Darrell J. Pursiful

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The Prehistoric World Is Moving into D&D 5e Territory

I have previously opined that the prehistoric world was somewhat “Tolkienesque,” with multiple humanoid species interacting with each other in a variety of ways. In a recent Discover article, Bridget Alex surveys how things have changed even in recent years.

When I first wrote about extinct hominins and fantasy fiction, the newly discovered “hobbit” (Homo floresiensis) was all the rage. The very next year saw the discovery of H. naledi in South Africa, and an article published just this year concludes that remains found in the Philippines come from an otherwise unknown species dubbed H. luzonensis.

If we can assume some late surviving members of H. erectus on the margins (they were contemporary with us but geographically separated), that brings us to seven hominin species fighting, trading, and in at least some instances interbreeding with each other from roughly 300,000 to 30,000 years ago.

So it’s no longer just humans, elves, dwarves, and halflings. Now we’ve got to add gnomes, orcs, and…I don’t know, tieflings?—with no guarantees somebody won’t find yet another extinct hominin species tomorrow.

The prehistoric world is quickly gaining the appearance of a D&D campaign with no restrictions on character race.



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