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Author Topic: Race Mixing In The Campaign!  (Read 1384 times)

SHARK

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Race Mixing In The Campaign!
« on: August 06, 2022, 05:22:00 PM »
Greetings!

In my Thandor Campaign, I have created many distinctive races of humanoids. Animal Hybrids, Reptilian Hybrids, Insect Hybrids, and more, in addition to Elves, Dwarves, Halflings, and Gnomes.

I also blend different Human races together, different ethnic groups, blending and creating distinctive and unique cultures.

Of course, historically, we have many examples. Siberians--a mix of North Asians, with Russians, Fiinns, Balts, and Norse. Evidently, Asian and European intermixing has been going on for thousands of years, going way back into prehistoric times.

Kazakhs--mixtures of Asian Steppe Nomads, Turks, and Europeans. Later on, of course, Mongols.

Hungarians--European stock of Slavs mixed with Asian Steppe Nomads. That is a pretty interesting story right there, of how the Kingdom of Hungary was revitalized by an official policy that mandated and encouraged blending with several Asian tribes that the Hungarian King invited into the Kingdom. Apparently, after years of fighting the Mongols, the native male population had of course suffered terribly. Then, along came some Asian Steppe tribes, trying to flee from the Mongols--and the Hungarian King said "Hey! We can help each other!"

Filipinos--Yes, look at the Phillipines. An interesting blend of white European Spaniards with Asian Island people. 500 years later, we have a distinct and wonderful Filipino culture and people.

Mexicans--Mexico, of course, blending Euopean Spaniards with Native Indian people. Now, 500 years later, Mexico may as well be their own race, forming a distinctive culture that blends their Spanish and Indian roots. More recently, with extra Gringo American spice.

There are many examples. I think it is fascinating how there can be two--or sometimes more!--cultural or racial influences, that combine, and create something new and distinct, different from the original foundations.

These kind of inspirations from history can contribute greatly to the fabric of a great game campaign. However, embracing such may unwittingly bring in more family and cultural details--especially influencing a character's background. I know some people get all squicky about having dreaded backgrounds that are fucking detailed, but to my mind, the depth, the details, and the fun make it worthwhile for a good campaign.

Fantasy campaigns of course not only have human groups, but also humanoid and crazy animal races. The variety is endless, and the different cultures that can be created and developed can be very interesting.

I highly recommend embracing such ideas for a great campaign!

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
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ForgottenF

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Re: Race Mixing In The Campaign!
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2022, 10:14:51 PM »
I suppose there is an interesting question there, from a verisimilitude perspective. If there were multiple sentient humanoid species living on the same world could they interbreed? In real life, different species usually can't, and on the rare cases where they can, the offspring usually suffer from severe genetic or health problems. I remember the YouTuber Lindybeige did a video years ago suggesting that Half-Elves should be infertile, like mules are in the real world.

Of course once you're in a realm of fantasy, you have the option of ignoring genetics, and then you can produce interesting narrative concepts (like how in Lord of the Rings, half-elves essentially get to choose between their two or ancestry, or how in Goblin Slayer, all goblins are male and have to rely on human captives to reproduce). Personally I feel like those kind of ideas make the most of the concept of multiple intelligent species in a setting.

But assuming you do have a world where different humanoids can mix just the same way that groups of humans can, then I suppose you have the question of why there are still distinct races? You would think that after a long enough period of time, a large percentage of people would be some level of elf-human-dwarf-gnome hybrid. (As you pointed out, most historical cultures are the product of some kind of ethnic mix). If that's going to be the case, then it can end up defeating the purpose of having all those different species in the first place. If not, I feel like you kind of have to justify why. Maybe it's because the different species are alienated from each other, or only recently came into contact. Maybe its due to cultural taboos against race mixing, or maybe the gods disapprove of it on the grounds that cosmopolitanism causes them to lose their believers. I do feel like you ought to do something with it, though, if it's going to be a major feature of the setting.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2022, 10:40:17 PM by ForgottenF »

GeekyBugle

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Re: Race Mixing In The Campaign!
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2022, 10:19:29 PM »
Yeah, no, in my game world none of the species can interbreed with one another. And more often than not all of the supernatural ones are Evil.

