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Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by skip.knox, Oct 26, 2017.

  1. Viorp

    Viorp Minstrel

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    I made once a fancy average fantasy world where "elves" were called "ancient humans" and were not skilled in certain types of magic while great at others. If crossed with a human they turned human.

    Meawhile dwarves were actually related to giants not humans.
    While dwarves and humans could interbreed and pairs like male dwarf+human female were common the reverse was not because female dwarfs look like 7-10 year old girls, but with boobs. So people attracted to dwarves are ridiculed as pedophiles...
     
  2. Butterfly

    Butterfly Auror

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    I seem to remember reading something similar to this in one of the Dragonlance Trilogies of the twins - Tanis the half-elf - might be the first set, but can't remember with certainty which one it was. I haven't read them for years.
     
  3. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    Also worth checking out in this context is the Asari of the Mass Effect universe. They are monogendered and can mate with anyone. As I recall, their offspring will always be Asari though, but I could be wrong about that.

    What's interesting there is that an Asari that does NOT mate with someone of another race is looked down upon - both the mother and her offspring.
     
  4. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Which is why I don't write SF. If this were SF, then I would have to fuss about such things. It's fantasy, where I never have to let science get in the way of story. Because if I did, then elves and humans would be the same species. So would humans and orcs. And any other half-creatures we fantasy writers have created. I take the point, and pass on it. :)
     
  5. TheKillerBs

    TheKillerBs Inkling

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    Okay. I want to elaborate on this point a bit because Russ's statement on species is one of those things that aren't entirely true that science teachers tell you. The general definition of species is a group of organisms that can produce fertile offspring. While this is a nice, clean definition, nature likes to laugh at our attempts at cataloguing it and throws curveballs every so often of creatures which are considered species by every definition but the general one. An example would be, as I earlier pointed out, the interbreeding that occurred during the Stone Age between early Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalis and Denisovans (who might be a closely related species or a subspecies, we're not sure yet) was successful enough that to this day, most everyone has a little bit of Neanderthal and sometimes Denisovan in them. Another example would be the case of the coywolves in the north of the United States, which are the coyote-wolf hybrids. Mostly coyote, nowadays, but the fact remains that wolves and coyotes have produced viable offspring. More surprisingly, the domestic cat has been cross-bred with the African serval, which isn't even in the same genus (the domestic cat is in the genus Felis, the serval is in the genus Leptailurus) to produce the Savannah cat. They're fertile.

    I liked Penpilot's phrasing. "If they can interbreed freely and produce fertile offspring just as easily [...] they can't be considered separate species." This is more or less true, although I'm pretty sure there's still some exceptions out there I'm not aware of. More importantly, I think this is prime fodder for conflict. Would, say, an elf-human couple have trouble conceiving? Even if they didn't have trouble, would the child be able to come to term? Would the child be sickly or deformed, or have increased possibilities of such? Would any of these questions not apply to their children, but to their grandchildren instead? If this is the case and known by their people, what would people's reactions be to couples who knowingly bring children to this world under those conditions? How would parents react to their children getting involved in a relationship that essentially dooms their family line?
     
    Russ and skip.knox like this.
  6. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    One thing that confuses me about the interracial relationships is how the species are related.... wouldn't that mean humans, elves and dwarves are ultimately descendant from the same species or what? I mean, magically adapted, or corrupted, or empowered somehow. I feel the pairing brings the question up.

    My son had one of those assignments recently, "celebrate your family's culture." and we debated for over a week about what to do. Between my wife and I my kids are a mix of German, Italian, Portugese, English, Irish, Dutch, and.... I'm forgetting something on my wife's side. We ended up with Italian - everyone we spoke to said doing "American" would be cheating - but seriously, we were faking it.
     
    Heliotrope likes this.
  7. ^At least Tolkien explained it in The Silmarillion when all of the races [barring orcs] were created [elves first, then men, then dwarves] by the Valar.
     
  8. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Archmage

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    The Garrett P.I. series is full of all sorts of half and mixed breeds all over the place in it. Not sure if this is going off topic or on, but just saw it. My own Eld stories will be dipping into the half breeds and mixed in it's future, mostly due to the Fea and Green actually being able to breed. They are descended from the same beings after all.
     
  9. Annoyingkid

    Annoyingkid Banned

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    Only someone with serious mental problems would shag an orc.

    Willingly.
     
