans. As such, it is not uncommon for those who cannot or will not pass as human to be disowned from their families. This has created a strong belief in the concept of found family among them, supporting each other, or seeking the support of those who will accept them. For orc-born adventurers, their adventuring party often serves as their family. Other human families (some who have an orcish strain and some who don’t) take in those abandoned orc-born, giving them parental care or support. On the other hand, other less scrupulous organizations or people exploit the orc-born who have been abandoned in this way for nefarious goals.

Of course, some are also lone wolves, who eschew human cultures altogether.

Orc-Born in Makrinos
While rare throughout the world, the Orc-Born are slightly more common in Makrinos due to its more progressive view of different peoples and no concerted effort by the “Free Peoples” to hunt them down. Furthermore, there are whispered rumors of a subterranean city of the Orc-Born accessible from somewhere on the island. All that said, generally speaking, the Orc-Born are driven to the margins of many Makrinod human communities.

Orc-Born Names
The Orc-Born typically have names appropriate to the human culture they were born into. However, in the rare communities that work towards re-creating what they can of original orcish cultures, ancient or distinct names are granted or adopted. Such names are usually not gendered.
Names: Azhug, Emen, Grazob, Gularzub, Henk, Holg, Jolagh, Imsh, Keth, Kansif, Oghash, Ovak, Ranno, Robgut, Shazgob, Volen, Woab, Wurthru


Staff member
In one post-apocalyptic campaign, re-lored Warforged are bodies for the brains of psionic dwarves who are all that remain of that species. IOW, D&D Cybermen/Daleks.

They’re also slightly re-skinned, because they retain Dwarven cultural skills, like stone cunning, giant fighting techniques, and weapon familiarities.

In another campaign, elves were reported into crashlanded alien Grays, who used technology to emulate ancient human legends of the Fey. “Underhill” is the salvaged remnants of their starship. Their stasis tech accounts for their longevity and the unusual passage of time in Underhill.


When I wanted to use Exandria’s Core Spawn Worm in Eberron, I said that they were purple worms that ate Khyber Dragonshards and were mutated by the fiendish magic.
Coincidentally, when I used an actual Purple Worm in my Eberron game, it was at the Glowing Chasm in the Mournland, as one of a number of previously-ordinary worms and insects that had been mutated by a combination of exposure to the Mournland and feeding upon khyber dragonshards.

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
I dont care much for furry species, but my players love them, so as a compromise I added bestial traits to some species physical description and the lore of their societies.

My tieflings are related to rakshasa and have feline traits while my aasimar are relates to coalts with serpentine traits and colorful feathers.

My gnomes have pitch black eyes and weird nose resembling those of ant-eater or field mouses, while the svirneblin have the nose of moles.

Halflings look and act like meerkats...with a psionic mind web to alert their Shire in case of danger.

My drow societies are stolen from Morrowind with the dichotomy between the high house of the Tribunal (lolthite) and the ashlanders (demon lords and ancestors worshiping nomadic tribesmen). All of them are akin to spidery ghouls with flexible bones, translucid skin and elongated claws. They are bald, but noble city dwellers tend to wear intricate wigs made of spider silk, hence the classic white haired drow.

the Jester

In my campaign, tabaxi are the scattered remnants of an ancient and proud race. Their ancient empire used psionics instead of magic; in the 2e days, when not every race had magic-users, I established psionics as the alternative for the tabaxi, who didn't work with magic (that restriction has since passed, starting when 3e allowed all races to be all classes).

Among other things, the ancient Miloxi Empire (the apex of tabaxi society) created many of the beast-resembling Humanoids that are around (dogfolk called canus, goatfolk, perhaps gnolls and yuan-ti, etc), and they left dangerous radioactive artifacts and locations behind.


Follower of the Way
Believe it or not, no, I had only barely heard of this story and it had no direct impact on this one. I'm away from my PC at present so I don't have my notes, but the TL;DR is, she got a second chance after being bound to a gold dragon that defeated her, and who later died to save her, which prompted a lot of soul-searching. About two centuries ago she crossed the sea from Yuxia to the Tarrakhuna, where she met our Bard's maternal-line great grandfather. He wooed her sincerely, and she (much to her own surprise) genuinely fell in love and settled down with him. After he died, she eventually became a nun and partially sequestered herself. Her great-grandson later revealed that her actions have, in fact, changed her true name, meaning she is something new: no longer truly "a succubus" anymore, but not the angel she had been before, either. When she gave the Bard her succubus powers (long story), she realized she had retained the one part of her supernatural beauty she had cherished most, her voice. She takes this as a sign that the One has forgiven her and will accept her when she eventually dies (having given up her powers, she is now no longer immortal, but she may live for a long while still.)

In the Greyhawk setting I was working on, the empire to the west of the Sea of Dust was going to be primarily populated by dragonborn.
Yeah, I don't know much about Greyhawk but I've heard similar stuff before.

Brownies and goblins are fae that are created from the dreams and nightmares of children, respectively. When they are killed they disappear in a puff of smoke and wake up in faerieland. It's a long walk back to the waking world, and this makes them cranky. At around 3rd level, the party encountered a group of goblin they took out at first. The goblins recognized them.

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