Now, mixing different cultures? Heck to the yeah! But only if those cultures are from the same species or if two species manage to cohexist peacefully with one another.
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Hzilong

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Re: Race Mixing In The Campaign!
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2022, 03:18:30 AM »
Intra-species mixing? Sure. Human cultures should definitely be a product of cross pollination. Tropical merfolk I imagine have vastly different cultural practices from arctic merfolk, and when they meet in temperate water, that community should have influences of both.

I am not entirely opposed to half-whatever species as it can be an interesting trope, but most of the time the execution falls short as people rarely play them as an actual offspring of two vastly different philosophies born out of things like different physiology and lifespan.

I got around this by just making dwarves, orcs, and elves mutant offshoots of humans. So they can interbreed, but the offspring will almost always cleave more closely to one genetic line.
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S'mon

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Re: Race Mixing In The Campaign!
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2022, 05:16:37 AM »
Your campaign sounds like London! I was at a wedding table yesterday with three women: my lovely Kazakh-Russian gf, a Filipino-Pakistani, and an Ulster-Nigerian  ;D

In world, hm I typically add a small number such as half-dwarves, and 5e D&D already has a lot of mixed-race 'races' such as Half-Elf, Tiefling, Aasimar, Half-Orc. IMCs Goliath are typically a human/stone giant magical cross. My son is playing a Warhammer Kroxiger, likely a lizardman/crocodile cross  ;D Dragonborn IMC are a human/dragon cross. 

Steven Mitchell

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Re: Race Mixing In The Campaign!
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2022, 07:43:05 AM »
With races, I don't like the mushy middle of things like half elves.  Instead, I want either separate species that can't interbreed at all (barring strange, rare magic, that usually produces sterile results) or a coherent fantastical genetics that fits the setting.  Not my favorite, but as an example, various settings where everyone is really human DNA that's been magically changed over eons.  If elves seem like humans with pointy ears, it's because in some ways they are!

On culture, the more the better. However, I'm quite happy if there is little to no mechanical effects from culture, especially after starting.  It can be constraining.  In my own system, I'm still tinkering with the parameters, but basically it's slightly better reactions when you first meet someone of a compatible culture.  Then toss that in with some different starting options.  It's meant to inspire an idea/background/concept for the character without needing to write an essay.  If that comes with some built in hooks for language, clothes, manners, etc., so much the better.

I very much like culture separated from race in the mechanics, though.  Then you don't need to deal with the odd effects of individual of race X raised by parents of race Y in culture Z.  X is the race he is, no special changes requires, in a culture odd for that character. 

HappyDaze

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Re: Race Mixing In The Campaign!
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2022, 08:51:49 AM »
I ran a D&D game where true elves (the full-blooded type) were virtually extinct and what everyone called elves were mechanically half-elves. They represented not elf/human hybrids, but humams exposed to the fey realms formerly ruled over by the the true elves. The nature of their offspring depended on where conception occurred: the child was a (half-)elf if it happened in a fey realm, or human otherwise. As for the true elves, they were not inter-fertile with humans (or half-elves) at all.

Svenhelgrim

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Re: Race Mixing In The Campaign!
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2022, 09:50:24 AM »
In the Dark Sun setting, there were Half-dwarves, they were called Muls (Mules) and they were infertile.  That is the only time I have ever seen an dwarf-mix.  Even orcs won’t try it with dearves.  Dwarves don’t get no love…except from other dwarves, and the occasional human on Athas.

Today’s D&D party looks more like a furry convention. You have cat people, turtle-people, owl-people, lion-people, rabbit-people…the list goes on.  Now I think it is kinda ridiculous, but if the players really want that shit, then I will allow it.  Expecially if I am running a setting like Forgotten Realms where it’s anything goes.  Who am I to kill their fun?

In today’s Forgotten Realms you are more likely to find a Half-genasi, half vampire, half-illithid, goat person than you are a human, male, fighter.  Couple that with the fact that the entire population of Farûn is in a same-sex marriage, they won’t be able to reproduce, causing a significant population decline.  Then the demons can pour out of the abyss and take over…
« Last Edit: August 07, 2022, 10:00:16 AM by Svenhelgrim »

HappyDaze

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Re: Race Mixing In The Campaign!
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2022, 09:54:12 AM »
In the Dark Sun setting, there were Half-dwarves, they were called Muls (Mules) and they were infertile.  That is the only time I have ever seen an dwarf-mix.  Even orcs won’t try it with dearves.  Dwarves don’t get no love…except from other dwarves, and the occasional human on Athas.

