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

BookTenTiger

He / Him
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?
I had a general concept for a campaign: Vampire Oppressors in a secluded valley. (A remix of Curse of Strahd.) I knew there would be an enslaved peoples, a ruling class, a few other roles. The players made their characters and I filled it in from there.

The original characters were a tortle, a tiefling, an aasimar, and a goliath. I decided tortles were the enslaved and oppressed class, tieflings were the upper class, aasimars became a group of warriors who had passed through long ago, and goliaths were outsiders and very rare.

I filled in the valley with humans and some halflings, because I like halflings.

When the tortle character died, the player rolled up a gnome. We decided gnomes had been forcibly imported as expert artificers and mages.

This is my first time building the races of a campaign world off of player choices, and it's been really fun!
 

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RoughCoronet0

Dragon Lover
In my homebrew world, elves would technically be the most populous race as they are spread across at least three of the six continents (as well as the underdark and the oceans) and have the largest amount of Subraces.

  1. Eladrin (the season variety specifically)
  2. High Elves
  3. Wood Elves
  4. Sea Elves
  5. Avariel
  6. Drow
  7. Shadow Elves (Shadar-Kai)
  8. Twilight Elves
  9. Sun Weavers (Sun Driders)
  10. Night Striders (Moon Driders)
  11. A large percentage of Tieflings are of Elvish decent
  12. A large percentage of Dhampir are of Elvish decent

Humans meanwhile have only arrived to the world in the last decade or century (still deciding an exact time) and are considered one of the dragon folk (along with Dragonborn and Kobold). Their numbers are small and they mostly stay in the Dragon Continent.
 
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steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
Most populous...hmmm...

#1. Humans. Hands down. Pervasive buggers're everywhere. Building their kingdoms and citites and nations. Making their wars and religions and evil and ruining existence in general.
#2. Goblins.
#3. Kobolds.
#4. Orcs.
#5. Trolls & Ogres (and Hags) are essentially the same species. "Ogre" in Common, from "Ogor" in Duun (dwarvish), is just the dwarven name for a "Rock Troll." Hags, of course, are the powerfully magical females who dominate/rule their species.
#6. Elves.
#7. Dwarves.
#8. Satyrs & Halflings occupy roughly the same environments and exist in roughly the same numbers.
#9. Centaurs.
#10. Gnomes.
 

In my current setting the orcs and humans are most populous. Humans are rather adaptable and can thrive in many environments. And unlike many other species, some humans practice agriculture which allows high population cities to exist. (This is a stone age/early bronze age setting, so many people are some sort of nomads or hunter-gatherers.) Orcs on the other hand are hardy survivors, and can live in areas that would be too harsh and inhospitable to may other species, which gives them an niche humans cannot compete with. The third major species are the eldri, my small elf-like species. They however are far less numerous than the other two, although they can be found in many environments. They live in small clans. There are also many other intelligent species, such as gnolls, kobols, morogs, lizardfolk, kreen and others. But they're more peripheral. Granted, this may merely be due an anthropogenic bias: the campaign just takes place in the part of the setting where humans are common, and perhaps in some distant regions of the world this might not be the case.

People_comparison_sepia.jpg


⭐ More images of the denizens of my setting, as well as my other art and sketches at my Instagram. ⭐
 
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aco175

Legend
I'm boring and just play the way it always was with mainly humans and the other PHB races being in the minority with pockets where they may be dominant. My group has been playing for a long time and it is just the way it is.

I kind of only need races based on plot. It is assumed to be human dominated so when there is a village with a bunch of dwarves or halflings, it is something to notice. A trade town where goblins and orcs are tolerated as traders and merchants would also qualify. It is more of another tool similar to classes where some kingdoms are ruled by fighters and clerics rather than mages, or the one ruled by a mage may be evil.
 

Laurefindel

Legend
Humans

...except in settings where there are no humans, like in two of my homebrews.

Tired trope? Perhaps; I don't care. Except when I do.

hum, that was a remarkably unhelpful answer...
 

Voadam

Legend
I'm boring and just play the way it always was with mainly humans and the other PHB races being in the minority with pockets where they may be dominant. My group has been playing for a long time and it is just the way it is.

I kind of only need races based on plot. It is assumed to be human dominated so when there is a village with a bunch of dwarves or halflings, it is something to notice. A trade town where goblins and orcs are tolerated as traders and merchants would also qualify. It is more of another tool similar to classes where some kingdoms are ruled by fighters and clerics rather than mages, or the one ruled by a mage may be evil.
So how do monstrous humanoids stack against humans and PHB races in the game? D&D has usually been fairly ambiguous on the amount of monsters as a default.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Humans

...except in settings where there are no humans, like in two of my homebrews.

