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WotC Dungeons & Dragons Fans Seek Removal of Oriental Adventures From Online Marketplace

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Remathilis

Legend
I originally read this as an attempt to obscure the sexual violence implicit in the older half-orc lore, rather than to emphasize it more strongly. Mainly due to "crossbreed," which doesn't necessarily imply force. Not discounting your take; just an alternate perspective.

That said, I'm of the opinion that half-orcs should just be retired as a character option, in favor of featuring orcs as a core option, as I'm not sure that older-edition baggage can ever fully be shed otherwise. (Or at least, have both orcs and half-orcs, and treat them akin to elves and half-elves.)

I'm leaning towards wizards retiring all "half-" races. 4e did that for a number of them (which is why we have dragonborn and not half-dragons, and tieflings having a mono-look and origin). The only issue I see it is it would royally screw up the dragonmarked houses of Eberron...
 

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I'm leaning towards wizards retiring all "half-" races. 4e did that for a number of them (which is why we have dragonborn and not half-dragons, and tieflings having a mono-look and origin). The only issue I see it is it would royally screw up the dragonmarked houses of Eberron...

What is wrong with 1/2 elves? There really are only 1/2 orcs and elves ...
 

That said, I'm of the opinion that half-orcs should just be retired as a character option, in favor of featuring orcs as a core option, as I'm not sure that older-edition baggage can ever fully be shed otherwise. (Or at least, have both orcs and half-orcs, and treat them akin to elves and half-elves.)

Orcs were specifically an option in the very first D&D book published and are in Volo's Guide now.
 


That said, I'm of the opinion that half-orcs should just be retired as a character option, in favor of featuring orcs as a core option, as I'm not sure that older-edition baggage can ever fully be shed otherwise. (Or at least, have both orcs and half-orcs, and treat them akin to elves and half-elves.)

I am also for just making Orcs a PC option. That is what I did when I had players come to me with concerns about playing half-orcs with the implied lore (in 4e)

You could then have a system for messing with various combos of racial mixing, but that could be a step too far
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I am also for just making Orcs a PC option.
And then Bugbears or some other creature becomes the go-to low-level mundane bad-guy creature?

You could then have a system for messing with various combos of racial mixing, but that could be a step too far
I've had that for ages.

A long time ago (1985?) I made up a big chart of what creature types from the various MMs could in theory breed with each other. It ended up looking like someone's drawing of a plate of spaghetti only with about 60 or 80 nodes added in; with 35 years of added monsters and creature types since then I absolutely shudder to think what that chart would look like were I to redo it with all the later additions. :)

Then I introduced an optional roll at char-gen to randomly determine if there's anything interesting in your genetics - are you descended from a Dryad, for example, or a Demon, or even a deity; and if yes how far back is that ancestor; and if it's not far back then what if any mechanical and-or stat implications might this have on your PC.

The craziest one I've yet seen was a character who ended up with 5 different creature types in its relatively-recent ancestry: it ended up a bit more than half-Human, about 1/4 Dryad I think, about 1/8 Orc, with the remainder vaguely split between Elf and [I seem to recall Hobbit?].
 

Aldarc

Legend
I'm leaning towards wizards retiring all "half-" races. 4e did that for a number of them (which is why we have dragonborn and not half-dragons, and tieflings having a mono-look and origin). The only issue I see it is it would royally screw up the dragonmarked houses of Eberron...
I don't mind half-elves as they were meant to evoke the likes of both Elrond as well as the elf-blooded Numenoreans and long-lifed Dunedain. Half-orcs on the other hand were largely created for the purposes of creating playable orcs. However, Pathfinder 2 puts half-orcs and half-elves under human ancestry, which may be a way forward worth considering, such that half-elves and half-orcs are not sub-race options for humans (because that sounds icky), but, rather, heritage options.
 


Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
I don't think homogenization is the answer there. It is possible to celebrate difference, rather than use to divide, so why not go that route?
 

Remathilis

Legend
Maybe D&D should just retire the concept of races and have everyone be human. I don't see any other alternative to end the racial stereotyping debate.
What I foresee is the further watering down of race beyond what Pathfinders ancestry has done: a couple of physical traits like size, speed, vision and a unique ability like fey ancestry or poison resist. Everything else handled by some background/subrace -like mechanic that is interswappable and grants proficiencies, cantrips, and languages. It will be set up so that you can take other races as well to represent an orc raised in Cormyr or a human who lives among the shield dwarves. As a side-effect, the half-races and planetouched could live here rather than as base races.

The downside, of course, is some races would need major reworking as they are either all biological abilities (dragonborn) or mostly cultural (halflings). You are also marrying race far deeper to setting as generic versions of elves and orcs are replaced by region-specific options, but this is all something for the 6e team to figure out.
 

JEB

Explorer
What I foresee is the further watering down of race beyond what Pathfinders ancestry has done: a couple of physical traits like size, speed, vision and a unique ability like fey ancestry or poison resist. Everything else handled by some background/subrace -like mechanic that is interswappable and grants proficiencies, cantrips, and languages. It will be set up so that you can take other races as well to represent an orc raised in Cormyr or a human who lives among the shield dwarves. As a side-effect, the half-races and planetouched could live here rather than as base races.

The downside, of course, is some races would need major reworking as they are either all biological abilities (dragonborn) or mostly cultural (halflings). You are also marrying race far deeper to setting as generic versions of elves and orcs are replaced by region-specific options, but this is all something for the 6e team to figure out.

