• COMING SOON! -- The Awfully Cheerful Engine on Kickstarter! An action comedy RPG inspired by cheerful tabletop games of the 80s! With a foreword by Sandy 'Ghostbusters' Petersen, and VTT support!
log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D General Old School DND talks if DND is racist.

Status
Not open for further replies.

log in or register to remove this ad

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Oh yes!

I remember when WOTC removed/changed lore in the game and it changed our culture, precipitating a racial reckoning.

Or when that one video game came out and suddenly our cultural mores and values were shaped anew.

No. To think this is the case is absurd. These changes happened because our culture changed not the other way around. Games reflect our culture.
Art 100% influences culture. This is not even a disputed thing.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Art 100% influences culture. This is not even a disputed thing.

Pretty much.

It's been argued wargaming evolved from army officer training who used that knowledge to wage real war.

Change is good imho radical change can go either way.

I don't want the game dumbed down to the point that only humans can be bad guys and let's face it orcs or whatever are still going to be the bad guys more often than not.

At a fundamental blevel you're just going to have to draw the line somewhere and say play or don't since I think the violent aspects of D&D are also a problem if you really want to go that far down the rabbit hole.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Let's assume I do.
If for no other reason than just to break up the monotony of killing yet more human bandits, low lv undead, & lesser devils/fiends.

I'm not running GoT, I'm running D&D.
Home of all manner of monstrous humanoids (many with a penchant for eating humans/elves/etc) & many whom the evil empires find quite suitable as troops.
In 20 years, I’ve never killed anyone in D&D because of their race.

Not even the safe kills, really, since they’ve always been doing something evil.
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
As I said, let's assume that answer is yes.

The question though is if you strip those out, what takes their place? And what's after that when you lot decide this new default evil thing should be promoted to playable character/"people" status.
Nothing. You’ll just have to homebrew.
Not in D&D. I was talking about general myths and lore.
I specified D&D demons for a reason. Other demons aren’t even elementals, or distinct from devils. D&D demons are decidedly their own thing.
Oh yes!

I remember when WOTC removed/changed lore in the game and it changed our culture, precipitating a racial reckoning.

Or when that one video game came out and suddenly our cultural mores and values were shaped anew.

No. To think this is the case is absurd. These changes happened because our culture changed not the other way around. Games reflect our culture.
Suggesting that life doesn’t imitate art is genuinely the most blatantly, absurdly, objectively, false claim I’ve ever seen made on this site.
you are making a claim that flies in the face of literally all expertise on the subject of the interaction of art and culture. Provide support for your incredible claim or admit you’re full of it.
I believe I said non-human humanoids.
I don’t especially care. The premise is flawed. You can play D&D entirely without non-human humanoids. You can play D&D with Humans set as the bad guys and orcs as the good guys.
 

HJFudge

Explorer
Art 100% influences culture. This is not even a disputed thing.
Well, entirely sidestepping the question of whether D&D games could be considered art...

Art has been borne as a result of the culture. There are many examples of this.

The Great War revolutionized art, leading to the rise of the Modernist Movement. Modernism did not cause The Great War. Same with abstract modernism and WW2. WW2 had a lot of causes, but abstract modernism was not one of them.

During the Byzantine Era especially, the Culturally dominant religions of that time caused much Art to be generated in religious iconography. Religious iconography did not cause the rise of the dominance of religion in that Culture.

The Civil Rights era, a cultural reckoning with race, gave rise to a slew of art that dealt with the feelings and influences of that generation. The civil rights era was not caused by this art.

I could continue, but I think 3 pretty clear and undeniable examples are enough, no?

Let us also compare and contrast here.

I make a statement. I back up that statement with examples and evidence. You say 'Suggesting that life doesn’t imitate art is genuinely the most blatantly, absurdly, objectively, false claim I’ve ever seen made on this site. you are making a claim that flies in the face of literally all expertise on the subject of the interaction of art and culture.'

Have you not read Plato's Republic? In it, he claims that art is twice removed from reality. I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to go read it as trying to explain Plato's Republic in a D&D forum is a bit absurd.

You state this as gospel, but you provide no evidence. Not even one example. Yet the 'literally all expertise' claim is verifiably false. Note that I just don't say its verifiably false. I then provide an example that verifies it as false.

Can people be influenced by art? Surely. But Culture is a far more overriding influence. An order of magnitude so.
 

ccs

41st lv DM
In 20 years, I’ve never killed anyone in D&D because of their race.

Not even the safe kills, really, since they’ve always been doing something evil.
Oh, to be fair the players didn't kill them because they were orcs/goblins/gnolls or whatever. They killed them because they were the opponents of the moment. They were the opponents of the moment because that's what fit that point in the story.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Well, entirely sidestepping the question of whether D&D games could be considered art...
It is.
Art has been borne as a result of the culture. There are many examples of this.

