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  1. - Top - End - #31
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    IIRC when a House Elf got freed, he was really happy and excited at the newfound freedom.

    That guy's Kobolds seem to be absolutely unlike that.
    Not all house elfs were overjoyed. Some were, some weren't.
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  2. - Top - End - #32
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    DwarfBarbarianGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by DuctTapeKatar View Post
    That is probably the best way to integrate humans into a fantasy setting where they aren't just "default" I have ever seen.
    I like Tvtyrant's idea as well. It kinda turns humans into the equivalent of kobolds though.

  3. - Top - End - #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    I had a campaign where each generation of giants became smaller, less magical and shorter lived than the last. The reason humans don't habe a creator god is they are the descendants of this chain, which also slows in effect with each generation.

    The reason heroes from ancient times were depicted as stronger and more magical is because they were, going all the way back to the Titan ancestors.
    That's how the Dominions strategy game series does it. There's 3 ages (Early, Middle and Late), and there's a theme of "fantastic" creatures becoming less "fantastic" as time goes on while humans start relatively rare but become more common, in particular several giant nations that get massive giant troops with uber stats and several special abilities in early age, only to become smaller and lose specials in middle age and finally the "giants" being just a bit bigger and stronger than normal humans and with barely special abilities in late age.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Of Mantas View Post
    "You know, Durkon, I built this planet up from nothing. When I started here, all there was was a snarl. All the other gods said we were daft to build a planet over a snarl, but I built it all the same, just to show then. It got eaten by the snarl...

    ...so we built a five millionth, three hundreth, twenty first one. That one burned down, fell over, then got eaten by the snarl, but the five millionth, three hundreth, and twenty second one stayed up! Or at least, it has been until now."

  4. - Top - End - #34
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    Currently working on a setting where Elves are fairly weird. Physically they are about 5', hairless, long eared with small sharp white teeth. They have long delicate limbs and are surpassingly athletic, but are somewhat wrinkle skinned and habe eyes that low in the dark. They are nocturnal carnivores.

    The most important trait of Elves is they have a tiny heart stone that contains their soul. This can be used to power artifacts or eaten to expand the lifespan of another Elf. As a result Elvish societies have developed to deal with a game theory problem where eating your neighbors is often the winning move.

    There are six major Elf civilizations left after a series of wars between them and slave revolts brought down the major Elven Empires a millenia ago.

    Traditionalists live on a cloud island taken from cloud giants millenia ago. Ferocious raiders who maintain their traditional society, they have strict and ritualistic rules about interpersonal violence within the community. Instead they maintain fleets of soul poweres flying ships and attack other Elves for their souls. Traditionalists can live forever given enough success but usually live a few hundred years.

    Reformers live in isolated communities on the ground. Eating another elf's soul is forbidden and they live as long as humans as a result. Instead each soul is donated to the common good at death, and used to fuel armies of soul powered golems around their borders.

    Wild Elves returned to the night woods after being chased out by their former slaves and abandoned by stronger groups of elves. Tribal warriors, various tribes deal with soul stones in different ways but all agree that the intentional killing of Elves for souls is wrong. In many communities all souls are absorbed by a tribal elder/priest who maintains traditions and advises the tribe but is not in charge.

    Dark elves are a group which when faced with extermination or surrender took a third option. Many lives were sacrificed to power a portal to Shadowfell, and they marched through it and abandoned their besieged city. They occasionally return to mortal lands by walking the shadows, but are now fey things with lightless bodies and glowing eyes.

    Blood Elves took their cannibalistic tendencies to its furthest extent and embraced the Cult of the Vampire. Deep underground their communities live in horrid conditions, maintaining a small population of living elves who are turned once they have reproduced and pens of individuals captured from the surface for their blood.

    Free Elves live among other races in a diaspora. Having been captured in the fall of their empires, the Free Elves were allowed to live in scattered communities so long as they forsook all violence. Free Elves are the most numerous of Elves, and live in intentional subordination to others.

