log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D General What are the most populous races in your setting?

Voadam

Legend
Most D&D settings are generally humanocentric with a lot of human filled cities and kingdoms and nations plus a decent number of other PC race populations scattered about generally as minorities in human ones with perhaps a dwarven kingdom here (in the mountains) and an elven kingdom there (in the forest), and a vague undefined number of lots of humanoid monsters in the wilderness or just generally everywhere.

For instance in The World of Greyhawk there are about 40 or so nations, most listed with a specific number of thousands of humans and an entry for demihumans and humanoids often with listings like few, some, or many with a few exceptions such as the elven kingdom of Celene stating how many thousands of elves live there, and the Pomarj listing the (very few) thousands of orcs and goblins in the humanoid dominated area. It is very humanocentric on the surface, but there is huge distances between human population centers with room for humanoids to be canonically most everywhere if you want.

I've done both a standard D&D humanocentric focus with narrative room for lots of D&D cantina scenes to make sense (my mashup homebrew setting and Greyhawk and Ravenloft settings) and a completely other race default one (elves, goblins, and dover dog-men) when I used the Oathbound Wildwood wilderness domain as my setting.

My current setting is my homebrew mashup one which is a lot of Golarion and Ptolus and Midgard plus lots of others and it is fairly humanocentric with probably orcs being number 2 in terms of population size in my head, maybe followed by goblins, and then possibly kobolds.

I picture races with high reproduction rates and quick maturation leading to a high population for orcs and goblins and kobolds so they get the second tier of population sizes in my head for my homebrew. Ratfolk/Slitheren/Nezumi/Skaven would be similar but I don't have a well-defined place for them narratively, I have not consciously adopted them as a big underground hidden massive empire from Warhammer, though it is a thought and there is room for it. Elves and dwarves might be more common in the empire, but I don't picture them as the same tier of population size as the big reproducers. I do have dwarven and elven provinces and kingdoms so there are significant defined population areas though so they are probably a tier 3 category for populations.

In your setting what would you say are the big races as far as population sizes?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
My current setting is a little weird in that it is a small part of the world purposefully set against the distant "Known World" (not to be confused with Mystara) which is always off-stage by design. It is purposefully vague and players are free to imagine it as any kind of dark fantasy setting they want. But it is mostly humans and a smattering of the other "Free Peoples" (elves, dwarves, gnomes, halflings) and all the monstrous races have been systematically wiped out there. Essentially an orc to them is like a neanderthal to us. They know they existed, but no one has seen one for 10000 years. "Half-orcs" are just people who identify as descended from an orcish lineage they are trying to reconstruct. Similarly, "half-elves" are "fey-touched" people (but same rules).

The PCs are from there, able to make up whatever they want basically for their backgrounds (for example someone wanted to be a tiefling, which in the past I would have needed to come up with an explanation for - but with this set up I was like "sure there is a tiefling nation there"). The entire campaign, however, takes place on the other side of the world, in a little human-centered republic of exiles and cast-offs - a "frontier." Like I said, the "main" setting is off-stage. Here humans are still the most populous but scattered, and then dwarves, and then lizardfolk, and then halflings, gnomes, and then any elfin or orcish descended people (and then elves themselves). There are also still pockets of peoples wiped out in the Known World, like Hobgoblins and bugbears and xvarts (still no orcs though). There is also, however, a kind of Hollow World where hobgoblin civilization is thriving unknown in the "Known World" and recently discovered by the PCs.

I never worry about actual numbers as much as I try to imagine what I want the PCs to experience and then retrofit an idea about relative populations from that.
 

Bitbrain

Location: Arrakis
In my (hopefully upcoming) homebrew Dark Sun campaign, in descending order from largest population to smallest:

1) humans
2) halflings
3) muls
4) thri-kreen
5) elves
6) gith
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
I always build my campaign worlds around the characters, so the current campaign world has, in order of highest to lowest population:

Humans
Tortles
Tieflings
Halflings
Gnomes
Kenku
Goliaths
Dwarves

In general, tortles are native to the valley, humans and Halflings came later, tieflings moved in when vampires took over, gnomes are imported experts, and goliaths and dwarves are travelers from afar.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I only allow a handful of races but population density just depends on region. Some areas are almost all human, other areas will be dominated by specific races. Overall? Probably 75% human followed by 10% or so elf and dwarf. Remainder gnomes, halflings and half-orcs.

