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D&D 5E Orion Black No Longer a D&D Designer [UPDATED!]

WotC employee Orion Black announced yesterday that they were no longer working for the company or on D&D, citing the corporate culture at the company.

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WotC employee Orion Black announced yesterday that they were no longer working for the company or on D&D, citing the corporate culture at the company.

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"It's July 3th and I no longer work for Wizards of the Coast. I no longer work on D&D, the little that I did. This is going to be a long thread and my last for quite a while, so bear with me.

I took the job for two reasons. The first was for the dream. To escape poverty doing what I love, writing and making games. The second was to make D&D welcoming to the millions who are scorned by it.

A lot of people had hope for D&D that they carried with me. While some people were upset to see me work for a corporation that overshadows indie, others hoped that I would be able to make real change. I tried. I failed. And I lost a lot.

Liking a tweet or post, RTing, or even following people who speak ill of WotC can lose you your job in an instant. That's why you never see it happen. @Zbeg is 100% correct. It's a silencing tool. I can say more now.

Kindness doesn't replace respect. Working within your comfort zone doesnt support change. Most people in that group were not ready for me to be there, a nonbinary Black person who would actually critique their problems. Idk what they expected.

I worked hard for a very long time. I got a lot of smiles and vocal support, but it was followed by inaction and being ignored. My coworkers were frustrated for me, and still are now. I confided in them often, cried on shoulders on a few occasions.

I realized at one point that leadership had given me 2 assignments over about 5 months. It was mostly me asking project leads for work, searching out opportunities. Leadership didnt really care about me or my growth. I had to.

I firmly believe that I was a diversity hire. There was no expectation for me to do much of anything. I probably disrupted them by being vocal and following up. It didnt matter if I was supported by seniors and positive.

I think genuine people proposed me as an option and it was accepted because it would look like a radical positive change. It would help quiet vocal outrage. And because I had to stay silent, it was a safe bet.

I started to lose all of my confidence. I started to lose trust in myself. After finding out that I wasnt getting an extension or FTE, I resolved to just finish things out and take care of myself. To stop fighting and to just survive, quietly. But it just kept getting worse.

They would talk about how they're going to start working on treating staff better, retaining contractors, actually answering questions. How much they were invested in diversity and change even though they hired two cis white dudes into two big leadership positions during this. One of whom claimed that he doesnt know what he's doing. No naughty word. I never want to hear "maybe they just hire the best person for the job" again.

I found out that some of my work was stolen, which destroyed me. It lined up with a project they were going to do and I had sent it in to someone in leadership months ago. The project was announced and this person who contributed "forgot" that we had a meeting where I gave them my ideas, and then a follow up document the day after. I knew nothing was going to be done about it. Someone else told me that the person said sorry that they forgot. That's it.

I was really losing my ability to do much of anything. I have depression and anxiety and ADHD, all of which I manage pretty well. But those parts of me were under the pressure of being ignored, disrespected, "forgotten", and not being able to say a word to the world.

Then, as social unrest continued global due to BLM, the D&D team comes out with their statement. It was like a slap in the face. How much they care about people of color, how much changing things (that I and others had been pushing for months, if not longer) was just going to happen now. It took weeks of protesting across the globe to get D&D to do what people they hired have been already telling them to fix. You cannot, CANNOT say Black lives matter when you cannot respect the Black people who you exploit at 1/3rd your pay, for progressive ideas you pick apart until it's comfortable, for your millions of profit year over year. People of color can make art and freelance, but are never hired. D&D takes what they want from marginalized people, give them scraps, and claim progress.

I spent my time in that building worrying about how much people hated me for working there. I spent a lot of time thinking about how much it hurt to work there. I had and still have supporters, and many. Thanks to you all for being my voice and speaking out when I could not. But I felt so isolated and alone. If not for some coworkers who checked in on me, who were going through the same things? I would've quit. Every angry statement about D&D felt personal because I couldn't fix it. Because I failed, whether it was my fault or not. I felt like I was being trashed by everyone because I could not disconnect what I set as a personal responsibility from the state of the game. That part IS my fault.

