D&D General RA Salvatore Wants To Correct Drizzt’s Racist Tropes

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In an interview with Polygon, the author talks about how the drow are currently being redefined in D&D, and how he wants to be part of that process.
”But on the other hand, if the drow are being portrayed as evil, that’s a trope that has to go away, be buried under the deepest pit, and never brought out again. I was unaware of that. I admit it. I was oblivious.

Drow are now split into (at least) three types — the familiar Udadrow of Menzoberranzan, the arctic-themed Aevendrow, and the jungle-themed Lorendrow. Salvatore's new novel, Starlight Enclave, helps to expand the drows' role in the narrative.
In 2020 WotC made a public statement about how they would be treating drow and orcs going forward -- "Throughout the 50-year history of D&D, some of the peoples in the game—orcs and drow being two of the prime examples—have been characterized as monstrous and evil, using descriptions that are painfully reminiscent of how real-world ethnic groups have been and continue to be denigrated. That’s just not right, and it’s not something we believe in. "

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CM

Adventurer
You heard it, here, last, folks!

Fantasy and Media NEVER have -ANY- effect on Reality. Shows over. Go home. No don't sing songs that helped inspire revolutions! Don't portray Kings as dolts and ineffectual inbred garbage! Don't produce Artwork which challenges authority!

No fantasy ,no art, nothing has ANY effect on Reality whatsoever.

Don't try.

Don't consider it.

Don't debate the possibility of it.

Reality and Fantasy are totally and irreconcilably separate and you're childish and foolish for not seeing the clear divide.
That is a lot of reaction for a poor attempt at humor.
 

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Did you miss all the posts on the D&D website about the new groups of drow? We didn't know where they were going to show up, since they created a bunch of lore and art for them -- people speculated they might be in the Forgotten Realms Magic: The Gathering cards -- but now we know where they appear first.

Salvatore is explicitly working with the team in concert on this.
But it doesn't matter if he's working with them or not
It's not an RPG book so it's not canon

It's like the official novelization of a movie. It's licensed and approved but anything added in the book doesn't really happen in the movie
 

Eubani

Legend
I do not mind an evil Matriarchal society as long as it is depicted that it is their actions that make them evil not just being female with power. We must be careful to not end up at the point where females cannot be presented as evil in fiction as all genders have it within them to do wrong and that there is no such thing as reverse sexism there is just sexism.
 

GreyLord

Legend
Do you think, back in their own folklore, the natives of the African continent associate a dark skin color with evil, and a light skin color with good on a regular basis? When, as has been shown, jet-black skin is a natural tone there?

You probably were not asking this question seriously, BUT...looking at history the actual question is...

Depends on which part of Africa you were in.

The following has nothing to do with the thread though, and is more a general history note regarding the Continent of Africa.

In much of it...YES...this actually WAS an association...because almost none of them actually have jet black skin (and that picture posted earlier either the guy has inked himself with black ink, or it has been photoshopped or he has a skin condition as that is NOT a natural skin tone in ANY part of Africa I've ever been in. More likely, as he also has specks of that same color on his teeth and shirt, he has been doing something with a black substance which has covered his skin or something to that effect. A search of the image says he has not been identified, The claim is he is the darkest individual in Africa...but the photo itself cannot identify or verify that this is accurate as the individual and what is occurring is not identified. Regardless, his is NOT the normal or natural skin color that I've ever seen occurring in Africa in general. Nyakim is more akin to the darkest skin tones...and she is definately NOT "jet-black" in any sense of the word).

Various parts of Africa were very intolerant of other portions and areas of Africa...many times in regards to skin tone. While a European may have a racist idea that they all have the same skin tone or other racist ideas, there were a wide variety of different peoples in Africa. In truth, there is probably a wider variety of peoples on the African Continent then there were on the European continent.

It wasn't just about skin tone though, it was about birth status, who you were born to, and in many parts that were more tribal, what tribe you were in vs. what tribes others were born into.

They got violent, waged war on those they either hated or considered lesser groups. It went the whole gambut of skin tone, religion, and even caste/class/tribal differences.

Africa, like many other places, has a RICH history where you have examples of noble humanity at it's best (virtuous civilizations with great cities and caring citizens) to those of it at it's worst (slavery and intolerance). In some of these areas it's only been changing recently, and even then, some of the things that we consider evil, they consider good, and some of what we consider good, they consider evil (LGBT rights in how we view it for example, in many of the nations of Africa are seen in a very different way and light).

There are many things people in the West take for granted as being the moral high grounds, which are not necessarily seen as the moral high ground in other lands. What may be important to us morally, is not necessarily what other places consider their morality, or moral to them.

