Further to the idea mentioned below that orcs are so Tolkein they exert a kind of gravitational pull on fantasy settings thinking about alternative array of humanoids.
- Merge Dark Elves and Vampires: Dark Elves abandoned their god for some reason so lost immortality, one branch developed vampirism as alternative, voluntary not forced, bitten don’t turn into vampires but mind controlled instead, prefer humans, own realm, fighter-sorcerors. Branch left behind became mortal, worship Lady Twilight, morally ambiguous, rogue-wizards, own city.
- Merge goblins, Norse dark elves, pixies, leprechauns etc into Goblin nature spirits, each unique, wild and strange magic, represents the terrain so some shy and mischievous, some malicious. Mischievous will do minor harm unless pay a minor toll, boon for major toll, malicious more major harm
- Some alternative to orcs as staple monsters, terrain related maybe: mountains/hills ogres/giants, swamp/marsh ?, forest ?
Rogue-ish mortal Elves: Silver Elves, grey-blue, silver hair, Lady Twilight
Vampire elves: Black Elves, albino, black hair (Elric theme), evil god or gods
Goblin Sprites: Hobs, small, excellent at hiding, magical, unique, random
Orc alternatives: make regional
- forest region: satyrs
- plains region: centaurs
- hill/mountain region: giants/ogres