Some demihumans

Blame it on Tolkien, but D&D is pretty much a demihuman’s world, in my experience.  I’ve known a few players who always play humans and read the pulps who would have been approved of by Gygax, but most players I’ve known make nonhumans (or “demihumans” as Gygax dubs them).   To some extent later editions of D&D really push the idea that certain demihuman races are “better” or “more iconic” for certain classes.  To some extent all editions of D&D give bonuses to the demihumans that just make them more attractive.  Even back in my hardcore AD&D days, level limits, when enforced or even applicable (most campaigns I’ve played in just didn’t last long enough to hit high levels anyway), did not outweigh the benefits of multiclassing and the logistical advantage of infravision.   It also never hurt that there are tones of cool demihuman figures.  Here are two elves.

Left, Citadel and right, Heritage.  The Heritage elf is more old-school, IMO, not just because it is a good 10 years older than the Citadel but also because that elf has a coil of rope under his shield and actually wields his sword and shield.  The sword and shield on the Citadel elf are just afterthoughts, and probably never used.

Here are two dwarves.

Left, a Grenadier AD&D figure, and on the right a Citadel troll-slayer.  The Grenadier thief is one of those fairly unusual dwarves with a sword (you see some among old school minis but not so much nowadays).  Also note that the Grenadier dwarf has the stereotypical Andy Chernak-sculpted face.  Much as Dave Trampier often drew the same faces on his adventurers, Andy Chernak of Grenadier had a repertoire of just a few faces on his early minis, and for some reason I always associate the style of the two artists.  Both are fairly unmistakable.  The Citadel dwarf has the characteristically oversized head, hands, and weapons which Citadel pioneered and most modern manufacturers seem to emulate.  This is more easy to paint and makes the expressions visible at arms length, although they look very cartoonish, especially next to more realistically proportioned figures.

I’ve always liked the Warhammer troll-slayers, because they take the Norse origins of Tolkien’s dwarves to the furthest extreme — berserkers.  I can’t imagine a troll-slayer  in Middle Earth, and a lot of people think the mohawks are stupid (OK, they are kind of stupid but tell that to a troll-slayer!).  Still, they work for me in D&D.

Published in: on April 12, 2010 at 12:50 pm  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Even SJG’s Munchkin doesn’t give humans epic abilities until Munchkin Blender and the epic rules.

    I think a fantasy universe wouldn’t have humans, per se, but would differentiate between the adventuring types and non-adventuring types. There would be a base template for creatures and an extraordinary template for heroes and monsters alike.

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