Of course if I went by adventurer demographics, it would probably be reversed.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Depends on which of my settings.

In Six Kindgoms, each of the kingdoms are dominated by one race: humans, dwarves, elves, goblins, dragonborn, and human again. But goblins outreproduce everyone by a mile. And technically there are as many kobolds and ratmen as goblins. but their nations are in chaotic and uncounted.

In Klassico, the world is in the Age of Men so humans outnumber every other "PC race". However elves and dwarves are not far behind as they haven't when into decline yet. The Age of Dragons is predicted next so a lot of dragonborn are being born.

And in Beastworld, technically every other race is also a human.
 

Voadam

Legend
In my (hopefully upcoming) homebrew Dark Sun campaign, in descending order from largest population to smallest:

1) humans
2) halflings
3) muls
4) thri-kreen
5) elves
6) gith
My understanding of Muls from 2e is that they are sterile dwarf-human hybrids so I am guessing you are either conflating muls and dwarves in there or you have used different lore on the races.

I find Dark Sun interesting as I mostly know things from the original boxed set and series of novels and bits from other things so I know thri-kreen are a PC race and that there is a thing with a big Thri-Kreen empire outside of the main map that could be a big population center, but I don't have a real basis to say how big one way or another compared to other races. Elves have multiple tribes which can be a decent population center as well. Gith are a big monster race, but I don't really remember much about their population centers, just seeing them a bunch in some materials.
 

Voadam

Legend
My current setting is a little weird in that it is a small part of the world purposefully set against the distant "Known World" (not to be confused with Mystara) which is always off-stage by design. It is purposefully vague and players are free to imagine it as any kind of dark fantasy setting they want.
It is completely valid to keep it vague and not sweat such details and to not nail them down so you can work however you or your players want later.

Here humans are still the most populous but scattered, and then dwarves, and then lizardfolk, and then halflings, gnomes, and then any elfin or orcish descended people (and then elves themselves). There are also still pockets of peoples wiped out in the Known World, like Hobgoblins and bugbears and xvarts (still no orcs though). There is also, however, a kind of Hollow World where hobgoblin civilization is thriving unknown in the "Known World" and recently discovered by the PCs.
That seems pretty well thought out and defined though, even though the proportions for the main setting aren't set you have some defined ones for your setting area and even some for the main area in the no orcs.
 

Voadam

Legend
I always build my campaign worlds around the characters, so the current campaign world has, in order of highest to lowest population:

Humans
Tortles
Tieflings
Halflings
Gnomes
Kenku
Goliaths
Dwarves

In general, tortles are native to the valley, humans and Halflings came later, tieflings moved in when vampires took over, gnomes are imported experts, and goliaths and dwarves are travelers from afar.
So was this built off the PC races your characters chose and you built up a world they would be connected to, or did they come up with backgrounds that you took and ran with, such as the tiefling-vampire connection?
 

Voadam

Legend
I only allow a handful of races but population density just depends on region. Some areas are almost all human, other areas will be dominated by specific races. Overall? Probably 75% human followed by 10% or so elf and dwarf. Remainder gnomes, halflings and half-orcs.

Of course if I went by adventurer demographics, it would probably be reversed.
Looks like the 1e PC race palette. Does your world have just those races or would the numbers change significantly if you count up monster humanoids in your world?
 

Voadam

Legend
In Klassico, the world is in the Age of Men so humans outnumber every other "PC race". However elves and dwarves are not far behind as they haven't when into decline yet. The Age of Dragons is predicted next so a lot of dragonborn are being born.
My homebrew, like many, has past ages where elves and dwarves were dominant, but I picture them more like Melnibone from Elric, they were in charge, but they had conquered and ruled many subjects, not that they were dominant population wise. So like in Warhammer the dark dwarves conquered and ruled and enslaved and fielded armies of tons of hobgoblins in addition to their own armies of dwarven warriors and dwarven chaos-sorcerers and hybrid bull-dwarftaurs.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
In my Legends of Hawaiki Setting (mythic Polynesia) while the game focusses on group of Human settlements, Humans are in fact new arrivals just beginning to settle the islands and the native populations actually comprise of gnomes, goblins, with a small native half-giant population.

