Potential Fantasy Races

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Potential Fantasy Races

Post by wondercube on Wed Aug 05, 2015 1:35 am

Feedback is WANTED, in case anyone couldn't tell.

I wanted to develop some classic (and not so classic) fantasy races that were still familiar, but slightly non-traditional. I don't really know if it's all complete crap or not. I just wanted to try some things out.

They're pretty condensed blurbs. I didn't want every race to be "nice" so I added some different social problems some races have to contend with, so most are progressive/regressive in varying ways. I was considering making one race patriarchal to contrast the Orcs, but I wasn't sure if I really wanted to do that. Potentially the Gnomes or the Beastkin, but I'm not sure if it's necessary. That, or they have pretty strict gender roles (similar to DA's Qunari). Thoughts?

I usually prefer to call humans "humes" in a fantasy setting because it takes that pesky "man" out of the equation.

Anyway, I just want to hear peoples thoughts. Obviously I haven't touched upon every subject specific to every race, so there's room for development and fleshing out more details. We can work out the kinks.

If these end up working well, this could be the jumping-off point for some kind of fantasy based written RP. Smile

(apologies if there are typos, it's late and I've gone partially insane)

Hume - Highly adaptable land-dwellers, humes comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Their largest populations are found in deserts and savannas, though they have spread to most corners of the world. They are skilled merchants and mercenaries, but are often thought to be somewhat dim by other races. Humes are raised to be fairly ambitious types, and this can lead them astray in pursuit of their goals. They are on good terms with most races, and often control the flow of trade across the world. They're fairly adept at accepting other ways of life, developed initially out of necessity for trade relations. Humes have weaker potential when it comes to magic, making use of it in their world rarer.

Elf - The fair folk. Elves tend to live in areas of abundant or extreme nature - forests, mountains tops, rivers, deserts, jungles. As such, their appearance varies greatly from region to region (much like the humes). Known be somewhat vain, it's no surprise that elves were the first race to develop mirrors. They like to decorate their bodies and hair with plant-life and hold a near-moral obligation against shoes. Most elves refuse to eat meat. They keep their populations under control in an effort to preserve the natural world; when too many people live together, it results in destruction caused by expansion. As such, their societies tend to be homo-normative, and males and females usually gravitate toward the same sex (and are actively encouraged to do so). Heterosexual unions are generally looked down upon outside of the breeding season (fall), though are usually tolerated so long as unseasonal pregnancy does not occur.

Dwarf - Subterranean, hairy, boisterous. Dwarves mostly live in mountain ranges, crafting multi-level cities deep within the earth. Both males and females are known to be stocky, well-muscled, and hairy. They are typically pallid and pale from evolving below the earth, with large ears, keen noses, and superb vision in darkness; on the contrary, their eyesight in daylight can be quite poor. Most dwarves have white or platinum blonde hair and lots of it, either in frizzy manes or heavy braids. They are extremely proficient in magic, especially when it comes to manipulating rock, metal, and other minerals. Likewise, dwarves are the only race to gain true magical dominion over darkness, shadow, and sound - there have been many famous bards of dwarven descent for this reason. Their society is fairly egalitarian and doesn't have much in the vein of traditional gender roles; dwarven females are built in a way that pregnancy does not affect them overmuch, and often will continue working until the baby is ready to be delivered. Dwarf-kind is rarely seen above the surface, and as such many will live their entire lives never having seen one. Only those who live in the mountains interact with their race in direct and meaningful way. The songs of Dwarven bards have reached far and wide, however, and thus their reputation precedes them.

