Racial reproductive systems


Homebrew and House Rules

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So this question mostly stems from a hilarious argument we had in our group over whether our tengu character had a penis, but it got me thinking: What are the circumstances of reproduction for the various races, especially non-mammal ones? For the races such as Tengu or Lizardfolk, do they give live birth like a humanoid or do they lay eggs? For the other strange races such as Aasimars, what are the circumstances that usually lead to their births? I know an Aasimar has a celestial bloodline, but what would cause an ordinary human and a celestial being to hook up?

I'm interested in this because knowing the biological methods of reproduction for each race could give or create exciting and exotic clues as to the traits of their society. For instance: imagine a society where nobody knew who their father was! These kinds of neat tidbits are what I hope to gain from this question.


Welcome to 'not important, so you figure out how you want it to work in your game world' territory.


For once, Zhayne and I agree.


Zhayne wrote:
Welcome to 'not important, so you figure out how you want it to work in your game world' territory.

Well my group finds the concept of "everybody has sex and has a baby" to be really boring, and I'd like to hear how/if other people have thought about it.

Silver Crusade

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Fetchystick wrote:
I know an Aasimar has a celestial bloodline, but what would cause an ordinary human and a celestial being to hook up?

The same things that would cause two humans to get together really. Or two celestials. Love and lust transcend planar boundaries and metaphysics. :)

Mortal/outsider unions aren't the only ways for planetouched to come about though. Sometimes it's just exposure to planar phenomenon somewhere along the way. Aasimar are also noted to sometimes be miracle births for particularly devout or goodly folk who otherwise couldn't have children.


Ghorans reproduce asexually.

Androids and Wyrwoods are created not born.


Welcome to the Redlight Side.

As for your specific questions:
Tengu lay eggs, says so in their racial description.
Lizardfolk probably do too, but as of yet, they aren't a playable race.

As for hooking up: there's probably some alignment details involved, but largely speaking the same a with humans (a LG pair is unlikely to hitch the knot as a result of lust, etc.)*

*One could argue that Sharia is technically a "lawful system" and that any practitioner of Islam does not consider themselves Evil, ergo "marrying your rapist" would be a LG act. But lets not bring real-world religion into this.

It does however, provide some useful context: under a rigidly defined and arbitrary system, two lawful-good critters aren't going to shack up for Chaotic or Evil reasons most of the time. Whatever the civilization's laws are there will be lawful weddings and there will be the weird ones who break tradition.


I have another question about reproduction... Samsarans. When they are born, do they appear (from a mystical source) as infants, or as fully grown samsarans? What little I can find claims both occur (blue baby born to humans, or fully mature Samsaran emerging from a crystal pod during a Gods festival and walking to town).
If they can just "wander" into a town after rebirth, does this imply they are mature? or do the infants sit and develop for years without food or care until they can walk?


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What always gets me thinking is the funky reaction to topics like this. It's a very interesting biological question but the first things that come to some people's minds are "Eww, sex, let's not think about that". Wow.

Concerning Tengus I'd reckon there are two possibilities: If they lay eggs (as mentioned above) they would reproduce via cloaka (yeah, sexay). But one can always rule that they get down and dirty like us boring humans. Depends on whatever floats your boat (it's fantasy, after all. Just mess around with those organs).

I, for myself, get great fun out of questions like this.


Their racial description indicates "Samsaran children" but if other sources contradict, pick something (as a GM) that is absolutely true and feel free to let myth, legend, and rumor color your world.

An example from Shadowrun is the assassination of Dunkehlzahn. There are only four people who can know it was anything other than an assassination:
Big D himself
His aid (who died in the resulting explosion)
And two characters from a book that most people dismiss as non-canon, and are free to do so because it effects the world not one whit.

Grand Lodge

Fetchystick wrote:
I'd like to hear how/if other people have thought about it.

My general assumption in my home campaign is that non-human races based off real world animals reproduce in a manner similar to their real world counterparts.

So, to use your examples, Tengu and Lizardpeople would reproduce by laying eggs while Dwarves, hafling, and other fantasy variations of humans would reproduce like humans (although their average gestation period may be longer or shorter).

The only oddballs in my home games are gnomes and elves.

