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General Do Your Human Characters Match Your Ethnicity (etc)?

Iry

Hero
I'm all over the place. Sometimes I even flip a coin or roll randomly so there is intentionally no reason for my choice at all.
 

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Li Shenron

Legend
I am just curious about this one- obviously also inspired by the current conversations. Do your human pcs tend to look like you? Do they usually match your ethnicity, sex, gender, and sexual preference? How often do you play characters who don't?
I randomize my PCs when it comes to non-functional details.

A few times I have randomized everything else too.
 




Tonguez

Legend
.It's weird how often I play character smaller than I am-- I'm just a hair under average height for an American man, a couple inches shorter than my father was, but I'm built like a tank. Most of my human characters are a couple of inches shorter than me, and not much more than half my weight.

Given a choice, I'd be bigger. Of course, given a choice I'd also be darker, and have straight black hair.
At 5’11 I’m the shortest in my family (my little Brother is 6’4” and even my sister is 6’!!!) but my main character is a gnome - so maybe I have shortness issues, a misplaced Napolean complex:)

I also tend to play High Dex, Acrobatic characters, which Im not.
 
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S'mon

Legend
Varies over time. About 1/3 my PCs are female. Some are non-white depending on the setting, eg Zana Than my Ironborn Fighter in Midnight was from an African type background, probably Sudanese would be closest IRL. I mostly GM so haven't got a huge range of PCs, and my current PC is a CG male Tengu sorcerer in a 5e fantasy Japan game.
 

Tallifer

Hero
I prefer playing humans to other species so I often refluff the mechanics of a D&D race into a human and use a different ethnicity or mythical origin to explain any exotic features.
 

NaturalZero

Adventurer
At 5’11 I’m the shortest in my family (my little Brother is 6’4” and even my sister is 6’!!!) but my main character is a gnome - so maybe I have shortness issues, a misplaced Napolean complex:)

I also tend to play High Dex, Acrobatic characters, which Im not.
My one buddy I used to play with was probably 6'3", 260 lb and he almost always played halflings, gnomes, and dwarves.
 

Legatus_Legionis

< BLAH HA Ha ha >
Yeah, but if there's no black/white/yellow/assorted pinkish & brownish tones/etc, what color are the humans?
I get that it makes no social difference, & certainly doesn't have any mechanical bearing, that's all fine & dandy. And not having any color, though a very odd human trait, is certainly..... inclusive.

But when I ask you what my character sees, what do you describe to me? Saying "He's Human colored." is bad storytelling as it doesn't reference anything.
Worse, it's going to inspire me to ask you ALOT of stupid descriptive questions about what color non-human things are.
We'll start with Drow....

If I paint a human mini for my character, what color do I make it? I ask because looking at my paints there's many of shades of everything on my rack, but "Human" isn't one of them.
And no matter what color I paint it, how is that not customizing my character?
When I say you encounter a Troll, do I have to explain what hair, eye, skin color they are? NO.

When I say you encounter a Dwarf, do I have to explain what hair, eye, skin color they are? NO.

When I say you encounter an Orc, do I have to explain what hair, eye, skin color they are? NO.

When I say you encounter a Human, do I have to explain what hair, eye, skin color they are? NO.

When I say you encounter a Zebra, do I have to explain what hair, eye, skin color they are? NO.

When I say you encounter a boulder blocking the trail, do I have to explain its color? NO.

Do I have to explain what color the road you are on? NO.
If it is a dirt or stone or concrete road, then yes it ADDS to the story.
If you are on the Yellow Brink Road in Oz, then yes it ADDS to the story.
As it is unique, I will have notes about the size of the average brink, etc.

So to nick-pick about such menial things is a waste of time, to both the DM and the other players. Do I need to explain then also if an NPC had their nails are clipped or not, painted or not and if so what color.

Does it ADD to the story or campaign? NO.
If a monster has it clipped and/or painted, then it is unusual and worth noting.
Otherwise, NO.

If a player decides they want to use a mini that is left unpainted, or one that is painted makes NO DIFFERENCE to the game.
If a mini is painted, what color you make the clothes, hair, pants, boots, etc. makes absolutely NO DIFFERENCE to the game.
If a mini is made of plastic or pewter, or if we use a dice or coin to represent someone, makes absolutely NO DIFFERENCE to the game.

My high school group was a mixed group (ethnic, religion, sex, age, political ideology). We NEVER used a term other than HUMAN to describe a HUMAN. We did not need to. Everyone knew what a HUMAN is.

To say it does, is sad. It shows someone is BIASED. It shows the character and role playing of a PC or NPC is secondary.

To smacks of RACISM if the color is more important, IMO.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Nothing says "serious business" like all-caps. ;)

Of course you don't have to explain these things, but it's pretty cool if you do. Players appreciate detail more than you might think.
 

