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5E Thoughts on this article about Black Culture & the D&D team dropping the ball?

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robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Says the all knowing and all wise always condescending @Imaro

"Always with the negative waves Imaro, always with the negative waves."
The hilarious(?) thing is how oblivious you are to the negativity you introduced in this thread from you first post. And now you’re attacking Imaro. Perhaps you should spend a bit more time lurking on these forums to pick up on the vibe around here. It’s actually quite a nice place and people don’t generally go looking for a fight.

I’m quite pleasant and yet you’ve accused me of wanting to start a flame war!

You should probably join me in stepping away from this thread.
 

DeJoker

Villager
Well that helps a little but not much @Alexemplar for as I stated I concur with the person who stated it was mostly about laziness and considering human nature and the way many gaming companies seem to be run -- I still feel that that is the biggest issue from whence all manner of inequities stem. *shrug* but then again if someone was seriously interested in making positive change they would perhaps create some source material for free consumption that promotes this venue perhaps create a place where quality information on this could be gathered and then melded into that material -- you know sort of like open source software -- as gamers always seem to like free material ;) mainly because, I think, some of them are just as lazy about it as the companies are :D -- I seem to see a trend here
 
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DeJoker

Villager
The hilarious(?) thing is how oblivious you are to the negativity you introduced in this thread from you first post. And now you’re attacking Imaro. Perhaps you should spend a bit more time lurking on these forums to pick up on the vibe around here. It’s actually quite a nice place and people don’t generally go looking for a fight.

I’m quite pleasant and yet you’ve accused me of wanting to start a flame war!

You should probably join me in stepping away from this thread.
Hmm interesting @robus, you twist the meaning of something I said to make it seem more negative than it was and then state that I am oblivious to introducing negativity -- I would counter that with I did not introduce the negativity -- however I will admit I have a tendency to cause it to become a pink elephant in the room when it chooses to surface its ugly head -- the fact is that Imaro's first post to me was delivered in a very condescending manner (whether intentional or not) and then when called out on this no apology just more condescending comments. Then there is you, the "quite pleasant" person who creates more negative disrespectful crap and seems to think that this is just a-okay *sigh*. So again it seems like the negativity has always been here and just no one was interested in calling it our for what it was. So do not blame me for what was already here. And if you and Imaro were such wholesome individuals as you claim, it most likely would never have gone down the route it did. It takes two to tango and I am the first to admit that I can come across a bit rough but if you disagree with something I said and can back that up with solid truth rather than whimsy feelings I will respectfully listen to what is said -- I will not promise to agree but I will listen -- however if you affront me with whimsy feelings in a condescending disrespectful manner I will probably respond in similar kind as I point out the ugly pink elephant that just walked into the conversation.

Keep in mind being civil on the surface and spiteful beneath does not make for a "quite pleasant" person at least not in any venue that I am aware of. Now I cannot say that I am a quite pleasant person because I fully well know that I can be rather rough around the edges but I do try to take that in mind when posting my first post was quite innocuous -- however if you take a shot across my bow I do not hold back and simply let the cannonballs fly -- aka I tend to bristle at intimidation tactics rather than kowtow to them as the intimidators are probably hoping I will do and/or stay quiet at least if I do not kowtow
 
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Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
Has anyone here ever used the Nyambe campaign setting (OGL-- 3rd edition)? I really enjoyed reading that campaign book but never had an opportunity to use it. I never really considered whether it was a positive representation of African or black culture. I'm sort of curious where that effort falls in this discussion.

AD
I've mentioned it several times in this thread. Aside from being the only D&D supplement I know of that's been really explored a psuedo-African setting, it's also pretty well done. It's positive in that it's actually rather neutral in how it approaches an African fantasy setting, somewhat similar to how D&D approaches European fantasy. Nyambe is a land with a variety of religions (not just a layman's understanding of vodun), variety of ethnic groups (not all Yoruba/Zuluu/Masai hybrid), variety of terrain (not all jungle/savannah), variety of languages (not generic mock whatever), a variety of cultures and societies. It's not an idealistic natural paradise or a dark and unexplored disease ridden land of savage danger. It's a land of fantasy adventure that just happens to draw on Africa as opposed to Europe or Asia for inspiration- and still draws from other cultures.

