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I was reading the description of the Azer in D&D 5e. Part of their description is that they resemble a male dwarf. Another part of their description is that they are crafted from bronze and imbued with a part of the crafter's inner flame.

My question is wider than for just the Azer, and could be applied to other "created" races such as AI Robots, or D&D warforged.

What constraints would there be to keep the general form of the offspring similar to the creator/parent?

I'm not asking about the Azer specifically, but an answer could use them or something similar to illustrate a point.

For additional clarity, this is in reference to a race that reproduces itself by constructing them in some other manner than biologically bearing offspring, but the offspring are still very similar in form to the "parent(s)".

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  • $\begingroup$ Is "offspring" here actual offspring or the created object in the creators image? $\endgroup$
    – Trioxidane
    Commented May 17, 2021 at 16:47
  • $\begingroup$ Offspring in this context would be "created by". The question is about the reasons that would cause the creations to be made in the creator's image. $\endgroup$ Commented May 17, 2021 at 18:24
  • $\begingroup$ I notice the headline and body actually ask two quite distinct questions: The former asks why the entire race looks the same (but the creators could be of a different race), and the latter asks why the creation looks like the creator (but says nothing of similarities to other creators and creations.) Which is it? $\endgroup$
    – Gene
    Commented May 17, 2021 at 18:35
  • $\begingroup$ From the description of azers I found on a D&D wiki, they "reproduce" by azers building more azers, so the creators are the same race as the creations. If that's the scenario intended, maybe the OP could edit that into the question. $\endgroup$
    – A. B.
    Commented May 18, 2021 at 9:18

3 Answers 3

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Part of the answer is in your question: "...imbued with a part of the crafter's inner flame."

"Inner flame" is code for "soul". The "soul" doesn't work on a being that isn't like themselves. You can't put a human soul, or dwarf soul, into a dog, or a bird. And it doesn't work quite right when you go from human to dwarf either, even though they might be closer types of beings. The "soul" resists and the transfer falls apart.

The best transfer is kind to kind (human to human, etc.). The second best is kind to your artificial offspring. Everything else doesn't quite work.

And/OR, if you'd like to be even more specific, that specific "inner flame" can only go into that specific crafters artificial offspring. Len can only put his inner flame into the an artificial being that Len created (lol). So they cant create entire armies, but rather only offspring that are more like actual children. That could be an interesting limitation to explore.

Of course, this is all assuming we're talking magic and that the notion of "souls" or "inner fire" exist in your scenario.

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A number of possibilities:

  1. Mass production and economies of scale. It's vastly more efficient to create identical copies of a single template or mold than to create lots of variations. In a magical setting this could be something like a creation spell; the spell is relatively accessible to use, but makes all the same copies, whereas creating a new spell to make a different variation is massively difficult.

  2. Culture of conformity. Everyone wants their creation/offspring to look like the others. This could be because sticking out is looked down upon, or perhaps there's practical advantages to blending in with the crowd.

  3. Convergent optimization. It's not that looking alike is intentional, but the beings are all created for the same purpose, and it so happens that there is an optimal appearance for that purpose that everyone independently converges on.

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Simple explanation: the magic/programming/whatever they inherit from the "parent" tends to be specific to the form it's meant to control. To use an example, the "subroutine" used to move an two legs will not be the same as one used to move on four, or on wheels, as there are issues of balance and timing of motion that can be very different.

If those subroutines are an inherent part of the base program, then it means they're not easy to simply swap out to deal with a very different body form. They might be able to deal with some variations (slight differences in limb length or body size, for example), but not radically different ones without a major change in the basic nature of the entity.

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