IRONICALLY, the West still plays as having a savior complex where OUR morality must be the RIGHT morality. You can find countless articles condemning the laws and practices of African nations because they do not share the same values as Western society.

Where we see things in one way, they may see things in a completely different way...but I think there is ONE overriding principle that we all agree upon and that is freedom. The freedom of a people or group to determine their own rulers, laws, and regulations rather than having others put them down and try to determine it for them.

Too often I think the West is STILL trying to dictate to the various peoples and nations of Africa what they must or must not do. Africa is incredibly complex and diverse and while some places are rural, there are also great cities with technology that surpasses what is found in some parts of the US even. In some parts of Africa (more in the Northern regions from what I've seen, though it may also occur in the Southern regions more as well...excluding of course, South Africa which is in a realm of discrimination in and of itself brought on by the West's incursion in it's culture much like what happened in North America) skin tone is still a measure of beauty and favoritism, as well as at times, discrimination. However, it is the same and different than what we see in the West and as a Westerner, I am unable to give it the appropriate description as it would be too colored by my Western Bias.

And with that, though it is overly broad (Africa is a MASSIVE continent with many different nations and people, try describing the entirety of Europe or North America in one post and trying to discuss the peoples there of...and as I said, Africa is more diverse than Europe by far in regards to peoples and cultures) I suppose the post is done. It has nothing to do with the discussion of this thread, but too often I think people think ALL others must think and act the exact same way and hold the same things important that US, Canadian, Australian, and European peoples do.

I addressed this because the last statement...and perhaps it is what you consider jet black vs. what I consider jet black are different. Saying jet black skin is common on the Continent of Africa may be perceived as offensive, and most of the time what people consider "jet-black" skin is actually just a rather dark shade of another color (normally brown) rather than actually being..."jet-black".

I have never MET a "jet-black" individual who was "jet-black" naturally. I've met those who have more melatonin in their skin, or various other things (darker hair...lighter hair...different eye shades...etc), but never "jet-black" to be honest, but what I consider Jet-black and what others do may be different.
 

I do not mind an evil Matriarchal society as long as it is depicted that it is their actions that make them evil not just being female with power. We must be careful to not end up at the point where females cannot be presented as evil in fiction as all genders have it within them to do wrong and that there is no such thing as reverse sexism there is just sexism.
The Drow play into the (obviously) rather sexist idea that a society where women have a strong influence will become decadent. This has a loooong history.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Not to fussed he hasn't written a good Drizzt book in years. The last great one was 1999.

Stopped buying the books years ago around 2006 because they were crap.
 



Fantasy comes from Reality. All of our collective self is a culmination of our experiences and ideas which are shaped by the society and situations that we are in. Our fantasies, therefore, spring out of this. Imagining things different in various ways with the context of our reality as the basis of what it is Fantastical in relation to.
You're completely right, of course. Im curious: how do you address the inherently Manichaean nature of (most) of the worlds people play D&D in? Literal good and evil exist in a physical sense as archons and devils, and can be touched and interacted with.

I mean the question in good faith; it's something I've thought about and never been able to come to a satisfying answer on.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
You're completely right, of course. Im curious: how do you address the inherently Manichaean nature of (most) of the worlds people play D&D in? Literal good and evil exist in a physical sense as archons and devils, and can be touched and interacted with.

I mean the question in good faith; it's something I've thought about and never been able to come to a satisfying answer on.
Put simply? It's what the writers -wish- reality was. A Core Facet of the Fantasy.

Clearly Good Heroes. Clearly Bad Villains. A Moral Structure that is Ordained from Above and -actually- means something, rather than the wild mixture of different moralities and ideals we have in our world smashed over each other like breakfast pulsed in a Blender.

People crave the ability to be Heroes or Villains, by and large, to either uphold societal order or tear it down because it gives us a strong narrative conceit in relation to the media that we have consumed throughout our lives. Most of which begin and end as Morality Plays in our youth that become more and more complex as we grow older.

But the reason most of our Media is a series of morality plays is because the writers of Books and Movies and TV Shows also want clearly defined Good Things and Bad Things to provide a strong structure, and the protagonist/antagonist nature of storytelling that relies on conflict gives us an amazing basis for that.

It's why the Jedi are Good, but often problematic, and the Sith are Evil, and also -always- problematic. Why the Dark Lord Sauron must be opposed. Why Paul Atreides joins the Fremen to fight against his own wicked people.

Because no fantasy is more relevant to human experience than a clear line between good and evil. From the moment we could tell stories I would wager that was a core component.
 

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