AmerginLiath

Explorer
In the Dragonlance generational campaign that’s been going on and off for twenty five years, the vast majority of my human characters have happened to be black Or mixed race — despite my being a very white guy. That’s because I’ve been mainly playing characters within and connected to a particular Ergothian family (fans of the setting will recognize the island of dark-skinned seafarers, remnants of an ancient empire). Although I’d hardly think of them as being particularly African — perhaps Mediterranean or Moorish in some senses.
 

Yardiff

Adventurer
I'm a male so I play a male character in TTRPG's, How they look I'll pick an actor for looks and maybe a different actor for what kind of accent if any. My current character look's like a younger Deforest Kelly, no noticeable accent.

My first 5e character was an Eldritch Knight and I choose Henry Cavill who had Sean Connery's accent.

I cant do accents myself so this lets the group know what my characters are supposed sound like.
 

Laurefindel

Adventurer
When I say you encounter a Troll, do I have to explain what hair, eye, skin color they are? NO.

When I say you encounter a Dwarf, do I have to explain what hair, eye, skin color they are? NO.

When I say you encounter an Orc, do I have to explain what hair, eye, skin color they are? NO.

When I say you encounter a Human, do I have to explain what hair, eye, skin color they are? NO.

When I say you encounter a Zebra, do I have to explain what hair, eye, skin color they are? NO.

When I say you encounter a boulder blocking the trail, do I have to explain its color? NO.

Do I have to explain what color the road you are on? NO.
If it is a dirt or stone or concrete road, then yes it ADDS to the story.
If you are on the Yellow Brink Road in Oz, then yes it ADDS to the story.
As it is unique, I will have notes about the size of the average brink, etc.

So to nick-pick about such menial things is a waste of time, to both the DM and the other players. Do I need to explain then also if an NPC had their nails are clipped or not, painted or not and if so what color.

Does it ADD to the story or campaign? NO.
If a monster has it clipped and/or painted, then it is unusual and worth noting.
Otherwise, NO.

If a player decides they want to use a mini that is left unpainted, or one that is painted makes NO DIFFERENCE to the game.
If a mini is painted, what color you make the clothes, hair, pants, boots, etc. makes absolutely NO DIFFERENCE to the game.
If a mini is made of plastic or pewter, or if we use a dice or coin to represent someone, makes absolutely NO DIFFERENCE to the game.

My high school group was a mixed group (ethnic, religion, sex, age, political ideology). We NEVER used a term other than HUMAN to describe a HUMAN. We did not need to. Everyone knew what a HUMAN is.

To say it does, is sad. It shows someone is BIASED. It shows the character and role playing of a PC or NPC is secondary.

To smacks of RACISM if the color is more important, IMO.
I guess I’m biased then, because I think that what your character look like is part of their identity. Same goes with NPCs; I like when they have more than a name.

At a minimum, as soon as I put a label like human, elf, dwarf, or halfling, I give a (physical) description. Giving physical details does not equal posing a jugement on the said physical traits, or for that matter, weighing any importance to those traits beyond conjuring an image of your character/NPC.
 
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ccs

40th lv DM
When I say you encounter a Troll, do I have to explain what hair, eye, skin color they are? NO.

When I say you encounter an Orc, do I have to explain what hair, eye, skin color they are? NO.

When I say you encounter a Zebra, do I have to explain what hair, eye, skin color they are? NO.
Trolls & orcs? Honestly no, not really. Because these things have a defined image. The Monster Manual (usually) gives the standard description for an edition.
Zebras? Probably not assuming we're talking about the standard B/W image of an adult. Exceptions would be albinos & foals.
When you name something like these, specific images come to mind.
But if I asked would you tell me?

When I say you encounter a Dwarf, do I have to explain what hair, eye, skin color they are? NO.

When I say you encounter a Human, do I have to explain what hair, eye, skin color they are? NO.
YES.
Especially if I ask.
Because these things are not like trolls, orcs, & zebras. Their standard descriptions vary. You say Dwarf, you say Human. All I'm seeing in my minds eye are blank mannequins. Maybe the empty wire-frames used in animation.
It's not racism or bias. I'm trying to visualize what's going on in the game. I'm trying to interact with the NPCs you're telling me I meet. I can't do that without a description. It's like when you read about actors having trouble performing against pure Green Screens when making a movie.

And I certainly can't play a character without describing them. As their skin is an obvious feature....
Wich makes your decree that you only allow hair & eyes to be customized abit unworkable.





When I say you encounter a boulder blocking the trail, do I have to explain its color? NO.

Do I have to explain what color the road you are on? NO.
If it is a dirt or stone or concrete road, then yes it ADDS to the story.
If you are on the Yellow Brink Road in Oz, then yes it ADDS to the story.
As it is unique, I will have notes about the size of the average brink, etc.

