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Trog
2011-03-27, 11:08 AM
In one setting I had created for a campaign I had positioned halflings on an island with the premise that the halflings evolved into their small size due to island dwarfism. Which is an evolutionary condition believed to have created the Flores Man (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_floresiensis) (nicknamed "The Hobbit"), or Homo Floresiensis which stood about three and half feet (roughly 1 meter) tall. While they might have migrated to other lands it will be a long time before being back on the mainland will change their stock yet again.

Also in another setting I had halflings and dwarves originate from the same stock - the Pechs. Through a long long history the two lines began to separate as the lowland/pastoral Pechs stayed small and became the modern halflings and the mountain dwelling Pechs who fought against the giants of the mountain tops (gravity being marginally less at higher altitudes seems to be a fitting place for the giants to develop such huge and cumbersome bodies) led them to breed in a way that pushed for bigger, stronger warriors. This led to the modern dwarves.

Clearly the bazillions of types of elves have had not only some cultural differences but some physical differences as well. Take the eladrin and the elves which, if I recall correctly, originally came from the same stock.

And naturally all of these races seem to be close to humans so humans could be yet another offshoot. Meaning all these races could trace their ancestory back to a common creature that split into multiple branches long ago. Orcs were like the neaderthals, say. And bipedal lizard-like creatures could have all split from the same stock resulting in lizardmen, the handsome and dashing troglodytes >.>, saurials, etc.

Has anyone else had any thoughts onworld building and how D&D races of your world might have come to be that has a parallel with what we understand about real world science/evolution? :smallsmile:

Sarco_Phage
2011-03-27, 11:14 AM
I've actually had issues with this conceit* ever since I saw it in those awful Shannara books.

On the other hand it would resolve the problems of why all of these separate races can interbreed.

*meaning device

LOTRfan
2011-03-27, 11:20 AM
Always.

In my campaigns, Halflings are distantly related to humans (the missing link are the Rhulisti).

Elves were once fey, but they spent so much time on the Material Plane they slowing evolved into humanoids (same with gnomes).

Chromatic and Metallic dragons are descended from two races of Eldar Dragons, who long ago wiped each other out.

Goblinoids are descended by what can only be described as Dire Orcs. They were pretty much megafauna, who are descended from Dire Gorillas. Orcs are the same.

All human-shaped mammalian humanoids are descended from some form of ape, whether it be gorillas, chimpanzees, or others (some are only recently evolved, like the Hadozee).

Reptiles are much more varied. Lizardfolk are descended from ancient dire crocodiles. Saurials are evolved forms of dinosaurs who survived the mass extinction (and subsequently lived in the Sauric Isles (http://forum.faxcelestis.net/viewforum.php?f=13)). Troglodytes are descended from moniter lizards like Megalania.

Most magical beasts are actually descended from animals who evolved into a specialized role.

Giants are prehistoric creatures that roamed the world when megafauna were the dominant type of animals.

Trog
2011-03-27, 11:48 AM
Another odd thought I just had on the races was the whole green skin thing.

The skin color variations of humans on earth seem to be linked (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOSPNVunyFQ) somehow to the amount of UV radiation an area of the earth gets with areas with higher UV exposure having populations with darker skin pigmentation.

But what's with the green skin? :smallconfused:

Well... what if the green pigmentation was actually a form of photsynthesis (yes I know this is pretty illogical since photosynthesis is a plant thing, not an animal thing but bear with me). This would allow for the creation of extra energy for the body, fueling, say, the extra muscle mass of the orcs, the regeneration power of trolls, and could even be taken to an extreme to create an offshoot to such things as the vegepygmy and the wilden.

Lord_Gareth
2011-03-27, 11:50 AM
I actually don't do a lot of evolution in my worlds, but I do consider the mystic themes of the races and how their creation might have gone right - or wrong - in the conception process. For example, in one of my worlds, Elves were the first race and the gods gave them a long lifespan so that they could worship them longer. Except, whoops, didn't quite fine-tune that memory, so after two hundred years or so they all went insane.

Icedaemon
2011-03-27, 12:45 PM
This depends a lot on the sort of a world I am building. The previous setting I worked on had humanity separated by different racial lines than we are on Earth, with dwarves literally being a race, not a separate species, for example.

On worlds linked to a planar cosmology, things are a bit more, erm, convoluted. With Walufar, the different races and relgions creation myths might shine light on things, although obviously for every myth based on some snippet of truth, there will be several which are based purely on imagination or dogma. Even so, one would expect some races to be truly native to the world.


The skin color variations of humans on earth seem to be linked (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOSPNVunyFQ) somehow to the amount of UV radiation an area of the earth gets with areas with higher UV exposure having populations with darker skin pigmentation.

But what's with the green skin? :smallconfused:

Well... what if the green pigmentation was actually a form of photsynthesis (yes I know this is pretty illogical since photosynthesis is a plant thing, not an animal thing but bear with me). This would allow for the creation of extra energy for the body, fueling, say, the extra muscle mass of the orcs, the regeneration power of trolls, and could even be taken to an extreme to create an offshoot to such things as the vegepygmy and the wilden.

The 40K orks with their plant-symbiote-based skin are probably the best example of 'photosynthetic skin', as far as the idea's description goes.

