|Here Be Humans|
Anyway, part of the lost posts included this introduction to a scenario:
In the woods north and west of our kobold cave live many creatures who habitually avoid human contact. They know that where the humans go, farms and fields and towns and cities follow and space within these is found only for a select few of the wild's people, even when patronizingly granted the term "demi-humans".
So even those that are not violently opposed to the world of humans dislike what it represents. King of these are the centaurs, of all the intelligent races the one with the most claim to the title of "demi-human", but by nature probably the one least interested in making that claim. They run free in the forests and glades, strong enough to fight most threats and fast enough to avoid most of the rest. The human village to the south is of no interest to them.
This was an attempt to summarise what I think things must look like from the non-humanocentric side of the default AD&D world. It's quite common to ignore the attitude of non-human non-evil races when building an AD&D world, I think. Generally worlds seem to get divided into "humans and allies" and "enemies of humans", and this applies to some degree to Greyhawk as well as later settings. It is true that several demi-human states and locations in Greyhawk are referred to as being to one degree or other xenophobic but the overall picture is that humans and non-evil intelligent races all sort of get along.
This isn't the picture one gets from just reading the DMG and the PHB. Let's have a show of hands, which demi-human races like humans?
|Human Fan Club meeting|
threatens to become rowdy
Answer: no one.
Yes, that's right. Not a single PHB playable race actually likes humans. Not halflings, not dwarves, not elves.
All right, then; who is suspicious of humans?
Answer: dwarves, elves, gnomes, halflings, and half-orcs are all listed as thinking of humans "neutrally, although some suspicion will be evident".
It can be argued that in a D&D world, suspicion is the natural ground state of any meeting between strangers, but even so the picture is not one of friendly co-operation between allied races. In UA the picture remains the same except that the two new elven types are actively hostile to humans (moreso than drow!).
The DMG's inhabited area encounter tables bear out this image of a world where "inhabited" is synonymous with "inhabited by humans". Across the board in temperate areas, ogres are more frequently encountered than elves (even in forests) or and orcs than dwarves (even in mountains). Centaurs, sylphs and their like do not appear at all. Where humans go, intelligent non-evil races leave.
The presence of the evil humanoids on the encounter tables probably represents a desire for a little bit of risk in overland travel during play but it also has an implication that the humanoids are actively resisting or attacking the humans in a way that the demi-humans are not.
|"The woods are a resource?|
Good luck with that one..."
It's a bit like the red-squirrel/grey-squirrel situation in the UK today. The greys don't actually directly compete with the reds; they're just a bit better at surviving - they're stronger and they have sharper minds. Similarly, humans in AD&D have the ability to rise to levels beyond anything the demi-humans can, and in the long run that's enough to make the latter retreat instead of fight.
|"Look at me! I'm 13th level!"|
|Must remember...humans are our allies....|
I think there's scope here for making the wilderness a bit more complex than it often seems and both high and low level adventures in it rather less clearly defined in terms of what a party of humans can assume in terms of who will help and who will hinder them.
*Yes, yes. STR 18 dwarves can be 9th level fighters. Don't fuss.