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

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Sacrosanct

Legend
I challenge you to use pen and ink to draw a character with bronze skin.

Look at the pictures in the 1E MM and the other early D&D books: all humanoids are white. Elves, dwarves, orcs, trolls, ogres, goblins. All drawn white. Even though the descriptions have their skins range from white to bronze to read to purple. Because black and white pen art literally has to be black and white, and you can't make out features on a purely black figure.
Sigh...

when drawing a black and white image, lack of filling in the skin tone with black does not automatically assume white. You are wrong again. You absolutely can depict someone as african, or asian, with b/w line art. for example:

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So when someone says they are depicted as white in b/w art, they are saying the features of that racial characteristic are Caucasian. Arguing that all b/w are white is a nonsensical argument.
 

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CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Alignment as is has nearly no mechanical benefit, other than some corner case rules with artifacts and other magical items. Soon, it won't be used to describe common attitudes of monsters and PC races. Its only being used for deities, planes and individuals, which is the barest use you can have for it. If it went missing utterly now, the amount of rewriting you'd have to do is minimal. I just don't see there being much use for it if it's not going to describe much anymore...
But someone "not seeing much use for it" doesn't mean that the game developers are actively working to remove it. Lots of things in the game exist with that same level of mechanical benefit as alignment, including some brand-new stuff in 5E like Bonds, Flaws, and Ideals. There's no reason to believe that WotC is planning on removing them.

But I'm not a dev, so take that with a grain of salt. If they remove alignment from the game as a whole, I'll add it back in with a (very simple) house rule. I won't let it become a deal-breaker for me.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
There's no reason to believe the discourse of twitter is representative of widely held beliefs either. Twitter is the farthest thing from a window into social norms.

It brings to mind efforts to use the term "Latinx." You may well use social media where it's the norm. But it's anything but the norm among Latinos, among whom only 23 per cent have even heard of the term, and only 3 per cent use it.


If those numbers surprise you, it could be because you spend a lot of time on social media platforms that bear no resemblance to the general population.
I’m pretty sure the majority of the people who use the term Latinx are well aware that it has not yet been broadly adopted.
 

Mannahnin

Adventurer
Right, and as with CoS I assume things will be addressed. I just don't believe Orcs or Drow are standing in for real world culture.
I think you're right that they're not intended as stand-ins for real cultures. I think it's an unconscious, unintended echo of real world discrimination.

As some of us discussed maybe 20-odd pages ago in this thread, Tolkien wrestled with the moral implications of creating a whole species/people who are servants of evil, and the degree to which they could reasonably be considered evil or irredeemable without betraying his own moral world view.

D&D accidentally imported this moral quandary back when Orcs were just casually taken from Chainmail's fantasy supplement appendix, itself intended to give folks rules for playing Tolkien-style battles in a wargame where ethical dilemmas would never enter into it.
 




Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I’m pretty sure the majority of the people who use the term Latinx are well aware that it has not yet been broadly adopted.
It just feels like a solution looking for an issue, at least based on the articles where the interviewers actually talked to Hispanic people.

Much like how this particular topic has never come up at any table I've been actually involved with. Which ... in and of itself is meaningless because it's such a narrow slice. Much like the incredibly narrow slice you get from most social media.

I don't think anyone posting (myself included) has any real clue as to whether this is an issue outside of the blog-sphere.
 


It's not just twitter, just a quick google search has revealed the following articles or blog posts by journalists, game industry heads, or other subject matter experts: Cecilia D'Anastasio, Andrew Limbong, Jeremy Crawford, Lauren Frazier, Jeremy Blum, James Mendez Hodes, and Daniel Kwan. All people who have led discussions about how elements of D&D have been problematic when it comes to race/gender presentation. None of whom are straight white men. And yet, you insist on handwaving this mountain of evidence that a lot of minorities are seeing problems, and instead are claiming that BIPOC aren't seeing issues, and we must be projecting.

It's telling, to be honest.
That's not a 'mountain of evidence'. It's people with largely similar backgrounds from the same community interpreting material in largely the same way. If you were seriously claiming that all these people had come to the same conclusion independently then you'd have the beginnings of a case, but obviously that's not true.

A mountain of evidence would be going out into the world beyond highly educated and extremely online people and asking ordinray people if they found representations offensive. (And you'd have to have a statistically significant sample).

Now we can of course argue that there are lots of problematic things in D&D and what should be do about then, but you can't point to a bunch of people who agree with you and say 'case closed', you actually have to argue the thing on its merits.
 