The lack of green skin is one of the reasons I prefer to use goblinoids on most of my worlds. Well, that and I prefer lawful evil to chaotic evil.

Trog
2011-03-27, 01:27 PM
Planar influences should be considered, yes. The eladrin becoming different from the elves due to inhabiting the Feywild. Or the Pech people becoming gnomes due to the fey influence in my previous example. Likewise with plant creatures I suppose that I mentioned earlier might be due to a fey influence. Therefore orcs could be classified as fey (though just barely) and might explain the orcs vs. elves (eladrin in this case) thing. Or the orcs could be fey humans - more brutal and wild due to the fey influence.

Also at a glance most of the other basic sentient races or creatures seem to be broken down into shades of the following:

Animal-like - Minotaurs, lizardfolk, shifters, gnolls, dragonborn, etc.
Elemental - Archons, efreet, gargoyles, etc.
Undead - Liches, mummies, ghouls, etc. Varying results there in intelligence which is consistent with something decaying and its preservation I suppose.
Far Realm - Illithids, medusa, what-have-you
Astral Sea - Githyanki, Devas, Tieflings, etc.
Underdark - All those underdark races.
Fey - All those fey races blah blah blah

You get the idea.

So basic mixtures of planar influences being added on top of normal evolutionary forces might help further explain the multitude of sentient races.

Though it would seem likely that some of these many races might end up with an evolutionary advantage in areas and simply cause the extinction of others, one would think. So you could say that once upon a time there might have been, say, a saurial civilization but the saurials died out/evolved into other creatures. Which might make for interesting history and ruins left over from, say, the remnants of these creatures that are now extinct. What might have caused each one to survive or die off can be written in the history of your setting and you can, essentially, do a intelligent race fight club of sorts to figure out who would come out on top, thus predicting, in an evolutionary sense, which species are on their way out and which are on the rise.

LOTRfan
2011-03-27, 01:34 PM
Since when are Archons elemental?

Maroon
2011-03-27, 02:07 PM
In most of my fantasy/science fiction worlds that support them, gnomes are thought to be descended from a kind of burrowing monkey, or at least one that made its home in abandoned animal burrows, and through convergent evolution became more humanoid. One interesting aspect that betrays their heritage is that when in danger, where most hominids would hide up a tree, a gnome's first instinct would be to hide down a hole.

Elves are ultraterrestrial beings that may have arisen from scientifically advanced humans far into the earth's past, giving rise to legends of a mythical Atlantis, or may be time-travelers from humanity's distant future, or may not be from earth at all but instead from a parallel universe much like ours. They have genetically engineered themselves to the point that they are barely recognizable as human, but can nevertheless interbreed. Elves themselves are weak and diminutive, but wear high-helmeted exoskeletons when walking the earth; High Elves wear shining white and silver suits, Dark Elves wear glossy black xenomorph-like carapaces, while Wood Elves have been hardened by choice or necessity to do without exoskeletons, and have reverted to a tribal society.

Goblins are descended from a grey-like extraterrestrial species that crash-landed and were marooned on earth tens of thousands of years ago, and are therefore unable to interbreed with any other humanoid, but within their own species are incredibly fecund and genetically varied, and have adaptively radiated to fill many niches previously occupied by terrestrial hominids, giving rise to generic goblins, carnivorous hobgoblins, scavenging kobolds, herbivorous bugbears, parasitic imps, and, rarely, gremlin-like throwbacks to the original species. They brought with them many of the slimes, moulds, puddings and fungi that now grow, and in some cases hunt, deep in the underworld.

Ghouls are not undead, but are instead a species of human parasitic upon humanity. To survive they require certain nutrients that are only found in the flesh and internal organs of humans, and because of obvious selection pressures have evolved to be remorseless hunters of people.

Dwarfs and giants are generally dwarf and giant humans, and are rarely shorter than four feet or taller than eight.

A lot of the more exotic humanoid species are a result of genetic engineering by the Elves. Orcs are uplifted boars, Gnolls are uplifted hyenas, Minotaurs are uplifted cattle, Lizardfolk are uplifted, well, lizards, and so on. After the decline and fall of the Elvish "Atlantis", many have gone practically extinct, but the remaining have settled into a suitable niche in some far corner of the world.

Trog
2011-03-27, 02:38 PM
Since when are Archons elemental?
4th Edition. Your definition of them may hail from earlier editions. *shrug*

4th Ed. Archon example:
http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/excerpt_4E_archon1.jpg

LOTRfan
2011-03-27, 02:40 PM
..... :smallsigh:

So, in 4e they hail from the Elemental Chaos, I guess?

EDIT: I don't want to derail the thread, I'll google it.

Sarco_Phage
2011-03-27, 08:43 PM
Another odd thought I just had on the races was the whole green skin thing.

The skin color variations of humans on earth seem to be linked (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOSPNVunyFQ) somehow to the amount of UV radiation an area of the earth gets with areas with higher UV exposure having populations with darker skin pigmentation.

But what's with the green skin? :smallconfused:

Well... what if the green pigmentation was actually a form of photsynthesis (yes I know this is pretty illogical since photosynthesis is a plant thing, not an animal thing but bear with me). This would allow for the creation of extra energy for the body, fueling, say, the extra muscle mass of the orcs, the regeneration power of trolls, and could even be taken to an extreme to create an offshoot to such things as the vegepygmy and the wilden.

