So, new question as part of my ongoing, and probably very short term attempt to make you guys less boring. Traditionally in fantasy, humans tend to be the most populous and successful race, with Orcs, High Elves, Dark Elves, Wood Elves, Dwarves, Goblins, Lizardmen, Kobolds, or whatever the fuck as another race there.
But, let's face it, that's bullshit. It's stupid that humans would be the most successful race, when everyone else is just humans with an advantage in magic, or mining, or whatever the fuck. So, what do you various fucks think would be the fantasy race that would be most successful and take over?
As discussed in the Discord, I'm going with Dwarves. They live underground so they've little competition, they're great with technology and that's normally the most impressive thing for taking over, and they have access to enough resources to allow a slow but steady expansion and wipe out the pesky ground dwellers.
Anyhow, what's your thoughts?
That's fair, but as you said, Orcs, Kobolds, Goblins and Gnolls and most generic fantasy henchmen races tend to be more numerous as they're used as cannon fodder, but can never take over, despite outbreeding humans by a country mile.
Dwarves are an interesting choice, but what you have to consider is if they want to take over. Humans' drive for conquest has always been depicted as very high, and they also tend to adapt and learn new technologies quickly enough. They are less traditional than some of the of the other races. Dwarves as you said have little competition on their turf, so they generally tend to be more contented with what they have and conquer less. As for the other races, some are less intelligent/creative while others have less desire to conquer. Dark elves might be the more likely to take over but they would probably be less accepting of other races as subjects, compared to humans.
But don't goblins live underground too? Surely the dwarves and the goblins would be constantly at war, with one or the other being driven to near extinction. Also, any time there's an earthquake, it could send an entire dwarf city crumbling to the ground and wiping out thousands.
Personally, I think if elves existed, their population would be out of control... I mean... Presumably they breed the same as humans do, but they're also immortal, so the population would just be constantly growing.
Pffh, Goblins. OK, you have more respect for Goblins than I do.
Well, I'm thinking LOTR style goblins.
Doesn't Tolkein use Goblin and Orc interchangeably?
Huh... You know, I always wondered what the difference was between orcs and goblins in LOTR. Just looked it up and... Yep, you're right, they're the same.
I think Tolkien was the first writer to use the term "orc" in the context of a fairy race. The way he had it in is Middle Earth stuff was that the original Dark Lord (Sauron's mentor) bred elves into an evil warrior race known as Orcs and some of the Orcs eventually found their way to the mountains and the caverns within and de-evolved into goblins. In Norse and Tuetonic Mythology, Goblins were the Dark Elves and there was no mention of Orcs. Tolkien took creative license where he saw fit, like with female Dwarves having beards so humans assumed there were only male Dwarves. The Norse thought of Dwarves as creatures of the earth (originally shaped from rock instead of clay) and that they were only one sex and, like Trolls, would turn to stone in sunlight.
High elves don't breed fast enough to dominate. Dark elves have the chronic backstabbing disorder on top of everything else. Wood elves are basically the hillbillies of the elven folk and are content staying in their forests.
Dwarves don't breed fast enough either, also they wouldn't give enough of a shit to dominate the surface world. They'd be content underground.
Lizard folk are dependent on the climate for the most part along with the limiting mating cycles. Unless this is some prehistoric era conditions, they aren't dominating shit.
Orcs and goblins fight among themselves too much and are for the most part too disorganized to dominate unless you've got some evil overlord leading them around like Sauron and in that scenario, orcs/goblins aren't really "in charge."
Kobolds, its sort of the same thing as the orcs and goblins. Though in their case, you'd have Smaug leading them around instead. And if you've got dragons leading kobolds, then it's more like dragons dominating the world and kobolds are just the loyal lackies.
But for the sake of picking something, let's have dwarves and kobolds fighting some sort of eternal underground war for domination of the planet, using surface dwellers as pawns in all of this.
Kobolds would have number advantage and tame creatures like wyverns, lesser dragons and make pacts with the smarter ones. Probably ally with lizard folk when possible.
Meanwhile dwarves engage in their usual tech advantage, make iron and stone golems, steam tanks, etc. Sell the lesser stuff to humans who are always willing to go kill some fast breeding nuisances like kobolds or slay giant flying reptiles. (And get themselves killed in the process as well which keeps their numbers down too)
Going to ultimately go with the dwarves though since I know we like decisive picks around here.
