World Building: Races and Species

When I made my world, Ouros, I started out with too much information about stuff that didn’t really matter. I would never write about what size the planet was unless I was writing about a catastrophic even. I planned on a story within the world not encompassing the planet. One of the things I focused too much on was creating new species of humanoid and animal inhabitants.

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For my purposes, I classified the humanoids as “intelligent” since they would be the primary inhabitants and animals were categorized separately. I created intricate backgrounds for the peoples and gave them structure. I also described them physically to show unique differences. The issue came when I wanted to use the world as a setting for a D&D game. I had to adjust my world to the races of D&D. Wanting to keep the social and political structures of the people I created and also merge them with the species that we are used to like elves, dwarves, and orcs.

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  • Intelligent:
    • The Amuyed: Nomads of the plains, the dress in furs, have 4 arms, and are bipedal. Dark golden skin from the sun. They have a council of elders, that divine the future and speak to their ancestors for advice. Five elders decide the matters of the tribe, Iglash, Noblask, Rolan, Bolte, and Ferren.
    • The Synethryn: Cult of mages, human sacrifices to the beasts in winter. They worship a great serpent that will devour the world, named Synethryn. Pale, transluscent skin (they never go out in the sun), they tattoo dark green iridescent scales all over their bodies to more greatly resemble their god. They draw their power from their sleeping god. They sacrifice other races to their god (god of shadow and darkness). Their leader is the High Priest Sylar Poisontooth.
    • The Pangol: A dynastic society, they have an empire built on fertile lands at the foot of giant mountains which they mine for ore and are known for their wine and ale. The emperor is considered a god in their eyes and they worship only him/her. They are slight, tall and pale in build and have feathers growing in their long white hair, and from their elbows. The color of their feathers is how they determine ascendency within the society. Golden feathers are royalty, silver feathers are nobility, the remainder of the populace have various other colors. White feathers are the rarest and most revered, no one has yet been born with them save the first ruler of Pangol. They have built machines that handle all production overseen by mechanics and technicians. Though they do not work hard labor of the fields, they are masters of science and thought. They produce luxury goods. Their empress is named Ceres.
    • The Sunu: are a wild hunting society. They live in wild jungles and tend to have incredibly black fur and white eyes that allow them to blend into shadows and track quick movements. Clever hunters, they are fiercely territorial and will attack anything that comes within their borders to protect themselves. Only very few people have met the Sunu and lived. They have high tree houses in the giant jungle trees. The Sunu are led by the strongest man in their tribe, a huge but clever person named Gruns.
    • The Bortan: are human like people with simple fiefdoms and farming communities. They live in small communities and are generally peaceful. Because of this, they are often raided for slaves by the Amuyed and sold to the Pangols. There is one tribe of these Bortan that holds large swaths of land, their leader calls himself king, his name is Arister Onderra. His son, the heir apparent is named, Riscol Onderra. The king actively wars with the Amuyed and steals from Pangol any chance he gets, since his family was broken up by the Amuyed during one of their raids he holds them and the empire that sanctions their thefts responsible.
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Trying to adapt them to D&D was a bit much so I simple put the D&D races in the place of the societies I thought fit them best. The elves were probably in Pangol, with their rich culture. The Amuyed would probably be the orcs, with their nomadic tribes. The Bortan are already described as human like. The Synethrin could be the Yuan-ti deep in the primeval jungles. The Sunu are different because they are more like a tribe of rogues with their abilities to blend in and use terrain to their advantage when hunting a trespasser. They would have to be perhaps a separate tribe of humans or drow that live in the jungle and are the first that deal with the Synethrin’s incursions.

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The one piece of advice I would retroactively give myself would be to build a world with D&D in mind if that is the plan. Otherwise it has to be its own world with its own people and might not be able to be adapted to other. I wanted too much out of this one world. So I put it aside and focused on creating a world based off of other things. In my new world, which does not have a name yet, the only currently known intelligent life is human. I plan on adding a bunch of monsters but I am simplifying it so I can grow the world eventually and develop its history over time.

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There are so many things I have to learn about world building, how to make species’ believable and intricate, their environments and how they coexist or don’t. The point is to keep trying and build upon every try until you reach success. In the next article I will go over animal species and my experiences in creating them.

Have any questions or comments? Message below or find me on Twitter @DnDWifeStories and on Instagram @dndwife. I would love to hear from you!

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Published by dndwife

My husband and I run a dungeons and dragons table together and I write about our crazy adventures both in and out of the story. My husband DM's and I am the table artist. I paint minis for everyone at the table and provide crafted gifts like dice boxes, bags, and artwork.

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