In my campaign, gnomes are androgynous and intersex by nature. They originally came from the First World after all, where their species was immortal and didn't need to procreate. When the first "fae that would someday become gnomes" came to Golarion they "adjusted" themselves in order to live as mortals. They all agreed that eating, sleeping, and other bodily functions were fun ideas but they couldn't come to an agreement on reproduction. Sexual reproduction certainly sounded like the best way to go, but that whole sex and gender thing seemed awfully constraining. As a result, gnomes effectively pick their sex and gender whenever and however they want, and their bodies adapt accordingly over a period of time. When two gnomes create offspring, they basically pick between them which one will carry the fetus depending on their personal desires and needs. It also means that there are no "accidental" births since gnomes actively decide when they're ready to procreate (and explains why the number of gnomes in the world is low). Gnomes who live among humans tend to mirror the local culture, but some gnomes live their entire lives as one sex/gender while others switch frequently. Married gnomes have even been known to swap back and forth within the relationship every couple years just to keep things interesting. There are persistent rumors (and jokes) that gnomes can also lay eggs if they want, but that's never been confirmed.

In my campaign I also emphasize the fluff that elves physically change in response to their environment (elves who live in cold regions gradually transform into snow elves. Snow elves who move to the desert gradually transform into desert elves, etc). Elves are capable of breeding with any humanoid, but the resulting child will always be born an elf (so an elf and a dwarf would have an elf baby). The exception is that when elves breed with humans they produce half-elves ... which is something that terrifies a lot of elves. I took a page from Dragon Age and said that living near humans actually shortens elvish lifespans. So that and the existence of half-elves is a major driving force behind elvish isolationism (particularly among Mordant Spire elves, who treat contact with humans almost as if it were a disease that needed to be quarantined).


There is no sexual reproduction. When mummy and daddy love each other very much, sometimes a Magical Rea delivers a little baby to them. Real problem if mummy and daddy happen to be in the lower levels of the Ruined Tower of N'Gargz at the time.


PD wrote:
There is no sexual reproduction. When mummy and daddy love each other very much, sometimes a Magical Rea delivers a little baby to them. Real problem if mummy and daddy happen to be in the lower levels of the Ruined Tower of N'Gargz at the time.

Especially since she's undead.

Shadow Lodge

I've actually worked this out in my own setting.

Most things can't reproduce across racial lines. The exceptions are fey creatures and creatures descended from fey, primarily elves and gnomes. Elves can reproduce with nearly anything that is basically humanoid, medium size, do not lay eggs, and not too animalistic in shape and form. So my world has half-elves (of many variants - Half Human, Half Orc, Half Dwarf, Half Yuan-Ti, and a couple others) but does not have half-orcs (though normal Orcs are a PC race for us).

Gnomes can do the same with Small-size creatures, so there are Half-Gnome Halflings, and much more rarely Ratfolk.

Humans, Orcs, Dwarves, Elves, Halflings, Gnomes, Ratfolk, and about half of our homebrew races give live births.
Kobolds, Tengu, and the rest of our homebrew races lay eggs.

One of our homebrew races is fey-descended enough that a female of that race can reproduce with a male of most other races of medium-size, and produce a child of her own race with some of the father's traits, but they're also one of the egg-laying races so it doesn't work in reverse.

Everything else is limited to reproducing inside its own species until supernatural stuff gets involved.

The innate magic of outsider beings, dragons, and other such creatures, coupled with the fact that most of them can shapeshift, allow them to bypass those incompatibility barriers. Hence planetouched, half-dragons, sorcerer bloodlines, and other such variants.

Quote:
In my campaign I also emphasize the fluff that elves physically change in response to their environment (elves who live in cold regions gradually transform into snow elves. Snow elves who move to the desert gradually transform into desert elves, etc).

Mine do this too =) It's part of their fey nature. We also don't have Drow as a separate race and culture, so any elf who lives in a rocky or subterranean area for long enough gets obsidian skin, diamond hair, and gem-colored eyes, and thus basically looks like a Drow. Statistically though they're all the same, the appearance is purely cosmetic (with possibly a circumstance bonus from time to time for survival in their chosen habitat, maybe).


I guess fetchystick are singing this one http://youtu.be/ENnAa7rqtBM


Juda de Kerioth wrote:
I guess fetchystick are singing this one http://youtu.be/ENnAa7rqtBM

Haha, I love that song/video. Especially the "3.5" bunny.


