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

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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I mean, the better thing would be to improve representation generally, so that marginalized people have characters they can identify with that aren’t monsters.
But ... and I'm trying to understand here ... isn't the premise that disaffected people identify with disaffected races because those races face bias? Take that bias away and why would they still identify with them? After the "grandfather in" period is past.

I mean there are things I agree with, no playable race should have a negative modifier or most should have it as one example I haven't mentioned. Beyond that? What could you change but make everybody the same which to me would be generic, boring and eliminate the need for different races.
 

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MGibster

Legend
And in combination with that, the extremely over the top physical change from 2e/3e to 4e, results in a lineage that is seemingly always to be judged as other, and pushed to the fringes of any human society they are allowed to settle in.

Its a bad look, imo.
Bad in what way? Because it looks to me like an interesting set up for a character.
 

Scribe

Hero
It speaks to many of the same concepts we covered in the massive "UA Thread of 3000 Posts" @Oofta

Bad in what way? Because it looks to me like an interesting set up for a character.

In the same way as people are not happy about Orcs, or Gnolls. Its establishing a singular view on a lineage, which is negative.

MY view on Tieflings remains the 2e/3e/Planescape vision. I reject the current one outright, and have since 4e dropped, but if one views the current Tiefling as acceptable, I see no reason why Orc's would not also be acceptable.
 

Justice and Rule

Adventurer
Maybe? I mean, it’s certainly something that draws me to such characters. As I said in the other post, I love Tieflings, and that’s absolutely an element of them that appeals to me. Heck, I’d even say Tieflings would lose something if that element was removed. The thing is, I don’t think the goal should be to excise all prejudice from the setting. It should be to insure that the in-fiction prejudices aren’t objectively correct within the setting. It’s fine with me if there is a cultural bias against Tieflings, or Orcs, or whatever, as long as the fiction demonstrates those biases to be misplaced.

Yeah, this needs to be emphasized: I'm not sure anyone here is arguing that there can be no prejudice or racial tension in a fictional setting. You can have people dislike or be distrustful of peoples or races: that's not hard to setup and its easy to find good hooks as to why they might be. But the problem with how the fiction with some races is designed is that we know, out-of-universe, that they're correct to think that way. Having someone think Orcs are barbarous monsters that are only a step above animals is different when you also have the narrator saying "Yeah, that dude is absolutely right."

Thank you. I had forgotten the name of that argument.

Defenses of "that's how it is in the fictional world!" beg the question of WHY it is that way in the fictional world.

To see why this, and other appeals to, "it is a fiction" don't fly as a broad justification, consider the following:

A person comes into their job one day, and hangs a picture of their boss in the shared kitchen area, and plays darts with the boss as the target. When the boss asks, the explanation, "Well, you shouldn't be offended, because while that looks like throwing darts at you, it is really just a fictional thing that looks like you. We can do anything to a fiction, and not have it mean anything in the real world," is still going to end up with you looking for a new job the next day. And rightfully so.

Your internal excuse for a fictional thing is not relevant to real people outside the fiction. Your choice to make a fiction that looks just like abuse is what's relevant, as is how you defend that choice.

I'm glad Olsen named it because it's so damn common when arguing fiction. Lord knows I fell into it when I was younger.
 

MGibster

Legend
In the same way as people are not happy about Orcs, or Gnolls. Its establishing a singular view on a lineage, which is negative.
Fair enough. I don't think we'll ever please everyone short of making every race/lineage as bland as Wonderbread. If they're just humans with horns or tails then what's the point of their existence?

MY view on Tieflings remains the 2e/3e/Planescape vision. I reject the current one outright, and have since 4e dropped, but if one views the current Tiefling as acceptable, I see no reason why Orc's would not also be acceptable.
I haven't picked up a 2E book in more than twenty years. But how different were tieflings back then? They were still of infernal ancestry, right?
 

Voadam

Legend
I haven't picked up a 2E book in more than twenty years. But how different were tieflings back then? They were still of infernal ancestry, right?
Fiendish ancestry that varied, succubus ancestry being most common I believe (which were demons up until 4e).

Also the looks varied from one to another with some being subtle fiendish aspects and others having the cloven hoofs or tails.
 

Scribe

Hero
I haven't picked up a 2E book in more than twenty years. But how different were tieflings back then? They were still of infernal ancestry, right?
There was no mandate that you looked like a literal devil walking around town. Your features could be as obvious, or subtle, as you liked, but you had a -2 Cha modifier as you were 'unsettling'.

