Lifeforms of the Ring Realms


© Will Greenway 2000

General Classifications Humanoids Mutations Magical Species Aberrations
The Undead Non-corporeal Symbiotic/Parasitic Constructs Synthetically Created


The term "humanoid"

By its very nature, almost all literature is "humanocentric". In detailing the Realms and trying to provide common references, it is next to impossible to completely separate the "human" from what we as a people perceive and recognize to be "life". We tend to create in our own image.

Suspension of disbelief and creating a more realistic and immersive milieu are literary watchwords that we try to keep in mind when contributing to the Ring Realms documentation project. However, there are some mechanisms and words that simply cannot be abandoned because the alternative is too cumbersome.

The word "human" is almost automatically associated with the people of Earth, because if you are reading this, there is an extremely high probability that you were born ON Earth. It is not uncommon to see the reference "Terra" which is the name for our planet in Latin. From that comes the term "Terran" referring specifically to a person born on the third planet in the Sol system.

The word "human" should actually be a more generic term to encompass a classification of sentient creatures that have roughly the same physical configuration as Terrans. Since most people don't recognize it that way, we just go with the flow because fighting it requires more literary energy than it's worth.

So the term "humanoid" which more correctly should be "Terranoid" or anthropoid (latin for man-shape) refers to a creature with the gross physical configuration associated with humans.

"Humanoid" defined

A "humanoid" is an entity that possesses the roughly anthropoid attributes of a central trunk or torso that more or less stands upright on two or more appendages. Attached to the upright end of the trunk is an identifiable "head" that typically houses the brain, visual, aural, olfactory organs and some kind of mouth. The trunk or torso will also host one or more appendages (or arms) that are typically used to manipulate the environment.

Even this very generic definition is problematic. Creatures such as Mer-folk (mermaids, mermen) that are indistinguishable from humans from the waist up, but have a fish-like tail instead of legs don't readily fit the term though rationally someone would say they were "humanoid". Centaurs, creatures which are also "human" from the waist up but have an entire equine body instead of humanoid legs only roughly fit the model (they have legs but not "human-like" legs).

It is the "face" or skull structure that often defines "human" part of humanoid. The head has the configuration of the forward facing eyes, the central nose, and lower jaw. Ear placement and size are much less of a factor in recognition, but they are typically behind and on either side of the head or in some cases more toward the top of the skull.

Humanoids in the Realms

The vast majority of the races depicted in Realms fiction are anthropoid in nature. Humans are assumed to be variations (or a coincidental evolution to) of the base genetic material seeded in Eternity by the first ones. The assumption being that primitive anthropoids on many worlds jump-step evolved because of their genetic material becoming intertwined with first one derivations like the Belathi, Lokori, Dralatha, Metath, Tharr, or Toroth. A terran example is the parallel existence of Neanderthals and the Homosapiens who seemed to be (or were) mutations from a common genetic ancestor. These six base strains along with the Sidri which were scattered across many dozens of worlds are the most ancient examples of intelligent anthropoid life. It is speculated that variations and mutations of these predecessors are how "humanoid" life came to be so widely spread through the realms.