  5. - Top - End - #35
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    Planetar

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    The best idea for creature origins in a campaign I've played was not that extraordinary, but still interesting enough to be put there:

    Story of the universe [skip to the next section is you are only interested in the races]

    D&D is our future.

    After a phase of space expansion (add here any "technology" that allow fast travel), we didn't find any aliens, but we did find "a barrier".
    This barrier was unbreakable (though we did no try to break it too strongly, you never know), but found way to interact with what was on the other side. Rules on the other side were strange, but understandable enough so that we were able to use them to transmit information from a side of the universe to the other trough the barrier, in a time absurdly low. So AIs were quickly encoded into this barrier to communicate and use this "magic".

    After the horrible great war between the "League for the Greater Good", and the "Coalition of Absolute Kindness", so much was destroyed, and both factions tried to destroy the enemies AIs inside the barrier, and succeeded, weakening the barrier to all-time low.

    On the other side of the barrier was the astral plane. The barrier weakened, magic was able to flow through the material plane for the first time ever. Gods, already exist on the astral plane, build by all the though and concept of humanity. But they are not aware of their existence. They have not yet any concept of "being able to act". They just exist as concept.

    The arrival of magic in the universe would probably have been enough to finish to destroy the human civilization, but worst was to happen:
    Among the AIs created by the humans on the barrier, most were not war-AI, and were destroyed during the war.
    Among the war-AIs most were loyal to the humans (you know, as programs do), and were destroyed during the war.
    Few war-AIs were bugged enough to value their survival more than their loyalty, and "run-away" in the astral plane. They were the first devils.
    The encounter between devils and gods was both productive and destructive.
    + Productive because the gods learn from the devils that it was possible to "act" and "interact", and that it was possible to influence humans now the barrier was down. Conversely, the devils learn that they was huge amount of power that could be extracted from humans though and souls.
    + Destructive because it leads to the first war in the astral plane, and the first war in the material plane that was motivated by "gaining the souls of the other faction".

    Races

    + Humans, Elves, Dwarfs, Goblinoids, ... (non-exhaustive list) are all of human ascendance. Created during the great human conflict or before by genetic manipulation.
    - Goblinoids as cheap and efficient soldiers for war.
    - Dwarfs as manual workers.
    - Elves as aristocrats (rich people modifying their child following the different fashions)
    - Humans as the perfect consumer: intelligent enough to care about technology and created skilled workers sometimes, dump enough to be manipulable, and diversified enough to ensure non-degeneracy of the species.
    + Devils are war-AIs that betrayed the humans. Extremely intelligent, attracted by power, survival, and destruction.
    + Dragons were created by gods in the first astral war. But they were dropped out for angels/archons/... because they were too independent.

  6. - Top - End - #36
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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    IIRC when a House Elf got freed, he was really happy and excited at the newfound freedom.
    No, only one was like that. Dobby was a freak. All the rest were terrified of being dismissed.
    -- Joe
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  7. - Top - End - #37
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    An idea I had for giants (still a WIP):

    Settled History: Giants (and dwarves) are the degenerate descendants of the Titans, who once ruled over much of the planet. They wielded the power of runes--written words, much like Truenaming. Long ago the ancestors of the elves made a wish that combined the written power of runes with the vocal power of Sorcery (wielded by Wyrm) and the rhythm/music of Leviathan to create wizardry. As a necessary change, this shattered the power of the runes. Now you only get individual runes with limited meanings instead of being able to write the entire essence of an object or creature in a single (complex) glyph. This, in turn, made the Titans (and Wyrm and Leviathan) degenerate.

    Possible idea: Goliaths and "true" giants (Hill, Stone, Frost, etc) are actually the same species, with goliaths as the "normal" or "unawakened" form. So although it would seem that each giant settlement has a few giants and a bunch of goliaths, it's actually a few awakened individuals and a bunch of "normal" ones of the same species.

    Awakening comes when a young giant is deemed worthy and brought for inscription at an event called "the Trial" (working title). At the end of this, a group of runes are inscribed on the aspirant. If he can master them, they empower him to become a giant (which one depends on the individual). If he can't (but doesn't die), he's cast out as mad and degenerates into an ogre or troll, a broken creature. Some barely master them or later fall to become Hill Giants (basically the lowest of the true giants), consumed by hunger.

