PCO.Spvnky
 member, 442 posts
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 13:19
D&D race restructure
So what does everyone feel about the proposed racial restructuring by WoTC?
https://www.pcgamer.com/dandd-...-racial-stereotypes/
Bruiser419
 member, 14 posts
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 13:23
D&D race restructure
In reply to PCO.Spvnky (msg # 1):

I think it's unnecessary and simply being done to make sure the game stays "relevant" and somewhat free from social attack.
nauthiz
 subscriber, 659 posts
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 13:43
D&D race restructure
I think it's fine and may be helpful for people or groups that are using the book to learn the hobby for the first time.

It's another step towards making it explicit that while games have a structure, the main (I'd argue inherent) appeal is that you're free to make the choices you want to make to tell the story you want to tell.
Jarodemo
 member, 838 posts
 My hovercraft
 is full of eels
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 13:44
D&D race restructure
In reply to PCO.Spvnky (msg # 1):

The flippant answer is to argue that ‘evil’ races are just people too. #greenlivesmatter

Politics aside, I think it is a good idea to have the option of more heavily modifying a PC to reflect the concept you have in mind. Maybe more racial variants in each racial category, to give a player more options. All equally good/bad in terms of their abilities, but with enough variety to get what you want.

An option could be to add ability modifiers to class as well as race. Maybe a Fighter gets +1 STR and CON, a Paladin gets +1 WIS and CHA. The risk here is further min/maxing a PC, but that is going to happen anyway if the player and GM allow it.

One simple way of moving away from the concept of specific races as ‘evil’ is to change your campaign setting, as often it is a point of view. If all PCs are orcs, ogres, trolls, kobolds and goblins living in a multicultural mountain community that is being attacked by land-grabbing humans and their hired mercenary thugs, then the humans are the ‘bad guys’ in this setting.

In terms of game mechanics, I think that the rules should be expanded to enable the playing of all races as PCs, without having to apply labels. The campaign setting determines good and evil, not the rule book.

This message was last edited by the user at 13:45, Tue 30 June.

azzuri
 member, 546 posts
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 13:46
D&D race restructure
Race is a misnomer anyway. It should be more like 'species'.
Bruiser419
 member, 15 posts
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 13:49
Re: D&D race restructure
azzuri:
Race is a misnomer anyway. It should be more like 'species'.

I agree.
Jarodemo
 member, 839 posts
 My hovercraft
 is full of eels
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 13:56
D&D race restructure
In reply to azzuri (msg # 5):

Good call.
donsr
 member, 1971 posts
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 14:06
D&D race restructure
D&D has been doing this , since before  any of you were born.. i stopped gettign thier Books   at 3.5.

 though the game   was good, it was built to make money. This is  just another step  to that means....

 Bottom line?..your  game, your world... Heck? with out Tropes, there would be no movies, no books..no video games... Just? play how you want.
Madclergy
 member, 70 posts
 I am he who questions
 the strands of fate
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 14:27
D&D race restructure
I think my biggest issue is a lack of understanding. I don't understand how the correlation is being made between orcs/drow/goblins whatever to humans who are suffering in the real world. Furthermore I don't understand how this would be considered an important matter given the plethora of other issues we have in the United State that should be getting addressed; feels like small fish.

That being said, if doing this somehow makes people feel better than so be it, I'll still play the game the way I want to, and handle issues at the table the same way I would have before, with conversation and understanding.
donsr
 member, 1972 posts
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 14:37
D&D race restructure
 its a money thing..  use   the currant  climate  to cash in.  You runa game..and you go out of your way to hurt your  friends?..maybe  you shouldn't be their friend?

  My people came over to  America from Hungary  before WWI//i  do not have a  thing about Gypsies..Magyar  ect ect..I am quite proud of it.

 i did not have a dog  in the Civil war fight..but i know what side my  grandparents would have been on, had they been here...because they came over to escape oppression.

  Real Life..is harsh... and people don't  care too much.

 GAming is to be an escape... leave the RL  behind  while you play... for me?  I won't help D&D  profit  from this... i can run games  for the next 30-40 years, whatever i have left... There is nothing they can tell me...nothing more i need from them...
praguepride
 member, 1639 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 14:47
D&D race restructure
Before people get all "SJW" or "PC" just sit and consider this:

1) Races as we know it have evolved considerably as each edition comes by. In the beginning there was little beyond "this race is evil because Lord of the Rings says so". They have constantly been tweaking and evolving races. The Drow are a classic example of a race that got upgraded was the Drow. By spending time and energy on actually creating a society and civlization and history for them, by focusing stories on their outliers and deviants to show they are not ALL the same, that they have their own paragons and abberants like any other society the whole race was elevated from "just another evil race" to one of the most beloved and iconic races in D&D.

2) People want deeper, more mature playing experiences. Having a race be evil just because is very simple and boring. That kind of black & white morality plays is fine for children but as the artform grows and matures there is a significant part of the audience that wants to see more and understand more. There is a great blog post that talked about how Sauron is actually a champion and a hero from the goblins perspective and it is a really fascinating analysis when you "flip the script" and show how brutal elves had been in oppressing goblinlkind. Suddenly this "always evil" race is a lot more interesting and nuanced if you consider that the manual was written from the elves perspective. This draws incredible parallels to real life where the Romans would dismiss the Gauls as evil savages even though the Gauls were actually neither. Introducing the concept that the monster manual is not a universal truth and instead perhaps a biased piece of work that has an underlying agenda is a huge step for the universe. It allows you to introduce new stories and new twists and turns on timeless classics.

3) Nobody is forcing you to upgrade. It is a lot easier to dumb things down then smarten things up. If you want simple black & white tales then you've got 4 editions of "always evil" goblinoids to pick from.
PCO.Spvnky
 member, 443 posts
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 14:54
D&D race restructure
I feel that changing the entire back history and mythology of a species is patronizing to the current world problems.  Crow aren't evil because they are black, they are evil because the vast majority of them worship a CE goddess. I think a better solution is to get rid of the alignment system.  Orcs raid and subjugate other species, if that makes them evil then humans have been evil for their entire history.

The belief that only white humans exist in D&D is a matter of the game world.  The Forgotten Realms has the same diversity as the real world in regards to that and even better all the nations are technically at the "height" of their civilization at the same time.

I do like the idea of tying abilities to classes though.  That makes it so there's no more "Well I'm playing a bard so what species do I need to play to optimize that?" . I think giving every character a +2 to their primary class stat (or one of them, player's choice, in the case of multiples) and a floating +1 is a much better idea.  Then give the species traits to the character (with halfelves receiving another floating +1).
Madclergy
 member, 71 posts
 I am he who questions
 the strands of fate
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 15:13
D&D race restructure
I know it's deviating a bit to talk about how to change the mechanics of the system, but honestly we could remove stat bumps altogether if we wanted. Make up for it with additional points at point buy, or floating point adds for people who roll stats poorly. You don't need to be extra strong just because you are a half orc. Then people would feel they could play whatever race and class combo they wanted without feeling gimped.
Jarodemo
 member, 840 posts
 My hovercraft
 is full of eels
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 15:20
D&D race restructure
Something to consider...

Like it or not, Dungeons & Dragons is the public face of the roleplaying world. Talk to any non-gamer and they will probably have heard of D&D, and precious little else. Like with board games, most non-gamers will know Monopoly and Cluedo (Clue to you Merkins!) but not many more.

As D&D is the public face of our community, for them to be perceived by the rest of the world as racially-biased, old-fashioned, out-of-touch, etc. puts the games we love at risk. In the same way that the Christian Right attacked D&D players in the old days for being a bunch of Satan-worshipping cultists trying to corrupt our kids, a modern perspective might view RPGs as having an agenda against specific racial groups, the ‘evil’ orcs, drow, etc. Any label of ‘racism’ is unwelcome, whether it is justified or not.

Any work done to promote inclusion and diversity of thinking in the games we love is a good thing. And if you don’t want to buy new materials then that is fine, don’t. But don’t stop others making informed choices about what they buy and how they play.
tibiotarsus
 member, 177 posts
 Hopepunk with a shovel
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 15:22
Re: D&D race restructure
Madclergy:
I think my biggest issue is a lack of understanding. I don't understand how the correlation is being made between orcs/drow/goblins whatever to humans who are suffering in the real world.


I think y'all would benefit from reading The Iron Dream.

D&D's base landscape is based primarily on the works of white men from the middle of the 20th century: Tolkien (whose "evil race" was justified in his own canon, but taken out of that canon is just...ya built a fantasy world with built-in justification for genocide there) and Howard (who believed that black people were de-evolved from white ones and was best pals with Lovecraft). It centres an Anglo-Saxon, imperialist (Tolkien) "standard" culture where the people you're allowed to kill - that are presumed to threaten the white kingdoms by their necessarily savage existence (Howard) are presumed to be...Not That. You can have whatever colour D&D character, but their world is looked at through that lens, which is reflected in the mechanics.

Heck, we have someone up there comparing people forming certain civil rights movements not to be lynched in the street to green-skinned monster races in this thread with that hashtag, and none of the subsequent posters blinked; that says it all. It will take time to see whether this is more than bandwagon-jumping, but hey, don't like don't buy, whatever.
Jarodemo
 member, 841 posts
 My hovercraft
 is full of eels
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 15:34
Re: D&D race restructure
In reply to tibiotarsus (msg # 15):

I did say the hashtag was flippant, not funny, clever or true.

I do agree that the majority of well known fantasy fiction is written by white men - Tolkien, CS Lewis, George Martin, etc. I can’t think of any BAME fantasy writers, so maybe I need to expand my reading lists... I will check out Iron Dream.

Stan Nicholls (albeit another white male author) writes his Orcs series from the POV of an orc warband. In that series the humans are very much the bad guys while the orcs are the protagonists (not nice guys, but not evil). A change of perspective is always good to provoke thought.
RosstoFalstaff
 member, 189 posts
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 15:40
D&D race restructure
I feel the problem with orcs/goblinoids related to real world people isn't so much on the "orcs are always evil" side and more on the "we included some tropes in their culture which previously were used for 'savages' in pulp fiction and dehumanizing propaganda". Oddly enough a lot of these extra traits were added in an attempt to flesh out their profile, proud warrior tropes, beads and feathers on Warcraft orcs, anti-orc sentiment being a part of casual racism by "wrong" npcs

When orcs were porcine and green and just kind of THERE there wasn't a problem, but the creature they were based on in Tolkien's fiction was described as "squat, broad, flat-nosed, sallow-skinned, with wide mouths and slant eyes: in fact degraded and repulsive versions of the (to Europeans) least lovely Mongol-types" in a letter by the author, and that carries momentum with it.

