D&D General The Case for Evil Orcs (Minor Rings of Power Spoilers)

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Part of the objection is simply that biological essentialism when it comes to behavior is in essence the basis of racism.
OK, let's remove the "linebackers" part. As such, both the orcs I suggested and the elves are biologically the same, so biological essentialism doesn't come into the equation. But one group is still irremediably evil. Children are randomly born, with no physical or genetic difference, but some are elves and some orcs. Elves/orcs innately recognize which are which, but the elves don't murder children, even the evil ones, and expel them when they come of age, from whence they join orc society. The orcs have no such compunctions, and eliminate the non-evil children. So, two physically and genetically identical societies come into existence, but one is irredeemably evil.

(Hmm, this works for non-coded drow as well, come to think of it)
 
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OK, let's remove the "linebackers" part. As such, both the orcs I suggested and the elves are biologically the same, so biological essentialism doesn't come into the equation. But one group is still irremediably evil.
I'm sorry. I feel you are missing/overlooking my point previous.

Racist stereotypes are not restricted to physical traits. They also speak to behavior. That a given person can not help their actions due to their race is a key feature of racism. Really of all bigotry. So we get that Latinos are "hot blooded", Asian women are naturally subservient, Black men are sexually aggressive, Jews are greedy, and on and on and on.

I get the appeal of enemies who you can kill with impunity. But the soil from which that idea grows is poison.
 

I'm sorry. I feel you are missing/overlooking my point previous.

Racist stereotypes are not restricted to physical traits. They also speak to behavior. That a given person can not help their actions due to their race is a key feature of racism. Really of all bigotry. So we get that Latinos are "hot blooded", Asian women are naturally subservient, Black men are sexually aggressive, Jews are greedy, and on and on and on.

I get the appeal of enemies who you can kill with impunity. But the soil from which that idea grows is poison.
But in the example I'm giving - there are no physical or genetic differences. They are still one race. Just some are randomly born innately evil, and some aren't.
 


The question is, are you ok with other people not following your line of reasoning, and just making traditional worlds with races like Tolkien's orcs? Would you play in a game like that, and if you wouldn't, would you just leave or encourage others to follow your example? This game is played at a table, physical or virtual, with other people, and making that experience fun for that particular table is the only goal that really matters. Imo.
If the DM chose to do that stuff and was openly and explicitly cavalier about the unpleasant implications? Yes, I would leave, and I would in no uncertain terms recommend that everyone else do as well. I would speak up (and, as I think this thread has shown, have done so) to advocate against it to others.

A DM that actually cares about the implications and addresses them, as Oofta has, is doing a very good thing. Regardless of our disagreements on a great many topics, I genuinely respect them for that choice.

So, what if you remove the coding? What about having orcs, having come from elves, look the same as elves - conventionally beautiful, ethereal, etc., other than often being built like linebackers? But still evil?
There are other issues, as I mentioned earlier. First, as Professor Murder noted, racial essentialism. Second, I don't see how you can have the two sides of this. A being that is morally culpable (capable of being responsible for its morally-evil actions, warranting censure or punishment for said actions), and yet incapable of actually making any choices other than evil ones. A being that has an individual personality, but which is completely devoid of free will. Etc. It sounds like having your cake and eating it too, or rather having your cake and also never baking it.

So, while this would dodge the really nasty issues attached to the problem, it would still leave the "okay so...how can they be blame-worthy (evil) if they cannot make choices?" And if they CAN make choices, how is it they can be truly always evil?

Hence why I did what I did with my fiends. There's a reason they wouldn't choose good. If it had been possible to persuade them before, they would have eventually been persuaded in their infinitely-long war. It takes a truly "outside context" situation to change a demon or devil's mind. They could choose differently...but they have been so committed to evil for so long, such choices on anything remotely like a human lifespan are essentially guaranteed to never happen.

And both demons and devils can choose to look beautiful if they wish. Many don't because they value the fear factor, but some do (succubi/incubi, for example, have an innate "voluptuous field" effect, walking pinups whose clothing clings to the body in unnaturally beautifying ways.)

But in the example I'm giving - there are no physical or genetic differences. They are still one race. Just some are randomly born innately evil, and some aren't.
Well...if they're literally identical to elves, some are Just Evil and others aren't...is that actually an "always evil" race? Because it doesn't sound like that.