But I wound up as I am now because of all of this and much, much more. I am depressed. I am unable to write. I constantly question if anything I create is worth anything. I feel like I let everyone down, and no matter how much people tell me I didnt, that doesnt change. I feel guilty for not being what y'all needed me to be, what I wanted to be, and betrayed for how I was treated at that company. It's an exceptionally kind place on the D&D team. People are very nice to each other in a very genuine way that I truly enjoyed. However, that doesnt replace respect. That doesnt delete how I was treated. It doesnt change the fact that I honestly never want to play a trpg again and am definitely not working in that field anymore.

I know that I'm probably losing a ton of opportunities writing elsewhere because of what I've said here, as well as what I've sent in internally. It may mean that I will return to poverty, which makes me feel like a failure to my race, my family, and my partner who I want to provide the world. But under all these things, I have my integrity. I worked my ass off. I did my best for as long as I could. And I didnt let them treat me like that without telling the world what needs to be said.

Trust actions, not words. Not "look at how much we freelance so and so", because freelancing is exploitation of diversity with no support for the freelancer. Not "here we finally did what we KNOW we should've done a long time ago", because they only care about how optics turn to dollars. EVERYTHING involving D&D will continue to farm marginalized people for the looks and never put them in leadership. They wont be put on staff. They will be held at arms length. I hope they prove me wrong.

A lot of BIPOC and other marginalized people are trying to make their way by using D&D. Dont shame them for that. Think about how much, and when you wield your anger, that it is done righteously.

That said, I dont recommend to anyone, working for the D&D department of Wizards of the Coast."


Orion's Tweet about this. They also cite this statement, The Wizards I Know, by Zaiem Beg.

WotC's PR person, Greg Tito, commented publicly on the issue.

This should not have happened the way it did & I'll continue to fight so it does not happen again. I'm sorry if I let you down, Orion. You deserve better.


In response to an observation that this required more than just a PR statement or donation, and that it required diversity at the executive level he continued:

I have said almost these exact words for years, and more recently to executives put in charge of a community they don't understand. I am in the awful position of saying things I believe without the company making even a single, simple action of real change.


UPDATE! WotC has issued a short statement:

We sincerely apologize to Orion Black for the negative experiences they had as a contractor with the D&D franchise team. Their statement is being taken seriously and is an opportunity for us to improve the experiences of all those who contribute to our company and community. We're not perfect and we know there is more work to do. The ongoing dialogue with our community is critical to make meaningful change. We remain committed to making D&D a more inclusive community by supporting voices from people of all backgrounds.
 

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yo, okay, there's a huge difference between Asians in Asia and Asians, like me and Kwan, who didn't grow up in a primarily Asian country. an average Korean person living in Korea can go to work with almost entirely other Korean people. their day to day interactions are almost entirely with other Korean people. they'll watch TV and hey! mostly Korean people are on TV. they might watch some fantasy show that has a lot of tropes that people here might find contentious, but that's okay because virtually everyone they know understands that it's just a fantasy and nothing real.

that's not the case for me. I'm an Asian (and Latino!) person living in America, a lot of work teams I've been on I'm the only visible minority, I mostly interact with other white people in my day to day interactions, and if I see an Asian person on TV they're usually gonna be a weird stereotype and not at all a regular cast member. keep in mind I also live in a part of this country with a noticeable Asian American population.

the fact that you're trying to point to Asians from Asia as proof OA is okay says that you don't really understand the underlying issues here. I'd suggest reading about the "perpetual foreigner" stereotype to understand why it's messed up for you try and invalidate my opinion because those Asians don't take issue with it.

I already pointed out in a previous post that I understand that if you are a minority, what the majority ignores may mean more to you. You keep ignoring that I lived in Asia, have a Chinese wife (from China), and that I asked Asian ancestry friends living outside of Asia if it makes a difference and they told me it did. I am not disputing that you find it offensive, you told me you do, why should I not believe you?

What I am questioning is the application of "I find it offensive" to "It is so universally offensive that action needs to be taken". You have already admitted that Asians (and OA is primarily Japan and China based) in Asia probably would be nonplussed by it and I know from personally watching Chinese historical dramas that they freely use the stereotypes. So now we are looking at a smaller subset of "how does it feel to stand out and then see something to me makes me feel like I am somehow being dismissed" or whatever that feeling is. Here, I cannot honestly feel it. I am a Canadian living in the US, but I am not a visible minority. When I lived in Asia, I felt it every day. When I lived in China, I was one of 2 non-Chinese in the entire HQ/Factory workforce of 2,000 people. I was a very senior leader of a global company, but I struggled with understanding basic hallway conversation. My kids had their skin pinched and hair pulled a couple of times when at tourist places where lots on non-big city Chinese were at.