Gnome - Subterranean, smooth-skinned, and soft-spoken. Gnomes live closer to the surface than dwarves, yet tend of live beneath plains, prairies, or other grasslands ("soft earth," as they call it); rarely, they can be found living in cave systems near the base of mountains. Gnomes live only a few hundred meters below the earth, often tunneling out openings so light can reach their underground cities from the surface. Though they are more adapted to interacting with races on the surface than dwarves, gnomes will often wear cloaks and head-wraps to shroud their sensitive skin from direct sunlight when travelling to the surface; this has given them something of an (undeserved) mysterious quality among some surface-races. Mercantilism is the ruling force in their society, and as such they have developed fairly distinct social classes. Gnomes tend to have swarthy complexions with dark hair, and their ears are pointed. In truth, they are closer in relation to the elves than the dwarves; it is a common misconception that gnomes and dwarves are "cousins." They have a (not so) friendly rivalry with the dwarven race.

Faerie - The fairer folk, born from flowers. Fae are possibly the most beautiful creatures alive (much to the chagrin of the elves). Physically, fae reflect the season they were born during (spring, summer, fall, winter), and often have aesthetic similarities to the flower they came from. They are a truly agender species, though some may take up male or female pronouns used by other races. They are known to be genderfluid and switch as they see fit. Many fae still refer to themselves in gender neutral pronouns or sometimes speak in the third person. People of other races who do not fit into gender binaries will often refer to themselves as Fænäd or Faenad. Literally "friend of the fae," the original meaning described any non-fae who was friendly to their race; over time, however, the term came to represent non-fae who expressed their gender in non-binary or non-traditional ways. Fae are an extremely accepting people and often do so without question. They believe in living life unrestricted, which can cause problems when interacting with other races, as they may break laws and social mores without thinking/realizing. The faeries in the swamps are more wicked looking and reflect some of the harsher realities in the swamp through their culture/mentality - though they are hardly hateful, they tend to be more volatile than others of their race.

Merfolk - An amphibious race of water-dwelling people. Merfolk come in an abundant variety of colors and shapes. They are bipedal, with two arms and two legs - some may additionally have a tail. Their eyes are typically large and starkly black, and their skin is often moist (or slimy) to the touch (on land). They eat a diet of sea creatures and plants, and are largely put off by foods consumed on the surface. They try their best not to associate with the surface races. Mer have the ability to alter their physical sex between male and female to suit the procreative needs of their species; because of this, no formal gender roles developed in their civilization, and classifying oneself as male or female is viewed as meaningless. Conceptually, the mer think of themselves as agender, but typically use gendered pronouns that reflect their active physical sex. Merfolk have an ironically dry sense of humor, but are surprisingly expressive through music and poetry. Mer do not experience sexual urges, making their race asexual (though there are, of course, exceptions); in the past they procreated so rapidly that population control forced them to the brink of extinction and civil war. As a means to survive, they evolved out sexual drives over time. Now, the mer carefully take census of their population and procreate out of instinct or romantic attachment vs. pleasure. Despite their apparent asexuality, the mer are by no means an aromantic culture; though it varies, the mer have a reputation for being romantics and idealists. As a people they are the most academically driven, and they may be the most magical - their magic, however, is largely suited and limited to their environment.

Orc - Hot-tempered and passionate, Orcs are outspoken as a people when it comes to challenging injustice. They live by an extremely black and white moral code which can make their presence a fearful one; upsetting an orc's sensitive views of right and wrong can result in a brutal death. As a society, the Orcs are matriarchal; despite their obsession with justice and fairness, males are second-class citizens with less power and respect, and it is rare to find a male in a position of meaningful leadership. Males and females are mostly the same, physiologically; simply, the females greatly outnumber the males. Males are often used as front-line fodder during clan wars, and are typically sent out as scouts when journeying through new areas. Males are disposable and perceived as "drones" and workers; small contingencies of healthy males are kept secluded for breeding purposes. When interacting with other races, female Orcs will address other females almost exclusively (regardless of whether or not said females are in a position of leadership). Orcs typically live in large nomadic tribes or small settlements in the wastes or grasslands, and will only become violent toward others when provoked (though provoking an Orc is not very difficult). Orcs hold inter-sexed people in high esteem, often electing them to religious positions and viewing them as elders from a young age. Despite their fairly strict gender roles, intersexed Orcs tend to be an exception such standards and are allowed more mobility and freedom of expression than virtually anyone else.