Well if you use 3.5 fluff, Lizardfolk lay eggs in clutches that are buried in piles of compost. If the tribe is capable of putting a healthy amount of meat into the piles they get more females. If times are lean however and they can only use plant matter they get more males.


One of the best sources for this sort of information can be found in the old Monstrous Compendiums. Once upon a time, TSR used to include a ton of fluff information in the form of ecology and habitat entries with each monster. The end result was less monsters per book, but significantly more information per entry than Pathfinder.

Personally, I prefer Pathfinder's entry information, but do find myself often referencing the old TSR products when off the wall questions pop up, such as this.


Do male tengu have penises? I think that is completely up to you and your group. Do you emphasize the bird part more, or the human-ish body more? Are the tengu avians with human bodies? Are they humans with bird features?

Same can go for lizardfolk, troglodytes, kobolds, and other reptilian races. Do you emphasize the reptile aspects or the human-like body aspects? No one way is right or wrong, and completely depends on the group. Do your lizardfolk lay eggs or live babies? Are they mammalian in structure but reptilian in look? Do you make the females have breasts if they don't lay eggs (or even if they do)? This last bit will rankle some to a great extent, citing reptiles don't have mammary glands. Same if you give your tengu females breasts.

You could make it up, and have it be such a way for your setting, and to hell with what other people say. Or, you could look at the old ecology entries from the TSR monster books to get an idea, as well. Again, neither is wrong.


For the sake of verisimilitude (a silly thing to some people when you start bringing magic into the mix I know, but I personally find it easier to relate to a situation the more it is similar to the real world), I've always gone under the assumption that Tengu, lizardfolk, etc... function similarly to their closest counterparts, so no breasts on either of the example races, nor would the males require a loincloth for anything but a bit of warmth.

But hey, maybe this thread will go on to last for another +2,000 posts like the one about whether or not Dragonborn have breasts on the Wizards of the coast website.


Adjule wrote:
Do male tengu have penises? I think that is completely up to you and your group. Do you emphasize the bird part more, or the human-ish body more? Are the tengu avians with human bodies? Are they humans with bird features?

Simply for reference:

Even the furry community can't agree if anthro-avians have breasts/pensises or not.

So just pick one.


So, my relatively conservative question here is: If a Half Orc and a Half Elf reproduce can they give birth to a half human with 1/4 Orc and Elf with regards to racial traits and feats? Would this comply with RAW? Would Racial Heritage be necessary to draw upon those abilities?

Could a Half Elf and full Orc? Could a Half Orc and Full Elf? Any ideas about this intriguing possibility?


Frederic wrote:

So, my relatively conservative question here is: If a Half Orc and a Half Elf reproduce can they give birth to a half human with 1/4 Orc and Elf with regards to racial traits and feats? Would this comply with RAW? Would Racial Heritage be necessary to draw upon those abilities?

Could a Half Elf and full Orc? Could a Half Orc and Full Elf? Any ideas about this intriguing possibility?

Some systems out there will totally let you do that.

Other systems go "nope" and avoid it. Shadowrun doesn't have "half-races" an Elf and an Orc having kids will either be elves or orcs as both are just phenotype expressions.


Draco18s wrote:
Adjule wrote:
Do male tengu have penises? I think that is completely up to you and your group. Do you emphasize the bird part more, or the human-ish body more? Are the tengu avians with human bodies? Are they humans with bird features?

Simply for reference:

Even the furry community can't agree if anthro-avians have breasts/pensises or not.

So just pick one.

True. I have seen some art of tengu/avian people with breasts and some without. Same with reptilian (lizards, crocs, dinos, dragons) having breasts as well. Also seen art of male versions with rather large "members" as well.

The easiest is to pick what you want. Do you want female tengu to be easily discernable from the males? Give them breasts. Want them more like actual ravens? Then they both look the same. Of course, if you wanna go for non-raven tengu, make the males more brightly colored and the females rather dull.

It is all up to you.


Adjule wrote:
make the males more brightly colored and the females rather dull.

Or the reverse.

We tend to think of the males in birds as being flashier, because of peafowl, but it's not universally true.


