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

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Sure, but D&D has almost never followed that logic at all.

D&D has pretty consistently ignored all that, beyond the odd spell component, and instead has treated the vast bulk of magic as essentially scientific - straightforward replicable processes, where if you do X, then Y will happen. So I don't feel like that's a major concern in D&D.
Heh.

Unlike the painfully oppressive, heavy-handed, excruciating explicit, coercion imposed on the magic of the Cleric class, WotC sure loves its feel-free-to-decide-for-yourself unknown blackbox for the magic of the Wizard class.



In any case, in a setting that defines how magic works more explicitly, such as utilizing technology, it becomes more important to make sure it can still "feel" like magic.
 

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Unlike the painfully oppressive, heavy-handed, excruciating explicit, coercion imposed on the magic of the Cleric class
What is it you think you're referring to here? Because I have no idea, so I'm having extreme difficulty believing it's anything "explicit" or even clear. Rather it sounds like you've massively read-into some phrase in some 1E (or similar) book and decided, for example, that Clerics lose their powers immediately if they disobey their god (i.e. the DM) or something.

Regardless it's still not remotely in-tune with the laws of magic that you were referring to.
In any case, in a setting that defines how magic works more explicitly, such as utilizing technology, it becomes more important to make sure it can still "feel" like magic.
It's as though you're trying to bolt the stable door on horse that's been living in exile in South America for several decades on that one.

D&D has largely eschewed magical-feeling magic, pretty consistently, for the entire time it's existed, pushing it to the margins of the game. There's the odd outbreak of it (often when witches or hags are involved), but the rules and hard setting details always mess with that, and have to be elaborately worked around, like a man trying to move carefully around the lip at the edge of a pit.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
What is it you think you're referring to here? Because I have no idea, so I'm having extreme difficulty believing it's anything "explicit" or even clear. Rather it sounds like you've massively read-into some phrase in some 1E (or similar) book and decided, for example, that Clerics lose their powers immediately if they disobey their god (i.e. the DM) or something.
I am referring to how the Players Handbook explicitly imposes the gods to explain the Cleric magic. To a degree that kills many other viable Cleric character concepts.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
D&D has largely eschewed magical-feeling magic, pretty consistently, for the entire time it's existed, pushing it to the margins of the game. There's the odd outbreak of it (often when witches or hags are involved), but the rules and hard setting details always mess with that, and have to be elaborately worked around, like a man trying to move carefully around the lip at the edge of a pit.
And we are not talking about D&D core.

We are talking about a specific setting that does explicitly define magic, precisely, to the point of technological references such as employing viral DNA.
 

I am referring to how the Players Handbook explicitly imposes the gods to explain the Cleric magic. To a degree that kills many other viable Cleric character concepts.
That doesn't fit what you were saying, if you mean the 5E PHB.

I mean, I suggest you re-read the 5E PHB, because you said:
Unlike the painfully oppressive, heavy-handed, excruciating explicit, coercion imposed on the magic of the Cleric class
Because that just doesn't match the PHB text: Player's Handbook

Literally all it says is:

A) Clerics are granted power by "the gods", which are themselves not defined.

B) Not everyone who wants it gets it.

C) There is no "one" way to become a Cleric - it could be elaborately learned, intuitive, granted in a vision or w/e.

I would say the class (and attendant spell list) itself does far more to limit what a Cleric can be, conceptually, than the description of their magic, as per "Healers and Warriors" and "Divine Agents" on that page.

"The gods" could be literally anything. I don't see any "coercion imposed" in the whole block of text on Clerics, and it's hard to figure out what's "excruciatingly explicit", because it's all pretty vague, actually. Your description would match pretty well with, say, the 2nd Edition Complete Priest's Handbook, and with the attitudes of a lot of DMs in the '80s and early '90s, but the 5E PHB? Not seeing it.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
That doesn't fit what you were saying, if you mean the 5E PHB.

I mean, I suggest you re-read the 5E PHB, because you said:

Because that just doesn't match the PHB text: Player's Handbook

Literally all it says is:

A) Clerics are granted power by "the gods", which are themselves not defined.

B) Not everyone who wants it gets it.

C) There is no "one" way to become a Cleric - it could be elaborately learned, intuitive, granted in a vision or w/e.

I would say the class (and attendant spell list) itself does far more to limit what a Cleric can be, conceptually, than the description of their magic, as per "Healers and Warriors" and "Divine Agents" on that page.

"The gods" could be literally anything. I don't see any "coercion imposed" in the whole block of text on Clerics, and it's hard to figure out what's "excruciatingly explicit", because it's all pretty vague, actually. Your description would match pretty well with, say, the 2nd Edition Complete Priest's Handbook, and with the attitudes of a lot of DMs in the '80s and early '90s, but the 5E PHB? Not seeing it.

