D&D (2024) Half Race Appreciation Society: Half Elf most popular race choice in BG3

Do you think Half Elf being most popular BG3 race will cause PHB change?s?

  • Yes, Elf (and possibly other specieses) will get a hybrid option.

    Votes: 10 8.7%
  • Yes, a crunchier hybrid species system will be created

    Votes: 8 7.0%
  • Yes, a fluffier hybrid species system will be created

    Votes: 5 4.3%
  • No, the playtest hybrid rules will move forward

    Votes: 71 61.7%
  • No, hybrids will move to the DMG and setting books.

    Votes: 13 11.3%
  • Other

    Votes: 8 7.0%

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Its not the kin I see as a potential problem for some people here, its the elf. It implies the same thing as half-elf: that the human part is assumed, and we have to call out the other part.

Agreed it's why I earlier mentioned I prefer Feykin. That makes more sense as "human part assumed" as it's any kind of relation to any kind of Fey that's come through to alter something, with the something being human. But people didn't seem to like that.
 

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Scribe

Legend
Its not the kin I see as a potential problem for some people here, its the elf. It implies the same thing as half-elf: that the human part is assumed, and we have to call out the other part.

The assumptions are on behalf of those making them.

It only states, there is an elvish connection. Now, we could all get back on the train to circle around why we dont need DragoDwarves, but I'm not here for it. ;)
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
The assumptions are on behalf of those making them.

It only states, there is an elvish connection. Now, we could all get back on the train to circle around why we dont need DragoDwarves, but I'm not here for it. ;)
Like I said, I see no problem with the status quo personally.
 

Yaarel

He Mage
I just don't see you getting wide buy-in for this idea. I don't think it's a crazy idea or anything, it's just too contrary to tradition to get sufficient support from the wider consumer community.
The challenge is, the D&D "tradition" has been fantasy racism. The D&D Elf "race" is a showcase of what racist theories from the 1900s look like, including "subraces", with a fixation on racial essentialism, "biological" superior and inferior Intelligence and Strength, obsession with eye color and skin color, demonization of the wrong skin color, and even occasional comments of about race "purity". The traditional Elf race is the most prominent and elaborate example of this kind of racist worldview.

We all understand that this is a fantasy game. But the structure that is mapping out these racist boundaries comes from reallife, and is ... less than great.

It cannot be that D&D 2024 continues onward as "that racist game" in the eyes of the public at large. It cannot be that once in a while we stumble across a stray sentence of some truth to the accusation.

In recent years, WotC and the D&D community are making serious efforts to find and remove all traces of racism and racist thinking. Sometimes the efforts come across as clumsy. Apparently the Spelljammer designers didnt realize that the Hadozee description and illustration were problematic, and perhaps oppositely replacing a "half-elf" with a "drow" might be an overcorrection. Nevertheless, it is vital that every trace of racism vanish from the game during this playtest period, so that we D&D fans never have to deal with racism again or accusations of racism from a less informed public at large.

So far, the UA playtests introduce judicious and aggressive updates to solve worrisome areas. The nomenclature now clearly refers to "species" rather than the ambiguous buzz word "race". Ability improvements decouple from species. Any Humanoid species can exhibit light or dark skin and be of "any alignment". Backgrounds are a silo for cultural features. And so on. It is still a work in progress. As far as I can tell, the most difficult aspects of the D&D tradition seem to be resolving. There are debates about where the lines are − what is or isnt a problem. Virtually every one is sincere about the effort. We all want the D&D game to be awesome − today and ten years from now.


The Elf is too human. Reallife humans self-identify with Elves. This is a persistent D&D phenomenon. The game needs to describe the Elf with the same sensitivities as when describing the Human species.

There cannot be Elf "subraces" in D&D 2024. Likewise there cannot be Human subraces. It is too close to reallife racism.

The term Elf "lineages" cannot mean subraces.

A core species in the core rules in the 2024 Player Handbook must lack any trace or thought of racism.


