Worldbuilding

155 – Fantasy Races

The Mythcreant Podcast
This podcast goes great with breakfast, or even second breakfast, because we’re talking about fantasy races. We cover everything from Tolkien to more Tolkien to even a few things that aren’t Tolkien. But first, why are they called “races” and not “species”? Second, how do you even define a species anyway?

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Opening and closing theme: The Princess Who Saved Herself by Jonathan Coulton. Used with permission.

Show Notes:

The Lord of the Rings

The Goblin Emperor

Dragon Age

Blue Rose

The Stormlight Archive

Lost Girl

Skyrim

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Comments

  1. SunlessNick

    I’m surprised you didn’t bring up the Qunari when you got to Dragon Age.

  2. Reiksson

    As far as tabletop role-playing games go, I have never been a fan of races have specific one sided buffs because it causes right and wrong choices of race-class combinations. People feel penalized for interesting choices because they are not as strong as they could be. It has caused me to attempt to create/alter races that are different for narrative purposes, would not just feel like a bunch of different humans, and would not give mechanical advantage to a specific play style. Any mechanical ability that is given, I have to ask myself, could a fighter, mage and rogue all use this to the same effect. It has become my Gordian knot.

  3. April

    Is it really that hard to think of non Tolkien races or species? Werewolves (and werecats etc) and vampires, anyone? Also satyrs and fauns, gnomes and leprechauns are really well known ones. I don’t think he had plain, old giants either…

    Spoilers for Fablehaven below.

    These days I’m seeing a lot of people who can transform into dragons (ie Fablehaven, Seraphina, and this one series I can’t remember the name of). They might qualify as a fantasy race. Even if they are just a subset of the general shapeshifters that just proves that it should be easy to name a non Tolkien race because shapeshifters are so prevelant.

    One really memorable new race can be found in N.K.Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy. They are called stone eaters and they are sort of like living statues or people made of rock.

    • Chris Winkle

      I was actually trying to think of completely original fantasy races – not based on folklore or anything, and that’s why I was having trouble. The stone eaters sound cool.

    • Deana

      Actually werewolves and vampires are in the Silmarilion. There was something odd about the elvish war cats but I don’t think they were shapeshifters.

  4. Julia

    So are centaurs considered a race or a creature?

    • Oren Ashkenazi

      Good question. A race in most cases I’d say, since they’re fully sapient. But they do tend to get treated as beasts a lot.

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