    The inscribed ones don't need to eat anything extra--they're sustained in part by these runes. They can eat, but they don't have to. This solves a lot of the "what do a tribe of giants eat?" question. They gain power based on the runes they master. While they can still bear children (with other giants for sheer practicality's sake), the children will be goliaths. Ogres usually breed true, however.

    Some groups have rejected the Trial and remain goliaths their entire lives with no giant overlords. They're considered heretics in the more giant-dominated areas.

    Thoughts?
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  8. - Top - End - #38
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    An idea I had for giants (still a WIP):

    Settled History: Giants (and dwarves) are the degenerate descendants of the Titans, who once ruled over much of the planet. They wielded the power of runes--written words, much like Truenaming. Long ago the ancestors of the elves made a wish that combined the written power of runes with the vocal power of Sorcery (wielded by Wyrm) and the rhythm/music of Leviathan to create wizardry. As a necessary change, this shattered the power of the runes. Now you only get individual runes with limited meanings instead of being able to write the entire essence of an object or creature in a single (complex) glyph. This, in turn, made the Titans (and Wyrm and Leviathan) degenerate.

    Possible idea: Goliaths and "true" giants (Hill, Stone, Frost, etc) are actually the same species, with goliaths as the "normal" or "unawakened" form. So although it would seem that each giant settlement has a few giants and a bunch of goliaths, it's actually a few awakened individuals and a bunch of "normal" ones of the same species.

    Awakening comes when a young giant is deemed worthy and brought for inscription at an event called "the Trial" (working title). At the end of this, a group of runes are inscribed on the aspirant. If he can master them, they empower him to become a giant (which one depends on the individual). If he can't (but doesn't die), he's cast out as mad and degenerates into an ogre or troll, a broken creature. Some barely master them or later fall to become Hill Giants (basically the lowest of the true giants), consumed by hunger.

    The inscribed ones don't need to eat anything extra--they're sustained in part by these runes. They can eat, but they don't have to. This solves a lot of the "what do a tribe of giants eat?" question. They gain power based on the runes they master. While they can still bear children (with other giants for sheer practicality's sake), the children will be goliaths. Ogres usually breed true, however.

    Some groups have rejected the Trial and remain goliaths their entire lives with no giant overlords. They're considered heretics in the more giant-dominated areas.

    Thoughts?
    You might want to up the intelligence of true giants so turning into a Hill Giant doesn't make you an idiot. Or have there be a Buddhist style hierarchy of revelations that lets the giant move up a rung, so a Storm Giant is effectively enlightened or achieved some sort of magical supremacy. If I was a Goliath losing class levels or intellect to become a Hill Giant would almost never be worth it.


    I like the idea a lot though, makes adventurer Goliaths a common ixea as they want to go achieve things to become giants.

  9. - Top - End - #39
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    You might want to up the intelligence of true giants so turning into a Hill Giant doesn't make you an idiot. Or have there be a Buddhist style hierarchy of revelations that lets the giant move up a rung, so a Storm Giant is effectively enlightened or achieved some sort of magical supremacy. If I was a Goliath losing class levels or intellect to become a Hill Giant would almost never be worth it.


    I like the idea a lot though, makes adventurer Goliaths a common ixea as they want to go achieve things to become giants.
    The idea is that hill Giants are barely Giants--they were consumed by the rune power. That's why they're wanderers that don't participate in society. Not as bad as ogres, but still a failure state. It's not like the runes are safe, anyway.

    And yes, receiving the "full" power and becoming a storm giant brings increased mental power. I don't do racial alignment, so not all storm Giants are good or enlightened. Just smart.
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  10. - Top - End - #40
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    The idea is that hill Giants are barely Giants--they were consumed by the rune power. That's why they're wanderers that don't participate in society. Not as bad as ogres, but still a failure state. It's not like the runes are safe, anyway.