Drow being purple is a less problematic but they still veer into dark-skinned evil version of a race territory. I'm sure the original idea was simply that underdark creatures would be dark-skinned to camouflage better in the gloom, with their descriptions being of ask gray (duergar) and deep purples, but after a while everyone got washed out to actual human pigmentation again

Drow and gnolls (and minotaurs which somehow get a pass when this is discussed) being demon worshippers is part of the old pulp stand-by of the villains worshiping a god who is 100% okay to disrespect and destroy the sacred places of. It's fine, they worship a demon, go ahead. And that, like the rest, is fine if you're trying to get that old Conan/Indiana Jones feel going.

There isn't anything wrong with having an "okay to kill" enemy. And there are several in D&D without ever touching humanoid races. Aberrations, undead and outsiders I'd say are fine to draw a line and say "no, we don't need to consider if social prejudice makes us treat them unfairly".

In setting explanations are good for why a race is evil, better than nothing, but "drow/gnolls/orcs are evil because Lolth/Yeenogu/Gruumsh is evil" is such a basic statement that is AMAZINGLY filled with potential for deeper exploration. The 3.5 PHB notes even good half-orcs might worship Gruumsh as a god of strength and power. Why? Assume that's true in setting, that's a character interaction worth really examining. Drizz't (and the entire faith of Eilistraee) shows that drow CAN break away from Lolth, but are chained by their society and its societal momentum.

At least one divine origin for the orcs places Gruusmh as the cheated party in a division of land between him and the other racial gods, where Corellon (and we can assume his consort Araushnee/Lolth), Moradin, Garl Glittergold and Yondalla snatched up the choice lands and left the barrens to Gruumsh's people. This narrative of a divine grift (itself possibly a fabrication or embellishment on Gruumsh's part) can really help anchor the orcs as not just one of many "savage" people in the wilds, but give them either A) a reason to oppose the party which adds colour to simple "kill the dungeon" adventures, or B) a path to the party affecting actual change in their environment, but using modern material methods to correct divine injustice (the other gods AND Gruumsh's) by improving things for both sides.
Gaffer
 member, 1630 posts
 Ocoee FL
 45 yrs of RPGs
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 15:44
Re: D&D race restructure
I don't care what they do with D&D because I haven't played it since about 1980. My game of choice is Call of Cthulhu which has its own problems with its original source, but has been shifting for several years to try to be more inclusive and tolerant.

From my very first D&D campaigns 40-odd years ago, I tried to make my "evil sentients" more varied than just thugs devoted to genocide and pillage. I think it's good that WOTC are making moves in that direction. Hopefully, it will inspire the writers and DMs to put more thought and, well, humanity into their work.
facemaker329
 member, 7224 posts
 Gaming for over 30
 years, and counting!
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 15:50
Re: D&D race restructure
I gave up on D&D ages ago, because I didn't like the constraints of the system (their class & level character progression, their overly-simplified alignment system, their overwhelming focus--at the time--on killing monsters and collecting stuff to advance your character).  I was introduced to other games that did a better job of giving me what I wanted from my gaming experience.

Now, all that said, I can remember many a time looking through the Monster Manual and thinking, "That could make a really cool character...if only there were ANY kind of rules for making a playable character out of it."  One of the things I liked about Palladium's fantasy world was that, while there were races that could be considered 'monsters' or 'evil', you could still create a very playable Troll, or Wolfen, or Troglodyte, etc, that could integrate into any group...I really enjoyed that West End Games left the whole question of alignment completely out of their Star Wars rules and just left it to the players to decide how good or bad their characters were.

I'm not up to speed on everything that WOTC is changing...but it certainly sounds, to me, like they're expanding the playability of their worlds and giving their players more leeway in how they want their games to run.
praguepride
 member, 1640 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 17:09
Re: D&D race restructure
I don't know either but from what I've read they're just taking an editorial pass to pull orcs away from the perception of "savage mongols/moors" and giving them a distinct flavor and deeper system of beliefs beyond "always evil". The other thing is it sounds like they're looking at a more flexible attribute system to avoid statements like "Dwarves are always grumpy" or "orcs are always stupid".
Samus Aran
 member, 438 posts
 Author, game designer
 Part-time Metroid fighter
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 17:14
Re: D&D race restructure
It's way past time. Not just in a sense of social progression, but simply storytelling complexity. Monolithic races are dumb; they don't match real-world reference points and are not good for nuance. The only time it's remotely acceptable is if like an entire race had been created or controlled by some godlike force, but even then, the idea of throwing off the yoke of the gods or powers that would control you is a staple of myth and fantasy.

Injecting some actual nuance into these races, while jettisoning some of the problematic real world racially-charged elements, is a fantastic idea that will only make the game better.
Madclergy
 member, 72 posts
 I am he who questions
 the strands of fate
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 18:22
Re: D&D race restructure
I am going to play what is probably considered devil's advocate here, but we are trying to fix perceived racism due to the words used to describe a fictional species by injecting more realism into it? Doesn't that seem counter productive? For me at least, playing DND or any roleplaying game is that the rules are different, right and wrong aren't shades of gray. There is a spell that can tell me if you are evil or not, and at the end of the day if I put down a few goblins/orcs/drow then that saved lives.

As an aside; I was raised to believe that words have the power we give them. I had a lot of bullies growing up, and if I believed every terrible thing they said about me I am sure I would not be around today.
RosstoFalstaff
 member, 191 posts
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 18:57
Re: D&D race restructure
And so, with the spell to determine alignment in play we don't actually need to assume all members of an orc tribe are evil and their culture would be richer and more varied due to actually working on it?

So killing orcs wouldn't necessarily be a absolute good thing at the end of the day then?

There's a few camps of people who want this change that are rolled up in the "Diversity in D&D" banner:

-people outside the perceived narrow group D&D is designed for, BIPOC, women, LGBTQ people, etc, who don't like aspects of their group they identify with being used as shorthand, especially for evil creatures. That want to sit and play a game, just like you want to, and have fun without seeing people that resemble them killed or played as criminals or stereotypes

-people who find the shallow nature of the races in D&D limiting or boring. That orcs, goblins, drow and other groups are fairly one-note and need to be fleshed out, and this comes with treating them like people with cultures, not standees to be shot with an air rifle.

There's not a total overlap of "people who think orcs should maybe be less savage and evil for the sake of it" and "people who find Chult/Olman/Kara-Tur/Al-Qadim offensive" and it's important to address EACH issue differently. But under all that is the combat-based D&D's need to vilify something so you can fight it without issue. And that doesn't need to be creatures with cultures, families and the ability for free will.
facemaker329
 member, 7225 posts
 Gaming for over 30
 years, and counting!
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 21:03
Re: D&D race restructure
Madclergy:
...we are trying to fix perceived racism due to the words used to describe a fictional species by injecting more realism into it? Doesn't that seem counter productive?


Actually, I sse it as incredibly productive.  A lot of racism revolves around unrealistic stereotypes of race and culture...oversimplified conceptions of what these "others" are like.  One of the best cures for racism is actual interaction with other races, so they stop being perceived as whatever stereotype was being held in mind and start being seen for the very real people that they are.

So adding dimensionality to something like D&D helps break the notion that "all <insert racial type here> are <insert corresponding stereotype>" and they are, in fact, just another collection of individuals with an array of strengths, flaws, tastes, dreams, and needs...just like anyone else.
Madclergy
 member, 73 posts
 I am he who questions
 the strands of fate
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 21:20
Re: D&D race restructure
In reply to facemaker329 (msg # 24):

Yes but my issue here is that I have never stopped an orc/drow/goblin from sitting down at my gaming table, mostly because they are fictitious. I have also never looked at the words savage, tribal, 'beaded hair' etc in the depictions of orcs/drow/goblins and said, "Hey they are talking about 'x' ethnicity".

I get that others don't see things the way that I see them, but to me this looks like projection. I am going to play extremist here, and I want everyone that reads this to know that I am in no way shape or form advocating the behavior I am about to describe, I am saying this merely as a form of conversation to depict an outcome. With that said, if everything that was created during a time when humans were less 'woke' could hold a racist undertone, and we are allowed to assign that belief based on anyone's thoughts or feelings, then when do we all stop wearing cotton clothing? Do we need to assign genre's of music to specific a ethnicity only?
drewalt
 subscriber, 107 posts
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 21:23
Re: D&D race restructure
Any description be it real or fictional of person or collection of persons is by necessity finite.

It is not the job of a game manual to go into the nuances and logical implications of the state of sentient creatures which exist in a fictional game world.  Rather, it is the job of the manual to establish the typical role of these creatures in the game.  Some creatures will by necessity have to get more nuance and fleshing out than others.  Even if the lore is expanded, not everything can be addressed fully.  Under such constraints it is better to be simple and to the point than to try to address all possible manifestations, possibilities, and logical implications of the existence of the creature.

That's not to say there is no room for expression or allegory of real phenomena, and by all means cleverly written settings can parallel reality even in unpleasant ways to make the fiction more rich and meaningful.  Themes and ideas of sectarian violence, racism and oppression can certainly be worked into fiction and a nuanced presentation of a sentient race of creatures can make a setting interesting.  However I'd argue this has no place in the PHB, Monster Manual or DM's Guide but rather in the fictional settings and other materials that define the world.

Some people are playing a small unit tactics war game with miniatures and dice, and other people are telling dramatic character stories with themes, motifs and arcs.  That sheer flexibility is part of the appeal.

And then there's published settings which take these core elements and do different things with them.  Ravenloft and the Forgotten Realms are very different despite using the same basic core.  The core itself must therefore be simplified.

