There are few monsters more prolific in classic D&D gaming than the classical humanoids; goblins, orcs, kobolds and many others are staple opponents – especially at lower levels. And they are fun opponents! As smart or stupid as the GM is willing to make them, and with a wide variety of different powers, weapons, tricks and backstories.
For me, they are also often a lazy option. They come with pre-packaged concepts, they are generically evil and most players won’t even stop to consider who and what they are – they’ll just hack away. I don’t advocate too much moralizing in my games, but I like it when the players see the characters for what they really are.
James Raggi, the author of LotFP, states his dislike for using humanoids quite clearly and he suggests using humans instead for anything non-monstrous. I have, as usual, not taken it quite as far as him – I’ll use humans for the most part, but throw in a few unfamiliar humanoid races that the players haven’t met hundreds of times before.
Meet the Anmunak. The original inhabitants of the Vale, a primitive people who once inhabited the fertile river valleys and built their monuments and sprawling temple cities. Their society fell prey to a group of cosmic beings called the Quathroc (more on them later), who usurped their gods and sent their society into a spiral of madness and depravity, and were later displaced by the more civilized people who moved into the valley.