I think your feelings are valid, but they are not from overt racism in the source material, they are too much from your own lens because of how you feel about fitting in. I do not think that there is anything in the book that says the characters or society presented is inferior, just different.

So if you were playing in my campaign and you told me you did not like it, I would avoid using it (as an example, I have never actually used it). Just like I checked with the 2 black guys in one campaign that I am running about their feelings about orcs (they said they think they are evil monsters to be killed, I don't have to adjust a thing).

I find little support that this is a thing that is widely believed. And my wechat exploded a few weeks ago when SAT scores were tossed out by my Chinese contacts that were outraged that all their hard work would result in them suffering from a quota against them (that is what they believed). So i am immersed in Asian viewpoints daily. Well, at least a decent slice of Asia.
 
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I started a thread on "heritage and inclusivity" because I'm interested in solutions that honor a diversity of views -- that preserve D&D traditions as best as possible, while making the game more inclusive.

I felt like the purpose of this thread was specifically to express and gather support for minimizing change, and to stand in opposition to voices asking for any significant change. It was still a useful thread as the discussion didn't actually follow that pattern, but that was my impression.

You have specifically and repeatedly asserted the position that literally nothing needs to change re: Orcs/Drow, nothing at all, merely that WotC needs to explain better to people that they are "fantasy races". I honestly find this position hard to understand as anything but a belief that people who aren't agreeing with you are a bit stupid. I've tried to read it charitably, but you've failed to really add anything to your own argument. To me, and maybe I am misunderstanding, this looks like you think people are dim on two fronts. First of all, they somehow don't "understand" that Orcs/Drow are fantasy races. I am boggled by this. People understand perfectly well. It doesn't stop them being problematic. Secondly, you seem to think that a corporation who have made a lot of missteps on race and other issues, just blithely saying "Oh guys they're fantasy races, no harm intended!" will lead to people going "Oh yeah, I see it now, I guess I can safely ignore all the problematic elements, like the language that reads like a particularly racist 1910s textbook or 2020 Facebook group!".

My main criticism with those who see racism in every nook and cranny of D&D is hermeneutical, and that I think it ends up creating more division and even perpetuating the things that they say they want to fix (e.g. connecting orcs to specific ethnic groups). I have been saying, "I hear you, but maybe there are other solutions that will lead to the same goal."

This is the key issue. There are three problems here:

1) You negate other people's ideas, experiences and feelings not by offering alternative approaches, but by telling others that they're wrong and "causing division" and so on, and saying your ideas are right and better than their ideas. If you don't intend to, you often give this impression. You're hardly the only person guilty of this (I mean pot kettle am I right ENworld?), but you do seem particularly unaware/unwilling to accept that you're doing it.

2) You assert that your ideas will "lead to the same goal", but you don't seem to actually acknowledge that maybe they won't, because you seem disinterested in how others regard the goal. Some of your ideas may well be valid or helpful, but to flatly claim they "lead to the same goal" is not correct. Especially as you seem to have different ideas about what the "goals" here are to other people - that's fine, everyone does, but it becomes not fine when you start claiming your ideas are just better and we should forget the other ones.

Nothing new about someone on an RPG board doing that, as others have commented, but it is a bit sad when you're doing it re: problematic elements, and over and over.

3) You accuse others of "seeing racism in every nook and cranny", but you provide no evidence of this extremely serious allegation, and just bandy it around instead. Extreme claims require extreme proof. Or at least some proof! People seeing a couple of specific races and one obviously problematic sourcebook as problematic cannot, by any reasonable standard be honestly and fairly described as "seeing racism in every nook and cranny".

Perhaps I've missed something, and someone here has labeled just literally everything in D&D as racist. Okay cool, but that's not something I'm seeing here. I did see a guy on another messageboard claim D&D had major anti-Semitic elements, but when queried he never explained what those were and no-one could work it out. But that's the only outre thing I've seen. Most of the discourse has been about a few narrow elements as significantly problematic, and a number of other elements (less prominent ones) as somewhat problematic. That hardly seems like "every nook and cranny".

