1. Please note that same genus-different species viable offspring are actually super common. For example, you. Current humans - Homo Sapiens - are actually a mixed descendant with some amount of Neanderthal and Denisovan. The reason it isn't as noticeable is because viable offspring usually result in those species merging unless kept separate, so you just view them as one species.

  2. Thats actually a plot point in a world im making where most sentient races were confined to a single, walled off kingdom, and the most common race there is Half Elves since after thousands of years of confement "pure" elves or "pure" humans are considered an oddity

  3. Another thing to note is that while it is true the breeding of similar species such as horses and donkeys produce sterile mules it is not true in animals universally. Dogs and Coyotes for instance can produce fertile offspring however it is a rare occurrence for the species to breed so it is an uncommon mix.

  4. This process is actually happening to the Scottish wildcat right now they're interbreeding with housecats so much that their DNA is becoming increasingly diluted and pure Scottish wildcats are becoming increasingly rare.

  5. IIRC neither Neanderthal or Denisovan DNA is universally present in modern Homo sapiens, the former tends to be present in Europeans where the latter tends to be present in Asia and Oceania. So, good chance OP has it, but not 100%.

  6. Exactly. Taxonomical classification isn’t the end all be all. It’s just the way we understand the differences in organisms. Evolution doesn’t just work like that. I love having speculative science convos with my friends about dnd, kinda a cool school of thought. Tho at the end we all kinda agree it’s a fantasy game and anything can happen for whatever reason.

  7. This reminds me of a conversation that was had many years ago. So we were talking about the different hybrid races, one of the players having picked up the bastard species supplement. Eventually we arrived on humans, orcs, and elves. Buddy was like " If you mix a human and an orc/Elf you get a half orc/Elf, but what if you mixed Elf and orc more directly?". I shrugged my shoulders and said " I don't know, a human". After a moment of silence everyone agreed. Humans are the bastard offspring of orcs and elves.

  8. Oh my god this makes so much sense. Why humans envy elves why the hatred of orcss it’s projection. We see in ourselves the orc features and we reject them because we want to be like elf Dad instead of Orc Mom to use a metaphor.

  9. if we go by the lore logic, half-orc would be highly fertile since their god literally said "Keep pumping the baby! more orc!" and consider how highly whiplash they are, their gene would need to

  10. I’ve always thought elven eggs and sperm can kinda reconfigure their chromosomes when necessary. They’re born from the blood of a shapeshifting god and have been shown to be very prone to changing biology through planar influence.

  11. Humanoid begin a species doesn’t really work. Lore wise, elves came form the blood of their top god (at least in the FR) and dwarves were forged by Moradin (the dwarf top god) while humans just kinda exist (I’ve heard many things and don’t know which is correct) And how can Kobolds be the same species as humans same species as elves same as dwarves. Kobolds are small and reptilian while elves and dwarves can live hundreds or thousands years, and humans fit none of those traits.

  12. Meanwhile I'm over here like "Oh you want to be a weird combo of Genasi, Tiefling, Orc, and elf? Oh, and several kids that you had with your Satyr husband? Fuck yeah, go ham. We'll move some racial stuff around but I'm down."

  13. Flip it around. We have evidence that they can reproduce, so either they're actually part of a very varied species or there's someting in-world that allows fertile hybrids.

  14. This is a common believe and it has a basis in truth, but it is more complicated and there are certainly exceptions. I'll try to keep it short with the main points.

  15. In both cases the races mentioned are canonically quite close to their gods. Doesn't matter which world in the prime material plane, if there are elves then Corellon has touched the world. If there are Orcs then Gruumsh has done the same.

  16. Look up whale and dolphin hybrids; they hybridize in the wild and the hybrids sometimes make funny percentage offspring further down the line. They're among the most intelligent creatures to hybridize known to science : )

  17. The different races are described in the PHB as races, not species. Different races can breed and produce fertile offspring.

  18. I mean it's certainly has some foundations, and I think it's something that does happen in fantasy stories using the same comparison. Issue is fantasy nonsense and writer caveats, it's whatever the plot wants.

