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Building a new race?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Darkfantasy, Apr 3, 2017.

  1. Darkfantasy

    Darkfantasy Sage

    So in my novel there are a couple of new races I'm creating. I was looking for maybe some questionnaires (fairly in depth ones) about building your own race.

    All I could find was world building questionnaires with a few questions on races but not to the level I wanted.

    Thanks for any help
    Thomas Laszlo likes this.
  2. elemtilas

    elemtilas Sage

    What "level" of questions are you looking for?

    Something like "Animal / Plant / Mineral / Happy-Family-Combo-#3"?

    Or something like "Describe the form and function of the spiral villi of the interstitial submucosal Glands of Glenarden as pertain to the digestion of hard pellets in the secondary mid-gut."

    Maybe something in here might be helpful? There are a couple links to race building resources.

    Probably not much help, but your question is very broad!
    Thomas Laszlo and Darkfantasy like this.
  3. Dkenos

    Dkenos Dreamer

    Creating a new race is always hard. making the names and coming up with the appearance, and most importantly, their culture. in every fantasy book or game (at least the good ones), different races make up different cultures of the world, inspiring a bit of who they are from real life. Some are singular cultures like Elves who seem to always resemble Celtic lore of the fey, or some of them can be multiple such as how Dwarves are always seen as either Scottish or Norwegian-ish. In other words, make sure you let the readers know who they are just as much as what they are.
  4. What I want to know is, who's racing, why does it matter about winning, and when can we stop?
  5. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

    I haven't found ONE that works for me. I use a few as crib sheets [ usually so I don't forget things when I'm caught up in something "more" interesting...]
    I googled "fantasy race creation sheet", "creating a fictional race" or something like that.
    After that I trawled through what came back until something clicked for me [and that is why I'm not going to recommend something].
    SaltyDog likes this.
  6. Nomadica

    Nomadica Troubadour

    I like to consider their history when creating their culture. For example my humans have been subjected to waring that has deprived them of using magic so they have developed more technologically where as the elves still rely on magic for many things. So humans are going the have this mix of old world and advanced cultural influences kind-of like steam punk. That gives me a good place to start and build on.

    I thought the series The 100 did a great job building an in-depth culture and society for the grounders. Though not another race but they could be. You can see how it all stems from their history. The depth of their culture is exposed further with each season and you'd have to watch all the seasons to get it but I think its a good example.
    SaltyDog likes this.
  7. RedAngel

    RedAngel Minstrel

    What kinds of criteria are you looking for?
  8. SaltyDog

    SaltyDog Sage

    Here's what I do. I find some interesting stuff off the internet, articles and sheets, and put them all together in one big chart to help create my race. (I know, exactly what you are having trouble with.) They may not suit my purpose so well by themselves, but together they do help me out. So you might want to try putting all your information together to get one big picture. Like a team, where all the parts carry and support each other, rather then being alone and doing very little to assist.

    Now, if that doesn't help, try basing off your races off cultures of this world. We have some pretty cool society's that in their own way seem pretty much like a fantasy culture straight out of some novel. Choose one as your stepping stone, and build from there. Look at all that that culture does. You can at least get a start, an idea of how your race should be when finished.

    How to Make a Fantasy Race: 8 Steps (with Pictures) - wikiHow

    Creating New Races In Fantasy Fiction | LetterPile

    Those two websites I put down, if you already haven't seen them, might help you as well in your plight.

    Honestly though, it's up to you. I don't have the best of ways to develop a race, as I'm still working on my novel and it's own races, and I'm far from being close to finishing it. This is all the stuff I can think off the top of my head.

    Good luck!
  9. LRFrancis

    LRFrancis Acolyte

    My current project is in part based around humans in conflict with another race.

    I started with just how they looked and then some general ideas such as them being in conflict for some time.
    Then, because a large part of the story is the interaction of my characters with them close up, I can sort of make it up as I go because little else is currently known.

    I guess it may be sort of a cop out, but depending on how much planning your story has (for me very little up front) you may just evolve them as you go?
    SaltyDog likes this.
  10. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Minstrel

    Almost all of my best work in this area has been inspired by a TVTropes article and a GiantITP post (referencing said Tropes article) about rearranging Maslow's Hierarchy:

    Humans care first about survival (Maslow and the Tropes page call this Physiological Needs, the GiantITP post calls this Food), second about making the world predictable (Security Needs), third about connecting with other people (Maslow/Tropes call this Social Needs), fourth about being valuable parts of the world around them (Maslow/Tropes call this Esteem Needs, the GiantITP post calls it Contribution), and last and least about developing something new (Maslow/Tropes call this Self-Actualization Needs, Giantitp post calls this Specialness).

    In my UrFan world, Vampires go Survival-Specialness-Security-Relationships-Contribution instead. They fear death as strongly as we humans do, but where humans try to survive by forming tight social groups, vampires are far more likely to be solitary predators. Where humans are driven to conform because we believe that our lives depend on group cohesion, vampires spend their eternal lives coming up with their own ways to fill their time.

    Psoglavs (one-eyed wolfmen from Slavic folklore), on the other hand, go Relationships-Specialness-Contribution-Survival-Security. They don't fear death as strongly as we humans do: they see it as a sad thing, but not a Bad™ thing, and they are comfortable with the fact that they are mortals. As such, they focus almost exclusively on quality of life over quantity. They tend to accept that they have a limited time on this Earth, and they want to fill that time with New experiences, New people, and they don't feel they can afford to settle for doing the same things over and over and over again (even if they would live longer if they did so: they would see that as a choice between "dying for 50 years" versus "living for 20").
  11. Nomadica

    Nomadica Troubadour

    Maslow's hierarchy of needs was disproven a long time ago. And it drives me nuts thats its still taut in schools.
  12. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Minstrel

    So was Earth/Air/Fire/Water, but I plan on using that in my books too ;)
  13. Nomadica

    Nomadica Troubadour

    Earth/Air/Fire/Water ?
  14. Ban

    Ban Sir Laserface Article Team

    The four elements that supposedly made up all matter on earth through the combinations of them? It's a long disproven theory that is still used in fiction because it is cool, just like the theory you bashed in your post.
    Simpson17866 likes this.
  15. Nomadica

    Nomadica Troubadour

    Oh I see. Not trying to be discouraging, it's just a peeve of mine.
  16. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    "Disproven" may be a bit strong. It is certainly subject to criticism on a number of grounds, but yet still found useful within the field. A quick search shows a number of references to it in the primary literature in the last year or so, some critical and some applying the concept to real-world situations, including a positive depiction of Maslow's theory in the British Journal of Psychiatry from 2016. Given the role it still plays in the field, whether the underlying formulation of the theory was entirely grounded in the scientific method or not, I'm not surprised they still teach it. Hopefully, they're teaching it with reference to the criticisms of the theory, as well as the practical uses (if any).

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