D&D (2024) Size = Strength-Constitution?

Yaarel

He Mage
The reason the D&D game originated "race mechanics" is BECAUSE of historical racism.

These mechanics are neither neutral, nor accidental, nor innocent.

The update to the term "species" is more neutral. D&D needs to think carefully about what the term "species" means, in order to actively end the habit of a racist past.
 

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D&D needs to think carefully about what the term "species" means,
Species:
"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, e.g. Homo sapiens."

Of course we know that's a rather rough generalisation. Biology hates perfectly neat little boxes.
 

Yaarel

He Mage
Species:
"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, e.g. Homo sapiens."

Of course we know that's a rather rough generalisation. Biology hates perfectly neat little boxes.
Elves, Humans, and Orcs can "exchange genes".

Elves are understandably a different species because they are immaterial, originating away from the Material Plane − but its complicated.

The Hin and the Orc are material, and are "natural", and need a doublecheck to confirm their concept and mechanics merit the classification of a separate fantastical species.

In reallife, humans are Homo sapiens. But I view the D&D term "Humanoid" to effectively replace the reallife genus Homo. So species that derive from independent fantastical origins can all get classified as members of the Humanoid creature type, because they are humanlike in the sense of the capacity of speech, free will, and cultures. Pragmatically, Humanoids are gaming go-tos that a player can relate to and that balance mechanically.


Elves are complicated. They spring parthenogenically from the "blood" of astral thought stuff, while in the form of a mercurial shapeshifter. As shapeshifters, Elves voluntarily chose to adopt Human forms. While they evolved as natives of the Feywild, they are immaterial Fey spirits and nonbiological. So far simple: a separate species. The tricky part is. Some Elves used magic to enter the Material Plane, by means of "incarnating" into material bodies of flesh and blood. These Fey spirits are wearing a biological body as an avatar. Had they preferred, these Fey spirits could have manifested within the Material Plane as ethereal force constructs, similar to ghosts, angels, and spell-summoned creatures. But they actually chose to adopt bodies of matter − with a biological metabolism. This natural body that some elven cultures feature exhibits a DNA that is similar to or identical with the Human species. So much so, Humans and Elves can freely "exchange genes" to reproduce offspring together. So even when certain elven cultures feature a physical body that might taxonomically classify as members of the Human species, their Fey spirit remains in play, and it is their Fey characteristics that easily qualify as a separate fantastical species.
 
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Yaarel

He Mage
Which is perfectly valid head canon divorced from the actual game for your own individual views.
Does D&D lore refer to the term "Homo sapiens"? If so, I am unaware of it.

D&D lore does refer to the terms "Humanoid" and "Human".

This why, in a context of fantastical species, where the "Human" is a species, the term Humanoid functions in ways that resemble the reallife term Homo − but in a fantastical way.
 

aco175

Legend
Elves are complicated. They spring parthenogenically from the "blood" of astral thought stuff, while in the form of a mercurial shapeshifter. As shapeshifters, Elves voluntarily chose to adopt Human forms. While they evolved as natives of the Feywild, they are immaterial Fey spirits and nonbiological. So far simple: a separate species. The tricky part is. Some Elves used magic to enter the Material Plane, by means of "incarnating" into material bodies of flesh and blood. These Fey spirits are wearing a biological body as an avatar. Had they preferred, these Fey spirits could have manifested within the Material Plane as ethereal force constructs, similar to ghosts, angels, and spell-summoned creatures do. But they actually chose to be bodies of matter − with a biological metabolism. This natural body that some Elves have exhibits a DNA that is similar to or identical with the Human species. So much so, Humans and Elves can freely "exchange genes" to reproduce offspring together. So even when certain elven cultures feature a physical body that might classify as members of the Human species, their Fey spirit remains in play, and it is their Fey characteristics that easily qualify as a separate fantasy species.
Wouldn't this be your elves in your world and not in general? My elves could have been part of the same parent tree as all the other humanoid races and split a ga-billion years ago and some splitting again a ga-million years ago and even some that can intermix only a ga-thousand years ago.
 