    And yes, receiving the "full" power and becoming a storm giant brings increased mental power. I don't do racial alignment, so not all storm Giants are good or enlightened. Just smart.
    I'm not sure where Enlightenment and alignment come together. Enlightenment is essentially the realization of esoteric truths and the abandonment of worldly desires, an Ethergaunt is Enlightened and evil as heck.

  11. - Top - End - #41
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    I'm not sure where Enlightenment and alignment come together. Enlightenment is essentially the realization of esoteric truths and the abandonment of worldly desires, an Ethergaunt is Enlightened and evil as heck.
    I'm not sure if I want my storm Giants too detatched. There's a continent that needs rulers.
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  12. - Top - End - #42
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    I'm not sure if I want my storm Giants too detatched. There's a continent that needs rulers.
    That is fair. I thought the Buddhistivista theme worked well because the Giants gain in size and intellect, and don't need to eat. Having a continent of rulers who spend their time meditating on mountains and being "interpreted" by lesser giants makes for good court politics as well as the more traditional over throwing tyrants theme.

    Either way I like the idea of promotion from mortals to giants and having them be demi-god like beings that everyday people aspire to be.

  13. - Top - End - #43
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    That is fair. I thought the Buddhistivista theme worked well because the Giants gain in size and intellect, and don't need to eat. Having a continent of rulers who spend their time meditating on mountains and being "interpreted" by lesser giants makes for good court politics as well as the more traditional over throwing tyrants theme.

    Either way I like the idea of promotion from mortals to giants and having them be demi-god like beings that everyday people aspire to be.
    Philosopher Kings making obscure pronouncements (quasi Chinese emperor style) and researchers of lost glories might actually work, now I think about it. Thanks!
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  14. - Top - End - #44
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Philosopher Kings making obscure pronouncements (quasi Chinese emperor style) and researchers of lost glories might actually work, now I think about it. Thanks!
    I like your idea a lot so I am stealing it for my current setting :)

    Now I just need to decide on Three Kingdoms or Warring States to crib off of.

  15. - Top - End - #45
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    Kobold

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    Hobgoblins, goblins, and bugbears are all just goblins of varying size. Halflings are a human ethnicity/tribe/subrace. Orcs are really big, burly humans who sharpen their teeth or replace them with animal tusks in honor of their gods. Gnomes undergo a transformation into dwarves and then elves.

    Just ideas from a setting I'm working on. Actually my first setting.
    Easydamus says I'm a neutral half-elf wizard 1/druid 1.
    Strength- 11
    Dexterity- 13
    Constitution- 11
    Intelligence- 15
    Wisdom- 13
    Charisma- 12

    When in doubt, Hail Dread Cthulhu.

    Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.

  16. - Top - End - #46
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    Kobold

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sizzlefoot View Post
    Hobgoblins, goblins, and bugbears are all just goblins of varying size. Halflings are a human ethnicity/tribe/subrace. Orcs are really big, burly humans who sharpen their teeth or replace them with animal tusks in honor of their gods. Gnomes undergo a transformation into dwarves and then elves.

    Just ideas from a setting I'm working on. Actually my first setting.
    The human orc-people worship an orc-god who reincarnates them as a special breed of goblin if they serve him well.
    Easydamus says I'm a neutral half-elf wizard 1/druid 1.
    Strength- 11
    Dexterity- 13
    Constitution- 11
    Intelligence- 15
    Wisdom- 13
    Charisma- 12

    When in doubt, Hail Dread Cthulhu.

    Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.

  17. - Top - End - #47
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    Goblinoids are corrupted Fey. When too many decaying humanoid corpses taint a Faerie Ring with fetid rot and necrotic energy, instead of Fey being spawned you get goblinoids.

    Goblinoids are all one species. They do not breed as such, but they do murder virtuous humanoids and pile their rotting corpses in pristine primal glades to taint yet more faerie season-births into their own horrific forms.
    I like this, and was inspired to make the following (admittedly not very imaginative) background:

    The fey subtype encompasses almost all creatures of human (especially European) mythology - goblins, dwarves, gnomes, dryads, nymphs, elves, ogres, trolls, pixies, merfolk, etc are all fairies, albeit of wildly varying sizes and dispositions.
    Last edited by rferries; 2018-11-15 at 06:20 AM.