As it's been pointed out, humans have a balance of traits that allows them to dominate more often than not. They are adept while not as skilled as elves, they are good fighters while not as fierce as orcs or crazy as goblins, they are technologically advanced but not at the level the dwarves usually are, and unlike most of the races I just mentioned, they breed faster. Being average to above average in everything while also having the numbers to back it up puts humans on top.
BUT it we had to choose a non-human race to dominate, I'd give it to the Lizardmen. Strong and capable fighters and their magic is no joke. Their populous enough to field large armies and smart enough to outthink most of their adversaries. They're obviously behind humans and dwarves when it comes to technology, but I think their magic makes up for it. As far as I know, they aren't as prone to in-fighting that the other races (save the elves) are.
Now, people again make this argument a lot, but it's not really true. They're not as skilled as Elves, or not as good fighters... as Elves, or as good as magic... as Elves... They really, besides reproduction, have any over Elves. It is true that most fantasy races are "Humans... plus something", but that doesn't mean humans are the average. In experience, skill, intelligence, speed, reflexes, magic and so on, they're outdone by someone like Elves.
Take that away and focus entirely on breeding, and humans are outbred by Orcs, Goblins or Gnolls, who aren't particularly behind humans and have breeding in the bag.
Lizardman's a good choice, though, fair enough.
If I had to rate it, it would go like this:
I don't know what Gnolls are. I base the combat rating on the average skill of the fighter of said race and how hardy they are. Humans are generally depicted as being tougher than elves are even though they aren't as skilled as them. In The Elder Scrolls, for example, the Elves are generally physically more frail than the human races; the Bretons, descendants of humans and Elves, show this is the case since they are the most frail of the humans while also being the most talented in terms of magic potential (among humans). I'd put humans above Elves because the humans make up what they lose to the Elves in with population size and tech. Their magic isn't so bad that they'll get dominated by and Elven army and their military strategy isn't too shabby either. As far as humans vs orcs and goblins, this has to do with tech, strategy, and sometimes magic.
I honestly don't see how anyone could see the Dwarves dominating the world when they lack the numbers to do it. They're always great at defensive warfare, but offensive is a bit tricky for them. Also, I could see the case with the Lizardmen being a little lower on the population rating, but like I said, they tend to be proficient everywhere except tech.
Lizard folk generally are low to average on the intelligence scale and their population tends to be average at best.
Gnolls are basically big hyena humanoids. They're sort of in that orc/goblin category, but they're probably considered a little crueler and more nomadic. They're even less likely to dominate the world.
I'm thinking of Lizardmen from Warhammer. They're said to have knowledge that is beyond the understanding of other races and they're generally not scene as stupid. This is the same case in Elder Scrolls. Actually, I suppose average would work for them as well. Population wise, I'm saying it's high because, like Beastmen, they are a collection of different lizard folk that all fall under the category of Lizardmen. Given how diverse they are, it would make the most sense for them to at least be rated high.
Even in Warhammer, the lizard folk aren’t really exceptional in intelligence.
Skinks are average and the saurians are very single minded in fighting or similar simple tasks. Kroxigors are basically only good for heavy manual labor or caving in someone’s skull.
The only ones that are really smart are the Slann, and they’re very limited in number.
And they're probably even less numerous in Warhammer as far as population is concerned.
Reptile people always have those weird mating cycles, along with needing "the right climate" that sort of limits their populations. Its part of the reason why the Yuan-Ti (snake people) aren't in charge of shit anymore due to climate changes to the planet.
Much like the real life dinosaurs, they tend to only excel if the planet conditions are more favorable to them rather than mammals.
Elves individually are definitely far better fighters than humans, they're faster, with better reflexes and more experience and training. Plus, they're hardly a low tech species. Elves have great tech, interspersed with magic.
Would you say that the Elves are individually better fighters than Dwarves? Because all of those traits apply between them as well (including experience since Elves live longer). It's generally agreed that Dwarves have the best individual soldiers (or Orcs depending) even though Elves are faster and quicker fighters.
They aren't terrible when it comes to tech, I should have put average instead of low so that was my mistake. Even so, humans still trump them. Elves usually stick to their ways and there is only so much you can do with magic in regards to using it ro reinforce your tech. Humans are great here because they are constantly developing their tech in ways where it doesn't rely too much on magic, and this allows them to have a bit more versatility in open field combat. What would be the Elven equivalent to a steam tank? Assuming that they do have something like that, it would be powered by magic. Wouldn't it be better to let those mages focus on offensive/defensive magic rather than powering tech that could operate indepentendly?
