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    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default I wonder if others use this term?

    In Dungeons and Dragons, for a bit ive been using the term "mortals" to describe elves, dwarves, gnomes, humans, pretty much all the player character races in the world, but recently my mate clashed against this term, saying it was dumb. I just wanna know if anyone else uses this term, and if they do, where it comes from.

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    Default Re: I wonder if others use this term?

    Seems a bit odd to use it for that, to be honest? Nearly all the creatures you'll ever bump into in a D&D campaign are mortal as well, otherwise they'd be pretty hard for the player to deal with!

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    Default Re: I wonder if others use this term?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jam_Slatewhich View Post
    In Dungeons and Dragons, for a bit ive been using the term "mortals" to describe elves, dwarves, gnomes, humans, pretty much all the player character races in the world, but recently my mate clashed against this term, saying it was dumb. I just wanna know if anyone else uses this term, and if they do, where it comes from.
    D&D has lots of immortals, so it makes sense as a seperator. I use "materials" myself, distinguishes species from the material planes from elementals or moral being like demons.

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    Default Re: I wonder if others use this term?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    D&D has lots of immortals, so it makes sense as a seperator. I use "materials" myself, distinguishes species from the material planes from elementals or moral being like demons.
    The old Planescape sourcebook called those "Primes", which makes sense if you think about it--after all, species who hail from the Negative or Positive Material Plane (assuming such things exist, I'm not sure) would be Outsiders just as much as a demon or deva would be.

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    Default Re: I wonder if others use this term?

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    The old Planescape sourcebook called those "Primes", which makes sense if you think about it--after all, species who hail from the Negative or Positive Material Plane (assuming such things exist, I'm not sure) would be Outsiders just as much as a demon or deva would be.
    The term "prime" has always bothered me, as there supposef to be infinently many material planes (later examples are the Feywild and Realm of Shadow).
    What makes one Prime and the others not? Which is why I like Material, it sounds like something elementals and outsiders would use.

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    Default Re: I wonder if others use this term?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    The term "prime" has always bothered me, as there supposef to be infinently many material planes (later examples are the Feywild and Realm of Shadow).
    What makes one Prime and the others not? Which is why I like Material, it sounds like something elementals and outsiders would use.
    I got the idea that Prime was because every world in the material plane was located at the center of the wheel, therefore they are all the 'Prime Material Plane'. Especially as it seems like the outer and maybe 2/3 of the inners are also material in any meaningful sense, a planar human using the term material seems confusing to me.

    Therefore a prime is any species from a Prime Material. Pulling out my pdfs of the original Planescape box set, we find the following:
    Quote Originally Posted by A Player's Guide to the Planes,p8
    Primes are mortal travelers born on any world in the Prime Material Plane who have since ventured beyond their narrow realm.
    Note that this tells us that primes (in planar terms) are from any world in the Prime Material, which implies that any setting which uses the Great Wheel cosmology is in the same plane as Faerun and Oerth. This is really weird, as it leads us with several pantheons who work differently (why doesn't Ao have any say over Oerthian deities if he's the overdeity?), but gives a good explanation for GMs pulling Deities and planar beings from official settings into their homebrew ones. This means that, in Planescape (where the term prime is most likely to be used) there is actually one one Material Plane, the Prime Material, which hosts many worlds.

    Note that this makes the PMP rather unique, in it's use of worlds rather than layers.

    Now I tend to use mortal for any intelligent, nonimmortal beings, so yes I use it for humans, dwarves, and gnomes.
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    Default Re: I wonder if others use this term?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    I got the idea that Prime was because every world in the material plane was located at the center of the wheel, therefore they are all the 'Prime Material Plane'. Especially as it seems like the outer and maybe 2/3 of the inners are also material in any meaningful sense, a planar human using the term material seems confusing to me.