I also highly recommend Spears of the Dawn, although it's OSR rather than d20. It's a smaller setting -mostly influenced by west African and nearby regions- but has some cool ideas.
We have to be careful. Personally, I think it's damn good. The designers did their homework.

But Nyambe is not a D&D product in any way. It is an "alternate history" take on Africa in a 17th century Earth analog in which magic exists. As a result, it resembles the Africa that had already experienced the incursion of European, Arabic and other forces, so it wouldn't make a particularly good drop in for a typical D&D campaign setting.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
Ah the rare case -- because it is so simplistic -- where the solution suggested is implied in the criticism but then again -- they could have put words to action and made those minis but then they would have had to risk their own money and it would have required effort -- oh so much easier to just complain about something and hope that someone else puts action to words.
With respect, the nature of the product in the case at hand precludes actual proactive input from the consumers.

Except, of course, for the fact that gamers of color have been complaining for decades about doing away with cultural stereotypes resulting from lazy researching- again, a complaint that contains within it the solution.

And your solution, "they could have put words to action and made those minis but then they would have had to risk their own money and it would have required effort", while technically correct, is also disingenuous. You do realize there are economic barriers to entry to creating such a startup, right? In all likelihood, it far more economically efficient to ask a minis company to expand their product line than to launch a completely new company to produce minority-only minis as their core product. M.O.M. would likely fail as an independent company.

Using that logic, the people who wanted something like a truck but with an enclosed bed accessible via a hatch in the back should have founded new companies to build SUVs instead of providing feedback to Land Rover, Toyota and others.
 

DeJoker

Villager
With respect, the nature of the product in the case at hand precludes actual proactive input from the consumers.

Except, of course, for the fact that gamers of color have been complaining for decades about doing away with cultural stereotypes resulting from lazy researching- again, a complaint that contains within it the solution.

And your solution, "they could have put words to action and made those minis but then they would have had to risk their own money and it would have required effort", while technically correct, is also disingenuous. You do realize there are economic barriers to entry to creating such a startup, right? In all likelihood, it far more economically efficient to ask a minis company to expand their product line than to launch a completely new company to produce minority-only minis as their core product. M.O.M. would likely fail as an independent company.

Using that logic, the people who wanted something like a truck but with an enclosed bed accessible via a hatch in the back should have founded new companies to build SUVs instead of providing feedback to Land Rover, Toyota and others.
What I am not understanding is how -- requesting something is supposed to be the same thing as complaining -- one (the latter) is completely negative the other rather neutral.

As for SUVs that is a horrible example but yeah open vehicles came first -- then someone had a bright idea of putting a top on them and they did it -- did they do it because someone complained about it or because they just did not like getting rained on -- hard to say not sure exactly who initiated that idea but they did find out that it helped to sell the car and thus it became pretty much standard equipment to the point where you actually have to specifically buy a convertible these days or do your own conversion. As for enclosing a bed of a pickup -- you do know they actually created a separate company to do that right? -- I mean they build pickup toppers I am sure you have seen them and now you can even by a pickup from a manufacturer today with that pre-built topper but you did not used to be able to do that. So again I am not seeing your defense for the complainer that chooses to do nothing and sits there and expects someone else to comply with their whining?? Seriously with that logic I should be able to complain about not having a million dollars and someone should give me a million dollars -- now grant you I know it will not happen and frankly it should not -- oh I could enter the poor mathematicians tax and hope to win the lotto but I choose to do something more constructive with my money. So if it was important enough the whiner would stop whining and start doing -- and if it is not important enough for the whiner to do the doing then it is definitely not important enough for someone else to do something for that whiner. Is that harsh, probably but then so is life. If we had as many doers as we have whiners -- there would be nothing to whine about but sadly we do not.