So to nick-pick about such menial things is a waste of time, to both the DM and the other players. Do I need to explain then also if an NPC had their nails are clipped or not, painted or not and if so what color.

Does it ADD to the story or campaign? NO.
If a monster has it clipped and/or painted, then it is unusual and worth noting.
Otherwise, NO.
You would avoid such frustration by just adding some description to the Humans/people I'm meeting....

If a player decides they want to use a mini that is left unpainted, or one that is painted makes NO DIFFERENCE to the game.
If a mini is painted, what color you make the clothes, hair, pants, boots, etc. makes absolutely NO DIFFERENCE to the game.
If a mini is made of plastic or pewter, or if we use a dice or coin to represent someone, makes absolutely NO DIFFERENCE to the game.

My high school group was a mixed group (ethnic, religion, sex, age, political ideology). We NEVER used a term other than HUMAN to describe a HUMAN. We did not need to. Everyone knew what a HUMAN is.

To say it does, is sad. It shows someone is BIASED. It shows the character and role playing of a PC or NPC is secondary.

To smacks of RACISM if the color is more important, IMO.
So if it all MAKES NO DIFFERENCE? Why won't you tell me what color a human is when I meet them? Why would you disallow me to tell you what color my character/human is?

But I suspect that I see the problem here.

We are playing different types of D&D.

I play an RPG based largely on verbal communication wherein stories are told. In that style of play words & descriptions are important. Even the ones that don't have any mechanical effect or have any real importance to the story. Because they provide a mental picture of what's going on. The DM is effectively the 5 senses of the PCs. It's not racism to ask the guy playing your 5 senses for a description of what your character is seeing concerning Humans or whatever. It's just a detail, a fact of what their eyeballs/senors/etc detect.
And our games don't run on such a tight RL time constraint that we can't spare a moment to add details such as what color something or someone is. That's not wasted game time at our table.

You sound like you're playing a board game. Or a minis game. And are on a time crunch.
 

They don't necessarily look like me and I pick both genders. It depends upon my mood at the time. They are always heterosexual, though. That is what I am and I don't need to play with sexuality during D&D. The only time it comes up anyway is during a bad round of carousing, and then the goal is usually to get rid of the sudden love interest.
 

As a player, the only aspect that is overwhelmingly in one direction is being male. I did a lot of "genderbending" when I was younger, but since I also DM, I found it unnecessary and distracting (watch the Gamers 2 for an example of this). As a DM I have to be whatever the NPC is, so I get plenty of time RPing females.

The sexuality of my PCs is normally irrelevant, since it seldom comes up, but I've played several homosexual characters. The most interesting one I had was in love with another male PC who was a notorious womanizer, making for some hilarious and memorable interactions. The other player was pretty good with it... until the DM gave me an item that gave a bonus specifically for seduction that had double the bonus against said PC (important to note: I never once attempted to seduce him, but we had a check for it because he used it against NPC women all the time).

As for ethnicity... pretty much never. For one I seldom play humans, usually playing an elf or other demi-human (or alien race for sci-fi). For another, since I almost always play in a published setting, I use one of the setting's fantasy ethnicity appropriate for the region we're in. Since I try very hard to play the mindset of the race I play (including the specific human ethnicity), it seldom makes a difference if the ethnicity is similar to my own or not.
 

Eis

Explorer
I kind of just think of a cool concept and go with it I guess. I'm playing a dwarven samurai in a 3.5 game, a human storm sorcerer in a Tomb of Horrors short campaign, a half elf bard in our Ravnica campaign. I generally think of what class I want to play and then leaf through the races until something strikes me. I do tend to play heterosexual characters but it has almost never come up. There was a flirtation with an NPC in our Ravnica game but when she expected me to join her that very night in her bedroom I answered with a message cantrip telling her that patience was a virtue and I have literally never spoken to that NPC again

In video games it varies, I played a dwarf in Dragon Age Inquisition and when it came time to define his look in character creation I was messing with all the settings and noticed that he looked badass as a black skinned dwarf so black he was (I am not black, nor am I a dwarf). Then when I restarted the game a second time I decided to play as a female character and she was pale with brown hair. I got to about the same point in that game both times and it is amusing to me that I realized that without even giving it any thought I chose the same romance options with both characters. It kind of irked me, not because I think it was wrong for either a black dwarf or a pale brown haired Inquisitor to romance Josephine but because I would have liked to have seen the other little side quest stories from romancing another NPC

so I guess I do not have a type, even though I do like dwarves an awful lot, I didn't have any problem playing Aloy in Horizon Zero Dawn or what have you even though I am a 50 year old white cis male
 

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