However most of my more generic settings (ie the ones with cities) are humanocentric.
 
Last edited:

As I run Greyhawk, it's really human-centric for civilization, but the actual races are mostly evil humanoids.

1) Goblinoids (includes Kobolds) - scattered tribes often dominated by stronger beings
2) Orcs - mostly scattered bands and tribes
3) Humans - dominant civilization with many kingdoms and empires
4) Halfings - no civilization, but found in almost every civilization
5) Elf - only 2 remaining true kingdoms but sporatic regions with strongholds; only beat dwarves due to longevity
6) Dwarf - no true kingdoms remain, but numerous clan strongholds
7) Gnomes - no true kingdoms, but many warrens among other civilizations
8) various other humanoid creature types (including gnolls) - few scattered kingdoms, mostly tribes and clans
9) half breeds - no civilzations, but found among their parentage and human civilizations
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
My homebrew, like many, has past ages where elves and dwarves were dominant, but I picture them more like Melnibone from Elric, they were in charge, but they had conquered and ruled many subjects, not that they were dominant population wise. So like in Warhammer the dark dwarves conquered and ruled and enslaved and fielded armies of tons of hobgoblins in addition to their own armies of dwarven warriors and dwarven chaos-sorcerers and hybrid bull-dwarftaurs.

Klassico uses a more Warhammery description of the Dwaren and Elven ages.The Humans were still very early in civilaztion during the Age of Elves and Age of Dwarves. Elven and Dwarven populations were greater than the Human one but the older races populations were held back by their traditions and barely grew outside of wartime.

I have a setting that is Warhammer with the names filed off, fewer real life racial issues, and D&Disms (dragonborn are lizardmen, Lolth is Khaine). However since I never ran it, the populations are the same as Warhammer. Rat people, green guys, then boney dudes, then humans.
 

Humans are fairly common, but dragonborn, half-orcs/orcs, half-elves/elves, genasi/genies (both of whom can often pass for human), and dwarves are all commonplace. We have not yet seen any gnomes or halflings, but they presumptively exist. More novel options like owl-people are also present, but they tend to live out in the desert rather than in cities (they're burrowing-type owls).

Populations tend to be heavily intermixed because trade is the heart of the civilization the PCs live in (Arabian Nights-flavored sultanate city-states.)
 

DeviousQuail

Adventurer
Normally things are pretty human centric but my soon to be unveiled setting flips that around. Humans are an orphaned species that were mostly taken in by another species. The setting is a group of magically connected planets and each one features a different dominant species. The human planet is wiped out and now they are spread across the planets.

Billions and billions:
Elementals (very few can actually leave their world)

Many millions:
Floren (plant like species with a very Green Knight/human sized ent look)
Wolv (they can bite or smash your head in with an axe)

A few million:
Kothan (my take on the Qunari from the Dragon Age games)
Drakken (a dragonborn by any other name still burns you for 2d6 damage)

One hundred thousand-ish:
Humans (yes, I watched the movie Titan A.E. a lot when I was younger)
Riven (spirits bound to bones with a skeleton/warforged vibe)

A few thousand:
Witch (made/born/reborn from other species like the new racial choices from VRGtR)

Since most of them have their own planets of origin each planet will have a different species taking up most of the space.
 

Bird Of Play

Explorer
Humans.
Humans, humans, humans, humans.

Much like in our real world, humans are spreading everywhere, they've driven away the wild orc tribes, they've made even dragons into rare creatures, and brought some previously unknown diseases to forest elves.

So far my adventurers have only visited human towns. They're comprised of 90% of humans.