Wouldn't that make interbreeding problematic?

LOTRfan
2011-03-27, 08:48 PM
If you include the Orcs as Fey-related humanoids idea from Trog's next post, it makes sense.

Judging from the Half- Nymph, Satyr, and Dryad templates, it seems that Fey can reproduce with any creature, like Dragons.

makeinu
2011-03-28, 11:34 AM
Ghouls are not undead, but are instead a species of human parasitic upon humanity. To survive they require certain nutrients that are only found in the flesh and internal organs of humans, and because of obvious selection pressures have evolved to be remorseless hunters of people.

Heh, guess that'd make them the Wraith from Stargate: Atlantis, no? :smallbiggrin:

AtlanteanTroll
2011-03-28, 04:59 PM
Mmmm. I had an idea that on this world that there were Elves and that they were the only race to live on the main continent. One day Dragons flew across the Ocean (having detroyed their previous lands) and found this continent (they also brought humans along in boats). They enslaved the Elves and made them do their dirty-work.

After a few hundred years, the Elves allied with the human and cast off their dragon overlords. A few hundred elves remained loyal to the dragons though, as they saw it as being beneficial to their prolonged survival. After a long time underground these elves turned into Dwarves...

Galileo
2011-03-28, 05:16 PM
In any game I play in, I keep insisting that gnomes are half-halflings and half-dwarves. It makes sense, given that their standard issue culture is basically halfway between the two. I also keep claiming that elves lay eggs. It's really quite funny when I start telling the elf and gnome of the party how they were born. I'm never sure whether I believe this IC or OOC, but it's fun to keep everyone confused!

averagejoe
2011-03-28, 05:40 PM
Another odd thought I just had on the races was the whole green skin thing.

The skin color variations of humans on earth seem to be linked (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOSPNVunyFQ) somehow to the amount of UV radiation an area of the earth gets with areas with higher UV exposure having populations with darker skin pigmentation.

But what's with the green skin? :smallconfused:

Well... what if the green pigmentation was actually a form of photsynthesis (yes I know this is pretty illogical since photosynthesis is a plant thing, not an animal thing but bear with me). This would allow for the creation of extra energy for the body, fueling, say, the extra muscle mass of the orcs, the regeneration power of trolls, and could even be taken to an extreme to create an offshoot to such things as the vegepygmy and the wilden.

Green skin can actually be produced in a variety of ways (http://www.webexhibits.org/causesofcolor/7I.html). For one, plants can produce many more pigments than animals, so there are a few animals colored just based on what they eat. There are also reptilian cell structures associated with different colors. I like to think as orcs as reptillian based creatures which, while morphologically similar to humans, are fairly evolutionarily distinct. (This makes half-orcs less plausible, but eh. There are already a lot of really weird viable pairings anyways.) Orcs I basically think of as lizards who developed into plains type hunters.

I always thought the goblin illustration looked a bit like a monkey, so I typically think of goblins as monkey-descended. Usually give them a climb speed for free as well.

This is in 3.5. I don't really know much about 4e, I'm afraid.

Trog
2011-03-28, 07:47 PM
Green skin can actually be produced in a variety of ways (http://www.webexhibits.org/causesofcolor/7I.html).
Cool link. :smallbiggrin: See, this is what I like about D&D and DMing and world building - There's always some interesting new factoid you run across in the research. :smallsmile: So going off of that it would merely be a change in the structure of the skin of a human that could change it to green. Though it'd be shimmery since the color created by structure is sort of like that.

...

So now we have shiny iridescent orcs. :smalltongue:

Lord Raziere
2011-03-28, 07:55 PM
meh.

instead of trying to figure out how they all evolved on one world, I just take the Stan Nichols explanation and say that they all evolved independently on different worlds, but through magic portals and such they were scattered across the universe a very long time ago, and it has been so long since then that nobody remembers the portal stuff anymore.

LOTRfan
2011-03-28, 08:12 PM
meh.

instead of trying to figure out how they all evolved on one world, I just take the Stan Nichols explanation and say that they all evolved independently on different worlds, but through magic portals and such they were scattered across the universe a very long time ago, and it has been so long since then that nobody remembers the portal stuff anymore.

I do often do something similar. There may be a multitude of races living on one world, but only seven or eight are actually native (and even that is stretching realism). The rest are the last remaining signs of the interstellar Mind Flayer and Neogi Empires.

Lord Raziere
2011-03-28, 10:30 PM
I prefer "one world, one race" but I am thinking of having all the green-skinend races being descended from beings called "Jadekin". Don't know what the Jadekin would be like though.

Melayl
2011-03-28, 11:04 PM
In the world I'm working on, all the humanoid races were created by the Dragons and the Trolls.

Trolls and Dragons were the Firstborn races, created by the gods. The Trolls and Dragons got together (shortly after their creation) and created the Dwarves and the Humans to serve them.

Then the Dragons and Trolls and a rather large falling-out, and magically modified both Dwarves and Humans into all of the other races (that my world contains) to serve as soldiers/cannon fodder in their war. Not all of the races remember or believe this, though...