It's okay to make a game that starts further along the spectrum and a lot of great games do that, but they're not Dungeons and Dragons.  Dungeons and Dragons should give the players the basic outlines of creatures and simple interpretations thereof and let them build on it from there.

What's more this is old as dirt, it's been done before and it's been done better and well received for a very long time, so the very premise of the article is faulty.  Even the earliest editions of Dungeons and Dragons had cooperative, kind and coherent members of "monster" races.  For pity's sake the most famous character from a DnD setting is a drow who completely defies the mores of the culture he originates from, in fact it was so successful the joke is now that it's an entire race of good-aligned rebels.  Another example is the Eberron setting which does something with these ideas that not all black dragons are evil and so on.

It can be done cleverly and well, but the idea that such themes as real life problems of such serious nature are owed lip service by the mechanics of a game is a dubious one.  What's not going to impress anyone though is making a clumsy mash up of mechanics and core reference materials that don't accomplish their purpose.

It is a game first and foremost and the priority should be on functioning as a game over any other considerations.
phoenix9lives
 member, 1008 posts
 GENE POLICE!  YOU!
 GET OUTTA THE POOL!
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 21:51
Re: D&D race restructure
I have never thought that having racial (or, rather, species) modifications to Attributes was a bad idea.  Gorillas are bigger and stronger than chimpanzees, but not as agile or as fast at climbing.  Monkeys are far weaker, but much faster and better than either at climbing.  Babboons and mandrills are more aggressive, with large canine teeth, but that does not make them evil necessarily compared to the other primates.  It is just a matter of the niche each fills in nature.
Samus Aran
 member, 440 posts
 Author, game designer
 Part-time Metroid fighter
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 22:05
Re: D&D race restructure
phoenix9lives:
I have never thought that having racial (or, rather, species) modifications to Attributes was a bad idea.  Gorillas are bigger and stronger than chimpanzees, but not as agile or as fast at climbing.  Monkeys are far weaker, but much faster and better than either at climbing.  Babboons and mandrills are more aggressive, with large canine teeth, but that does not make them evil necessarily compared to the other primates.  It is just a matter of the niche each fills in nature.


That applies mostly to physical traits. Social and mental are a lot iffier. Gruff warrior types might have less charisma to some, but their own people, and those who identify with them, or even respect their abilities (as neighbors/enemies might) certainly aren't going to see them that way.

Mentally, once you're to the point of being intelligent enough to use tools, build civilizations, and have advanced languages, you're all pretty much on the same level. Everyone else builds on what came before. It's more about what resources you have and what few exceptional individuals have developed new ways of thinking, and this occurs from many different cultures and perspectives. Entire cultures and "races" in the real world aren't separated by some hard intelligence-measurement thing. Homo sapiens in the Western hemisphere are not any more or less intelligent than those elsewhere. America might be the most advanced country in the world, or so we claim, but the average American isn't more intelligent than the average citizen in a third-world country. The average American didn't harness electricity, or figure out the physics of proper boat-making, or even necessarily has the capacity for such. Not any more than the average third world country's citizen does.

What maybe separates people in disparate cultures is simply resources. Access to knowledge, materials, etc. Everyone has that, and a homo sapiens is a homo sapiens. Heck, you can take one from thousands of years ago, put them next to a modern human, and barring language barriers, they are similarly equal.

Physical qualities don't really differ much between humans, either. Not like they do with other forms of distantly-related primates; another flaw in your comparison. If gorillas and chimpanzees were members of the same species but there was a lot more variance between the species, sure. You see that in the animal kingdom all the time. Humans not so much, not to that degree.

Fantasy races are all pretty generic "humanoids" who, while their individual traits may differ some, typically are a lot more similar to each other than, say, a gorilla is to a human. So the comparison doesn't work well even for physical characteristics, really, but it works better for that than social or mental ones.
phoenix9lives
 member, 1009 posts
 GENE POLICE!  YOU!
 GET OUTTA THE POOL!
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 22:13
Re: D&D race restructure
So, if a race has a negative modifier to Charisma, then amongst their own people they don't.  Kind of like the 3rd/3.5 edition AC modifier for size only counted against larger creatures.
Prince of Boredom
 member, 8 posts
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 22:39
Re: D&D race restructure
Samus Aran:
That applies mostly to physical traits. Social and mental are a lot iffier. Gruff warrior types might have less charisma to some, but their own people, and those who identify with them, or even respect their abilities (as neighbors/enemies might) certainly aren't going to see them that way.

Mentally, once you're to the point of being intelligent enough to use tools, build civilizations, and have advanced languages, you're all pretty much on the same level. Everyone else builds on what came before. It's more about what resources you have and what few exceptional individuals have developed new ways of thinking, and this occurs from many different cultures and perspectives. Entire cultures and "races" in the real world aren't separated by some hard intelligence-measurement thing. Homo sapiens in the Western hemisphere are not any more or less intelligent than those elsewhere. America might be the most advanced country in the world, or so we claim, but the average American isn't more intelligent than the average citizen in a third-world country. The average American didn't harness electricity, or figure out the physics of proper boat-making, or even necessarily has the capacity for such. Not any more than the average third world country's citizen does.

What maybe separates people in disparate cultures is simply resources. Access to knowledge, materials, etc. Everyone has that, and a homo sapiens is a homo sapiens. Heck, you can take one from thousands of years ago, put them next to a modern human, and barring language barriers, they are similarly equal.

Physical qualities don't really differ much between humans, either. Not like they do with other forms of distantly-related primates; another flaw in your comparison. If gorillas and chimpanzees were members of the same species but there was a lot more variance between the species, sure. You see that in the animal kingdom all the time. Humans not so much, not to that degree.


But, as an example, humans and orcs are different "species". That's one of the biggest problems with D&D, the fact that they used the term "race" vice "species". So yes, a homo sapiens is a homo sapiens, but an orc is NOT a homo sapiens. And given that, they absolutely can have a lower, or higher, natural intelligence than a human. Just as they might be stronger or have a higher constitution, based on having a different physiology.

The differences are not just cultural, but also speciel (not a real word but it's in urban dictionary). Dogs behave differently from cats, not just because they look different and have different cultures, but because they are inherently different creatures. Can a dog be taught to bathe itself and use a litter box? Sure, but it's not a natural tendency. Cats are carnivores, dogs are omnivores, etc.

Perhaps violence is the natural tendency for the orc species. Perhaps there is an anthropological reason for it, or perhaps a particular hormone in higher concentrations than in the other species. Could an individual orc be taught to fight/supress it? Sure. Maybe even there are orcs who are born with unusually low levels of said hormone and thus aren't as violent and as a result tend to think things through more intellectually. But the "average" orc has violent tendencies because of their species' physiological traits, which might be amplified by their culture.

By trying to treat orcs as simply humans with sharp teeth, you're actually anthropomorphizing them in a way that might be inappropriate.
Samus Aran
 member, 441 posts
 Author, game designer
 Part-time Metroid fighter
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 22:46
Re: D&D race restructure
If we're trying to be "realistic," every tribe in every race would have Charisma penalties anywhere but their own region. Some gentrified country royalty old money is going to suffer penalties among loutish New Yorkers, and vice versa.

If we don't want to go that crazy, better to jettison the archaic concept which never really fit the rules well in the first place.

This message was last edited by the user at 23:07, Tue 30 June.

PCO.Spvnky
 member, 444 posts
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 22:56
Re: D&D race restructure
Well, in 5e they have mostly gotten rid of minuses to attributes.
ricosuave
 member, 151 posts
 joined 6/27/2002
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 23:07
Re: D&D race restructure

I think saying that a gorilla being more different compared to an orc in regards to humans is a ridiculous statement.


The very idea that Orcs, or gnomes, or [insert fantasy race here] are nigh identical to humans as to not have any adjustments to any attributes is mind boggling.


Orcs are no more or less closer genetically to humans as a dolphin or a pig is to a human.

For me is it simple for one to understand that two beings with completely different physiologies are going to have different attributes in their mental acuity or physical ability.


to say otherwise I feel is tantamount to saying that fish can breathe air just as good as the owl.
phoenix9lives
 member, 1010 posts
 GENE POLICE!  YOU!
 GET OUTTA THE POOL!
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 23:10
Re: D&D race restructure
In reply to Prince of Boredom (msg # 30):

quote:
But, as an example, humans and orcs are different "species". That's one of the biggest problems with D&D, the fact that they used the term "race" vice "species". So yes, a homo sapiens is a homo sapiens, but an orc is NOT a homo sapiens. And given that, they absolutely can have a lower, or higher, natural intelligence than a human. Just as they might be stronger or have a higher constitution, based on having a different physiology.

Except, in Dungeons and Dragons, are they really different a species?  It has been established in D&D canon that humans can produce viable offspring with dwarves (muls in Dark Sun), elves, orcs, and even ogres.  In one setting, there are even trollkin, who seem to be hybrid human-trolls.  That would mean, in real world terms, that their DNA is at least a 98% match to human.  Like chimpanzees in the real world.  If someone chose to, it would be possible to hybridize a human-chimpanzee.  But, how closw genetically are gorillas, chimps, mandrills, and monkeys to each other?  The question becomes:  If a human can breed with them, then how human are they really?

This message was last edited by the user at 00:44, Wed 01 July.

evileeyore
 member, 352 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 23:24
Re: D&D race restructure
Bruiser419:
I think it's unnecessary and simply being done to make sure the game stays "relevant" and somewhat free from social attack.

Yup.  It's a whole lot of virtue signaling.

Granted, it won't affect my games*.  If I decide Drow are Evil because they're EVIL (because they're drawn that way†), then they're Evil, ain't no two ways about it.  In fact, i'm willing to bet it affects less than 10% of the games out there being run.  The only negative effect this will have is a chilling on how races are built in the mainstream RPG games and at how races are depicted in con games (but like that's always been on, like how Characters couldn't be homosexual in games run at GENCon in the 80s-90s, this is just the pendulum swinging wildly again).


*  I don't play or run D&D.  And even if I did, someone else's Critical Theory rules have no bearing on how I run my games.

†  Or because they have Australian accents and thus are all criminals‡... https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Eb...t=jpg&name=large

‡  I kid, I kid.
witchdoctor
 member, 184 posts
 ᏣᏔᎩ
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 23:30
Re: D&D race restructure
I told myself I wouldn't be look at this thread...but here I am.