Naga - A playful but solitary race. Naga can be found all over the world, if you ever find one in the first place. They come in an array of colors and patterns and are regarded as rare and beautiful (though some of the less fantastic races, namely Humes, may find them frightening). They typically live among craggy desert canyons or humid forests and jungles. They are known for playing tricks on travelers, though such endeavors are typically light-hearted pranks. It is rare for Naga to assault anyone unprovoked, and even rarer for them to make their presence known. Naga usually nest in caves or high up in the trees.

Beastkin - Anthropomorphic land mammals, found all over the globe. Beastkin are fairly adaptable like humes, yet they dislike closely interacting with other races. Not only are they xenophobic toward the other races, but Beastkin additionally do not like interacting with other species of Beastkin. They have built fairly civil and ordered societies, though their settlements are typically secluded and hard to find. Romantic liaisons between Beastkin of different species are heavily looked down upon, and can lead to violence or banishment from one's tribe. Beastkin do not generally use magic on principal, though each tribe or settlement will have one or two shamans. These shamans are wielders of nature magics and are rumored to be healers of great renown. They have been known to interact with elves and fae on rare occasions, but they never do so agreeably. They view the naga, garuda, and centaur as abominations for their partial hume appearance

Yakshi - Ghastly and ghoulish, commonly residing in swampland or bogs. No one is quite sure how the Yakshi came to be. Tall with talon-like claws and feet, jaws that unhinge to reveal wicked fangs, and leathery skin, Yakshi are true terrors. They are known to be aggressive yet fairly intelligent, often utilizing the many poisons found in the swamplands to dip their claws and weapons in. They are lithe and agile, surprisingly strong and prone to attack before asking questions. They do not trade and travel in small packs with brutal traditions; they wear a combination of skins, furs, and bone, usually letting their hair fly wild and free. Yakshi particularly despise Orcs and will trade with humans, though the occurrence is rare. They have magical potential, but Yakshi seldom utilize it, as they are too impatient and prone to tantrums to study it in earnest. Use of magic is typically instinctual and used to augment their physical abilities.


Last edited by wondercube on Fri Aug 07, 2015 1:04 pm; edited 6 times in total
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Re: Potential Fantasy Races

Post by wondercube on Wed Aug 05, 2015 3:51 pm

Oh, I hadn't thought of Centaurs and Garudas previously. Initially I figured they would fall under Beastkin, but they could actually be distinct depending on how we portray them.

Beastkin are simply bipedal land mammals (lol no dolphins or whales 4 yew), and have the head of the animal they come from.

Centaurs could be distinct by 1) being aesthetically hume(ish) from the waist up, and 2) for the fact that they have four legs and two arms. Now, I wouldn't want their faces to have entirely hume features, but there are ways we can make them distinct as far as bone structure and skin color is concerned.

Garudas (or Harpies, depending on who's talking) could follow similar logic. They've got bird legs/feet and a hume-ish torso and face. They could have hume arms and wings connected to their backs, or they could just have wings instead of arms (similar to bats perhaps).

Not sure what the cultural specifics would be at this moment, but the idea is worth suggesting/considering!
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Re: Potential Fantasy Races

Post by wondercube on Wed Aug 05, 2015 4:47 pm

My general vision for the Yakshi.

I'm also considering Goblins.

Goblins would be a minor race, more or less. Developmentally, they wouldn't be in the same league as the other races. They live in the swamplands with the Yakshi, who eat/hunt them on a regular basis. They reproduce very quickly, and are viewed as pests more than anything else to the humes that live on the edges of the bogs. Goblins aren't very intelligent and don't have any real language to speak of, but they are able to create/use tools and find/build shelters. They usually hollow out roots of large trees or carve into huge swamp mushrooms. Otherwise, they'll build mud huts. They have potential to use magic, though they don't understand the concept of it, so any use of magic by a Goblin is accidental (and usually leads to hijinks). They're very curious, but also very rude.

