log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D General Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes and Halflings of Color

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Would you support having some lineages-- a very small percentage of the total-- that are highly sex-dimorphic, such that males and females are mechanically different lineages? It would take much, much less dimorphism than occurs in the vast majority of real-life species to necessitate such a differentiation in the D&D rules.
Not addressed to me, but, yes.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Zardnaar

Legend
All 7 of my grandfather’s siblings died from alcohol-related afflictions. He was a teetotaler.

While I grew up learning how to drink responsibly, I did my fair share of heavy boozing in college. My senior year, I helped host a Mardi Gras party where I got drunker than ever before (or since)- even blacked out for a portion of the evening.

The next day yielded an insight as to my great uncles’ and aunts’ relation with alcohol. For me, it was like any other post boozing day: no hangover, no sickness. This confused the hell out of everyonr who was at that party. I got scared that the lack of negative consequences was what let my relatives become alcoholics.

That day, I consciously stopped drinking hooch like it was water. I still drink, but almost never more than 1-2 at a time, and only a few times a month, max.

Think I've been sober 3 years. I've drunk 12 this week (birthday type events) over 3 sessions.

It's usually 1-2 drinks dining out with sometimes months between take home purchases.

Binge drinking was the default as a teenager. Getting drunk aged 10/12 at older siblings birthdays stealing it.

Otherwise aged 14 sitting down with a 24 pack.

Didn't really like beer until my 20's though and actively enjoying it mid 30's.

Teenage years was cheap vodka, rum etc. Alcohol related deaths are more car crashes, accidents or things like that. Or falling into the harbour blind drunk in middle of winter and hypothermia got him.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
If you've been looking at the many recent attempts to get away from the term race by various RPG companies . . . WotC, Paizo, others, and various fan-designers on the DMsGuild . . . you'll see the terms lineage, ancestry, and heritage all used somewhat differently in place of race. As uncomfortable as the word makes me, there isn't a straightforward substitute. I agree with @MGibster, we're on a well-meaning euphemism treadmill, and these words are somewhat interchangeable . . . lineage, ancestry, and kin are straight up synonyms and refer to your familial inheritance (biology mostly, but . . .), while heritage refers more to cultural inheritance . . . but they are all used interchangeably somewhat in the real world.

Race is a word social scientists don't like, as it doesn't have a precise scientific meaning. It's a cultural construct, and refers to someone's background combining and confusing their cultural and biological inheritances alongside a healthy dose of stereotyping. But yet, it DOES have meaning, it IS a word we use in everyday life. It's use isn't wrong per se, but is easily made problematic, both in the real world and in our fantasy games.

Ethnicity IS a word social scientists like, and does have a defined, scientific meaning. Ethnicity refers to a social group that shares a culture and/or nationality, and can be associated with minor physiological differences like skin color. Of course, we use this word too confusingly in everyday life . . . if you were born to a white parent and an Asian parent, but have a black grandparent, you are born with dark skin and raised in mainstream American culture . . . what is your ethnicity? You'll be labeled by others as African-American, and you might even choose to identify that way yourself, but are you?

In traditional D&D, your race usually and mostly correlates with your biology, your species (if indeed, species is even the right word). Your subrace usually and mostly correlates with your ethnicity, your culture. We can probably agree that all elves are part of the same species, and that the major differences between wood elves and high elves is cultural. There are differences in skin tone, hair color, and other minor physiological differences, just as in the real world. Of course, It doesn't quite break down that perfectly, as each subrace often has abilities that don't seem cultural and go beyond skin color (etc).

I think we're going to be stumbling our way through this for a while now before we find our footing in the fantasy gaming and sci-fi scenes. I appreciate that we're having the conversations and that designers are putting forth ideas. We'll see what sticks.
Basically agree. Especially "stumbling" to find the most helpful nomenclature.



In some way, there is an easy question to determine the best term.

If humans create a genuine Artifical Intelligence with an actual "seat of consciousness", is this a "species"?
 


Yaarel

Mind Mage
what else would you call a character that is half-human, one quarter elf and orc, who was raised underground by dwarves?
The rules of Tashas solves this problem. For the character concept of half-human, quarter-elf, and quarter-orc, the mechanics of any of these three races can work. For example, one can use the Elf mechanics, swap in +2 Strength score to resemble orc, and swap around the proficiencies in order to suit a dwarven upbringing.

Likewise Custom Lineage can be this concept, at least potentially with more options to choose from.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Would you support having some lineages-- a very small percentage of the total-- that are highly sex-dimorphic, such that males and females are mechanically different lineages? It would take much, much less dimorphism than occurs in the vast majority of real-life species to necessitate such a differentiation in the D&D rules.
If you asked me 5 years ago, then I supported sex-dimorphic races, such as the drow were in some earlier editions, and are still culturally gender-divided in 5e now.

Now, I am not so sure.

Today, maybe I support dimorphic races, as long as, some of the members of each sex are trans. I need to think about this more carefully, and we certainly need to ask reallife transgenders how they feel about this.