  There's a lot of moving parts to this issue and so far most of them have had at least one person comment on said parts.  The important part is he going to get post in the conversation, however, and it's the part that actually needs discussion in the gaming community.
  The issue isn't that the differing species get attribute adjustments, it isn't "perceived" racism. The racism is grandfathered in from the start (as Tibio and others mentioned with Tolkein, R.E. Howard, Lovecraft, get al.) and perpetuated by ignorance...and I don't mean that perjoratively.  The ignorance I'm referring to is just not knowing any better.

  RPG games are dominated by the majority straight(ish) white male player and most of the games that we all play and love cater to that mindset unintentionally.  Most of the game and supplement writers are also white and it creates a space that is mostly without a voice for anyone outside that majority mindset.  I don't believe it's out of overt malice that racial insensitivity occurs, but it occurs and occurs A LOT, it's just that it doesn't register with most people because it doesn't affect them.  But it affects me and I see it.  I've seen it all my life in just about every medium enjoyed in the U.S. and abroad.

  The issue is in racial coding, stereotyping and Othering.  Goblins, trolls, minotaurs and other fantasy (or even alien) species get racially coded to cover a lot of cultures Western Society has clashed with and it's nothing new to the fantasy or sci-fi genre.  That's a thinly-veiled trope that's been around since the beginning and for the reason you think it's for.  It's Othering and Dehumanizing, sometimes unintentional and sometimes very intentional.
  It's very easy to slide a cultural/racial stereotype onto a fictional construct because it's easier than coming up with something new or invented.  (And it's not just new GMs that do it...Hollywood is just as guilty.  I'm looking at you, James Cameron' Avatar.) The issue with comes when there are people from those cultures who see that, who see how you treat them and think less of them, by doing so. It's reducing someone to feeling less than human by copy/pasting them onto a race that's meant to be enemies to the heroes, opposed to everything 'goodness and 'right'.  I've felt that way since I started playing.
  When I was younger I'd try to laugh it off or just push it down and enjoy what I could in those games but in the end it all tasted like ashes when you felt like that.  I never spoke up then because I liked playing and I thought I'd get excluded if I said anything or corrected anyone.  When you're young and weird and the only non-white kid at the table, it's hard to stick up for yourself.  I'm glad the time has come that companies are open to having the conversation about inclusivity and being racially sensitive and making a point to educate their mostly white base that they're not the only people who play these kinds of games.  I'm glad that the entertainment industry as a whole is taking a closer look at the scope of their influence and reach and how it affects everyone in their audience.
Korentin_Black
 member, 556 posts
 I remember when all
 this was just fields...
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 23:53
Re: D&D race restructure

 I'm left wondering how much of the kerfuffle is about them actually doing this, and how much is about the perception of it as a virtue signal, whether for better or worse.

 Because as others have quite rightly pointed out, this ain't new. Forget Orcs and Drow, they've made a point in editions going back a long way of fleshing out individuals and sub-groups in campaigns, from the Lizardfolk getting screen time in Neverwinter Nights 2 and nuance in assorted FE modules and plot suggestions to Gnolls steadily getting more love edition by edition.
 Hell, going back to Orcs, Obould Many-Arrows set about kicking the legs out from under the 'always savage, rarr' table years ago by creating a kingdom. More nuance, more character, more depth always gives an option for more storytelling if you want to use it and D&D's been doing that for years.

 As for racial modifiers, well... yeah. I mean we stopped giving female humans a strength cap lower than males with what, third edition? (possibly out of fear that someone like Jessica Fithen would turn up, stare at them and just flip their cars over one by one, one-handed without saying a word or breaking eye contact) but different species (let's write off interspecies breeding as 'a side effect of magic' for now) probably should have different traits - even charisma is negotiable, as perhaps that species simply doesn't form as tight a series of social bonds as humans (who are ridiculously prone to forming social bonds with anything, up to and including inanimate objects).

 They've been doing this for years, bit by bit because it makes for better games and better stories and yes, you can always just run the enemy as 'bad because, rarr' if you want.

 So... Perhaps we should be fussing less about the fantasy game waving its little flag and more about real things? I don't know, I just play games here.
Ameena
 member, 211 posts
Wed 1 Jul 2020
at 09:41
Re: D&D race restructure
Really, the main thing I take from this thread is "Do away with the Alignment system". I don't bother with it myself, as a player or a GM (I favour Fourth Edition DnD, which has an alignment calld "Unaligned", which is the only one I've ever used :P). There is no such thing as "good" or "evil", really - they are just comparative terms defined only by the opinion of the person making the observation at the time. Something that one person calls "evil" might be perfectly acceptable and understandable to someone else, and vice-versa for "good" things.

It's like any historical or fictional society that says things like "Killing is bad - you murdered a guy so we are going to execute you for it", which basically translates to "We've decided that killing is bad, but only if it's someone else doing it - when we do it, we give it a different name as well and that all makes it fine".

It's not what race/species someone is, it's what they do that counts :P. Societal differences (be it between individuals in the same society or whole societies separate from each other) have caused issues for a very long time now, and I don't suppose that's about to change any time soon. It just needs more interaction, education, understanding, all that kind of thing, without people just collating all individuals of similar characteristics together and giving them one big label (with all the properties such a label implies, be they accurate or not). Sure, such labelling makes things easier, it makes people easier to categorise, but one size does certainly not fit all in such cases, and far too many people don't seem to want to care about that. Plenty of people don't want to understand how "those people" think or feel, because that would make it harder to be unpleasant to them. Because being unpleasant to them is...well, I don't know...beneficial in some way? Makes them feel superior? I don't really know :P.
praguepride
 member, 1642 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Wed 1 Jul 2020
at 12:37
Re: D&D race restructure
Korentin_Black:
I'm left wondering how much of the kerfuffle is about them actually doing this, and how much is about the perception of it as a virtue signal, whether for better or worse.


In my experience people use the word "virtue signalling" completely wrong. They are projecting their own views onto the those around them to justify their actions.

D&D for years now has consistently been trying to make itself more accessible to a wider demographic. That isn't virtue signalling, that is consistent directed behavior.

Virtue signalling is effectively another word for hypocrisy. Making some trivial change here to pretend to making a bigger change there. Walmart spending millions of dollars on "Our workes are national heroes" ads while still paying them garbage and not giving them protection is virtue signallng.

Changing both the lore and the mechanics underpinning some of their most iconic races as a way to shed racial stereotyping undertones is not a trivial change. D&D also does not have a strong history of being specifically exclusive but instead WotC have been slowly shedding that kind of baggage they inherited from older lore.

So no, objectively speaking it isn't virtue signalling by the nature of their actions. I cannot believe it is so unfathomable that a business would try to expand their audience base and grow their market. Follow the $$$. It doesn't matter if the changes are for selfish or selfless purposes, if it results in real change then it isn't "virtue signalling".
Low Key
 subscriber, 237 posts
Wed 1 Jul 2020
at 12:53
Re: D&D race restructure
I've read this thread.
There are points I agree with, others that I don't.

But, rather than argue any of that, there's something that I think has been lost in the 'should different fantasy races/species have different stats' and 'is this earnest or virtual signalling' and 'is alignment the real problem' talk.
And I totally understand why the talk went there. We're gamers. We see the game, the setting/rules are a tool to that end.

The thing that has been lost is:

D&D, currently, has an intrinsic message built into it that says to some people "this game is not for you"

That, to me, is sad.
If this genuinely changes that, then hooray!

If you disagree that that message exists- then that message isn't for you. The game is for you, whether you want to play or not.

If you've never noticed that message - that's ok. But don't argue it doesn't exist because you didn't see it.
And don't mourn it's removal. The game without that message will be ok too, promise!

If you think the message doesn't need removing - as mentioned previously D&D is the face of roleplaying. That means the way people outside the hobby see D&D is how they see roleplaying. So, for better or for worse, D&D has to act as ambassador for all RPGs. Removing the message that some people aren't welcome will be good for the hobby as a whole.

If you think the message doesn't need removing because any person is welcome at my game - that's a nice sentiment. And it's great you run a diverse table. But there are people who aren't being turned away from specific games, but from the whole hobby. This change means that the people who previously never got to any gaming table because of the message that they weren't welcome in the hobby as a whole can now ask to play at your gaming table, or another, similar one.

Note: I don't know, or need to know, the details of the changes to know that the above is true.
I accept that it's possible that this will be a swing and a miss on WoTC's part. That does not mean that the message does not exist, or that it shouldn't be removed.
Korentin_Black
 member, 557 posts
 I remember when all
 this was just fields...
Wed 1 Jul 2020
at 14:32
Re: D&D race restructure
In reply to praguepride (msg # 39):

 That's why I drew the distinction that it's the perception that some people apparently have, without trying to judge their motives.

 They really have been doing this for years, in dribs and drabs, if only for perfectly good narrative reasons. The announcement at this time might seem a little opportunistic but it's the direction the game had been moving in for years.
Carakav
 member, 661 posts
 Sure-footed paragon
 of forthright dude.
Wed 1 Jul 2020
at 15:03
Re: D&D race restructure
I think there is an extreme that this can be taken to. Of course, what WotC is doing in this particular case isn't extreme in the slightest, but I would say that making it so that the races/species have few or no mechanical differences does run the risk of killing the very point that diversity is strength.

A persons heritage or physical form doesn't have to define them, but it's also not just casual window-dressing. Great stories are often about those who overcome disabilities or biases that they are born with or raised to believe, and the lesson we should all take to heart is that we should embrace the cards we are dealt in life.

As always, it's up to the DMs to make sure their parties are telling the stories they need to tell, and bringing the range of diverse skills/outlooks to the table that they'll need to overcome obstacles.
Samus Aran
 member, 442 posts
 Author, game designer
 Part-time Metroid fighter
Wed 1 Jul 2020
at 15:10
Re: D&D race restructure
Carakav:
I think there is an extreme that this can be taken to. Of course, what WotC is doing in this particular case isn't extreme in the slightest, but I would say that making it so that the races/species have few or no mechanical differences does run the risk of killing the very point that diversity is strength.