Contrast to now, you walk around with a massive rack on your head, tail swinging in the breeze and crimson skin, everyone hates you, but you somehow have a +2 Cha modifier....
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
Yeah, this needs to be emphasized: I'm not sure anyone here is arguing that there can be no prejudice or racial tension in a fictional setting. You can have people dislike or be distrustful of peoples or races: that's not hard to setup and its easy to find good hooks as to why they might be. But the problem with how the fiction with some races is designed is that we know, out-of-universe, that they're correct to think that way. Having someone think Orcs are barbarous monsters that are only a step above animals is different when you also have the narrator saying "Yeah, that dude is absolutely right."
Here's where my point of confusion is. Is it morally permissible to insert anything into a fictional game space such that your standard adventuring party can feel justified dropping a fireball on it without interrogating it first? If so, where does that line occur where such a description becomes problematic?

From what I've gathered, I can drop a fireball on demons, no problem. Same thing with undead and most constructs. But fireballing orcs would be problematic. Is the line anything humanoid? Anything sapient and not directly burning down a village?
 

Scribe

Hero
Here's where my point of confusion is. Is it morally permissible to insert anything into a fictional game space such that your standard adventuring party can feel justified dropping a fireball on it without interrogating it first? If so, where does that line occur where such a description becomes problematic?

From what I've gathered, I can drop a fireball on demons, no problem. Same thing with undead and most constructs. But fireballing orcs would be problematic. Is the line anything humanoid? Anything sapient and not directly burning down a village?
The line is whatever people want honestly, but there are 2 primary arguments IMO.

1. No in game lineage should lean into the negative stereotypes, of a real world analog.
2. No in game lineage should be monolithic in how it is portrayed.

Now some folks dont want to get into the weeds of sapience, but I think its a valid point of discussion.

That all said, there is a setting where these issues are resolved, and one day, we shall return there. ;)
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
It speaks to many of the same concepts we covered in the massive "UA Thread of 3000 Posts" @Oofta



In the same way as people are not happy about Orcs, or Gnolls. Its establishing a singular view on a lineage, which is negative.

MY view on Tieflings remains the 2e/3e/Planescape vision. I reject the current one outright, and have since 4e dropped, but if one views the current Tiefling as acceptable, I see no reason why Orc's would not also be acceptable.
Which, again goes back to clarifying that alignment and fluff is the optional default.

I can see for some iconic monsters/races you could add a bit more text or sidebar similar to what they did with the drow. But there are limitations to how much that can be done. I mean, what happens when the next supplement comes out and you can play a succubus or cambion or ... well whatever.
 

Scribe

Hero
Which, again goes back to clarifying that alignment and fluff is the optional default.

I can see for some iconic monsters/races you could add a bit more text or sidebar similar to what they did with the drow. But there are limitations to how much that can be done. I mean, what happens when the next supplement comes out and you can play a succubus or cambion or ... well whatever.

What we do then, is construct a setting where that all makes sense and the game very quickly becomes quite a bit more complex than 'Can I just fireball them before they talk to us.'

There is no reason we shouldnt be able to play as a non-Evil Succubus or Cambion. Heck, there are thinking Undead, why is it OK to just nuke a Lich?

This is not absurd, this is the logical reality when saying no sapient lineage can be defaulted to being 'bad'.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
What we do then, is construct a setting where that all makes sense and the game very quickly becomes quite a bit more complex than 'Can I just fireball them before they talk to us.'

There is no reason we shouldnt be able to play as a non-Evil Succubus or Cambion. Heck, there are thinking Undead, why is it OK to just nuke a Lich?

This is not absurd, this is the logical reality when saying no sapient lineage can be defaulted to being 'bad'.
Can you not imagine a fiction where a good lich exists?
 

Justice and Rule

Adventurer
Here's where my point of confusion is. Is it morally permissible to insert anything into a fictional game space such that your standard adventuring party can feel justified dropping a fireball on it without interrogating it first? If so, where does that line occur where such a description becomes problematic?

From what I've gathered, I can drop a fireball on demons, no problem. Same thing with undead and most constructs. But fireballing orcs would be problematic. Is the line anything humanoid? Anything sapient and not directly burning down a village?

