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  1. #21
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    There are tons of anachronisms in the d&d representation of medieval Europe. I see no reason not to include characters and NPC with a variety of skin tones, facial features, hair-types, etc. That does not have to be attached to modern racial politics or the history of prejudice/racism against certain groups. Players have every right to choose a character that looks like them in important ways.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ppaladin123 View Post
    There are tons of anachronisms in the d&d representation of medieval Europe. I see no reason not to include characters and NPC with a variety of skin tones, facial features, hair-types, etc. That does not have to be attached to modern racial politics or the history of prejudice/racism against certain groups. Players have every right to choose a character that looks like them in important ways.
    Exactly right, BUT because of the predominantly Eurocentric world design, such PCs will be the exception by far, and will tend not to be natives of the local cultures around which the settings revolve. Their cultures will be largely "off-screen."

  3. #23
    I think the broad answer to the question revolves around other questions:

    Do geographical areas in your gameworld tend to have large concentrations of similar looking people? That is... is part of the game world "black", another part "white", another part "asian", etc...? Is there some place where all these cultures intermingle? Is there any obligation of a DM to focus attention on any of these particular areas?

    I've made room in my gameworld for "african" and "persian" type cultures. But these are across the sea from my main area of concentration, which is more Celtic/Roman influenced. To me, it isn't important how common other ethnicities are in your campaign. It is important how the "general" populace reacts to them.

    A "barbarian" Celtic type clansman who lives in the nearby woods is likely to have a much rougher time in a city than an educated merchant from another country.

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    Duh, seriously... RPGs are what you make them, and while about 80% of my players (I'm in Germany) are white, only about 50% of the characters are. The Company of Chaos, for example, has 2 characters actually changing skin color from brown in summer to pale white in winter, a black gnome, and a black/colored human.

    My Company of Cyndu group's over 169 characters have plenty of black/yellow/red/brown characters.

    If anything, I'm more looking at stereotype settings where the different colors always seem to get similar roles than in our world. Golarion kinda made the same error.

    In one of my homebrew worlds, the whites are the barbarian tribes, the blacks the Japanese type martial artists, the yellowish the gypsy type travelers and the red/brown ones the scholars and priests. It was a bit confusing at first but the world is about ready to be playtested.

    I'm totally blind to race, kinda, so the Pathfinder paladin and other non-white icons are just nothing out of the ordinary. And I'm happy that in ways of playing in most settings, race matters not at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Niccodaemus View Post
    A "barbarian" Celtic type clansman who lives in the nearby woods is likely to have a much rougher time in a city than an educated merchant from another country.
    Yet, a captured "barbarian" Celtic clansman enslaved to a Roman culture, might be able to read and write in latin and have a perfectly understandable exchange with a city dweller. There are 'Roman texts' that were penned by educated Celtic men, undoubtably former druids (since druids were the educated men of Celtic society).

    In most campaign setting, there is either a distinctly oriental region where orientals dwell OR orientals don't exist at all. I've seen very few cosmopolitan centers that even include oriental races, unless the former is true.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dannyalcatraz View Post
    Exactly right, BUT because of the predominantly Eurocentric world design, such PCs will be the exception by far, and will tend not to be natives of the local cultures around which the settings revolve. Their cultures will be largely "off-screen."
    But a fantasy world based on an amalgam of European cultures doesn't have to actually have White denizens. White skin didn't influence the European economic system, or music, or anything else (until they met people who didn't have White skin...). You could have a fantasy setting with music, art, culture, government and economy based on England in 1292 and populated with individuals with "Black" facial features and skin tones. After all, some of these kingdoms are populated by dwarves and ogres and halflings.

    I am distinguishing between Black phenotype, and the real world histories, cultures, and languages that came to be associated with it.

    The latter...yes, that would be harder to insert into a euro-centric fantasy game...though something like Forgotten Realms has a world populated with non-European cultures (or White authors' essentialized understandings of these "oriental" cultures).

    It might be easier to explore particular issues like racism, slavery second-class citizenship, colonialism, minority status, etc. using fantasy world analogues like the elves in Dragon Age. But then these are abstractions and don't necessarily speak to the experiences of non-White gamers.

  7. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by gamerprinter View Post
    Yet, a captured "barbarian" Celtic clansman enslaved to a Roman culture, might be able to read and write in latin and have a perfectly understandable exchange with a city dweller. There are 'Roman texts' that were penned by educated Celtic men, undoubtably former druids (since druids were the educated men of Celtic society).
    Well sure. However I'm playing my "clansmen" as being more of the noble savage type. They have an oral tradition, and few can read or write. They have their own culture, and have as much disdain for "city folk" as they receive from them. Point being, they are the same "race", but a different culture. Someone of a different "race" but similar culture in terms of perceived refinement (math, fashion, art etc...) would be much more accepted.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Niccodaemus View Post
    Well sure. However I'm playing my "clansmen" as being more of the noble savage type. They have an oral tradition, and few can read or write. They have their own culture, and have as much disdain for "city folk" as they receive from them. Point being, they are the same "race", but a different culture. Someone of a different "race" but similar culture in terms of perceived refinement (math, fashion, art etc...) would be much more accepted.
    I know these things. When I finish publishing my Kaidan, Japan analog, I am considering doing a Celtic World setting, so I've already done extensive research in all things Celtic, and have many Celtic resources, and even some art.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by ppaladin123 View Post
    But a fantasy world based on an amalgam of European cultures doesn't have to actually have White denizens. White skin didn't influence the European economic system, or music, or anything else (until they met people who didn't have White skin...). You could have a fantasy setting with music, art, culture, government and economy based on England in 1292 and populated with individuals with "Black" facial features and skin tones.
    Earthsea! LeGuin arbitrarily gave the very Europeanesque Earthsea folk brown skin and the rather middle-eastern Atuan folk white skin and yellow hair, apparently as some kind of a statement. She also objected when artists depicted the European-culture people as looking European.

    The world of my Yggsburgh campaign has a slight riff on the 'Cleopatra/Hannibal/etc was black' trope, in that the people of Neria, the largest, most advanced country in the world, homeland of the quasi-Christian Great Church, are black, and closely resemble West Africans - or African-Americans. But culturally Neria is more the medieval Ethiopian Empire, with a chunk of ancient Egypt & Nubia, through the prism of the medieval-European 'Prester John' myth: the great Christian kingdom ruled by 'Priest John', who would save Europe from Islam.

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    But a fantasy world based on an amalgam of European cultures doesn't have to actually have White denizens.
    True, but try telling that to the average person. It's very hard to de-link those two factors- as LeGuin's Earthsea experiences illustrate- even if you're consciously aware of this.

    People have the same problem conceptualizing a sentient sexually dimorphic race in which the females are the ones who are more physically powerful.

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