A persons heritage or physical form doesn't have to define them, but it's also not just casual window-dressing. Great stories are often about those who overcome disabilities or biases that they are born with or raised to believe, and the lesson we should all take to heart is that we should embrace the cards we are dealt in life.

As always, it's up to the DMs to make sure their parties are telling the stories they need to tell, and bringing the range of diverse skills/outlooks to the table that they'll need to overcome obstacles.


I hope they don't homogenize them mechanically—I like the different ancestries (as PF2E puts it) having different abilities. In fact, I hope they go harder at differentiating them, again like PF2E with lots more feats/abilities to become a better exemplar of the species. However, I think the social and especially mental hindrances are what they're looking at, and what they should look at. Even simple things like taking penalties away goes a long way because of how they work, and how we perceive them psychologically. If High Elves are meant to be the smartest and most arcane of races, them getting a bonus is enough; it has a lot of a different feel than "-2 Intelligence," you know?
Der Rot Konig
 member, 226 posts
 Educated Pirate
Wed 1 Jul 2020
at 18:38
Re: D&D race restructure
I will refrain from getting into this issue on a serious level but I will say this much...

I'm an old school player of D&D meaning 1st and 2nd edition.  I've never picked up anything after that as it was no longer Gary's D&D but a new companies.  As many have learned, they were interested in their bottom line more than the game itself (Magic anyone).  It also means I was brought in by people to play it, I didn't randomly discover it on a dusty shelf in a bookstore.  These two things had a huge impact on how I see the game.

The older editions had miles of source material...and all of it was optional.  Even the main core rules could be altered and tailored to whatever you wanted.  If you wanted to create a game where the players were all Drow and worked for the good of all, then nothing stopped you from creating it.

Being exposed to the game via people who already knew the system meant that I got exposed to a whole host of ways to look at the game.  They would come to sessions with outrageous character designs that certainly pushed the boundaries of what the 'rules' stated.  It all came down the DM and how he wanted to play it.

On another but related note, anyone who states a lack of diversity or any similar statement in regards to RP games, both table top and online, has never spent time learning these games or meeting people who play them.
praguepride
 member, 1643 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Wed 1 Jul 2020
at 20:10
Re: D&D race restructure
Der Rot Konig:
On another but related note, anyone who states a lack of diversity or any similar statement in regards to RP games, both table top and online, has never spent time learning these games or meeting people who play them.


Really? I know games. Lots of them. I am saying there is a lack of diversity. It has gotten a LOT better, especially in the last 10 years or so but that doesn't mean it's time to stop or get complacent about it.

Vampire the Masquerade relaunched their product to 5E and one of the stated goals was to get away from racial stereotypes to define the clans. No more "savage Africans" or "mysterious Asian" vampires. No "classes" that can be classified as "Italian Mafia" or "Shifty Gypsy" or "Middle East Assassin". Those were actual classes in the game as of 2018 or 2019.

There have been great strides made and especially greater awareness about how the themes and subtext in a game are being perceived by mainstream audiences but there is still a ways to go.
Samus Aran
 member, 443 posts
 Author, game designer
 Part-time Metroid fighter
Wed 1 Jul 2020
at 20:18
Re: D&D race restructure
praguepride:
Really? I know games. Lots of them. I am saying there is a lack of diversity. It has gotten a LOT better, especially in the last 10 years or so but that doesn't mean it's time to stop or get complacent about it.


Yep. I know games, too. Played and written for a wide variety of games, genres, and companies over the last almost 30 years. I'm saying there's a lack of diversity. That there are problematic elements within nerddom that are still going strong in the RPG community. We have made strides, but there's still a long way to go, and there are still way too many people who remains invested in those things not changing.

Fortunately, they always lose in the end.
Hunter
 member, 1604 posts
 Captain Oblivious!
 Lurker
Wed 1 Jul 2020
at 20:37
Re: D&D race restructure
Der Rot Konig:
On another but related note, anyone who states a lack of diversity or any similar statement in regards to RP games, both table top and online, has never spent time learning these games or meeting people who play them.


If I had a nickel for every Human Fighter, I'd probably be able to retire wealthy.   Truly unique ideas are a rarity, as the saying goes: Good ideas are borrowed, great ideas are stolen.   And many, many games discourage....let's call it creative thinking in regards to character building.

Like praguepride, I've been playing for a long time.  I often see Pathfinder games that either are restricted to Core Races and/or a low point build.   Not much you can do creatively there, especially in the latter case.

IMO.
evileeyore
 member, 354 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Wed 1 Jul 2020
at 23:58
Re: D&D race restructure
Low Key:
D&D, currently, has an intrinsic message built into it that says to some people "this game is not for you"

People keep saying that, but they refuse to explain "how" that "message" excludes people.

What about Orcs being an intrinsically Evil race, created for Evil, that do evil, is telling someone "this game is not for you?"




praguepride:
I am saying there is a lack of diversity.

I think you're using the term "diversity" where it's not appropriate, especially as you immediately describe a product that was very diverse, but also very stereotyping* in it's presentation.

* I hesitate to say racist†, as many of the sub-clans were meant to literally be a small insular monotype group, for instance the Giovanni sub-clan that was a mafia family that was embraced, so describing them as "old world Sicilian mafia" isn't 'racist' it's accurate.

† Because in some case they were attempting to be earnest, in other strongly stereotyping.  But also keep in mind, a lot of that came about 30 years ago, so some authors were likely sloppier and lazier in their write-ups than they'd be today (despite being very progressive for the times).
witchdoctor
 member, 185 posts
 ᏣᏔᎩ
Thu 2 Jul 2020
at 00:40
Re: D&D race restructure
evileeyore:
Low Key:
D&D, currently, has an intrinsic message built into it that says to some people "this game is not for you"

People keep saying that, but they refuse to explain "how" that "message" excludes people.

What about Orcs being an intrinsically Evil race, created for Evil, that do evil, is telling someone "this game is not for you?"


  Okay then, I'll spell it out for you.

  When approach a game and you notice that the Evil Races are coded to represent YOU and your culture it's VERY off-putting.  When the others who you play the game with make jokes about slaughtering said coded race not realizing the implications of their genocidal jokes.  That tells me exactly that I am not a welcome part of said game.  It's not (usually) explicit but it's an implicit message and it rings loud and clear.

  Moving away from cultural coding is a step in the right direction.  D&D has been moving in that direction quietly for a while, and so have most other games, but in the current climate I'm personally glad to hear companies like WotC acknowledge that they're making efforts to put exclusivity and insensitivity behind them.
PCO.Spvnky
 member, 445 posts
Thu 2 Jul 2020
at 00:52
Re: D&D race restructure
So how exactly are orcs "coded" to be humans that aren't white when there are actually humans in the game that aren't white?  I think that is stretching things a bit.  Literally the 5e PHB has 9 different human ethnic choices in it.  The forgotten realms has always had humans of every color in it and none of them are considered "evil" in general.  I understand that many games do not include such diversity in them but I am specifically talking about D&D.
phoenix9lives
 member, 1011 posts
 GENE POLICE!  YOU!
 GET OUTTA THE POOL!
Thu 2 Jul 2020
at 01:00
Re: D&D race restructure
In reply to PCO.Spvnky (msg # 50):

Well, there are the Thayans, who are apparently predominantly white in appearance.  But their evil is more national than racial.
Carakav
 member, 662 posts
 Sure-footed paragon
 of forthright dude.
Thu 2 Jul 2020
at 01:13
Re: D&D race restructure
In reply to Hunter (msg # 47):

What's wrong with human fighters? Isn't it how you play them that matters, not what they play specifically?
evileeyore
 member, 355 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Thu 2 Jul 2020
at 02:37
Re: D&D race restructure
witchdoctor:
  When approach a game and you notice that the Evil Races are coded to represent YOU and your culture it's VERY off-putting.

How are Orcs "coded" to represent you and your culture?  (If you meant another race, then please swap out 'Orc' for that other fantasy race)
Hunter
 member, 1605 posts
 Captain Oblivious!
 Lurker
Thu 2 Jul 2020
at 02:51
Re: D&D race restructure
In reply to Carakav (msg # 52):

Nothing, but they're probably one of the top five character builds....again IMO.   As for how races behave, there's always the phenomena where we project our own prejudices onto them.  Which is why I'm always glad to have things better defined by a game designer and/or studio.
Kagekiri
 member, 191 posts
Thu 2 Jul 2020
at 02:57
Re: D&D race restructure
Carakav:
What's wrong with human fighters?


...they're dirty humans. (joking)

Seriously though. This is how I feel. Pathfinder characters with three archetypes stacked on each other (not sure if this is actually possibly, just hyperpolizing) don't really strike me as inherently more creative or interesting than a vanilla fighter. I'm much more interested in what a character thinks, wants, is hurt by, etc.
CaptainHellrazor
 member, 44 posts
Thu 2 Jul 2020
at 03:07
Re: D&D race restructure
It's amazing the lengths some people will take to get noticed.  D&D is a game, played mostly in the privacy of people's homes and the people who criticize the loudest are often those who know the least about a subject.  D&D will always have it's detractors, that will never change, nor will the attitude of the critics, most of whom have so little imagination they would not know how to paint one of our miniatures.  If someone wants to buy Oriental Adventures who cares?  If someone is so offended by Oriental Adventures they want it banned, well good luck with that.  It's a game!  It's a Fantasy Game, it's a Fantasy Role Playing GAME.  IT'S NOT REAL!!!!!  People do all sorts of things in games they would never do in real life, including being a racist.  I don't know about the rest of you, but given the choice I would rather see people be racist in a game instead of real life (and no I am not condoning racism).

It seems to me the problem is not and never has been, the game.  The problem is a small percentage of people who play the game and a big percentage of people who DON'T play the game.

If you want to change the real world then doing something constructive in the real world is probably a better place to start than in a fantasy, make believe, made up world.

So now I have to tell my asian girlfriend we can't play oriental adventures any more, I might start a game where we enslave santa clause and hunt easter bunnies and tooth fairies.  That should offend sufficient numbers of Christians and Dentists to start a whole new movement!
Low Key
 subscriber, 238 posts
Thu 2 Jul 2020
at 08:40
Re: D&D race restructure
evileeyore:
witchdoctor:
  When approach a game and you notice that the Evil Races are coded to represent YOU and your culture it's VERY off-putting.