Draconi Redfir
2011-03-29, 11:42 AM
Don't really care for the other things, but i like to think the three Goblinoids (Gobbo, hobbo and bugbear) are all derived from the same common ancestor, and are completely unrelated to everything else, not even orcs. So any pairing a goblinoid makes with a non-goblinoid will only result in sterile offspring.

Glinthall
2011-03-30, 12:18 PM
I have put a lot of thought into the idea of various "races" in a game and have come to the conclusion that we often treat them more like species than races. With this in mind, I once developed a setting where I treated the races like actual races. Being scientifically minded, I focused on the viability of offspring and the heredity of racial traits.

The idea was that all the races descended from a common ancestor and have grown apart across millennia due to prejudice and superstition. A recent hero discovered, from his forbidden love, that very different races could have viable offspring. I lumped all the traits (mechanics) of each race together and quickly outlined a hierarchy of trait dominance. My thought was that two tieflings could have a halfling child if they both carried some "family secrets" (think: "Grandma had an active social life").

As a possible plot hook for my players, I included in the world a couple of groups that were interested in plotting racial heredity through generations as a way to prove racial superiority. One group felt that the dominant traits were superior while the other felt like the recessive traits showed the pure "blue bloods" of the world. I only outlined some of the heredity hierarchy because I wanted the players to have some input if that hook interested them.

I've recently thought about taking another approach to races based on the Shadowrun approach. Why should every member of a given race have the same personality or traits? To this end, I think it would be fun to have a world were your personality determined your race and not the other way around. Most people are born looking like the versatile human, but if they start focusing on certain aspects of their character, they develop into a different race. Some particularly strong willed players can claim that they were born developed into their final race (and they can tell stories of their moms complaining about having to give birth to a child with horns).

The appeal of this system for me is that it leaves race selection much more open to the players. If one of my players wants to play the only shardmind in the world, then I can just have him justify what personality traits his character has that caused him to develop into a rock instead of something more familiar (and squishy). Maybe the player will come up with a story about how a childhood tragedy caused him to shut out all emotions and close himself out from the rest of the world to the point where even his appearance changed to drive people away.

Pokonic
2011-03-31, 04:24 PM
In my world, humans just recenty spilted from the great ape like ogres in the
southern jungles,and goblins and orcs spilt off from humans when a group of men migrated to the north where they soon either gave birth faster or gained mass faster, creating 2 related creatures that can breed together to create sterile bugbears, and goblins can bred with men to make hobgoblins.
Orcs can mate with men to make standerd half orcs, but ogres, being so removed from there advanced decendence, create deformed pathfinder style ogre-kin when they mate with other races.

Trolls, on the other hand, are different than any race and in fact shares no ancestors with the ogres whatsoever, and are decended from underground dwelling rock eaters, with a biology alien to any other race in the world.

Lyndworm
2011-04-01, 12:42 AM
In the campaign world I'm building/using (WIP) a bit of thought went into where the races live, why they are the way they are, and how they're related. This is mostly unknown to the people of the world as they have little to no concept of evolution, but they do understand that they're at least a little bit related to one another (if only because they look similar and can breed sometimes, sort of like how they know horses and donkeys are related).

Humanoid Races:
Dwarves, elves, gnomes, halflings, humans, and orcs are related to one another. They all come from the same progenitor species, a semi-aquatic hominid closely related to chimpanzees. After that, there were proto-dwarf/orcs, proto-elf/gnomes, and proto-halfling/humans; these were caused by the different migrations of different family groups.

The dwarf/orcs trekked through an immense desert and desolate mountains, and eventually split into being desert nomads (orcs) and stocky mountain folk (dwarves). In my campaign orcs usually hunch over somewhat, appearing around the same height as a human unless they bother to stand up straight. Dwarves stand straight but only hit about 4'9. Both tend to be much hairier than humans (although Gold dwarves are less hairy then Mountain dwarves; more on that later), and both are burly creatures with a Con boost.

The elf/gnomes marched through forests and swamps, and were the first humanoids to colonize any islands. They eventually split into the marshy-island-chain elves (which would become Eladra (High Elves) (I like the 4E Mystic/Nature divide, OK?), Balva (Wood Elves), and Drow (Dark Elves)). The gnomes settled into a peaceful life in a forested region where they shrunk somewhat and became adept at Illusion magic to keep predators away. Both are adept at magic, and are in fact naturally infused with it.

The halfling/humans walked pretty much everywhere else, and took opposite routes in life. Halflings remained nomadic and were the first mammals (remember that) to domesticate animals, taming both cattle and dogs. They reside in both flat plains and rolling grasslands, and are near symbiotic with their wardogs. Humans spread quickly and settled pretty much everywhere they could. They bred with pretty much every other race to the point that they're the only one left still capable of doing so. There's no such thing as a "pure human," within the past 25 generations every human lineage has had another race dip in a toe or two.
Goblinoid Races:
Evolving at the same time from different stock were the goblinoids. They come from the same progenitors as baboons, drills, and mangabeys, and only the hobgoblin has lost its tail (bugbears even have bright facial markings). All goblinoids look more like monkeys than apes; they have drawn out faces that aren't quite muzzles and very dexterous feet in addition to at least a light covering of fur.

