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General Two underlying truths: D&D heritage and inclusivity

Mercurius

Legend
I wanted to start a new thread to explore a specific element of recent discussions around D&D races that I think has the potential to at least encourage some kind of integration.

As I see it, there are two core truths or meanings that are underlying the two "sides" in the ongoing debate that, if we tease them out from the more extreme variants, are both quite reasonable (with the caveat that I don't like the idea of "two-sidedness," and find this polarization to be a major part of the problem):

1) D&D Heritage. D&D heritage, as a whole, is meaningful and should be preserved, including the act of creative imagination for its own sake, and the nature of fantasy as distinct from reality.

2) Inclusivity.
The D&D game should be welcoming and inclusive to anyone who wants to play it, no matter their ethnicity, gender, sexual preference or identity, ideology, disability, etc.

If we start from looking at those two points, I think it would be difficult to find that--taken on their own--they aren't both meaningful and valid, and worthy of consideration.

Most of the disagreements seem to stem from adherents of either position feeling that the other position in some way undermines their chosen position. This thread is based on the premise that this doesn't need to be the case--that there are ways to integrate both positions, to both preserve D&D heritage and continue to increase inclusiveness.

Now how that can be done is debatable. But if we start from a place of agreement that both are valuable, and most importantly, that both can be integrated into a broader framework, then I think tremendous progress can be made. There probably (definitely) isn't a way to please everyone, and most of us will likely have to bend or adapt our perspective to varying degrees, depending upon how extreme we are one way or the other.

Some questions to be explored could be:

1) Do you agree that both "truths" are important and worth acknowledging and nourishing? If not, why not? If so, then...

2) How to do so in a way that preserves/nourishes the core of both? What can and should be sacrificed? What shouldn't be?

3) If you adhere to one side or the other, what sort of concessions on your part do you feel are reasonable? What are not reasonable?

I have my own ideas on this that I've shared in other threads, but would rather leave it as open-ended, and engage as the discussion goes forward.

While everyone is free to participate however they choose, I would only ask that you at least consider the importance of both views.
 

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TheSword

Legend
Supporter
How can you make concessions around inclusivity? It sounds like gatekeeping. You’re either welcoming of people or you aren’t.

Heritage has value. But heritage is a bad reason not to change something that’s causing a problem.

Also changing things going forward doesn’t erase heritage... we can appreciate the good and even remember parts of the history that aren’t so salubrious. That’s history... and progress.
 


Well, are not the "truths" just Heritage= no change and Insclusivity = change everything?

Is not D&D all ready Inclusive? Anyone can be anything: noting more needs to be said ever.

Is there more to this debate I'm missing?
No. Tradition = No Change

Heritage is somewhere in between Tradition and Change/Inclusivity

Heritage should be remembered, both the good and the bad. The good to keep doing it and the bad to avoid doing it again.
 

Mercurius

Legend
Well, are not the "truths" just Heritage= no change and Insclusivity = change everything?

Is not D&D all ready Inclusive? Anyone can be anything: noting more needs to be said ever.

Is there more to this debate I'm missing?
I think that is one angle on it, at least in extreme forms. I haven't personally encountered anyone who is absolute either way, though. Meaning, advocates of inclusivity aren't saying "change everything," but just a matter of degrees of what should be changed. "Heritagists" (or perhaps traditionalists) aren't saying "absolutely no changes," but just trying to minimize changes.
 



Mercurius

Legend
How can you make concessions around inclusivity? It sounds like gatekeeping. You’re either welcoming of people or you aren’t.

Heritage has value. But heritage is a bad reason not to change something that’s causing a problem.

Also changing things going forward doesn’t erase heritage... we can appreciate the good and even remember parts of the history that aren’t so salubrious. That’s history... and progress.
You can make concessions on how it is implemented, that maybe your way (in the general sense of "you") isn't the only way to accomplish your goals.
 

How can you make concessions around inclusivity? It sounds like gatekeeping. You’re either welcoming of people or you aren’t.
At some point you have to exclude those who refuse to change, though. Do you want to be so inclusive that you have a table with a Leftist and an Alt-right and an LGBT ally and a homophobe, etc?
 