What role the gods play is entirely up to the DM and campaign setting. I don't require clerics to worship a single deity (although they pretty much always have). In some regions of my world, worship is more ancestor or spirit worship. There's a clan of dwarves that reveres the base elements, not deities.

Nothing is locked in unless you want it to be.
 


Yaarel

Mind Mage
That doesn't fit what you were saying, if you mean the 5E PHB.

I mean, I suggest you re-read the 5E PHB, because you said:

Because that just doesn't match the PHB text: Player's Handbook

Literally all it says is:

A) Clerics are granted power by "the gods", which are themselves not defined.

B) Not everyone who wants it gets it.

C) There is no "one" way to become a Cleric - it could be elaborately learned, intuitive, granted in a vision or w/e.

I would say the class (and attendant spell list) itself does far more to limit what a Cleric can be, conceptually, than the description of their magic, as per "Healers and Warriors" and "Divine Agents" on that page.

"The gods" could be literally anything. I don't see any "coercion imposed" in the whole block of text on Clerics, and it's hard to figure out what's "excruciatingly explicit", because it's all pretty vague, actually. Your description would match pretty well with, say, the 2nd Edition Complete Priest's Handbook, and with the attitudes of a lot of DMs in the '80s and early '90s, but the 5E PHB? Not seeing it.
I have pretty good idea of what the word "god" means.

For many Cleric concepts, it is the wrong word.



If the Players Handbook said "cosmic force", that would fix the problem.

For some concepts, that cosmic force might be a god. For other concepts it is something else.

That "cosmic force" would also make the Players Handbook work easier for various kinds of D&D settings that differ from Forgotten Realms or Greyhawk.

Most importantly, that "cosmic force" lets the PLAYER decide what that is, and lets the PLAYER decide what the character concept is that the PLAYER wants to play.
 

For many Cleric concepts, it is the wrong word.
But like, which ones? I can see plenty where it's like, not quite perfect, but even then it depends how you regard powerful spirits, or the world-spirit or whatever.

I don't think it's an accident that they didn't define what a god is. I do think the text should have explicitly pulled in powerful spirits and so on, personally, because if read with the most narrow possible interpretation it actually invalidates a number of earlier D&D settings (including ones mentioned in 5E) such as Dark Sun. But I doubt that was intended and I think it takes a bit of intentional effort to read it so narrowly.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
But like, which ones? I can see plenty where it's like, not quite perfect, but even then it depends how you regard powerful spirits, or the world-spirit or whatever.
Animistic shamans lack gods. Darksun alchemists lack gods. A character concept that believes in the power of love, lacks gods.

I don't think it's an accident that they didn't define what a god is. I do think the text should have explicitly pulled in powerful spirits and so on, personally, because if read with the most narrow possible interpretation it actually invalidates a number of earlier D&D settings (including ones mentioned in 5E) such as Dark Sun. But I doubt that was intended and I think it takes a bit of intentional effort to read it so narrowly.
The Players Handbook explicitly gives examples of gods, like reallife polytheistic Zeus.

There is no hint of any other meaning.

The word "gods" is wrong. And unhelpful. And heavyhanded to the point of oppressive toward reallife players who are uncomfortable around that term, for various reasons.
 

Darksun alchemists
Elementalists? Or did I miss something big in 4E Dark Sun?
The word "gods" is wrong. And unhelpful. And heavyhanded to the point of oppressive toward reallife players who are uncomfortable around that term, for various reasons.
I think they should have said "Gods, powerful spirits, or forces" myself, and left it up to the DM to decide which was which, but I don't really buy it's as "oppressive" as you're suggesting. You're certainly not going to have much fun with fantasy RPGs generally if you're "uncomfortable" with the very concept of gods, and it would not be appropriate to eliminate that concept (not even in some leftist sense, because eliminating it causes harm too). In English, anyway. There may be a translation where a more offensive and specific word was picked.

The biggest problem with the 5E Cleric design is it doesn't include an "I'm just the Cleric" option, you have to pick a specific god-package. Previous editions allowed for that - and unlike @Oofta I have seen people take it (including me).
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Elementalists? Or did I miss something big in 4E Dark Sun?

I think they should have said "Gods, powerful spirits, or forces" myself, and left it up to the DM to decide which was which, but I don't really buy it's as "oppressive" as you're suggesting. You're certainly not going to have much fun with fantasy RPGs generally if you're "uncomfortable" with the very concept of gods, and it would not be appropriate to eliminate that concept (not even in some leftist sense, because eliminating it causes harm too). In English, anyway. There may be a translation where a more offensive and specific word was picked.

