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

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I just now realized what a big part of the tension and disconnect in this thread is, which is embarrassing because it’s obvious and I figure at least one person probably pointed it out already.

Different people are defining “roleplaying” differently.

I assume that the OP and anyone else who agrees that non humans can be roleplayed at all are using a definition of roleplaying that does not require some impossible standard.

Because here’s the thing, roleplaying literally anyone or anything, under the other definition being used to dismiss the idea of non-humans ever seeing genuine roleplay, is just you in a funny hat.

And yet, we all roleplay.

So clearly, the activity does not require that we be able to accurately imagine an inhuman perspective. It simply requires (at most) that we imagine the character’s perspective as best we can, and try to play the character accordingly.
 

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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Call it what you like. You, nor anyone else on the planet, has the first clue how to play a Kender, or a Kobold, or a Lizard Folk, or Bugbear etc etc, because they don't exist in the real world, and you are not one.
Bolding a thing when you repeat it for the umpteenth time doesn’t make it any more compelling, nor relevant to the discussion.

Playing a character does not require knowing accurately what their perspective is like. Requiring that in order to be roleplaying means that no one is ever roleplaying unless their character is simply themselves.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Call it what you like. You, nor anyone else on the planet, has the first clue how to play a Kender, or a Kobold, or a Lizard Folk, or Bugbear etc etc, because they don't exist in the real world, and you are not one.
Not even the people who created Kender, kobold, lizard folk and bugbears or specifically wrote official ecology articles about them? They don't know how to play their own creations? The people for whom they have written specific instructions on how to play them don't know?

I'm not even someone who prescribes to the idea of 'roleplaying right' or that turning D&D games into xenofiction is either a good idea or the aim people really intend when demanding species that aren't fundamentally human (they will always just be humans with a gimmick no matter how many weird senses we give them because humans anthropomorphize EVERYTHING unless we make an effort not to), but this argument doesn't make a lot of sense.
 

Not even the people who created Kender, kobold, lizard folk and bugbears or specifically wrote official ecology articles about them? They don't know how to play their own creations? The people for whom they have written specific instructions on how to play them don't know?
They can write how to pretend to be a kender, kobold or lizard folk. They can't write how to actually be a kender, kobold or lizard folk, because they are not a kender, kobold or lizard folk.

Anyone who has a pet cat and is observant can pretend to be a cat. But you are imitating it's behaviour, not the thought patterns that determine that behaviour.

Of course, that's all D&D is - pretend. I can pretend to be good at fighting or casting spells, but I am not actually good at either of those things.
 
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They can write how to pretend to be a kender, kobold or lizard folk. They can't write how to actually be a kender, kobold or lizard folk, because they are not a kender, kobold or lizard folk.

Anyone who has a pet cat and is observant can pretend to be a cat. But you are imitating it's behaviour, not the thought patterns that determine that behaviour.

Of course, that's all D&D is - pretend. I can pretend to be good at fighting or casting spells, but I am not actually good at either of those things.
You seem to have figured out what we do in RPGs. We don't actually fight dragons, we just pretend that we do.

I am not actually a halfling, but I am also not a fantasy human from a land where magic is real and who has completely different life experience than me. But I can pretend to be either.
 
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Vaalingrade

Legend
And how to play a kobold is easy - it's a human in a funny hat. Because that's what the person who wrote them was.
I doubt they all wear funny hats while writing, but... yeah.

You're never going to get rid of 'humans in funny hats' unless your group is WAY more talented at writing than basically 90% of every writer ever. You're just going to make funnier and funnier hats just to try and obscure the human under it.
 

Aldarc

Legend
They can write how to pretend to be a kender, kobold or lizard folk. They can't write how to actually be a kender, kobold or lizard folk, because they are not a kender, kobold or lizard folk.

Anyone who has a pet cat and is observant can pretend to be a cat. But you are imitating it's behaviour, not the thought patterns that determine that behaviour.

Of course, that's all D&D is - pretend. I can pretend to be good at fighting or casting spells, but I am not actually good at either of those things.
Hence Thomas Nagel's influential thought-experiment essay "What is it like to be a bat?"
 

I am not actually a halfling, but I am also not a fantasy human from a land where magic is real and who has completely different life experience than me. But I can pretend to be either.
Yes, that's the point, you can imitate their behaviour, but you cannot actually think like them. You are "wearing a funny hat". I'm pretty sure someone who might actually die whilst fighting a dragon would behave rather differently.

Of course, halflings are a bit of a special case. They where invented by Tolkien as people who think like a Tolkien.
 






It is not so interesting. The word has been in use in the community with negative connotations for decades.

I can understand trying to reclaim the term, but let us not pretend that this is some novel connotation.
I don't. In my last post, I even stated it really should be used for a niche group that base all their choices on making their characters as powerful as possible. It has definitely been my experience that these people do not mind being called powergamers. Outside of that, the term should be dropped.
 



doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
They can write how to pretend to be a kender, kobold or lizard folk. They can't write how to actually be a kender, kobold or lizard folk, because they are not a kender, kobold or lizard folk.

Anyone who has a pet cat and is observant can pretend to be a cat. But you are imitating it's behaviour, not the thought patterns that determine that behaviour.

Of course, that's all D&D is - pretend. I can pretend to be good at fighting or casting spells, but I am not actually good at either of those things.
Sure, though this doesn’t invalidate the desire or goal of the OP, nor does it mean that roleplaying can’t happen, which was what the tangential argument was about.
 

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