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Non-Humans from Mythology and Folklore that could be decent Player Characters

Valmond

Registered User
Validated User
The problem isn't lack of races the problem is overpowering the Gods. IF "Has beaten gods in things' and "Gods treat them with respect" invalidates dwarves and elves.. there's plenty of "Gods don't treat humans as play things and jokes" "heroes beat gods" stories.. so.. by that logic HUMANS in mythology shouldn't be playable D&D races.
In greek mythology, it's debatable, frankly. Going up against a god in away shape or form, even if you're not aware of it, is basically the worst idea. You sometimes have people who can best gods in something, but the only one I can think of who ever actually got away with it was Diomedes (and that was for physically wounding Apollo AND Ares). One could argue Ulysses and Heracles, but Ulysses got lost for 20 years for bragging about blinding Polyphemus and Heracles is a special case in my opinion, and hardly had a pleasant life anyway.

All the other examples I can think of ended poorly : Bellerophon got blinded and lost forever for figuring he could just show up on Mt Olympus uninvited, Marsyas got flayed alive for either challenging Apollo to a music contest or not correcting some random people when they said he played the aulos better than Apollo and Arachne got turned into a spider for being better than Athena at Weaving (and being a colossal smartass, although that one might have been because she knew she was fucked the moment Athena showed up). Even if you didn't ask for trouble, you're pretty much done if the gods decide to mess with you. Paris was in a no-win situation when three goddesses asked him to decide which was the hottest, resulting in the Trojan War and his death down the line and let's not even ellaborate on the Medusa origin story where she gets turned into a monster by Athena (who is definitely not a petty goddess or anything) for having been assaulted.

Again, only guy who both won and got away with no apparent repercussion down the line was Diomedes. He's like a statistical anomaly. So yeah, okay, you CAN beat the god if you're either really good, or ruthless and lucky enough, but you really, really shouldn't. In fact, you probably shouldn't have ANYTHING to do with any god whatsoever in Greek Mythology if you want to have a quiet life.

Chinese folklore, on the other hand, from memory, as it was mentioned, might be more forgiving for smartasses and usurpers. Lots of Chinese gods started as mortals I believe.
 

artikid

passerby
Validated User
I don't think centaurs (or fauns/satyrs) would make for good adventuring companions according to myth.
Centaurs are almost universally (well except Chiron and a handful of others) drunken savage beasteman "by nature". The myth of Piritous and Ippodamia is a good example of this.
 

LordofArcana

Registered User
Validated User
In Greek mythology, guys like Heracles and Achilles could hurt gods due to being part god themselves, while Diomedes managed it thanks to enchanted eyes courtesy of Athena. Most often mortals had to outwit gods to pull one over them, such as Sisyphus capturing Thanatos for a while (though that ended badly for him).
What about Ajax? He had no assistance and no divine parentage yet was able to hurt one.

I wouldn't say that Greek heroes were able to hurt gods because of their own parentage, I would say that they could because they were complete badasses and there was a lot of overlap between badasses and people with some association with the gods (if only because those are the only ones that the gods will tolerate).
 

SunlessNick

Mildly Darkened One
Validated User
And even in later folklore, people beating the Devil is not an uncommon experience.
"My children have defeated me!"
- Spoken by God at the end of not a few Jewish folk tales (admittedly, this was usually about outfoxing him, but so are most of the stories about beating the Devil).
 

artikid

passerby
Validated User
... So yeah, okay, you CAN beat the god if you're either really good, or ruthless and lucky enough, but you really, really shouldn't. In fact, you probably shouldn't have ANYTHING to do with any god whatsoever in Greek Mythology if you want to have a quiet life.
100% agree. I don't remember if it was in a tragedy or somewhere else, but I remember clearly the Olympians being described as petty and envious of human happiness. So if you are lucky, smart, skilled or beautiful: shut up, lay down and do not attract attention.

... And remember, these are "the good guys".
 

artikid

passerby
Validated User
As compared to who? I though ancient mythology was more concerned with Order vs Wildness.
When Zeus became King of the gods he had to kill Chronus, who had castrated his father to become king and eaten Zeus's brothers and sisters to avoid being dethroned.
In addition he jailed in Tartarus the Titans that had supported Chronos.
He also sent to Tartarus some Giants that rebelled against him after the Titanomachy.
Titans and giants are usually considered symbolic of that "wildness/wild nature" you spoke of.
Zeus is the keeper of Order, and thus the "good guy".
 

Susanoo Orbatos

Social Justice Huckster
Validated User
In greek mythology, it's debatable, frankly.
IF this were a thread about "what Greek Mythological creatures would make Good Races for my D&D game" that would be a thing. I'm arguing we should consider mythological creatures "PCability" in the context of their corpus than a broad "If any of them ever have done x". To get back to the Elves and Dwarves in some stories they are divine peers.. but in others they are just sort of "Alienish" beings who live in some wierd location.

I mean in Norse Myth the Gods are OBJECTIVELY not immortal, from needing magical apples to maintain youth to their inevitable fated Doom, the Aesir themselves don't seem to live up the the standards the Op lays down... but apparently the Dwarves and Elves do?
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Chinese folklore, on the other hand, from memory, as it was mentioned, might be more forgiving for smartasses and usurpers. Lots of Chinese gods started as mortals I believe.
Exactly we have cultures through out the world what is normal in one mythology is absent in another.
 

Pax Chi

Registered User
Validated User
I don't think centaurs (or fauns/satyrs) would make for good adventuring companions according to myth.
Centaurs are almost universally (well except Chiron and a handful of others) drunken savage beasteman "by nature". The myth of Piritous and Ippodamia is a good example of this.
Centaurs at least would seem to make a decent choice because they have some stories where they aren't universally a certain way, and we get examples of centaurs that can actually be good and heroic. I'm with you on satyrs/fauns tho.
 
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