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Antagonism and animosity between humans and another race

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Peregrine, Sep 11, 2017.

  1. Peregrine

    Peregrine Troubadour

    Even though in real life history there were no multiple fantasy "races" humans have still managed in the past
    to divide themselves based on religions and cultures with the mentality of "us vs. them", holy wars were waged between christians and
    muslims. As Spain was a battlefield between Moors and christians, the concept of blue blood was created, blue
    blood is pure christian/European blood of the nobility and being blue-blooded meant that blood was not defiled
    by Moorish ancestry.

    So what could happen if there was another "race" in Middle Ages?
    The existence of another "race" could make humanity more unified and less divided.

    Instead of holy wars directed against unbelievers (such as saracens and prussians), Humanity would be focused on holy wars against a non-human race.

    In my story I want to explore what would happen if there was another "race", how would humans react? would
    there be less racism between humans? And so on.

    Even if we had divisions among ourselves skin color, religion, ethnicity we would likely overcome these differences if we had a common enemy that is not human.

    Since wars for domination on Earth between two intelligent species is a likely scenario I need a idea for a
    "race" that is a worthy opponent to humanity. What "race" can you suggest?

    Conditions for the new "race":

    - It can not be half-human half-animal
    - It can not be elemental
    - It can not be Tolkienesque (elf, orc...)
    - They are just as competent as humans in intelligence
    - Their civilizations are either: 1) just advanced as human civilizations or 2) they are slightly more advanced
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
  2. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    Well, foo. I have exactly that, except they're orcs (which, btw, are not Tolkienesque). What makes orcs the enemy is not that they are evil but that they are monotheists. The humans and other races in Altearth are all polytheist or atheist. Or silly-theists (pixies make a game of just about anything).

    Anyway, the orcs are a unified empire, every bit as advanced as humans or dwarves, but they are driven by divine commission to convert or destroy all who do not accept their god and renounce their own gods. Conversely, humans regard orcs as monomaniacs who would destroy civilization (ignoring the fact that orcs have their own civilization).

    Does this unify humans? Not really. The only time humans put aside their differences is during an orc invasion. Even when it's humans invading the Empire of One, they can be seen jockeying for position, even to the point of undercutting each other. In other words, there are occasions of unification (or at least of papering over differences), but no permanent change.

    It should be added that the same is more or less true for dwarves, save that dwarves are usually united at the canton level regardless of external threats. And elves are unable to unite for anything, but since they do not have kingdoms, the threat is otherwise for them, and they regard other things are more threatening than an empire.

    As for others, ogres hate orcs on principle. Trolls and orcs are more or less permanent enemies. Gnomes fear orcs, who either kill or enslave them. For orcs, gnomes are a kind of animal. Pixies just leave. Sprites will fight, but rarely in conjunction with any larger enterprise; they're mainly guerilla fighters.
  3. Annoyingkid

    Annoyingkid Banned

    Instead of orcs, create an ugly race of your own and call them the Ugagutu or something.
  4. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Auror

    With those set conditions in mind, you may just have to go with human offshoots. Think Morlocks, Mole Men and other cultures that rise up from beneath the earth that nom on humans. Or the antagonists from The 13th Warrior. Or the Ape Men, which may cut into the half human/half animal thing. You did make no mention of Eldritch Horrors or their ilk, so maybe those.

    Thing is, even with enemies like that, as skip said, humanity won't ever be fully united. Even when the threat sits on their front door, licking it's chops because it just ate the guard dog.
  5. Bruce McKnight

    Bruce McKnight Troubadour

    Based on your conditions, I would say borrow from sci-fi. There's a whole bunch of races that meet those qualifications. I think it would work out pretty well if you took a sci-fi race, removed their advanced tech (basically taking them back in time to pre-space age like humans), and start from there.
  6. Solusandra

    Solusandra Minstrel

    This is mostly on leaders, who find it easier to control their followers by isolating them. And to Isolate someone who isn't locked in a compound, you need to convince them that a specific other is dangerous. General populations, left to their own devices, only become racist if the other race proves themselves to fit a negative stereotype.

    Entertainment aside, I believe this would remain the case for humans and aliens. So long as the general population could meaningfully communicate with the aliens and said aliens didn't have a hankering for human flesh, acidic skin or an aura of disease, things would be fine. Humans get along quite well with animals after all, even dangerous and alien types. Adding a non-hostile intelligence to that would only make the relationships smoother.

    For your example of Spain, it was a battlefield because the Moors believed that anyone not of their religion deserved slavery and anyone who actively resisted their religion deserved death. That's on the word of their Prophet and King, and is pretty difficult for the Christians to work around. Though as evidenced by El Cid, they still did so regardless.

    Which brings us back to your question of races. Going by medieval mythology, there WERE other races that humans had to contend with. Monsters were to be fought by heroes, faeries were to be dealt with extremely carefully and monstergirls were still a fettish as they are today.
    You're cutting out a lot of the fun stuff here. Mind detailing what you DO want?
  7. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    The OP is from five years ago, so I doubt you'll get a reply.

    As a historian I have to point out that the fate of the non-believer was not slavery. Specifically, the people of the Book (Jews and Christians) were not to be enslaved, but were subject to special laws and taxes. As for why wars were fought across the Iberian peninsula and over the span of eight centuries, surely the full span of human motivations were at play.

    One of many critiques I make of fantasy books is that so many of them seem to think offering up a single motive for a war is sufficient. Humans rarely do things for a single reason; I suspect the same is true for elves, dwarves, dragons, and even orcs.
    Solusandra likes this.

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