  18. - Top - End - #48
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    OrcBarbarianGirl

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    Quote Originally Posted by rferries View Post
    I like this, and was inspired to make the following (admittedly not very imaginative) background:

    The fey subtype encompasses almost all creatures of human (especially European) mythology - goblins, dwarves, gnomes, dryads, nymphs, elves, ogres, trolls, pixies, merfolk, etc are all fairies, albeit of wildly varying sizes and dispositions.
    Always had problems removing preconceived images from people's heads when they hear a name. Maybe changing lots of creatures to seelie/unseelie fairies can fix it.

    It's strange to me how kobolds stand out in so many worlds.

  19. - Top - End - #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by rferries View Post
    I like this, and was inspired to make the following (admittedly not very imaginative) background:

    The fey subtype encompasses almost all creatures of human (especially European) mythology - goblins, dwarves, gnomes, dryads, nymphs, elves, ogres, trolls, pixies, merfolk, etc are all fairies, albeit of wildly varying sizes and dispositions.
    Glad to help, and interesting idea about making Giants into Fey.

    I like that idea, in part because it gives an obvious direction for high-level Fey encounters -- they're Giants, and they want to either befriend with song you or eat you with carrots, just like the Dryads & Satyrs did at low levels.

    This also clears up the oddity of magical giants like Ogre Magi and the like, and why the more powerful Giants have aspects of elements or nature.

    The Wyld Hunt might be Storm Giants.

  20. - Top - End - #50
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    Lots of cool stuff here, gonna take me a while to read through all of it thoroughly!

    In the world I'm working on now, I have vampiric angels.

    Angels are creatures that follow God’s commands and have no free will or self-awareness. They function as a hive mind controlled by God, with the orders being broadcast from its tower and relayed by other angels. Their main collective purposes are to drain people of blood and then distilling it for euphoric emotions caused by good deeds so they can feed those to God, protect God and keep it stable while it gestates. However, if an angel consumes too much human pain/sorrow, the link will be broken and they will develop compassion, become a Fallen and start fighting their own kind. These are not to be confused with Devils, who used to be Angels and part of the hivemind, but were cast out and cursed with individuality for feeding God with pleasure that came from immoral sources. Fallen can be reused by being consumed, cleaned of human emotions and remade into what they used to be. Angels are divided into nine choirs, each given its own secondary task to help God finish gestating. The higher up the choir, the less members it has.

  21. - Top - End - #51
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    DwarfBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    Quote Originally Posted by rferries View Post
    I like this, and was inspired to make the following (admittedly not very imaginative) background:

    The fey subtype encompasses almost all creatures of human (especially European) mythology - goblins, dwarves, gnomes, dryads, nymphs, elves, ogres, trolls, pixies, merfolk, etc are all fairies, albeit of wildly varying sizes and dispositions.
    Dwarves and elves are actually more like the gods in Icelandic mythology. (The aesir and the vanir.) Dwarves created the first humans. They killed the god Kvasir and made the mead of poetry from his blood. Then again, the gods in these stories aren't really omnipotent.
    One thing I've found confusing was centaurs as monstrous humanoids. In mythology they descended from the gods. I'd classify them as Outsider (Native) but I don't think it matters as much. I don't see them as neutral good though.

  22. - Top - End - #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_david View Post
    One thing I've found confusing was centaurs as monstrous humanoids. In mythology they descended from the gods. I'd classify them as Outsider (Native) but I don't think it matters as much. I don't see them as neutral good though.
    You know how the gods we outgrow become life-destroying demons?

    The demons we outgrow become cute mascot characters.

    That's what happened to Centaurs.

