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General Two underlying truths: D&D heritage and inclusivity

Shroompunk Warlord

Aberrant Druid
Supporter
It is just ugly, and siding with the dwarves is what the text wants you to do, because they have all the positive qualities. The Duergar are left with nothing but hatred and bitterness, after their warping by the Mind Flayers and abandonment by everyone else. And you can't side with them, because they are horrible, terrible and must be stopped.

I just hate the entire thing.

I'm not going to have an axe left if I keep grinding it at this rate, but: do you see how much of the problem here originates from the fact that the objective morality of the universe is trying to force you to side with the party whose own conduct in the story is abominable?

You can't tell a tragedy when every party in the story objectively knows right from wrong.

The problem with these rules isn't that they're just dumb on their own merits, it's that they make all of us dumber for trying to fit the stories we went to tell into their simplistic, childish, cruel and abjectly hypocritical frameworks. Practically everything we've been fighting over for the past few weeks is the direct result of trying to reconcile the amoral activities of sword & sorcery heroes with objective cosmic forces of right and wrong whose presence in the game I have yet to see ever actually improve it.

A lot of people complain about the violence and specifically the violence against women in the Grand Theft Auto game... but just imagine, for a moment, the outcry if Rockstar Games added a Karma Meter to Grand Theft Auto 6... that went up every time you murdered a prostitute. It wouldn't improve the game, and fundamentally, that's what we're arguing about here.
 

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Zardnaar

Legend
This has nothing to do with the WotC or Dungeons & Dragons. Putting racism aside, you're going to play with people you enjoy playing with and you'll stop playing with people you don't enjoy playing with. If the Leftist and Alt-right keep bringing up their real-world politics and can't get along, they won't play together anymore. OTOH, if the group decides they want to explore challenging subject matter they can explore all kinds of stories that challenge their normal world view. Who knows, maybe people will change their minds on things. But, really, that's up to the people at the table.


This.

@Hussar It's funny how you perceive Orcish stereotypes. I actually thought Orcs were more Nordic Invader/Celtic Barbarian stereotypes. I'm actually Scottish if you go back far enough and the Celts were crapped on pretty huge by the Romans and then again by the Brits and, generally, considered barbarians, so the colonialist/barbarian stereotype seems to be(by design or by accident) a part of the Orc Theme, especially if it invokes that emotion in people of all kinds of cultural backgrounds. It just depends from what lens you're looking at it. Do you remove it? Well, back to my previous point, it depends what stories you want to explore.

I think there's lots to be said about exploring racism and bigotry as long as you don't glorify it. But people are going to do what what they want to do at their own tables. There's not much WotC can do.

Back to the original post:
What is the responsibility of WotC?


So, I was going to type a bunch of stuff but I'd kind of stopped reading the other two threads because I couldn't keep up so now I'm not sure if anything I'm going to type here will rehash things in the other threads.

1 and 2 aren't mutually exclusive. I think that's obvious. Just make mechanics that let people play the game they want to play. People are going to want content, though. It's how you get inspiration - look at Volo's. Give them content but just be sure that it's obvious to new players that they're allowed to change anything they want and that nothing is written in stone.

D&D kinda drew heavily on the dark ages.

Orcs always gave me a more scourge if civilization trope. Avars/Huns/Vikings/Vandals type vibe.

Barbarian word is from Greek, and anyone who wasn't Greek got labeled barbarian (I forget the exact word).


Anyway 7th edition could be quite funny (we don't mention 6E round these parts).

Reimagining Keep on the Borderlands, those evil humans have built walls while we're living in these crappy caves if not nice tendencies (6E dumped chaotic it offended the anarchists).

Better liberate that food from the farmers by bashing their heads in.
 

Scott Christian

Adventurer
I don't think there needs to be a in world change just a change in explanation in the real world. Instead of saying race XYZ is evil and leaving it at that. The designers need to delve in to the social, environmental, magical. religious forces acting upon the individuals that leads to the behaviour that other races usually see of that race and maybe give a view to members of that race not faced with those pressures.
Well said Eubani. I particularly like the idea of two sides being displayed. They did this in the PH a little with the quotes and text boxes. This would allow the focus to be on the one thing many in this thread seem to keep at arms length when debating: the amount of influence the gods have over the mortal peoples. I also really like the other influences you listed, especially social. When one builds a character background, the social seems to stand out. But imagine growing up under the terror of necromantic magic being pervasive in your environment all because your (insert culture, kingdom, village, hamlet, tribe, etc) worships Bhaal or Talona. Your view on life would be so skewed compared to the norm that say, worships a pantheon of good gods, that the two would be at odds about almost everything. (But would make for an interesting session if they had to work together ;) )

Long post, but just saying good thoughts.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Concerning duergar and victim blaming - even good people can make mistakes. Just because surface dwarves tend to LG it does not mean that they always do good. Good tendencies can be just as complex as evil tendencies.

When it comes to goblinoids I always assumed they originally came from the Unseelie court and had roots in the fey, that Maglubiyet just organized and unified them. Or at least that's how I run it in my campaign, goblins have a long mythical history of being associated with faerie.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Every time I've seen it used, here and elsewhere, people used it to mean, "Setting up a gate to keep certain people out." Setting up a gate to specifically keep the poor and middle classes out qualifies.

Mod Note:

Sufficiently egregious pedantism makes you look like a troll or someone trying to either exhaust opposition or attempting to "score points." Please keep that in mind.
 

As far the victim thing goes, @Chaosmancer , I think your problem is more a matter of overly connecting fantasy and reality. Let fantasy be an imaginative playground in its own right, without having to strain everything through the sieve of real-life ideology and ethics. The whole point of role-play is to take on a role within an imaginary world, to engage in the world as it is, not as our world is. Sure, there are symbolic elements, but being too concrete about them leads to over "allegorizing" and leads us out of fantasy immersion.

What even is this supposed to mean? Abandon ethics and morality, it is an imaginary world? Just pay attention to these new ethics and moralities we are attaching to it?

I can play a role just fine, but if that role includes, say, being a Doctor who helps the sick, and I'm presented with "here, the good guys want you to spread this lethal disease amongst their enemy so they don't have to a fight a war over that land over there." I'm sorry, but it takes me more out of my immersion to just say "well, if the good guys say so, the world says it must be good" than it would to question war crimes.


I'm not going to have an axe left if I keep grinding it at this rate, but: do you see how much of the problem here originates from the fact that the objective morality of the universe is trying to force you to side with the party whose own conduct in the story is abominable?

You can't tell a tragedy when every party in the story objectively knows right from wrong.

The problem with these rules isn't that they're just dumb on their own merits, it's that they make all of us dumber for trying to fit the stories we went to tell into their simplistic, childish, cruel and abjectly hypocritical frameworks. Practically everything we've been fighting over for the past few weeks is the direct result of trying to reconcile the amoral activities of sword & sorcery heroes with objective cosmic forces of right and wrong whose presence in the game I have yet to see ever actually improve it.

A lot of people complain about the violence and specifically the violence against women in the Grand Theft Auto game... but just imagine, for a moment, the outcry if Rockstar Games added a Karma Meter to Grand Theft Auto 6... that went up every time you murdered a prostitute. It wouldn't improve the game, and fundamentally, that's what we're arguing about here.

Yep, they are still trying to keep the alignments and the "dark mirrors" of the fantasy races, which just makes the whole thing dissonant and weird.

Concerning duergar and victim blaming - even good people can make mistakes. Just because surface dwarves tend to LG it does not mean that they always do good. Good tendencies can be just as complex as evil tendencies.

If there was any idea presented in the text that they felt they made a mistake, or that Moradin didn't agree with them, I would agree with you. But it is presented as though they made the right choice, because everything about the Duergar is awful.

When it comes to goblinoids I always assumed they originally came from the Unseelie court and had roots in the fey, that Maglubiyet just organized and unified them. Or at least that's how I run it in my campaign, goblins have a long mythical history of being associated with faerie.

Yeah, Fey Goblins are a really fun concept to work with. It'd be pretty awesome to do a game with Mags being "The Goblin King" from the faerie tales. That guy was always presented as very dangerous.
 

TaranTheWanderer

Adventurer
What even is this supposed to mean? Abandon ethics and morality, it is an imaginary world? Just pay attention to these new ethics and moralities we are attaching to it?

I can play a role just fine, but if that role includes, say, being a Doctor who helps the sick, and I'm presented with "here, the good guys want you to spread this lethal disease amongst their enemy so they don't have to a fight a war over that land over there." I'm sorry, but it takes me more out of my immersion to just say "well, if the good guys say so, the world says it must be good" than it would to question war crimes.
I had a druid in 3rd ed who cast contagion on a goblin and released him in order to wipe out their entire nest. Of course, we never claimed to be 'good aligned'. I'm fairly certain that this 'solution' to a goblin issue wouldn't be mentioned, or suggested in any module.

Once again, it's all very tricky. A lich necromancer King is pushing his territory into the neighboring countries. He's committing atrocities and taking slaves, forcing all who oppose him into work camps until they die just so he can raise them from the dead and add them to his army.

I'm sure you can see the issue with this, pretty typical, fantasy trope. It's a little too close to images of the Holocaust. No publisher would touch that with a 10-foot pole. So, how do you play the Necromancer King without insulting anyone? Remove the work camps? Make it so the Necromancer isn't interested in expansion? Or is it fair to release an adventure with a foreword that communicates the nature of the adventure, the actual intentions of the adventure and a warning of what it could depict if your table isn't careful? I don't know the answer but it certainly limits what publishers can release for fear of backlash.
 

Eltab

Hero
I agree. The story is broken. I don't think anyone's meant to sympathize with the the Dwarves, though. I'm all for changing it so Duergar and Dwarves get a happy ending, but in order for the Forgotten Realms to have Duergar, Orcs, Drow, and Goblinoids become not inherently evil, there's probably going to have to be another major disaster event on Toril, probably involving the deaths of Gruumsh, Lolth, Maglubiet, Laduergar and the other evil racial deities, or them just losing power or being banished.

I think such an event could be interesting, and the Forgotten Realms are no stranger to cataclysmic disasters that change the structure of the world, races on it, and planar cosmology, but I don't know if WotC would go this route. I think it would be interesting and positive, but I think there would be pushback from parts of the community.
There would be pushback from FR fans who are tired of Realms-Shattering Events that drop out of nowhere, and want to see stories that grow out of the huge amount of available lore.
This pushback will be mislabeled as being mean nasty people.
 

I had a druid in 3rd ed who cast contagion on a goblin and released him in order to wipe out their entire nest. Of course, we never claimed to be 'good aligned'. I'm fairly certain that this 'solution' to a goblin issue wouldn't be mentioned, or suggested in any module.

You seem to be missing the point (though I still have no idea what @Mercurius 's point was exactly). The argument seemed to be that in a fantasy world you can't apply real-world morality. So, if I'm understanding this correctly, your "solution" would be seen as good and the suffering of the goblins dying to disease in a slow and painful fashion would be deserved.


Hmm, that actually reminds me of something. Meruem from Hunter X Hunter the Chimera Ant King. He was a vicious psychopath in a lot of ways. Being "very young" his wildly fluctuating morality and presentation makes a lot of sense to me. He had one of the most touching, tragic and deeply emotional deaths in the entire series. Dying of radiation poisoning after killing the head of the hero organization, he lies alone with the blind girl who was the only person he seemed to have a connection to, she stays with him, choosing to die with him, so they can continue playing the boardgame (I forget if it was shogi or some other fantasy shogi) until they both die alone in the dark.

Being the villain, being evil, that doesn't mean that your suffering is always good. Sometimes it can be tragic. And that's powerful storytelling too.

Once again, it's all very tricky. A lich necromancer King is pushing his territory into the neighboring countries. He's committing atrocities and taking slaves, forcing all who oppose him into work camps until they die just so he can raise them from the dead and add them to his army.

I'm sure you can see the issue with this, pretty typical, fantasy trope. It's a little too close to images of the Holocaust. No publisher would touch that with a 10-foot pole. So, how do you play the Necromancer King without insulting anyone? Remove the work camps? Make it so the Necromancer isn't interested in expansion? Or is it fair to release an adventure with a foreword that communicates the nature of the adventure, the actual intentions of the adventure and a warning of what it could depict if your table isn't careful? I don't know the answer but it certainly limits what publishers can release for fear of backlash.

I addressed this example in the other thread
 

Mercurius

Legend
What even is this supposed to mean? Abandon ethics and morality, it is an imaginary world? Just pay attention to these new ethics and moralities we are attaching to it?

I can play a role just fine, but if that role includes, say, being a Doctor who helps the sick, and I'm presented with "here, the good guys want you to spread this lethal disease amongst their enemy so they don't have to a fight a war over that land over there." I'm sorry, but it takes me more out of my immersion to just say "well, if the good guys say so, the world says it must be good" than it would to question war crimes.

I was refering to your take on the duergar as being "blaming the victim." It is a fantasy background that only needs to make sense in its own right, not according to real-world perspectives on socio-cultural dynamics. By creating such a background, WotC is not blaming victims, they're creating a fantasy story that has its own logic. You might not like it for whatever reason, but calling it "victim blaming" is a mis-application, a false equivalency (that fantasy worlds should be dictated by real world ideology).
 


I was refering to your take on the duergar as being "blaming the victim." It is a fantasy background that only needs to make sense in its own right, not according to real-world perspectives on socio-cultural dynamics. By creating such a background, WotC is not blaming victims, they're creating a fantasy story that has its own logic. You might not like it for whatever reason, but calling it "victim blaming" is a mis-application, a false equivalency (that fantasy worlds should be dictated by real world ideology).


Right, so abandon morality and ethics, they will not serve you here.

The logic was if you get caught by slavers and don't get to worship properly, you are a bad person. And I don't want that in my fantasy stories, sorry
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Oh, I agree, and I'm not advocating for any official action on that part. @Lanefan just asked me to elaborate on my issues with them.
Rather than go through your longer post, I'll just thank you here for the work you put into it.

The only change that needs to be made to IMO make it all work just fine is that instead of the Duergar coming back to the Dwarves seeking peaceful re-entry and being rejected, have them come back as aggressive invaders and get rejected. That gives each group ongoing reason to be torqued off with the other, and on we go.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
You said "gate-keeping on principle." That means any gatekeeping, not just specific gatekeeping you are against.

A yacht club keeps out anyone without a yacht, even those who want to join.
You've met different yacht clubs than I.

Most YCs in my experience will - particularly these days - take in anyone who a) wants to join, b) can front up the entry fee, and c) is capable of functioning in a social society.

Yacht (or even boat) ownership is by no means mandatory; and if it was most YCs wouldn't have anywhere near enough moorage to dock them all.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I think as soon as you allow a certain evil monster to be played as a race, you'll run into issues incorporating that monster into the setting, and having him work together with the other races. The only solution then is to give them nuance and make them not pure evil.
Or better yet, not allow monsters as player characters.
 

TaranTheWanderer

Adventurer
What, other than victim blaming, would you call it when the duergar explain "we were mentally enslaved, leaving wasn't our choice" and the other dwarves say "doesn't matter, you left, that's on you."?

So people can't publish a story about victim blaming because people in real life have been on the wrong side of an issue around victim blaming?
 


AaronOfBarbaria

Adventurer
So people can't publish a story about victim blaming because people in real life have been on the wrong side of an issue around victim blaming?
Okay, to start: that is not even kind of similar to anything I said - and I'm pretty sure no one else said that either.

But to go ahead and try and have a conversation instead of just point out that you're wildly off-target from what was being said:

There is a difference between a story about victim blaming, and a story that is and excuses victim blaming. If the story of the duergar and the dwarves were telling us readers that it's not correct or acceptable behavior that the dwarves have completely disregarded that what they are declaring the duergar as 'the enemy' for is a thing which was inflicted upon the duergar, not a thing they deliberately did, it wouldn't be a problem - it would just be "a story, which includes victim blaming."

That's not the case, though - the actions of the dwarves are not even kind of brought into question, they are treated as normal reasonable things to do, and that is the problem - it's a story that presents victim blaming as "good guy" behavior, and the anger at being cast out for something outside your control as "evil guy" behavior.
 

Mercurius

Legend
What, other than victim blaming, would you call it when the duergar explain "we were mentally enslaved, leaving wasn't our choice" and the other dwarves say "doesn't matter, you left, that's on you."?

So maybe the dwarves are victim blaming. So what? It adds texture to them, a kind of prideful blindness.

But is it victim-blaming of WotC to create such a story? Of course not.
 

AaronOfBarbaria

Adventurer
So maybe the dwarves are victim blaming. So what? It adds texture to them, a kind of prideful blindness.

But is it victim-blaming of WotC to create such a story? Of course not.
...excuse me, might I ask where you intend to take the goal post and why you have not left it where you found it?
 

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