OneDnD One D&D Permanently Removes The Term 'Race'

In line with many other tabletop roleplaying games, such as Pathfinder or Level Up, One D&D is removing the term 'race'. Where Pathfinder uses 'Ancestry' and Level Up uses 'Heritage', One D&D will be using 'Species'.


In a blog post, WotC announced that "We have made the decision to move on from using the term "race" everywhere in One D&D, and we do not intend to return to that term."
 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


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Mortus

Explorer
Not a fan of species. I’ve heard and read it used just as much as the word race in a negative way. No real difference in my opinion so it does not matter which of the two they use.

Maybe bloodline? A bit dark sounding but seems neutral.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Magic. Dragons are obviously a different species from humans, but Half-Dragons exist because of magic.

And, the other hominid species that we know were pretty similar in intelligence level to Homo Sapiens interbred with us. You're probably descended from some Neanderthals and Denisovans.
Sure. But at that point “species” is a meaningless category.
 

Scribe

Legend
Funny to me that this was the most contentious topic of discussion today.

Poor form Wizards, give us something to fight over!

(No way does Species last, it has to be Ancestry, thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.)
 

M_Natas

Adventurer
I think it is good to move away from "race". Even without the racist problematic usage of that term it is just wrong. Humans and Elves are not different races. There is no race in any scientific way outside of breeding stock (like dog races). It is an outdated concept that never was used correctly and in the majority of cases to discriminate. But also it is not a medieval term. It started to get usage in the 15th century. It is quite a modern word and thus not fitting for a medieval based fantasy setting.

That's why I also don't like the term species. That started to get used in that context in the 18th century, so an even more modern word. I could imagine that the sage dwarf Charelius Darwinius would use the word in game but not as a commonly used name. Also it brings a lot of problems with it. Different species usally can't create offspring with each other. Elves, Humans, Orcs, Dwarfs, Tieflings ... all can. So species would be used incorrectly in these cases.

I would propose the term Folk. The Goblin folk, elve folk and so on. And the subcategory could be tribe. The Elven folk from the woodland tribe (woodelves). Folk is a medieval term. It feels medieval. It fits directly in a fantasy setting and is not immersion breaking. With the Folk and Tribe name you don't have to worry about scientific accuracy, interbreedability and usage history.
 

Clint_L

Hero
The problem with "folk" is that the German version, "Volk," was the Nazi's favourite term for describing their preferred racial group, so when you use the word "folk" to denote something similar you kinda run into the same problem as "race."
 

M_Natas

Adventurer
The problem with "folk" is that the German version, "Volk," was the Nazi's favourite term for describing their preferred racial group, so when you use the word "folk" to denote something similar you kinda run into the same problem as "race."
The german Translation of DND 5e already uses the term "Volk" to not use the term race (Rasse).
Rasse/Race is way worse than Volk/Folk.
And the term Folk was used even way back in Ancient Greece.
So while the term Folk was misused by the nazis, it has a long history of okay use, while the term race never was used in any way in an okay way.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I was going to blame the whole 1/2 thing in D&D on Tolkien, but then just remembered John Carter and Dejah Thoris. (And it would get rid of a bunch of Glen Cook things).

Would restricting it to humanoids hurt too badly in exchange for avoiding wondering about Thri-Kreen/Halflings? (So, Thri-kreen are out; as are centaur being Fey).
This is actually how it already works in Packet 1 for OneD&D: the hybrid rule specifically calls out only Humanoids, which excludes Thri-Kreen, Hexbloods, Plasmids, or Centaurs, and leaves room for.oddball future species of other Creature types.

Glad Race is gone, meh on Species as a replacement: I'd love to get an in-depth explanation of the conversations with consultants to go over the reasoning and other alternatives that were rejected.
 

On the origin of species.

Origin is the better of the two words.

If you are going to have furries as a PC choice then you do that so the player can do what the animal does.
Monkeys are agile, climby and noisy.
Apes are strong and look wise
 

I think it is good to move away from "race". Even without the racist problematic usage of that term it is just wrong. Humans and Elves are not different races. There is no race in any scientific way outside of breeding stock (like dog races). It is an outdated concept that never was used correctly and in the majority of cases to discriminate. But also it is not a medieval term. It started to get usage in the 15th century. It is quite a modern word and thus not fitting for a medieval based fantasy setting.

That's why I also don't like the term species. That started to get used in that context in the 18th century, so an even more modern word. I could imagine that the sage dwarf Charelius Darwinius would use the word in game but not as a commonly used name. Also it brings a lot of problems with it. Different species usally can't create offspring with each other. Elves, Humans, Orcs, Dwarfs, Tieflings ... all can. So species would be used incorrectly in these cases.
I think the argument with regards to these to words being "too modern" is not a particularly strong one given the reason for the change were modern sensibilities. I find it silly to be playing hop-scotch on which modern thing is ok and which is not for our medieval fantasy game. But maybe that is just me.
 