It would still seem to run afoul of the "how can they make free choices and yet also be incapable of making good choices, while still being morally responsible for those evil choices they literally cannot avoid?" problem.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
If the DM chose to do that stuff and was openly and explicitly cavalier about the unpleasant implications? Yes, I would leave, and I would in no uncertain terms recommend that everyone else do as well. I would speak up (and, as I think this thread has shown, have done so) to advocate against it to others.

A DM that actually cares about the implications and addresses them, as Oofta has, is doing a very good thing. Regardless of our disagreements on a great many topics, I genuinely respect them for that choice.


There are other issues, as I mentioned earlier. First, as Professor Murder noted, racial essentialism. Second, I don't see how you can have the two sides of this. A being that is morally culpable (capable of being responsible for its morally-evil actions, warranting censure or punishment for said actions), and yet incapable of actually making any choices other than evil ones. A being that has an individual personality, but which is completely devoid of free will. Etc. It sounds like having your cake and eating it too, or rather having your cake and also never baking it.

So, while this would dodge the really nasty issues attached to the problem, it would still leave the "okay so...how can they be blame-worthy (evil) if they cannot make choices?" And if they CAN make choices, how is it they can be truly always evil?

Hence why I did what I did with my fiends. There's a reason they wouldn't choose good. If it had been possible to persuade them before, they would have eventually been persuaded in their infinitely-long war. It takes a truly "outside context" situation to change a demon or devil's mind. They could choose differently...but they have been so committed to evil for so long, such choices on anything remotely like a human lifespan are essentially guaranteed to never happen.

And both demons and devils can choose to look beautiful if they wish. Many don't because they value the fear factor, but some do (succubi/incubi, for example, have an innate "voluptuous field" effect, walking pinups whose clothing clings to the body in unnaturally beautifying ways.)


Well...if they're literally identical to elves, some are Just Evil and others aren't...is that actually an "always evil" race? Because it doesn't sound like that.

It would still seem to run afoul of the "how can they make free choices and yet also be incapable of making good choices, while still being morally responsible for those evil choices they literally cannot avoid?" problem.
See, I can't see forcing one's views on a table (or as you say, encourage what is essentially rebellion against a DM who doesn't agree with your views in this area) to be a good thing. People should be allowed to play as the table agrees without being made to feel bad about it.

I'm also curious what would constitute a "cavalier" attitude toward these issues in your opinion, and just as importantly, what wouldn't.
 

See, I can't see forcing one's views on a table (or as you say, encourage what is essentially rebellion against a DM who doesn't agree with your views in this area) to be a good thing. People should be allowed to play as the table agrees without being made to feel bad about it.
And parading stereotypes before the group isn't "forcing one's views on a table"?

If I think the DM is doing an abhorrent thing, I'm going to call it out as an abhorrent thing. If people agree with me, great. If not, that's on them. You might as well be saying that it's a bad thing to call a DM out for bullying players between sessions and encouraging the players to leave.

I'm also curious what would constitute a "cavalier" attitude toward these issues in your opinion, and just as importantly, what wouldn't.
"I know some people think having yellow-skinned orcs with slanted eyes is racist. I really don't give a <HOOT.>" That would be pretty blatantly cavalier. A less blatant, but still cavalier, attitude would be something like, "They are what they are, if you don't like that, you can leave."
 

I'm with the OP, and we discussed this last night pre game.
Firm believer in the unyielding threat. Something so dangerous, lethal, uncaring etc that they will never change, they can't and so all other mortal things fight against them:

The servitor should be treat like a virus. In the setting they must be stopped or they are a detriment to all.

( Yeah I realise in RL today viruses can be a useful tool but we ain't talking about that).
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Tolkien's Orcs have language, and different personalities and are intelligent enough to make weapons/armor and other crafts. They're people. They have some kind of free will.
Will. They have some kind of will. Free or not is the question. Think of it like this. Right now you could walk down the street freely. If I put leg chains on you, you can still walk, but not freely. You have the will to go, but not free will to go.

Orcs having intelligence, language and different personalities is not enough to say that their will is entirely free. D&D demons also have all three, but they are explicitly not free willed.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I know Elves are different. They do, however go to the Halls of Mandos when they die to await being re-embodied and returned to the world. If Orcs are corrupted Elves, as most writings indicate, then they go to Mandos as well and could be returned to the world.
That's an assumption. Elves go to the Halls of Mandos, because that is what was decided for elves. Orcs being corrupted elves are something different and the Valar might have made a different holding area for orcs, or perhaps they just cast the orc souls into the void, never to return.
 

