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General Should Bearded Female Dwarves be the Default?

Should Bearded Female Dwarves be the Default?

  • Yes

    Votes: 26 20.2%
  • No

    Votes: 32 24.8%
  • A possible trait, but not universal

    Votes: 58 45.0%
  • No opinion

    Votes: 13 10.1%

  • Total voters
    129

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PsyzhranV2

Adventurer
How are you defining meaningful in this context?
As in being able to get out the front door of your house and go to school/work/the pub without having an existential breakdown brought on by unchecked skepticism, and being able to at least put on the act that everything and everybody you're interacting with is real and not some figment of imagination.

How do I get you to drop this line of conversation? Set you on fire? Shove you into the midday sun? Get Dora the Explorer to solve your riddle? Or hire the Three Billy Goats Gruff to knock you of your bridge?
 

As in being able to get out the front door of your house and go to school/work/the pub without having an existential breakdown brought on by unchecked skepticism, and being able to at least put on the act that everything and everybody you're interacting with is real and not some figment of imagination.
Why would any of that be relevant on a forum about a fantasy role playing game? We are discussing things that do not, in fact, exist.
 

the Jester

Legend
Your poll needs a "In some campaigns" option, which isn't really reflected in your poll ('a possible trait, but not universal' sounds to me like "some do in my campaign, but some don't in my campaign"- which is a fine answer, but not th same as mine).

In my campaign, female dwarves grow beards just like male dwarves. In fact, most non-dwarves just assume that any dwarf they meet is a man, much as most non-elves pretty much assume that any elf they meet is a woman.

A beardless female dwarf is either a child, has suffered an accident or mutilation, or is a freak. A male dwarf with a beardless wife is seen as someone who wants to sleep with children.
 


Weiley31

Adventurer
Props to you for the Ninjara reference.
Thank you! I REMEMBER Ninjara well. But it was actually a reference to the current IDW TMNT comics where Raph has a thing for a former foot clan mutant fox ninja named Alopex.
Regardless: Raph just seems to have a thing for foxy (pun intended) ladies. I hope though, this relationship has a better ending, unlike Ninjara.
 



BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
Scout Harding is a Dwarf. She has superior vision in the dark compared to humans, she could not practice magic no matter how hard she tired, she does not enter the Fade when she dreams.

Now like Dagna, if she chooses to identify as a Mage by studying magic she would still be unable to cast spells because she is still a dwarf, but I would still acknowledge her mageness.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
How would you tell? You are basing your definition of species on myth?
In a world where those myths are true, yes.

Closer to the real world pre-DNA definition of species, but you go on to explain why that doesn't work in fantasyland.
Again, depends on the setting. Sometimes it’s a reliable indicator, sometimes it isn’t.

I'm shorter and stockier than the average human, does that make me a dwarf?[

Members of the Mbuti tribe have an average height of less than 4 foot 11', but are definitely human.
Umm... You do realize the dwarves we’re talking about are fictional, right? No, you being short doesn’t make you a fairy tale creature, and the Mbuti tribe aren’t a different species.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I.e. she is a dwarf because she identifies as a dwarf. Species has nothing to do with it.
No, she’s a dwarf because her parents are dwarves. That’s how it works in the setting. If you want to run your own homebrew setting where elf/dwarf/human/etc are cultures rather than species, knock yourself out, but that’s not how most fantasy settings handle it and it doesn’t make sense to try and impose that on them.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I'm really not sure how "species" got dragged into this... I'm not even sure that humans, elves, dwarves and orcs are different species, since in some settings they can all reproduce with each other. Yes they create very different looking children, but that's like saying that two different types of dogs are different species (they're not, they're different breeds).
I’m the one who first used the term, and I think it’s the most appropriate one for the majority of settings, given that these different groups typically don’t share any common ancestry.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
. Why did they author make that creative decision?
That’s not what was being asked. If you want to critically analyze the role of “race” in modern fantasy, I’ll happily join you in that endeavor. But the question wasn’t “why did the creative team at BioWare decide to depict dwarves the way they did,” it was “what makes that character a dwarf?” The answer to that question is “she was born that way.”
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
I’m the one who first used the term, and I think it’s the most appropriate one for the majority of settings, given that these different groups typically don’t share any common ancestry.
The definition of species is (thank you Oxford);

A group of living organisms consisting of similar individuals capable of exchanging genes or interbreeding. The species is the principal natural taxonomic unit, ranking below a genus and denoted by a Latin binomial.

On Earth, every species eventually has a common ancestor, so it's actually not as useful as determining seperate species as gene exchange and breeding.

In fantasy, some races don't have common ancestors because they are theoretically created by the same god; but it shouldn't matter, because half-elves, half-orcs, and even half-dwarves are a thing is most settings.

In the Forgotten Realms for example, humans can mate with orcs, elves, ogres, and dwarves, and dwarves can actually mate additionally with haflings and gnomes. In addition, such unions do not create infertile offspiring like mules or ligers. Such mixes can continue to create children.

A geneticist would conclude that despite these races having different origins, they are considered the same species. In fact, they would likely dispute the idea of them having different origins at all, as having similar enough genetics to mate means that their creation was likely not as different as the gods may lead you to believe...
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
When it come to species in fantasy, the lines get really blurry. After all, we have minotaurs, centaurs, hippogriffs and owlbears. Creatures that are clearly different species having cross-breeds is not uncommon.

On the other hand, D&D's differentiating between dwarves, elves, humans and so on as "race" is not great either and has a lot of baggage with some people. In the real world there isn't really such a thing as race other than generic classifications we put on people with similar attributes which can change over time. For example people of central European decent weren't always considered "white".

So you could just say elves are a race because it's a quick categorization that works. Same as we can say that I'm caucasian, but also of (mostly) Norwegian descent.

I personally also consider elves and orcs different species as well, just able to have children with other species because "magic". Then again, people can't even decide if neanderthals were a different species or not.

Things are frequently not as clear cut as we'd like.
 

BRayne

Villager
When it come to species in fantasy, the lines get really blurry. After all, we have minotaurs, centaurs, hippogriffs and owlbears. Creatures that are clearly different species having cross-breeds is not uncommon.

On the other hand, D&D's differentiating between dwarves, elves, humans and so on as "race" is not great either and has a lot of baggage with some people. In the real world there isn't really such a thing as race other than generic classifications we put on people with similar attributes which can change over time. For example people of central European decent weren't always considered "white".

So you could just say elves are a race because it's a quick categorization that works. Same as we can say that I'm caucasian, but also of (mostly) Norwegian descent.

I personally also consider elves and orcs different species as well, just able to have children with other species because "magic". Then again, people can't even decide if neanderthals were a different species or not.

Things are frequently not as clear cut as we'd like.
I think "Race" in general Sci-Fi/Fantasy lingo just means "Species of Sapient Beings"
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
When it come to species in fantasy, the lines get really blurry. After all, we have minotaurs, centaurs, hippogriffs and owlbears. Creatures that are clearly different species having cross-breeds is not uncommon.

On the other hand, D&D's differentiating between dwarves, elves, humans and so on as "race" is not great either and has a lot of baggage with some people. In the real world there isn't really such a thing as race other than generic classifications we put on people with similar attributes which can change over time. For example people of central European decent weren't always considered "white".

So you could just say elves are a race because it's a quick categorization that works. Same as we can say that I'm caucasian, but also of (mostly) Norwegian descent.

I personally also consider elves and orcs different species as well, just able to have children with other species because "magic". Then again, people can't even decide if neanderthals were a different species or not.

Things are frequently not as clear cut as we'd like.
Personally, I find the debate not very useful because genetics is not something that most D&D settings dive into extremely seriously (though I'm now thinking of homebrewing genemancy as a branch of magic).

However, let's say a geneticist did emerge in Forgotten Realms, I think his conclusion would have to be that humans, dwarves, elves, orcs, and other races are all part of the same species. Much like how a bulldog and german shepherd are both dogs but are very different in appearance, a geneticist would conclude that the capability of breeding does mean that they are the same species.

Of course, some races really are different species; I don't believe dragonborn are capable of mating with other races. And in some settings, the intermixing does not apply; Dark Sun for example has dwarves and humans creating the infertile Muls, meaning Athasian dwarves are not the same species as humans.

Anyway, the word "species" isn't very useful in D&D, as in most settings they wouldn't really have enough scientific knowledge to make the distinction themselves. It is in effect why the word is rarely used in D&D.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
The definition of species is (thank you Oxford);

A group of living organisms consisting of similar individuals capable of exchanging genes or interbreeding. The species is the principal natural taxonomic unit, ranking below a genus and denoted by a Latin binomial.

On Earth, every species eventually has a common ancestor, so it's actually not as useful as determining seperate species as gene exchange and breeding.

In fantasy, some races don't have common ancestors because they are theoretically created by the same god; but it shouldn't matter, because half-elves, half-orcs, and even half-dwarves are a thing is most settings.

In the Forgotten Realms for example, humans can mate with orcs, elves, ogres, and dwarves, and dwarves can actually mate additionally with haflings and gnomes. In addition, such unions do not create infertile offspiring like mules or ligers. Such mixes can continue to create children.

A geneticist would conclude that despite these races having different origins, they are considered the same species. In fact, they would likely dispute the idea of them having different origins at all, as having similar enough genetics to mate means that their creation was likely not as different as the gods may lead you to believe...
The whole taxonomic system doesn’t really work in these fantasy settings, as the origin and perhaps nature of life is different. Any real-life term we might apply to the groups of peoples or animals within such a setting is, at best, an analogy. I think species is a more apt anologue for these peoples than race, given the significant physical and metaphysical differences between them, which are much greater than the minor genetic differences between “races” of human. Race seems an especially poor term in light of the fact that humans in these settings tend to be similarly racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse to real life humans.
 


MGibster

Hero
Race seems an especially poor term in light of the fact that humans in these settings tend to be similarly racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse to real life humans.
It's not a bad term so long as you divorce it from the (pseudo) scientific use of the word today. Many groups of people considered themselves to be fundamentally different than those people over there. It's a social concept rather than one rooted in objective truth.
 

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