I use the baseline of reproduction being for fantasy sapient races being most similar to those of the animal they are based on. So an avian race would lay eggs for instance. For something based on a lizard or snake, they would probably have ovoviviparity, where they would have eggs, but they would be kept internally until the young are hatched. This has evolved numerous times in living reptiles, and seems useful for a sapient race. Something more similar to turtle or crocodile would probably have more traditional egg laying.

As far as reproductive anatomy goes, I assume the females of all those species has cloacas. Note that some groups of birds (most famously ducks) do have penises, they are just held internally.

I am an evolutionary biologist by training, so I tend to prefer to lean on science rather than magic when designing a race. Hybridization largely is going to be controlled by how close you are on a phylogeny to another species. So hominids (dwarves, elves, etc.) can and do interbreed with varying effects. For instance Dwarves can reproduce with humans, however for story reasons dwarves have reduced fertility, so offspring are rare. Also the combination of dwarf + human genes often results in children with impaired mental abilities. In contrast, Elves and humans are fully reproductive compatible...to the point that the Elves are rather xenophobic and worry about their race being swamped out by faster breeding humans and human-elf hybrids.

In contrast, humans and Tengu are just not compatible biology wise to ever breed. Not just in physically...but also psychology. Female Tengu can not be distinguished from males by humans, and have a complete alien sense of "turn ons" that are just triggered by a human (and vice versa).

I think delving into reproductive biology can be informative, as it's fundamentally going to influence the world building of a setting, by influencing culture. A species that lays a clutch of eggs versus something that gives birth to live young is going to have constraints on what sort of cultural development they might have.


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Dwarves reproduce via spores.


As far as I'm concerned sex is too fundamental to the kinds of human interactions I'm interested in for there to be any large portion of the population that can't engage in it with any other. It's not that people need to be having sex it's just that if there's no way they can get a little raunchy suggestion in the back of their minds that they could I lose interest.

To that end they have to have some reasonably comparable sex parts. Beyond that I assume there's always enough freakiness in tastes that every species paring is going to happen at least once, breasts or no breasts.

As for if and how babies pop out...........if it serves to highlight the unusual nature of the parents' relationship then I say everyone can and damn logic. If it's going to be considered normal then I don't care.


Guardianlord wrote:

I have another question about reproduction... Samsarans. When they are born, do they appear (from a mystical source) as infants, or as fully grown samsarans? What little I can find claims both occur (blue baby born to humans, or fully mature Samsaran emerging from a crystal pod during a Gods festival and walking to town).

If they can just "wander" into a town after rebirth, does this imply they are mature? or do the infants sit and develop for years without food or care until they can walk?

According to James Jacobs, who is the final word on the subject as they're his baby, samsarans just sort of appear out of nowhere -- their age at reincarnation/re-creation/whatever varies from infant to teen, but they're hardly ever too young to deal with their surroundings and make it back to civilization.


Umbral Reaver wrote:
Dwarves reproduce via spores.

Close.


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All i know is celestials, fiends, and dragons are sluts. "Oh my madam unicorn, what a beautiful mane you have. So soft...would you like to touch my wings...their soft too..."


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christos gurd wrote:
All i know is celestials, fiends, and dragons are sluts. "Oh my madam unicorn, what a beautiful mane you have. So soft...would you like to touch my wings...their soft too..."

Totally.

Haven't you read the Book of Erotic Fantasy?


Didn't a parent or teacher ever sit you down and explain this? It all starts when one tengu and another tengu love each other very, very much and they give each other a very special hug.

Liberty's Edge

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Pillbug Toenibbler wrote:
Umbral Reaver wrote:
Dwarves reproduce via spores.
Close.

... Th' hell?


Draco18s wrote:
We tend to think of the males in birds as being flashier, because of peafowl, but it's not universally true.

It's almost always true. In sexually dimorphic species, females have greater time and energy requirements in terms of reproduction, and are thus choosy when it comes to mates. In response, males tend to evolve flashy displays and/or larger size as "costly signals" to attract females, or, in more communal groups, they often fight for them.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Draco18s wrote:
We tend to think of the males in birds as being flashier, because of peafowl, but it's not universally true.
It's almost always true. In sexually dimorphic species, females have greater time and energy requirements in terms of reproduction, and are thus choosy when it comes to mates. In response, males tend to evolve flashy displays and/or larger size as "costly signals" to attract females, or, in more communal groups, they often fight for them.

Oh sure. Most times that is the case.