As for the issue with gamers of color wanting minis that reflect their body styles -- how realistic do they need to be. I used to paint minis and give them a dark complexion but that appears to not be enough for some? I never encountered any minis that look like me either but then I was not interested in that because I focused on the other races which would never look like me to begin with.

As for the companies producing minis they are only going to produce what is most popular -- if they feel those kind of minis would not be popular they will not produce them -- they are all about making money. So yes and this is precisely for the reason that the other individuals did not create a M.O.M. because it would not have been profitable enough for them to do so. Is that there fault by no means. Personally I bought the cool looking minis which were often not even humans and my army when I was doing fantasy miniature armies was goblins. However I did actually play in historic games that had authentic historical African minis -- not sure where they got them but they were out there and still maybe *shrug*

However with all this concern or talk about racism -- how many of you are even aware of the 4 actual cases of racism (that I am aware of) that have exited in the game from the beginning and still exist within it today ?? I am talking right in your face common racism.
 
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Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
As for the issue with gamers of color wanting minis that reflect their body styles -- how realistic do they need to be.
Something more than a guy and a girl dressed in similar "Zulu tribesman" attire with an assegai (sold as a pair) and- as I recall- a single male & single female grim Genadier would be nice. (I have them.) Also some African animals.

There's War Gods of Ægyptus game minis (all but the Asar faction are anthropomorphic animals) which didn't get published until 2003...

AFAIK, Nyambe didn't spawn minis. Northern Crown- its parent game- didn't either, but there are already thousands of setting appropriate minis for Europeans from that era.

Northern African attire, architecture, weaponry & culture crosses over with Arabic attire, and there are some nifty Arabic figs out there. (Which begs the question of how would Arabic gamers feel about us poaching their minis...)

Soooo...2-3 African cultures represented in minis? Compared to the endless stream of Eurocentric minis with all kinds of cultural variations- there are probably more Friar Tuck style minis with robes & staves than human(oid) African minis.

As for the companies producing minis they are only going to produce what is most popular -- if they feel those kind of minis would not be popular they will not produce them -- they are all about making money.
A product line that would bankrupt & doom a startup like M.O.M. might be completely profitable for Ral Partha or Reaper, because they've already recouped the industry entry costs: machinery, physical plant, advertising, distribution outlets, etc. Their only issues would be the development costs and size of the market seeking said minis- same as for any other mini.
 
Don't care one way or the other. I'll play my game my way, you play your game your way.
[MENTION=45197]pming[/MENTION], it's not about "you play your way, I'll play mine". If WotC publishes material that excludes, alienates, ridicules or stereotypes other people, then they don't get to play their way.

If you're happy with "a few tribes - some noble savages, others depraved cannibals - roam[ing] the interior" of Chult, then you're set with the 4e FRCG (published 2008). If you're happy with pseudo-Africans who frame their lives and culture around the offerings of colonists rather than their own heritage (such as the destroyed city of Mezro), then it sounds like ToA (published 2017) will work for you. The 2008 version will also give you "[d]isease and parasites . . . everywhere on the Chultan Peninsula", while the more recent offering has Mad Monkey Disease.

What about everyone else, who wants a game without this sort of stereotyped tripe? Are they - we - allowed to advocate for it?

matters of race always tend to put folks on the defensive and causes them to either deny there's anything worth criticizing to begin with, or that even if there might be, the people doing the criticizing should be dismissed because... reasons.
The weird thing, it's not as if these are even contentious instances of stereotyping. They're stock-standard colonial-era pulp tropes.

EDIT: A different example from WotC that goes the other way - many of the 4e PHB halflings have dreadlocks or braided hair. That provoked more than its fair share of outrage.
 