  19. In my setting high elves and humans have interbred pretty extensively and half-elf just describes anyone who looks discernably mixed. If you're more than 75% you'd just be considered an elf.

  20. If you are talking about canine hybrids, some mixes are possible and some are not. It depends on the number and arrangement of the chromosomes. The domesticated dog a nd the grey wolf for example are so similar genetically that they are barely considered to be a hybrid at all.

  21. Generally correct, I suppose. I always ran them as subspecies in a similar vein to Shadowrun's meta-humanity.

  22. What if the secret is that all sentient races that can interbreed are actually just offshoots of a common ancestor anyway.

  23. This assumes that they are the same genus but different species, like lions and tigers, however I think they're closer to the same species with a lot of variations/breeds, like domestic dogs. The differences between a chihuahua and a mastiff are enough that you'd think they're different species, same with say a dwarf and an orc.

  24. This is actually what we do in our campaigns. But it's not because of some pseudo scientific reason. It's fun because it creates an interesting social dynamic that works well with out homebrewed setting.

  25. I made this my head cannon as well because of interesting social dynamics. Half-breeds are called "end of line", because they are end of their bloodline. They are preferred fighters and soldiers since they are easier to sacrifice, but might also arcieve hight status since they don't need to use resources to care for their offspring.

  26. Thats actually a widespread misconception. Some half-and-half are sterile, like mules, but there are many others who aren't, like the liger, which has been recorded to produce a liliger with a lion.

  27. RAW in AD&D is that they're unattractive to either races, to elves because their lives are but a blink, to humans because elves are arrogant and elitists.

  28. This is nothing compared to the horrific realization that because kobolds don’t keep track of their families they’re probably inbred.

  29. What makes it harder for Half Elves and half orcs too breed is their containment ro fictoinal worlds. So in reality we can write whoever does whatever to produce anything.

  30. from a basic idea of genetics (tossing aside lore) this would hold some water, but if you take it to a point such that they are the same genus this would mean a less split history for the humanoid's and with humans being able to produce half elves/orcs etc. they may be a common ancestor or a crossbreed from after when the two split but not far enough where their genes are not completely incompatible so in this case humans would likely have viable offspring who could reproduce but if we had a crossbreed of an elf and an orc that may not be possible.

  31. They’re called races for a reason, they’re all under the same species (probably humanoid or something). Claiming they’re not when lore points to the opposite is kinda dumb

  32. Alternatively you can look at it another way. Their ability to reproduce fertile offspring means that they're actually the same species which is supported by them being called "races" rather than species. Instead half-elves being akin to a liger they're instead equivalent to someone like a half german half native american.

  33. It's actually pretty common in nature for two species to successfully hybridise fertile offspring, the distinction of a species you learn in high school biology is extremely simplified and does not always apply.

  34. Not a biologist but from what I know the females of some hybrid species are fertile unlike the males. That's why our species, Homo Sapiens, have some DNA from other human species like Neanderthal and Denisova.

  35. I mean sure if we're going with real world genetics. Also if we're going with real world stuff there are no orcs or elves so there's no half orcs or half elves.

  36. To jump on the bandwagon: there are numerous examples of hybrids being fertile, particularly when their mates are also hybrids or come from the same species as one of their stents.

  37. Oh you're right, in any fantasy setting fun overrules science, but I just had a meme idea I thought was fun and figured might make a few theories fly around.

  38. Got it, now explain to me how gravity, friction, transfer of energy etc work in your fantasy setting. Please be very specific because the science I understand DOES NOT APPLY to fantasy settings. Only a sith deals in absolutes

  39. Lmao, so we accept fire breathing flying lizards and evil immortal skeleton people, but not two imaginary races fucking and having kids.

  40. In the R. A. Salvatore novels "Promise of the Witch King" and "Road of the Patriarch" there is a village of half-orcs producing more half-orcs. Mind you that's not technically DND but it is set in the Forgotten Realms.