Tired trope? Perhaps; I don't care. Except when I do.

hum, that was a remarkably unhelpful answer...
What are your settings with no humans? How does lack of Humaniti affect things?
 

When I actually run games, I tend to build the world after the pc's are made so I definitely have room for whatever the players bring. Therefore, the answer to the title is "whatever races the player picked," with exceptions. (mostly if the player wanted to play a rare type of person, then their race is rare.)

When I worldbuild for fun, I try to include all the major races, so the big groupings are human (including planetouched), fey (including elves, goblins, etc), giants and dwarves (dwarves being the smallest giants unless I put gnomes here, goliaths also tend to end up here), beastfolk (all of them), and draconics (dragonborn, kolbolds, lizardfolk)
 

aco175

Legend
So how do monstrous humanoids stack against humans and PHB races in the game? D&D has usually been fairly ambiguous on the amount of monsters as a default.
The amount of monsters in the world does not matter, they are only there to provide for the PCs and players, like NPCs. There could be billions of orcs in the world and if the PCs never encounter them, it doers not matter- to the players or myself. I could make an epic arc about masses of orcs coming down from the mountains to attack the cities and just say that reports are in the thousands or a hundred thousand. It will not matter since the adventure of the PCs is targeted to only a certain amount or maybe they are gathering the forces of the cities and in the mass battle. The outcome is not the PCs killing thousands of orcs, but they would be Aragorn and Gimli on the mission to deal with the undead.
 


Laurefindel

Legend
What are your settings with no humans? How does lack of Humaniti affect things?
One is a setting for five PC races that were randomly generated on a d100 table. I did get aasimar which I guess is human enough to disqualify it as a no-human setting… other pc were vegepygmy, automaton (warforge-y type), girtablilu (female « centaurs » with scorpion body) and sprite.

the other is a setting where only « monsters » are allowed as PC, fantastic vistas and made-up societies (well, more made-up than our made-up societies…)

Human is our reference. It’s ground zero. Every other character race we play is a variation of the base human. Even when we try to get into an alien mindset, like elves don’t sleep and live super long. « Super long » is in reference to human life. In worlds were humans are present, the reference is easy to compare. When humans are absent, races then to gain more of an identity of their own.

kind of, your mileage may vary
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
For the Material Plane:
Humans (duh)

Minotaurs (they conquered the biggest forest in the world, kicked out the elves and fey creatures, cut down much of the forest to build giant wooden mazes, and love mining and creating weapons/armor and decorations out of gold, and are ruled over by a Minotaur Warlord dictator that has a Flame-Tongue Greataxe)

Planetouched (primarily Aasimar due to how they're produced in my world, but Tieflings and Genasi also have pretty large populations on the Material Plane)

Goblinoids (due to reproducing quickly and having a more unified culture and society now, worshipping magic and prospering through their mastery of magics, despite being extremely xenophobic towards other races, especially psions/telepaths)

Orcs (they also reproduce quickly, and have mastered primal magic, helping them survive and prosper)

Halflings (due to reproducing as quickly as humans and being masters of agriculture, making them indispensable to other races' food supply)

Golmeng (who are golem people that were mass-produced by dwarf and gnome artificers that decided to create a new race just to see if they could)

Felshen (psionic, bright-chromatic-skinned people that were also created by the dwarven and gnomish artificers, but they can actually reproduce on their own at the same rate as humans, and have been fairly successful due to their psionic innovations and culture)

For the Shadowfell:
Shadar-Kai (who serve the Raven Queen to make sure that everyone that dies proceeds to the afterlife)
Risen Kenku (who are kenku that were redeemed and accepted by the Raven Queen, restoring their voices, minds, and wings)
Sharbolg (Firbolg that adapted to the Shadowfell, gaining necromantic powers and resistances, and serve the Raven Queen as hunters of undead)
Vezyi (Corporeal-Undead-Touched worshippers of Vecna that, upon their final death, provide their souls to feed Vecna's ultraphylactery, and their bodies to the hordes of Vecna's armies)
Fehntüm (Incorporeal-Undead-Touched Vecna-Worshippers that merge with the souls of their long-passed ancestors in order to create extremely experienced and powerful ghostly-undead known as Phantoms that have extreme magical power)
Dhampir
Hexblood
For the Feywild:
Satyrs
Centaurs
Eladrin
Boggartkin (fey-goblinoids; which include Gremlins, Boggarts, and Bugaboos)
Fairies (with both Seelie and Unseelie varieties)
 

Scribe

Hero
My current iteration.

1. Orcs - Largest nation, multiple cultures, winners of the last war.
2. Goblins - Willing to live, wherever, however, it takes, get along with the Orcs.
3. Undead - A 'nation' lead by a Lich council, mostly 'unthinking' undead though. Something of a nuclear deterrent on any further open war.
4. Human - Your typical diverse cast of humans, from coast to coast to frozen northern coast. The 'youngest' race.
5. Lizardfolk - Ancient, former super power of the world before the rise of the 'younger' peoples.
6-7. Elf and Dwarf - Losers of the last war. Covers your basic tropes for Elves/Dwarves, including many of the various options.
8-9. Gnome/Halfling. - Small communities, either hidden/magical (Forest Gnomes) or living among Humans/Dwarves.
10. Tiefling/Aasimar/Genasi/Half-Elf/Half-Orc. - Individuals from Human cultures. Pre-4e style. Very rare.

I'm thinking anything else is going to be either rare to the point of being from another plane, or just doesnt exist in a 'civilization' type sense but would instead be seen as either purely hunter/gatherer, or 'monstrous' on the fringes of any settled areas. Most any NPC's would be of these various options, as would the PCs.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
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.
I did a similar thing with a public library mini-comic con adventure I wrote and ran (managed to get a fun adventure that kids could play with premade characters in 1 hour, and me and 2 other DMs successfully ran it in 1 hour 3 times in one day!). There was a Spanish-inspired empire and a French inspired one, named Albarona and Capet, respectively, and the Albaronan Captain Montez was the villain and introduced his Empire by being himself, while one of the few speaking NPCs was Capetian and did the same for his Empire, giving the feel of a colonial port town balanced on the knife's edge between two encroaching powers. In the longer version of the adventure, I also have NPCs from the The Nine Kingdoms of Galdan, others from the local Drow population, a ginger half-drow with Ionian (the isles of Iona are celtic inspired, especially Irish and Welsh) blood, and an aged Knight from Gwnyd'alf (Welsh and English, deeply Arthurian).

All those places are just places to be from, more or less.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Anyway, to the OP.

Space Fantasy!

All DnD races are present, as well as anything from Star Wars that anyone wants to port over and give a brief translation into the setting, or just any ideas that anyone has that flow from the particulars of the setting. For instance, a player was reading about some species of moth that lives on gas, I guess? And the same day, I was talking about how there is Aether gas that can be breathed like oxygen, but isn't as comfortable for most species, and allows for things like Aether sailing vessels in space, but can also be gathered to use as a fuel, to power all sorts of magitech, and sometimes condenses into crystals. So, we got nerdy and built a race of moth people who live in the Aether clouds that form in solar systems and anywhere where people and magic gather.

The most common races in the Galactic Commonwealth of Free Planets and it's closest neighbors are, Gnomes, Elves, Firbolgs, Goliaths, Genasi, Humans, in that order, and then everyone else in little enclaves and such spread throughout Commonwealth space.

The Arkosian Kingdom is primarily Dragonborn, Lizardfolk, Dragons, Kobolds, and then small populations of most everyone else.

The Illithid Collective is mostly Gith, Genasi, Tieflings, Duergar, and Illithid, but other populations are growing as the Collective expands it's reach, and it's diplomats infiltrate the other powers. This is complicated by the Rakkma Alliance, which the Collective brands as treasonous terrorists, but who in turn claim that the Great Elders of the Collective are terrible monsters, and that the Illithid are performing horrible experiments on unwilling subjects, and using mind control to expand their power.

The Unified Human and Demihuman Authority, known elsewhere simply as The Authority, is a Corporate-Fascist expansionist state that considers itself the true heir to the first human galactic empire, which lost a century long war with the old Federation of Free Planets 1000 years ago, before the Star Lanes vanished and all the old empires were broken or folded in on themselves. It is a pretty terrible place to live if you aren't a human, and not great if you aren't a particular kind of human. The Authority planets were fringe colonies of the Human Empire who split with their cousins when the Humans signed their peace accords and joined the Federation. The colonies accused their leaders of treason and cowardice, saying that the New Frontier was the birthright of Humanity. Bottled up by themselves for a thousand years, this poisoned well festered, and when the Star Lanes opened up again, the began spreading their disease at the end of energy cannons. This is also the only place where the term Demihuman is considered an acceptable thing to call anyone, ever, for any reason.
Mostly human, about 15% other folk, mostly "near humans" like elves, dwarves, halflings, and genasi. The only non humans who are treated as human are aasimar, who are valued under a mythology that they are humans with a divine blessing, and that only those of pure lineage are born with The Blessing. Aasimar who don't look the part tend to be shunned and quietly ignored. This is here to give the setting a place that needs to get burned down.

