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TSR Running list of potential problematic issues in TSR era DnD

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Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
For the purposes of this discussion it very much is. A much better one is found in the Urban Dictionary:

Again, I happen to use ... an actual dictionary. And I happen to use the word in keeping with the way I normally use it, and in the dictionary definition ... and exactly how I used it in context.

Snarf: I have a discriminating palate.

HJFudge: OOOOO! YOU JUST SAID YOU GOT A RACIST TONGUE!!!!!!

Snarf: What? I only meant that I was discerning when it came to taste.

HJFudge: NOPE NOPE NOPE! URBAN DICTIONARY SAYS U R RACIST!!!!!! SEE, DICTIONARY!!!!!!!

Ugh. Why bother?
 

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HJFudge

Explorer
Again, I happen to use ... an actual dictionary. And I happen to use the word in keeping with the way I normally use it, and in the dictionary definition ... and exactly how I used it in context.

Snarf: I have a discriminating palate.

HJFudge: OOOOO! YOU JUST SAID YOU GOT A RACIST TONGUE!!!!!!

Snarf: What? I only meant that I was discerning when it came to taste.

HJFudge: NOPE NOPE NOPE! URBAN DICTIONARY SAYS U R RACIST!!!!!! SEE, DICTIONARY!!!!!!!

Ugh. Why bother?

What are you talking about? I never once said you were racist. Not...not even close! I never even implied it!!

I said that your definition was not useful.

Ironically, the concept of your dictionary being REAL but the Urban Dictionary is NOT REAL is, in fact, Gatekeeping.
 

Again, I happen to use ... an actual dictionary. And I happen to use the word in keeping with the way I normally use it, and in the dictionary definition ... and exactly how I used it in context.

Problem is - gatekeeping is commonly used in nerd community associated with certain set of practices.
Wonky mechanics overall does not belong to those practices (unless you are willing to take ALL gaming as gatekeeping because every set of rules makes some limitations).

So sure technically you can use this word and shield yourself with dictionary. It's just bad for discussion.
 

Faolyn

Hero
But how do you draw or paint it? How do you give it a visual without incorporating a cultural artifact?
Depends on what the weapon ends up being and what it's made of. Like, if I decide that the people make their swords out of some sort of shaped crystal, inlaid with precious metals for those who can afford it, and wrapped in monster hide, I might come up with this (thank goodness for tablets and styluses and a youth spent drawing swords):

1614287340152.png


And it's sort of reminiscent of swords from different cultures, but I didn't have any reference material in front of me so it's not meant to be any one culture specifically.

I'd have to spend a lot longer coming up with a person, and specifically what that person is wearing, and I'm not as good at drawing people.

(I'm sure someone who actually knows something about swords can point out how this is terribly balanced and would never work in real life.)

You could still be probably accused of appropriation because you were using what they call 'coding', or words that have traditionally been used to represent a specific group (in this case its a part of that groups culture).
Well, for that case, could you point out the actual coding here? Because I think I went vague enough there. Many cultures have warrior groups, whether they were European knights or Japanese samurai or a modern armed service. Many cultures have castes. Many warrior groups have codes of honor.

And there's the other problem of, it's almost impossible to make something completely original. We're all going to take inspiration from somewhere. The point is to not be insulting about it and to at least try to make something new.
 

HJFudge

Explorer
Well, for that case, could you point out the actual coding here? Because I think I went vague enough there. Many cultures have warrior groups, whether they were European knights or Japanese samurai or a modern armed service. Many cultures have castes. Many warrior groups have codes of honor.

Forgive me if it seemed that I think that there would actually BE coding, but yes they'd point specifically to the castes and codes of honor. It really doesnt matter which group, we can see this in complaints of racial coding made in the portrayal of orcs. At first, it was primarily meant to depict Asians, then it was argued to depict Africans, but at the end of the day which it depicted wasn't important to those claiming that it was coding.

So while yes other groups have had such things, the fact that a culture they (the claimant) felt was discriminated against had those things would be the issue at hand.

Again, yes, it IS silly and no it is NOT correct but that is the argument.

And there's the other problem of, it's almost impossible to make something completely original. We're all going to take inspiration from somewhere. The point is to not be insulting about it and to at least try to make something new.

There is nothing new under the sun, as they say.
 

Too easily meta-breakable, for one thing.

If one's deities (and thus Clerics) each have specific spheres of knowledge or influence, allowing someone to be a Cleric to multiple deities at once opens that character up to being able to access far more spheres than it should.

Ditto if one's gone so far as to break out spell lists or even individual spells into deity-specific variants. A simplistic example: a water deity might enhance all water-affecting spells for its Clerics while reducing the effectiveness of their fire-based spells; a fire-based deity might do the opposite. Allowing a Cleric to gain powers from both deities means both types of spells get enhanced without a corresponding drawback.

This also puts Clerics from races or cultures that only have one deity (e.g. Dwarves in many settings only have Moradin) at a distinct disadvantage.