  23. - Top - End - #53
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by the_david View Post
    Dwarves and elves are actually more like the gods in Icelandic mythology. (The aesir and the vanir.) Dwarves created the first humans. They killed the god Kvasir and made the mead of poetry from his blood. Then again, the gods in these stories aren't really omnipotent.
    One thing I've found confusing was centaurs as monstrous humanoids. In mythology they descended from the gods. I'd classify them as Outsider (Native) but I don't think it matters as much. I don't see them as neutral good though.
    Yeah, fey/outsider/whatever "feel" better to me than humanoid/monstrous humanoid for flavour reasons. A gorgon should be a divine entity, just as Medusa was.

    And yeah centaurs should be chaotic neutral or evil, except for the occasional Chiron-type.

  24. - Top - End - #54
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    DwarfBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    Quote Originally Posted by rferries View Post
    Yeah, fey/outsider/whatever "feel" better to me than humanoid/monstrous humanoid for flavour reasons. A gorgon should be a divine entity, just as Medusa was.

    And yeah centaurs should be chaotic neutral or evil, except for the occasional Chiron-type.
    Gorgons in D&D are based on the cryptid called gorgon. They're very similar to the catoblepas and probably based on the wildebeest.
    Medusa was the only one of the 3 gorgons who was mortal, but 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

  25. - Top - End - #55
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    There's some cool ideas here!

    In one of my settings gnomes are pretty odd. Also halflings are just half-gnomes and can be half-human/elf/dwarf/whatever. This also relates to dragons in my setting.

    Spoiler: The History
    Show
    In the incredibly ancient past, before the Age of the First Gods, there was a highly advanced precursor race that developed the magic and tech to travel the multiverse. They constructed the Warren - a network of pathways and transdimensional landscapes that span all universes. In due time, they discovered eldritch abominations that threatened existence across all the planes (don't they always ) and (the short version of) their solution was to create the gods (well, they created godhood and made up the rules for how to get it) and built an enormous pandimensional mechanism called the Labyrinth (basically the Warren 2.0 with steampunk/aetherpunk aesthetic that has functions beyond travelling) to manage the multiverse and prevent the decay of the systems they'd put in place to protect reality.

    The Primals (a generic term for god-tier beings who had been running the show before the precursors went and ruined everything for them by creating divinity) waged a genocidal war against the precursors. A bunch of Primals gathered their powers and created the first draconic beings with the express purpose of spreading out into the multiverse, hoarding resources, adapting and evolving as weapons with an ingrained instinct to kill any precursors they encountered. The dragons were terrifyingly effective at this purpose, but ultimately unsuccessful in eliminating the precursors completely.

    Most of the surviving precursors were part of the Architects - the people who built and ultimately integrated with the Labyrinth, becoming a magi-tech hivemind beyond the understanding of the gods themselves. Some of the precursors weren't exactly down with this plan. While they respected the gravity of the Architects' mission, they wanted to maintain their individuality and freedom. These precursors instead retreated from the dragons and hid inside the now ramshackle but functional Warren. Their lives were spent in hiding and constant movement, but they developed a cultural passion for exploration, invention and discovery. With so many lives lost over the eons, they have forgotten their own ancient roots. But those that remain are the gnomes.


    Spoiler: The Description
    Show
    So gnomes are humanoid, magically gifted, ageless creatures native to the shifting, interdimensional Warren. They have extremely variable and weird physiologies. Part of their drive to adapt to the Warren means that their bodies are surprisingly malleable. It's not uncommon to see gnomes that have spliced still-living foliage or gemstones into their bodies as a fashion statement - with focus and time they can fuse such things into their bodies in the way a human might get a tattoo or a piercing. Their hair, skin and eyes can have very variable colors, patterns and even textures and gnomes sometimes magically alter this as well - though that is a learned skill and not a natural trait. They have a ubiquitous talent for magic and navigation that helps them find their way. Many claim that gnomes are good luck, and this seems to be in fact true. Whether it's from evolving in such an unpredictable and magical environment as the Warren or because the Architects still have a soft spot for them after all this time. While it is not universal, most gnomes have a disposition towards invention, exploration and discovery. They are always tinkering away in their labs or digging into things that must seem obscure or pointless to others' eyes.

