Dragonlance Dragonlance Creators Reveal Why There Are No Orcs On Krynn

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Talking to the Dragonlance Nexus, Dragonlance creators Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman revealed why the world of Krynn features no orcs -- in short, because they didn't want to copy Tolkien, and orcs were very much a 'Middle Earth' thing.

Gortack (Orcs).jpg

Weis told Trampas Whiteman that "Orcs were also viewed as very Middle Earth. We wanted something different." Hickman added that it was draconians which made Krynn stand out. Read more at the link below!

 

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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Hey, GMfPG said that this is their argument:

You're not going to blunt force them into accepting they're wrong without addressing it through this lens.
No. If you alter even one tiny thing, the story changes immediately. Change = change. He needs prove his assertion that change =/= change. I mean, we can't be wrong about this since change does in fact = change.
 

Again, swap hobbits and 18 foot tall frost giants.

There are several places in Tolkien where hobbits small stature is key to what events transpire. Those events cannot happen if the hobbits are three times taller than orcs.

Moreover, several themes become nonsensical if the hobbits are not small, unassuming folk who are generally unthreatening.
yup... okay I guess if you change it to an absurd detail like 4ft to 18 ft... but that isn't 'put a tribe of orcs living over there and let your player have a half orc PC' by a mile so I am not continueing down this argument any more
 


Xamnam

Loves Your Favorite Game
No. If you alter even one tiny thing, the story changes immediately. Change = change. He needs prove his assertion that change =/= change. I mean, we can't be wrong about this since change does in fact = change.
Hey, I don't personally agree with their stance, but if you don't address it, what's even the point of posting? It's not going to convince them, and it's probably not going to convince anyone else. This isn't a quote or fact we can look up and prove or refute definitively, it's a philosophical stance.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
you said reimagining changes things... we are talking about a reimagining. so any argument about it changing things in null if you can't reimagine without change...
Not in this thread about change being an issue it doesn't. :p

We aren't arguing like you are that change does not equal change. Nor are we arguing that they can't change it. We're arguing that we wouldn't like such a change being the default AND that the change will alter the feel for some people. Our arguments are not affected by WotC reimagining the setting. Their reimagining it is the entire point!
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
This is what @Paul Farquhar was talking about earlier, about this philosophy that has crept into the hobby where it is automatically assumed all playable options have to exist in every setting. It is very different to the 80's and 90's way of thinking were differences (including the removal of races/classes) were celebrated.
That is why some fight the sidebar because it is a belief that it disarms the players from their must-have options

I think it's less that there is a new idea that many players assume that every PHB option is available as more that there is an assumption that every PHB option is available, replaced, or has mechanical houserules to mitigate the lost options.

For example you cut orcs but add minotaurs or goliaths. Or you cut clerics because the gods are gone but you allow druids, warlords, and psions/ardents.

So basically if you run a human/dwarf/elf/halfing cleric/fighter/rogue/wizards, you will have to really work on your lore, have a nice bunch of houserules, or have an established group.

"Because I don't like it" is a valid excuse to ban stuff. However it isn't on its own a strong enough reason to keep many players at you table. Especially those who started D&D post2000.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Hey, I don't personally agree with their stance, but if you don't address it, what's even the point of posting? It's not going to convince them, and it's probably not going to convince anyone else. This isn't a quote or fact we can look up and prove or refute definitively, it's a philosophical stance.
If they can't or won't understand that change = change, nothing we can say is going to convince them of it. Change =/= change isn't a rational position.
 

If they can't or won't understand that change = change, nothing we can say is going to convince them of it. Change =/= change isn't a rational position.
all you have to do is show the change...

show me a story that can't happen or would have to be rewritten ground up if there was a tribe of orcs 'over there' and some times there are orcs and half orcs in the background.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
all you have to do is show the change...

show me a story that can't happen or would have to be rewritten ground up if there was a tribe of orcs 'over there' and some times there are orcs and half orcs in the background.
Wait! You're seriously arguing that adding orcs to a setting with no orcs isn't a change to that setting?!
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
Yes it does. It's default elf history for D&D elves is to kinslay each other which results in surface elves and drow. You keep making the claim that they are importing Tolkien, but have yet to show how they aren't just importing D&D stuff. The best you've done, which isn't anything at all, is show how both Quenya(a language) and Qualinesti(a race) begin with Q.
That...Max, I know we have had definitional arguments before, but like...for real?

This is literally a captial-K "the Kinslaying." It's straight-up taking from Tolkien. Show me where the idea of a "Kinslaying" is actually written into the backstory of ALL elves in ALL D&D media ever. I'll wait.
 