My friend wants there to be a guy named Dav'd Boweh who unites the goblins against the Yakshi. Complete with a fantastic package. x)
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Re: Potential Fantasy Races

Post by wondercube on Fri Aug 07, 2015 1:03 pm

Made some updates to the Fae, Mer, Humes, Dwarves, Yakshi, Orcs, and Beastkin.
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Re: Potential Fantasy Races

Post by mandalameg on Thu Aug 20, 2015 12:22 pm

Some of my thoughts - to take or to leave. I love this list!

Hume – No major complaints, I do like that you gave their trade monopoly some logic behind it, “Because they are accepting of other races”.

Elf – BRILLIANT. I love the idea of homo-normative that fits with the idea of population control. A very elven thing if I’ve ever heard it, and the contrast is really nice. I honestly can’t say enough how inventive and creative that is, I really dig it.

Dwarf – I like that you used anatomical thing like pregnancy to delve into egalitarian social system. Neeto~

Fae – swoons this description matches what they are in my head, and I love the “born from flowers” added extra. As I’ll expand on below though, one is to assume this is a very tiny creature (born from flowers) do they grow to human size after maturation? Stay small? How big are they?

Mer- after reading the Fae I started to wonder about birth of other races. Are Mer born from eggs or live birth? Being water dwellers it is unclear, maybe egg birth could be a cool/interesting addition (or even something more like tadpole!)

Orc – I liked the description of the society, but was left feeling like I was not sure of the physical appearance or aspects of this race.

Naga – are these snake like creatures? The name assumes so, but the description lacks clarity. Again, sorry if I am being overly critical. I am trying to view these with fresh eyes. ☺

Beastkin – Love this style. And unike some earlier, the first sentence explains EXACTY “What” this race is, and gives me an idea of how their physical appearance might present.

Yakshi – HOLY MACROLE – the things of childhood fables/nightmares. Love this creature/race design. Truly creepy and perfect ☺

One thing missing for most is some aspects of physical description. How tall/large are these different Races? I know that is commonly added or described in DnD (my background) – I was trying to read these without so having any preconceived ideas about these races and left wondering, How tall are they? Are some more round? More lanky? What do some of these regional variations due? (hair color? Skin tone?)

- Hope this was something like the feedback you wanted. Couldn't tell due to lack of other responses, so I just wrote as I read through your descriptions. Have a great day!
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Re: Potential Fantasy Races

Post by wondercube on Thu Aug 20, 2015 2:36 pm

mandalameg wrote:Fae – swoons this description matches what they are in my head, and I love the “born from flowers” added extra. As I’ll expand on below though, one is to assume this is a very tiny creature (born from flowers) do they grow to human size after maturation? Stay small? How big are they?

So there are a couple ways could do it. I like the idea of them being able to shift between sizes. Their "Fairy form" in which they're only a few inches tall (3-6 inches, maybe? idk), and then a larger form where they're about 3 to 4 ft tall. Maybe 5. I would imagine most of their cities would be built according to their more natural, smaller size, but they're capable of shifting into a larger form when interacting with bigger races. Maybe each form comes with different advantages (small = stronger magic, larger = more robust).

I'm not married to the idea, though, so if people want fixed sizes, I'm game. As for "maturation" I didn't have a clear cut idea. On one hand, lil lady bug sized fae babies are super cute; on the other, since they're so magical it would make sense for them to be born fully formed. If so, they'd more or less look like a young adult?

That brings up the subject of aging. I imagine most races live to be 80-100, with potential exceptions. Fae could be ageless/immortal or just have longevity and age at a slower rate. Elves too. Or everyone can be on the same playing field and all races have similar lifespans/maturation process.

Mer-  after reading the Fae I started to wonder about birth of other races. Are Mer born from eggs or live birth? Being water dwellers it is unclear, maybe egg birth could be a cool/interesting addition (or even something more like tadpole!)