How are Orcs "coded" to represent you and your culture?  (If you meant another race, then please swap out 'Orc' for that other fantasy race)


I know the reason I didn't get into the how of the message being given is that it's a large, complex subject not well suited to explaining via an internet forum and especially not suited to RPoL with it's restrictions on politics in public forums (which I understand).

If you genuinely want to understand, go do the research.
There's a wealth of material out there.

If that's too much of an ask, ok. But don't put your responsibility to learn on someone else by expecting them to teach you. If you want to know, find out. Asking is one tool available to you, but from your earlier comment (that no one is explaining the how to you) asking hasn't worked. So try a different tool.
evileeyore
 member, 356 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Thu 2 Jul 2020
at 12:55
Re: D&D race restructure
Low Key:
I know the reason I didn't get into the how of the message being given is that it's a large, complex subject not well suited to explaining via an internet forum and especially not suited to RPoL with it's restrictions on politics in public forums (which I understand).

No it isn't, it's simple.

For instance, if I say I can't stand Corrie's portrayal of elves, they are problematic.  It's because he portrays those who live in trailers as "the lowest common denominators, white trash, universally uneducated, and lacking in quickness and complexity of thought" and note I grew up in trailers, well, it's very simple to understand why I find that protrayal of white people as 'problematic' is it not?

Likewise, if some aspect of how 'Orcs' (or whatever other race) is presented in D&D speaks to you as being designed to racially misrepresent your tribe, you should be able to explain, or describe, a few of those characteristics, and how they are misrepresentative or problematic.

Otherwise I'm left to believe that you don't actually know (it doesn't actually apply to you), that someone else made this complaint and you're parroting them without understanding (you're getting 'offended' on someone else's behalf and are unable to to articulate the offense).

quote:
If you genuinely want to understand, go do the research.

I'm not going to make your argument for you.

And I've done the research, and as far as I can tell it boils down to "Orcs are portrayal of blacks because blacks are violent and brutish".  Which is a hellish description and false.

quote:
But don't put your responsibility to learn on someone else by expecting them to teach you.

I'm putting the responsibility of making your arguments on you.  Just as I'm making my arguments, which are "Orcs are not representative of any human ethnicity or culture, they do not and were not meant to represent any peoples of the Earth".

Like I said, I've yet to have someone who actually felt that orcs were problematic explain what aspects or qualities of orcs they saw as representative of their own ethnicity or culture, it's always just been "Because I say so" or "educate yourself".

Now, other representations in other RPGS (White Wolf notably)?  Yeah, I've got good reasons for why the Rom in White Wolf are problematic representations of 'gypsy' culture, even singular aspects of Roma culture (like American Traveller families).  Why do I have those reasons?  The people who made those arguments explained their reasoning.

But having good reasoning n one area of this discussion is not blanket coverage for the broad argument of "RPG races are problematic and racist".  We're talking D%D here, not the general category of gaming in general.

quote:
Asking is one tool available to you, but from your earlier comment (that no one is explaining the how to you) asking hasn't worked.

Of course it hasn't worked, refusing to answer, responding with "educate yourself" is the standard response given by Critical Theory, because forcing a view from Critical Theory to be explained most often reveals that it's problematizing for the sole sake of problematizing, rather than for the sake of seeking correction or revealing an actual problem.

And chanting "racist" is the modern day McCarthyism/witchhunt, no one dare stand against the accusers lest they be accused.
Low Key
 subscriber, 242 posts
Thu 2 Jul 2020
at 14:10
Re: D&D race restructure
Except I'm not saying Orcs = black people and then refusing to say why.
I also didn't say RPG games are problematic and racist.
I certainly didn't call anyone a racist.

I'm saying D&D sends (or sent, I haven't read 5th edition) a message that some people are not welcome.

And the how and why of that is far more complex than Orcs = black people or RPGs are racist.
And that complexity is exactly why I didn't try to address the how here. It's too easy to take a complex situation and boil it down to simplistic elements like those.

My argument is simply that this message exists.
My evidence is that people have received that message (myself and another poster in this thread, at a minimum).

I'm also saying why and how this message exists and is received is complex, nuanced, and not something I feel equipped to explain in depth in this forum.

If you don't see the message but want to understand the perspective of someone who does, there are resources out there.
I understand it's frustrating to try to understand something and to feel like no one will answer your questions in a satisfactory way. If you genuinely want to discuss this because you're trying to learn but keep hitting dead ends RMail me. But be aware, I'm not offering to argue or debate, I'm offering to discuss. I won't be setting out to change your mind or 'win', and I don't want to try to have a discussion about a subject like this with someone who is trying to change my mind or 'win'. But I'll answer questions if you have them.

Edit to add: I intend to make this my last post in this thread.
I've made my point.
I've clarified my point.
I don't see the value in repeating myself. I've said my piece, hopefully between the two posts what I'm saying is clear. If not, I've done my best and repeating it is unlikely to help. And if it is but it gets misunderstood (for whatever well meaning reason) the discussion becomes about that rather than what I was trying to say.
So, instead of tying this thread up, I'll leave the floor open to others and leave what I've said for those who want it.

This message was last edited by the user at 14:16, Thu 02 July.

PCO.Spvnky
 member, 446 posts
Thu 2 Jul 2020
at 15:07
Re: D&D race restructure
Low Key:
If you genuinely want to understand, go do the research.
There's a wealth of material out there.


Here is the problem I HAVE done the research.  I spent 4 years of my life getting a bachelor's in cultural anthropology with a specific focus on inequality in the US.  I have read 100s of research papers on the subject, I was a member of the Black Student Union and made it a point to talk to each and every one of them about their personal experiences with racism, I (literally) watched Jane Elliott's "Brown eyed, blue eyes experiment" 20 times in one quarter.  What I want to know (and something that hasn't been explained) is how, in a game that has multiple positive examples of black human kingdoms and cultures, orcs "represent" black people?

I realize that there are racist elements in other games and I have stated that I think a species restructuring is a good idea.  I just don't see the correlation here.
Carakav
 member, 663 posts
 Sure-footed paragon
 of forthright dude.
Thu 2 Jul 2020
at 15:43
Re: D&D race restructure
In reply to Low Key (msg # 59):

Not to butt-in, but while I'm totally sympathetic to the idea that DnD and medieval fighting fantasy more broadly has been exclusionary for different groups (and I've read lots of articles explaining why), I also agree with evileeyore that you can't step into a public space, make a broad and challenging statement, then turn around when asked to qualify your argument and basically say "if you have to ask, you'll never know."

That's its own kind of gatekeeping. Regardless of whether you're right or wrong about a subject, or whether you'll ever be able to actually change someone's mind, you can't expect other people to do the work of making your point for you.

evileeyore:

The most important thing I think to understand about this is that the accusation of exclusion doesn't imply intentional racism on behalf of the people who make or play TTRPGs. It really more boils down to how a lot of writers and world-builders, from as early as Tolkeen (and even earlier), have often used Eurocentric thinking as the default, while other peoples/cultures have been used as short-hand for the exotic or even in some cases, for "evil". The most famous example is how Tolkeen wrote about the men of the east: coding them using a lot of Victorian and Edwardian misconceptions of what middle-eastern peoples were like, and not providing any examples in his most read works of Easterlings who were fighting on the side of good. Over the years, some of those things he wrote about slipped into derivative works, and though the clues might be subtle to the point of nit-picky, folks from those cultures tend to pick up on them. Sometimes without even consciously knowing about it.

Again though, most serious scholars of the topic aren't implying that Tolkeen, or fans of Tolkeen, are intentionally suggesting that middle-eastern peoples are inherently evil or prone following evil paths. Nor are they suggesting that you can't have middle-eastern coded cultures anywhere that fall to evil or have evil aspects in fiction. The point is that when the only example given of a people or culture in your world-building is constructed through such a narrow lens, it ultimately does feel exclusionary for people who might come from those heritages.

Women have also struggled for complex representation in TTRPGs, but from what I can tell, we've made a huge amount of progress in that area in the last few decades. I think there's always room for improvement, even when it comes to how we represent men and white historical cultures (*see how we represent vikings and pagans, for a good example, or yes: even rural/poor folks), but I think it's also important for the audience and people in those groups as a whole to enter into the discussion with flexibility and a "thick skin". To try to make the established 'traditions' work, or to make them better, rather than to upend them entirely. Stereotypes work for a reason; the problem is when they are overused or misused.

At the end of the day this is all really about making a choice: do you want to appeal as broadly as possible with your product? If the answer is 'yes', then you have to give other people from different cultures/races/genders broad and positive representation, and take care not to use things they associate with exclusively as a short-hand for 'evil' or 'other'. If you find that your product does do those things, even if you didn't intend for them to, then it doesn't imply that you're racist or sexist unless the examples are particularly egregious or unless they get paired with other statements you make. It just implies that you either didn't know, or that your focus was elsewhere, or that you had a broader point or context that you could maybe clarify.

At least, that's my limited understanding of the situation.
evileeyore
 member, 358 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Thu 2 Jul 2020
at 23:39
Re: D&D race restructure
Carakav:
It really more boils down to how a lot of writers and world-builders, from as early as Tolkeen (and even earlier), have often used Eurocentric thinking as the default, while other peoples/cultures have been used as short-hand for the exotic or even in some cases, for "evil".

Okay, if you're coming at it from that direction, I agree.

I also don't see what it has to do with Orcs, Drow, and other Evil races getting a revamp in D&D.

If someone wants to say "Oh and the Red Wizards of Thay are getting a cultural update", well, then okay.  That's on point for your argument... but that's not what we have going on here.

quote:
Women have also struggled for complex representation in TTRPGs, but from what I can tell, we've made a huge amount of progress in that area in the last few decades.

I keep hearing this, I keep hearing anecdotes, but I've never seen it.