TheSword

Legend
Supporter
At some point you have to exclude those who refuse to change, though. Do you want to be so inclusive that you have a table with a Leftist and an Alt-right and an LGBT ally and a homophobe, etc?
If everyone can be respectful then why not. I don’t really see why a persons view on the economy or what I do in the bedroom should affect my ability to game.

I’d watch that livestream!
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
All of them? And not once in several decades have I had someone not be able to play whatever race or character or whatever they wanted too.
No they couldn't. The whole current debate was sparked by the fact that up until recently you couldn't play an orc who wasn't evil and stupid, and now you can. I'm not sure how you missed that - it was the crux of the issue. I might recommend reading the other two ginormous threads, as I don't think people want to repeat themselves yet again in a third.
 

Mercurius

Legend
No they couldn't. The whole current debate was sparked by the fact that up until recently you couldn't play an orc who wasn't evil and stupid, and now you can. I'm not sure how you missed that - it was the crux of the issue. I might recommend reading the other two ginormous threads, as I don't think people want to repeat themselves yet again in a third.
I think you could play a smart and good orc if your DM allowed it. But I hear your point, that the rulebooks didn't provide guidance or rules on doing so, and I think that is the crucial point: WotC sets the tone for the majority of the D&D community, so what they print matters and should--at least to some degree--reflect the contemporary ethos.
 

bloodtide

Explorer
No they couldn't.
It's a lot of text....are there some Cliff Notes?

And are you telling me the threads are about something nonexistant? Like sure, I have a book on a shelf next to me that says "dwarves can not be druids", and I ignore that and make a dwarf druid. So.....

Is the "debate" then that WotC will put a disclaimer in the front of every book that says "anyone can be anything, have fun"?
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
It's a lot of text....are there some Cliff Notes?

And are you telling me the threads are about something nonexistant? Like sure, I have a book on a shelf next to me that says "dwarves can not be druids", and I ignore that and make a dwarf druid. So.....

Is the "debate" then that WotC will put a disclaimer in the front of every book that says "anyone can be anything, have fun"?
I'm telling you what I told you, nothing more. I honestly have no desire to recreate the same thread yet a third time and type the same things that have been typed over and over again, so you'll have to brave the text. Sorry! But I do recommend you acquaint yourself with the issues at hand before commenting on them.
 

Mercurius

Legend
It's a lot of text....are there some Cliff Notes?

And are you telling me the threads are about something nonexistant? Like sure, I have a book on a shelf next to me that says "dwarves can not be druids", and I ignore that and make a dwarf druid. So.....

Is the "debate" then that WotC will put a disclaimer in the front of every book that says "anyone can be anything, have fun"?
The Cliff Notes version (as I see it):

Those advocating for inclusivity want WotC to more explicitly offer rules/guidelines that represent greater diversity (e.g. good and smart orcs), and do away with any stereotypes that can be connected to real world ethnic groups.

Those advocating for heritage are wary of (what they perceive as) unwarranted changes that overly mess with D&D tradition, and dispute said linkages to racial stereotypes to varying degrees.

So the purpose of this thread is not to endlessly rehash those elements, but to recognize that both are valid perspectives and discuss how the two can be integrated.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Just to be clear -- if this thread does just end up rehashing the existing two, we'll need to close it. The moderation overhead right now is immense, and we don't have the hours in the day to handle a third identical thread (the post reports number at the top of my screen is red and is not a small number, and it's 1am!) Just an advance warning.
 


Derren

Hero
The Cliff Notes version (as I see it):

Those advocating for inclusivity want WotC to more explicitly offer rules/guidelines that represent greater diversity (e.g. good and smart orcs), and do away with any stereotypes that can be connected to real world ethnic groups.

Those advocating for heritage are wary of (what they perceive as) unwarranted changes that overly mess with D&D tradition, and dispute said linkages to racial stereotypes to varying degrees.

So the purpose of this thread is not to endlessly rehash those elements, but to recognize that both are valid perspectives and discuss how the two can be integrated.
People can't even agree on to which ethnic group orcs supposedly are connected, so how can you remove said connection without removing orcs entirely?
 

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