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jasper

Rotten DM
I want a mini with glasses, a small pot belly, which is losing hair from the front, and have an oval bald spot in the back of the head. It sword must be a type xv from Oakshotte. And a tracphone Samsung luna in the other hand. If it not out there those companies are evillllllll .
 

guachi

Villager
3. "Racesplaining", This is hilarious (in a not funny but do you realize the irony way) to me because it's basically when the white males in a group want to tell you how you as a people should or shouldn't group yourselves... i.e. blacks in america aren't all one community or group...people of color refers to so many disparate groups that it's meaning less. Like really do you hear yourself, once again you're trying to exert control and define a people you aren't even a member of.
This is so shockingly racist I can't believe you posted it. You aren't actually engaging the arguments made. Instead, you are dismissing them out of hand simply because they are being made by white males. The only two words to describe such a train of thought are "racist" and "sexist".

The only one trying to exert control is you by telling white men to shut up for being white men.
 

Imaro

Adventurer
This is so shockingly racist I can't believe you posted it. You aren't actually engaging the arguments made. Instead, you are dismissing them out of hand simply because they are being made by white males. The only two words to describe such a train of thought are "racist" and "sexist".

The only one trying to exert control is you by telling white men to shut up for being white men.
I was unaware "being white men" included the right to determine how other races & sexes should classify themselves as well as whether that classification is valid or not... To call the denouncement of that both sexist and racist is not only ironic (since honestly white males have actually had, and still do to a great extent, the power to do that to other people) but also an example of some real "privilege" at work.
 
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Alexemplar

Registered User
We have to be careful. Personally, I think it's damn good. The designers did their homework.

But Nyambe is not a D&D product in any way. It is an "alternate history" take on Africa in a 17th century Earth analog in which magic exists. As a result, it resembles the Africa that had already experienced the incursion of European, Arabic and other forces, so it wouldn't make a particularly good drop in for a typical D&D campaign setting.
Major Muslim influence in North/West Africa started as early as the 11th century. Southern Asian trading with East Africa is even older, dating back to before the 1st century. The nature of cultural influence never seemed to reach the state it does in Nyambe though. Finally, the Nothern influence is very different compared to what it was in the 17th century between Europe and West Africa both in nature and scope.

Nyambe is a mish-mash of different time periods, cultures and myths derived from Africa that are designed more to facilitate adventure and integration into a larger fantasy world as opposed to simply being an alternate history Africa that just happens to involve magic. It’s not historically accurate at all and doesn’t aim to be.
 

DeJoker

Villager
This is so shockingly racist I can't believe you posted it. You aren't actually engaging the arguments made. Instead, you are dismissing them out of hand simply because they are being made by white males. The only two words to describe such a train of thought are "racist" and "sexist".

The only one trying to exert control is you by telling white men to shut up for being white men.
I cannot say I can agree with your stance on this because it actually is an issue that exists and it is basically disrespectful in nature and I look at this as being more someone say please stop being disrespectful in perhaps not the most respectful manner and that might be due to the medium or that individuals inability to communicate in a nicer manner (which I am guilty of from time to time so fully understand that so I tend to look past that and at the context of the message as a whole).

I mean how would you feel (assuming you are Caucasian because I am confident that you are not actually white in color) if another race segment of society basically lumped you all together into one big category and stereo-typed you -- oh wait that is already happening *sigh* Yes racism exists everywhere and is done by every race to other races and sometimes to their own. The issue is something that almost seems to transcend time it goes that far back. Then there is the ignorant racism where someone is not intending to be racist but inadvertently (because the do not know or do not think seriously about first) make a racist comment or take a racist point of view.

Again I ask is anyone aware of the 4 open common aspects of racism that have existed in D&D from close to the beginning and still exist within it as of today? More importantly does anyone even care that it exists so blatantly and yet many do not even seem to notice it? So far I have not heard from anyone here which may mean this group is oblivious to it as well.
 