No, I don't "listen and believe", I'll accept that individuals have had problems, but as a hobby I don't accept it was "institutionalized".  Not when I've seen plenty of female gamers at cons, at local gaming stores, and in my games over the years (by "plenty" I do mean they're at a lower representational ratio, but then there have been far fewer girls and women that I've met who wanted to game or viewed gaming as a positive activity - the majority always sneered "no, I'm not a neeeeeeeeeerd" and that was that).

quote:
Stereotypes work for a reason; the problem is when they are overused or misused.

Agreed.

quote:
If the answer is 'yes', then you have to give other people from different cultures/races/genders broad and positive representation, and take care not to use things they associate with exclusively as a short-hand for 'evil' or 'other'.

Perhaps you should bend WotC's ear, as this is not what they are doing, and what they are doing doesn't really even apply.
Carakav
 member, 664 posts
 Sure-footed paragon
 of forthright dude.
Fri 3 Jul 2020
at 00:04
Re: D&D race restructure
In reply to evileeyore (msg # 62):

I was merely trying to explain the assertion that some people feel 'othered' by misrepresentation, that Low Key decided not to provide. As for what WotC is specifically doing, I believe I already voiced my opinion on that earlier in this thread.

As for what you said about women's representation: your anecdotal personal experience isn't a solid counter-argument. The simple fact is: older versions of the game, and the broader genre of fantasy they derived from (again, see Tolkeen's work as the baseline example. I mean: The Hobbit literally had not one active female character in it. Only three are even mentioned, but they don't actually appear in the story. It was all men.) had very limited, and sometimes even nonexistent female representation. The hobby was marketed toward men and boys, most because it had its roots in wargaming (which is/was definitely dominated by men, even today) and largely designed to appeal to their interests for that and other reasons. That isn't to say that there was no representation, or that some women didn't break-through and enjoy the hobby for what it was, but it definitely, irrefutably, favored men. Especially before the 2000's. Just like video games, sci-fi films, comic books, and most other forms of genre media at the time. There were exceptions of course, but they were definitely exceptions, not the rule.

But like I said, the last 20 years has seen so much progress, that it's even being said that women are actually a major driving factor in the current "DnD Renaissance". So as far as I can tell, that battle is mostly resolved, and it was a win for everyone involved.
evileeyore
 member, 359 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Fri 3 Jul 2020
at 03:26
Re: D&D race restructure
Carakav:
I was merely trying to explain the assertion that some people feel 'othered' by misrepresentation, that Low Key decided not to provide.

Again, if that's what WotC was doing I'd have no contentions with the "this is a good thing" crowd.

quote:
As for what you said about women's representation...

I've never met a woman who said "I can't get into roleplaying because there are no females being (positively) represented in it".  It's literally always been "That looks boring" or "I'm not a nerd".

Hell, I hear that from males as well, ones who enjoy other types of games (board games, video games, tactical miniatures games, etc), so it's not like it's a "females only" thing.  I just hear "yeah that looks cool" far more often from guys.

Unless it's LARPing, and suddenly there are a ton of chicks who all think it's cool.  Though to be fair, it might be the 'vampire' thing.  I've known way more women who played White Wolf's Vampire games than any other rpg ever, enough so I've been in more groups where the ratio was reversed than not.

This message was last edited by the user at 03:32, Fri 03 July.

Carakav
 member, 665 posts
 Sure-footed paragon
 of forthright dude.
Fri 3 Jul 2020
at 03:46
Re: D&D race restructure
In reply to evileeyore (msg # 64):

I think that it's rare for any person to openly articulate why they aren't into something, and that's even assuming they had the desire or ability to.

You may have had some positive anecdotal experiences. My own experiences have been quite the opposite. So they aren't really a basis on which to have a discussion.

I'm also not really sure what you're trying to say. Are you refuting that representation matters when it comes to gender in TTRPGs? The numbers strongly suggest otherwise, especially the further back you go.
Kagekiri
 member, 194 posts
Fri 3 Jul 2020
at 05:37
Re: D&D race restructure
Carakav:
...especially the further back you go.


Yeah... I probably dodged the worst of it (I was a kid at the time), but I did read a pretty sweaty Ed Greenwood module. Half dressed damsels in distress, you know, the usually thing. Nothing morally reprehensible, but yeah, not a big selling point for female audiences. I believe this would fall under the "other reasons" you cited in regard to early RPGs being " largely designed to appeal to [male] interests." =)

Love Ed Greenwood btw. No qualms.
Hunter
 member, 1606 posts
 Captain Oblivious!
 Lurker
Fri 3 Jul 2020
at 07:58
Re: D&D race restructure
In reply to PCO.Spvnky (msg # 60):

I'll respond to what you've said with several thoughts of my own.   We've seen a drastic rise in the general toxicity of Western culture.   At the core, we find social media: sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube allow dispersal of ideals unchecked.   Back when I was a kid, hate and discrimination typically required face to face contact.  Now, you can go to site like YouTube and get the worst and latest instantly; and it often goes unrecognized due to the sheer volume of material.

But I digress.  My personal thoughts/feelings on the subject of race and gender boil down to this: Perception equals Reality.   And sometimes, clarifying things only make it worse.
brokenlogic
 member, 9 posts
Fri 3 Jul 2020
at 09:35
Re: D&D race restructure
So I have a couple of thoughts about this.

I don't think the bad vibes about race are specifically because - for example - rapacious, belligerent, culturally incurious orcs are riffing on a negative stereotype of white people. Rather it's the broader philosophy that race determines a character's capability and moral proclivity that is out of touch with today's values. I can see why a commercially astute company wouldn't want to embed that message in its products.

But I also think that making race so central and indispensible to character creation limits the game. It leads to settings that are stuck in the Tolkien and Star Trek inflected fantasy tropes of the 1980s - like Dragonlance and Discworld (itself a parody of those tropes). And a lot of contemporary fantasy literature has moved on from there: Westeros, for example.

By which I'm saying, not that settings with race (fantasy race anyway) as a major theme are bad, but it would be better for the rules mechanics to make it less central. Yes, you can say to your players, "You have to play humans," but you then lose a major axis of character creation. I specifically chose not to use D&D in a campaign I started recently because the character mechanics made it so difficult to run a setting without race being a big consideration in how it worked.
Low Key
 subscriber, 245 posts
Fri 3 Jul 2020
at 09:45
Re: D&D race restructure
I know I said I was done, but there are two quick things I want to say:

1. I like how the RPoL community can and does discuss potentially contentious topics in a mature way despite there being a variety of opinions.
It's refreshing to see and it makes RPoL a great place to be.

2. Having thought about it, I've taken on board evileeyore and Carakav's point.
The way I phrased what I was saying it was a Declaration of Fact. If I offer something that's presented like that then I should be willing and able to explain and defend it.
So, that's a learning point for me, thank you both. :)
Der Rot Konig
 member, 227 posts
 Educated Pirate
Fri 3 Jul 2020
at 19:10
Re: D&D race restructure
Good lord...I believe civility has begun to run rampant!  And on a forum!!!  These are truly dark times. :D
evileeyore
 member, 360 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Fri 3 Jul 2020
at 23:40
Re: D&D race restructure
Der Rot Konig:
Good lord...I believe civility has begun to run rampant!  And on a forum!!!  These are truly dark times. :D

I like to think that there is a better crowd here in general.  We came here to play, not rant at the designers about how they screwed up Two-Handed Weapon Training or some such.  The later types tend to congregate at publisher run message boards and have the belief that their complaints are never wrong.
Brianna
 member, 2220 posts
Sat 4 Jul 2020
at 12:22
Re: D&D race restructure
Evil/good is relative, and depends on what the GM allows and what the players create and play.  I remember one long ago game where the typically 'evil creature' house band were all benign, and one of the player characters had a tendency to evil.  LOL My cleric PC took to casting Know Alignment along with her morning greeting to the rest of the party, just to see how the day was going.
praguepride
 member, 1646 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 00:30
Re: D&D race restructure
First of all let me say that standing and saying “There isn’t anything wrong” is an opinion, not a fact. Just because YOU don’t see anything wrong with the game doesn’t mean that other people don’t. Of COURSE a lot of this is very subjective. One person’s racism is another person’s joke. Both of them are right, and both of them are wrong. You HAVE to apply empathy and nuance because ultimately you are dealing with people’s feelings, not hard facts. There is no codification for being offensive or taking offense. It is an abstract concept that has no measure and is entirely subjective.

Second of all, let’s just quick touch on sexism. The easiest example of this is fantasy art depicting women. Men are in full plate mail, women have giant holes in their armor so their butt/boobs/stomach can peek through. This is a choice by the artists and the production staff of the RPG and is it is understandable while that might be appealing to some, it is also a turn off for others. In the past the demographics were such that focusing on straight white teenage males as your core demographic was sufficient but times have evolved. That market is tapped out and now games all across are updating to be more inclusive in their demographics. Many games are either toning down on “sexy armor” or at least making it more equal opportunity by putting men in sexy silly armor too. Again, broadening the appeal because not everyone wants to see a half-naked woman running around all the time.

Third, expansion of diversity. As has been pointed out this is a FANTASY world so any arguments against being racially diverse falls quickly into the “racism” camp whether it was meant that way or not. Saying there can’t be black people in the Witcher or Forgotten Realms or whatever is stupid because it is a FANTASY world.

Fourth, coded stereotypes. I will pull up Mystara, an old 1E D&D setting as I am most familiar with it at the moment. The predominant empires of civilization are white. Not just white but Western European Anglo-Saxon white. You find “dark skinned” characters only in savage jungles or primitive islands that are very stereotypical versions of Africa or the Caribbean. Back in the day they didn’t even bother to mask it not because the authors were being intentionally racist but they weren’t even considering how other people behind that white demographic might view the product.

That being said the history of Tolkien races being racist analogs to real world stuff is... very contentious. Yes it is heavily 9influenced by WW2 but if you go deep into the history of orcs it doesn’t get cut and dry. There are some things that lean that way, other things that lean away and that is why I think it is so contentious. If you look for it, you see what you want to see and while there have definitely been individual examples of “racist” pieces of art, as a whole Orcs/Goblins in D&D have not been a clear analogy for Africans or Mongols.

THAT BEING SAID this does go beyond D&D and D&D is the trend setter. Other games are notorious with their racism and one doesn’t have to look any farther then the horrible “Kindred of the Ebony Kingdom” World of Darkness book which depicts all African vampires as animal spirit worshipping savages to the point that they had lore that actively prevented them form being civilized.

