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

I'm just glad WotC has found a new way to make money on this wonderful book. It's a good thing First Nations and East Asian people never experience racism and stereotyping that this definitely doesn't promote.
Yes, wonderful. It is fortuitous timing, what with this thread, and its 68,000 views. It shows WotC's sensitivity and care. I guess we're all okay with that.

After my red card in this thread had expired, I would've liked to have recapped the key points which I and others expressed in this thread. Yet there was a sea of other topics discussed in the meantime. And I was travelling. And I'm starting a new job. So, it may be awhile, or not happen.

It was disheartening to see that after I left, somehow almost (but not quite) everyone totally forgot the gist of my proposal, and instead (when there weren't pages and pages of questionable topicality)* argued back and forth about "pull the PDF!" vs. "no censorship! no action!"

*(Which I just now contributed to, with my off-topic reply to an off-topic conversation about Nerath 2.0! I figure: if ya can't beat 'em, join 'em.)

Literally, the whole point of the solution I offered was to sidestep that dichotomy in a creative, healing, doable way. I never suggested pulling the PDF. (Though I also would not weep if it were pulled.) Yet I'm tired of the totally "binary" dichotomous mentality.

The nuanced, objective approach I offered was not just about GAZ10. It was a doable pathway for also creatively but seriously addressing books like Oriental Adventures.

Or do people just secretly enjoy arguing about binaries? Can people literally only think of two humanly possible actions: "pull the OA PDF!" vs. "No censorship of OA! It's fine as it is! No action!"

I thank everyone who contributed to this thread. I succeeded in my goal of bringing this to awareness, with 68,000 views. Contributors made a number of good points.

As the OP, I'd be glad for the thread to be closed at this point. If I wished to recap the key points in the future, and show how they could be applied to OA and other legacy PDFs, I could start a new thread.

Peace out.

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Yes - another D&D world. I'm for it.

I disagree. Because this is going yet again into the direction of a Core World which gets most of the attention, like Oerth was for 1E and 3E, Mystara was for BD&D, FR was for 2E and 5E, and Nerath was for 4E. This blurs the two-pronged approach I advocate.
I phrased that badly. I mostly meant for examples and flavor text in the PHB and MM. I don't want it to be a Core World, but one possibility of settings. For instance, the MM could go back to having an Ecology section that gives sample cultures, and this sample world could be used as, well, a sample of how it works.

I do agree with everything else you said.


Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I experience that as sophistry and mincing words. It's almost as if nothing could be said about Nerath! At least nothing critical. Since it was a non-published, non-existing, non-setting? The Nerath continental map from the boardgame was a non-map. The Dawn War / World Axis cosmology was a non-cosmology. The Nerath pantheon was a non-pantheon of non-gods. The many, many pages of Nerath-specific history and lore was simply non-history and non-lore, since it wasn't gathered together and published in a single book "as such." Well then, this is a non-interesting non-conversation!
see, to me, this comes across as disingenuous.

"Nerath", by which we mean the unnamed set of default world-building elements meant to give the designers room to just make cool stuff without worrying about any setting's canon, obviously exists. That doesn't make it a setting, nor does the a statement that it isn't a setting imply that it doesn't exist. It's example lore written in the core books to give worldbuilding sense to the mechanical options provided. It's really cool, and I wish they had taken all of it and compiled it and fleshed it out and given it a proper name as a setting, but since they didn't, it's not a setting, and more importantly, has no particular life outside of the game it was designed for, and therefor cannot have flopped.

I have never seen any evidence that it was even the tiniest part of why 4e was divisive (it, also, wasn't a flop, and Mearls never said it was, nor has anyone who worked on 5e), nor have I ever seen anyone claim that it had anything to do with 4e's stuggle to be accepted by the dnd community.

Saying that Nerath was a flop is just silly.


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.

My fear though is that this approach doesn't create a "first door" for people new to the game to walk through.

My first D&D was Mystara, though I didn't know it at the time. My friend ran material right out the classic BD&D modules, the Gazetteers, and the Rules Cyclopedia. When it became my turn to DM, I followed his lead. As I grew into AD&D, I expanded with AD&Disms, but my game was solidly founded in that "default setting" for years. I don't think I looked at another published setting until someone turned me on to Ravenloft years later.

The multiverse in Marvel makes sense because we've been exposed to it slowly expanding out from a single core reality. We grew from Iron Man to the Avengers, added cosmic, magical, and time travel to stretch the setting farther, and then after Endgame, we finally introduced concepts like Variants, alternate timelines, multiverse magic, etc. Imagine if the first thing you were exposed to the MCU was Captain America First Avenger, Guardians of the Galaxy, Dr Strange, and Loki. You'd be lost to see how those elements fit together. It really helps if you start with Iron Man and work your way up through the concept of super-heroes by following the main through line (the Avengers) to ground the audience and give them a jumping off point.

