Friday, March 8, 2013

On Demi-Humans in Averoigne

My passing comment that demi-humans are born of human parents in Averoigne generated this question:

Ooh, fascinating. This born of human parents notion is the first I have heard of it. So what do two elves produce? An elf? Or a human? Do you have this written up somewhere?

My initial thoughts on the matter can be found here; however, that doesn’t address the specific question.

I want my Averoigne campaign to be human-centric. D&D, as originally conceived was supposed to be that; however, according to my own experience, players seem to gravitate towards demi-humans anyway. Part of that is the various cultures and civilizations that these creatures have as part of their background.

Part of my thinking on demi-humans in Averoigne is to come up with an explanation why there aren’t any elven, dwarven or halfling civilizations or cultures — mom and dad are human. In addition, it also helps explain demi-human level limits — they have turned their back on their humanity in order to embrace the powers they get from being fey-touched. As a result, they can never reach their full potential.

Another reason that there is no demi-human civilizations or cultures is that any children they have are not guaranteed to be demi-human. The majority are human, and any fey-touched children may very will end-up being another type of demi-human.

A final reason for this lack of a culture or civilization is that a fair number of fey-touched abandon their humanity, not just embrace their demi-humanity. Once that happens, they become twisted (orcs, goblins, etc.) and often never turn back. At this point they cease to be human and become monsters. Any offspring at this point are not human, but more monsters.

A parting note: in an attempt to re-habilitate the idea of the half-elf, they are not half-human, half-elf offspring. Rather, they are fey-touched who are struggling to hold on to their humanity. They still have demi-human powers, but suffer penalties when using them.


  1. This is brilliant. In my Isle of the Unknown campaign, there are no demi-human NPCs, but I will allow demi-human PCs (though there haven't been any so far).

    Having demi-humans be the weird offspring of humanity is an excellent optional explanation for how a given demi-human PC can exist as the only demi-human in the world.

    Well done!

  2. It reminds me also of Vance's Lyonesse series, where different fairy people are all called "halflings" because they all are somewhat of mixed human/fairy ascendance.
    A changeling raised by humans and used tu human foods eventually turns human, albeit with magical abilities (thus: wizards)

  3. giants are the children of women and angels?

    GENESIS Chapter SIX
    6 When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. 3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with[a] humans forever, for they are mortal[b]; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”
    4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

    5 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6 The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.


  4. I agree with Geoffrey. I think it is a brilliant touch. Frankly, I wish I had thought of it before I spent so much time over the last decades fleshing out the cosmology of a monotheistic world with multiple races.

    1. Don't feel too bad, I spent a whole bunch of time trying to do the same thing...but thanks for the kind words (you too Geoffrey).