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Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
I think the argument with regards to these to words being "too modern" is not a particularly strong one given the reason for the change were modern sensibilities. I find it silly to be play hop-scotch on which modern thing is ok and which is not for our medieval fantasy game. But maybe that is just me.
And the term has been around for longer than Rapiers have.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
🤷‍♂️

Sure. It kind of is. As a taxonomical classification tool and scientific term. It still works as a D&D term for the different types of creatures you can play.
Well, as I said earlier, all categories are socially constructed. But societies construct categories because they have utility. I don’t think species, as our society uses it, would have nearly the same utility in the world(s) of D&D. It just isn’t really applicable in a world of gods and magic.
 

So, after thinking about it and reading people's posts, I'm likely going to stick to Race for a whole host of reasons.
Although I like the words Ancestry, Lineage Heritage and Bloodline they do not describe in my mind what I get from the word Race, those words mean something different. A halfling sorcerer might have draconic blood in his Ancestry or Lineage but he is a halfling. Also Heritage and Lineage slides closer towards a Cultural discussion for me, not Racial. What is worse I'm not entertaining Tasha's creature cocktail concoctions such as lets mix a Firbolg with a Minotaur.
Species rips me straight out of fantasy and into sci-fi which I love playing in but not DMing.
Volk is cute but Volk I see as people - something plural, doesn't fit for me.
Origin is a terrible word, I might as well use the word Type or Being. Have you chosen your Type or Origin. Yuck!
Kin is the best fit for me I think, but meh - if I want to kill a couple of sacred cows in D&D, the word Race is not where I'd start.

Anyways we are all going to do what is best for our tables.
 
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M_Natas

Adventurer
I think the argument with regards to these to words being "too modern" is not a particularly strong one given the reason for the change were modern sensibilities. I find it silly to be playing hop-scotch on which modern thing is ok and which is not for our medieval fantasy game. But maybe that is just me.
The reason to remove is "modern" or how I would say, just common decency. That the term race is "too modern" is just an added argument for why race was the wrong term anyway.
It is two separate arguments that both argue foe the removal of the term.

First: The term race is just wrong in a scientific way and has so many negative connotations that it shouldn't be used.

Second: It is not fitting for a medieval based fantasy setting anyway and disturbs verisimilitude.

And third: Even if race wouldn't be an outdated, wrong category, the races in DnD don't make sense and don't fit race criterias.

There are a multitude of reasons why race needs to be replaced.
 


R_Chance

Adventurer
while Species as understood today was defined in the 16/17th century, the term was used by Aristotle and Plato to refer to Living organisms.
Aristotle used the example of humans are a Species (Kind of thing) and their proximate group (Genus) is Blooded animals (non-blooded animals = shellfish, insects etc). Each species is marked by a unique defining trait (differentia). For humans this is “rationality (Sapiens)

Thus the definition of “human” is a Rational Animal. “Blooded Animal” is the genus, “Homo” is the species, and “sapiens” is the differentia.

Aristotlian logic works better for DnD worlds …

Aristotle allowed for Dual-genus too eg Whales, seals and porpoises—are blooded Animals that give live birth, yet also they are Fish that live in the sea.
Bats are Birds yet also Animals

I suppose half-dragons could be fit in too
Species originated as a word in Latin. Did Aristotle, a Greek, write in Latin or was it translated into Latin? Translated probably, Rome was not a significant power during Aristotle's life and Greeks tended to think anyone who didn't speak Greek was a howling barbarian. Eidos is roughly the Greek term (someone mentioned it upthread) meaning "form" or type iirc. Looking it up eidos would be the Greek term meaning form / essence / species. Translations, either into modern or ancient languages are always a bit tricky. Anyway, my objection is to the science based "feel" of the word usage for species today, not the actual meaning of the term in modern English or Classical Latin. It's a quirk :) Ancestry is derived from medieval French (and thus probably Latin), but it refers to the descent of a person (typically) / being. Lineage would be close, but ancestry has "ancestral" as a useful adjective (also mentioned upthread by someone). And, in a number of science fiction works, "speciest" is the equivalent of "racist" :D Nobody has tagged ancestry with anything like that (yet) :)
 

The reason to remove is "modern" or how I would say, just common decency. That the term race is "too modern" is just an added argument for why race was the wrong term anyway.
It is two separate arguments that both argue foe the removal of the term.

First: The term race is just wrong in a scientific way and has so many negative connotations that it shouldn't be used.

Second: It is not fitting for a medieval based fantasy setting anyway and disturbs verisimilitude.

And third: Even if race wouldn't be an outdated, wrong category, the races in DnD don't make sense and don't fit race criterias.

There are a multitude of reasons why race needs to be replaced.
Yeah. I think because in D&D we do not use race to reflect culture as it has been done in real life. Even when I'm playing in published settings with a distinction between masses of human people, we do not refer to them as x and y race. I do not claim to have an answer for this.
I think perhaps a table should determine what the in-game word for it would be and use that.

The elven monarch, pushed back his chair, causing everyone to turn to his direction as his chair scrapped along the stone-tiled floor. Standing up and placing his fists upon the hard oak table, he leaned in, "We have discussed this long enough, which [fill in the word] can we count on to fight united against this impending threat?"
 
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