- Dwarves, if found, are usually blacksmiths or guards, as a sort of racial stereotype. It's a bit like in my country Chinese people always open restaurants or clothes shop. Dwarves are the easiest race to find apart from humans, because they politically joined forces with them. Dwarves needed help fighting duergars and commercing food; humans want the dwarves precious mines and some of their technology. And duergars..... duergars are another chapter entirely. They hate humans, but they also hate dwarves. Gotta feel sorry for the poor duergars who seem to get along only with drow, and even then, the drow help them economically but refused to battle with them.

- Elves generally don't deal with humans, although my adventurers met a traveling sylvan elf merchant who married the human lady who was his bodyguard. Elves are a bit like the original natives who now are very short in numbers. Drows are NOT evil, they're just more xenophobic. Elven races have a very stoic view of life as "s**t happens because this is the nature", so they no longer are at war with humans. Except for drows who insist humans are worse than orcs. Only drows don't deal at all with humans, so humans paint them as evil and twisted and tell exaggerated tales of their evil society. Other elven races however have no problem with drows.

- Half-elves are the second most common race to find. Some of them live as humans, others live as elves. Of course it's much easier to find those who live as humans, but my adventurers will soon meet an half-elf druid who has the elves'attuning with nature and the humans'aggressive way of dealing with everything. She wants to lead a gnoll tribe to kill humans and drive them away from the forests. Very half-elf of her.

- Half-orcs are rare because most orc tribes have been killed off or driven far away. In the humans'defense, orcs ARE dangerous and violent, so it was a battle of two very invasive species which the humans won because they're way smarter, while orcs are almost beastlike. My adventurers met only one halforc so far, and yes, of course he was the result of orc rape. My orcs are classic orcs, beastly ugly smelly and aggressive creatures who act freely on their instinct.

- Gnomes and halflings are actually the same race. Leave it to humans to see that they look different and assume that they are two separate species. Imagine if an African and a Caucasian met gnomes and the gnomes assumed they're not the same human species. It's funny because one of my player characters is a gnome, so he's baffled by this and by the fact that hillfeys are called "halflings" which sounds like an offensive slur.

- Celestials and infernals are bodyless entities in my world, so a tiefling or an aasimar is either 1) a creature possessed by one of said entities; 2) the offspring that was had by any living being while that being was possessed by a celestial or an infernal. So anything can be a tiefling or an aasimar: almiraj are the aasimar result of the bunny offpsrings of a celestial that once possessed a bunny; humber hulks are the tiefling offsprings of an infernal creature that possessed a bug. A tiefling or an aasimar with humanlike shape is very very rare.
 
Last edited:


Bitbrain

Location: Arrakis
My understanding of Muls from 2e is that they are sterile dwarf-human hybrids so I am guessing you are either conflating muls and dwarves in there or you have used different lore on the races.

I find Dark Sun interesting as I mostly know things from the original boxed set and series of novels and bits from other things so I know thri-kreen are a PC race and that there is a thing with a big Thri-Kreen empire outside of the main map that could be a big population center, but I don't have a real basis to say how big one way or another compared to other races. Elves have multiple tribes which can be a decent population center as well. Gith are a big monster race, but I don't really remember much about their population centers, just seeing them a bunch in some materials.

Which is why I added the word homebrew. In my games, muls can reproduce. Dwarves are extinct in my Dark Sun, as I find it more interesting to have muls be the heirs of dwarvenkind.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Looks like the 1e PC race palette. Does your world have just those races or would the numbers change significantly if you count up monster humanoids in your world?
I was only thinking playable races; I don't allow monstrous races because of a variety of reasons. For the most part because I've been running pretty much the same campaign world since 1E.

When it comes to monstrous races, the numbers really vary. As with other races, there are region where they dominate. Orcs aren't a natural race, if they are driven back from a region they lose spawn points (not that anyone realizes the spawn points are anything other than altars). Because of the current multi-decade story arc, orcs have increased population, but still only to about 10-15% of the overall population so about the same as elves and dwarves. Goblins are widely dispersed, probably around 5-10% with the rest of the monstrous races only having niches here and there, maybe up to 5%. Drow, svirfeneblin and a handful of races only raid and form temporary incursions and aren't native to the prime material plane at all.

Basically, monstrous races exist, they've never been a major center of conflict.
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top