I can see something like this, but I suspect there's still going to have to be some default expectations for character races (or people, folk, or whatever other term they decide on), similar to how they have default suggestions for character classes now. If the game doesn't have those, it could actually become less friendly to casual players, who can't just create (for example) a Gimli or Legolas clone without sorting through unfamiliar subrace/culture/background choices. (And let's not forget, the majority of players are casual.)

Which isn't to say I don't support such a flexible approach to character creation; for example, we'd presumably get alternate core cultures for dragonborn, tieflings, and other currently monoculture races, and that'd be neat. But I think it'll need to be default + alternate options to remain new-player-friendly.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Just for the record, here are the preface to OA by Gygax, and the introductions by Cook and Breault.
 

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Sacrosanct

Legend
I can't recall if this has been brought up yet or not (there are multiple threads), but I don't think it should be lost about the context of OA, specifically when it came out. It's easy to look at it now and say "Oh, that's offensive, they shouldn't have done that." But I would caution about ascribing racism and offensive behaviors of those who worked on it, when you factor in what was going on in pop culture. Note, I am not making excuses or saying it wasn't wrong, but when you put it in proper context of the time, it looks less like blind insensitivity and more like they actually made some sort of effort to be sensitive, but just didn't have the awareness that we do now 35 years later.

What I mean by that, is that growing up in the 80s, Asian culture was treated horribly offensive. Movies like Sixteen Candles (No more yanky my wanky! Donger need food!), UH1 (same actor pushing same stereotypes), Gremlins and literally every other movie (Japanese tourists with cameras), music (I think I'm turning Japanese), etc. Even in the fantasy realm, look at the infatuation with ninjas and the dozens of movies that glorified them? (American Ninja series, Enter the Ninja) or how Stephen segal was glorified.

So yeah, when you look at when OA came out and compared it to everything else, it seemed really progressive (still problematic on certain things even at the time, but compared to pop culture in general). By today's standard obviously not, and we absolutely should be using it as a lesson learned.

It's just that I think it's a danger that we view historical things with a modern perspective (not just this, but everything), and that isn't really an honest assessment. For example, let's say we look at person X who used the word "Oriental" in the 80s, and say "They were totally racist for using that word, they are such a villain." But at the time when person X was writing, they thought to themselves, "Man, I really don't want to offend anyone, and I'm going to stay away from all of these horrible stereotypes I'm seeing in movies and TV, and try to do some real research and portray them as accurately as I can find.", and at the time, they legitimately didn't know the term Oriental was as offensive as we view it now. In that case, they seem less a villain to me, and more of just mistaken.
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
But I would caution about ascribing racism and offensive behaviors of those who worked on it, when you factor in what was going on in pop culture.

Well, there's going out at midnight and willfully stomping all over your neighbor's petunias because you actively hate your neighbor, and then there's taking your dog for a walk, and letting it relieve itself all over the petunias, because you can't be bothered, and then getting all hurt when your neighbor calls you an insensitive jerk for killing their petunias.

There's active racism, and that's ugly.

There's the passive, "I'm a member of the dominant group, and so I don't really think about how other people are treated or how my actions impact them," racism. And this is also ugly, because it looks innocuous, but has a tendency to self-reinforce and keep folks that aren't already in the dominant group from having the same opportunities.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Well, there's going out at midnight and willfully stomping all over your neighbor's petunias because you actively hate your neighbor, and then there's taking your dog for a walk, and letting it relieve itself all over the petunias, because you can't be bothered, and then getting all hurt when your neighbor calls you an insensitive jerk for killing their petunias.

There's active racism, and that's ugly.

There's the passive, "I'm a member of the dominant group, and so I don't really think about how other people are treated or how my actions impact them," racism. And this is also ugly, because it looks innocuous, but has a tendency to self-reinforce and keep folks that aren't already in the dominant group from having the same opportunities.

None of those scenarios describe what happened with OA though. Based on how OA was presented when it was written, and the references used, it seems clear they did think about, and make an effort, to how other people would be treated. Because they missed something that they didn't know about (largely because it wasn't considered offensive back then) doesn't change that. You only know what you know. And it's not a fair standard to hold them responsible for predicting what could be considered offensive 30 years into the future.
 

None of those scenarios describe what happened with OA though. Based on how OA was presented when it was written, and the references used, it seems clear they did think about, and make an effort, to how other people would be treated. Because they missed something that they didn't know about (largely because it wasn't considered offensive back then) doesn't change that. You only know what you know. And it's not a fair standard to hold them responsible for predicting what could be considered offensive 30 years into the future.

And I don't think anyone is blaming the writers back then of anything actively harmful.

But, the product isn't 100% in the past. It is still being sold today, and that makes us have to consider what selling it today means.
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
None of those scenarios describe what happened with OA though. Based on how OA was presented when it was written, and the references used, it seems clear they did think about, and make an effort, to how other people would be treated.

Your neighbor has moved their petunia bed. Having your basset hound relieve itself in the habitual place is at risk of ruining the petunias. The world changes. Keep your eyes open and adapt, or don't whine when someone yells at your for ruining the petunias.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Your neighbor has moved their petunia bed. Having your basset hound relieve itself in the habitual place is at risk of ruining the petunias. The world changes. Keep your eyes open and adapt, or don't whine when someone yells at your for ruining the petunias.

Again, not talking about that. I'm talking about making judgments on something through a modern lens as opposed to when it was done.

to make your analogy work, the person planting the petunia bed where your dog relieved itself complains about your dog relieving themselves in the past where they just moved the bed, and makes judgments about your character for letting your dog go to the bathroom where the neighbor was going to move the bed to in the future at some point when you had no idea they were going to do that.
 

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