But my point was that it is not always true. In the Red-necked phalarope, typical sexual dimorphism is reversed.


Draco18s wrote:
In the Red-necked phalarope, typical sexual dimorphism is reversed.

Yeah, because in 3 species, "the males perform all incubation and chick-rearing activities." Still, that's vanishingly rare in the animal world.

And I have to opine as well that giving boobs to reptiles makes no sense at all.


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Kirth Gersen wrote:


And I have to opine as well that giving boobs to reptiles makes no sense at all.

They could definitely have made dragonborn more mammalian if they really wanted boobs.

And if they were worried about making gender differences clear there was a poster back on the wizards forums at the time of 4e launch who came up with a very good female dragonborn without breasts:
http://sweedart.files.wordpress.com/2008/01/dragonbornfemalesketch.jpg
(At least I think it lacks breasts: honestly the official ones look like they just have bulging pectoral muscles so I'm not a good judge.)

The ones I'd have problems with are any birds: how does the baby form the correct seal for sucking with a beak?

Shadow Lodge

Birds often just regurgitate the stomach contents of the parents down the gullet of their spawn.

Once I got in trouble on these forums when I quite seriously and naively talked about a character concept of a Summoner/eidolon as husband/wife. I was kind of shocked that a couple people were honestly shocked and offended. The fact that I mentioned the concept of children really blew their minds.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Draco18s wrote:
In the Red-necked phalarope, typical sexual dimorphism is reversed.

Yeah, because in 3 species, "the males perform all incubation and chick-rearing activities." Still, that's vanishingly rare in the animal world.

And I have to opine as well that giving boobs to reptiles makes no sense at all.

Don't be judging how she wants to spend her loot......just because there isn't a "boob job" spell in the PRD doesn't mean there isn't one on Golarion. Why a reptile would want a boob job is a mystery to me, though....


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Mechagamera wrote:
Don't be judging how she wants to spend her loot......just because there isn't a "boob job" spell in the PRD doesn't mean there isn't one on Golarion. Why a reptile would want a boob job is a mystery to me, though....

Relevant.


Kerney wrote:
Birds often just regurgitate the stomach contents of the parents down the gullet of their spawn.

I'm aware of that. I don't see what it has to do with the question of whether or not a nipple can be used by a beak.

Kerney wrote:
Once I got in trouble on these forums when I quite seriously and naively talked about a character concept of a Summoner/eidolon as husband/wife. I was kind of shocked that a couple people were honestly shocked and offended. The fact that I mentioned the concept of children really blew their minds.

I'm guessing these people don't watch much anime.

On second thought, maybe they have......


I've heard information on reproduction can be found in Classic Monsters Revisited.

However, it includes Ogres. After reading the Bestiary write-up about ogres, I refuse to touch Classic Monsters Revisited.


Your milage may vary, of course, but I find the subject worth plenty of time and attention depending onthe group, game, and tone. For some games the slightly sillier 'toon' approach is used; everything that is capable of sexual reproduction (and a number of things that aren't) can bust out with anatomy to do the job, no matter how absurd. In other cases the subject is granted serious observational discussion and experimentation enues, particularly where inter-racial/-speciel romances can provide entertainment, comedic and otherwise.

That said, my default answer to tengu-wang is a no, but that comes more of crows lacking them and extrapolating as they don't have anatomy that is ducklike.


There not boobs, there poison glands;)


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To quote myself:

Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
While it makes a certain "sense," I don't see why tengu (and nagaji and lizardfolk) have to be oviparous or monotremes. They seem to be descended from avians, but there are significant physiological differences between ravens/crows and tengu that may not have occurred via natural evolution, especially in settings with demonstrable magic and deities. If placental viviparious tengu (and the others) breaks the GM's and players' immersion, perhaps they could be ovoviviparous instead?


Will i'm guessing humans and Tengu or Lizardfolk can't reproduce. But can a human have sex with a Tengu or Lizardfolk that feels Pleasureful for both individuals?


Go see.


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xavier c wrote:
Will i'm guessing humans and Tengu or Lizardfolk can't reproduce. But can a human have sex with a Tengu or Lizardfolk that feels Pleasureful for both individuals?

Because once you scaly you'll be back daily?


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Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

dwarves are mined out of the ground and then fermented in alcohol until adulthood.

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