Goblins are very small creatures, smaller than both gnomes and halflings. They adapted to an arboreal lifestyle, letting their larger cousins run amok on the ground. They are covered in very short, very light fur and have a tail about as long as their torso.

Hobgoblins are about the same size as humans, but are somewhat more heavily muscled. They adapted to a life on the ground, letting their smaller cousins have the run of the trees. They, too, are covered in very short fur, but it's quite a bit thicker than that of the goblins. They have completely lost their tails.

Bugbears are large, vicious creatures somewhere between a mandrill and a bear. They hunt only on the ground, and their level of intelligence is frequently questioned as they use no complex tools and wear no clothing. They have fur of a medium length and a long, thin tail.

All goblinoids evolved (and are still primarily found) on a chain of islands to the East of the humanoids.
Reptilian Races:
There are three reptilian races: the blackscale, the greenscale, and the grayscale (poisondusk-ish). They evolved surprisingly near to the humanoids, but different food sources and adaptations made them noncompetitive. Their closest relatives are the crocodiles, but their linage is very far removed.

The blackscale are very large and much like a bipedal crocodile in appearance, though their tail is shorter and more rigid. The blackscales are a deep gray-brown to black in color, and have adapted to live in drier climates then their cousins.

The greenscale are slightly larger than humans, but otherwise resemble the blackscale very much. They have longer, thinner tails and are adapted to live semi-aquatic lives. The greenscale, as their name would suggest, are green in coloration; the exact shade and pattern varies considerably from tribe to tribe.

The grayscale are a little larger than halflings, and are only very distantly related to the blackscale and greenscale. Their overall physique is very similar, but the grayscale lack the bony scutes found in the larger species. Their base coloring is a milky shade of gray-white, but they possess a type of pigment cell called a chromataphore that allows them to instinctively change colors. They're almost equally at home in the trees, on the ground, or in the water.
Dragons:
Kobolds and dragons are the same species. They are eusocial (like bees), have haplodiploid genetics (also like bees), and are deeply dependant on a very specific form of parasite (specifically, a Ribeiroia flatworm).

Male dragons (and kobolds, of course) are flightless, while females (including female kobolds) are not. All dragons/kobolds are host to countless flatworms within their own bodies, but these creatures cause no real harm. In the case of female dragons/kobolds they're even beneficial, as the combination of genes from their father and the flatworm's tampering with their cellular development in the egg results in the growth of wings.

To break it down, breeding female dragon/kobolds (Dragons) and their non-breeding daughters (Royals) have wings and flight. Breeding males (Miners) and non-breeding males (Citizens) do not.

To control whether a given individual becomes a Dragon/Miner or a Regal/Citizen, the mother Dragon places the eggs in an area of 85- or 95+ degrees. Cooler eggs will develop into Dragons or Miners and can breed, while warmer eggs will develop into Regals or Citizens and cannot breed.

These creatures evolved as the only sapient creature for millions of years on a smaller continent to the north of the humanoids.
Giants:
I've not got much up about Giants and their kin yet, but I'm leaning towards them being very alien. They definitely come from an unexplored continent to the East of the main game world.

They're old enough to have had the first civilizations, even before the reptilians and dragons. They also take slaves, namely Goliaths. The only Goliaths known to the main continent are escaped slaves under some sort of curse that made them forget almost everything about the giants.

Mayhem
2011-04-01, 07:37 AM
-snip-
You should totally post this in a thread of its own, it's good mate.

Questions for you, spoilered for length :smallsmile:
So will you have some sort of wyverns/linnorms w/e related to "dragonoids" as apes are to humanoids?

Question about winged kobolds. Are these wings somewhat vestigial(like, grant limited glide only), fully developed, or both? If both, is it somehow realted to caste/class like say non-breeding females have vestigial/underdeveloped wings but breeders have more developed ones? Also, I assume they're pretty close to the races of dragon web enhancement kobolds mechanically and have re-fluffed dragonwrought feats?
Now about the "true dragons," are they less powerful and more primitve in your world(as in, more natural)? How many different kinds are there, and are the differences between them about as big as the core dragons? Is "colour" somehow related to sex, like say maybe in one race the females are copper and the males are blue?

I like how your goblinoids are oldworld monkey style. A lightly furred and coloured face bugbear kicking around with a gang of tree-swinging goblins would be a great encounter.

I like your reptilian races, but I don't like the names. Sure they're fine for monsters, but it'd be nice to see some proper names for them even if they're just poorly transliterated from the current english names.

Your giants are pretty cool. Ogres and hill giants might be the primitive giant forebears that've regressed somewhat. Goliaths might also share a common ancestor with giants. Perhaps the 'modern' giants such as frost and storm resulted from magical tampering which eventually destroyed their early civilisations but gave rise to new ones, maybe even opened a path to the planes. Keeping them alien with the "first ones" type mytique makes them interesting, feels pretty aztec/scandinavian/greek.

Lyndworm
2011-04-01, 07:51 PM
You should totally post this in a thread of its own, it's good mate.
Thanks, man, I'm glad you like it. I've definitely been thinking about starting up a thread in the new Worldbuilding subforum... Maybe I will.