    Therefore a prime is any species from a Prime Material. Pulling out my pdfs of the original Planescape box set, we find the following:


    Note that this tells us that primes (in planar terms) are from any world in the Prime Material, which implies that any setting which uses the Great Wheel cosmology is in the same plane as Faerun and Oerth. This is really weird, as it leads us with several pantheons who work differently (why doesn't Ao have any say over Oerthian deities if he's the overdeity?), but gives a good explanation for GMs pulling Deities and planar beings from official settings into their homebrew ones. This means that, in Planescape (where the term prime is most likely to be used) there is actually one one Material Plane, the Prime Material, which hosts many worlds.

    Note that this makes the PMP rather unique, in it's use of worlds rather than layers.

    Now I tend to use mortal for any intelligent, nonimmortal beings, so yes I use it for humans, dwarves, and gnomes.
    Planescape and Spelljammer actually sync up quite well, in that anywhere you can get to by a jammer is prime, and spelljammer explains the rules fpr prime gods (pantheons make crystal spheres and are limited to their own creations unless enough people in another sphere convert to their worship).

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    Default Re: I wonder if others use this term?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    D&D has lots of immortals, so it makes sense as a seperator. I use "materials" myself, distinguishes species from the material planes from elementals or moral being like demons.
    I do understand that term, and it really makes sense, and i may use it, but the situation i use the word "mortal" is more used for player characters like elves, dwarves, gnomes,
    stuff that is shown as "standard" player races, stuff that is assumed is in the campaign, and the dm needs to specify if it isnt, so i wouldnt use this term when talking about gnolls, or goblins.

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    Default Re: I wonder if others use this term?

    "Mortals" is a common thing for haughty supernaturals to call humans and other common races, usually shortly before their own mortality is very clearly demonstrated. It might work as something for haughty longer-lived races to call shorter lived races, but then you get into fiddly areas of definition; a human lifespan is minuscule compared to a dragon's or an elf's, but there are clear differences between elves (a common PC race), dragons (material, but really strong) and outsiders (who can go up to literal gods).

    "Humanoid/demihuman" tends to work best when talking about common, playable races. "Primes" is a good in-universe term for outerplanar creatures to call material creatures, although many of them are full enough of themselves to think that "mortals" fits too.

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    Default Re: I wonder if others use this term?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jam_Slatewhich View Post
    In Dungeons and Dragons, for a bit ive been using the term "mortals" to describe elves, dwarves, gnomes, humans, pretty much all the player character races in the world, but recently my mate clashed against this term, saying it was dumb. I just wanna know if anyone else uses this term, and if they do, where it comes from.
    .
    "Mortal" is an old term in Fantasy Fiction, Fairy and Folktales, as well as Mythology.

    The seminal Fantasy work 1924's King of Elfland's Daughter is oft described as
    "The heartbreaking story of a marriage between a mortal man and an elf princess", and in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings Gandalf says to Frodo "A mortal who wears a ring of power becomes stretched and eventually invisible."

    And of course there's

    Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
    Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
    Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
    One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
    In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
    One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
    One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
    In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

    But a wise Mortals knows better than to argue with an Elf-wife, so ixnay ethay alktay ofyay ortalsmay, okayyay?
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    Default Re: I wonder if others use this term?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    .
    The seminal Fantasy work 1924's King of Elfland's Daughter is oft described as
    "The heartbreaking story of a marriage between a mortal man and an elf princess", and in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings Gandalf says to Frodo "A mortal who wears a ring of power becomes stretched and eventually invisible."
    Yeah, but in both cases they're using "mortal" to mean races that are not Elves (and not godlike beings like Maia), since those are immortal in both works. Also note that the first one qualifies "mortal" with "man", so we know he's not talking about mortal ferrets or what-have-you...

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    Default Re: I wonder if others use this term?

    I call them "XP Fodder."