Dwarves have shorter reach and are far, far slower, so no, I wouldn't. And I don't know where you're coming up with the idea that Dwarves are the best fighters, that's something I've never seen in Fantasy, let alone a common trope.
Humans might have an advantage in tech, but even then as you said, Elves can make up for that disadvantage through magic, and since they have more mages generally than humans would due to their natural affinity for magic, it's not like they're losing out on anything in the slightest.
Across most fantasy settings, Dwarves are portrayed as short, stout, strong little chunks of meat that are tough as hell. They're even portrayed as being strong on human standards, not just for someone of their build. In Witcher, LoTR, Warhammer, Dragon Age, etc, they're portrayed as having the best armies (and soldiers) with their main weakness being a lack of numbers. I've yet to see them portrayed in any other way, actually.
Then I guess it would balance itself out. Thing is, it's plausible that Dwarves would be capable of defeating Elves in open field battle due to their massive tech advantage (despite having no magic). So why couldn't humans defeat Elves when they have both magic and tech to use?
Dwarves definitely don't have the best army in Warhammer by a country mile. Number by number, Chaos Warriors crush them, as do Elves. Dwarves aren't, to my knowledge, portrayed as the best warriors in any of those media, although it's been a while since I played Dragon Age. I genuinely have no idea where you're getting these ideas. Dwarves are powerful and they like warriors, but none of the works you've listed show them as the best warriors.
Pretty sure that in Dragon Age, the dwarves were hunted to near extinction by the darkspawn.
You're leaving out the fact that this occurred as a result of the first and worst Blight in the history of Dragon Age (which lasted nearly 200 years) and their kingdom just so happens to be right next to the spawning point of the Darkspawn. No one knew how to stop a Blight and they get worse as time goes on because the Broodmothers are popping out Darkspawn at a ludicrous rate. That the Dwarves were able to hold out during that time is a testament to ability of their warriors.
Not saying that they weren't skilled warriors, only that, after the Blight, their armies would've been pretty small. (Kind of like the 300. Skilled warriors can only do so much when there's a dozen of them.)
Also, Dragon Age dwarves had that weird thing about "castes" where only dwarves who were born "warrior caste" could join the army, which meant that they had a lot of wasted manpower.
I completely forgot about Chaos, but you're right about that. Okay, what makes Elves superior to Dwarves? The only war I could find between the Dwarves and Elves ends in a Dwarven victory in Warhammer.
In Dragon Age, the Elven kingdom (or empire, whatever it was) was obliterated by the humans to the point Elves are no more than city scum and nomadic tribes. It took a nearly two century Blight to cripple the Dwarven kingdom and it's still standing. Also, the Dwarves in DA:O are constantly fighting against the Darkspawn even when there is no Blight, so they always have a supply of battle-hardened soldiers. If numbers are not an issue, the Dwarves should have the best military in DA:O.
In LoTR, they have better armor, war machines, etc. They just lack numbers. Elven archers might not even be a factor since we've seen them use devices that directly counter arrows.
Likewise, in Witcher, Dwarves are hailed as being excellent soldiers while Elves are hailed as the best archers.
Okay, okay, you like dwarves, we get it! Get off their tiny, dwarven dicks already!
I hate dwarves. They're my least favorite race in all of fantasy fiction.
EDIT: Also, how long until PoF is finished?!
POF? ... Oh yeah! I was supposed to be writing that, wasn't I?
Well in Warhammer, the Dwarves didn't really win, at best it was a pyrrhic victory since the Elves and Dwarves both had their civilizations wiped out to the last. So they don't have the best soldiers here by any standard, so I'm not sure why the Elves specifically being better is relevant to the overall point. The point is, they're not the best, and in comparing Elves and Dwarves, it's sort of hard to do since we're not outright told who is better.
In regards to Dragon Age, you don't really show any evidence that Dwarves are the best soldiers. You say they fight the Darkspawn a lot, but there's no evidence that they are, just your opinion. Either way, the Elves getting obliterated by humans isn't relevant, because it's clear humans could do the same to Dwarves if they wanted to, because humanity's the biggest, strongest empire by far.
In LoTR, Elvish and Dwarven armor aren't war apart, and again, their magic counters Dwarf war machines.
You haven't really put forward ANY evidence throughout this. You've pointed out that in all worlds, Dwarves are good fighters, sure. But none of it shows them as being the best soldiers, you just keep showing that Dwarves are good soldiers, as the Elves are shown to be, and then deciding that they must be better.
Wait... I'm changing my vote. Gnomes FTW!!! ^_^
They'll fucking slaughter us all. ^_^