  41. I would absolutely love to see a post about your campaign world when you are finished with it or have more work! That’s the great thing about Dungeons and dragons. Every campaign world can be different. And have radically different rules and concepts.

  42. In one of my campaigns, the party pulled a card from a 'Deck of Some Stuff' which permanently altered half-elves. All half-elves now have their heads on backwards, and as far as everyone except our barb knows (he pulled the card which broke the fourth wall), they've always been that way. I will ask the DM if his half-elves are also sterile; clearly there's something wonky in the human-elf genetic interactions.

  43. Nothing wrong with asking these questions. Discussing with the DM and players on how these things work is good worldbuilding.

  44. The way it works in The Elder Scrolls is human and elf races are able to reproduce, and the child will be the same race as the mother, but will share features with both parents.

  45. Frigging yes. I once made a post like this once, but they didn't like it. Me and my friends have been analysing genetics of life and put together the same theory. You are utterly right.

  46. I made a campaign setting where I had a god of the device behind pretty much every "half" species of anything to make it plausible

  47. I've got a setting I keep playing around with where humans were the only original race, and the gods coming down and having kids with humans ended up creating the other races--if you're an elf, for example, it just means you have a particular god in your family tree somewhere. The thing is, the elves do tend to just marry among themselves, and end up viewing themselves as a separate race over time. In this setting, the divine factor generally breeds true--if a dwarf marries a human, their kids will tend to be dwarven.

  48. Fun fact! Over the last few years most scientists now believe that dogs and wolves are subspecies of the species canis lupus. Because they can have fertile offspring that Continue to be fertile down the line. And there’s other genetic evidence to.

  49. It allow for some cool plot hooks actually. There can be half-elves and half-orc who have turned to musical mean in order to have children, which goes horribly wrong, obviously.

  50. Fun fact: in (blood) parrot fish, a hybrid Cichlid common in the aquarium hobby, only the males are sterile. My female laid eggs a few times per year.

  51. Biology need here who plays with at least one other biology need. Themis has been cannon at our table for so long we thought it was official until we found out that's just us a few weeks ago.

  52. Except for the fact that both Half-Elves and Half-Orcs can reproduce (there are takes for it in Xanathar's (don't remember the page number though, sorry 'bout that).

  53. Added twist: if orcs (as per Tolkien) are the product of evil-mutated elves, could they possibly interbreed with elves and provide viable/fertile offspring?

  54. While in lore orcs and elves can't breed, my DM once gave me approval to make a half-elf, half-orc. We called her an orf. She was a paladin/rogue and due to her mixed heritage, she had a 9 con. To make her I used Tasha's Custom Lineage, and to avoid dying in session one, I gave her the Tough feat and used a slingshot until we were a high enough level to take a hit.

  55. It's also possible that some "half-breed" races would also be missing the gene that limits growth. This is seen with either Ligers or Tions (I'm sorry I don't remember which, but probably Ligers) as the size determining gene is found in parents of the species/sex that the hybrid lacks. So a half-elf with an elf mother and human father might continue growing through their entire life, while one with an elf father and human mother might be stunted, as they've doubled up on size limitation genes

  56. It can also be seen as all races in dnd being just that: races, as opposed to species. They could all be the same species just with different races.

  57. Orcs and elves and the like, sure. But if your character is half aarakocra and half warforged, I have questions.

  58. Here’s the thing. I’m gonna flip this around on his head. The fact that they aren’t? The fact that in many D&D worlds when half elves marry humans they’re children are just kind of humans that sort of our like Aragon where they have a little bit of a sparkling them but they’re basically humans?

  59. I'm pretty sure the rules for elf reproduction were decided by the leshay so it can go exactly however they say it goes (I am 90% sure they created corellon because he is a celestial eladrin which is a type of archfey which they created)

  60. The problem is lore wise half-elves arent hybrids they are a seperate species entirely its just the name is incredibly misleading and everybody assumes they are half elf half human.

  61. I am not sure which lore you are talking about, and I only have AD&D and Pathfinder books handy at the moment, but both clearly talk about half-elves having elven and human parents.

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