The previous edition, D&D 4e attempted to split the Elf traditions into three separate species: Elf, Drow, and Eladrin. I consider this valid, because they would be separate species. But the community felt it too important each of these are equally an Elf, and equally members of the same Elf species.

Now the playtest is going the opposite direction. There really is only one Elf species. The diversity of Elves are truly, fully, equally, and miscibly, members of the same Elf species. There honestly are no subraces. No racism. An Elf is an Elf is an Elf. One species.


So, when we look at the term "lineage" we must think deeply and carefully about what this term means. The playtest gets it right. For the Elf, the lineage means an expression of an elven capacity of magic.

I think of it this way. In reallife, the human species has an instinctive capacity of speech. Whatever languages we speak are learned: culture. But the capacity of speech itself is innate: biology (neurology).

Likewise for the D&D Elf. Whatever "lineages" Elves magic are learned: culture. But the capacity of magic itself is innate: biology (sotospeak).

Elven lineages behave similarly to human languages. Sometimes a same language in a locale can persist almost changeless for centuries. Sometimes a language can shift drastically in a single generation. A speaker or magicker can learn a new language or lineage instead, and even forget a language or lineage.

Humans can choose which language they want to speak, especially by immersing in an other language. Elves can choose which lineage they want to magic.

The magic is innate. But the "lineages" that express this magical capacity are cultural traditions.


This spell-centered design for the Elf, escapes essentialist subraces and escapes racism.
 
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DavyGreenwind

Just some guy
I thought the whole point of this was to defy the conventions of fantasy and science fiction by reducing the narrative importance of humanity in comparison to other heritages (and by extension encouraging the Cantina effect).
Yes! I do not want any more settings where the people different from me exist only at the fringes of civilization, acting within narrow, defined roles. Elves and Dwarves are in so many different stories now, the game should recognize they've grown beyond their Tolkeinian roots. In a game where literally anything is possible, I want the truly truly fantastical.
 

Scribe

Legend
But the "lineages" that express this magical capacity are cultural traditions.
No, they are not. Stop saying they are. It is not CULTURAL to breath under water, or run faster, or see better in the dark.

You can cry out for changes all you like, but if you continue to state things which are demonstrably LIES, you'll continue to detract from your message.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Yes! I do not want any more settings where the people different from me exist only at the fringes of civilization, acting within narrow, defined roles. Elves and Dwarves are in so many different stories now, the game should recognize they've grown beyond their Tolkeinian roots. In a game where literally anything is possible, I want the truly truly fantastical.
Should we just get rid of the settings where things are not "truly fantastical" as well? Just everywhere in the setting being fully multicultural, where every individual is celebrated (basically that utopia in the Ethereal)? That sounds like a nice place to live, but a very odd and hard to believe place to game in, at least to me.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
The challenge is, the D&D "tradition" has been fantasy racism. The D&D Elf "race" is a showcase of what of racist theories from the 1900s look like, including "subraces", with a fixation on racial essentialism, "biological" superior and inferior Intelligence and Strength, obsession with eye color and skin color, demonization of the wrong skin color, and even occasional comments of about race "purity". The traditional Elf race is the most prominent and elaborate example of this kind of racist worldview.

We all understand that this is a fantasy game. But the structure that is mapping out these racist boundaries comes from reallife, and is ... less than great.

It cannot be that D&D 2024 continues onward as "that racist game" in the eyes of the public at large. It cannot be that once in a while we stumble across a stray sentence of some truth to the accusation.

In recent years. WotC and the D&D community are making serious efforts to find and remove all traces of racism and racist thinking. Sometimes the efforts come across as clumsy. Apparently the Spelljammer designers didnt realize that the Hadozee description and illustration were problematic, and perhaps oppositely replacing a "half-elf" with a "drow" might be an overcorrection. Nevertheless, it is vital that every trace of racism vanish from the game during this playtest period, so that we D&D fans never have to deal with racism again or accusations of racism from a less informed public at large.