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    Default Re: I wonder if others use this term?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jam_Slatewhich View Post
    In Dungeons and Dragons, for a bit ive been using the term "mortals" to describe elves, dwarves, gnomes, humans, pretty much all the player character races in the world, but recently my mate clashed against this term, saying it was dumb. I just wanna know if anyone else uses this term, and if they do, where it comes from.
    I use it and I love it.

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    Default Re: I wonder if others use this term?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jam_Slatewhich View Post
    In Dungeons and Dragons, for a bit ive been using the term "mortals" to describe elves, dwarves, gnomes, humans, pretty much all the player character races in the world, but recently my mate clashed against this term, saying it was dumb. I just wanna know if anyone else uses this term, and if they do, where it comes from.
    It may be a corruption of a Tolkien-ism? I believe he referred to humans, halflings, and dwarves collectively as the "mortal races" to contract them with the (immortal) elves?

    http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Mortals

    (EDIT: Whoops, already kinda mentioned by 2D8HP, but whatever.)
    Last edited by ve4grm; 2018-01-04 at 10:46 AM.

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    Default Re: I wonder if others use this term?

    I tend to use "sentients".

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    Default Re: I wonder if others use this term?

    At least for me, someone who goes around casually calling people "Mortals" is usually pretty far up the megalomaniac scale. Like, a mustache-twirling villain with a doomsday device and aspirations for godhood, who has never read the Evil Overlord list, and who derides the concerns of the "mere mortals" who are telling him it's a bad idea to try to blow up the moon. If he's supposed to be that over-the-top, sure, that makes sense.

    The other way it could work would be for the character to be super-serious, ancient, and kind, using "mortals" as a technical term.

    But other than that? It sounds out of place.

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    Default Re: I wonder if others use this term?

    Quote Originally Posted by Telonius View Post
    At least for me, someone who goes around casually calling people "Mortals" is usually pretty far up the megalomaniac scale. Like, a mustache-twirling villain with a doomsday device and aspirations for godhood, who has never read the Evil Overlord list, and who derides the concerns of the "mere mortals" who are telling him it's a bad idea to try to blow up the moon. If he's supposed to be that over-the-top, sure, that makes sense.

    The other way it could work would be for the character to be super-serious, ancient, and kind, using "mortals" as a technical term.

    But other than that? It sounds out of place.
    Probably this. I could see it in an archaic prophecy, religious doctrine, or arcane scroll, but not in normal speech.

    I have notes for a fey-themed campaign where the term is used, but the ones using it are likely to be snooty fey who often kill mortals for fun and profit.
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    Default Re: I wonder if others use this term?

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    Seems a bit odd to use it for that, to be honest? Nearly all the creatures you'll ever bump into in a D&D campaign are mortal as well, otherwise they'd be pretty hard for the player to deal with!
    It is common in fantasy to use mortal to refer to creatures who have a naturally limited lifespan, as opposed to those who lack natural limits but can be killed.
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    Default Re: I wonder if others use this term?

    An interesting take is in the setting of Final Fantasy XIV, where "human" refers to all of the sentient races (where there are like goblins, elfs, lizard people, *human*, etc) and the creature we usually refers as human has their own race name, which is "hyur."

    I assume this is so if someone in the story rally a call, "for humanity!" we all know it refers to all of those.
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    Default Re: I wonder if others use this term?

    Quote Originally Posted by WarKitty View Post
    It is common in fantasy to use mortal to refer to creatures who have a naturally limited lifespan, as opposed to those who lack natural limits but can be killed.
    But that's not how the OP is using it, which was my point? He's only using it to refer to player races, so, for example, an equally mortal kobold would not be called "mortal" under his system.

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    Default Re: I wonder if others use this term?

    I myself moustly use term, "humanoid" especially since my favorite races to play is pixie (tho other spite are awesome as well). This makes this especially awkward to use "mortals" as I myself am ageless (what in many cases puts my among importantls), also mortals is a that too broad for me as it also includes animals, and magical beats. Naturally humanoids is odd thing to say IC then I often just resort to using "people"
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