The Baronies of Nea Thera are the old Core Worlds of the old Human Empire, including it's capitol city-planet, Nea Thera. Now, they are the front line of the war to keep the Authority from taking over the galaxy, and their folk are often known as Borderlanders. The Barony Paladins are elite troops who patrol the Baronies in heavily armored mech suits, while the Border Rangers are expert pilots, scouts, and skirmishers, often seen riding arcane mechanical mounts which can take control of simple or willing arcane systems, like the Rangers' ships. An offshoot of the Border Rangers exist in the Commonwealth, who also have these mounts. The Baronies are primarily Human, Halfling, Warforged, and Shifters, with strong minority populations of Kalashtar, various beast folk, Aasimar, Tieflings, Goblinoids, and then small minorities of everyone else.

Running around through and between all these regions are the nomadic people of the Galaxy.

Vaes Shadar - Natural navigators who are able to sense celestial alignments, and use this gift to be ever seeking their lost home. Shadar-kai, Vryloka, with small numbers of "adopted" folk of other lineages, mostly hexbloods, dhampyr, and various mixed race folk and supernatural human lineages.

Kobolds - Often ride on the body of cosmic dragons, in a symbiotic cycle. Do not try to commit acts of banditry against such kobolds. Their dragons sleep, even while traveling the Star Lanes, but they can be woken, and they are hungry when woken. And they love their kobolds.

Vistani - A traveling culture of many races, some say related to the Vaes Shadar, some say not. Humans and Halflings are most common, but gnomes and tabaxi are also common sights on Vistani ships.

River Folk - Mostly halflings, it is generally agreed upon that this is how halflings have always lived, even before they left whatever world they first emerged from, so long ago there is no record of it. Hin ships are swift, light, manueverable, and surprisingly comfortable, even for bigger folk. Often seen manuevering around bigger vessels along the Star Lanes, trading wares, working as tinkers and mechanics, running "food truck" style restaurants, and simply enjoying the company of all the sundry people that can be found on the big interstellar superhighways.

I'll make another post about Islands World, later!
 

DammitVictor

Druid of the Invisible Hand
In Shroompunk, it's humans first and then tortles. Not coincidentally, humans and then tortles is the order in which humans and tortles rank their primary opposition. Mycelians, likely, in third followed by kobolds and then dromites and then most other kiths are pretty rare.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Anyway, to the OP.

Space Fantasy!

All DnD races are present, as well as anything from Star Wars that anyone wants to port over and give a brief translation into the setting, or just any ideas that anyone has that flow from the particulars of the setting. For instance, a player was reading about some species of moth that lives on gas, I guess? And the same day, I was talking about how there is Aether gas that can be breathed like oxygen, but isn't as comfortable for most species, and allows for things like Aether sailing vessels in space, but can also be gathered to use as a fuel, to power all sorts of magitech, and sometimes condenses into crystals. So, we got nerdy and built a race of moth people who live in the Aether clouds that form in solar systems and anywhere where people and magic gather.

The most common races in the Galactic Commonwealth of Free Planets and it's closest neighbors are, Gnomes, Elves, Firbolgs, Goliaths, Genasi, Humans, in that order, and then everyone else in little enclaves and such spread throughout Commonwealth space.

The Arkosian Kingdom is primarily Dragonborn, Lizardfolk, Dragons, Kobolds, and then small populations of most everyone else.

The Illithid Collective is mostly Gith, Genasi, Tieflings, Duergar, and Illithid, but other populations are growing as the Collective expands it's reach, and it's diplomats infiltrate the other powers. This is complicated by the Rakkma Alliance, which the Collective brands as treasonous terrorists, but who in turn claim that the Great Elders of the Collective are terrible monsters, and that the Illithid are performing horrible experiments on unwilling subjects, and using mind control to expand their power.