Gotta say, I love the idea of little tadpole mers swimming around in schools. x)
Tadpole or eggs, I'm down. WHY NOT BOTH. Laid in eggs, born into little tads that develop into adults. I imagine they develop very quickly compared to other races.

Orc – I liked the description of the society, but was left feeling like I was not sure of the physical appearance or aspects of this race.

They're typical fantasy orcs, I'd say. Mostly tall, robust, with savage teeth, tusks, and/or horns. There's some room for variety here. I'm pretty open to whatever skin colors people want to have, as long as they're not natural hume colors. Pink, orange, green, gray, blues, etc. I like the idea of males typically being smaller and leaner, maybe 5.5 to 6.5 ft tall. Females would be 6 to 7 feet tall and bulkier.

Naga – are these snake like creatures? The name assumes so, but the description lacks clarity. Again, sorry if I am being overly critical. I am trying to view these with fresh eyes. ☺

So Naga would be human from the torso-up (with perhaps some snake-like facial features), and their bottom half would be a snake's body/tail. They'd have human arms and likely hair too.  Gentalia-wise, I'd imagine they'd have snake-equipment lol.

Yakshi – HOLY MACROLE – the things of childhood fables/nightmares. Love this creature/race design. Truly creepy and perfect ☺

I even imagine the Yakshi being a little more lanky/willowy/spindly than in that picture, but that's the general look I'm going for. Kind of like slenderman nightmare fuel type stuff.

One thing missing for most is some aspects of physical description. How tall/large are these different Races? I know that is commonly added or described in DnD (my background) – I was trying to read these without so having any preconceived ideas about these races and left wondering, How tall are they? Are some more round? More lanky? What do some of these regional variations due? (hair color? Skin tone?)

Hume - general human heights, between 5 to 6.5 ft for the average adult.
Elves - shorter/slighter than humes, maybe 5-5.7 on average
Fae - the two forms discussed
Dwarves - around 4 ft on average
Gnomes - 3.5 to 4 ft on average
Mer - 5 to 6 ft on average
Orcs - 5.5 to 7 ft on average (males toward lower end, females upper)
Naga - Dependent on what snake they're modeled after maybe. Their tails can be really long, potentially.
Yakshi - 6 to 6.5 ft tall on average
Goblin - 2 to 3 ft on average
Island/Coastal Centaurs - 5.5 to 6ft
Tundra Centaurs - 6 to 7ft, very woolly
Garuda - 6 to 6.5 ft

Centaurs and Garuda, like Naga, are distinguished from Beastkin by having a (more or less) hume appearance from the torso-up (though their facial features/bone structure might be more aquiline/equine)
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Re: Potential Fantasy Races

Post by wondercube on Fri Aug 21, 2015 1:12 pm



I've put together some races galleries to give a clearer idea of my vision for each race's physical attributes. There are a bunch of sub-galleries titles by race name. Kind of a WIP, but got most of the more fantastic looking races out of the way.

Fae - Essentially envisioning Sylvari from GW2, just smaller and with wings.

Mer - Since I'm going with a more amphibian vibe for these mer, I picked a lot of images of Salarians for Mass Effect, cause they have a similar aesthetic to what I'm looking for. The first image is a character I might play, an old mer-witch named Rozla. We'll see!

Garuda - Essentially bird legs and arm-wings. More or less human torso and head.

Naga - first image "Sea Naga" is my favorite. Looks closer to a traditional mermaid too lol. Anyway, that's the idea. Snake bottom, humanoid top.
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Re: Potential Fantasy Races

Post by Finest Fantasy on Sat Aug 22, 2015 10:15 am

Okay, these are awesome and really creative. Seriously, it's the sauce. You have a Hell of a lot more than I do on mine. So, I'm both jelly and inspired. I especially appreciate going creative with Orcs. They get a bad rap far too often. I really like your Faeries, as well. The Fair Folk should be unlike normal people. I can dig it.
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