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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Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Metatron did also reference that cartoon he had no problem with it. Neither do I as I haven't seen the original BBC she's referring to.

But the Roman empire was a multiethnic state where the Romans themselves were a minority.

We don't know the exact ancestry of most of the Romans you're lucky if you get a few generations mentioned by name.

The records are also very incomplete. No one can trace their ancestry reliably to an ancient Roman family, I think some nobles can to Byzantium.
Easy enough to answer: Everyone was porking EVERYONE pretty indiscriminately when it comes to Race.

Which is why nearly every single White Person who is SO SURE that there's nothing but White People in their background comes back with 10-30% African. Doesn't matter if they're from America, Europe, Australia, South Africa. Rome was so huge and so multicultural that people's ancestries in Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa are so intermingled it's hard to sort out.


Mary Beard, Sarah Bond, Dani Bostick, Curtis Dozier, Shelley Haley, Rebecca Futo Kennedy, Denise McCoskey, Daniel Padilla Peralta, Patrice Rankine, and other Classical Scholars disagree with Metatron.
Oh, come on! Do you really think scholars of the classical age can really hold a candle to a literal angel when it comes to knowledge of the past? We're talking about Metatron here! Dude led the people of Israel through the desert so I think we can....wait a minute.....I'm getting an update.........Youtuber? Okay. It seems as though I'm getting my Metatrons mixed up here. Carry on.


Josh Gentry - Author, Minister in Training
From what I recall, when a denizen of the upper planes falls to evil, it metaphysically changes what that creature is - along the lines of how the gate towns physically move around based on what the people living there believe.
In the world I live in, some demons are good and some angels are bad. I'm not sure what else I can say about that.

Some dude on the internet quoting a Primary Source through translation into English: Perfectly unbiased and didn't reframe anything into his own perspectives.

9 noted and a further uncounted number of CLASSICAL HISTORIANS who each have translated various works: Wrong, I guess.

Here's Professor Rebecca Futo Kennedy on why she teaches about Race and Ethnicity in the Classical Period:

Search each of the others and you'll find similar works all based on Primary Sources, Linguistics, Geography, Sociology, Anthropology, and other Interdisciplinary understandings. Most of the list I gave you were Professors who spent decades studying this stuff.

And once more: Saying mean things and completely screwing over entire groups of people are different things.

The fact that they HAD a Transgender Emperor, regardless of what mean things were said, is just MASSIVELY HUGE.

There's even a movement that thinks Alexander the Great was actually Alexandria the Great and it got changed posthumously by revisionist historians. 'Cause revisionism is allll over the place throughout history.
That link from Professor Kennedy is obvious good sense but I don't see what it has to do with the current discussion.


You assume the professors and researchers in the field don't check the primary sources and write their own commentaries on them? And you assume YouTubers don't also filter things through their worldview and put their own spin on things?

Nope I'm assuming they're academics and I'm not sure what the ones listed are from. They're not immune to their biases either. Are they historians, classics or modern humanity types.

And both sides in the culture war are hijacking ancient history for their own ends to push their own agenda. The supremists are doing it to "prove" white people invented everything others are doing it to promote their own views eg associating their tribe with with the "glory" of Rome/Greece/Egypt. That's been happening for centuries.

The relevant post was about a Roman in the primary sources expressing racist views while since people seem to think the Romans weren't racist. Guess what they were (well some if them anyway).

The sources are to incomplete to really say one way or the other and the sources are written by the Roman elite so we don't know how the average Roman felt which will vary by time, place and individual anyway.

But as I said people are claiming things very easily disproved just by checking what they actually wrote.

Erdric Dragin

I don't have an issue with humanoid creatures not being reduced to tropes.

If you want something violently, irredeemable evil, that's what fiends are for (and, lo' and behold, we also have rare examples of fiends-turned-good in several products and vice versa, fallen celestials becoming mighty fiends!).

Otherwise, giving various humanoid and "monstrous" humanoid beings diversity within their own cultures makes a lot of sense. Surely the PCs don't truly act their "racial norms." I have yet to see anyone roleplay an elf the way several sources state elves "act." LOL


Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Look, the pop history YouTubers are entertaining, but the only one I trust enough to cite in an argument is Matt Easton from Scholagladiatoria. Maybe Jason Kingsley from Modern History and Tod Todeschini from Tod's Workshop, but outside of practical demonstrations that's a BIG maybe. The rest of them I would not invoke at all to dispute historical accounts, and if it's their word against a trained academic in the field, I'm taking the academic's word every time, no questions asked.
Shadiversity did one really good video (technically I think it was a 3 or 4 parter) on falchions/messers. But it was mostly just putting a lot of the contents of James Elmslie’s work into video format, and he (Shad) is otherwise… quite dubious.


So... here's a thing:

Everyone has nasty phrases for people of different races... but that's not Racism. It's a -component- of Racism, but if insults were the end all and be all of racism we wouldn't have the generational issues we have, today. But Racism? It's -ingrained- in society. It's -systemic- in society.

And African Romans? Existed at every level of government except Emperor from the start of the Roman Conquests. EVERYONE did. They'd make local leaders into Plebeians and if they had wealth Senators. And they even had two black Emperors, Both Severus Septimus and his son Carcalla.

African Romans could work any job if they had the skills without significant backlash from society or Redlining and Disenfranchisement or other racist policies that exist, today. Because Romans are Romans, regardless of skin tone.

I'm not read in this area at all. Does this seem like a reasonable take? https://www.jstor.org/stable/40023593?seq=2#metadata_info_tab_contents

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