1. Nidhogg

    Nidhogg Member

    May 11, 2016
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    Choosing Fantasy Races/Creatures

    Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by Nidhogg, Jul 4, 2016.

    How do you all go about choosing what fantasy races and creatures you have in your settings? Does it come to you immediately, or do you have a formulaic method of choosing which ones you wish to use? Also, how do you go about deciding how few/many you wish to use?
  2. doggiedude

    doggiedude Contributor Contributor

    Feb 15, 2016
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    Florida, USA, Earth, The Sol System
    I would limit the number of races to the amount needed for the plot. Overwheling your reader with six different species of sentient creatures can be annoying.
    I also tend to design creatures in a way that someone can't think of them as an orc / dwarf / hobbit / elf / or any other overused trope. Make a new creature and maybe twenty years from now other people will be mimicking you.
    Bolu Kai, Seraph751 and izzybot like this.
  3. izzybot

    izzybot (unspecified) Contributor

    Jun 3, 2015
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    SC, USA
    I don't know if this is applicable since I get the feeling you're talking about high fantasy, but for my urban fantasy project I mostly designed my own types of creatures as needed. I do use vampires and werewolves because they came to mind first, but otherwise my story needed some type of selkie-like shapeshifting species so I came up with one then, and I needed a sort of spindly-but-dangerous-looking creature so I came up with something for that, etc. I'd avoid thinking in terms of just filling out the ranks of a fantasy universe - I feel like that's how you get so many samey humans/elves/dwarves-populated settings. If you want elves, cool; I've got some elves myself, I can't talk. But it's not obligatory and I wouldn't try to pin down a formula. It's just about what you need for you setting/story.
  4. halisme

    halisme Contributor Contributor

    Mar 18, 2015
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    It depends on what you're going for. If the theme of your story is unification of people despite their differences, have fun. If you're going for something more realistic, go for a few and have some that have been wiped out or only have a few settlements. I'm going for a lovecraftian thing, so I just have humans, and a few things staring down at them.
  5. G.M.Addams

    G.M.Addams New Member

    Jun 27, 2016
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    For my writings, I tend to go pick the location and then see what makes sense. For example: Dwarves only live in a certain area, otherwise you wouldn't see much of them. If the story never takes place there, you never see Dwarves.

    I also am the sort of writer who tends to avoid just slapping in fantasy races in the story. Sure, they exist, and perhaps there's a variety on the main character roster, but I don't like to bog the reader down by continually reminding them that X is a Dwarf, Y is a Human, and B is an Elf. I'll usually establish that in the beginning and then leave it at that. Unless I'm weaving in some exposition, the initial establishment of who's who usually works enough for me.

    One thing, aside from regional differences, to help you decide which races to include is to establish what fantasy races are good at what and see what you'll need along the way. If elves are better at sneaking around and you will have a situation that needs some stealth, put an elf in your main character roster.

    Just make sure to develop them as characters and don't use them as merely tools for the plot.
  6. I.A. By the Barn

    I.A. By the Barn A very lost time traveller Contributor

    Oct 26, 2015
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    Two of my races were originally made up just out of wouldn't-that-be-coolness. I have now developed plots around these abilities that they possess and selected settings around them, a bit opposite to @G.M.Addams. My races all have base qualities and then like a human have individual qualities just like making any other character.
    My races kinda symbolise stuff too e.g. Dragon children= Pride, corruptibility, anger or Sylphs= Fickleness, religion, shallow beauty.
  7. IHaveNoName

    IHaveNoName Senior Member Community Volunteer

    Mar 15, 2016
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    I've always been human-centric, but this WIP called for new races, so I made them up: the Avarii, Vargrim, Ma'jaat, and Valdameri. They're actually the descendants of humans who were exposed to elemental energies (air, earth, fire, water) over a period of time, and ended up breeding true.
  8. Gadock

    Gadock Active Member

    May 13, 2016
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    Whenever I build something I want it to be logical. I've also started with experimental ideas of different human races, let me explain first with an example.

    When you look at whales and Dolphins, they are able to reproduce together to get Wholphin, a hybrid. These are sterile though so it's not a new race. When you look at dogs, the difference within the same species is enormous. Purely of selective breeding, dogs have become able to weight between 4 and 190 pounds. Life expectancies anywhere between 8 and 18 is normal. And yes although these differences they are all the same species.

    When you look at humans though, the differences are quite insignificant (leaving out disorders). Neanderthals are the only known different human species, whereas there are still speculations to this though. Either different species or subspecies, but non the less extinct. :p

    So, when you make human like species, maybe take something like this in mind? I think it's kinda easy to make humanoid animals, and besides that, completely illogical for those species to have grown like that, at least to me.

    For how many I'm going to add I don't know yet, if it's multiple they won't be done in depth. And it's not really relevant to the story line.
  9. ChaosReigns

    ChaosReigns Ov The Left Hand Path Supporter Contributor

    Mar 20, 2013
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    Medway, Kent, UK
    I'll see what I need them for, and if they really are necessary, if they are necessary, and I know what I need them for, then first I'll check my encyclopedia of Mythical Creatures to see if there's something that I can use/extend there first, if not then I'll extend to creating the creature

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