Wait! You're seriously arguing that adding orcs to a setting with no orcs isn't a change to that setting?!
I am. My precedence for this is the first 2 years no one knew not to put orcs in and even TSR writer, publisher, copy editor and story editor let a half orc by without batting an eyelash.

my argument is orc or no orc will not be noticed. The only effect is if the player can play the character they want
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Wait! You're seriously arguing that adding orcs to a setting with no orcs isn't a change to that setting?!
Maybe I'm missing something, but I would think (using Tolkien as the analogy since that seems to be a common one being used) that replacing Hobbits with Humans changes the whole story. Races in LotR all have a specific purpose where each drives the story in a different way. If you replace hobbits with humans, then the whole discussion with Borimir is moot, and they all go to Gondor with the ring. I can only imagine what would happen in the story if suddenly a race of Tortles were introduced, because I can't see how that wouldn't change things significantly.
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
I don't think anyone arguing for setting fidelity would do so. People brought up the idea of changing setting specifics in regards to the presence of Orcs, so that's what people have largely been discussing. If someone had brought up making minotaurs not-seafaring for whatever reason, that's what the 200 pages would be about. Granted, it'd probably be less long and contentious, as the argument about racial restrictions neatly slots into classic "Whose desires matter more at the table?" That's what seems to be the real point of contention (and likely why folks on both sides are so intent on being "right" rather than increasing their understanding).

I don't disagree here at all. This is my point... I do think there are things that make a setting unique or interesting. I just tend to think those things are usually not related to racial choice in the RPG version of the setting.

I also think there is a difference between a setting that's designed to be one for an RPG and a setting that's designed for fiction that later gets adapted to RPGs.

Dragonlance as a setting is going to have a lot of the standard elements of D&D. I don't really think that's anywhere near as problematic as many claim it to be.

Nobody said you would lead with it. Why do you guys keep trying to turn, "Orcs not being present alter the feel of the setting for some people" into "Orcs being present is the only, biggest, baddest concern than we have with the setting!!!!!!"?

My point has been that people focus on the wrong elements when they discuss a setting. I have no doubt that for some people, the presence of orcs in Dragonlance alters their sense of the setting.

My point is that, as a game setting, my level of concern for that feeling is minimal.

What's odd would be having to put 50,000 beholders into Middle Earth if I wanted one that wandered in from the void(another plane) like Ungoliant did.

I have no idea what you mean here.

There's absolutely nothing odd with keeping orcs off of Krynn as a race, but allowing one to wander in.

Wander in from where? Another plane or something?

Introducing planar travel is a bigger shift to the default setting than a tribe of orcs existing in the setting that had been previously unencountered. Or having orcs be prominent on one of the other, less explored continents.

There would seem to me to be several options to introduce a new player race without also having to add planar travel and the like.


And this is just hugely arrogant. You've just declared your perspective to be the one true proper perspective and everyone else's to be "just misguided.

We all get to decide how we feel about the various fictional elements that go into a book, movie, game, setting or whatever. Your feelings on the matter aren't better or more important that mine, and mine aren't misguided or minor just because they don't match up to yours.

I would say that you are arguing for the one true proper perspective, actually. That's what I'm challenging.

Your joke about the Mona Lisa, I think, speaks more to your view than that of others.

This argument also argues that these two pictures are the same, because they share many of the same traits.

View attachment 265590View attachment 265594

I mean, orcs in world with goblins, hobgoblins, ogres, elves, and dwarves aren't really the equivalent of the Groucho face, are they? They're more like an additional tree in the background.

Not that a painting is a great analogy for a game, anyway... if Krynn is the Mona Lisa, what are the players allowed to add to it?

Thri-kreen in Lord of the Rings rpg. It is just a game right? It is not a novel or movie.
Kourtney Kardashian in a Star Wars rpg. It is just a game right? It is not a novel or movie.

Why do you get to decide what is immersion breaking for others?

Actually, Lord of the Rings is a novel and Star Wars is a movie.

I don't get to decide what is immersion breaking for anyone. But I can say what I think are frivolous reasons people cite as breaking their immersion.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
I for one did, I even quoted the ‘we wanted’ part, but I was not engaging with your post when I did so, because reasons ;)
This is, again, the flippancy I was talking about. I think you think this is being cute or humorous. It's not. It leaves me frustrated and upset. I really wish you'd stop. It isn't helping the conversation. At all.

it’s all there in the interview, you just refuse to take the sentences and piece them together (i .e. read them in the context they were made)
Nothing they've said can un-make the argument they put forward. Again, if they had stuck to the one argument, I would have nothing to criticize. They didn't, so I have something to criticize. If you make two arguments in favor of something, one of which is perfectly fine and the other of which is obviously awful, people should be allowed to criticize the obviously awful one. Especially when other people in the discussion are defending the obviously-awful one.

1) we did not want orcs
2) we wanted a different enemy
3) draconians turned out great and got woven into the world similar to what Tolkien did with orcs
4) we do not need orcs, we use goblins for the same role
5) now that orcs are out and unnecessary, we gave them no background story, like we did for all the other races
6) because of that orcs now do not fit

Not actually that hard…
Except that's not what was said. I literally did read it, and that's not what was said.