I mean, I suppose it's all in the context of the situation? I mean, are we talking just an Orc standing alone, minding his own business? Is he in a raider camp, have we been tracking some bandits that match his description?

I mean, to me, no. But I'm cautious because I don't want to end up as this guy.

 


Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
What we do then, is construct a setting where that all makes sense and the game very quickly becomes quite a bit more complex than 'Can I just fireball them before they talk to us.'

There is no reason we shouldnt be able to play as a non-Evil Succubus or Cambion. Heck, there are thinking Undead, why is it OK to just nuke a Lich?

This is not absurd, this is the logical reality when saying no sapient lineage can be defaulted to being 'bad'.
Which, cool. I don't do murder hobo nuke 'em from orbit campaigns anyway.

I just think D&D can and should continue to support the spectrum. For example in the OP's stream the professor dude had a problem with the people hassling the tiefling. First thing I'd do during a session 0 was that if someone wanted to play a tiefling would be to check what they were comfortable with.

If the tiefling player wants to be the outcast that proves their worth against all the odds, all the bigotry then we can tell an awesome story that will include to aspects of bigotry. Potentially even coming from the group. If they don't I'd make it clear to the other players it wasn't acceptable.

For me if I play a PC with the outcast background it's perfectly okay for the DM to treat my PC as an outcast because that's what I signed up for. But it does take some open conversations and a level of trust that goes both ways.
 


TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
I certainly can, thats the thrust of my entire argument for pages.

If people insist that Orcs cannot be labelled Evil, then neither can anything else.
Yea, that's pretty much where I've always been. I've had good intelligent undead, good orcs, good ogres, good kobolds, etc., all pop up in my games. But there's no moral consequence to assuming they're hostile and acting accordingly, as long as they're acting somewhat hostile. A peaceful shire full of orc farmers with a shrine to Pelor in the center of town is going to be investigated, not fireballed because "orcs are evil".
 

Voadam

Legend
Can you not imagine a fiction where a good lich exists?
Given the 5e MM writing of them having to feed souls to their phylacteries I would generally give them an evil over an any alignment entry.

Changing that fiction part, sure. You can then have Forgotten Realms Baelnorns and Eberron Deathless.
 

Justice and Rule

Adventurer
What we do then, is construct a setting where that all makes sense and the game very quickly becomes quite a bit more complex than 'Can I just fireball them before they talk to us.'

There is no reason we shouldnt be able to play as a non-Evil Succubus or Cambion. Heck, there are thinking Undead, why is it OK to just nuke a Lich?

This is not absurd, this is the logical reality when saying no sapient lineage can be defaulted to being 'bad'.

Edit: Actually I misread this. I just don't see too much of a problem with this.

Can you not imagine a fiction where a good lich exists?

Ha! I have something like this. Initially it started off in my head as just a gnomish lich who became a lich largely to document history, coming across a much lower-level party in the guise of a regular gnome trying to get to the tomb of an ancient warrior-king. He'd help out when needed (while concealing his identity), then he'd raise the warrior-king and teleport out to basically interview him so he could write his historical texts.

Eventually that evolved into the owner of the magical shop being a 20,000 year old gnomish lich who had been defeated by heroes of a completely different age, but he had been buried underneath thousands of tons of earth when his lair caved in. Eventually his mind just sort of shuts off, and 19,500 years later a landslide basically manages to unearth him. It's been so long that he's basically an amnesiac, immediate magical power at his fingertips but not remembering who he was. Eventually he's able to put together the basics, and, without knowing where his phylactery is, he basically set up shop a city at the edge of what is now a human Empire. He can't use too much magic without starting to move back into that lich mindset (In my setting negative energy is kind of toxic, almost drug-like, which is part of the reason why liches become so detached from life; this dude basically had a 19,000 year detox), but he has setup a bunch of wards in his shop so he's not immediately detectable, wears gloves so people can't feel his cold hands, and makes his day as a purveyor of magical wares. He has a family and they have several adopted children. I thought it a cool idea.
 

Scribe

Hero
I mean, this feels like the slippery slope fallacy. We shouldn't worry about what we need to do this with later because we don't know that we'll actually need to.

I dont think it is.

I think you clean up Volo's, and either we leave the rest alone as it pertains to setting specific definitions (FR Orcs != Eberron Orcs) or we have another layer of errata that sapient beings are not of a predefined monolithic alignment.

That's not a slippery slope, it's 'apply a patch to alignment'. IMO of course.
 

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