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

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Scribe

Hero
If orcs are Always Chaotic Evil (TM), then no. It is word of god.
  • Alignment. Orcs are vicious raiders, who believe that the world should be theirs. They also respect strength above all else and believe the strong must bully the weak to ensure that weakness does not spread like a disease. They are usually chaotic evil.
  • Alignment. Tieflings might not have an innate tendency toward evil, but many of them end up there. Evil or not, an independent nature inclines many tieflings toward a chaotic alignment.
I mean, if thats what we are going with, I guess it is what it is.

I'm pretty sure we agree that as far as PC defaults, that there shouldnt be any.
 

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TheSword

Legend
Supporter
Even in Eberron Fiends embody Law and Evil.

The Great Wheel isn’t just Planescapes cosmology. It - or a variant - is the standard cosmology in D&D.

Now you may wish that was thrown out but WOC seems to be showing no sign of doing so.

[Edit corrected... it’s getting late!]
 
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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Heh - shows how little attention I've been paying to the lore of late - I still see them as being, in effect, 3e-style Half-Demons under a different name.
The change happened in 4e. They went from being people with some fiend mixed into their bloodline to the descendants of the noble families of the fallen Bael Turath empire, who made pacts with devils to secure power over their empire. Their bloodlines were permanently marked by these deals, so even now, countless generations after Bael Turath’s collapse, everyone who shares the blood of the defunct Turathi nobility bears a devilish visage in punishment for their ancestors’ sins.

5e... kinda tried to keep that backstory despite Bael Turath being specific to 4e’s default setting lore, which was... a weird choice. So now they’re the dependents of people who made deals with devils, but not tied to any specific people or event. And also sometimes they’re people with fiendish heritage. It’s all rather vague and wishy-washy honestly, but I like the 4e version, so Bael Turath is a thing in my homebrew setting.
 

I mean, you can do what you do, but the biggest part of the Thermian Argument is that the fiction doesn't justify itself against critique. So if you want to make something, go for it. For me, when I think about something that might be controversial, I like to think about why I'm doing it so that if I were to talk to someone about it, I could explain my reasoning rather than saying "It's that way because the universe justifies it." That's all I'm trying to get at.



Yeah, I mentioned it with regard to @Argyle King, but I only linked the video rather than posting it directly to the board. Easy to miss, my fault for not being clearer with my words.

I understand what you're (I think) saying.

I do agree that there should be reasons for choosing to include (or not include something) in a story.

That being said, I'll again say that I think it's weird to imagine a world which is built upon completely different aspects of reality and/or natural laws, yet have everyone in said world still act exactly the same as they would if those differences didn't exist.

The Thermian Argument seems to imply that it is a fallacy to say differences would create differences. I don't believe that holds up even when looking at different periods of time in the real world. Just the difference that I can type this reply while walking on the treadmill at the gym, using what is essentially a handheld computer (smart phone) creates a very different world than one in which I was waiting for the screeching of dial-up to tell me I was online in the 90s. A lot of mystery novels and movies are approached differently now that most of the population can record video and post to social media.

I'm open to accepting that perhaps certain aspects of humanity exist regardless. I watch The Expanse, and (despite being very different than the real world around me) there are obvious parallels to things found in real world history (such as the Cold War, the "Age of Discovery," the plight of marginalized people in a period of colonization, and etc).
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
  • Your party has been traveling in the Underdark for weeks, and nearly wiped out by the hostile inhabitants several times. The scout spots a warband of troglodytes approaching down the tunnel. There is nowhere to hide or evade. Prepare to ambush with prepared spells, or enter into negotiations?

  • You come across a glade where an ettin hunches over the corpses of several hunters. Roll initiative, or hail and parlay?

  • Taking refuge in a cliffside cave, you’re alarmed to discover that it’s the lair of a group of frost giants who are now returning from the hunt. The cave is littered with bones, some of them humanoid. Blast the giants as they approach the cave, or wait until they draw near and engage them in dialogue?
And those things confuse you?
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Why do we need to go to a slippery slope when we can just deal with what we are dealing with? Why does it always have to suddenly extend to "What if we look at EVERYTHING!" instead of just looking at what we are talking about right now?
Efficiency.

Let's say we (as in the greater we) resolve what's being talked about right now and there's an incremental but quasi-permanent change.

Then, in a few months or years another discussion arises looking to build on to that already-agreed change; so lather, rinse, repeat until another quasi-permanent incremental change is agreed. And so on, over and over again.