The Great War revolutionized art, leading to the rise of the Modernist Movement. Modernism did not cause The Great War. Same with abstract modernism and WW2. WW2 had a lot of causes, but abstract modernism was not one of them.

During the Byzantine Era especially, the Culturally dominant religions of that time caused much Art to be generated in religious iconography. Religious iconography did not cause the rise of the dominance of religion in that Culture.

The Civil Rights era, a cultural reckoning with race, gave rise to a slew of art that dealt with the feelings and influences of that generation. The civil rights era was not caused by this art.

I could continue, but I think 3 pretty clear and undeniable examples are enough, no?
No one here has claimed culture doesn’t influence art. Each influences the other. This is a very well understood relationship.
Let us also compare and contrast here.

I make a statement. I back up that statement with examples and evidence. You say 'Suggesting that life doesn’t imitate art is genuinely the most blatantly, absurdly, objectively, false claim I’ve ever seen made on this site. you are making a claim that flies in the face of literally all expertise on the subject of the interaction of art and culture.'
Umm... I wasn’t the one who said that. Do try and keep who you’re arguing with straight. At any rate, you are making an extraordinary claim, which would therefore require extraordinary evidence to support. So far, you have presented no evidence that art doesn’t influence culture, only examples of culture influencing art, which are not mutually exclusive things.
Have you not read Plato's Republic? In it, he claims that art is twice removed from reality. I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to go read it as trying to explain Plato's Republic in a D&D forum is a bit absurd.
Yes, I have read Republic, and nowhere in it did Plato say art doesn’t influence culture. “Art is twice removed from reality” is a very different claim than “art doesn’t affect culture.” Also, while Republic is a highly influential work on the field of philosophy, it’s not exactly up-to-date.
You state this as gospel, but you provide no evidence. Not even one example. Yet the 'literally all expertise' claim is verifiably false. Note that I just don't say its verifiably false. I then provide an example that verifies it as false.
Your “source” doesn’t claim that art doesn’t influence culture. It’s also not my job to educate you on theory. You’re the one making a claim contrary to academic consensus, it’s on you to find support for it.
Can people be influenced by art? Surely. But Culture is a far more overriding influence. An order of magnitude so.
Again, no one here has claimed culture doesn’t influence art.
 

HJFudge

Explorer

Thus sayeth the Lord. Anyone who disagrees is obviously wrong? Hmmm.

No one here has claimed culture doesn’t influence art. Each influences the other. This is a very well understood relationship.

Considering you've demonstrated a severe lack of understanding on the topic...well, agree to disagree?

Umm... I wasn’t the one who said that. Do try and keep who you’re arguing with straight. At any rate, you are making an extraordinary claim, which would therefore require extraordinary evidence to support. So far, you have presented no evidence that art doesn’t influence culture, only examples of culture influencing art, which are not mutually exclusive things.
Nope. My quote fu was weak. Apologies.

How am I to prove a negative, exactly?

Your standards go no higher than mere declaration of 'It is' thus I am pretty comfortable that my evidence is a bit more compelling.

Yes, I have read Republic, and nowhere in it did Plato say art doesn’t influence culture. “Art is twice removed from reality” is a very different claim than “art doesn’t affect culture.” Also, while Republic is a highly influential work on the field of philosophy, it’s not exactly up-to-date.

May I also introduce you to Mimesis, here is a wiki page. (Yes, I know, WIKI, but we aren't in a scholastic journal here. This'll have to do.)


Please ALSO note that the argument that is being made by you and the other person is defined as ANTI-mimesis and was probably most famously defined by Oscar Wilde? But to act like your view is the ONLY view on the subject is uh...

Well it doesn't put your arguments into the BEST light, let us say.

Your “source” doesn’t claim that art doesn’t influence culture. It’s also not my job to educate you on theory. You’re the one making a claim contrary to academic consensus, it’s on you to find support for it.

Nor is it my job to educate you on art history, cultural studies, etc.

Yet in the interest of dispelling ignorance, I have provided a link above you might find enlightening.

Again, no one here has claimed culture doesn’t influence art.

So, to be clear, what claim ARE you making?

That the portrayal of a fictional non-existent race in a tabletop roleplaying game, the Orcs specifically (but it is implied there are others) have a direct and verifiable influence on our Culture? That this has led to not only such an influence, but an actual harm in how real world human beings have been treated?

Am I being fair in this?

Also: Remember, you cannot even view or interact with art without your CULTURE influencing how you do so. You, in fact, cannot even parse things as art unless you have a cultural knowledge in order to do so. Art RELIES on Culture, whereas Culture does not rely on art but is merely reflected by it.
 

Art is culture I don't really understand what the argument is.

In the past this sort of argument has not been about whether art affects culture but whether (or rather to what extent) cultural production and representation influences material conditions.

