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D&D General Scientific Names for My Homebrew Setting

Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth (He/him)
Hi and Merry Christmas, if that's your thing,

The recent discussions about the possibility of using species for the game-term currently known as race got me thinking about what nomenclature I would use to describe the various speaking peoples of my homebrew setting as I imagine them and as if I was a zoologist given the task of naming them. What I've come up with in addition to an existing subspecies are two imaginary subspecies and two imaginary species:

  1. Homo sapiens sapiens or alternatively Homo sapiens donatus (transl.: gifted wise man) - This familiar subspecies (modern humans) would include not only humans, but also elves and halflings. Elves I imagine as physically identical to modern humans in pretty much every way, their primary differences being a separate spiritual destiny and a distinct culture derived from tutelage under various Archfey. Half-elves would of course also fall into this subspecies, taking after either parent. Halflings I conceive of as miniature versions of modern humans with only superficial physical differences such as having slightly pointed ears and, of course, thick hair on the tops of their feet.
  2. Homo sapiens durus (transl.: wise and hard man) - The dwarves and gnomes would make up this subspecies. Their primary physical difference would be a greater muscular density giving them more strength for their size as well as resistance to extremes of heat and cold. They are analogous to the real-world neanderthals (Homo sapiens neanderthalensis).
  3. Homo sapiens odio (transl.: wise man of hate) - This subspecies would comprise orcs, goblinoids, and kobolds. Their physical forms are adapted to operating in the darkness as soldiers and servants, both underground and at night, and are influenced by the blood of fiends in goblin form which runs through them.
  4. Paranthropus dendroides (transl.: tree-like para-man) - I imagine treants as a species of robust australopithecines adapted to resemble the trees they "shepherd" that grow in the forests in which they dwell.
  5. Paranthropus immanis (tranl.: monstrous para-man) - Ogres, ettins, and trolls would form another species closely related to treants but infused with fiendish magic to give them immense size and strength.
So what scientific names would you give to the various creature and character types of the game? Also, if anyone is proficient in Latin, please let me know if my species and subspecies names agree with the genders of the genus names. Thanks!
 
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Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
I published this on another site, but here's what I would do for the OneD&D PHB races:

Ardling - Caelestia beastalis
Dragonborn - Draconis/Draco erectus (with ten/fifteen subspecies)
Dwarf - Pumili robustus
Drow - Alfarum tenebris
High Elf - Alfarum summus
Wood Elf - Alfarum lignus
Deep Gnome - Gnomus neblini imus
Forest Gnome - Gnomus neblini silvas
Rock Gnome - Gnomus neblini saxus
Goliath - Homo giganticus
Human - Homo sapiens sapiens
Halfling - Homo floresiensis
Orc - Orcneas erectus
Tiefling - Homo sapiens infernus

(The taxonomical classifications and faux-Latin could probably be improved, though.)
 
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MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I don't have knowledge of latin and too lazy to do the homework to contribute meaningfully to this discussion. But it is the type of conversation that will be fun to follow. Are you only interested in reasonably accurate scientific taxonomies? What about taxonomies that are not scientific by modern standards but would make in-world sense?

What are other ways that academics in a D&D-type fantasy setting might use to group humanoids?

I'm thinking that grouping humanoids by creator gods could make sense in many settings? People of Correlon. People of Maglubiyet. People of Gruumsh. Etc.
 

Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth (He/him)
What I was going for isn't so much about grouping as it is about finding the right nomenclature. The two are related of course because of the binomial structure. I'm interested in binomials that are accurate to how you imagine the people of your world as if you were a zoologist describing and naming the different species. Of course I'd also like to hear whatever else anyone has to say about the subject.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
There was a relatively long thread that had some scientific names worked out.


For the most part, when I made a suggestion, I was working from what names i already knew or those from similar RW creatures, plus Wordhippo’s language translator, set for English to Latin.

 

Lojaan

Hero
Interesting that you have humans as "homo sapiens sapiens". That implies that the person who came up with this taxonomy is human. I get the feeling that other species would take issue with humans being classed as "wise man".
 

Voadam

Legend
Homo sapiens sapiens - This familiar subspecies (modern humans) would include not only humans, but also elves and halflings. Elves I imagine as physically identical to modern humans in pretty much every way, their primary differences being a separate spiritual destiny and a distinct culture derived from tutelage under various Archfey. Half-elves would of course also fall into this subspecies, taking after either parent. Halflings I conceive of as miniature versions of modern humans with only superficial physical differences such as having slightly pointed ears and, of course, thick hair on the tops of their feet.
Concpetualizing elves and halflings as mostly humans with a different culture seems a bit off, particularly when you throw in the different spiritual destiny you have for elves, unless that is cultural or based off of past pacts with arch fey or whatever. Normally I would think of both elves and halflings as taxonomically separate, unless you were going with biology and half-elf prominence which has been there since 1e.

For halflings I might go with Homo Florensis and tie them into what are called the historical real Hobbits of Indonesia.
 

Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth (He/him)
Interesting that you have humans as "homo sapiens sapiens". That implies that the person who came up with this taxonomy is human. I get the feeling that other species would take issue with humans being classed as "wise man".
Well, I am human. Note that I'm using Latin, a human language, as well as binomial nomenclature, a human system for naming species. The thought experiment isn't about imagining you're a nonhuman. It's about imagining you're a zoologist/natural scientist, if you aren't one already. I'd be interested to read proposals imagined to be written by nonhumans, but mine isn't one of them.

Note also that dwarves, gnomes, orcs, goblinoids, and kobolds are included in Homo sapiens in my proposed naming scheme, so only treants, ogres, ettins, and trolls would have cause to object to not being called wise. As for the use of sapiens as the subspecies name, I was following the priority set when Neanderthals were classified as a subspecies of Homo sapiens, leading to the reclassification of modern humans, which is what I imagine humans in D&D represent, as Homo sapiens sapiens. To account for the inclusion of elves and halflings in this group, I might coin the scientific name Homo sapiens donatus -- Gifted wise man -- to account for the many gifts bestowed upon these peoples.
 
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Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
Note that I'm using Latin, a human language
…that is usually not part of most fantasy settings.*





* Of course…it IS a fantasy setting. Perhaps a Roman expeditionary force accidentally passed through a dimensional portal and established an outpost when they couldn’t return.
 

Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth (He/him)
Concpetualizing elves and halflings as mostly humans with a different culture seems a bit off, particularly when you throw in the different spiritual destiny you have for elves, unless that is cultural or based off of past pacts with arch fey or whatever. Normally I would think of both elves and halflings as taxonomically separate, unless you were going with biology and half-elf prominence which has been there since 1e.
Well yes, I am going with biology. That's the whole point of using zoological terminology. I don't usually think of these groups as merely biological entities, but what if their biology could be examined and described? With elves, I'm imagining almost no biological difference. Biologically, they would be well within the modern human range of variation. Their separate spiritual destiny from humans is metaphysical rather than physical. There's no component of their biology you could point to that's responsible for this. At least, that's the way I think of it.

Halflings too I imagine as fitting within the lower end of modern human variation in size. I'm thinking of them as basically miniaturized modern humans with only minor superficial physical differences otherwise.

For halflings I might go with Homo Florensis and tie them into what are called the historical real Hobbits of Indonesia.
Sure, you could do that. I'm taking a "minimalist" approach, though, and the classification of Homo floresiensis is somewhat uncertain. If I felt halflings warranted having their own species, I'd probably invent one.
 

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