Yaarel

He Mage
Wouldn't this be your elves in your world and not in general? My elves could have been part of the same parent tree as all the other humanoid races and split a ga-billion years ago and some splitting again a ga-million years ago and even some that can intermix only a ga-thousand years ago.
I am referring to the official D&D lore in Tome of Foes and in the current Playtest.

Elves originate from a Celestial shapeshifter, but voluntarily chose humanlike forms while in the Feywild. Some but not all Elves, incarnated into the Material Plane. These material Elves feature a biological body of matter that is able to "exchange genes" with Humans. Human/Elf multispecies individuals are a prominent feature of the official default setting.

Other Elves remain immaterial and never had anything to do with the Material Plane, besides liking the Human species enough to model its form for themselves.
 
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Elves, Humans, and Orcs can "exchange genes".

Elves are understandably a different species because they are immaterial, originating away from the Material Plane − but its complicated.

The Hin and the Orc are material, and are "natural", and need a doublecheck to confirm their concept and mechanics merit the classification of a separate fantastical species.

In reallife, humans are Homo sapiens. But I view the D&D term "Humanoid" to effectively replace the reallife genus Homo. So species that derive from independent fantastical origins can all get classified as members of the Humanoid creature type, because they are humanlike in the sense of the capacity of speech, free will, and cultures. Pragmatically, Humanoids are gaming go-tos that a player can relate to and that balance mechanically.
Many irl creatures of different species can hybridise, sometimes creating entirely new and separate species.

I've never viewed 'humanoid' as equivalent to 'homo'. I've just viewed 'humanoid' as 'sapient, capable of language and complex tool use, and has free will' Two things in that category could be completely unrelated, but still fall under that. Just like how two creatures in the 'beast' category would be completely unrelated to each other.

A human (humanoid) might be closer to a rat (beast) than it is to a lizardfolk (humanoid). While the lizardfolk is closer to an owl (beast) than it is to a human.

And where species come from varies setting to setting. In one setting elves might be created by a god. In another they might have come from the feywild to the mortal realm. In another setting they might have evolved from animals just like humans.
 

Yaarel

He Mage
I've just viewed 'humanoid' as 'sapient, capable of language and complex tool use, and has free will' Two things in that category could be completely unrelated, but still fall under that. Just like how two creatures in the 'beast' category would be completely unrelated to each other.
Yeah. Humanoid as "sapient" (with related implications) is a useful definition.


A human (humanoid) might be closer to a rat (beast) than it is to a lizardfolk (humanoid). While the lizardfolk is closer to an owl (beast) than it is to a human.

And where species come from varies setting to setting. In one setting elves might be created by a god. In another they might have come from the feywild to the mortal realm. In another setting they might have evolved from animals just like humans.
For some reason, 2014 hesitates to go there, but I find the 4e mechanics of "planar origin" (as well as certain creature types) to be useful and flavorful.

Elf (Fey Humanoid)
Tiefling (Fiend Humanoid)
Dragonborn (Dragon Humanoid)
Orc (Giant? Humanoid)
Goliath (Giant Humanoid)
Dwarf (Elemental? Humanoid)
Lizardfolk (Beast Humanoid)

Notice the catlike Tabaxi is actually Celestial Humanoid.

Wilder (Plant Humanoid)
Warforged (Construct Humanoid)
Autognome (Construct Humanoid)
Plasmoid (Ooze Humanoid)

Human (Material Humanoid)
Hin (Material Humanoid, perhaps is Human?)

Altho the Human species evolved from Beast, the designation of Material seems the more salient designation. Elf originates as Celestial, but Fey is the more salient designation.

Mentioning the planar origin (or a certain recognized creature type) helps emphasize how these species have independent origins − thus can be more easily understood to be distinct and unrelated species, even when they all qualify as sapient Humanoids.


The Orc exchanges genes with Human. It is tempting to classify the Orc as a member of the Human species.

D&D 4e derives the Orc from the Giant which itself derives from the elemental Primordial. This ultimately Elemental origin of the Orc kept it feeling Nonhuman. 5e doesnt refer to this 4e lore as far as I know. But D&D 2024 can refer to it, if it helps shore up the concept of the Orc as a separate species with a nonbiological origin, or at least a Nonhuman origin. The Orc would still qualify as a Humanoid, of course, thus require the appropriate cultural sensitivity when characterizing its species.
 
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