The biggest problem with the 5E Cleric design is it doesn't include an "I'm just the Cleric" option, you have to pick a specific god-package. Previous editions allowed for that - and unlike @Oofta I have seen people take it (including me).
I think the Cleric class should focus on a "cosmic force" and think about why this force is an aspect of a sacred community. Also think about how the cosmos depends on this force.

Then, the class can suggest examples of a force, such as an animistic community, an aspect of human spirit, a primordeal physical element, like fire, water, or light, a polytheistic community with a pantheon, a (gameplayable) monotheistic community, an idealistic community of a secular philosophy, or so on.

In an animistic shamanic culture, it is the community that is sacred. Both humans and features of nature are members of this community. The main job of a shaman is to help resolve any conflicts between the members of this community.

In America, money tends to be "sacred", in the sense of the US being quite diverse and tolerant, except when it comes to how money informs every aspect of human life. Capitalism and Socialism could be examples of cosmic forces. Albeit, their medieval analogues might be guilds and communes.

For D&D elves, magic is a "cosmic force".
 

I think the Cleric class should focus on a "cosmic force" and think about why this force is an aspect of sacred community. Also think about how the cosmos depends on this force.

Then, the class can suggest examples of a force, such as an animistic community, an aspect of human spirit, a primordeal physical element, like fire, water, or light, a polytheistic community with a pantheon, a (gameplayable) monotheistic community, an idealistic community of a secular philosophy, or so on.

In America, money tends to be "sacred", in the sense of the US being quite diverse and tolerant, except when it comes to how money informs every aspect of human life. Capitalism and Socialism could be examples of cosmic forces. Albeit, their medieval analogues might be guilds and communes.
Okay, but that's way too complicated for the D&D PHB mate. We have a lot of people playing (including adults) whose reading age is not high enough to comprehend what you're saying here. A lot of people just want to "pick and go". What you're describing, where the term "god" isn't even used, is viable in some indie-ish RPG, but not D&D.

Conceptually if you could dumb it down a bit and acknowledge gods (yes, using the word) as one of the examples of these, then I think we'd have something. Terry Pratchett could do it for us I bet, were he still around.

It's still weird that there's no "generic" Cleric to me though. That's one of the few place 5E abandons previous editions.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Okay, but that's way too complicated for the D&D PHB mate. We have a lot of people playing (including adults) whose reading age is not high enough to comprehend what you're saying here. A lot of people just want to "pick and go". What you're describing, where the term "god" isn't even used, is viable in some indie-ish RPG, but not D&D.
The word "cosmic force" is simple.

Pick a domain.

Done.

Conceptually if you could dumb it down a bit and acknowledge gods (yes, using the word) as one of the examples of these, then I think we'd have something.
Yeah.

It's still weird that there's no "generic" Cleric to me though. That's one of the few place 5E abandons previous editions.
Yeah. And "cosmic force" allows for the "generic" Cleric for players who want this, including tables that want leave inworld religion "off screen".
 


Yaarel

Mind Mage
It's translating the words into the concept, especially the concept as you understand it that awful lot of people will find challenging, but you do you.
Xanathars fits the "cosmic force" into a few sentences. Easy.


By the way, every Cleric domain so far is suitable as a "cosmic force". This is especially convenient for the "generic" Cleric.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
It's translating the words into the concept, especially the concept as you understand it that awful lot of people will find challenging, but you do you.
I am happy with Xanathars, am glad it is official, and feel it needs to be core.

Also, the term "cosmic force" is excellent. It genuinely covers very many viable Cleric class concepts. I feel this term should be what the class is about, and things like gods be subsets of it.

Just this Xanathars approach is perfect.



I went into extra detail for the sake of players who want to think about roleplaying their character concept, and of DMs who are creating a setting. A DM would often populate a setting with sacred communities, and this can help inform what a sacred community might be about.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
On the central thread topic.

I am happy with the art direction for the elves in Tashas.

I was surprised and enjoyed the presentation of a High Elf with a Drow Elf. The High Elf was dark blue, and the Drow Elf was very pale silver. It took me a moment to realize which was which, mainly from the white hair color of the Drow. When I went thru some of the lore of earlier editions, it turned out that both of these complexions were officially possible according to the lore.

It depends on the player race concept. Some concepts should model human skin tones, namely shades of orange. But other concepts should get their coloring for other reasons than humans.

I feel every race that resembles a human should have shades from light to dark.

When I saw that a "white" Drow could exist as silver, and a "brown", or potentially "black", High Elf could be blue, it felt oddly liberating. A relief.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
For better or worse they decided to keep it the default assumption of a pantheon of gods in the PHB. On the other hand the PHB explicitly tells you to ask your DM about gods and religion which has the more in depth discussion.

The first chapter in the DMG has a section on "Gods of Your World" which includes sections on animism and forces and philosophies.
 


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