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D&D General No More "Humans in Funny Hats": Racial Mechanics Should Determine Racial Cultures

So, let's go with the Kender where the concept of personal property has no meaning, and the Lawful Neutral type creature with a very strict set of laws about theft. Say, in that culture, a hand is cut off of a thief. Pray tell, precisely how do these chars co-exist?
 

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So, let's go with the Kender where the concept of personal property has no meaning, and the Lawful Neutral type creature with a very strict set of laws about theft. Say, in that culture, a hand is cut off of a thief. Pray tell, precisely how do these chars co-exist?
Hopefully as sapient creatures both are able to understand that other people have different customs and beliefs and adjust their behaviour accordingly.
 

Maybe, after the lawful char has lopped off a hand of the Kender's.

I can give a list longer than my arm where cultures with disparate value systems do NOT adjust their behaviour, and well, just read a newspaper on any day of the week to see what happens. To suggest that different species, not even different races within a species, will change their "culture" to fit to some common level, in a blink of an eye, is not at all realistic. In the real world, it takes decades, sometimes centuries, for "common ground" to be found between clashing cultures. And in most cases, it only happens when one assimilates the other.

Further, that common ground, what does it look like, other than one that is based on real world human values, whatever those values are?
 

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
So, let's go with the Kender where the concept of personal property has no meaning, and the Lawful Neutral type creature with a very strict set of laws about theft. Say, in that culture, a hand is cut off of a thief. Pray tell, precisely how do these chars co-exist?
In addition to this, a Kender is just exploring "what if humans didnt have the concept of personal property" which is a funny hat.

We may be just having a difference in verbiage, but to reiterate my point, a biological human brain can only view things through the viewpoint of the human experience. We can guess what it would be like to live 800 years, or be a mute bird,or an asexual lizard, but ALL of our attempts at playing those traits is done through the lens of "what would it be like if I were X?"

I do understand OPs point that their definition of a funny hat is something that can be applied to any group but that is arbitrarily assigned to one, but I extend this definition to include a greater variety of traits, even biological differences. To me the only true alien would be something that probably wouldn't be an adventurer.
 

Maybe, after the lawful char has lopped off a hand of the Kender's.
If you think that would result a fun game. I necessary don't. Perhaps a situation where the kender saves Judge Dredd's life with a healing potion she had picked up from a big pile of completely unused potions at the alchemist's store might be more conductive for functioning group dynamics?

I can give a list longer than my arm where cultures with disparate value systems do NOT adjust their behaviour, and well, just read a newspaper on any day of the week to see what happens. To suggest that different species, not even different races within a species, will change their "culture" to fit to some common level, in a blink of an eye, is not at all realistic. In the real world, it takes decades, sometimes centuries, for "common ground" to be found between clashing cultures. And in most cases, it only happens when one assimilates the other.
That is rather pessimistic view. Sure, conflicts do happen. As does understanding. And of course it is not in blink of an eye, it is a process. Haven't you ever seen a buddy cop movie where two people with drastically different attitudes are forced to work together and butt heads, to eventually come respect each other? A cliché sure, but certainly not an uncommon story.

Further, that common ground, what does it look like, other than one that is based on real world human values, whatever those values are?
I guess you'd be have willing to play it to find out.
 

In addition to this, a Kender is just exploring "what if humans didnt have the concept of personal property" which is a funny hat.

We may be just having a difference in verbiage, but to reiterate my point, a biological human brain can only view things through the viewpoint of the human experience. We can guess what it would be like to live 800 years, or be a mute bird,or an asexual lizard, but ALL of our attempts at playing those traits is done through the lens of "what would it be like if I were X?"

I do understand OPs point that their definition of a funny hat is something that can be applied to any group but that is arbitrarily assigned to one, but I extend this definition to include a greater variety of traits, even biological differences. To me the only true alien would be something that probably wouldn't be an adventurer.
This is often expressed but unnecessarily reductionist view. Sure, most of us are humans in the real life, and thus have to use our human brains to navigate this. But the idea that non-humans must be utterly incomprehensibly alien to properly not be "humans with funny hats" is taking it too far. Ultimately most intelligent creatures are social humanoids, often hominids. They are different, but not incomprehensibly so.
 
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Sabathius42

I agree with your assessment. It is impossible for human beings to play any game other than as human beings. We are simply not equipped psychologically to do anything else.

I believe that Orca's, maybe the entire cetacean order, (biological meaning) are sentient. Same could be said with the higher apes. Imagine an Orca's mind suddenly being dropped into New York City, inside a human body. The results would be catastrophic for anyone in contact with said Orca-Human, let alone the Orca-Human.
 

Crimson Longinus, a "cop buddy" analogy is specious, at best. You want to watch a cop buddy that most closely resembles what you describe? Go watch the original 1988 "Alien Nation" movie. And that was between two species that shared many common values, plus the one species culture was completely shattered, and that group was assimilated into human culture.

A better analogy for what would happen when sentient species meet is "District 9".

No common ground is found in the D&D world you describe until there has been severe conflict, and I don't allow PvP at my table.
 


Scribe

Hero
Folks need to look at the intent here, and not push to the wild extremes of Bob the LN Construct, chopping off Timmy the CG Kenders hand for lifting a pocket knife.

That isn't to say you cannot have discord in a party, as long as the players are doing so with an eye towards resolution and understanding, that could be good RP.

The Lizardman example is fine. Behavior that doesn't line up with the majority of human behavior + mechanical differences (bite as an action) is the direction most people want.

Funny Hats to me, is more rubber forehead than anything else. It's when you have a supposed different race, that is really just played as a human...in a funny hat.
 





Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Racial locked ASIs is still a problem with limiting character choice for people who want to be competent, so no doing both isn't superior.
Except as I have shown repeatedly, it can be done and not limit choice at all. Simply give elves +2 dex and +2 floating. Give dwarves +2 con and +2 floating. Give goliaths +2 strength and +2 floating.
 


Except as I have shown repeatedly, it can be done and not limit choice at all. Simply give elves +2 dex and +2 floating. Give dwarves +2 con and +2 floating. Give goliaths +2 strength and +2 floating.
That's pretty pointless though. Everyone can effectively still be equally good at everything. I don't really see this any better than floating.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
That's pretty pointless though. Everyone can effectively still be equally good at everything. I don't really see this any better than floating.
It's completely the opposite of pointless. It has a very big point. It gives those who like racial bonuses(a whole lot of us) our racial bonuses and still gives you guys the flexibility you want. It's win-win, which is important. And a fantastic compromise.
 

Scribe, I have a question for you. Assume a session is 4 hours, give or take. Usually, half an hour is burned with late players, unprepared players, players setting up at the table, just general greetings with one another, and the DM doing a recap. Now, of the remaining time, how much of a typical session (and I mean on average, over say, 10 sessions) do you think is reasonable to delve into the psycho-socio differences between the different party members? D&D is built around encounters, be they combat or otherwise, with OUTSIDE triggers. Not conflicts within the party.

I am old school. My games never, ever focused on whether Bob feels motivated to cut off Timmy's hand, because Timmy would never be in the party to start with (Thieves that stole from the party in the olden days and said "It is what my char would do" lasted about 10 minutes). The party was much more focused on the 7 headed Hyrdra in front of them as opposed to whether some sentient swan that mates for life can stand being in the same party as a Half-Orc with no wives but 10 children from 10 different mothers. (Yes, I was in a campaign where that was how the player portrayed their Half-Orc).
 


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