forum help worldbuilders develop their races
Started by @squiddicus language

people_alt 62 followers

@squiddicus language

developing races can be hard! there's a lot to think about: backstory, name etymology, biology, history, adaptations and a load more occasionally brain-hurting stuff. so leave questions here that you think people should use when they're creating new races for their worlds and we can collectively build a helpful thread of useful questions and ideas! oh and feel free to add any useful links or pages you know of!

here's a few questions to start:

  • how is the race perceived by outsiders? are there any stereotypes about them and how accurate are these?
  • does the race have any core values? how do they live out these values?
  • do they get along with other races?
  • does your race have any typical styles or fashions? if so, what would a normal design be and why? what image does this present?

@Serpentess health_and_safety language

(Definitely following this!)

Here’s some questions I thought of:

  • Where does your race live and how are they adapted to survive there? Do they have special adaptations, whether for movement, offense, or defense?
  • Can your race tolerate extreme temperatures? If so, how and why?
  • Does your race have innate magic abilities? What is the purpose of these abilities?
  • What kind of superstitions does your race have, if any? Why?

Here’s a Wikipedia link that might prove useful. Basically, it describes different ways a creature can move, how such movements adapted and why, the adaptation of limbs or no limbs, etc. It’s a bit on the scientific side, but nonetheless.

Here’s another link that lists a variety of mythological/fantasy creatures. I like to use these as inspiration or reference.

@squiddicus language

some more questions:

  • where does your race stand in the food chain or social hierarchy of its area?
  • what do they eat? how do they catch/make their food or avoid being eaten themselves?
  • what are their sleep patterns like - are they nocturnal? diurnal? crepuscular? why? how does this help them and how are they adapted to this way of life?


Are you aware of the The University of Auntimoany Ethnographical Questionnaire?
its Questions for World Builders, Conculturers, Writers, Game Makers and anyone else who travels through the realms of Faerie.

its a pretty comprehensive list of world building questions in many areas
in regards to races, it includes;
Sophonts: Races of People, Spirit Beings, Angelic and Divine Beings

Are there different races of sophonts on this planet or only one and has this always been the case?

How are living beings that are persons differentiated from living beings that are not persons?

Can one's status change: .i. from non-person to person or vice versa?

What are the other races called?

How long have there been people on this world?

Did they evolve here, or were they created here or did they arrive in some manner from elsewhere?

If there are several sophont races, how numerous are they and in what proportions are they to each other?

How openly present are they? – do some hide themselves away from others, or do they not care whether their existence is known by others?

What regions do they prefer to occupy?

How diverse is the population of this country by race and ethnicity?

How does the cultural and ethnic diversity of this otherworld compare to the primary world?

if you want the full list just google "The University of Auntimoany Ethnographical Questionnaire"

@squiddicus language

back with more questions because why not (and also because I really do not want to face romeo and juliet revision with this stupid head cold):

  • where did your race's name come from? or do they have multiple names (e.g. one in their own language and an exonym other races call them)?
  • does the race speak its own language? how is the language suited to the race's/species' biology or habitat? for example, a snake-like species with forked tongues might have a language with a lot of s sounds, or an underwater-dwelling race might feature loads of words for the colour blue (I was just trying to come up with examples but now I actually really want to use this one)
  • is the race common, endangered or near extinction? (trying not to recite the entire IUCN red list right now!) if they're endangered, why?
  • are they confined to a single habitat, or have they expanded their range into other habitats/established colonies in other areas? whichever option, why is this? if they've spread into new territories, how easily can they survive there and are there any other races already living there (which they may or may not get along with)?

@squiddicus language

oh, and also, everyone: feel free to bring questions you want answering/things you need help with to this thread as well :D


an underwater-dwelling race might feature loads of words for the colour blue

similarly races with D&D infravision

Elves, half-elves, dwarves, and other races can see infrared light, as well as visible light. They can see a world completely alien to most humans

could the colour spectrum they see on top of 'standard issue human' influence the language they use?
How would they regard races who are effectively 'heatblind'?

perhaps they would feature a hot to cold narrative in their languages, with themes of hot active aggression to cool, considered actions.

it could replace the 'feminine/mascultine' features in many languages (eg. Deutsche Der, die, das) to hot & cold.

If they can see heat signals in the dark, maybe pesky orcs developed hot sign language for use in dark dungeons, and maybe they found viral funghi or metallic ointments that generate heat for night battle insignia to allow themselves to know who their enemies aren't

maybe mischievous elves use it as an advantage in trade dealings and diplomacy, able to see emotions played out in hot flushes and emotional microexpressions, in their oblivious human competitors

having an extra visual spectrum could have some significant cultural opportunities, particularly when encountering those who don't

the detail is in the differences

@Serpentess health_and_safety language

(Me half asleep brain thought of this. I seriously need to answer these myself, lol)

  • What sports does your race(s) have?
  • Does your race(s) use other animals as transportation, sustenance, and/or sport? What animals and why?

Have a link, grin-