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


Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Your constant emphasis and re-emphasis of your ethnos doesn't really have any bearing on this, and is getting very boring. It doesn't lend you any special insight into the transmission of cultural processes; processes of which you repeatedly demonstrate your obliviousness.
Also the implication that only gentiles are saying those depictions are antisemitic is laughable.

log in or register to remove this ad


Heretic of The Seventh Circle
It didn't, though. It was about phylactery being offensive to Jews and appropriation, even though I've never in my life heard the Tefillin referred to as a phylactery by anyone Jewish.
The phylactery being offensive literally entered the roleplaying discussion sphere because a Jewish guy talked about it on a podcast.

Disagree all you want, but don't try to act like just because you are surprised by an opinion, no one like you actually holds it and it's just outsiders talking out their hinds.

After all, the old Dragon Magazine had an audience in the 3e days of maybe 50000 readers. How many downloads does Dragon+ get? How many people does it reach? And, wouldn't adding something like these Ecologies address the notion that it's a worthless bundle of advertisements?

I admit I'd love to see the tagline, "Dragon+! Now with content!"
Pretty much. I mean, I'd love to see a revival of Dragon and Dungeon magazines proper, but given how the thing with Paizo went, I can't see anyone on either side willing to entertain that kind of arrangement again. But yeah, use Dragon+ as a revival of the kind of content we used to see in Dragon, and let that be an outlet where WotC kind of fleshes out races and monsters without the upfront costs of publishing full books of that nature (which WotC definitely isn't going to do). Maybe bring back the short stories that used to get published as well. Actually make the service worthwhile, and do an annual bundling of material for print on demand for people are justifiably leery of trusting WotC to keep material online long term.
Last edited:

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
fAren't there like four different flavors of drow now?
I believe that information is confined to a novel or two at the moment. Nevermind how ham-fisted their inclusion has seemed, with non-evil Drow appearing out of thin air in places someone would have noticed long before now. In any case, none of this stuff is in an RPG document of any kind, even as "errata". And that's just Drow. No news about multiple orc cultures outside of pre-existing Eberron stuff yet.

Michael Linke

There's a few things going on here in terms of practicality.

Real world cultural analogs are basically easier for most people to use and get a handle on. There's less to remember. Numenera has "The Steading" for it's far future setting, and for some reason the Steading has about 10 different nations. Damned if I know what the major cultural differences are or how to get a handle on them. Now in a fantasy game if one was fantasy France, fantasy Italy etc then it would be a whole lot easier.

Real world analogs basically allow our real world knowledge to do a lot of the work for us. Sauridyya is fantasy Arabia. I need to make up some stuff quickly for a game session - so I fill it in with oasis, cities with bazaars, bedouin tribes, a magical cave, camels etc. It's much easier in terms of content creation both for developers and for individual GMs who have to make something up when the players decide to go to the blank part of the map.

Of course, the tension here is that it's easier because we draw on real world knowledge, but the problem is that our real world knowledge might be full of cultural stereotypes which then manifest in the game*. Even if the developers have done their research on Arabian history, have individual GMs? And what about their players?

*And of course there is also the problem that if you remove these things, you might lose some of your appeal, because D&D fans (even the progressive ones) are primarily fans of pop culture and pulp and not of say, serious history.. If I'm making a game set in mythic 9th century China, players will probably want to have magical Kung Fu powers and will complain if the game does not in fact, include such. So rpg design has a real minefield to navigate (and this is one reason I don't have much faith in sensitivity readers.)
GW was able to progressively renovate parts of their IP by taking all of their analog-dependent factions, and mixing in a little extra. Over the course of a few years of narrative evolution, the original cultural analog starts to fade into the background and the new original content starts to draw more attention. This was done VERY heavy handedly with Age of Sigmar, but the evolution of the Legions in their Horus Heresy universe is a better example of how to do this right without invalidating old source material.
Last edited:


So WotC apparently just made GAZ9 Minrothad Guilds and GAZ10 Orcs of Thar POD as they continue making older edition PDFs POD and proceed through the GAZ line.

I thought Minrothad was a decent sourcebook for a sea trade based D&D region. :)

Looking back I am still struck by how fantastic the back cover description of Orcs of Thar sounds.

Orcs? A Gazetteer about Orcs?