Questions for you, spoilered for length :smallsmile:
Answers for you, spoilered for length; :smallsmile:

So will you have some sort of wyverns/linnorms w/e related to "dragonoids" as apes are to humanoids?
Yes, that is my plan. I haven't honestly thought about it much, but the vast majority of Dragon-type creatures will be found on the draconic continent along with the True Dragons/Kobolds.


Question about winged kobolds. Are these wings somewhat vestigial(like, grant limited glide only), fully developed, or both?
They begin vestigial, or near-so, for the winged kobolds. As they age and grow the wings become more useful. I'm using the same progression as the Raptorans from Races of the Wild for the time being, but I might speed it up if it proves to be an issue. Dragons are able to fly within hours of hatching.


If both, is it somehow realted to caste/class like say non-breeding females have vestigial/underdeveloped wings but breeders have more developed ones? Also, I assume they're pretty close to the races of dragon web enhancement kobolds mechanically and have re-fluffed dragonwrought feats?
I believe the last answer answered your first question, here. As for the second, they're all based on the web enhancement, yes. I'm on the fence whether or not to include some refluffed Dragonwrought feats (though actual Dragonwrought is definitely not allowed), as I'm not sure how they would interact with the Caste system.


Now about the "true dragons," are they less powerful and more primitve in your world(as in, more natural)? How many different kinds are there, and are the differences between them about as big as the core dragons? Is "colour" somehow related to sex, like say maybe in one race the females are copper and the males are blue?
Those are some very good questions... Allow me to answer them with bullet points:
I do plan for the dragons to be somewhat less powerful and more primitive/natural, yes. They aren't really all that special in my campaign, as opposed to the godlike status they have in a lot of others.
I'm not sure how many different kinds that there are right now. Probably eight or ten, depending on how (my players and) I want to take it.
The differences will probably be a little less than standard. Ideally, each dragon would be just as powerful as the next, but each is also specialized to some degree.
Color is not related to sex, but to lineage. I do really like the idea of Metallic females and Chromatic males, but it doesn't work so well here. In this game (unless I think of something better/cooler) all True Dragons are female, and Kobolds are the males and infertile females. If all male Copper dragons were Blue, there would be no Blue dragons.


I like how your goblinoids are oldworld monkey style. A lightly furred and coloured face bugbear kicking around with a gang of tree-swinging goblins would be a great encounter.
Thank you. That was pretty much my exact thought process: "What would be cool to see?" :smalltongue:


I like your reptilian races, but I don't like the names. Sure they're fine for monsters, but it'd be nice to see some proper names for them even if they're just poorly transliterated from the current english names.
Those are their "common" names, given by the dwarf explorers who first encountered them. They actually refer to themselves as the Luksata (Blackscale), Hilawta (Greenscale), and Kulayta (Greyscale).


Your giants are pretty cool. Ogres and hill giants might be the primitive giant forebears that've regressed somewhat. Goliaths might also share a common ancestor with giants. Perhaps the 'modern' giants such as frost and storm resulted from magical tampering which eventually destroyed their early civilisations but gave rise to new ones, maybe even opened a path to the planes. Keeping them alien with the "first ones" type mytique makes them interesting, feels pretty aztec/scandinavian/greek.
My thoughts on the matter were very similar. Since the giants are so very, very old, a lot of their weirder features are the results of deliberate and/or accidental mutations from all of their magical tampering.Hopefully this helps you somewhat. I know it's helped me a bit.

LOTRfan
2011-04-02, 02:26 PM
Color is not related to sex, but to lineage. I do really like the idea of Metallic females and Chromatic males, but it doesn't work so well here. In this game (unless I think of something better/cooler) all True Dragons are female, and Kobolds are the males and infertile females. If all male Copper dragons were Blue, there would be no Blue dragons.

I am so stealing that! Not the all-female part, but the lineage. All true dragons are descended from a single race, just referred to as True Dragons. They were all arrogant, and each bred with dragons with similar characteristics, until the race was broken up into several breeds: the various types of metallic, chromatic, lung, and gem dragons.

LOTRfan
2011-04-02, 05:24 PM
Arrgh, the computer just erased 45 minutes of typing! :furious:

I'll post it again, later....

1nfinite zer0
2011-04-02, 07:35 PM
One thing that I've always loved about speciation (I'm a biologist, I actually say things like this, hah) are ring species. The classic example is a species of Gull that circles the arctic. All the way around it can interbreed, but at the two ends, it has changed enough in reproductive strategy that it can no longer produce offspring.
This could easily become the basis for political or racial conflicts, especially in a setting like Earthsea where the islands are separated. Or maybe this has happened with the genetic drift in humans, such that humans can half-breed with the various races which couldn't otherwise. This seems pretty standard to familiar fantasy settings. Does any game have dwarf-elf half breeds anyways?

LOTRfan
2011-04-02, 07:40 PM
Does any game have dwarf-elf half breeds anyways?

Mine does... Humans in my campaign aren't "special" when it comes to breeding with other races.

Trog
2011-04-02, 08:25 PM
Mine does... Humans in my campaign aren't "special" when it comes to breeding with other races.

*A troglodyte pokes his head into the thread*

Tanslation: his homebrew setting has better porn that most others.

We now return you to our regularly scheduled program already in progress: Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

*Leans back out of frame*


...