Today’s D&D party looks more like a furry convention. You have cat people, turtle-people, owl-people, lion-people, rabbit-people…the list goes on.  Now I think it is kinda ridiculous, but if the players really want that shit, then I will allow it.  Expecially if I am running a setting like Forgotten Realms where it’s anything goes.  Who am I to kill their fun?

In today’s Forgotten Realms you are more likely to find a Half-genasi, half vampire, half-illithid, goat person than you are a human, male, fighter.  Couple that with the fact that the entire population of Farûn is in a same-sex marriage, the won’t be able to reproduce, causing a significant population decline.  Then the demons can pour out of the abyss and take over…
I'm almost sure that something in FR will allow same sex couples to have children. Let's call it...magic. Yeah, magic, that's the ticket.

ForgottenF

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Re: Race Mixing In The Campaign!
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2022, 11:21:52 AM »
I got around this by just making dwarves, orcs, and elves mutant offshoots of humans. So they can interbreed, but the offspring will almost always cleave more closely to one genetic line.

I think that might be how Shadowrun does it? I seem to recall something about how everyone was human until some magic event turned some people into elves, trolls etc.

HappyDaze

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Re: Race Mixing In The Campaign!
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2022, 11:23:57 AM »
I got around this by just making dwarves, orcs, and elves mutant offshoots of humans. So they can interbreed, but the offspring will almost always cleave more closely to one genetic line.

I think that might be how Shadowrun does it? I seem to recall something about how everyone was human until some magic event turned some people into elves, trolls etc.
And then special snowflake changelings...and the setting got dumber ever after.

ForgottenF

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Re: Race Mixing In The Campaign!
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2022, 11:37:10 AM »
In the Dark Sun setting, there were Half-dwarves, they were called Muls (Mules) and they were infertile.  That is the only time I have ever seen an dwarf-mix.  Even orcs won’t try it with dearves.  Dwarves don’t get no love…except from other dwarves, and the occasional human on Athas.

Today’s D&D party looks more like a furry convention. You have cat people, turtle-people, owl-people, lion-people, rabbit-people…the list goes on.  Now I think it is kinda ridiculous, but if the players really want that shit, then I will allow it.  Expecially if I am running a setting like Forgotten Realms where it’s anything goes.  Who am I to kill their fun?

In today’s Forgotten Realms you are more likely to find a Half-genasi, half vampire, half-illithid, goat person than you are a human, male, fighter.  Couple that with the fact that the entire population of Farûn is in a same-sex marriage, they won’t be able to reproduce, causing a significant population decline.  Then the demons can pour out of the abyss and take over…

If you want to have some fun with that, go on Google Images and search "my dnd character". Skinny, tattooed, nonhuman magic-users as far as the eye can see.

Koltar

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Re: Race Mixing In The Campaign!
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2022, 12:43:44 PM »
I am running a GURPS Star Trek campaign set in the year 2261 - this isn't really an issue.

The only 'half and half' or hybrid known in Starfleet is Lt Spock - and he is on the Enterprise, not the featured starship of the campaign.

Just really isn't an issue.

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Rob Necronomicon

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Re: Race Mixing In The Campaign!
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2022, 01:25:28 PM »
I know some people get all squicky about having dreaded backgrounds that are fucking detailed, but to my mind, the depth, the details, and the fun make it worthwhile for a good campaign.

Fantasy campaigns of course not only have human groups, but also humanoid and crazy animal races. The variety is endless, and the different cultures that can be created and developed can be very interesting.

I highly recommend embracing such ideas for a great campaign!

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK

Yep, nothing wrong at all with having a detailed background especially if you're expecting to be playing a longer campaign. And mixing things up as you say provides a great source of inspiration and also adds lots for the GM to get hold of. That's one of the reasons I really like Hyperborea.




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Effete

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Re: Race Mixing In The Campaign!
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2022, 02:02:31 PM »
In the Dark Sun setting, there were Half-dwarves, they were called Muls (Mules) and they were infertile.  That is the only time I have ever seen an dwarf-mix.

Aren't Derro a dwarf-human crossbreed?