The Unified Human and Demihuman Authority, known elsewhere simply as The Authority, is a Corporate-Fascist expansionist state that considers itself the true heir to the first human galactic empire, which lost a century long war with the old Federation of Free Planets 1000 years ago, before the Star Lanes vanished and all the old empires were broken or folded in on themselves. It is a pretty terrible place to live if you aren't a human, and not great if you aren't a particular kind of human. The Authority planets were fringe colonies of the Human Empire who split with their cousins when the Humans signed their peace accords and joined the Federation. The colonies accused their leaders of treason and cowardice, saying that the New Frontier was the birthright of Humanity. Bottled up by themselves for a thousand years, this poisoned well festered, and when the Star Lanes opened up again, the began spreading their disease at the end of energy cannons. This is also the only place where the term Demihuman is considered an acceptable thing to call anyone, ever, for any reason.
Mostly human, about 15% other folk, mostly "near humans" like elves, dwarves, halflings, and genasi. The only non humans who are treated as human are aasimar, who are valued under a mythology that they are humans with a divine blessing, and that only those of pure lineage are born with The Blessing. Aasimar who don't look the part tend to be shunned and quietly ignored. This is here to give the setting a place that needs to get burned down.

The Baronies of Nea Thera are the old Core Worlds of the old Human Empire, including it's capitol city-planet, Nea Thera. Now, they are the front line of the war to keep the Authority from taking over the galaxy, and their folk are often known as Borderlanders. The Barony Paladins are elite troops who patrol the Baronies in heavily armored mech suits, while the Border Rangers are expert pilots, scouts, and skirmishers, often seen riding arcane mechanical mounts which can take control of simple or willing arcane systems, like the Rangers' ships. An offshoot of the Border Rangers exist in the Commonwealth, who also have these mounts. The Baronies are primarily Human, Halfling, Warforged, and Shifters, with strong minority populations of Kalashtar, various beast folk, Aasimar, Tieflings, Goblinoids, and then small minorities of everyone else.

Running around through and between all these regions are the nomadic people of the Galaxy.

Vaes Shadar - Natural navigators who are able to sense celestial alignments, and use this gift to be ever seeking their lost home. Shadar-kai, Vryloka, with small numbers of "adopted" folk of other lineages, mostly hexbloods, dhampyr, and various mixed race folk and supernatural human lineages.

Kobolds - Often ride on the body of cosmic dragons, in a symbiotic cycle. Do not try to commit acts of banditry against such kobolds. Their dragons sleep, even while traveling the Star Lanes, but they can be woken, and they are hungry when woken. And they love their kobolds.

Vistani - A traveling culture of many races, some say related to the Vaes Shadar, some say not. Humans and Halflings are most common, but gnomes and tabaxi are also common sights on Vistani ships.

River Folk - Mostly halflings, it is generally agreed upon that this is how halflings have always lived, even before they left whatever world they first emerged from, so long ago there is no record of it. Hin ships are swift, light, manueverable, and surprisingly comfortable, even for bigger folk. Often seen manuevering around bigger vessels along the Star Lanes, trading wares, working as tinkers and mechanics, running "food truck" style restaurants, and simply enjoying the company of all the sundry people that can be found on the big interstellar superhighways.

I'll make another post about Islands World, later!
Islands World is a world without humans, or at least where humans have had no impact on the larger history of the setting.

The most common races are;

Goliaths and Firbolgs: primarily from the place that resembles celtic and norse myth and history. Goliaths are often sea hunters and often have brown bears as pets. It isn't unheard of for Goliaths to dive into the sea to grapple a whale or shark that is harrying their fishing lanes and weirs, though whaling as a profession is frowned upon by the sea gods. Firbolg are often scholars and are considered one of the first mortal folk to appear in the world.

Eladrin: Both types of Eladrin can be found here, especially in the central kingdom of Capet, which combines Fey stories and courts with an odd mix of romantic French chivalry and later Roccoco France, complete with Musketeers. Capet has traded throughout the known world, and thus her people can be found anywhere.

Wood Elves: Founders of the Empire of Albarona, but found just about everywhere.

Gnomes: Great builders throughout history, very much the "smart guy" race, and builders of airships. One of the earliest people to explore far and wide, they built two twin cities across a vast ocean from eachother, at the desire of two sister Queens who desired a means to communicate when one of them sailed over the sea to follow her lover. One city eventually became a seat of power for a province of Shadar-kai, while the other remained a city of gnomes primarily, and is the birthplace of the first airships. The Two cities are home to two identical dark stone towers with blue crystal lines from top to bottom, which trap light during the day, and emit it out toward eachother at night, acting as beacons for sailors.

Tritons rule undersea empires that either war with or are united with kingdoms of sauhagin. I haven't developed this stuff much yet.

Duergar are common, but mysterious.

Orcs are one of the eldest races, favored by the primal spirits.
 

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