My final point on this is that when you are looking at opening and expanding your demographic, of making a bold statement about being progressive and inviting to broader demographics it can be useful to drop the hammer, so to speak, and stomp out even the ambiguous parts. Give bigots absolutely no shadows or hooks to hold onto as a statement saying YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE. To some people it might look as an overreaction, or a cheap PR stunt but I see a similar path as when gay rights were on the rise. People and organizations would not just support them but declare themselves allies to the cause. They volunteered and pushed for rights and protections even though it didn’t personally affect them because it wasn’t enough to just be supportive, they wanted to declare to bigots that they were not welcome anymore.

So in conclusion the #1 thing to realize is that 9 times out of 10...THIS ISN’T ABOUT YOU, STOP TRYING TO MAKE IT ABOUT YOU. Unless you are a bigot being pushed out or a broader demographic being roped in, stop complaining. At best people will probably just ignore you because it isn’t about you, and at worst you provide cover for the bigots trying to be driven out or make it seem to broader demographics that the game is just as bigoted as is sometimes the perception.

Updating racial mechanics and cultures isn’t going to hurt the game. Don’t pretend that this is the first time ever that either of those things have happened. Just because the game doesn’t have a laser focus on your specific demographic doesn’t mean you can’t still play and enjoy it.

TL:DR: games update all the time to appeal to more demographics. Stop freaking out.
evileeyore
 member, 367 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 02:17
Re: D&D race restructure
praguepride:
First of all let me say that standing and saying “There isn’t anything wrong” is an opinion, not a fact.

Yup, and everything in your post is also an opinion (I know you lampshade this, but then you strive ahead as though your are the hallmark of accuracy. ;) )

quote:
You HAVE to apply empathy and nuance because ultimately you are dealing with people’s feelings, not hard facts.

No I don't.  It would be nice if everyone did so, but it's not a requirement for a discussion or even for life.  Nor is it a requirement for creating a path forward, despite what many would demand.

However, let's just continue forward as though both sides should be applying empathy and attempting to understand the other and not project motivations.

quote:
There is no codification for being offensive or taking offense. It is an abstract concept that has no measure and is entirely subjective.

Which is why it is useless as a measure for the requirement of action.  Is someone objectively harmed?  Move forward to undo or repair the harm.  Is someone claiming their feelings were hurt?  Well, that comes down to the individual artists and how they individual feel they need to move forward.

quote:
Second of all, let’s just quick touch on sexism.

Yes let's talk about mostly naked male barbarians running around in the snowy wastes.  Oh, you mean the 'sexy' female armor nonsense?  Of course you do.  I agree.  I've always hated that nonsense, it's nice that it's receding but still allowing for depictions like the Pathfinder iconic sorcerer or Jason Momoa running around with his shirt off...



I'm sorry, what were we talking about?

quote:
Saying there can’t be black people in the Witcher...

I'm going to stop you right there.  1 - The Witcher series was written by a Pole and is a fantasy depiction of the oppression of the Polish people... you know, the white guys in that eastern european nation that gets swept under the rug* every time someone wants to pretend that only PoCs have ever been oppressed or mistreated.

So yes, demanding the Witcher be altered to include african people (or hispanics, etc) is colonization and it's nasty.  Stop doing it.

* Right along with the Irish.

quote:
Fourth, coded stereotypes. I will pull up Mystara...

Yup.  And things are changing... but this discussion was/is/and should be about non-human races, not about ethnicities.  As I mentioned earlier, if you really dislike the depiction of ethnicities in fantasy works, talk about it when that comes up and people pushback against it.

quote:
That being said the history of Tolkien races being racist analogs to real world stuff is... very contentious.

You can either take the authors word or continue insinuating that he's a racist liar.  You're choice, but i know which one isn't very empathic or understanding.

quote:
World of Darkness

Yup, WW was pretty bad in some places.  Conceded and has nothing to do with "D&D and race restructuring".  Besides, I'm pretty sure the Progressives won the war with WW, they've gone really Woke of late.

[EDIT]
Sorry, hit the wrong button.  For some stupid reason hit "submit' instead of "quote'.  Sheesh.
[/EDIT]

quote:
Give bigots absolutely no shadows or hooks to hold onto as a statement saying YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE.

No.

Not until "your side" stops attributing everything to bigotry.

Also, no, because if I was going to kick all the bigots out of the club an awful lot of 'Woke' people would hit the curb.

quote:
So in conclusion the #1 thing to realize is that 9 times out of 10...THIS ISN’T ABOUT YOU, STOP TRYING TO MAKE IT ABOUT YOU.

It's about changing the things I enjoy.  It's about making those things less enjoyable for some of the people currently enjoying it.

So yes, it is about me and what I want, and what I want is for your team to go make your own stuff.  If it's really swell, you'll get all the good people flocking to your products, the actual bigoted products will fall to the wayside, everyone wins.

quote:
Updating racial mechanics and cultures isn’t going to hurt the game.

We'll see.  You're definition of "updating" and mine are probably not the same here.

quote:
TL:DR: games update all the time to appeal to more demographics. Stop freaking out.

Projection?  No one is freaking out.  However some of us have watched the trend and are tired of being accused of 'racism' because we enjoy things that some other people declare to be 'offensive'.

As the great Stephen Fry has said "You're offended?  So what?"

This message was last edited by the user at 02:29, Mon 06 July.

Hunter
 member, 1607 posts
 Captain Oblivious!
 Lurker
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 03:24
Re: D&D race restructure
Brianna:
Evil/good is relative, and depends on what the GM allows and what the players create and play.


Except that good and evil ARE NOT relative in D&D.  The alignment system (which some people hate) demonstrates how the universe views various forms of behavior.   It's not "my race is good and yours isn't", it's "the universe says my race is good and yours is evil".
Kagekiri
 member, 197 posts
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 04:26
Re: D&D race restructure
In reply to Hunter (msg # 75):

Right.

In one of the first actually D&D games I DM'd (I had GM'd other games previously) a paladin player cornered some goblins, who threw down their weapons and begged for mercy. The paladin proceeded to slaughter them without a second thought. I narrated that the Paladin felt some form of disapproval from his deity and warned that similar actions would eventually strip him of his powers, and he went full rules lawyer on me, pointing out that the Monster Manual said all goblins are evil. While he wasn't expressly correct (I believe the Monster Manual said most goblin were evil or something like that), in general his view was probably more in-line with the then-current D&D culture, and I was the one being nuanced and weird.

Remembering the scene in LoTR where Saruman is convincing the wildmen to join his campaign against the Rohirrim, saying that the Rohirrim dispossessed their ancestors of their native lands. This might not have been Tolkien's read on Saruman, but it is mine thanks to Peter Jackson. What made Saruman a good persuader in this case is not that he was an expert liar, but that he was telling the truth. No, Saruman didn't actually care about the plight of the wild men, feigning sympathy was a lie, but he was right in that the Rohirrim did moved into the Riddermark, and in so doing pushed the wild men out. I try to view the squabblings between orcs/goblins and the "civilized races" in much the same way. Who really has claim to the Caves of Khaelzadon? The dwarves might want access to the gold veins, but what if the goblins were there first?

So, I believe to Brianna's point if I may be so bold, nuanced morality might solve 90% of the "race problem" (and in my case a host of other problems) which is one of the reasons I either scrap the alignment RAW or just don't play D&D. Yup, no horse in this race (forgive the pun). =D
dparasol
 member, 16 posts
 looking to uh have fun
 and destroy civilization
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 05:05
Re: D&D race restructure
praguepride:
That being said the history of Tolkien races being racist analogs to real world stuff is... very contentious.


Tolkien described his orcs with the following words: "...squat, broad, flat-nosed, sallow-skinned, with wide mouths and slant eyes; in fact degraded and repulsive versions of the (to Europeans) least lovely Mongol-types." (Since he lived during WW1 and WW2, we should note that racist stereotypes of Mongols were also associated with the "Hun threat," i.e., Germans. This came about by way of associating the Germans with the absolute height of barbarism, that is, the Huns, Mongols, and other East Asian and Central Asian steppe nomads. The notion of martial or barbaric races is, of course, racist as well.)

So yeah, pretty obviously both repugnant and racist.

I, personally, also find the notion of absolute cosmic good and evil to be abhorrent and flatly ridiculous. D&D's alignment system is ridiculous, and applying it to entire species is ridiculous. I think it's a simplistic view of morality and I don't think it's particularly fun.

Is what WotC doing right? Probably, if you ask me, but it's a far step off from really doing what they ought to do, which would be to bring POC in as something other than freelancers or diversity hires, to allow for POC to perform important work, and to pay POC well. (See also: Zaiem Beg, "The Wizards I Know.")
Hunter
 member, 1608 posts
 Captain Oblivious!
 Lurker
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 05:20
Re: D&D race restructure
In reply to dparasol (msg # 77):

Except that PoC shouldn't have a special place at the table.   What about fair representation for the Chinese/Asiatic groups?   And how about the America Indians?  When you start saying: "This group deserves more/special treatment", it opens a whole can of worms that I'm not sure this is the place to discuss.  Every group has suffered from persecution and slavery at some point in their history, civilization is truly built on the work/suffering of those in chains.

That said, I'm perfectly okay with leaving things rather nebulously defined and letting the people at the table decide how things like race and sex play out at the table.
dparasol
 member, 17 posts
 looking to uh have fun
 and destroy civilization
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 05:23
Re: D&D race restructure
In reply to Hunter (msg # 78):

Asian people and indigenous people are POC.
witchdoctor
 member, 187 posts
 ᏣᏔᎩ
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 05:24
Re: D&D race restructure
In reply to Hunter (msg # 78):

No one is asking for a 'special place at the table'; we're asking for A place, A voice at that table.
Hunter
 member, 1609 posts
 Captain Oblivious!
 Lurker
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 06:23
Re: D&D race restructure
In reply to dparasol (msg # 79):

I read PoC to mean black, sorry.
bigbadron
 moderator, 15907 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 12:14
Re: D&D race restructure
This is not the place for this discussion.  Thank you.