Moreover:


And of the specific groups that have info about complexion:
Aquatic - greenish silver
Wood elf - "Their complexions are fair..."

So, yeah, when your evil variety is dark but everyone else is light, it may not have been intended to be racist, but it sure is tone deaf to the concern.
"Most gnomes are wood brown, a few range to gray brown, of skin." - 1E Monster Manual

"[Dwarves] skin is earth-colored, and their hair is dark brown, grey, or black." - Moldvay Basic


What's actually remarkable about the early monster and race descriptions in D&D is how fantastically varied they are in complexion.

"Ogre magi have light blue, light green, or pale brown skins."

Orcs are "brown or brownish green with a blueish sheen."

"Goblins range from yellow through dull orange to brick red in skin color."

"Gnolls have greenish gray skins."
 
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Sacrosanct

Legend
It’s entirely possible with cross-hatching and a solid value scale. I couldn’t do it, but the technique has been around for hundreds of years.
More the point, it's not about literally capturing bronze skin in a b/w line art per se. "Tanned white person" isn't much more diverse than just "white person in general" if the physical features are the same (Caucasian). So it's less about capturing actual skin tone, and more about capturing defining and diverse physical features, which absolutely can be done in b/w line art (see my post above).
 

It’s entirely possible with cross-hatching and a solid value scale. I couldn’t do it, but the technique has been around for hundreds of years.
It's possible. But you've seen the artwork in question, haven't you? These were mostly amateur artists who spent maybe an hour or so on each illustration. Is it more reasonable to assume they carried out their assignments in the easiest way (which is to depict humanoids as having white bodies, regardless of how they're described in the text or whether they're good or evil), or that they were subverting the text they were given by making everything white?
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
"Most gnomes are wood brown, a few range to gray brown, of skin." - 1E Monster Manual

"[Dwarves] skin is earth-colored, and their hair is dark brown, grey, or black." - Moldvay Basic
We're talking about elves, pal. That should have been pretty obvious from the context.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
It just feels like a solution looking for an issue, at least based on the articles where the interviewers actually talked to Hispanic people.
Yeah, I mean I’m nonbinary and mixed-race white/Hispanic and I’ve never taken issue with Latino/Latina being gendered terms personally. But there are people who do, and adopting a more gender neutral term is super easy - barely an inconvenience. So, if it makes other people more comfortable and doesn’t harm me, eh, may as well. I think it’s the same issue here. Changing the default to “any alignment” doesn’t prevent people who want always-evil races from having them, so if that change would make the game more welcoming to more people, the resistance to making it seems misplaced to me.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
That's not a 'mountain of evidence'. It's people with largely similar backgrounds from the same community interpreting material in largely the same way. If you were seriously claiming that all these people had come to the same conclusion independently then you'd have the beginnings of a case, but obviously that's not true.

A mountain of evidence would be going out into the world beyond highly educated and extremely online people and asking ordinray people if they found representations offensive. (And you'd have to have a statistically significant sample).

Now we can of course argue that there are lots of problematic things in D&D and what should be do about then, but you can't point to a bunch of people who agree with you and say 'case closed', you actually have to argue the thing on its merits.
This is not only ridiculous, it's an impossible arbitrary standard you just came up with out of thin air. It's also a horrible standard.

"Well, the majority of doctors have written papers about how the transmission rate of this virus is a problem, but I don't consider that a mountain of evidence unless you also include the opinions of Joe at the car wash and Jane at the Walmart."
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
This is not only ridiculous, it's an impossible arbitrary standard you just came up with out of thin air. It's also a horrible standard.

"Well, the majority of doctors have written papers about how the transmission rate of this virus is a problem, but I don't consider that a mountain of evidence unless you also include the opinions of Joe at the car wash and Jane at the Walmart what their opinions are."
This does seem to be one of the core issues of the culture war though. A depressing number of people truly do believe that Joe’s and Jane’s opinions should be given equal weight to those of the experts.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
It's possible. But you've seen the artwork in question, haven't you? These were mostly amateur artists who spent maybe an hour or so on each illustration. Is it more reasonable to assume they carried out their assignments in the easiest way (which is to depict humanoids as having white bodies, regardless of how they're described in the text or whether they're good or evil), or that they were subverting the text they were given by making everything white?
Look man, I've been doing art for 40 years. It it literally no extra effort to make a line drawing of someone who looks African, or Asian, or any non-white person. See my post above of very simple lineart that captures these traits.

You seem to be bending over backwards to double down on positions that have been soundly debunked and refuted. For what, exactly?
 

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