The other key issue, as expressed here, is that you set yourself up as the arbiter of what is okay and what is not:

I have offered solutions - such as broadening orcs to include a wider variety of depictions, or alterations to drow. Some are amenable, some are intractable and generally don't seem interested in understanding diverse views. That has been my experience, anyway. My interest is in a Big Tent approach, not one side winning out over the other. I don't think extremists on either side want a Big Tent, and thus aren't serving the goal of inclusivity.

This is you again repeating this position of "Mercurius will determine who is sufficiently amenable, and who is intractable, and will label the latter as miscreants!". You're deciding who is an "extremist". You're deciding who is "not serving the goal". You've basically used your argument to appoint yourself High Inquisitor here, whilst denying that you're even saying people are bad. Even the mods have had to point out that you are, in fact, saying people are bad. You just did it again in the bit I quoted. Intractable/amenable are personal characteristics. You're attacking the people, not the arguments.
 
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Mercurius

Legend
I felt like the purpose of this thread was specifically to express and gather support for minimizing change, and to stand in opposition to voices asking for any significant change. It was still a useful thread as the discussion didn't actually follow that pattern, but that was my impression.

Well, it is incorrect and requires that you don't take what I actually wrote at face value, but assume bad or manipulative intention on my part.

You have specifically and repeatedly asserted the position that literally nothing needs to change re: Orcs/Drow, nothing at all, merely that WotC needs to explain better to people that they are "fantasy races". I honestly find this position hard to understand as anything but a belief that people who aren't agreeing with you are a bit stupid. I've tried to read it charitably, but you've failed to really add anything to your own argument. To me, and maybe I am misunderstanding, this looks like you think people are dim on two fronts. First of all, they somehow don't "understand" that Orcs/Drow are fantasy races. I am boggled by this. People understand perfectly well. It doesn't stop them being problematic. Secondly, you seem to think that a corporation who have made a lot of missteps on race and other issues, just blithely saying "Oh guys they're fantasy races, no harm intended!" will lead to people going "Oh yeah, I see it now, I guess I can safely ignore all the problematic elements, like the language that reads like a particularly racist 1910s textbook or 2020 Facebook group!".

Again, incorrect. It makes me wonder if you have read anything I've written or if you are, more likely, just putting me in a general category, a caricature of those you disagree with.

I have said again and again (and again) that WotC would be well served by broadening their depictions of orcs. I have also offered suggestions on the drow. Feel free to look through that thread and read what I actually wrote.

So again, if we must argue, please argue against what I'm actually saying. I am willing to discuss that; but I don't want to discuss your made-up versions of what my opinions supposedly are, because they're so off-base.


This is the key issue. There are three problems here:

1) You negate other people's ideas, experiences and feelings not by offering alternative approaches, but by telling others that they're wrong and "causing division" and so on, and saying your ideas are right and better than their ideas. If you don't intend to, you often give this impression. You're hardly the only person guilty of this (I mean pot kettle am I right ENworld?), but you do seem particularly unaware/unwilling to accept that you're doing it.

Again, I've offered alternative approaches many times.

2) You assert that your ideas will "lead to the same goal", but you don't seem to actually acknowledge that maybe they won't, because you seem disinterested in how others regard the goal. Some of your ideas may well be valid or helpful, but to flatly claim they "lead to the same goal" is not correct. Especially as you seem to have different ideas about what the "goals" here are to other people - that's fine, everyone does, but it becomes not fine when you start claiming your ideas are just better and we should forget the other ones.

Nothing new about someone on an RPG board doing that, as others have commented, but it is a bit sad when you're doing it re: problematic elements, and over and over.

Yes, it depends upon what that goal is. I've put forward "inclusivity" as a goal that almost everyone can get behind. There are other goals that less people will get behind.

3) You accuse others of "seeing racism in every nook and cranny", but you provide no evidence of this extremely serious allegation, and just bandy it around instead. Extreme claims require extreme proof. Or at least some proof! People seeing a couple of specific races and one obviously problematic sourcebook as problematic cannot, by any reasonable standard be honestly and fairly described as "seeing racism in every nook and cranny".

Perhaps I've missed something, and someone here has labeled just literally everything in D&D as racist. Okay cool, but that's not something I'm seeing here. I did see a guy on another messageboard claim D&D had major anti-Semitic elements, but when queried he never explained what those were and no-one could work it out. But that's the only outre thing I've seen. Most of the discourse has been about a few narrow elements as significantly problematic, and a number of other elements (less prominent ones) as somewhat problematic. That hardly seems like "every nook and cranny".