Maybe have a separate thread on what this servitor creature would be like, if you think this sort of thing would exist in generic fantasy land.
I fear for this thread.
 


Micah Sweet

Legend
That's an assumption. Elves go to the Halls of Mandos, because that is what was decided for elves. Orcs being corrupted elves are something different and the Valar might have made a different holding area for orcs, or perhaps they just cast the orc souls into the void, never to return.
There's no reason in the text to believe that; the fate of Orcs after death is just not discussed. My assumption is based on Orcs being originally from Elves or Men, in which case it is logical to assume they would share their fates.

It is reasonable to assume that, like the Dwarves, Orcs would be set by Mandos "in halls apart". We just don't know.
 

Not if the table doesn't have a problem with it, no. There are lots of games out there, and they don't all see "abhorrent" the way you do.
I refuse to believe that reasonable people think crappy racial stereotypes are perfectly acceptable to include in their entertainment, unless they simply don't realize what's there. Hence, speaking out against it.
 



Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
My thing is:
I'm not playing LOTR. I'm playing D&D.
So where are my evil halflings, evil gnomes, evil dragonborn, evil aasimars, and well now evil ardlings.

If D&D is built round the concept that a god(dess) can corrupt a faction of a race (Lolth) into evil, then D&D should present evil versions of every major race.

If D&D is built round the concept that a god(dess) can create an entire race as an evil, unredeemable,and non-free-will (Gruumsh), then D&D should present evil versions of every major race.

Bring me Bugeboo, Goddess of Evil Halflings and a bunch of halfling assassin statblocks, you cowards!
 
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They did in previous editions ( the evil gnome molerat god was a favoured of one of my much adored, and missed, PCs).
All races with god's, should have a "Satan" ( name may vary).
 

jgsugden

Legend
There is room in settings for both inherently aligned members of a heritage, and free willed members of the heritage. There are a number of ways to explain it in lore, but as a DM you need to be careful as you run along a potentially offensive line.

Inherently good and inherently evil mean the beings lack free will. They have no choice when it comes to the core of who they are. I have this in my game for certain types of beings, but it relegates them to being less. In a sense, these inherently good and evil are neither good nor evil, for they lack the free will to make their own choices. In a sense, they have no more alignment than a sword or a hammer. In my setting they do not trigger certain abilities that interact with souls.

For example, Gruumsh created orcs. He created them as tools of his will and gave them no free will of their own. They were very much the orcs of the Lord of the Rings (books and movie). Then the Gods discovered that worship by free willed mortals was a path to power, and the Gods set their creations free ... except some of the Gods kept some of their creations as Soul Bound enslaved minions. These orcs are monstrosities rather than humanoids and they have no choice but to do as they are commanded by the Priests of Gruumsh. Most mortals do not known, much less understand the difference. The portion of the population that unwaveringly and fanatically praise Gruumsh (because they have no choice) peer pressure much of orcish populations to stay isolated from other heritages and offer worship to Gruumsh, gaslighting the free willed beings into falling in line and exterminating those that do not follow suit.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
The ultimate irony here...

"Our table doesn't want to think about morality when we play... we just want to kill stuff and take their loot." ;)

In any other group except gamers... if they were told the baseline premise of D&D, the PCs would be considered the evil ones. The only reason to need an "always evil" race is to find a way to justify in the minds of the players that they are in fact not being evil MFers who go around killing anyone or anything that gets in their way in their quest to find gold.

But if you're going to sit here and say you want to be able to do just that... just "play" without having to worry about "morality"... then you should probably just accept the fact that all PCs in the baseline prototypical D&D are essentially evil themselves. You are playing a bad person in a society where you will usually not get arrested for murdering anyone or anything you come across out in the wilderness, and stripping corpses of their property after the fact is perfectly fine.

Once you accept who you are and who your PC is and what you want your PC to be able to do in this prototypical style of D&D without any true consequences (other than going to 0 HP and "dying")... you don't need an "Always Evil" servitor race in the game anymore. Because trying to reflect your evil with another evil is unnecessary.
 

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