|This is a /v/ related article, which we tolerate because it's relevant and/or popular on /tg/... or we just can't be bothered to delete it.|
Draenei are a fantasy alien race native to the Warcraft setting; originally introduced in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, they were later reintroduced and given their definitive appearance and lore in World of Warcraft with the Burning Crusade expansion pack. They are considered one of the most popular races amongst the Alliance-side players of the game, with the official reason being their fluff; they're a species of paladins that look like demons.
Originally described as the slaughtered native inhabitants of Draenor, the homeworld of Warcraft's Orcs, they were later retconned in WoW as being an alien race who departed from their homeworld of Argus after half of them got corrupted into daemons. What remained of the other half was rescued by the Naaru, angel-like energy beings who taught them the ways of divine magic and sought to help them fight against the demonic hordes of the Burning Legion. For an age, they crash-landed/settled upon Draenor, home of the orcs, until the Burning Legion found them again and the orcs fell to demonic corruption. The survivors fled once again, and crash-landed/settled upon Azeroth (seeing a pattern here?), where they readily joined with the Alliance in hopes of battling the Burning Legion once and for all.
In terms of appearance, draenei can only be described as "fiendish"; they resemble blue-skinned, tailed humanoids whose digitigrade legs end in large cloven hooves. There's a certain amount of sexual dimorphism; male draenei have multiple fleshy tendrils sprouting from their chins and overlapping, fan-like forehead plates on their skulls, giving them a somewhat Klingon-esque look, whilst female draenei have backsweeping horn-like cranial extensions and their tendrils sprout from behind their ears, giving them a sort of "succubus-Twi'lek" look. Females are also drastically shorter than males, and have smaller, more dainty tails, almost vestigial-looking in some cases.
It bears mentioning that this appearance is a retcon; when they first appeared in Warcraft III - The Frozen Throne, they were depicted as baleen-mouthed, withered, goblin-like creatures. These "Lost Ones" have since been depicted as mutants who remained behind on Draenor (and, as recently discovered, Argus) and escaped the orcish/daemonic culls, but devolved in this state due to the corruptive Fel energies that have ravaged Draenor over time. Later, the "Broken" were added as an in-between state because this drastic change was too implausible.
This fiendish look has done nothing to hurt the popularity of the draenei. Indeed, part of the reason for their popularity is that they combine the "monster adventurer" appeal with membership in the Alliance, who are the more classic "good guys faction" in the eyes of many.
Sadly, there are no official TRPG stats for draenei out there; World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game was cancelled right after the Burning Crusade was released, and Blizzard shows no signs of licensing the setting out again. Still, the fandom gets shit done, and so there are fanmade stats for draenei in WoW D20, 4e, 5e and Pathfinder all out there on the net.
But, for comparison's sake, these are their actual stat modifiers in the WoW Videogame, which are close enough to the WoW D20 game stats that conversion would be pretty simple:
- Available Classes: Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Warrior, Death Knight, Monk
- Starting Attributes: Strength 21, Agility 17, Stamina 19, Intellect 21, Spirit 22
- Passive Racial Trait - Heroic Presence: Strength, Agility and Intellect scale by level.
- Passive Racial Trait - Gemcutting Training: +10 to Jewelcrafting skill.
- Passive Racial Trait - Shadow Resistance: Draenei have 1% Shadow Resistance.
- Racial Power - Gift of the Naaru: Instant Cast healing spell with 40 yard range and 3 min cooldown, heals the target for 20% of the caster's total health over 5 seconds.
It bears mentioning that the draenei are (or rather were, as the arguments have faded over time) a huge source of skub for many /tg/ fans. The biggest and most prominent complaint is that they make absolutely no sense as a fantasy race, because they're "too science-fictiony". Anyone with their head screwed on calls this one of the stupidest arguments ever made, for two main reasons:
First, sci-fi and fantasy have cross-pollinated each other since before the very beginning of RPGs. Gary Gygax himself wrote Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, in which an alien spaceship has crash-landed on Greyhawk; whilst Mystara was supposed to be the far-future of Blackmoor. Conan the Barbarian encountered an alien sorcerer who flew to Hyborea from another world in one of his first stories, something Conan the Adventurer gave homage to by having an episode where Conan rescued an alien ape-man wizard who travelled between worlds in a comet-like magic-fueled spaceship.
Second, Science Fantasy exists amongst the list of Setting Aesthetics for a reason. Star Wars and Warhammer 40,000 are themselves examples of the Science Fantasy setting. And the draenei are perfectly suited for it; their "spaceships" are actually giant fortresses that use divine magic to propel them between worlds and planes - something that would fit right into Spelljammer or any other cosmic D&D setting.
Another argument that the draenei prompted was when 4th edition D&D was revealed, proponents of the "4e is WoW!" argument loved to point to tieflings and assert that they were clearly made to resemble draenei. Of course, these people didn't tend to admit that the draenei look was all but identical to the diabolus, a Mystaran race that came out decades earlier.
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If you look even remotely into the draenei fandom, you'll see the females are lavished with praise, attention and affection; male draenei fans are comparatively few and far between. And, really, it's no surprise; Blizzard seems to have gone out of its way to make them enticing. Not only is the draenei female form visibly similar to the Warcraft version of the succubus, giving them a classic "inhuman yet sexy" look, but there's also their canonical playful and flirty attitudes, their strong affiliation with the Light and thus a racial proclivity towards being Paladins (why's that matter? Two words: Naughty Nuns. Want another two words? Forbidden Fruit), a certain use for female Draenei's horns (built-in handlebars) and their Slavic-accented vocals from the game proper.
As a result, female draenei cheesecake and porn is pretty much everywhere. That said, collectors had best beware; for some reason, draenei dickgirls are hugely popular in those corners of the web where /tg/ and /d/ meet.