Their exact words, directly copied, I won't even modify the formatting:
Tracy:Orcs were simply set aside as antagonists that were unique to Middle-earth (despite their generic application in D&D). We needed our own enemy. Draconians not only made our world unique but quickly became an important and deep diegetic pillar of Krynn.”
Margaret: “We had goblins for the soldiers”
Tracy: “Filling out the rank and file.”
Tracy: “World creation isn’t like a blender. You can’t just toss in tropes, hit pulse a few times, pour out something and claim ‘it’s unique’. Worlds have to be organic, as my wife likes to say. All the parts make up a living, breathing whole.”
Tracy: “What people sometimes forget is that Orcs in Middle earth have a deep and specific history and origin as do their cousins the Uruk-Hai. That foundation simply didn’t exist in Krynn … ergo no orcs.”
So, if you're done with the flippancy...I'm literally just going off of what they've said. This is, clearly and explicitly, "Orcs are unique to Tolkien, and we couldn't possibly take them without taking their foundation as written by Tolkien." Except that they did exactly that with elves. Contra Max's statements, they explicitly say:
Tracy: “We studied Tolkien extensively, including attending a conference on his works at Marquette University. We were interested in learning how he created his world as well as how to avoid repeating his work.”
And it's extremely clear that they were very intentionally aping specific parts of Tolkien's work. This wasn't simple cross-contamination via generic D&D stuff. This was highly intentional.
 

Actually, Lord of the Rings is a novel and Star Wars is a movie.
Actually, in both those instances I wrote rpg after their names so I was indeed referring to the games.

I don't get to decide what is immersion breaking for anyone. But I can say what I think are frivolous reasons people cite as breaking their immersion.
Fair, as what one can also say that others have frivolous reasons for wanting to play a race not native to a particular setting.
 

Maybe I'm missing something, but I would think (using Tolkien as the analogy since that seems to be a common one being used) that replacing Hobbits with Humans changes the whole story.
except we know that hobits were a stand in for a type of human in the first place... a metaphor if you will
Races in LotR all have a specific purpose where each drives the story in a different way. If you replace hobbits with humans, then the whole discussion with Borimir is moot, and they all go to Gondor with the ring.
so you can't imagine that frodo the young human with no ambition and no pride could say "Wait, I brought it this far if it has to go farther to destroy it I will do it"
or do you think the human that never leaves home that lives in a small town that almost no one (except crazy uncle B with his stories) leaves for more then a 5 mile radius of said ttown, and just treked this dangerus item 10+ times that to get to the counsel could argue against useing the ring for power?

isn't the traits of 'not intrested in power' the important part?
I can only imagine what would happen in the story if suddenly a race of Tortles were introduced, because I can't see how that wouldn't change things significantly.
I mean tree ents are introduced and are just another race, and urik hai (are those half orcs man people like to argue on that one) are too. Heck the whole story is a travel blog with meeting new people...
 

mamba

Hero
That's not how it works. It's not an opinion or belief that Tolkien's hobbits had those traits. Yes, they're imaginary, but they have those traits that he assigned them. I can't be wrong when I state that. "Could have" is irrelevant since he did not.
Yes, hobbits had those traits, because Tolkien assigned them that way. Are you seriously suggesting he could not have done it any different?
 

except we know that hobits were a stand in for a type of human in the first place... a metaphor if you will

so you can't imagine that frodo the young human with no ambition and no pride could say "Wait, I brought it this far if it has to go farther to destroy it I will do it"
or do you think the human that never leaves home that lives in a small town that almost no one (except crazy uncle B with his stories) leaves for more then a 5 mile radius of said ttown, and just treked this dangerus item 10+ times that to get to the counsel could argue against useing the ring for power?

isn't the traits of 'not intrested in power' the important part?

I mean tree ents are introduced and are just another race, and urik hai (are those half orcs man people like to argue on that one) are too. Heck the whole story is a travel blog with meeting new people...
Is it your assertion that races play no part in fantasy or in Lord of the Rings in particular?
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
except we know that hobits were a stand in for a type of human in the first place... a metaphor if you will

so you can't imagine that frodo the young human with no ambition and no pride could say "Wait, I brought it this far if it has to go farther to destroy it I will do it"
or do you think the human that never leaves home that lives in a small town that almost no one (except crazy uncle B with his stories) leaves for more then a 5 mile radius of said ttown, and just treked this dangerus item 10+ times that to get to the counsel could argue against useing the ring for power?

isn't the traits of 'not intrested in power' the important part?

I mean tree ents are introduced and are just another race, and urik hai (are those half orcs man people like to argue on that one) are too. Heck the whole story is a travel blog with meeting new people...
The ring reacted to humans differently than to hobbits. It's kind of a big plot point in the books. Like, the entire reason a hobbit could carry it and humans couldn't. The entire catalyst for the storyline and plot
 

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