*Leans back in*

Bow chicka wow-wow!

*Leaves again*

LOTRfan
2011-04-02, 08:42 PM
*A troglodyte pokes his head into the thread*

Tanslation: his homebrew setting has better porn that most others.

We now return you to our regularly scheduled program already in progress: Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

*Leans back out of frame*


...


*Leans back in*

Bow chicka wow-wow!

*Leaves again*

... And so a beloved childhood memory has been ruined. :smallyuk::smalltongue:

To be fair, though, it seems weird that a "mundane" race like humans can reproduce with anything, while the only other creatures that can reproduce with anything are highly magical creatures like fey, dragons, and outsiders...

Lyndworm
2011-04-02, 09:30 PM
One thing that I've always loved about speciation (I'm a biologist, I actually say things like this, hah) are ring species. The classic example is a species of Gull that circles the arctic. All the way around it can interbreed, but at the two ends, it has changed enough in reproductive strategy that it can no longer produce offspring.
This could easily become the basis for political or racial conflicts, especially in a setting like Earthsea where the islands are separated. Or maybe this has happened with the genetic drift in humans, such that humans can half-breed with the various races which couldn't otherwise. This seems pretty standard to familiar fantasy settings. Does any game have dwarf-elf half breeds anyways?
This is pretty much exactly why my humans can breed with everything else, but those other things can't breed with each other. The others are more secluded, not meeting a lot of other races and pretty much never breeding with them. Humans get around, though; blood never seems to stay in one area for long. As such, a half-orc might mate with a half-elf and produce viable offspring. Half-dwarves (muls), half-gnomes (no precedent?), and half-halflings (strongheart halflings) also exist (though size differences might make a gestation difficult or impossible for some individuals).


To be fair, though, it seems weird that a "mundane" race like humans can reproduce with anything, while the only other creatures that can reproduce with anything are highly magical creatures like fey, dragons, and outsiders...
I agree with you. I toyed with the idea of letting anything breed with anything, but eventually decided that it would both be truer to the archetype and a lot simpler to just let humans be special. So I let them be special, but I also devised a pseudo-logical reason for it.

LOTRfan
2011-04-03, 02:40 PM
This is what I wasn't able to post yesterday (or, at least, a little more than half I typed), but it's fairly mundane, There are two other continents (Vallyn and Utonia are best described as mega-continents, while the third is better described as a cluster of four islands, each roughly the size of New Zealand).

Most of this is pretty simple. Personally, I find Utonia's evolutionary history far more interesting (it's mainly dominated by reptiles, along with "monstrous" mammals like Orcs and Ogres).

Yes, I realize that so many races forming on a single planet is statistically unlikely, if not impossible. Leave me be.

Evolution in Endala

Vallyn
The northwestern continent is home to Dwarves, Elves, Gnomes, Goblinoids, Halflings, and Humans. Of those races, Dwarves, Goblinoids, Halflings, and Humans are native. Dwarves, Halflings, and Humans are distantly related (the three species of ape that they evolved from share a common ancestor). Goblinoids, on the other hand, are descended from completely unrelated apes.

Dwarves
The Dwarves are descended from a short race of proto-humanoid, the first species to use metal tools since the primordial giants. They lived in caves, which they crudely chiseled larger as their numbers increased. These apes eventually evolved into the first dwarves, the Hill Dwarves. As their numbers increased, they began to spread into other areas. The second most common subrace, the Mountain Dwarves, moved into a vast mountain range, where they carved out massive fortresses from the mountain sides.

Another subrace moved deeper into the ground. They referred to themselves as Deep Dwarves. Others went deeper still, way into the Underdark, until they were completely cut off from the others. To survive in the inhospitable environment, they developed psionic powers. When they finally reached the other dwarves again, they were seen as terrible abominations. Their skin, darkened by ash, and baldness, caused by malnutrition, caused them to be seen as demonic. They were known forever afterwards as the Duergar, vile servants of Laduguer.

Goblinoids
The Goblinoids were descended from proto-goblinoids, who were in turn descended from creatures that could only be described as Dire Orcs. The original proto-goblinoids lived in the moutains and forests, where they evolved into Bugbears and Forestkith. The Bugbears constantly raided the settlements of Mountain Dwarves, who in turn slaughtered many tribes of Bugbears, which fueled an intense racial hatred between dwarves and goblinoids.

The Forestkith, meanwhile, flourished in the forests. Some even learned to walk around during the day, losing their supernatural abilities to better thrive in paradise. This occurred at a very poor time, however, as elves from the Plane of Faerie started an aggressive attempt at colonizing the Material Plane. Many were slaughtered, but their increased numbers allowed them to survive long enough to engage in a mass exodus to the plains to the south.

Many Goblins evolved further to better take advantage of the area, where they became Hobgoblins. The majority, however, remained Goblins (but some degenerated, becoming Varags). At this point, with five subraces each with a large population, they became the most numerous race on the continent (if not the world). Eventually, a rogue group of Elves (the Drow) enslaved a large amount of goblins, sparking a war between the elves and the goblins. This led to racial friction between the two, and the development of two more subraces (the Bakemonos living in the Plane of Faerie, and the Underdark descendants of the original enslaved Goblins, the Vril).