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Wiseblood

Adventurer
Again I ask is anyone aware of the 4 open common aspects of racism that have existed in D&D from close to the beginning and still exist within it as of today? More importantly does anyone even care that it exists so blatantly and yet many do not even seem to notice it? So far I have not heard from anyone here which may mean this group is oblivious to it as well.
I am not aware of the 4 open common aspects of racism that have existed in D&D from close to the beginning and still exist today. (No irony to the statement. No sarcasm either) Please explain what you mean and show examples.
 

DeJoker

Villager
I am not aware of the 4 open common aspects of racism that have existed in D&D from close to the beginning and still exist today. (No irony to the statement. No sarcasm either) Please explain what you mean and show examples.
Okay it is basically common knowledge that the world has different races and that we refer to 4 of these races via derogatory terms (albeit some a bit arguable but why do it even it is only possible) those names being Half-Orc, Half-Elf, Half-Ling and Dwarf. Now the first to are definitely 100% human based derogatory terms for someone that is a "Half-Breed" also a derogatory term. Further it is obvious that they are human derogatory terms because they denote the race as being half-not human while an Orc or an Elf would most likely refer to their respective half-race derogatorily as Half-Human. That is perhaps the most blatant. The next Half-ling is that really a race name or is it a derogatory term referencing the races diminutive height -- I am going with 75% that this is a derogatory term as D&D actually at one time called the race Hin. It is perhaps commonly accepted because that is what J. R. Tolkien called them but that does not necessarily mean that he did not inadvertently create a racist term. The last which I am on the fence a bit more about is Dwarf I call this one 50% racist as the Norse had that term and they were highly respected so not a derogatory term in their eyes but for nearly every other race it was a reference to a group of humans by a name that denoted they were different and less. Then again J.R. Tolkien referred to them as such. Now before anyone gets their knickers in a bunch I am not saying this was done overtly on purpose to me it is just another case for that laziness that I spoke about before and J.R. Tolkien was simply a man of his time and we all know -- times the are a changin'.

Personally I do not have any of those 4 seemingly derogatory names as the names for those races mine (in order stated above) Urug, fFolk, Hin, and Khuzdul -- now my world does have the derogatory terms but you use that for one of these races be prepared to be corrected and/or shunned for being a bigot.
 
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lkj

Explorer
We have to be careful. Personally, I think it's damn good. The designers did their homework.

But Nyambe is not a D&D product in any way. It is an "alternate history" take on Africa in a 17th century Earth analog in which magic exists. As a result, it resembles the Africa that had already experienced the incursion of European, Arabic and other forces, so it wouldn't make a particularly good drop in for a typical D&D campaign setting.
Huh. My memory of Nyambe was that is was very much intended as a D&D setting, with orc tribes (with a much different flavor) and the rest. And I'd even intended to drop it in to my game. But I'll admit it has been a very long time since I looked at it. I just remember really liking what they had done.

AD
 

Wiseblood

Adventurer
Okay it is basically common knowledge that the world has different races and that we refer to 4 of these races via derogatory terms (albeit some a bit arguable but why do it even it is only possible) those names being Half-Orc, Half-Elf, Half-Ling and Dwarf. Now the first to are definitely 100% human based derogatory terms for someone that is a "Half-Breed" also a derogatory term. Further it is obvious that they are human derogatory terms because they denote the race as being half-not human while an Orc or an Elf would most likely refer to their respective half-race derogatorily as Half-Human. That is perhaps the most blatant. The next Half-ling is that really a race name or is it a derogatory term referencing the races diminutive height -- I am going with 75% that this is a derogatory term as D&D actually at one time called the race Hin. It is perhaps commonly accepted because that is what J. R. Tolkien called them but that does not necessarily mean that he did not inadvertently create a racist term. The last which I am on the fence a bit more about is Dwarf I call this one 50% racist as the Norse had that term and they were highly respected so not a derogatory term in their eyes but for nearly every other race it was a reference to a group of humans by a name that denoted they were different and less. Then again J.R. Tolkien referred to them as such. Now before anyone gets their knickers in a bunch I am not saying this was done overtly on purpose to me it is just another case for that laziness that I spoke about before and J.R. Tolkien was simply a man of his time and we all know -- times the are a changin'.