The gender diversity is more realistic anyway.
 

Shroompunk Warlord

Archdruid of the Warp Zones
The rules of Tashas solves this problem. For the character concept of half-human, quarter-elf, and quarter-orc, the mechanics of any of these three races can work. For example, one can use the Elf mechanics, swap in +2 Strength score to resemble orc, and swap around the proficiencies in order to suit a dwarven upbringing.

Likewise Custom Lineage can be this concept, at least potentially with more options to choose from.

My point is that it isn't a problem to be solved, it's a problem that needs to be recognized as not a problem and firmly dismissed when it comes up. There are a lot of really neat rules in Tasha's, and I'm 100% behind letting people reassign their lineage ASIs as needed-- because, unfortunately, the total is not uniform and is thus a balance factor-- but the "custom lineage" stuff, as a player-facing option, doesn't belong there.

The game, the game world, either has different "races" in it, or it does not. Whichever way a particular game world breaks on that question, the custom lineage rules are corrosive to it.
 

Shroompunk Warlord

Archdruid of the Warp Zones
Today, maybe I support dimorphic races, as long as, some of the members of each sex are trans. I need to think about this more carefully, and we certainly need to ask reallife transgenders how they feel about this.

I'm in the same position on that issue-- I would be afraid that presenting a member of a species, in which there's a two size difference between male and female, as being transgender would be more likely to be interpreted as mockery. Sexual dimorphism isn't an issue I particularly want to explore in my own work-- except in my eusocial take on dromites-- so it's unlikely to come up.

I only asked, because I always thought that male nymphs were satyrs ... and I'm still deciding how unpleasantly I feel about male valkyries, in relation to my religious beliefs. Probably not terribly, but certainly enough so that I wish people wouldn't.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
but the "custom lineage" stuff, as a player-facing option, doesn't belong there.

The game, the game world, either has different "races" in it, or it does not. Whichever way a particular game world breaks on that question, the custom lineage rules are corrosive to it.
Yes and no.

I feel strongly, Custom Lineage must be a core player race option.

On the other hand, a SETTING can and normally will focus on a handful of specific races, and either deemphasize or ban all of the other races. This includes Custom Lineage. If the DM has a vision of a world setting that has specific races in mind, and assuming the players are enthusiastic about this setting, the DM can ban the Custom Lineages along with all of the other inappropriate races.



I am sensing a spirit of the times, players are increasingly inclusive and yet at the same time appreciate specialized settings.

Not every setting needs to be a kitchen-sink pastiche of Forgotten Realms!
 


Zardnaar

Legend
Yes and no.

I feel strongly, Custom Lineage must be a core player race option.

On the other hand, a SETTING can and normally will focus on a handful of specific races, and either deemphasize or ban all of the other races. This includes Custom Lineage. If the DM has a vision of a world setting that has specific races in mind, and assuming the players are enthusiastic about this setting, the DM can ban the Custom Lineages along with all of the other inappropriate races.



I am sensing a spirit of the times, players are increasingly inclusive and yet at the same time appreciate specialized settings.

Not every setting needs to be a kitchen-sink pastiche of Forgotten Realms!

People seem to like a focus but don't care to much what they are.

I find a new setting with a tight focus more interesting than anything goes.

Even something like Eberron built as anything goes still spotlights the 3 new races.
 


Yaarel

Mind Mage
I'm in the same position on that issue-- I would be afraid that presenting a member of a species, in which there's a two size difference between male and female, as being transgender would be more likely to be interpreted as mockery. Sexual dimorphism isn't an issue I particularly want to explore in my own work-- except in my eusocial take on dromites-- so it's unlikely to come up.

I only asked, because I always thought that male nymphs were satyrs ... and I'm still deciding how unpleasantly I feel about male valkyries, in relation to my religious beliefs. Probably not terribly, but certainly enough so that I wish people wouldn't.
In D&D, male nymphs already exist in Theros − such as Alseid and Lampad. Likewise female satyrs.

If I recall correctly, certain Greek wind spirits have been interpreted as male nymphs. Something to do with mountains.

The Norse equivalent of a nymph would be nykr − and later a waterfall spirit and similar − who seem mostly males.



The male valkyrie seems appropriate. If I am understanding the unusual grammatical form correctly, the female Valkyrja would be a male Valkyr. But the English term valkyrie works fine for either.

The term "slain chooser" relates to a fate, a norn, determining the fate of a good death. In Norse culture, only women were religious leaders, the Volva, a shaman. Their central responsibility was to foresee fates, Spa, and they tended to know other kinds of mindmagic as well. But men could and did learn these magical skills too, albeit as laypersons. The Norse valued anyone who had the sight of Spa, including men.

Whence, the concept of a male valkyrie who happened to be skilled at fate is not so strange.
 
Last edited:

Shroompunk Warlord

Archdruid of the Warp Zones
I am sensing a spirit of the times, players are increasingly inclusive and yet at the same time appreciate specialized settings.