  10. Viorp

    Viorp Minstrel

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    • This post has been edited by a moderator. Its original content is unacceptable for Mythic Scribes.
    There are a lot of fetishes mate. Not to mention in a world where orcs exists saying this would be equal to saying..............
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 28, 2017
  11. Annoyingkid

    Annoyingkid Banned

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    No, black ppl are the same species. It's more similar to saying only someone with serious mental problems will have sex with a sentient baboon.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 28, 2017
  12. Viorp

    Viorp Minstrel

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    Now it became confusing. Are fantasy races like "races" or like "species" ?
     
  13. Annoyingkid

    Annoyingkid Banned

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    While its possible for a writer to bypass the whole issue by having their orcs look and act like green skinned humans, based on how orcs are typically portrayed, they're more monster than man.
     
  14. Viorp

    Viorp Minstrel

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    Well I would say Orcs rarely go beyoned looking human. Always human shaped with minor differences like:
    1. Facial features
    2. Skin color
    3. Culture
    4. Intelligence
    5. Teeth

    Except the teeth part all those are differences which exist/existed in human races.
    I'd treet any fantasy race which is capable of breeding with humans as a race. (if equal intellect)
    Goblins and such become hard to classify tho :/
     
  15. Annoyingkid

    Annoyingkid Banned

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    Lotr orc:
    https://img.buzzfeed.com/buzzfeed-s...are-you-1x2aq-2-20191-1445197975-5_dblbig.jpg

    Warhammer orc: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/04/b1/ba/04b1baf251f12cbc025dad454b410c65.jpg

    DnD orc : https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net.../Orc-5e.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20161210043357

    These look like monsters. Beasts designed to be terrifying. As soon as a writer makes them good looking enough for people who aren't insane to want to bone them, then they become watered down for the sake of novelty, which is difficult, as the writer would be trying to shift the culturally dominant image of the orc in people's minds.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2017
  16. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Archmage

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    Given the image of orcs has already changed a lot, mostly due to Warcraft's portrayal of them, maybe that's why the fetishes and the like come about. Things change and yes, they can be played to noble savage warrior to scary monster and everything in between. And really, look at what happened to vampires in popular media. If they get the upgrades to make people want to bone the living dead, sooner or later it's going to happen to the pointy eared beast with tusks. They also tend to act human in their own way too.

    For another matter, there are plenty of people out there who find the constantly evil orc as annoying as concept as the constantly evil drow. I'm one of them, obviously. There's been a shift for a while towards seeing some of the humanoid monster races as more human anyways. Catch the train.
     
  17. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

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    This used to be one of my gripes about fantasy, especially urban fantasy. I'd pick up the newest novel at the store, read the blurb, and the character would be introduced as 'half-something,' be it half-elf, half-dragon, half-demon, or sometimes simply skip the human part altogether, except maybe as a grandparent. (Strangely, 80% of these 'half's' were extremely attractive women wielding swords). It got me to wondering - how did their parents ever get together without killing each other, let alone have offspring? Musing about that, along with a evening or three with some old veteran buddies of mine discussing their experiences in the Macros era Philippines and like locals, plus an old woodcut, prompted me to write this story: (WARNING: lots of naked people engaged in inappropriate behavior)

    LEAVE (Adult Content) - FREEDOM OF SPEECH
     
  18. Annoyingkid

    Annoyingkid Banned

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    That's why half elves are hated. Their well deserved reputation for only being used as a cheap way to add angst and specialness.
     
  19. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    That is a very interesting point you bring up. While I freely concede that PP's articulation of my point was more elegant than mine, there are different uses of the word species in science.

    I understand that where species have existed in a period that that modern science has had a chance to observe that the breeding criteria is still a vibrant part of the methodology.

    I have also read that with respect to extinct species that the criteria does not include viable offspring also able to reproduce because the ability to determine whether or not said reproduction could or did take place is often difficult or impossible to determine.

    So the word species has slightly different meanings when discussing extant or long extinct animals.

    And absolutely yes to the idea that species in a human attempt to impose organization on a inherently chaotic environment. The problem of what to do about animals that defy are organizational charts is an interesting one.
     
    TheKillerBs likes this.
  20. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    That depends on how they are portrayed, with the ability to successfully interbreed one of the differences between whether the term species or subspecies/race is appropriate. The question of the meaning of the word race is one fraught with peril in scientific/political terms.
     
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