Personally I do not have any of those 4 seemingly derogatory names as the names for those races mine (in order stated above) Urug, fFolk, Hin, and Khuzdul -- now my world does have the derogatory terms but you use that for one of these races be prepared to be corrected and/or shunned for being a bigot.
Oh I see, I thought you meant real world racism.
I would point out that calling half-elf or half-orc a different name doesn't negate the deragotory connotation. In the fantasy fiction I have read. Elves look down on humans and so do Orcs implying that orc-human or elf-human heritage sets these apart from both parent cultures. Meaning a half-elf in the eyes of an elf would be Elf-. Whereas the half-orc might be viewed as orc+/- but usually orc-.
A truly derogatory term would be half-man.
 

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
Okay it is basically common knowledge that the world has different races and that we refer to 4 of these races via derogatory terms (albeit some a bit arguable but why do it even it is only possible) those names being Half-Orc, Half-Elf, Half-Ling and Dwarf.

...

Personally I do not have any of those 4 seemingly derogatory names as the names for those races mine (in order stated above) Urug, fFolk, Hin, and Khuzdul -- now my world does have the derogatory terms but you use that for one of these races be prepared to be corrected and/or shunned for being a bigot.
Huh.

Not ... what I was expecting.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
Okay it is basically common knowledge that the world has different races and that we refer to 4 of these races via derogatory terms (albeit some a bit arguable but why do it even it is only possible) those names being Half-Orc, Half-Elf, Half-Ling and Dwarf. Now the first to are definitely 100% human based derogatory terms for someone that is a "Half-Breed" also a derogatory term. Further it is obvious that they are human derogatory terms because they denote the race as being half-not human while an Orc or an Elf would most likely refer to their respective half-race derogatorily as Half-Human. That is perhaps the most blatant. The next Half-ling is that really a race name or is it a derogatory term referencing the races diminutive height -- I am going with 75% that this is a derogatory term as D&D actually at one time called the race Hin. It is perhaps commonly accepted because that is what J. R. Tolkien called them but that does not necessarily mean that he did not inadvertently create a racist term. The last which I am on the fence a bit more about is Dwarf I call this one 50% racist as the Norse had that term and they were highly respected so not a derogatory term in their eyes but for nearly every other race it was a reference to a group of humans by a name that denoted they were different and less. Then again J.R. Tolkien referred to them as such. Now before anyone gets their knickers in a bunch I am not saying this was done overtly on purpose to me it is just another case for that laziness that I spoke about before and J.R. Tolkien was simply a man of his time and we all know -- times the are a changin'.

Personally I do not have any of those 4 seemingly derogatory names as the names for those races mine (in order stated above) Urug, fFolk, Hin, and Khuzdul -- now my world does have the derogatory terms but you use that for one of these races be prepared to be corrected and/or shunned for being a bigot.
Oh, you're talking racism as simulated in the game, not the real issue of the article that kicked off this thread.

Well, I'll give you Half-Elf & Half-Orc, but that's it.

"Halfling" arose for legal reasons. Gary Gygax wasn't in JRRT's league as a linguist, but he wasn't a slouch. According to some sources, "halfling" comes from similar sources as JRRT's "hobbit". GG warped the Scots word hauflin or the German surname "Helbing", meaning an awkward rustic teenager, who is neither man nor boy, and so half of both. Another word for halfling is hobbledehoy or hobby. (See what JRRT did there?)

Dwarf? That's straight out of myth & legend.
 
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