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D&D General "Red Orc" American Indians and "Yellow Orc" Mongolians in D&D


Is it though?

I think we can all agree that Chief Sitting Drool is objectively offensive. I Also think there are ways to take inspiration from a culture, without creating an offensive racist stereotype of that same culture.

Chief Sitting Drool is very bad seems to be one of those juvenile bad jokes from the 80's.

But yes culture is subjective. What cultures find acceptable varies by time and location.

In the 80's that was bad taste imho even then but it was acceptable enough to publish.

Looking at what else was done in the 80's though..... What was acceptable is shocking now. I could rattle off a few things that were legal back then but yeah.

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bedir than

Full Moon Storyteller
The Ylaruam book is straight up Middle Eastern (Arab and Persian) culture with some fantasy bits thrown on top. It wasn't as obvious to me until I became an Arabic linguist and learned a lot about Arabic and Persian culture. The Ylaruam book is the most respectful RPG book I've ever seen that incorporates Arab and Persian culture. So much so that when I played D&D with my Arabic instructors I showed them the book to get their opinion and all of them actually thought it was written by an Arab. They were very impressed by how respectful the entire book was.
Now I wish I'd brought al-Qadim to Monterey


Hi Voadam, thanks for contributing. I agree that the Mesoamerican motifs in Oenkmar deserve a write-up. I'll consider posting a study of that section of GAZ10. That doesn't invalidate the research I shared so far.

As for the images you shared: Would you be very explicit as to what racial and ethno-national motifs you are seeing in these images?

This thread is not about general silliness. It's about specific racial and ethno-national misrepresentations.

A heavy set dark skinned woman with big lips and a bone. Similar to caricatures of savage Africans.

The sports team in vaguely Central American-ish attire proudly holding a severed head and leg. This is from the Oenkmar section which is explicitly pre-Columbian Central American themed.

Breakdancing and boomboxes, with spikes in their heads (in one ear out the other for one because there is nothing in between apparently). Looks like it can be taken as a depiction of stupid orcs as 80s American Black people.

I didn't think anyone would take these pictures as just depictions of general silliness without racial or ethno-national connotations.

And visa versa. Look at reactions to "smut" and violence in Doctor Who!
Oh god I forgot about "Doctor Who is too violent for kids!" in the 1980s. Yeah because Ace hitting a Dalek is a baseball bat is definitely going to drive me straight into a life of crime and/or traumatize me, when the incredibly creepy stuff in the 1970s who apparently wouldn't. It's like yeah, Doctor Who may mess up your kids, but it ain't the violence that's going to get them there, it's the scary stuff (which was often conceptual).

I don't remember the accusations of smut but I suppose Leela or maybe Tegan would be at the center of those.


I don't think that's inherently more useful but I often discuss Time of the Dragon, the 1989 boxed set which introduced the Taladas setting, and which is an amazing example for discussions because it both contains some really "ahead of its time" stuff, and some quite problematic stuff, and the art is hilariously waaaaaaaaaaaaay more problematic than the text, even as a kid I thought some of the art was a bit... inappropriate. Like the steppe barbarian galloping away with a naked lady draped over his horse, or a bunch of hooded big-nosed gnomes carrying a very pale half-clad unconscious lady above them (!!!).

These are some of the few illustrations of women in the main books too. Despite the text actually have a lot of discussion of female characters, including some cultures where for example only women are allowed to become wizards (the same culture also features probably the first neutral or positive exploration of transgender identification in D&D, as it notes that someone born male can identify as female and live/dress as a woman, and be treated as one, and will be allowed to become a wizard).

Wow in fact looking through the main book (not the cards that came with it), for women we have:

3x cooking in heavy clothing and headdress
1x unconscious and naked and being carried off by steppe horseman
1x unconscious and half-clad being carried off by big-nosed gnomes
1x unconscious in bikini in faintly suggestive pose in front of Mind-Flayer
1x handing out food/drink at a market
1x being harassed by some guy and clearly not liking it
2x actual adventurer with weapon and everything! (both right at end of book)

This is compared to dozens, maybe over a hundred male characters being pictured, at least half of them armed and competent-looking.

The text is much better, as noted, but in 1989 I guess the art wasn't keeping up with the text (it must be said I love the style of the art, I just wish it was so... yikes).

Orcs of Thar was lame. This looks cool though - thanks for the heads-up! :D

The smut wasn't a particular reference to Doctor Who, but TV in general. Leela's outfit was thought dodgy then, and dodgy now, that one aint changed much.
Relevant to this thread I feel the minor moral panic about Ace supposedly being "too violent for kids" was related to fears about race and culture. Specifically Ace was coded in such a way that she was basically a "b-girl" in the 1980s sense, i.e. she had a boombox, hair tightly braided on top of her head, a baseball bat, baggy jacket, etc. (though she's from the future and not from Earth). Hiphop was pretty huge at the time, and there was definitely moral hand-wringing about it (hell I went to breakdancing classes in the late '80s lol). As speaking out about her appearance etc. might have been seen as racist or bordering on it, instead there was moaning about her "violence". Which was pretty funny given the lack of concern about far more violent characters previously. It didn't last, but sadly neither did Doctor Who :(

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