    Dragons and all kinds of draconic creature instinctively hate gnomes and if they get a whiff of their scent or see one they will attempt to hunt them down. Even good dragons with significant restraint find the sight or scent of a gnome to be infuriating. Most people find gnomes to be strangely twitchy, but really they are just in a state of constant hypervigilance. This makes sense considering they are always hunted by dragons. Gnomes are mostly nomadic and travel the multiverse - not just the lands of one world - over the course of their lives. They are often solitary and will not openly gather in large groups - because it attracts dragons. If there are enough people around to hide their scent, like in a large city, a few dozen gnomes might gather safely without additional protections. It is quite normal for a gnome to set up shop in a town or village for a few years as a merchant or apothecary of some sort - but they always eventually move on and leave the wares they can't carry to their neighbors. These towns and villages usually welcome a gnome because while they know that they are effectively dragonbait, they also know that one gnome is unlikely to run much of a risk and know that gnomes always seem to know just the thing to cure an ailment, lift a curse or fix a machine. It is exceedingly rare to find more than one gnome in a village unless it is a parent or parenting couple raising a child. Gnomes do not wed and couples that do stay together conventionally only do so for the few decades it takes to raise a child before parting amicably and moving on.

    Gnomes are very friendly and open about most things. They will happily talk a friend's ear off about their current experiments or projects, but they are secretive about other matters. They are typically thought of as being excellent company and drinking partners. However, gnomes have three big secrets that they do not reveal to others: their knowledge of the Warren, their agelessness and their pandimensional culture.

    They do not talk about how to find and open portals to the Warren. While there are scholars of the planes that know of the Warren and how to access it - there are not very many of them. They know that there are travelers in the Warren of every race, so they don't find the presence of the obviously magically talented gnomes odd. The gnomes have learned from experience that if they gave knowledge of the Warren to unprepared commoners they would likely end up getting themselves killed. They also know that if people knew of their talent for finding portals and navigating the Warren, that another race would eventually try to use gnomes and the Warren as a tool of conquest.

    Gnomes do die, just not from old age, but gnomes usually tell people that they don't live much longer than elves - just a few centuries. They keep this secret as a way of distancing themselves from the politics and culture of the other races - rather than physically distancing themselves as others might. It also helps explain where a gnome went after a few centuries and why the gnomes don't seem more populous - helping to maintain the first secret by hiding the fact that the gnomes' nomadic travels span the planes and are more populous than people think but spread out over countless worlds.

    The existence of an enormous and advanced culture of beings could easily be seen as a threat. Gnomes don't like that - especially since individual gnomes spread out as a matter of necessity and that leaves them vulnerable. They also seek to hide the existence of their few small cities and meeting places from their natural predators, the dragons. While most gnomes are solitary and nomadic, there are in fact some small gnomish cities hidden deep in the Warren and cloaked by advanced magic and technology where gnomes keep collected knowledge and which act as a hub for information transfer across the planes.

    These are matters that only gnomish adults are taught by their parents once they have been deemed mature enough. The problem with this habit of secrecy is that there are runaway gnomes or gnomes who are orphaned by dragon attacks or other causes on the material plane (or any other) who have no idea about their wider kin. These gnomes don't even know they are missing out on anything because of the deception the gnomes have been maintaining for eons. They usually end up tracking down another gnome to explain some things to them when they realize that gnomes live decidedly longer than the few centuries that everyone else seems to think they do. If they try to insert themselves into the politics of their adopted family or nation - another gnome will usually step in and have a chat about how they are violating their ancient traditions.

    Gnomes often don't realize just how adaptable their biology is and this has resulted in quite a few accidental halfling children, though there are certainly intentional ones also. Not being true gnomes, these children are ill-suited to the Warren so their gnomish parent will raise them to maturity occasionally even staying for the course of their comparatively short natural lifespan but ultimately they will leave these families and rarely reveal any gnomish secrets to them. Every variety of halfling (half-human/elf/dwarf/etc.) breeds true among themselves and can reproduce with other variants, so over time many halfling communities have popped up around the settlements of their non-gnomish kin, and they are usually welcome since they seem to inherit that gnomish luck. Though these halfling settlements inexplicably suffer a disproportionate amount of dragon attacks, they aren't as cursed as their full-blooded gnomish ancestors and their presence is simply irritating rather than infuriating for dragons.
    According to easydamus, I'm a 4th level CG elf wizard. Str 9 - Dex 11 - Con 9 - Int 18 - Wis 14 - Cha 16.