Absolutely. And hobgoblins, kobolds, bugbears, gnolls, trolls, goblins, and more! If you think the only good orc is a dead orc, you're in for a surprise. Orcs (and the other humanoids) are more than just anonymous hordes to be slaughtered for easy experience points - they are creatures with personality, culture, likes and dislikes, and a point of view. Find out all about them in The Orcs of Thar.

The Orcs of Thar is the tenth in a series of Gazetteers for the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS game system. It gives you a comprehensive, in-depth look at the orcs and their world, including:

  • Orcs and other humanoids as player characters
  • A large full-color map of Thar, home of the orcs
  • Complete rules for humanoid spell-casters
  • The King of the Orcs, and why you don't want to run into him
  • Seperate DM and Player's Booklets
  • ORCWARS! , a complete boardgame, also included!


Limit Break Dancing
Looking back I am still struck by how fantastic the back cover description of Orcs of Thar sounds.

I know, right? It was such a let-down when I bought it back in the 80s. It was still in shrink-wrap so I didn't get to thumb through it until I had already paid for it... and it was quite a bit different from the cover art and back cover description. I just wasn't expecting (or even wanting) a "funny" D&D book.

OF COURSE, if D&D wanted to abandon the multiverse and create a unified D&D setting akin to Golarion (Nentir Vale 2.0) and use the space in the PHB, MM, supplements, and modules to explore various aspects of the setting in great detail, the work would be much simpler. Volo's guide goes over the different types and tribes of orcs in Nerath 2, Fizban's guide goes over the dragons and dragonborn cultures of one setting with great detail rather than try to adapt to a dozen different worlds, you could do it. Of course, no setting right now is in a good place to become the default setting (most 2e era settings are carrying baggage issues, and Eberron is a little too unique to be D&D's default setting unless you want dragonmarks and warforged as core).

Like you said, that'd be Nentir Vale 2.0. That world was a flop.

The Multiverse is inherent to D&D's richness. It'd be like smooshing all the worlds of M:tG into one planet. The "Multiverse" concept just made a huge leap into the mainstream with the recent Spider-Man: No Way Home film. People can handle diverse timelines.

If I were head of the D&D team, for 5.5E or 6E, I would go for a very specific two-prong articulation which was both more generic and more specific:

1) I would make the creation of a homebrew world simply part of the game. I would "gamify" that process by making a World Builder's Guidebook (WBG) a core rulebook (equal to the PHB, DMG, and MM); either that, or fill most of the DMG with that. This WBG would have randomized tables which would truly cover the entire array of world-features which have ever been seen in any D&D product, including Spelljammer. (Of course with the option to intentionally choose features instead of rolling.) So that "rolling up a world" is as much a part of the game as "rolling up a character." There'd even be a World Building Sheet, like a Character Sheet, but for worlds.

There'd even be a random "campaign setting name" table which includes (among many other results) all the name elements that make up the published worlds: e.g. "Grey", "Dragon", "Forgotten", "Dark", "Raven" + "Hawk", "Lance", "Realms", "Sun", "Loft", etc.

D&D Beyond would support World Building in the same way that it supports Character Creation.


2) I would really coherentize the D&D Multiverse in all its diversity, as a single meta-setting.

Through introducing world-hopping as a common feature, even at low levels. Via alternate world gates and cross-world organizations, such as a Multiverse-spanning Adventurers League.

By producing official conversion notes which place every adventure in every published world.

By publishing an Atlas of the D&D Multiverse that provides the phlogistonic and planar equivalent of the Star Wars Galaxy map (which WotC designed), showing exactly where every D&D world and plane ever mentioned, in any edition, is located. And including official world maps for all the D&D worlds, from Toril to Krynn to Mystara to Oerth to Nerath.

By producing a Grand History of the D&D Multiverse, which finally synchronizes the timelines of all the published worlds.

By turning all continuity discrepancies into alternate timelines. And giving those parallel universes ("paraverses") official alphanumeric designations (like how Marvel and DC name their alternate earths).

This Multiverse would serve as a setting for cross-world novels and media events. People can handle it. The M:tG and MCU and Spider-Man films are all introducing the general public to the complexities of alternate worlds and timelines. D&D RPG folk ought to be able to handle it.

A two-pronged approach. Both more generic and more specific.
Last edited:

Remove ads