Perhaps poor wording on my part, a hyperbolic caricature based upon what I observe as mis- or over-interpretation.

The other key issue, as expressed here, is that you set yourself up as the arbiter of what is okay and what is not:

This is a common internet trope used in debates, and probably fits into a logical fallacy of some kind. I don't see myself as the arbiter; I just go with what makes sense to me.

This is you again repeating this position of "Mercurius will determine who is sufficiently amenable, and who is intractable, and will label the latter as miscreants!". You're deciding who is an "extremist". You're deciding who is "not serving the goal". You've basically used your argument to appoint yourself High Inquisitor here, whilst denying that you're even saying people are bad. Even the mods have had to point out that you are, in fact, saying people are bad. You just did it again in the bit I quoted. Intractable/amenable are personal characteristics. You're attacking the people, not the arguments.

Holy irony! Don't we all use our best judgement and available information to come to our own distinctions? This is all bordering on ad hominem, Ruin Explorer. Why don't you actually address what I say and not how I seem to be acting or endlessly bandy about your projections? Let's talk about D&D; let's respond to what we actually say, not our impressions and projections.

I haven't said anyone is bad - that is, again, your take. Appeal to authority all you want, and while mods determine what goes on around here, they too have their own subjectivity and aren't infallible.

I haven't said that you are bad or made any judgements about your behavior, yet you call me a self-appointed "High Inquisitor." How is that not an instance of your complaint? How are you not attacking (your perception of) my personal characteristics?

I would suggest we both opt out of this back-and-forth, Ruin Explorer. If you want to discuss anything I've actually written on the topic, feel free to. But I'm not interested in endlessly replying to wild mischaracterizations and projections. Peace.
 
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Well, it is incorrect and requires that you don't take what I actually wrote at face value, but assume bad or manipulative intention on my part.



Again, incorrect. It makes me wonder if you have read anything I've written or if you are, more likely, just putting me in a general category, a caricature of those you disagree with.

I have said again and again (and again) that WotC would be well served by broadening their depictions of orcs. I have also offered suggestions on the drow. Feel free to look through that thread and read what I actually wrote.

So again, if we must argue, please argue against what I'm actually saying. I am willing to discuss that; but I don't want to discuss your made-up versions of what my opinions supposedly are, because they're so off-base.




Again, I've offered alternative approaches many times.



Yes, it depends upon what that goal is. I've put forward "inclusivity" as a goal that almost everyone can get behind. There are other goals that less people will get behind.



Perhaps poor wording on my part, a hyperbolic caricature based upon what I observe as mis- or over-interpretation.



This is a common internet trope used in debates, and probably fits into a logical fallacy of some kind. I don't see myself as the arbiter; I just go with what makes sense to me.



Holy irony! Don't we all use our best judgement and available information to come to our own distinctions? This is all bordering on ad hominem, Ruin Explorer. Why don't you actually address what I say and not how I seem to be acting or endlessly bandy about your projections? Let's talk about D&D; let's respond to what we actually say, not our impressions and projections.

I haven't said anyone is bad - that is, again, your take. Appeal to authority all you want, and while mods determine what goes on around here, they too have their own subjectivity and aren't infallible.

I haven't said that you are bad or made any judgements about your behavior, yet you call me a self-appointed "High Inquisitor." How is that not an instance of your complaint? How are you not attacking (your perception of) my personal characteristics?

I would suggest we both opt out of this back-and-forth, Ruin Explorer. If you want to discuss anything I've actually written on the topic, feel free to. But I'm not interested in endlessly replying to wild mischaracterizations and projections. Peace.
Point me to your suggestions for the Drow. I am curious.
 

basilforth

Explorer
That's not fair: this is a case of someone thinking they had achieved a dream job, when it was really always an entry level burner job. That's a pretty brutal confluence of events, frankly, and WotC should have set expectations lower ahead of time.

This. Leadership matters. Communication matters. If you sense a problem, don't hope it goes away. Find a way to constructively engage the issue. That said, bosses have a primary responsibility.