One reading of Marx was that the relationship of culture to material conditions flows one way from material conditions to culture. Now if you had pressed Marx he may have not necessarily stated as such directly, but it can be argued that it is implied.

Of course there has been a lot of push back on that with the argument often made over the twentieth century that art also influences material conditions.

Personally I think the latter is undeniable, but also these days vastly overstated. I tend to think the centre of gravity is way over on the material side, whereas a lot of modern commentary tends to act as if moving things around in the cultural sphere has much more influence in the material sphere than it does.
 
Last edited:

JEB

Adventurer
Suppose the idea of fundamentally evil humanoids is indeed removed from D&D entirely, because of its problematic aspects. There are also many monsters in the other creature types that resemble humanoids. Undead and fiends have already been brought up, but I think we can all agree that there's room for those to remain inherently evil. (Ditto celestials being inherently good.) You could also argue that constructs, as artificial creatures, could also have inherent alignment (though they're usually unaligned anyway).

But what about giants, which are basically just big humanoids? Monstrosities, like ettercaps? Fey, like hags? Aberrations, like mind flayers? Elementals, like efreet? Plants, like blights?

And that's just limiting examples to creatures with humanoid shapes, there are plenty of other intelligent creatures in those types. Plus dragons are certainly intelligent creatures... and currently color-coded for alignment convenience. There have historically been intelligent oozes, even.

(I guess beasts are sufficiently inhuman and unintelligent by default to never be a problem, but they tend to be unaligned.)

The question here being, if inherently evil humanoids are a problem - and I acknowledge folks have authentic concerns here - what happens if folks just replace "orc" with "ogre" as their go-to "kill without remorse" monster? Or ettercaps or hags? Is that still a problem? Is there a line beyond which they're inhuman enough it's acceptable? If not, how far would we have to go to actually address the problem at the default level?

Note, BTW, that we already do have playable monstrosities (centaurs and minotaurs) and fey (satyrs), thanks to Theros. (The Theros minotaur is implicitly humanoid, admittedly, but the Theros centaur is still not a humanoid - they're fey.) And per the recent UA, we may have playable constructs and undead on the way as well. So arguing that just "humanoids" should never have fixed alignments won't work, that ship has sailed.
 
Last edited:


Bagpuss

Adventurer
Having antagonists who are antagonistic "because they are evil" is lazy story telling. Remove evil from the game and the DM has to come up with a better reason why the PCs are fighting X.

Yeah but in most D&D adventures evil creature do have a reason for doing what they are doing (which is usually invading). In the Essentials kit they have been displaced by a Dragon moving into their territory, in Red Hand of Doom they are are being driven by their worship of Tiamat, etc.

In the Essentials Kit the Orcs make no attempt to negotiate a new home for themselves, they invade and take what they want, because orc culture is very much "might makes right", this is why they are evil.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Having antagonists who are antagonistic "because they are evil" is lazy story telling. Remove evil from the game and the DM has to come up with a better reason why the PCs are fighting X.

It may be anecdotal but that was my experience with old school gaming. The bad guys did things because evil or had unwavering suicidal support to a flimsy cause. Wandering one might be negotiated with. But Chaotic Stupid was a thing back then.
 

It may be anecdotal but that was my experience with old school gaming. The bad guys did things because evil or had unwavering suicidal support to a flimsy cause. Wandering one might be negotiated with. But Chaotic Stupid was a thing back then.
Me too. But in my defence I was in my teens.

"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child: now that I am become a man...."
 

Bagpuss

Adventurer
Me too. But in my defence I was in my teens.

"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child: now that I am become a man...."
I counter with CS Lewis...

“When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”

Just enjoy the D&D the way you want to enjoy it. Evil orcs are fine you aren't hurting anyone.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I counter with CS Lewis...

“When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”

Just enjoy the D&D the way you want to enjoy it. Evil orcs are fine you aren't hurting anyone.

No one says you can't have evil orcs. Just build a decent story for it and don't be offensive, purposely nor accidentally.
 

Thing is, this is enough to explain what happens:
In the Essentials Kit the Orcs make no attempt to negotiate a new home for themselves, they invade and take what they want, because orc culture is very much "might makes right",
You don't need this:
this is why they are evil.

All the "they are evil" bit does is say to players "therefore it is fine to kill all of them".

I.e., The takeaway lesson is: "if people are raised in a culture we find morally objectionable it's okay to kill them". A pretty solid justification for Islamophobia.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Thing is, this is enough to explain what happens:

You don't need this:


All the "they are evil" bit does is say to players "therefore it is fine to kill all of them".

I.e., The takeaway lesson is: "if people are raised in a culture we find morally objectionable it's okay to kill them". A pretty solid justification for Islamophobia.

D&D needs villains. Let's face it the Orcs and co gonna be generic fodder anyway regardless of WotC jumping through hoops.

It's basically what they're there for. If you move it into another race same problem.
 

Status
Not open for further replies.

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top