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Author Topic: [D&D] Am I onto something here?  (Read 569 times)

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Offline SovelissTopic starter

[D&D] Am I onto something here?
« on: August 18, 2015, 02:57:36 PM »
This is gonna be a bit of D&D rambling, but it's something I've been thinking about for a while. Most evil races (drow excluded) tend to be explosive breeders (i.e. reproducing like rabbits) while most good ones (the drow are the only odd ones due to being evil) tend to be the type to reproduce very slowly (I remember seeing somewhere that elven couples typically produced one child every 5 years or so), with the neutral races (humans and halfelins) being somewhat in the middle. Is it a coincidence, or does the fact that a life from the "evil" races is more easily replaced tend to make them look at life as less precious than, say, elves where every life counts?

Just some random ramblings, feel free to ignore them if you want.

Offline alextaylor

Re: [D&D] Am I onto something here?
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2015, 12:15:50 PM »
Hmmm...
The overpopulation might make some lives more replaceable. Or the larger families meant that each individual has a little less love and had to compete more for resources. The elves somehow discovered sustainability and never had to kill for resources.

It could be that a high death rate (from evil) means that high breeding is necessary for the population to survive. It could be a Darwinian thing, where the only tribes to survive were the fertile ones.

It could be that the hippy races (ie. elves) were non sustainable when their population grew too big. And so they breed really slowly to protect the environment and all. It seems that elves can be at the receiving end of an apocalypse, and would probably breed more if they had to.

Online Vekseid

Re: [D&D] Am I onto something here?
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2015, 05:37:36 PM »
There's a race of tiger-people - I forget the name - whose females could only ever give birth twice before becoming sterile. The rare chance for twins was they only way they could grow their population. When one of them was murdered, they'd murder a hundred humans in response. I think their alignment was listed as 'lawful evil'.

A lot of long-lived, evil K-strategists in D&D, come to think of it, though most are lawful evil. Even the drow were originally lawful evil.

Offline SovelissTopic starter

Re: [D&D] Am I onto something here?
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2015, 06:06:15 AM »
There's a race of tiger-people - I forget the name - whose females could only ever give birth twice before becoming sterile. The rare chance for twins was they only way they could grow their population. When one of them was murdered, they'd murder a hundred humans in response. I think their alignment was listed as 'lawful evil'.

A lot of long-lived, evil K-strategists in D&D, come to think of it, though most are lawful evil. Even the drow were originally lawful evil.

Is it in "Races of the Wild"? It's true that I've only checked the basic set for monsters, and in the basic Monster Manual and GM's guide, most of the evil races where explosive breeders, at least they logically had to be to sustain themselves despite the combination of having a short lifespan and being the "evil cannon fodder races" of D&D... And what do you mean "evil K-strategist"? I have English as a second language, so my English is far from perfect...

And I've mostly been looking at reproduction rates, not lifespan. The drow are probably what happens when you get a narcissistic Machiavellian paranoid personality disordered person who somehow attains Goddesshood and decides to run things (I've always had this pet theory that Lolth is secretly deathly afraid that her followers would decide they no longer need her and depose her (paranoia) which she wouldn't allow as she is the apex of perfection (narcissism) and so decides to redirect the conspiracy and plotting of her followers away from her and against each other (Machiavellian personality disorder)...), but it's true that the drow tend to be "Elite" level enemies rather than "cannon fodder" level...

Out of curiosity, what are the evil races that aren't "cannon fodder" level (those who are only a threat in numbers, but mostly harmless by themselves) but rather "Elite" level (those who are a threat by themselves)  (outside of demons, devils, and other evil outsider, and also dragons)? Mindflayers are a parasitic lifeforms that need to kill sentient and sapient beings to reproduce so I've got them covered, drow have their Goddess Lolth who is a psychiatrist's wet dream, dragons also tend to be psychiatrists' wet dreams, even the good ones, evil outsiders are literally the embodiment of evil...

Offline eBadger

Re: [D&D] Am I onto something here?
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2015, 01:11:44 PM »
Is it a coincidence, or does the fact that a life from the "evil" races is more easily replaced tend to make them look at life as less precious than, say, elves where every life counts?

I think it's a system based on heroic figures taking on overwhelming odds, with mechanics that enable one PC to lay waste to vast numbers of low threat NPCs.  So yes, the lives of low-CR creatures are indeed readily expendable.   

In other words, since a lone goblin is simply not a threat, lots of them are required to present any sort of challenge.  That being so, 'they breed like bunnies' is a simple justification. 

Offline AndyZ

Re: [D&D] Am I onto something here?
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2015, 04:13:51 AM »
I have another possibility: the more savage and animalistic races tend to both be short lived and to reproduce in ridiculous numbers, and the more cultured and sophisticated races tend to both be longer lived and reproduce less.