Years ago, I worked in the government and had some supervisory responsibility. When I had a problem with an employee, I tried to start with the assumption that I had communicated poorly or lead poorly before I wondered about the employee. That said, in spite of my best efforts some employees were never going to be happy.
 

Mercurius

Legend
Point me to your suggestions for the Drow. I am curious.

Making me do homework, eh?

Here's an earlier one, with general suggestions.

And here's a more extensive treatment, which you actually liked:

Good job, @Snarf Zagyg . I think the problematic elements--to whatever degree they exist--are relatively easily rectified without doing away with traditional drow. Just like orcs. Here's how I'd do it:

  • Erase the whole idea that drow are dark-skinned because they were cursed by Corellon Larethian. This has pretty much been done, I believe. It is a rare case in which I think an actual bit of lore should be negated. Perhaps it can be incorporated as an erroneous prejudice that some haughty surface elves hold.
  • Clarify that the drow are obsidian black, not brown.
  • Expand the origin story so that drow are the descendants of a black-skinned race of matriarchal non-evil elves. Maybe Lolth was a priestess who dabbled in demononolgy and attained immortality, leaving the original race with her followers, who thrived in the Underdark. Perhaps Corellon cast her and the drow out, cursing them to fear the sun. The original dark elves still exist, but left the central region (e.g. Faerun) as the drow became more powerful (that's one take; others are possible, and maybe the rulebooks could leave it vague enough to customize).
  • An alternate to the non-evil dark elves, re-work the wood elves as matriarchial.
 

  • Erase the whole idea that drow are dark-skinned because they were cursed by Corellon Larethian. This has pretty much been done, I believe. It is a rare case in which I think an actual bit of lore should be negated. Perhaps it can be incorporated as an erroneous prejudice that some haughty surface elves hold.
  • Clarify that the drow are obsidian black, not brown.
  • Expand the origin story so that drow are the descendants of a black-skinned race of matriarchal non-evil elves. Maybe Lolth was a priestess who dabbled in demononolgy and attained immortality, leaving the original race with her followers, who thrived in the Underdark. Perhaps Corellon cast her and the drow out, cursing them to fear the sun. The original dark elves still exist, but left the central region (e.g. Faerun) as the drow became more powerful (that's one take; others are possible, and maybe the rulebooks could leave it vague enough to customize).
  • An alternate to the non-evil dark elves, re-work the wood elves as matriarchial.

Cool, totally agree. I like the original Good drow faction being obsidian black as well.

I like your take on Lolth, as a long-lived elf who becomes "immortal".

Similarly, I view the original Good drow as aborigines of the Feywild plane, where they still exist. By contrast, the Lolth faction fled to the Material plane. Then the Wood Elves split away from the Lolth faction, but chose remain in the Material when falling in love with the plant and animal life in the Material plane. The Wood Elves magically adopted the coloring of plants.

I tend to view Lolth and Corellon as siblings, but, I also view both of them as normal elves, who are simply powerful because they have lived long enough to advance to very high levels, epic levels. So, Lolth achieving immortality via demonology makes sense. Maybe she has some kind of pact with spiders, so that as long as spiders exist, then she will exist? Maybe Corellon also achieved immortality via a different kind of magic?
 

Re: accepting that portrayals of Orcs needing to be broadened, I'm glad that you agree with that, do you accept that it's reasonable to suggest that we might need to go further than that to resolve this?

Yes, it depends upon what that goal is. I've put forward "inclusivity" as a goal that almost everyone can get behind. There are other goals that less people will get behind.

"Inclusivity" is a pretty vague and broad goal, that can be defined and redefined to be significant or insignificant. For one person, inclusivity means getting rid of racist tropes and language entirely. For another, it just means putting in a disclaimer. For yet another, means doing nothing at all, because D&D is already, in their opinion "inclusive" enough.

You suggest that "less people" will "get behind" other goals, but I'm not sure that's actually true, nor does fewer people "getting behind" a goal necessarily mean it isn't a good goal.

Perhaps poor wording on my part, a hyperbolic caricature based upon what I observe as mis- or over-interpretation.

Perhaps? I mean, it is. Can you not see how deeply unhelpful that sort of thing is? You're characterising people who don't agree with you as ridiculous caricatures, then expecting them to engage with you. If nothing else, it doesn't make basic sense.

This is a common internet trope used in debates, and probably fits into a logical fallacy of some kind. I don't see myself as the arbiter; I just go with what makes sense to me.