The default setting (be it Mystara, Faerun, Oerth, or just the generic assumptions of the core rules) creates that jumping off point. It sets an expectation and understanding of what D&D is like so that when Spelljammer throws space at us or Dark Sun or Eberron take D&D in wildly different directions, we can say "woah, that's a cool way to do it" knowing what the default way is. Breaking everything down to its base chunks and creating Greyloft may sound cool to us, but I assure you it's a lot to take in when you're still figuring out the basics. You need a bland, boring starter zone to teach the default assumptions before you move on to the weird, esoteric stuff.

Now, I'm not against either of your products. A Worldbuilder Guidebook is a great tool for worldbuilding (the 2e one is still one of my favorite books). and a Grand Almanac of D&D Worlds is a product I've been asking for since 2014. But I still think you need a Faerun to act as a starting point for the people who are buying Starter Boxes or PHBs for the first time. Somewhere where the default assumptions of the game aren't challenged.

Think of it like this:
Beginner: Generic D&D setting (Faerun, Mystara, etc). Hews close to the Core assumptions
Intermediate: Specialized settings (Ravenloft, Theros, Dark Sun, Eberron) settings that change default assumptions about the game
Advanced: Worldbuilder's Guidebook to create your own setting.


Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Heck, not just that. 4E outsold Pathfinder for quite a few points during its release, Pathfinder only took the lead near the end.

So if 4E was a flop, then... The standards for what counts as "Flop" seem unreasonably high as Pathfinder would have been one as well.
Everything other than the most popular D&D editions would be.

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Heck, not just that. 4E outsold Pathfinder for quite a few points during its release, Pathfinder only took the lead near the end.

So if 4E was a flop, then... The standards for what counts as "Flop" seem unreasonably high as Pathfinder would have been one as well.

Things are always relative to their expectations.

The movie Battleship, for example, grossed over $300 million. Yet it was a flop, because it didn't do well compared to expectations (budget, expected revenue). Memento grossed only $40 million, yet was considered a wild and massive hit.

To say that any edition of D&D was doing great because it only occasionally lost to a clone of a prior edition is to miss the point; it would be similar to saying that Coca Cola isn't doing badly, because RC Cola is only occasionally beating them in market share.

Whether or not 4e is qualitatively good is a separate question; but whether it was disappointing (aka, a flop given corporate expectations) is pretty undeniable.


Even Mearls admitted that 4E was a flop. If 4E was a flop, so was its setting. Commercially and consumer-wise. Not necessarily artistically.
I would disagree.

I think the 4e default setting Dawn War Cosmology was very popular. While a lot of 4e was thrown out in 5e (character and monster roles, character and monster design, GSL, rapid printing schedule, tone), the setting cosmology was very much kept. Feywild, Shadowfell, and Elemental Chaos are very much core 5e.
I love Nerath. I think as far as D&D worlds go, it's pretty cool. I always advocate that Nerath be restored to equal stature alongside all the other D&D worlds.

But, as you say, Nerath did away with the Multiverse, its storied history, and all the worlds. (Though some worlds were gradually reintroduced.)
Didn't it go year 1 FR, year 2 Eberron, year 3 Dark Sun?

The old everything in one multiverse was gone in 3e. Rokugon was its own non great wheel comology, and so was Eberron. 3e also pushed stuff like FR was its own great tree cosmology that was not straight up Great Wheel and 3.5 Dragonlance seemed less than a perfect match with the Great Wheel.
In a similar way that 4E sort "did away" with almost everything which was recognizable about D&D as it had developed thus far.
Some things were different, a lot was the same. Demons were corrupted elementals instead of outer planar stuff, but there was still the blood war and demons were capital E Evil.

I very much recognized a through line of D&D throughout all the editions despite changes in each one.

And how the GSL did away with the OGL.
I very much disliked the GSL and was disappointed WotC did not put out a 4e srd under the OGL. It was one of the reasons I did not check out 4e right away. I would not say though that WotC not using the OGL in 4e did away with the OGL. I was buying new OGL stuff throughout the 4e era. I got a lot of 3.5 and Pathfinder stuff in that time frame thanks to the OGL.
It all felt like a pressurized push of the D&D consumer to bow down and cram ourselves into a corporate-crafted box: world-wise, system-wise, and license-wise.
That I agree with.
Still, I like Nerath. What I didn't like is the implication (which lasted a pretty long while): "There's no other world than Nerath now. Everything is crammed into Nearth. There's nothing more to D&D than Nerath." That felt arrogant and pushy.
That did not feel that long to me, FR was pretty quick out of the gate in both 3e and 4e and one world/setting a year seemed part of the advertised publishing plan they were pushing.

I'd have to double check how many issues into 4e it was before we had an FR article.
I definitely would not want to see that repeated. Might as well just use Garweeze Wurld of Aldrazar!

But I would like to see Nerath featured as full-blown campaign setting in 5E. That'd be swell. It's an awesome world.

Thomas Shey

Heck, not just that. 4E outsold Pathfinder for quite a few points during its release, Pathfinder only took the lead near the end.

So if 4E was a flop, then... The standards for what counts as "Flop" seem unreasonably high as Pathfinder would have been one as well.

Wouldn't be the first time I've seen people define anything south of D&D at its peaks as a "flop".

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