We say "like rabbits" because of the Australian story with the rabbits, but my understanding is that most animals will do the same thing without predators.  Orcs, goblins and the like certainly qualify.

The more erudite races are less interested in base animal urges and more in artistic and intellectual pursuits.

Thomas Hobbes said that the natural state of life is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short," which often means that the converse is true as well.

If anything, I'd be more inclined to put them in the lawful vs chaotic spectrum, saying that the more sophisticated tend towards lawful and less sophisticated towards chaotic.  It's very true of the savage races, but drow do have a sophistication all their own.  It's just heavily darkened by having a chaotic evil monster as a goddess.  Vampires can be quite sophisticated but remain very evil because they're undead, and the same with liches.

I'll agree, though, that evil races tend to see life as less precious than good races.

Offline Aleph

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Re: [D&D] Am I onto something here?
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2015, 07:18:22 AM »
The other balancer here seems to be lifespan. An elven family (let's say life expectancy = ~200 years) has on average 8 kids in the family and all of a sudden there's a lot of elves about. They have to come up with words for great and great-great-relative because they can reasonably expect to have that kind of hierarchy in the family. It's that or expect to say 'great' a lot around the family :)

Oh, by the way, I think the Tiger race mentioned earlier was Rakshasha, can anyone confirm/deny?

Offline Mathim

Re: [D&D] Am I onto something here?
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2015, 08:18:25 AM »
LOL, that first post made me think of the Monty Python song "Every Sperm is Sacred".

Online Vekseid

Re: [D&D] Am I onto something here?
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2015, 12:42:13 AM »
Is it in "Races of the Wild"? It's true that I've only checked the basic set for monsters, and in the basic Monster Manual and GM's guide, most of the evil races where explosive breeders, at least they logically had to be to sustain themselves despite the combination of having a short lifespan and being the "evil cannon fodder races" of D&D... And what do you mean "evil K-strategist"? I have English as a second language, so my English is far from perfect...

The species predated 3e.

As for K-strategists: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R/K_selection_theory

Offline Oniya

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Re: [D&D] Am I onto something here?
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2015, 09:35:12 PM »
Veks - any idea what book it might have been in?  I've got a truckload of 2e books (including the big looseleaf Monstrous Compendium).

Online Vekseid

Re: [D&D] Am I onto something here?
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2015, 07:55:02 PM »
Nope. It was a long time ago and I was a wee tyke.

Offline AndyZ

Re: [D&D] Am I onto something here?
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2015, 09:14:43 PM »
Could it be Rakasta?

Offline Oniya

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Re: [D&D] Am I onto something here?
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2015, 10:48:23 PM »
Rakshasas were a race of demons, that sometimes took the shapes of tiger-men.  According to the Monstrous Compendium, they were virtually immortal, and produced another generation every century to replace those lost in battle.  (My copy of the Monster Manual, with the picture of one in a smoking-jacket is hiding at the moment...)

Offline greenknight

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Re: [D&D] Am I onto something here?
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2015, 09:58:01 PM »
Could it be Rakasta?
Sounds right. They were a Basic D&D monster, they won't be found in any AD&D products. Look in the Creature Catalog or one of the Gazetteers. They may have been featured in Dragon, along with a fictional introduction in one of the ongoing comics. The one that dealt with the ship crew exploring the Known World, aka Mystara. I don't know about the two cub limit, though.

Offline HannibalBarca

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Re: [D&D] Am I onto something here?
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2015, 02:30:04 AM »
I played D&D all the way back from before the 1st Edition AD&D, from the faux-leather brown paper covered trilogy of books.  Seeing how Gygax and Arneson based much of it on Arthurian legend, Middle-Earth, Earthsea, and Lankhmar, but particularly Middle-Earth, having cannon fodder for enemies makes sense as far as orcs, goblins, and kobolds.  When my brother and I got his characters to level 9 and we moved into the Drow series of adventure modules, they were very definitely elite-level creatures, coming after the G (giant) series of modules where you took on masses of hill, frost, and fire giants. 

Drow were truly kick-ass enemies, and you couldn't help but love them as opponents...I think there are very good reasons why they have captured the imaginations of gamers for so many years.  I mean, after them, you went on to fight a goddess (Lolth) herself.

The funny thing is, since I DM'ed and my brother ran the characters, and he wanted to keep on with those characters, we needed to move on after that with them.  They were roughly levels 11-14 by then, and the Manual of the Planes had been published around then, so he went on many varied and enjoyable adventures in Hades, Tartarus, Gehenna, the Hells, and the Abyss.  Because what is left to do after taking on one demon queen...than hordes of demons, daemons, and devils--in their homelands?