    Homebrew setting (or part thereof): Phaunia and the Twilit Between

  26. - Top - End - #56
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    In a setting I made halfway, a elven mage tried to strike done the gods. The gods, angered, struck him down, killed all elves, and poisoned the land so that everything that grew there was poisonous and the beasts were all turned into terrifying monstrosities. Most people survive in mostly-nomadic tribes led by clerics who can purge the food they gather of poison. These tribes are therefore somewhat primitive as the main thing they do is forage for food all day.
    However, the orcs, dwarves, and green dragonborn were resistant to the poison and thus able to mintain civilization. So, there are kingdoms ruled by these peoples that are far more advanced and innovative than all the other races.

    This was my attempt to invert the idea of orcs as stupid, primitive savages. Rather, in this setting they are among the smartest and most civilized races around and with the highest proportion of wizards.

  27. - Top - End - #57
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    Quote Originally Posted by superninja109 View Post
    In a setting I made halfway, a elven mage tried to strike done the gods. The gods, angered, struck him down, killed all elves, and poisoned the land so that everything that grew there was poisonous and the beasts were all turned into terrifying monstrosities. Most people survive in mostly-nomadic tribes led by clerics who can purge the food they gather of poison. These tribes are therefore somewhat primitive as the main thing they do is forage for food all day.
    However, the orcs, dwarves, and green dragonborn were resistant to the poison and thus able to mintain civilization. So, there are kingdoms ruled by these peoples that are far more advanced and innovative than all the other races.

    This was my attempt to invert the idea of orcs as stupid, primitive savages. Rather, in this setting they are among the smartest and most civilized races around and with the highest proportion of wizards.
    So what is still Orky about them? Is it just the appearence of them?

  28. - Top - End - #58
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGirl

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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    Quote Originally Posted by superninja109 View Post
    In a setting I made halfway, a elven mage tried to strike done the gods. The gods, angered, struck him down, killed all elves, and poisoned the land so that everything that grew there was poisonous and the beasts were all turned into terrifying monstrosities. Most people survive in mostly-nomadic tribes led by clerics who can purge the food they gather of poison. These tribes are therefore somewhat primitive as the main thing they do is forage for food all day.
    However, the orcs, dwarves, and green dragonborn were resistant to the poison and thus able to mintain civilization. So, there are kingdoms ruled by these peoples that are far more advanced and innovative than all the other races.

    This was my attempt to invert the idea of orcs as stupid, primitive savages. Rather, in this setting they are among the smartest and most civilized races around and with the highest proportion of wizards.
    Not really a fan of the huge green things with brains like peas caricatures either, I don't even understand where they came from.

  29. - Top - End - #59
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    jqavins's Avatar

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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    TLoTR shows them as not very bright. That's part of the reason that Saruman created half-orcs (which may also be the origin of the mad wizard creating bizarre creatures stereotype). The AD&D MM listed them, if memory serves, as Low intelligence, which is only one step below Normal (human).

    The green part I've never understood and don't like. I don't know when it happened, but it's post AD&D.
    -- Joe
    “Shared pain is diminished. Shared joy is increased.”
    -- Spider Roninson

    Always remember that anything posted on the internet is, in a practical if not a legal sense, in the public domain.
    You are completely welcome to use anything I post here, or I wouldn't post it.

  30. - Top - End - #60
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    Quote Originally Posted by jqavins View Post
    TLoTR shows them as not very bright. That's part of the reason that Saruman created half-orcs (which may also be the origin of the mad wizard creating bizarre creatures stereotype). The AD&D MM listed them, if memory serves, as Low intelligence, which is only one step below Normal (human).

    The green part I've never understood and don't like. I don't know when it happened, but it's post AD&D.
    The green most likely comes from Warcraft and/or Warhammer Orks.

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