PDA

View Full Version : Racial Biology and Reproduction [Fluff/Flavor]



Yakk
2008-04-28, 09:45 PM
Humans:
Humans reproduce by the male of the species impregnating the female of the species, which then has a parasite young grow inside of her for a period of about 3 seasons. Unlike most creatures, the freshly "born" infant is helpless for a period of over a year after birth. The attributes of the young are usually influenced by the attributes of the parents. The most successful at reproduction humans are those that impress members of the opposite sex.

Humans treat sex as serious business.

Dwarves:
Dwarves are forged by other Dwarves. This process is quite expensive in terms of rare materials, and the attributes of the resulting Dwarf are a function of the crafting skill, choices and materials used to produce the Dwarf. The ritual that awakens the Dwarf converts the forged body into flesh. The most successful at reproduction Dwarves are those that ammass crafting skill and wealth to pay for the materials required.

A Dwarf not being a smith is roughly analogous to a human volunteering to be a eunuch. Even if you aren't that good at it, you are expected to at least try.

Elves:
Elves are conjured out of the spirits of plants. Each Elf is a plant-spirit made flesh. The attributes of the Elf in question are a function of the plant that it was drawn from, and the magic used to give it flesh. The most successful at reproduction Elves are those that are sensitive to spirits in plants, and can grasp the arcane energies sufficiently well to draw a spirit out of a plant into a physical body.

To an Elf, every plant (especially plants that live a long time) is a possible Elf. Agriculture is a very intense experience for Elves.

Gnomes:
Gnomes hatch from eggs. The female Gnome lays a clutch, which is then tended by male Gnomes. Gnomish eggs can take years, decades or centuries to hatch. The attributes of the resulting Gnome are a function of the parents, and the environment in which the eggs are incubated.

Some believe that Kobolds and Gnomes are offshoots of the same race, as both reproduce via eggs. Stating or implying this to either a Gnome or a Kobold is a deadly insult.

Many Gnomish homes will have multiple developing clutches of eggs buried throughout it. To a Gnome, "moving to a new home" is not something done lightly.

Golblinoids:
Goblin infants are larvae. They take on the attributes of both their parent, and that what flesh feed on during larvaehood, to determine what they become when they are adults: the larvae need meat to develop, and the nature of that meat determins what they develop into. Generally, most Goblins breed true if fed on the dead flesh of their own kind. The most successful Goblinoid at reproduction is one who can bring in the most amount of the appropriate kind of meat for the larvae to grow on. Orcs are a kind of Goblin.

Bringing home plunder, in the form of corpses or captives, is one of the best ways to increase the size and power of a Goblinoid tribe.

Experimentation on Goblinoid forms is reasonably popular among the "mad wizard" sect, due to their incredible malleability.

...

Comments, suggestions, ideas or improvements?

Xefas
2008-04-28, 10:22 PM
I wrote something similar for Halflings in a community world-building project 6ish months ago.



There are no female halflings. Instead, male halflings must mate with the females of other races, who then give birth to horribly disgusting maggot-like larva. Several years after their conception, the larva metamorphosis into massive flying lizards (not unlike dragons), called drakes. The drakes live for around a decade before being inexplicably drawn to an existing halfling settlement, where they hide in wait to die. Upon their death, around a dozen adolescent halflings emerge from the carcass with no prior knowledge of their creation or alternate forms.

They never question why their are no halfling women nor why they have no memories before age 14 or so. The Universe takes great pains to insure noone is capable of learning the secret of halfling creation. If someone asks a woman who has been with a halfling and then given birth what exactly happened with the baby, they change the subject as quickly as possible. If that fails, they get angry and take offense. If that fails, they emit a high-pitched shrieking sound and fall unconscious.

Whatever you're doing, I hope that helps.

Bisected8
2008-04-29, 05:01 AM
Considering that most of the player races are similar enough to humans to a) be mammalian and b) interbreed with humans I find these explanations quite unlikely...

</pedantic>

Yakk
2008-04-29, 12:18 PM
Unlikely is the wrong term?

I'm just writing a bunch of flavor text to make the various races different from each other in non-mechanical ways.

...

I'd thought about the Halflings: rather than "no female halflings", I was just going to say "Halflings do not remember their childhood, and nobody has seen a Halfling child. Their earliest memories consist of them being fully adult, and often (but not always) with existing social connections. Attempting to divine a Halflings past runs into increasing difficulty as you go further and further back..."

Especially since I made the Goblins larvae based. :)

I was also thinking of merging the Halflings and the Gnomes -- making the names be just two different names for the same race.

Goblins being larvae that turn into something similar to what they gestate in does produce a decent explanation for a large number of goblin-ish monsters. Entire races of humanoids or other strange creatures could simply be a the Goblinoid result of eating a particular type of creature as a larvae.

Once that one race is different, why not make the other races different?

Dwarves being the result of forging is a pretty old trope I've seen before, and I think it fits my image of them. It makes their love of smithing and wealth make some sense: if you want to carry on their lineage, they need to amass sufficient wealth or skill to make their own children. I'd presume that a god made the first Dwarf -- possibly there would even be a promethean deity who taught the First Smith to forge Dwarves themselves, cutting off the Dwarven dependency on the God.

