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

Shroompunk Warlord

Archdruid of the Warp Zones
Thanks for dismissing the concerns and preferences of a growing number of D&D fans, myself included. But yeah, you're right, we're wrong . . . maybe even badwrongfun. I probably actually agree with some of your points as I skimmed your posts, but your aggressive opener just shut down my interest in reading further.

Yeah, you're right. I'm going to go back and revise this to be less confrontational. EDIT: I'd be interested in hearing your take, now that I'm not trying to tell you how much I'm not.

With customization rules similar to those in Tasha's, you could devise a more complicated background if you want . . . grandpa was an elf, dad an orc, mom a dwarf, but I was raised by halflings, halflings living in a human city . . .

And the fact you consider this a feature, and not an active detriment to the tone of any half-serious campaign, is why I'm so adamant that trying to separate "race" and "culture" (in general) and the custom lineage rules in Tasha (in specific) are bad ideas that are constantly being compounded by the effort to divorce every axis of character identity from every other axis of character identity.

In HARP, a game I love and spent several years (fruitlessly) developign for, every race came with three free racial talents and characters could trade up to two of them away (for other racial talents) to represent mixed heritage. And sure, those rules could have enabled players to play half-elves and half-gryths (I think? Been awhile.), but in practice they were mostly used the exact same way people are discussing using Tasha: to pick whatever racial talents were most useful to their character build, with little to no regard for what those mechanical elements were supposed to represent.

Personally, I think separating race and class and introducing the half-elf and half-orc races were among the worst design decisions that went into AD&D.
 
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Yaarel

Mind Mage
Depends on the role valkyries take in the game. Are they warrior angels serving Norse-inspired gods?
Heh, for me, the idea of "Norse gods" is a bugaboo. It is clear that the Viking Era viewed them as nature beings. They were not Roman-style "gods".

A main difference is, Thor is the literal thunderstorm, one can see "him" plainly up in the sky as rolling clouds, shooting lightning bolts.

This is different from a "god", an immortal being who controls thunderstorms.

Likewise a human "friend" of a nature being differs profoundly from a human "worshiper" of a god.



It used to bother me alot when D&D players referred to a "Cleric of Thor". The Viking Era never had priests or temples. (The Hof is a personal shrine in ones own home, and can be to any nature being that a family or an individual forms a friendship with, including alfar, jotnar, or so on.) The Norse did have shamans, but these shamans never seem to mention the sky nature beings, the aesir, and in the sagas, no one seems to "pray" to them. But there are individuals who are "friends" of alfar, of Frey, and so on.

But now I think, reflavoring the Cleric can make a pretty good Norse warrior mage, a songster, relating to the Ljodatal. Just think of the Cleric as less a "worshiper" and more like an honorable Paladin. Done. The protective magic itself would be the "sacred force". Treat the voice of the spontaneous singing as if the "holy symbol".



Female only seems fine to me there. Are they an elite order of mortal warriors riding winged horses? Female only, good here too. Are they a mortal race? Maybe not female only in this case. I remember there was a variant of valkryies in the 3E Tome of Magic, where they were presented as scary vengeance demons, much like furies . . . I had mixed feelings on that iteration.
For me, I want to avoid a new kind of sexism. I want egalitarianism.

What is appropriate for one gender is also appropriate for an other gender, and there are many persons somewhere in between.



There can be a "masculine group" but sometimes women are part of it. And there can be a "feminine group" and sometimes men are part of it.
 
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Zardnaar

Legend
When I say Saxons, I am vaguely referring to an indigenous presence, often identified with bronze age Jastorf Culture.


As you know, Wales and Irish definitely care about their heritage, and strive to revive their Celtic languages.

Oddly, Scotland doesnt seem to care about a language revival? Probably because Scotland has always been a mix of Gaelic- and Scot-English-speakers.

I do but 5 generations of slumming it in the colonies tends to erode ones cultural perspectives.

A few cultures do have a direct continuation eg Greece but others don't due to several intervening cultures, migrations or displacement. They just occupy the same dirt as an ancient culture.
 


Casimir Liber

Explorer
WRT to gender-distinct races - I guess the only really widely used one to date are the drow (true...not sexually dimorphic as such, but the women have traditionally had more innate magical ability than the men - though just checking now they appear to have dropped that in 5e)
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I think America is a new kind of ethnicity. There is a distinctive American identity and it includes being part of a tapestry of many cultures.

Yep. I just find it hypocrital/stupid to pretend I'm Scottish or whatever even if I have the ancestry. I don't like bagpipes but they're useful if you want to fight the English or Germans I suppose.

"She'll be right" is the new cultural norm.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
WRT to gender-distinct races - I guess the only really widely used one to date are the drow (true...not sexually dimorphic as such, but the women have traditionally had more innate magical ability than the men - though just checking now they appear to have dropped that in 5e)

They had higher ability scores and level limits in 1E. And physically bigger.
 

Casimir Liber

Explorer
O-kay, well how's this for an idea:

(I don't have my fairy books but IIRC Danish Ellefolk are ones with beautiful women and ugly misshapen men)

So - many centuries ago an ambitious elven princess/minor lord made a pact with an eldritch/elder being for power. As she had no love of men she sacrificed the beauty and essence of the males of her tribe for a gift of innate power for the females.