Not every setting needs to be a kitchen-sink pastiche of Forgotten Realms!

It's funny how these contradictory statements can both be so true-- and so many people can still manage to simultanously be wrong on both. Personally... I no longer have any real interest in stake or interest in what WotC does with the official D&D brand, but I still have some small lingering wish to see them stop ripping everything cool out of other settings to put it in the core/Realms, and at the same time, I wish they'd stop saying that everything already in the core has a place in every D&D setting.

Outside of settings like Planescape or Spelljammer, I don't think any setting can have more than 10-12 sentient humanoid lineages, including enemies, without losing cohesion-- but, I don't think they need to be, or should be, the same 10-12 lineages in every. single. setting. year after year after year.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
It's funny how these contradictory statements can both be so true-- and so many people can still manage to simultanously be wrong on both. Personally... I no longer have any real interest in stake or interest in what WotC does with the official D&D brand, but I still have some small lingering wish to see them stop ripping everything cool out of other settings to put it in the core/Realms, and at the same time, I wish they'd stop saying that everything already in the core has a place in every D&D setting.

Outside of settings like Planescape or Spelljammer, I don't think any setting can have more than 10-12 sentient humanoid lineages, including enemies, without losing cohesion-- but, I don't think they need to be, or should be, the same 10-12 lineages in every. single. setting. year after year after year.
Yeah, the number of races is almost the same number as the how many digits a person can easily remember: 4 or 7. 10 starts to get difficult.

The Players Handbook can have 25 races. But a setting should probably focus on only a handful from them.
 

Shroompunk Warlord

Archdruid of the Warp Zones
The male valkyrie seems appropriate. If I am understanding the grammar correctly, the female Valkyrja would be a male Valkyr. But the English term valkyrie works fine for either.

The term "slain chooser" relates to a fate, a norn, determining the fate of a good death. In Norse culture, only women were religious leaders, the Volva, a shaman. Their central responsibility was to foresee fates, Spa, and they tended to know other kinds of mindmagic as well. But men could and did learn these magical skills too, albeit as laypersons. The Norse valued anyone who had the sight of Spa, including men.

Whence, the concept of a male valkyrie who happened to be skilled at fate is not so strange.

You're trying to teach your grandmother to steal sheep. Lecturing me about my own religion isn't going to make me more comfortable about something I consider to be an act of appropriation. I've had long conversations about whethere or not valkyries were disir, and thus formerly human... but even if they were men in life, if such a thing were truly possible, they are no longer men or male as valkyries.

Do what you feel in your own work. I support your artistic freedom nearly 100%. But it makes me uncomfortable and I'm going to say so.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
You're trying to teach your grandmother to steal sheep. Lecturing me about my own religion isn't going to make me more comfortable about something I consider to be an act of appropriation. I've had long conversations about whethere or not valkyries were disir, and thus formerly human... but even if they were men in life, if such a thing were truly possible, they are no longer men or male as valkyries.

Do what you feel in your own work. I support your artistic freedom nearly 100%. But it makes me uncomfortable and I'm going to say so.
Norse heritage is my heritage. I am immersed in Norse archeology, texts, and history.

I am Norwegian. I feel hesitant when Non-Scandinavians appropriate our heritage.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
You're trying to teach your grandmother to steal sheep. Lecturing me about my own religion isn't going to make me more comfortable about something I consider to be an act of appropriation. I've had long conversations about whethere or not valkyries were disir, and thus formerly human... but even if they were men in life, if such a thing were truly possible, they are no longer men or male as valkyries.

Do what you feel in your own work. I support your artistic freedom nearly 100%. But it makes me uncomfortable and I'm going to say so.
Regarding the Disir, strictly speaking, any woman in her sacred aspect, is a Dis, including human women.

That said, I agree with the scholars who suggest the Disir were mainly alfar women. Thus the alfablot and the disablot, are for males and females, respectively.
 

Shroompunk Warlord

Archdruid of the Warp Zones
I am Norwegian. I feel hesitant when Non-Scandinavians appropriate our heritage.

I guess that leaves us at an impasse, then. I'm only three generations removed from Germany, but my exposure to your ancestral culture has been sorely limited, self-directed, and filtered through multiple non-ancestral worldviews before it could reach me. But to me it is sacred, it is vital to my senses of self and community.

I won't scold you again, and I apologize for mistaking you for someone with no stake in our argument.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I guess that leaves us at an impasse, then. I'm only three generations removed from Germany, but my exposure to your ancestral culture has been sorely limited, self-directed, and filtered through multiple non-ancestral worldviews before it could reach me. But to me it is sacred, it is vital to my senses of self and community.

I won't scold you again, and I apologize for mistaking you for someone with no stake in our argument.

Strictly speaking it's a revival there's no continuity between the ancient beliefs and modern practice.

You're both guilty of cultural religiousappropriation;).

Yaarel does have a somewhat thin cultural continuation link, yours is even thinner.

From a historical PoV of course.
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top