Elves coming out of plants solves a few problems with them. They are apparently about 100 years old when they have started adventuring, and maybe reached sexual maturity. That's a hell of a long time to die by accident, and mathematically requires a huge ratio between elven children and adult elves. Under this model, the Elf spends most of it's early life as a plant, and only near maturity leaves the plant and becomes an Elf. It also explains the tendency for Elves to live in lush forests nicely. :)

Gnomes laying eggs was a matter of elimination -- I figured that each race should have a different reproductive strategy. With the idea of merging Halflings and Gnomes into one race, I took the old Hobbit "love of home" and "living underground" and extended it into having underground egg clutches.

A long gestation period would produce a reason to be very sedentary, and want to keep a low profile while the last few generations of Gnomes developed inside their eggs.

Once I had that, mixing it with Kobolds was relatively easy. Kobolds are also often treated as egg layers: and there is some Gnome/Kobold rivalry out there. Having them be the same species with differences in how they mature their eggs would extend that.

Nonanonymous
2008-04-30, 07:43 PM
I wrote something similar for Halflings in a community world-building project 6ish months ago.



Whatever you're doing, I hope that helps.

But... If there are no female halflings... Then what in the gods' names was Lidda?!:smalleek:

Lord Iames Osari
2008-04-30, 08:28 PM
Personally, I would never use these - they just aren't to my taste - but I can tell you've put a lot of thought into them, and they look well-written.

Mewtarthio
2008-04-30, 09:40 PM
Where do half-elves come from, then?

Also, Xefas, that is the most terrifying description of halfling reproduction that I have ever heard. :smalleek:

Armoury99
2008-05-01, 12:34 PM
These are some nicely written explanations, and certainly different from the norm. The theory seems somewhat similar to the ancient concept of Abiogenesis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origin_of_life)(life arising spontaneously from inanimate matter), which isn't really as far-fetched as it sounds on a fantasy world. They're nice mythological origins, even if not true.

I love messing with the origins of creatures, but to be honest I'd never considered this angle though, nice idea.

In my own campaign world for example, goblins were a failed experiment to breed an 'ultimate warrior' race. The result was only partially successful: Mostly goblins are an annoyance, but if you apply significant pressure to a clan, then the next generation born tends to be much bigger, cleverer, and tougher goblins with iron will and a bent for world domination - basically, hobgoblins.

What really interests me as much however, is how these alternate procreation systems would effect the culture of that race: I can certainly see where the crafting skills of dwarves would come from - their entire race depends on it for survival. I can also see plenty of adventure hooks, such as the look in the PCs' eyes when the dwarven jewel-thief pleads with them to help him steal the priceless diamonds that he needs for his soon to be daughter's eyes...

lord of kobolds
2008-05-01, 08:35 PM
Unlikely is the wrong term?

I'm just writing a bunch of flavor text to make the various races different from each other in non-mechanical ways.

...

I'd thought about the Halflings: rather than "no female halflings", I was just going to say "Halflings do not remember their childhood, and nobody has seen a Halfling child. Their earliest memories consist of them being fully adult, and often (but not always) with existing social connections. Attempting to divine a Halflings past runs into increasing difficulty as you go further and further back..."

Especially since I made the Goblins larvae based. :)

I was also thinking of merging the Halflings and the Gnomes -- making the names be just two different names for the same race.

Goblins being larvae that turn into something similar to what they gestate in does produce a decent explanation for a large number of goblin-ish monsters. Entire races of humanoids or other strange creatures could simply be a the Goblinoid result of eating a particular type of creature as a larvae.

Once that one race is different, why not make the other races different?

Dwarves being the result of forging is a pretty old trope I've seen before, and I think it fits my image of them. It makes their love of smithing and wealth make some sense: if you want to carry on their lineage, they need to amass sufficient wealth or skill to make their own children. I'd presume that a god made the first Dwarf -- possibly there would even be a promethean deity who taught the First Smith to forge Dwarves themselves, cutting off the Dwarven dependency on the God.

Elves coming out of plants solves a few problems with them. They are apparently about 100 years old when they have started adventuring, and maybe reached sexual maturity. That's a hell of a long time to die by accident, and mathematically requires a huge ratio between elven children and adult elves. Under this model, the Elf spends most of it's early life as a plant, and only near maturity leaves the plant and becomes an Elf. It also explains the tendency for Elves to live in lush forests nicely. :)

Gnomes laying eggs was a matter of elimination -- I figured that each race should have a different reproductive strategy. With the idea of merging Halflings and Gnomes into one race, I took the old Hobbit "love of home" and "living underground" and extended it into having underground egg clutches.

A long gestation period would produce a reason to be very sedentary, and want to keep a low profile while the last few generations of Gnomes developed inside their eggs.

Once I had that, mixing it with Kobolds was relatively easy. Kobolds are also often treated as egg layers: and there is some Gnome/Kobold rivalry out there. Having them be the same species with differences in how they mature their eggs would extend that.


How dare you say we're gnomes????

We clearly are different in the way that we lay our eggs in dead reptiles.
so if we find a dragon corpse, there will be one helluva party that night.:smallwink: