D&D General Two underlying truths: D&D heritage and inclusivity

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Who ever said that being intelligent gave you personhood? No one. Aboleths and Mind Flayers are intelligent, but they're not people.

@Chaosmancer did when he included Dragons. Once you include Dragons, which aren't humanoid or even mammalian, Illithids and Aboleths are people, too. He backs it up in his response to me when he says, "But, I don't think the value in personhood can be defined by pointing to an intelligent group and saying "they aren't people"."

He has rendered personhood meaningless in D&D.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
Are you evangelizing? Why do you feel you need to convince people? Is this a personal mission for you? Why can't you just have a discussion about different opinions? I mean WotC is changing it so there's no need to actually convince people.
Because I freaking care if people are informed. I hate it when people complain about something they don't understand and overreact about a positive change because they don't understand it.
It's better to understand a problem, because it helps a cause.
I'm fine if WotC want's to change it, even though I don't 100% agree with the Orc debate, I think trying to make it more inclusive is a good thing. I'm still going to interpret Orcs the way I always have since I usually homebrew their culture anyways - unless WotC comes up with something better. I'm not convinced this is going to solve any issues in the long run. In the short term, it'll be helpful, though, even if it's just creating an atmosphere of debate and discussion.
Discussion and debate have helped move along every good major change in the history of communities. Once people start talking about something, it helps them see other points of view.
 

Frogs don't lay eggs into other creatures through claws, though.
Oh! Some Wasps lay eggs into spiders and the babies hatch and eat the spider from the inside out. Apparently, the spider is only paralyzed and not unconscious, so it's probably super painful. I don't consider Slaad to be anything but creatures of chaos and evil by nature.
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
@Chaosmancer did when he included Dragons. Once you include Dragons, which aren't humanoid or even mammalian, Illithids and Aboleths are people, too. He backs it up in his response to me when he says, "But, I don't think the value in personhood can be defined by pointing to an intelligent group and saying "they aren't people"."

He has rendered personhood meaningless in D&D.
Okay, @Chaosmancer didn't say that, though. You're jumping to conclusions and making slippery slope arguments.

And, no. When you include dragons as people, that doesn't suddenly make aliens that depend on taking advantage/eating humanoids to exist be people. No one thinks that Aberrations should be people (except flumphs, obviously), and stop pulling out strawmen.

Also, I agree with them. You cannot point to an intelligent group of people and say that they're not people because of their culture. You can do that based on how they reproduce and live. Mind Flayers have to eat brains to live, which makes them not people. You cannot be a person if you do that as a species to live.

Also, answer my question. What is your definition of person, and how does it invalidate Orcs, but still allow elves and dwarves to be people?
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
Oh! Some Wasps lay eggs into spiders and the babies hatch and eat the spider from the inside out. Apparently, the spider is only paralyzed and not unconscious, so it's probably super painful. I don't consider Slaad to be anything but creatures of chaos and evil by nature.
Yeah. There are also wasps that do that to cockroaches.

I don't consider slaad to be anything more than monsters, either. In 5e, they're aberrations, which normally shouldn't be considered people.
 

Because I freaking care if people are informed. I hate it when people complain about something they don't understand and overreact about a positive change because they don't understand it.
It's better to understand a problem, because it helps a cause.

I mean, I've understood the issue the whole time. I just don't agree with it. I'm not bothering to try to convince people to see my side because I can see where they are coming from. I'm more interested in other aspects of the discussion than rehashing the orc debate which boils down to: Some people think they are too closely a parallel with specific races, Other people don't think so for various reasons. I don't think either is wrong because they are both opinions. It's literature, right? Words are up for interpretation. I see both interpretations as valid.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
@Chaosmancer did when he included Dragons. Once you include Dragons, which aren't humanoid or even mammalian, Illithids and Aboleths are people, too. He backs it up in his response to me when he says, "But, I don't think the value in personhood can be defined by pointing to an intelligent group and saying "they aren't people"."

He has rendered personhood meaningless in D&D.

So, people have to be mammalian now too?

Aboleth's aren't people, they are a collected hive mind reborn throughout the ages.

Illithids are drones with little free-will, brought into existence by consuming the brain of others and altering their body to fit their needs.

But, I'm honestly agreeing with @AcererakTriple6 here. What is a person then Max?

They must be mammalian, intelligent and not orcs is about as far as I've seen you come. So, what other qualifications do you have to narrowly define people?
 

Mercule

Adventurer
Not problematic for the same reasons, there are definitely more parallels between orcs and how white supremacists have described black people than there are the other "monstrous races".
I would say that it's more a matter of people having a Platonic ideal of what behaviors humans can have that makes them fall short of what humans should be. Racists erroneously applied them to other humans in order to dehumanize them. Orcs are a storytelling device that actually possess those traits (if you choose to use them that way).

Off the top of my head, that plays out in a few ways.
1) people who bring racism to the table with them find it and use it with whatever real-world prejudices goes along with it.
2) people who want to just go murder-hobo have an excuse when that one guy says, "maybe we should talk to the orcs"
3) people go high-drama and use orcs as an allegory for the inner failings of humanity and throw in things like the "good" king using the same tactics as the ineffably evil orcs and checking his motives.
4) people do what they've done for years and ignore the "born to be evil" bit and humanize orcs, just treating them more like Neanderthal throwbacks who lack the refined civilization of humans for whatever reason, but otherwise have free agency.
5) double down on #4 and go all "noble savage" with the orcs, romanticizing their more primal state.

My preference is #4 and, really, I thought that's essentially what the default has been for 15-20 years. It being a big deal, now, is really what's baffling.
 

Mercule

Adventurer
Why are orcs being inherently evil different than Demons/Devils/Angels/Werewolves/Slaadi?

...

And how are orcs made? Two orcs have sex and have a baby.

Note something about that? Orcs are the only one on the list that start as an infant. Every single other creature you named, they don't grow up, they don't start as a baby. They are formed, fully mature and ready to fulfill their role. That is why Orcs being inherently evil is a bigger problem than any of the other creatures you listed.
I still don't have an issue with saying, "the entire race of orcs was formed from the bile of Gruumsh and filled with hate." And, by "don't have a problem" I mean that I would not find it unacceptable if a GM did that in their game. That is, more or less, the original lore. Orcs are bad because they are filled with an uncontrollable hate that comes from a god. They are given humanoid form and biology, but that hate is deeply ingrained.

As far as them being born "the normal way", well, they wouldn't be the only species prone to eating their young. There are also plenty of species with traits bred into them. Wolves are pack animals. Herding dogs herd (oh good lord does my puppy herd the poor cats). Birds migrate. The scorpion stings the fox.

You don't have to use it, but it's not wrong for someone to do so.

Not really, in the same vein I was just talking about, think about Gnolls for a second. Why are Gnolls different from orcs? Because a new gnoll is only born when a hyena eats the corpse of a humanoid murdered by a gnoll. Again, they are created fully formed, that is a big difference.
Eh? Where did that come from? In 37 years of playing D&D, I've never heard it. I mean, it's not a bad story, but I've just never heard it.

I've always assumed that anything with the "humanoid", "monstrous humanoid" (when it exists), or "giant" tags pretty much went through the same sort of real-world sexual reproduction as humans.

So, is a half-Orc a person?
I'm not a fan of half-elves and half-orcs. They're just... odd. The less human-centric the world, the less they make sense. They worked in Tolkien because humans were the center of everything. Elves were so blessed that they could breed with humans and orcs were corrupted elves.

In D&D, I'd say the half-orcs have humanity and are more nurture than nature. That's why they make sense as a PC race. Orcs should not be playable in settings where they are "born bad".
 

Doug McCrae

Legend
It being a big deal, now, is really what's baffling.
The initial cause was the murder of George Floyd in the United States and the subsequent protests by Black Lives Matter, in the US and in other countries. Our discussion has been sparked by an announcement on issues related to race by Wizards of the Coast, indicating some changes in policy.

There have been two other threads on the subject which go some way to explaining the issues:
WotC's Jeremy Crawford on D&D Races Going Forward
WotC's Official Annoucement About Diversity, Races and D&D
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Okay, @Chaosmancer didn't say that, though. You're jumping to conclusions and making slippery slope arguments.

And, no. When you include dragons as people, that doesn't suddenly make aliens that depend on taking advantage/eating humanoids to exist be people. No one thinks that Aberrations should be people (except flumphs, obviously), and stop pulling out strawmen.

Also, I agree with them. You cannot point to an intelligent group of people and say that they're not people because of their culture. You can do that based on how they reproduce and live. Mind Flayers have to eat brains to live, which makes them not people. You cannot be a person if you do that as a species to live.

Also, answer my question. What is your definition of person, and how does it invalidate Orcs, but still allow elves and dwarves to be people?
Did you even read the sentence I quoted from him?
 

Hussar

Legend
In the interest of giving this position a proper response:

/snip

Here's my original statement, if you don't remember what I said:

"My question is this: Do you think that orcs are just going to get replaced by another race, like goblins or demons or undead or gnolls? If so, doesn't it mean the issue still stands? Or do you think it is possible for some kind of compromise? "
/snip

No. I do not. I do not think there needs to be any sort of compromise here. You are inventing problems (demons, undead or gnolls) where none exist. No one has said we need to change any of those things. Well, maybe gnolls. But, instead, we've spent the last four pages trying to explain why we want to change ORCS and again, being derailed into endless "whatabouts".

I stated all the way back on the second page of this thread that I thought there should be no compromise. That given the choice between inclusivity or tradition, inclusivity wins every time.

Do I think this is some sort of slippery slope where orcs get replaced by another race? No, I don't. Because no one has ever really complained about those other races. Orcs and drow have been complained about for DECADES. If other races were going to be problematic, they would already BE problematic. Will they be problematic in the future? I don't know. I left my crystal ball at home.

What I am not going to do is pretend that future problems that don't exist right now are justifications for blocking changes to problems that DO exist right now.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
So, people have to be mammalian now too?

Aboleth's aren't people, they are a collected hive mind reborn throughout the ages.

So then this, "But, I don't think the value in personhood can be defined by pointing to an intelligent group and saying "they aren't people". wasn't true? You just pointed at an intelligent group and said, "they aren't people."

If we're including Orcs and Dragons, then why not Illithids, Demons and Aboleths?
 

Doug McCrae

Legend
In my view all the primitive, tribal evil humanoids with less-than-human mental faculties are a problem. The #1 most pressing, and easily fixed, problem is the 5e MM art for goblins and hobgoblins as it's a caricature of East Asian people. Of these humanoids orcs are the biggest problem, because they most closely resemble a racist's idea of black people. Of particular concern here are their traits of fecundity and sexual threat.
 
Last edited:


AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
So then this, "But, I don't think the value in personhood can be defined by pointing to an intelligent group and saying "they aren't people". wasn't true? You just pointed at an intelligent group and said, "they aren't people."

If we're including Orcs and Dragons, then why not Illithids, Demons and Aboleths?
Can you freaking read a single one of my posts? I've stated multiple reasons form not making Illithids, Aboleths, Aberrations in general, and Demons in general be considered people.
 





Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top