In order to avoid all that, isn't it much simpler to just try to identify an end point and jump straight to it, skipping over all the intervening years of BS and angst and argument?

An end-point discussion has three possible outcomes: no change at all, change straight to the end point, or reach a compromise somewhere between the two. But the overarching benefit is that it only has to be done once (or, maybe, once per generation).
 

Scribe

Hero
Actually heres a funny thing....

Volos.
  • Alignment. Orcs are vicious raiders, who believe that the world should be theirs. They also respect strength above all else and believe the strong must bully the weak to ensure that weakness does not spread like a disease. They are usually chaotic evil.
Eberron.
  • Alignment. The orcs of Eberron are a passionate people, given to powerful emotion and deep faith. They are generally chaotic, but can be any alignment.
Exandria.
  • Alignment. Ores fear the curse of ruin that is said to plague their race, and tend strongly toward either chaos (accepting their fate), or toward law (rejecting it).
Ixalan
  • Alignment. Most orcs lean toward chaotic alignments, and many serve on pirate ships that encourage an inclination toward evil.
So whats REALLY the problem here beyond some poorly worded fluff in Volo's? OR, is every one of these a problem, and we simply cannot default (or even SUGGEST) that there is an Alignment for a lineage?

I dont know. I remain where I started. Clean up the clearly poor text (CoS, Volo's) but the alignment stuff isnt the problem.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
  • Your party has been traveling in the Underdark for weeks, and nearly wiped out by the hostile inhabitants several times. The scout spots a warband of troglodytes approaching down the tunnel. There is nowhere to hide or evade. Prepare to ambush with prepared spells, or enter into negotiations?
That’s a great dilemma! Why on earth would you want to throw that away in favor of having one always-correct answer?
  • You come across a glade where an ettin hunches over the corpses of several hunters. Roll initiative, or hail and parlay?
Is the ettin wearing pants?
  • Taking refuge in a cliffside cave, you’re alarmed to discover that it’s the lair of a group of frost giants who are now returning from the hunt. The cave is littered with bones, some of them humanoid. Blast the giants as they approach the cave, or wait until they draw near and engage them in dialogue?
Hide. Wait for them to draw near and have one party member try to engage them in dialogue. If things go poorly, the other party members attack with surprise. If they go well, introduce the other party members a few at a time, like the dwarves meeting Baeorn.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
  • Alignment. Orcs are vicious raiders, who believe that the world should be theirs. They also respect strength above all else and believe the strong must bully the weak to ensure that weakness does not spread like a disease. They are usually chaotic evil.
  • Alignment. Tieflings might not have an innate tendency toward evil, but many of them end up there. Evil or not, an independent nature inclines many tieflings toward a chaotic alignment.
I mean, if thats what we are going with, I guess it is what it is.

I'm pretty sure we agree that as far as PC defaults, that there shouldnt be any.
Right. So Tieflings don’t have an innate tendency towards evil, but orcs do, according to those passages. I’ll concede that couching it in “may not” and “but many of them end up there” is uncomfortable, as is the inherent tendency towards chaotic alignments. And I’ll agree that we’d be better off removing these alignment entries for PC races. But, I also don’t see any reason any natural humanoid shouldn’t be able to be a PC race. So, I don’t think natural humanoids should have fixed alignments.
 

Justice and Rule

Adventurer
I understand what you're (I think) saying.

I do agree that there should be reasons for choosing to include (or not include something) in a story.

That being said, I'll again say that I think it's weird to imagine a world which is built upon completely different aspects of reality and/or natural laws, yet have everyone in said world still act exactly the same as they would if those differences didn't exist.

The Thermian Argument seems to imply that it is a fallacy to say differences would create differences. I don't believe that holds up even when looking at different periods of time in the real world. Just the difference that I can type this reply while walking on the treadmill at the gym, using what is essentially a handheld computer (smart phone) creates a very different world than one in which I was waiting for the screeching of dial-up to tell me I was online in the 90s. A lot of mystery novels and movies are approached differently now that most of the population can record video and post to social media.

I'm open to accepting that perhaps certain aspects of humanity exist regardless. I watch The Expanse, and (despite being very different than the real world around me) there are obvious parallels to things found in real world history (such as the Cold War, the "Age of Discovery," the plight of marginalized people in a period of colonization, and etc).

I mean, the bigger thing is that the Thermian Argument is about how an author can't escape the critique for their creative decisions by using in-universe justifications. However you want to justify a decision in-universe, that reasoning doesn't matter to why you made the decision outside of the universe.

Actually heres a funny thing....

Volos.
  • Alignment. Orcs are vicious raiders, who believe that the world should be theirs. They also respect strength above all else and believe the strong must bully the weak to ensure that weakness does not spread like a disease. They are usually chaotic evil.
Eberron.
  • Alignment. The orcs of Eberron are a passionate people, given to powerful emotion and deep faith. They are generally chaotic, but can be any alignment.
Exandria.
  • Alignment. Ores fear the curse of ruin that is said to plague their race, and tend strongly toward either chaos (accepting their fate), or toward law (rejecting it).
Ixalan
  • Alignment. Most orcs lean toward chaotic alignments, and many serve on pirate ships that encourage an inclination toward evil.
So whats REALLY the problem here beyond some poorly worded fluff in Volo's? OR, is every one of these a problem, and we simply cannot default (or even SUGGEST) that there is an Alignment for a lineage?

I dont know. I remain where I started. Clean up the clearly poor text (CoS, Volo's) but the alignment stuff isnt the problem.

I mean, I think the roleplaying part of the text kind of got people.

Most orcs have been indoctrinated into a life of destruction and slaughter. But unlike creatures who by their very nature are evil, such as gnolls, it's possible that an orc, if raised outside its culture, could develop a limited capacity for empathy, love, and compassion.
No matter how domesticated an orc might seem, its blood lust flows just beneath the surface. With its instinctive love of battle and its desire to prove its strength, an orc trying to live within the confines of civilization is faced with a difficult task.

The opening line about "indoctrination" is meant to be a qualifier, but then again apparently even if you raise it outside this culture it will still only develop a "limited capacity" for certain emotions. That, along with "no matter how domesticated" stuff, is pretty cringe.
 
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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Even in Eberron Fiends embody Law and Evil.

The Great Wheel isn’t just Planescapes cosmology. It - or a variant - is the standard cosmology in D&D.

Now you may wish that was thrown out but WOC seems to be showing no sign of doing so.
Another good reason to use “native to the material plane” as the line.
 




Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Another good reason to use “native to the material plane” as the line.
What about red dragons?

I mean I know, I know those don't look like people, etc. But to me it's the mind, the brain encased in the head of the dragon, that matters. I don't personally have an issue with dragons being evil (or orcs) but if we're going to say that it's "bad" to have a default alignment, I don't see why form should matter.

It's not racism, but it is ... formism (I guess?).
 

Scribe

Hero
What about red dragons?

I mean I know, I know those don't look like people, etc. But to me it's the mind, the brain encased in the head of the dragon, that matters. I don't personally have an issue with dragons being evil (or orcs) but if we're going to say that it's "bad" to have a default alignment, I don't see why form should matter.

It's not racism, but it is ... formism (I guess?).

No it is racism. Its fundamental 'this thing is other'. If that 'other' is a sapient being, the argument that its OK for IT to be labeled and judged because it doesnt look like ME, is absolutely racism.

I mean how is it not?
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Religion/politics
Even a real world organization such as the one you mentioned has involuntary members and members who are not actively pursuing violence. To say it's okay to murder them all just makes you another extremist group. Which is another type of bigotry - as I said.
No, it doesn’t. You have made a wildly incredible claim supported by nothing.
Killing invading nazis isn’t murder. The end.
"All of them are evil because of the jersey they are wearing" is just as bigoted as killing all of a race.

Evil organizations, such as the ones being created as antagonists, have evil means and therefore can easily have members who were forced into the organization. Murdering them all because of guilt-by-association is also bigotry.

Trading less popular bigotry for more popular bigotry isn't a solution to bigotry. It's just a different kind.
This is just the fallacious form of reductio ad absurdum, mixed with a weakly built strawman.

Firstly, no one said anything about killing non-combatants. Stop making stuff up and attributing it to the person you’re disagreeing with.

Second, no, killing invading nazis is not comparable to killing any Spaniard you meet because they’re Spaniards. Obviously.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
What about red dragons?

I mean I know, I know those don't look like people, etc. But to me it's the mind, the brain encased in the head of the dragon, that matters. I don't personally have an issue with dragons being evil (or orcs) but if we're going to say that it's "bad" to have a default alignment, I don't see why form should matter.

It's not racism, but it is ... formism (I guess?).
Yeah, honestly I would prefer dragons not have fixed alignments either. It doesn’t bother me as much, because they are pretty far removed from anything resembling people, but there is something low-key icky about dragons’ scale color defining their moral tendencies. Moreover, I just think it makes for better stories if dragons can be any alignment regardless of their color.
 
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