I’ve been trying to think of interesting and evocative “subraces” or cultures, or factions, to diversify your “standard fantasy folk” lately.
I merrily went over the Elves first. Wanting to keep their connection to nature as their main driving force, but thinking about how the diverse and wild landscapes of a fantasy setting would cause Elves to vary ALOT in how they think and interact with the world.
Then I moved to Dwarves, their connection to the ground they live upon is central to what a Dwarf is (to me), but what forms might stone take? Grains of sand? Ominous standing stones under a starry sky? These concepts gave me some fun ideas for Sand Dwarves, and Hill Dwarves and Mountain Dwarves, and how they might see the world.
But then I started thinking about Orcs…and Half Orcs and what is central to them in fantasy games/lore.
Tolkien set the stage that an Orc is a manifestation of evil basically right? Modern day gamers are probably just as familiar if not more with the “Noble Warrior” Half Orc culture.
One is sword fodder for heroic Good vs Evil, the other a depiction of a primal humanoid that you could wrap your head around and possibly RP as.
I’m curious where Orcs and Goblins fit in your world, are they basically green skinned humans? Or evil creatures devoid of salvation?
Found this interesting article on the topic as well:
Took a stab at worldbuilding some Goblins/Orcs/Ogres. Mostly they are monsters going around doing monstrous things, but sometimes they rally together under evil constellations and that’s when you get your classic Orcs rampaging into town scenarios.
Wrote up 4 “flavors” your Goblins/Orcs/Ogres could have to tie in with the constellations.
In the world of my home game, all the goblinoids and elf types are really all a spectrum of the same species, so to speak. Humans differentiate them by names like these because they don’t understand them. In the setting I’m working on, I’ve decided not to have the prototypical fantasy species so no dwarves, elves, goblins, or orcs at all!
Interesting, do you separate them into humans and non-humans then in your worldbuilding?
What do you think about the half elves, half orc playable races? I‘m thinking of just lumping all those “mixed” races into a “two spirits” group or something, idk.
Want to simplify and combine as many common things as I can.
I don’t know if I’ve formally defined the groups but, roughly it’s humans, fay, giants (I go back and forth on whether giants are another fay but it hasn’t come up in a real way yet so I’ve punted on the question so far!) in terms of the humanoid types. The “hybrid” species haven’t come up so I haven’t had to think about them yet. I do have a class that is, essentially, a half-elf-- a human that was raised and trained by a fay-- so I suppose that’s how I’ve handled it so far.
Love that “fairy tale” feel from highlighting fey and giants (at least that’s where my mind goes with it)!
So much cool stuff to do with fey too, something I never ended up fleshing out much for players though. I think kobold press has some really cool fey lords, and I love that old mythology.