Welcome to Ask a Lore Nerd, the column that answers your questions about the story and lore of the Warcraft universe. Click the Comments link below (or e-mail us!), ask your question, and blogger/columnist Alex Ziebart will answer you in a future installment!
Let's jump right in with Tom's trio of questions...
We know what happens when a human and orc cross-breed, but what about elf/human intermingling? Is it possible for the other races on Azeroth to breed and are there any such results of that union?
Elf/Human crossbreeds are definitely supported by lore, as well as a whole mess of other combinations. Arator the Redeemer in Hellfire Peninsula is a Human/Elf Hybrid, for example, and there are plenty more around. Other combinations are valid as well. Rexxar is an Orc/Ogre Hybrid. Gross, I know, but oh well. There are a lot more examples you can add to those that are scattered around the world(s).
There are no hard rules in place dictating who can and cannot interbreed, but it's pretty safe to assume the races similar to one another are compatible. I would bet Dwarves and Gnomes can shack up and spawn, for example, but probably not a Gnome and a Tauren. That's just me talking, though. I could be wrong. Let's pray very, very hard that I'm not wrong.
Why the distinct lack of children for most of the Azerothian races in WoW? Humans, Dranei, Blood Elves, and Orcs are prevalent - where's the rest?
They exist, they just aren't heavily represented in WoW itself. They only really seem to design child models when they're going to specifically put them to use. An orphanage somewhere, or the Children's Week holiday. They just don't have a real reason to model out children for every single race. They do have baby forms of many of them, though. Go check out the orphanage in Shattrath, they have Tauren, Gnome and Night Elf babies that I can remember off of the top of my head. There may be more.
There's no lore reason why there aren't more children, I am sure there are some people going at it like bunnies somewhere. Generally, adventurers just aren't going to go finding a murder of children for no good reason.
In-game mages can portal to capital cities and a couple select towns. In WC3 it seemed as if most mages could portal anywhere. What happened to this magical knowledge?
Again, just game balance. I don't imagine there's any lore here. It'd just be pretty crazy if you could teleport around wherever you wanted, and pretty amazingly unfair to the other classes. As it is, Mage transportation is way superior to everyone else.
What's the raid instance behind Stratholme? After you kill the last boss, there's a portcullis located off to the side. In there is a raid instance portal that's barred off, what gives?
I can't say this with 100% certainty, but that portal probably was supposed to go to Naxxramas, or whatever the first incarnation of Naxxramas was on Blizzard's concept table. It's possible Naxx was just going to be a raid deeper in Stratholme or something like that, we don't really know. So far it's unused, and unless I'm mistaken we don't have any solid indicator of where that was supposed to lead. Naxxramas is a safe guess, though. They just found a better way to implement it.
VSUReaper asks pair of questions...
What is the big tree-like thing outside of Thrall's chambers? Is it a dehydrated skin from a pit lord or something?
Edited for clarity: That's almost exactly what it is. It's the armor of Mannoroth, the demon Grom Hellscream killed at the end of Warcraft III, hung on a tree-thing.
What is the big rotting skeleton from in HFP, near the pools of Aggonar?
That big rotting skeleton is... Aggonar! He was a really ridiculously large Pit Lord that got ganked and now his bloodcandies have poisoned the surrounding area.
An anonymous individual wrote in to ask...
My question is simple, why can't Night Elves by Paladins?
As far as the overall lore of Warcraft, they probably can be Paladins if they devote themselves to the Light, no problem. Almost anyone is capable of it. When it comes to WoW, however, the classes that races can play as are just the classes that would be most common across their entire population. Most Night Elves worship Elune as their primary deity and center of faith and the concept of The Light is pretty new to them. They're certainly capable of being Paladins from a story point of view, but from a gameplay point of view they just picked the 'most likely' classes.
There are Human Hunters in the lore and even as NPCs in WoW, but you can't play one. I'm certain Blood Elves have Warriors in their ranks, but they'd be a minority since it's not really a lifestyle many of them would take given their culture, so you can't play one of those, either.
Ian wrote in to ask...
Is there any reason in lore to explain why Blood elves dont have Warrior as a playable class?
Hey, how convenient! Check out my answer to the previous question.
James wrote in with our last question for today and it's quite a doozy, and it contains Wrath of the Lich King spoilers. If you want to stay spoiler free, you can skip straight down to the Comments section to ask any questions you may have for a future installment.
I saw the videos of the Death Knight starting quests, where Darion Mograine wields the Corrupted Ashbringer. It led me to a few questions: Where is ol' Alex the Ashbringer Mograine these days? How did his son get the sword? I did some digging, and found out that the old paladin tier 3 vendor from Light's hope cathedral is up in Northrend, and when talking about Naxxramas, he mentions that Mograine disappeared after the events in Azeroth, and has not been seen since, and nobody is sure who has taken his place in Northrend's Naxx. As cool as a read as this was, it brought up more questions:
How did he manage to abscond from Naxx? Is he semi-antonymous? Any idea what has happened to him after he gave the sword to Darion? Is Darion the son who was mentioned in at the Scarlet Monestary during the old Ashbringer event, or is there another unrevealed member of the Mograine clan?
In addition, I have one very nagging question. If you've seen the video of the battle for Light's Hope Cathedral (and if you haven't, I suggest that you do) you may have noticed a few things. First and foremost, when the Lich King confronts Tirion Fordring at LHC, he is unable to prevail. Earlier in the fight, Tirion mentioned that Arthas "Knows what lies beneath this chapel."
What could be buried beneath LHC, that would pose a threat to even Arthas?
I really, really wish I could give you a concrete answer on these things, but right now there isn't one. Blizzard is going to be putting out a comic about Alexandros Mograine starting in early September, and hopefully that will clear quite a bit of this up. The whole Light's Hope Chapel, Alexandros and Darion Mograine, Ashbringer mess will hopefully be more or less cleared up. Right now, we really have no idea what the deal is except that Naxxramas needs a 4th Horseman. My money is on Baron Rivendare simply because it'd be awesome.
Kind of a side note to the above, Darion Mograine passes the Ashbringer to Tirion Fordring. Although Inquisitor Fairbanks once told us that the Ashbringer was beyond cleansing, the blade seems to be purified in an instant. Any idea what's up with this sudden reversal? Could the thing beneath LHC have led to the cleansing of the uncleansable?
As far as what Fairbanks had to say... well, unless the comic book takes us to Outland to retrieve Darion, you can probably consider it null and void or chalk it up to him being a crazy, addled undead coot.
That's all for today, folks. I'll be back next week to answer more of your questions, so if you've got 'em, post em!