So the tribe grew in power - with beautiful, athletic and powerful females (could have +2 STR, -2 WIS and some feats/cantrips), but the males suffer pronounced scoliosis, though remain physically strong (-2 DEX, +2 STR, -4 CHA). The eldritch being from pandemonium gains essence from Primal Chaos warping though the spirits of all males in teh tribe/nation.

This could also explain half-elves in this campaign as the female elves seek out humans at a pinch to mate with - their male half-elven children somehow immune to the chaos-decay or full-blooded males.

Also explains the hatred the males and some females of this tribe have for all other humans/elves as they're enraged by some of their tribe "outbreeding".

In my milieu the being would be a CN/E being (Loki/Xiombarg/Arioch) more chaotic than outright evil, maybe even a limbo resident.

Campaign quest - sever the link between the being and the essence of the tribe
 

Casimir Liber

Explorer
So yeah, it was Ellefolk, the book is Field Guide to the Little People ( Field Guide to the Little People ) by Nancy Arrowsmith. (luckily Oz Google can see the pages on Ellefolk)

- older men wear wide-brimmed hats (to cover their deformities) and younger males look okay (age related problem...like Huntingtons or something). Have ability to wilt crops and kill livestock or reverse (druids in tribe will either compete with neighbouring agricultural people or help them for favours.

Ritual magic may be Time Stop (performed by (say) 10 or more elves)
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
In Scandinavian folkbelief, the Huldrefolk are often assumed to be goodlooking women. But in Norway, there are important traditions about about goodlooking men too, the Huldrekarl.
 

hopeless

Adventurer
I'm not seeing the problem that character's skin color is whatever that player wants it to be.
There is no problem with inclusivity only attempts to make out there is one.
Its YOUR game, the problem isn't with the players since its their character.
As long as you aren't forcing them to do something they don't want to as I said this isn't a problem.
 

Yora

Hero
Awkward but complete serious question. And I am entirely open to the possibility that I know nothing and asking something really stupid. Totally willing to be corrected, but the goal here is to advance everyone's understanding.

Are goliaths "coded" black?

Now I am of the opinion that taking northern European folkloric creatures and giving them dark skin is a very poor way to make fantasy worlds more inclusive. We all accept that skin color doesn't define anything and that prejudices are all about cultural differences. So thinking the issue is addressed by changing the skin color of existing peoples seems very dishonest to me.
If we want to have fantastic peoples who are not based on Northern Europeans, I think we should instead add new peoples that culturally reflect other parts of the world and their cultures. And it immediately got me thinking if goliaths are intended to do that?
 

reelo

Adventurer
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.

So much this!
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
How I wish companies would start to create more fantasy cultures in their fantasy games instead of just copying real world cultures and then have people complain that said cultures in fantasy games are not faithful enough to the real world (or what they imagine how faithfulness would look like).
I am tired of seeing notChina, notJapan and notEgypt, etc.
For me there is a simple rule of thumb.

If one uses a name from a reallife culture, then stay as mythologically accurate as possible.

If one wants to invent a different kind of character concept, then invent a different kind of name for it.

(Obviously Gygax rarely followed this rule. But it is a good rule, and avoids some of the cultural landmines.)
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
I am excited about the concepts of the Duende of Spanish and Latino cultures. I want D&D to make these as mythologically accurate as possible.
 


Yaarel

Mind Mage
time to do some research then......
You gave me a good start with your links. But I would rather a Spaniard or a Latino do it. Much of the most accurate research is in Spanish or Portugese, which I dont speak.

Heh, of course, there is always the option of doing it myself, and then running it thru the cultural landmines.
 

Casimir Liber

Explorer
You gave me a good start with your links. But I would rather a Spaniard or a Latino do it. Much of the most accurate research is in Spanish or Portugese, which I dont speak.

Heh, of course, there is always the option of doing it myself, and then running it thru the cultural landmines.
We can also find someone who speaks spanish to translate and work with. Anyway, some ferreting around is in order...waiting for someone to do it could take another 40 years
 

MGibster

Legend
How I wish companies would start to create more fantasy cultures in their fantasy games instead of just copying real world cultures and then have people complain that said cultures in fantasy games are not faithful enough to the real world (or what they imagine how faithfulness would look like).
I don't believe those games would prove very popular as having the fantasy setting divorced entirely from real world cultures would prove to be quite a barrier for many players. Like it or not, one of the reasons D&D is so popular is because most Americans can jump right in and be familiar with the trappings of the setting while retaining modern liberal ideas of freedom.
 

King Babar

Adventurer
I don't believe those games would prove very popular as having the fantasy setting divorced entirely from real world cultures would prove to be quite a barrier for many players. Like it or not, one of the reasons D&D is so popular is because most Americans can jump right in and be familiar with the trappings of the setting while retaining modern liberal ideas of freedom.
Hence why Runequest is still very much a niche game.

Not to say the world of Glorantha doesn't take inspiration from real cultures, it very much does, but many of those cultures don't have the same broad familiarity that medieval Europe does for American audiences.

Also it's fundamentally impossible to divorce a fantasy culture from a real world one; there's only a single well to draw from at the end of the day, no matter how much you mix and match.
 

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