Also, in the fiction this assumes the deities get along with each other, which ain't always the case; meaning a DM would have to do quite a bit of work to come up with all the deity combinations that could support a Cleric along with those that could/would not. Not too onerous if your setting's entire pantheon is only 15 or 20 deities that don't overlap very much; a bigger headache when you've got well over 70, as I do; or over 125, as my current DM has.
This guy gets it.
 

Faolyn

Hero
Also, in the fiction this assumes the deities get along with each other, which ain't always the case; meaning a DM would have to do quite a bit of work to come up with all the deity combinations that could support a Cleric along with those that could/would not. Not too onerous if your setting's entire pantheon is only 15 or 20 deities that don't overlap very much; a bigger headache when you've got well over 70, as I do; or over 125, as my current DM has.
This is even doubly difficult if you have a "living" pantheon where the gods are still getting up to their shenanigans, as opposed the typical D&D pantheon where those deeds all happened in the distant past.

...Now I'm picturing a series of tables.

DM, plotting out the deity's actions for the next few sessions: so... <rolls on table 1> so the goddess of wine is going to... <rolls on table 2> steal something important from... <rolls on table 1 again> the god of the forge because she's... <rolls on table 3> jealous of the forge god's... <rolls on table 4> relationship with... <rolls on table 1> the god of wolves. OK, so, maybe that means that wolves are now going to have advantage on attack rolls made against people who favor the goddess of wine. At least until she apologies. And the thing she stole from the forge god is... <rolls on table 7> his fire so... she stole the coals from his forge and flung them to the ground. Meteor shower time!

Anyone wanna help me make some tables?
 

McWhorter is not without his controversies, to say the least.

That is what some say, and that currently is the political fad, yes.

There are alternate viewpoints. For some reading in that venue I suggest basically any content by the whipsmart Ph.D. John McWhorter.

 

This is even doubly difficult if you have a "living" pantheon where the gods are still getting up to their shenanigans, as opposed the typical D&D pantheon where those deeds all happened in the distant past.

...Now I'm picturing a series of tables.

DM, plotting out the deity's actions for the next few sessions: so... <rolls on table 1> so the goddess of wine is going to... <rolls on table 2> steal something important from... <rolls on table 1 again> the god of the forge because she's... <rolls on table 3> jealous of the forge god's... <rolls on table 4> relationship with... <rolls on table 1> the god of wolves. OK, so, maybe that means that wolves are now going to have advantage on attack rolls made against people who favor the goddess of wine. At least until she apologies. And the thing she stole from the forge god is... <rolls on table 7> his fire so... she stole the coals from his forge and flung them to the ground. Meteor shower time!

Anyone wanna help me make some tables?

That's actually awesome idea for pseudo-ancient D&D campaign. Roll each week or month whether some deities shenanigans would influence mortal world (and maybe even PCs) :3
 

Galandris

Foggy Bottom Campaign Setting Fan
This is even doubly difficult if you have a "living" pantheon where the gods are still getting up to their shenanigans, as opposed the typical D&D pantheon where those deeds all happened in the distant past.

...Now I'm picturing a series of tables.

DM, plotting out the deity's actions for the next few sessions: so... <rolls on table 1> so the goddess of wine is going to... <rolls on table 2> steal something important from... <rolls on table 1 again> the god of the forge because she's... <rolls on table 3> jealous of the forge god's... <rolls on table 4> relationship with... <rolls on table 1> the god of wolves. OK, so, maybe that means that wolves are now going to have advantage on attack rolls made against people who favor the goddess of wine. At least until she apologies. And the thing she stole from the forge god is... <rolls on table 7> his fire so... she stole the coals from his forge and flung them to the ground. Meteor shower time!

Anyone wanna help me make some tables?

It's actually an excellent idea. And pre-rolling a complex sets of "things" happening with gods could generate modifier on several tasks, some of which might actually benefits heroes. TADAAA suddenly, you need to spend gold to pay for sacrificing a hundread cattle to the god in order for the diviner to provide this information and heroes that would do something ancient heroes did: "we spent three days waiting for the omen to be favorable before besieging the city of thebe" "OK, we can attack now the BBEG or wait three days. He'll have more followers arriving but we'll get advantage on attack rolls with pointed sticks because the god of pointed sticks is currently having an affair with our queen, giving blessing to all the kingdom". Genre emulation, GP drain at high level, incentive to use other strategies than the exact same one because of mechanical opportunity? You're a genius. We need a lot of tables.
 

This is even doubly difficult if you have a "living" pantheon where the gods are still getting up to their shenanigans, as opposed the typical D&D pantheon where those deeds all happened in the distant past.

...Now I'm picturing a series of tables.

DM, plotting out the deity's actions for the next few sessions: so... <rolls on table 1> so the goddess of wine is going to... <rolls on table 2> steal something important from... <rolls on table 1 again> the god of the forge because she's... <rolls on table 3> jealous of the forge god's... <rolls on table 4> relationship with... <rolls on table 1> the god of wolves. OK, so, maybe that means that wolves are now going to have advantage on attack rolls made against people who favor the goddess of wine. At least until she apologies. And the thing she stole from the forge god is... <rolls on table 7> his fire so... she stole the coals from his forge and flung them to the ground. Meteor shower time!