So far, the UA playtests introduce judicious and aggressive updates to remove worrisome areas. The nomenclature now clearly refers to "species" rather than the ambiguous buzz word "race". Ability improvements decouple from species. Any Humanoid species can exhibit light or dark skin and be of "any alignment". Backgrounds are a silo for cultural features. And so on. It is still a work in progress. As far as I can tell, the most difficult aspects of the D&D tradition seem to be resolving. There are debates about where the lines are − what is or isnt a problem. Virtually every one is sincere about the effort. We all want the D&D game to be awesome − today and ten years from now.


The Elf is too human. Reallife humans self-identify with Elves. This is a persistent D&D phenomenon. The game needs to describe the Elf with the same sensitivities as when describing the Human species.

There cannot be Elf "subraces" in D&D 2024. Likewise there cannot be Human subraces. It is too close to reallife racism.

The term Elf "lineages" cannot mean subraces.

A core species in the core rules in the 2024 Player Handbook must lack any trace or thought of racism.


The previous edition, D&D 4e attempted to split the Elf traditions into three separate species: Elf, Drow, and Eladrin. I consider this valid, because they would be separate species. But the community felt it too important each of these are equally an Elf, and equally members of the same Elf species.

Now the playtest is going the opposite direction. There really is only one Elf species. The diversity of Elves are truly, fully, equally, and miscibly, members of the same Elf species. There honestly are no subraces. No racism. An Elf is an Elf is an Elf. One species.


So, when we look at the term "lineage" we must think deeply and carefully about what this term means. The playtest gets it right. For the Elf, the lineage means an expression of an elven capacity of magic.

I think of it this way. In reallife, the human species has an instinctive capacity of speech. Whatever languages we speak are learned: culture. But the capacity of speech itself is innate: biology (neurology).

Likewise for the D&D Elf. Whatever "lineages" Elves magic are learned: culture. But the capacity of magic itself is innate: biology (sotospeak).

Elven lineages behave similarly to human languages. Sometimes a same language in a locale can persist almost changeless for thousands of years. Sometimes a language can shift drastically in a single generation. A speaker or magicker can learn a new language or lineage instead, and even forget a language or lineage.

Humans can choose which language they want to speak, especially by immersing in an other language. Elves can choose which lineage they want to magic.

The magic is innate. But the "lineages" that express this magical capacity are cultural traditions.


This spell-centered design for the Elf, escapes essentialist subraces and escapes racism.
As long as different heritages are demonstrably, measurably different from each other in ways that go beyond aesthetics, there will always be people who call D&D racist. WotC has zero chance of silencing those voices, especially since their recent missteps have gotten people's backs up.

No action that doesn't eliminate heritage as a mechanical factor altogether (and maybe not even then) escapes racism.
 

DavyGreenwind

Just some guy
Should we just get rid of the settings where things are not "truly fantastical" as well? Just everywhere in the setting being fully multicultural, where every individual is celebrated (basically that utopia in the Ethereal)? That sounds like a nice place to live, but a very odd and hard to believe place to game in, at least to me.
Just because a place is diverse doesn't mean it's a utopia. The cantina is decidedly not. (Although I absolutely believe you can have a compelling and satisfying adventure in a place "where every individual is celebrated").

Also, I'm just talking about what I want. I don't want to take away any settings, just explore refreshing new ones. Ones where species aren't monoliths, like Eberron's halflings, or the nations of Wildemount.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
The challenge is, the D&D "tradition" has been fantasy racism.

While there are racism issues at play, the recommendation you're making isn't really solving that topic, but you're claiming it is.

Nobody is accusing the concept of sea elves having innate water-breathing, rather than cantrip-based water breathing, of itself being racist.

Your solution doesn't meaningfully address this problem. It just complicates it while breaking with traditions which are not about racism, though there are some traditions which do have racism issues. Sea-Elves being meaningfully different than High Elves in this respect while still all being called types of elves was not the racism issue people were bothered by. You're working hard to solve for the wrong problem, in a manner nobody seems to like to begin with except yourself.
 

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