Halflings
Halflings were descended from the shortest of the proto-humanoids, the Florensis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_florensis) (sometimes referred to as the Rhulisti). Unlike the proto-humans of the time, the proto-halflings were not hunters. While clever, the megafauna were much larger. Instead, they focused on domesticating the smaller animals. They were nomads, like the proto-humans at the time (a trait that they share with their modern day descendants).

After the Halflings finally evolved, a couple of subraces also developed. The first of these were the Deep Halflings, who lived in communities with dwarves (not necessarily Deep Dwarves), and eventually became more like dwarves. The other race traveled to the Plane of Faerie, where they integrated into elven society and became more like Fey.

One other subrace also exists in this world, one with a very small population. Roughly five hundred years in the past, a shipwreck occurred off the coast of the Sauric Isles (http://forum.faxcelestis.net/viewforum.php?f=13), stranding a sizable amount of Halflings. Most established homes in the sandbars between the northwestern and southwestern islands. They adapted to this new environment in minor ways, and the Halflings who decided not to live on the sandbars now refer to them as Shoal Halflings.

Humans
Humans are descended from a proto-humanoid referred to as Erectus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_erectus). These versatile hominids mainly hunted for a living, but they had developed tools as well. They were nomadic, following large megafauna (although such creatures still exist in Vallyn today, they lived in much larger numbers a million years in the past). Over time, these proto-humanoids became human, and learned from the other races. From the proto-Halflings, they learned how to domesticate animals, which eventually led to agriculture, and they learned how to forge metals into tools from the dwarves.

Humans have not evolved much since their first days, but the occasional subrace created through unnatural means (like the Kalashtar and Karsites), or interbreeding (like halfbreeds, Shifters, and many races of planetouched) do appear. It is worth noting that, while some members of the race known as Erectus did cross the temporary land bridge connecting Utona and Vallyn hundreds of thousands of years ago, humans did not appear in Utona until roughly six hundred years ago (as colonists from Vallyn). This may be because these early travelers bred with the Dire Orcs native to the continent, creating the Sharakim.

Utona
Utona, the southernmost continent, is dominated by reptiles (no Dinosaurs, though). Here, many species and races related to modern reptiles and dragons can be found. Some mammalian species can be found, but they are far from common.

Dragons
Dragons were the first sentient creatures to evolve on the Material Plane, and lived during the time that massive, non-magical reptiles roamed Endala (roughly 80 million years before present day). It is unknown what world they originated on (as they can be found on more worlds than just Endala), but the main focus of their civilizations was Utona. At first, they were one race, the True Dragons. They had all the powers of all the true dragon breeds today, and had magic so powerful that they could travel between entirely different planets in a matter of seconds.

As time went on, however, the dragons became arrogant, and they started to breed only with dragons with features similar to their own. Through this selective breeding, four "races" of true dragons were made, with several "breeds" to each "race." The four races were Lung, Chromatic, Metallic, and Gem. This lowered their overall powers significantly, made them accustomed to only certain environments, and gave each a distinct color and appearance. A few types of dragons degenerated until they were only slightly more intelligent than animals, like White Chromatic Dragons.

Kobolds
Kobolds are degenerated dragons. Over time, as the dragons interbred, some became weaker (as opposed to less intelligent). These became the first Irsvren, or Dragonwrought Kobolds. The majority degenerated even further, until they became mere Kobolds. These creatures settled underground, and became servants for the living dragons.

Lizardfolk
Lizardfolk are the most common races on the continent. Despite their collective identity, the four races are not actually part of the same species. They have merely integrated with each other for survival.

The Malpheggi (common lizardfolk) are descended from crocodiles. They have probably been around the longest, and evolved in the vast swamps that make up the central part of the continent. They learned forging techniques from the dragons, and were the first humanoids to develop a true religion (the Kobolds were already practicing religion at this point, but they borrowed most of their mythology from the Dragons). The Malpheggi are the only lizardfolk with a subrace, the Quanak (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/psb/20021227b). They were the result of psionic experiments performed by the Yuan-Ti.

The Poison Dusk lizardfolk were originally dire chameleons, and were the most recently evolved species on the continent. As such, they still share much in common with their genetic ancestors, and many still walk in quadrupedal form. Poison Dusk lizardfolk joined Malpheggi tribes early in their evolutionary history; first as slaves and pets, but later were recognized as having rights, as all lizardfolk should under Malpheggi law.

The Blackscales were hulking creatures descended from earlier alligator-people and Black Dragons. As such, they are the only lizardfolk with the Dragonblooded subtype. They were to Malpheggi as Ogres were to Humans. In the long run, though, the ambush tactics and technological superiority of their smaller brethren finally wore them down. They converted to the faith of Semuanya, and integrated into Lizardfolk tribes.

Ogres

Orcs

Yuan-Ti

Maroon
2011-04-04, 12:14 PM
Yes, I realize that so many races forming on a single planet is statistically unlikely, if not impossible. Leave me be.
Actually, it is likely there were times when there were several possible species of human ancestors living in different parts of Africa. So there you go.


Heh, guess that'd make them the Wraith from Stargate: Atlantis, no? :smallbiggrin:
Oh, hey, I'd forgotten about those. I guess so. But my ghouls are more ghoulish. :smalltongue: