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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

MGibster

Hero
Austria? Hungary? Where are you thinking of?
Benjamin Franklin wrote, “The Spaniards, Italians, French, Russians and Swedes, are generally of what we call a swarthy Complexion; as are the Germans also, the Saxons only excepted.” Dude didn't think Swedes were white enough. Let that sink in for a minute. We have a modern concept of whiteness that may not have been shared by all our ancestors.
 

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Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
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.
As much as I understand your POV, I do disagree.

I find orcs, humans and elves just as similar to each other as bulldogs, huskies and poodles. The physical differences are actually not very different (they are all humanoids with similar bone structure) and metaphysical differences shouldn't impact a discussion on "species" (culture differences don't impact whether something is of a different species or not).

Considering the definition of race is (again Oxford);

Race(noun): the descendants of a common ancestor; a family, tribe, people, or nation, believed or presumed to belong to the same stock; a lineage; a breed.

This is the better fit for the differences between orc and human. Especially considering how it applies the words "lineage" and "breed."

I'll add that just because they are the same species, doesn't mean all D&D races are the same species; dragonborn and tabaxi for example cannot mingle with humans and thus would be a different species.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
I'll add that just because they are the same species, doesn't mean all D&D races are the same species; dragonborn and tabaxi for example cannot mingle with humans and thus would be a different species.
Even that strikes me as iffy, for no other reason than a proliferation of hybrid and crossbreed racial options tends to be among the most common materials to be released in supplements, third-party products, DM's Guild materials, etc.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Austria? Hungary? Where are you thinking of?
It was something that came up when my wife was discussing her family's history of immigration from Slovenia. But at one time Italians, Greeks, Poles, Hungarians, Slavs and other European groups were not considered "white". Even in the first part of the 20th century you had to be from England, the Netherlands, Ireland, Germany and Scandinavian countries to be considered white*.

The idea of race is fluid and often has little or no basis in genetics.

*In all fairness, I have the ultimate farmer's tan and revealing my legs in full sunlight may result in blindness for anyone within a 20 ft radius. I understand why people who share that trait would be considered "white".
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
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.
Right, but fantasy races are rooted in objective qualities of birth rather than being socially constructed as the real-life concept of race is. Which in my opinion makes race a poor word to describe groups of fantasy peoples.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
As much as I understand your POV, I do disagree.

I find orcs, humans and elves just as similar to each other as bulldogs, huskies and poodles. The physical differences are actually not very different (they are all humanoids with similar bone structure) and metaphysical differences shouldn't impact a discussion on "species" (culture differences don't impact whether something is of a different species or not).

Considering the definition of race is (again Oxford);

Race(noun): the descendants of a common ancestor; a family, tribe, people, or nation, believed or presumed to belong to the same stock; a lineage; a breed.

This is the better fit for the differences between orc and human. Especially considering how it applies the words "lineage" and "breed."
Orcs and humans aren’t descendants from a common ancestor though, nor are they believed or presumed to belong to the same stock. Orcs were created by Gruumsh, and... well, the origin of humans is left unclear, but they sure aren’t believed to have been created by Gruumsh.

I'll add that just because they are the same species, doesn't mean all D&D races are the same species; dragonborn and tabaxi for example cannot mingle with humans and thus would be a different species.
Again, I don’t think we can apply the same taxonomic standards to a world where creatures are directly created by gods rather than emerging through evolution by natural selection. Orcs and humans might be able to produce viable offspring, but so can dragons and humans, and I don’t think anyone would try to argue they’re the same species, so clearly breeding compatibility is not a reliable indicator of species in this setting. The fact of the matter is, there is no shared lineage between orcs and humans, so calling them the same species doesn’t make sense.
 


The whole premise that a species is a group of animals that can interbreed is false. Orcs and humans aren't the same species, no more than Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens were the same species (there is some controversy on the topic of neanderthals being a different species, but I believe they were.)
 
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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.

The whole premise that a species is a group of animals that can interbreed is false. Orcs and humans aren't the same species, no more than Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens were the same species (there is some controversy on the topic of neanderthals being a different species, but I believe they were.)
We like to put things into neat little piles and ordered lists but nature doesn't always work that way. It would be even less clear in a world where you have mixed genera much less different species.
 

We like to put things into neat little piles and ordered lists but nature doesn't always work that way. It would be even less clear in a world where you have mixed genera much less different species.
Yes, evolutionarily, there's no definition of species. There is no one point on the evolutionary tree in which we stopped being a fish and became a human. We know we're different, but we can't draw a line at where we changed.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Orcs and humans aren’t descendants from a common ancestor though, nor are they believed or presumed to belong to the same stock. Orcs were created by Gruumsh, and... well, the origin of humans is left unclear, but they sure aren’t believed to have been created by Gruumsh.
We are actually agreeing here; the definition of race is that you must have a common ancestor or belong to the same stock. Orcs and humans do not, so they are not the same "race." This same standard does not apply to "species" meaning all you need to do is be able to procreate.

Again, I don’t think we can apply the same taxonomic standards to a world where creatures are directly created by gods rather than emerging through evolution by natural selection. Orcs and humans might be able to produce viable offspring, but so can dragons and humans, and I don’t think anyone would try to argue they’re the same species, so clearly breeding compatibility is not a reliable indicator of species in this setting. The fact of the matter is, there is no shared lineage between orcs and humans, so calling them the same species doesn’t make sense.
A geneticist would likely disagree with this. If an alien came to earth, and had a baby that could in-turn have more babies, it would actually be evidence that the humans and the alien are the same species, regardless of their origin.

Consider grizzly bears and polar bears; for some time, they were considered separate species, because they don't live in the same area (they diverged 400,000 years ago), and therefore cannot procreate. It actually had little to do with common ancestry at all, as their both part of the same family (ursus) but their different habitats meant they weren't the same species. However, now polar bears are moving farther south and are mating successfully with grizzlies, (creating Pizzlies!) there is some debate whether grizzlies and polar bears should be reclassified as the same species.

Anyway, bottom line is ancestry is not as important to species classification as reproduction is.

I do agree with you that the modern application of "species" shouldn't really be used in fantasy, as most people in a fantasy world have no idea how genetics work. But if you were to apply them, orcs and humans would be the classified as different subspecies of the same species, which would have some silly name like "homo-humanoid."
 

There is not universal term for species. No matter the definition and no matter how airtight it seems, like the fertile offspring rule, there's always exceptions that make the definition not work in certain circumstances.

There's a species of newt that has 7 subspecies. Each subspecies can breed with any other subspecies, producing fertile offspring of one of the parent's subspecies. There's an exception, though. There are 2 subspecies in this species of newt that cannot breed together, can't even produce infertile offspring. Both of these subspecies can breed with any other subspecies in this species of newt, but they cannot breed together. If one specimen from either subspecies breeds with another subspecies of newt that it can breed with, if its offspring is a member of the other parent's subspecies, it can breed with the subspecies its parent could normally not breed with.

This is an example of a species that doesn't follow standard species classification. Based on the "a species is any group of creatures that can breed and produce fertile offspring" definition, this newt should be one species, as they can almost all interbreed. Also according to this definition, the 2 subspecies that can't breed together are different species of newt. This definition doesn't work for these newts and is inherently flawed for other types of creatures.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire

The whole premise that a species is a group of animals that can interbreed is false. Orcs and humans aren't the same species, no more than Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens were the same species (there is some controversy on the topic of neanderthals being a different species, but I believe they were.)
That's... not what the article says... it specifically points out that many species are separated by geography, because if two animals are on two different continents, they can't breed unless outside of nature. However, if those two continents collided and the two animals began intermingling with 100% breeding efficiency, they may be reclassified (see polar/grizzly bear thing I posted above).

In the case of orcs and humans, who generally do live in the same geography and often interbreed, they would likely be considered the same species by a geneticist.

I do agree with there are exceptions in every case and that this is not an exact science. Which is why we probably shouldn't say with 100% certainty they are the same species or not, because...

orcs and elves aren't real
 

(Sorry, bad example of article. I'll replace it with a better one.)
Grizzly and Polar bears are different species, and they can breed and produce fertile offspring. There's no perfect definition of species.
 

I do agree with there are exceptions in every case and that this is not an exact science. Which is why we probably shouldn't say with 100% certainty they are the same species or not, because...

orcs and elves aren't real
Yes. There's no perfect definition of species. Orcs and Humans are definitely different species in my opinion, and half orcs technically a different species as well. There are Mul, which are half-dwarves, half-humans, and Half-Orc, half-humans, but there's no lore that I know of that says Dwarves and Orcs can breed, and would be considered different species from each other, but somehow the same species as a human at the same time.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Yes. There's no perfect definition of species. Orcs and Humans are definitely different species in my opinion, and half orcs technically a different species as well. There are Mul, which are half-dwarves, half-humans, and Half-Orc, half-humans, but there's no lore that I know of that says Dwarves and Orcs can breed, and would be considered different species from each other, but somehow the same species as a human at the same time.
As you say, not an exact science. I do find the idea of ancestry completely unimportant in fantasy, as the humans of Greyhawk are created by a different god than the humans of Forgotten Realms, yet we wouldn't say they are different species. But maybe a geneticist would think so, because travel between these two worlds is relatively uncommon.

I personally think humans and orcs would just be different breeds, especially as if a half-orc mates with a human, their children are humans.

In the case of the Mul, they are actually infertile! Which points to Athasian dwarves (which have klingon-like foreheads) are very much a distinct species from humans. In the Forgotten Realms, human-dwarf mixes do exist, and although not common do not seem to be infertile, the Forgotten Realms dwarf may be the same species as human.

This is something we probably can't have a definitive answer for without actually having an actual experiment showing the fertility rates of each race mingling with the other (which I definitely do not want). Considering that half-elves and half-orcs are in the PHB I find their fertility rate likely high, while half-dwarves are not so are relatively low, meaning that perhaps elves/humans/orcs are the same species but that doesn't include the others.

I might make a thread detailing all of the interbreeds of races, because if you go deep into the editions there are a LOT.
 





Parmandur

Legend
Yes. There's no perfect definition of species. Orcs and Humans are definitely different species in my opinion, and half orcs technically a different species as well. There are Mul, which are half-dwarves, half-humans, and Half-Orc, half-humans, but there's no lore that I know of that says Dwarves and Orcs can breed, and would be considered different species from each other, but somehow the same species as a human at the same time.
The 5E Monster Manual actually does use a Dwarf-Orc hybrid as an example of a non-Human Half-Orc. Half-Orcs are half Orc, not Human-Orc hubrids. The Explorer's Guide to Wildemount also discusses Dwarf-Elf children, and Half-Elves of non-Human heritage I'm general.
 

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