Anyone wanna help me make some tables?
Honestly, that sounds like a great way to generate adventures with a mythic feel. It also sounds like a bunch of work to design in the abstract.
I don't think it would be problematic from a diversity standpoint either.
 

HJFudge

Explorer
McWhorter is not without his controversies, to say the least.

As is any heterodox proponent in, well, any field.

Though I am curious if you are referencing to a specific controversy I may be unaware of?

If you are saying 'what he is saying is controversial' then yes, 100%. That doesn't mean he is wrong, of course.
 

teitan

Legend
As the original commenter, I can clearly say you are in the wrong - that was not what I was saying at all. The problem is that the game allows for pantheons, but priests (and often characters) cannot Derive their abilities from alternating or multiple sources. Even worse, you can only draw power from one aspect of that single source.

Theros is the only product I have seen attempt to break away from this, and has a system that allows tracking of devotion to possibly multiple deities.
Eberron from 3.5 on allowed for this but it’s not really a problematic issue. It would be were it to reflect a past issue based on prejudice but it doesn’t really. It reflects pagan cultural practices such as the greek & Egyptian where there were priests of specific deities like Ankh Fn Khnsu was a priest of Menthu or the Apollo worshippers of Delphi and the Mithraic traditions. The default was originally no specific deity in the 1e PHB with optional rules being for priests of specific deities late 1e and then 2e with the default cleric class being a general priestly character and the specialty priest being a specific deity. 3e regularized the specific deity aspect and Eberron broke that down again. The specific deity was a guideline in Deities & Demigods where Gygax et al laid out that priests of specific deities had limited spell access based on the deities divine status. The specific deity thing was laid into heavily in FR and explained in detail because of the very active and physical work of the gods in that world. The specific deity aspect was an optional rule that everyone seemed to like like feats in 5e or NWPs in 2e so it became the default.
 

Voadam

Legend
D&D has had fully polytheistic clerics at various points as options, it usually just comes down to narrative flavor.

The default henotheistic cleric model (exclusive worship of one god from a recognized pantheon) is similar to priest models known from Rome, Greece, and Egypt where there were priests of the Temple to X or the high priest of Y.

Forgotten Realms is interesting because it repeatedly says across editions that people act polytheistically and worship many gods as appropriate for the occasion, but also has everyone generally pick a henotheistic one for judging afterlife consequences and for clerics and druids as their patrons.

What is a bit odd but understandable in context is the overlay of monotheistic medieval church models over the polytheistic/henotheistic ancient temple models for D&D's base hybrid generic default.
 

Also aside of medieval-church feel let's remember that pantheons are not unified forces like squabbling family, but subservient to Great Wheel of Great Tree divided by alignments so - unlike in classic mythology - there is no one unified afterlife (with punishments and rewards) - and that's something vastly different from both real world monotheism and politheism.
 


tommybahama

Adventurer
Nothing is wrong with it per se. I was actually quite impressed by it. But if I were a little more aware at the time, I would have had it as an African warrior in traditional dress. To show more diversity not just with the ethnicity of the character, but in the culture as well. To the point above about how we tend to focus on European culture only, even when we’re depicting other ethnicities.

Was the guy even from Africa? You know that at least in North African they had armor and swords similar to what he depicted?
 

ShinHakkaider

Adventurer
As is any heterodox proponent in, well, any field.

Though I am curious if you are referencing to a specific controversy I may be unaware of?

If you are saying 'what he is saying is controversial' then yes, 100%. That doesn't mean he is wrong, of course.
He's controversial and problematic because he's a black person that other right leaning white people can point to and say "Hey look this black guy with a Phd agrees with us so we MUST be right about the state of race in america. and all of these other black people who are on the other side are clearly race hustlers and lying."

I know he believes himself to be some sort of left leaning liberal but more than a few of his takes on black people in White America have more in common with white supremacists than black liberation. That's why he's both controversial AND problematic.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
Was the guy even from Africa? You know that at least in North African they had armor and swords similar to what he depicted?
No idea if he was originally from africa or of his parents were or whatever. All I know is he lives in Brazil. But who cares? It's not my place to tell someone who is black that they aren't REAL African cultures unless they currently grew up and live in africa. That's....pretty awful of a thing to think or imply.

As for this thread, thanks to those who actually contributed and took it seriously. As expected there were a few items I hadn't thought about and now do. So sincerely thank you for that.

I'm sorry so many people felt the need to threadcap. I suppose another useful thing from this thread is I know who to avoid in conversation now. I suspect this thread will be closed soon, so I wanted to say thanks to those who helped me broaden my understanding of things to potentially avoid going forward.
 

tommybahama

Adventurer
No idea if he was originally from africa or of his parents were or whatever. All I know is he lives in Brazil. But who cares? It's not my place to tell someone who is black that they aren't REAL African cultures unless they currently grew up and live in africa. That's....pretty awful of a thing to think or imply.

Stop trying to mind read. You are absolutely horrible at it. I wasn't suggesting what you wrote and how you could get there from what I wrote is beyond me.
 

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