The way you're approaching it means that you're positioning yourself as the arbiter. You say you don't see yourself that way. Cool. Yet you're literally saying that you can determine who is "amenable", and who is "intractable", and whether they genuinely want to help, based on their responses to your ideas.

I haven't said anyone is bad - that is, again, your take. Appeal to authority all you want, and while mods determine what goes on around here, they too have their own subjectivity and aren't infallible.

Seriously? You've literally said that people are bad. I dunno if English is your first language, some people write it incredibly well, so well that they look like native English speakers, but are confused by certain subtleties (I was talking to someone recently who seemed like a perfect English speaker, better than most native English speakers, but didn't get the difference between the usage of "feel" as in "believe" and "feel" as in "have an emotion", for example, and was having a big argument with someone on the internet because of this), and if not, perhaps that is the cause of the confusion. But you've asserted that people who disagree with you possess negative personal characteristics, and you've done so repeatedly. That's reasonable to describe as calling people "bad".

That your only response to criticism on this is to simply deny having done it, and assert that everyone saying that is simply wrong, despite literally having done it, is more confusing than anything else.

I haven't said that you are bad or made any judgements about your behavior, yet you call me a self-appointed "High Inquisitor." How is that not an instance of your complaint? How are you not attacking (your perception of) my personal characteristics?

It's your argument that sets you up as "High Inquisitor", as the final arbiter, as I said. Whether you want that position is a different question, and one I can't answer. It sounds like you're saying you don't, but I've quoted you here.

I have offered solutions - such as broadening orcs to include a wider variety of depictions, or alterations to drow. Some are amenable, some are intractable and generally don't seem interested in understanding diverse views. That has been my experience, anyway. My interest is in a Big Tent approach, not one side winning out over the other. I don't think extremists on either side want a Big Tent, and thus aren't serving the goal of inclusivity.

This seems clear. You're saying that you're interested in inclusivity, and a "Big Tent" approach, and that other people, who disagree with you, are "intractable" or "not interested in diverse views" (whatever that means). In Western society, this is clearly as an assertion of negative traits to the people who disagree with you, and further, it puts you in the position where you are determining who is interesting in "inclusivity" and "Big Tent" approaches, and who is "not serving that goal" or even an "extremist" (a purely negative word, which you are applying to people whilst continuing to assert that you aren't calling anyone "bad" - sorry, if you're calling people "extremists", you're calling them "bad").

You also appear to be suggesting that anyone who doesn't think a maximalist "Big Tent" approach is an "extremist", which I think is perhaps at the root of the problem here. Just because someone doesn't think that maximising the "Big Tent" approach, even if it means including problematic elements, is ideal, does not make them "intractable", nor does it make them an "extremist".

I would suggest we both opt out of this back-and-forth, Ruin Explorer. If you want to discuss anything I've actually written on the topic, feel free to. But I'm not interested in endlessly replying to wild mischaracterizations and projections. Peace.

I'm sorry, but nothing I've put forward here is a "wild mischaracterization". That's the same kind of wacky hyperbole as suggesting people who disagree with you are looking for racism in "every nook and cranny", as you put it. I've quoted you and explained the issues. I accept that I may not be understanding you, but I don't think that's entirely my fault, I think you need to accept that some of your language choices and approaches have been at fault too.

Re: Obsidian Drow, I think this is illustrative of the problem with some of the arguments you're making. It doesn't address the real issue, which is that Drow are the only major race in D&D with "very dark" skin as a significant trait. Doubling down on that as "Obsidian" absolutely doesn't solve the problem, and indeed continues it, and continues the unfortunate issue that that now-pulled Community episode pointed out - that if you accurately depict a Drow with that kind of flat-black skin, you look like a black-and-white minstrel who forgot their lipstick.

And can you imagine the art? Not only is it horrifically difficult to depict that, for an artist (hence so many "grey for black" pieces of art), but it's going to look like you're drawing black and white minstrels minus lipstick, even if you succeed. Good luck convincing an artist under 40 that that's a good idea that they want to sign their name on.
 
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EthanSental

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So this thread has morphed into the Mercurius/Ruin conversation as they respond to each other’s posts. No offense intended although both might take it as such but I’m not interested enough to keep reading the thread for just 2 viewpoints. Everyone else said their piece?
 


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