The original version of this thread caused a lot of misunderstanding due to poor explanation and flawed examples on my part; the following is a rewrite, which is hopefully clearer. The title has also been changed to become clearer and less offensive. Let's talk about creating world races! Worlds with multiple races and sentient species - especially new and original ones as opposed to cookie-cutter elves and dwarves - have a diversity and a colour to them that monoracial worlds simply cannot achieve. But there are a few things you should keep in mind while creating races for your world Please note that if your story intentionally calls for one or more races to be viewed from a stereotyped or biased perspective, that this article is not intended for your work Stereotypes No matter what you do, someone is going to come up with a stereotypical view of your races. But it's a generally good idea not to present this viewpoint as the writer/GM. Stereotypes limit character options, and present a biased perspective. They emerge from a combination of factors that all members of a group (allegedly) share. for example; "All Canadians love hockey", or "All Asians are good at math". New races you create should have defining characteristics that all members of the race share, but try to make sure there is room for variety within them, and stay away from things like hobbies or skillsets "The majority religion in Elvish Culture worships the Goddess of Life and Nature" is better than "Elves love gardening" "All Dwarves have improved night-vision, and a predatory advantage underground" is better than "Dwarves prefer to live in caves" Variety As mentioned above, it is important to allow room for a wide variety of characters and lifestyles within a race. This means that when describing a race, you should try to be nonspecific about how it's members look and behave. Each race will have traits that they all share, which are usually genetic, but try to avoid creating a uniform race as it will limit player's character options. Remember that you are creating a profile not for a few characters, but for probably several hundred - or even thousand - individuals with a wide variety of hobbies, skills, and motivations. A race may be KNOWN for one thing or another, but don't take that to the level of saying that all members of the race are associated with this thing. Saying "Canadians are known for their Hockey Teams" and saying "All Canadians love, play, or watch hockey" are two different things. One asserts that Hockey is associated with Canada. The other claims everyone in Canada is associated with Hockey. Saying "Elves love all living things" closes the door to Elvish characters who are afraid of certain creatures, or enjoy hunting, metalwork, pyrotechnics, and a whole hosts of other things. Realism It's my personal opinion that adding an element to a race or creature generally should have a better reason than "It's cool". You don't have to go into an in-depth analysis, but having a reasoning for the unique traits of your race other than "to make them different" is crucial for a believable, realistic world. Again, remember that your profile is for multiple people; there's bound to be a few elves who want to sit and eat all day; why aren't they fat? What makes every male dwarf want to grow a large beard; some of them are bound to find it uncomfortable/inconvenient/unattractive. Again, allow room for individuality, and find reasoning for it if you want these traits to be at least semi-universal. Elves may have slimmer bodies and weigh less because they descended from a winged race for whom a lower bodyweight was an advantage. This means the average Elf is thinner/weighs less than the average human, but doesn't imply that elves are effortlessly slim as part of their genetics. A new race may have brightly coloured hair (pink, blue, etc) because of a camouflage advantage in the brightly coloured foliage their ancestors evolved in. This gives the option of brightly coloured hair without the world also having to have hair-dye that is only popular with one race for some reason. Dwarves may wear long beards because famous and respected figures in their history had long beards, and it's become a combination tribute/positive association. This implies that beards are simply popular, rather than that all Dwarves have them or want them. The Token Normal (Reminder: If your story intentionally presents one race as 'the good guys/the normal ones' then this article is not intended for your story) Token Normals should be avoided; a token normal is what happens when a world is constructed of racial stereotypes that present one race as likeable, relatable, or familiar, and all others as weird, foreign, freakish, or scary. This is not always done intentionally, but it's fairly easy to avoid if you pay attention and ask yourselves questions like "Am I modelling the villain's race after the villain?", or "Does my story paint a picture of one race beset by a world/universe full of strange or dangerous foreigners/aliens?" "Does stepping into the shoes of one of my races create an uncomfortable or over-the-top amount of culture shock/unfamiliarity?" If your story does not call for this perspective, remember to always allow room for many kinds of people in all the races of your world.