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

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Justice and Rule

Adventurer
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?

I mean... I'm more concerned with stuff that has more real-world implications than anything. Like, I'm not sure if Red Dragons really track to the depictions of any real-world ethnicity or hold tropes/traits that might track to something that could track with that.

Like, I'm cool with making "default alignments" less of a thing, but I think a certain amount of focus is needed in the changes made.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
(Re: good-aligned liches in your campaign)
Do you use the 5e MM lich as written needing to feed souls to their phylacteries?
Yep, liches need to feed souls to their phylacteries via the Imprisonment spell. And the cool thing about that spell is that it can target any creature, not just sentient humanoids with families and jobs and stuff.

So while the evil liches might feed on children and family pets or whatever, the non-evil ones would feed on elk, rabbits, and cows. Vegan liches probably feed on shriekers, shambling mounds, and the occasional violet fungus. Enthusiastically good-aligned ones probably feed on fiends and other undead. (See also: vampires.)
 
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Scribe

Hero
I mean... I'm more concerned with stuff that has more real-world implications than anything. Like, I'm not sure if Red Dragons really track to the depictions of any real-world ethnicity or hold tropes/traits that might track to something that could track with that.

Like, I'm cool with making "default alignments" less of a thing, but I think a certain amount of focus is needed in the changes made.
I mean honestly, I dont think anyone is arguing against cleaning up Volo's. If that is the primary concern you have, I believe everyone is on board and we can pack it up.

Looking forward however, there is this clear line between 'no we just need to fix THIS lineage' and 'this actually is a question of all lineages'.

Its not just Orcs that have the issue, when we assume Volo's will be cleaned up (or simply Errata fixed like the Wall of the Faithless).
 

Justice and Rule

Adventurer
I mean honestly, I dont think anyone is arguing against cleaning up Volo's. If that is the primary concern you have, I believe everyone is on board and we can pack it up.

Looking forward however, there is this clear line between 'no we just need to fix THIS lineage' and 'this actually is a question of all lineages'.

Its not just Orcs that have the issue, when we assume Volo's will be cleaned up (or simply Errata fixed like the Wall of the Faithless).

I'm fine with all that as long as we get the big stuff out of the way. I'm a guy who likes to subvert the classic ideas anyways, so none of this is particularly new to me. I just don't want it to overshadow the other stuff.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Aboleth? Beholders? Mind Flayers?
Native to the Far Realm. Also, falls under “special exceptions for creatures who’s very existence is antithetical to that of other sapient beings.” I also generally prefer aberrations be unlaligned, so as to emphasize their alienness. Blue and orange morality and all that.
 



Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I'm fine with a world's culture having suggested alignments/worldviews, but I'm not okay with it being attached to race/lineage.
See I think that's worse. To say that everyone from Someplaceistan is evil or has the same worldview? No. To much like real world bias.
 


Lanefan

Victoria Rules
So, whatever you do in your own game, it's vital that you know what everybody else does too? Because that affects your enjoyment of your own game in some manner?
It doesn't affect my enjoyment but it does affect the expectations of players coming in to my game from elsewhere, and how much effort I have to put into correcting such.
 


Lanefan

Victoria Rules
That’s a great dilemma! Why on earth would you want to throw that away in favor of having one always-correct answer?

Is the ettin wearing pants?

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.
Which in all three cases has the party voluntarily cede any chance of catching the foes off guard and getting in that sometimes-highly-important first round of shots and spells. That don't sound much like a winning idea in the long run. :)
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
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.
What if the alignment was just a default?

I'm really not trying to do gotcha questions here; but red dragons* of any alignment is explicitly spelled out right now. It's just buried.

I think alignment is one of many aspects of a creature that make them unique, it's one of those things that to quote the MM "provides a clue to its disposition". So if I do have a good aligned red dragon it stands out, it's unique. Maybe every other red dragon people have encountered tried to burn them alive on sight but this guy? This one is waving a (slightly singed) white flag and is looking to parlay. If all dragons are just people with scales, wings and horrendously bad breath I think we lose something. Or at least a very large proportion of D&Ders lose something.

*Actually the rules call out green dragons.
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Can someone explain to me what’s cringeworthy about Tieflings? I mean, it’s been a while since I’ve read their entry in the PHB, but if you want to talk about monstrous characters that marginalized peoples identify with, this is one trans NB who loves her some Tieflings.
Yeah IMO tieflings are Super Gay in the best way.
"To be greeted with stares and whispers, to suffer violence and insult on the street, to see mistrust and fear in every eye...."

"....Their appearance and their nature are not their fault but the result of an ancient sin, for which they and their children and their children's children will always be held accountable."

"Tieflings subsist in small minorities found mostly in human cities or towns, often in the roughest quarters of those places, where they grow up to be swindlers, thieves, or crime lords"

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.
Why borrow trouble? Marginalized people play a lot of tieflings. They don’t make marginalized folk feel unwelcome, but instead give a powerful roleplaying tool to, as a Critical Role character put it, “Walk into a room, see how people react to you, and know exactly who each of them is.”

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'.
I don’t believe that your failure to see the difference between undead and orcs is genuine, so I’m done with this.
Can you not imagine a fiction where a good lich exists?
A D&D 5e Lich that has to eat mortal souls to maintain their power and sane existence, and not become a demilich? The process of becoming which involves dark deeds generally only a very deeply evil person would even consider?

Not many.
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.

A connection I'd never made or even considered until now, and at best it's a very loose one.
It’s the opposite of a loose connection. Tieflings are a folk whose ancestors made deals with devils and it marked them in their blood.
Not to this Pagan, nor to anyone in our mostly-Pagan crew that I know of.
Not sure what your point is? Your social circle is probably not so large as to make a useful sample of pagans in general. 🤷‍♂️
If you look on social media relating to D&D, tieflings are queer and pagan/atheist/questioning folk icons, now.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
My only disagreement here is that I think that it's equally appalling.
Yeah, well that kind of goes back to my "all the options are crap but I want evil antagonists I don't have to justify sometimes so I'll pick the least crap option".
 


CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
(RE: vegan liches)
Now there's a phrase I didn't think I'd see today - or any other day, for that matter...
I know right? I'm just trying to follow the argument to its usual conclusion. "But if killing for food is evil, then evil is everywhere!"

That said: I am totally going to drop a vegan lich in my next dungeon. The party is going to fight their way through all kinds of shambling mounds and deadly fungi, fully expecting to meet an evil archdruid bent on raising an army of sentient plants. Imagine their surprise when they run into Farmer Biffle, a reclusive lich who demands to know why they slaughtered all of his cattle.
 

See I think that's worse. To say that everyone from Someplaceistan is evil or has the same worldview? No. To much like real world bias.
I said having recommended alignments (often plural) for individual cultures in a fantasy world. What part of that is worse than having every single race have a recommended alignment across the D&D multiverse? It would be explicit that it is only the culture that leans that way, but individuals vary in any direction they want, especially the PCs. It wouldn't be assigned by race/lineage, and would be more in depth than just "normally chaotic neutral", instead saying something more like "[insertfantasyculture] leans to chaotic and neutral alignments, with strong cultural individualism and freedom as a core ideal of the culture".

How is that worse?
 

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