If D&D was based on contemporary ideas of fantasy, part 2.

I left out an important one in my previous post.

The way ‘classes’ (professions) and ‘races’ (species) interact would be much more like Basic D&D (where non-human races are their own class, so that for example a character can be a 4th level Halfling), than 3rd and 4th editlon (where every race can be any class, so that you can have Halfling Sorcerers).

Actually this is true if D&D was based on emulating fantasy fiction whether old or new.

It seems to me that having open class/race possibilities is based on extrapolating what a fantasy world would actually be like. If, for example, there are magician’s guilds and halfling villages in the same world, does it make sense that no halfling has ever become a magician? No. Therefore there should be halfling wizards.

Whereas having ‘racial classes’, or at least very heavy restrictions on race/class combinations, is more like how fantasy fiction usually works. In Lord of the Rings (although this isn’t that clear in the text and is only made clear by what Tolkien said) ‘wizard’ isn’t a profession, but a species. The wizards are meant to be Istari, basically a type of angel.

Are there any non-human wizards in the Harry Potter series? There didn’t seem to be in the movie I saw, but I’m not sure if that’s true in the books as well.

Actually even humans would probably be divided into ‘races’, or more accurately ‘cultures based on an imagined cycle of barbarism to civilisation to decadence, and then perhaps divided by class’. Conan, the Gray Mouser and Elric’s natures all seem to be very tied up in the fact that they’re from barbaric, civilised and decadent societies respectively. Sir Whomever didn’t choose to become a knight, he was born to be one.

Likewise in Lord of the Rings, ‘Ranger’ is a race, or perhaps the upper class males of a race (are there meant to be peasants who feed the Rangers that do the actual patrolling and craftsmen who make their weapons and armour, or does the whole population live off the land? I don’t actually know)

If D&D was based on contemporary ideas of fantasy

Before you comment, remember that I said ‘if’, not that it should be.

Ninjas instead of thieves.

Angels and demons, vampires, witches, dragons, unicorns, fairies and pirates would all be ‘core’ classes or races. [note: this was written before tieflings became a core race]

Talking animals would be much more prominent. There would probably be several species: wise owls, loyal dogs, arrogant cats, cunning foxes…

The setting wouldn’t necessarily be entirely cut off from the real world. Maybe there’s a fantasy world hidden in the real world (Buffy, World of Darkness), or maybe some people from the real world are transported to the fantasy world (Narnia).

No clerics. There might be characters who heal, there might be characters who smite the undead, and there might be priests. But they wouldn’t necessarily be the same group of people.

Luck and Courage would likely be important stats of some kind.

A clear and detailed taxonomy of monsters probably wouldn’t exist. For example goblins, hobgoblins and orcs might be the same species (or at least the PCs and most humans might use the terms interchangably).

Zombies would be a prominent enemy. They would be the ghoul-like, virus-carrying zombies of Day of the Dead rather than the zombies of folklore.

Corpses and cadavers

A dead body is only called a corpse if it is under the earth (usually, but not necessarily, from burial after death). If it lies above the earth it is called a cadaver. The gods of corpses and those of cadavers are entirely separate. Some say that zombies must be placed in a coffin, and that coffin sunk in water, and that water lie above sea level. In this way neither the gods of corpses nor those of cadavers will protect the body, and the boker may achieve their evil end unopposed.


Eunuchs are largely unknown in Teleleli, save as refugees from other lands, since they are a product of strong and united governments or churches, and indeed only those which have grown old in power and wickedness, and no such thing is found in the city. The exception to this rule is certain men who choose to castrate themselves and serve a god who is neither male nor female. But they do not call themselves eunuchs.

Eunuchs are valued because they are said to lack ambition, since they cannot have children who they wish to find positions for, nor wives to urge them to greater efforts, nor women they wish to impress. Thus, it is said, they may make good advisors, and also may be entrusted with tasks such as trimming the king’s beard or preparing his food. For if an empire is of sufficient antiquity to produce eunuchs, it is certain that the ruler must constantly guard against assassination.

Those eunuchs who come to Teleleli may make their living as singers, since eunuchs may sing low like men or high like women. Further, if they were castrated before puberty their voices may retain the clear tone of a boy.