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General Two underlying truths: D&D heritage and inclusivity

Curmudjinn

Explorer
Funny. That's exactly what the Asians Represent! podcast was saying, too.
They are saying this overreacting to everything is a waste of time or they are aboard the white outrage train?
Being Native American, I feel like I'm watching two trains hitting each other in slow motion. There will be no middle ground. One side will push through or the other.
 
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TaranTheWanderer

Adventurer
Stopping you right here. Because the narrator of the Duergar story is.... the omniscient view of WoTC presenting the objective facts. Unreliable narrators are great, but that is not what is happening here, because this isn't a narrator at all, but the game designer telling us the real story.
Which is why I said, "But since we are talking about RPGs and not a novel..."
 

Curmudjinn

Explorer
You say they're overreacting, but you can sit down to a nice game of D&D without having to listen to their politics. They can't sit down to a nice game of D&D without having to listen to yours.
Thanks for another example of the typical argument of telling others what they mean and believe to validate self-opinion.
Reacting and overreacting are not the same thing. You can do the former without the latter.
 
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How are they punished? That's asinine. The PHB isn't an edict from on high. It's not military doctrine. It's malleable, it's built to bend as you need for fun and fun alone. As D&D has forever been.
You're punished for playing a VGtM orc with the negative stereotypes, penalty to intelligence, and it overall being an awful race.
 

Curmudjinn

Explorer
You're punished for playing a VGtM orc with the negative stereotypes, penalty to intelligence, and it overall being an awful race.
The thousands of players who've been punished playing the many Drizzt Do'Urden clones think this is a nonsense overreaction. Sure, changing it to something that is more malleable for newer players or rules-lawyers that cannot/will not modify things, is a good decision. But asinine reasons like being punished is ridiculous.

A player wants to play a good orc, they can play a good orc. Playing a smart orc? DM removed racial modifiers. The generic setting says orcs usually behave a certain way, but the books literally state to change whatever you need to suit your whims in a game.
It's literally that simple. A wave of uproar over it? The refusal/laziness/inability to modify one's own games to suit a a character or campaign without iron rules-following seems the culprit.

One of my players plays a noble hobgoblin monk, with a shaolin touch. He started an order of the same type. He somehow played it without a Twitter uproar, rules-rewriting or being punished.
How was that even possible?! The arguments here state it is not possible without being punished.
Asinine.
 

A player wants to play a good orc, they can play a good orc. Playing a smart orc? DM removed racial modifiers. The generic setting says orcs usually behave a certain way, but the books literally state to change whatever you need to suit your whims in a game.
It's literally that simple. A wave of uproar over it? The refusal/laziness/inability to modify one's own games to suit a a character or campaign without iron rules-following seems the culprit.
Asking that the baseline content does not include racist language is not being too lazy to modify the game. It is a call for empathy from the company.

Yes, people can change the rules of the game. But, try something for a second. Read the PHB races. Find all the races that mention living in the slums of a city.

What do they all have in common?
 

Curmudjinn

Explorer
Asking that the baseline content does not include racist language is not being too lazy to modify the game. It is a call for empathy from the company.

Yes, people can change the rules of the game. But, try something for a second. Read the PHB races. Find all the races that mention living in the slums of a city.

What do they all have in common?
A species in a fantasy world, brought into being by an evil god, with a bloodline thinned to the point of having an option to be a player character, with the lore stigma of having ancestors of evil God spawn.
..Is racist?
Forcing a real world judgment on a fantasy concept to create a connection to be far more alike than it is, seems more of a bigoted thought.

Taking that lore away seems a perilous thing, like burning the history of a place because you're the new conqueror. Rewriting a history steeped in Tolkien fantasy, of orcs being fell creations. Drow being beholden to Lolth, etc.

A iteration of that needs to remain. Amending it to including a couple more background concepts of usually-fell races is a better idea than burning away their lore to put something completely different in its place.
 

Eltab

Hero
Re: Roman slavery (a tangent)
If WotC ever has 5e Dark Sun mechanics ready to release, will the setting background survive the social media flamethrowers sure to be aimed at it?
 

TaranTheWanderer

Adventurer
Re: Roman slavery (a tangent)
If WotC ever has 5e Dark Sun mechanics ready to release, will the setting background survive the social media flamethrowers sure to be aimed at it?
These are people's concerns. Companies don't like to weather the assault and then content will be censored or never released.
 

dfuller1138

Villager
The whole push for nebulously defined "heritage" and "inclusivity" - because there will always be someone to complain about something - reminds me of the Jacobins after the French Revolution. There, liberal assemblies contested with monarchists for power. Eventually, the Liberals - French Liberals from late 1700's - won. The French King & Queen were arrested and executed.

The aftermath was that the Liberals after the French Revolution became more extreme. Suddenly, the Liberals were not extreme enough for other Liberals. The new, more extreme liberals hacked off the heads of the less-extreme Liberals. And so on and so on. Eventually, The French ended up with a monarchy yet again. Full circle.

That is the most likely outcome of the current real world situation. A backlash will develop. People will become tired of it. Extremists will develop that view others as not extreme enough.

As for D&D?

"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. "

Agreed. Others may object. Let's look at some issues:

Heritage of D&D? WARGAMES. Uh, oh. Promotion of war. Already, the heritage of D&D is war and preparation of war. The Prussians were adept at wargames.

Inclusivity? As an old time D&D player, we were cast as Satanists and such especially during the '80's. In the Army, lots of people played. We didn't keep people out because of their skin color or beliefs. Before the Army? School. We were geeks and nerds. I think Vin Diesel might have something to say about that. Actually, I was in school and playing D&D with soldiers. I started early.

D&D is built on stereotypes. Orcs came from The Lord of The Rings were they were explicitly creations of an evil power, for evil. Orcs? Bad. Half-orcs in D&D? Choose your alignment.

Another example: The Drow, as one poster put it on these forums? They are dark skinned (actually should be albino unless the magical light that pervades the Underdark somehow affects their skin color). They worship an evil goddess as a religion. They are murderous when it comes to advancement, as required by Lolth. The entire "people" of Drow are one big stereotype.

Drow society as depicted by AD&D is "evil" to us in the real world. And they are cool as villains. To Drow - if they were to exist? Our society would be "evil". It's a matter of perspective. Drow are discrminated against - in-game-wise - on the basis of their beliefs and religion. Religious freedom, NOW! I've played a Drow who worshiped Eilistaee. Though, Zinzerina was a close second. I'm contemplating running as a "good" worshiper of Lolth who looks down upon those who would destroy Drow society - those who are EVIL. it's a matter of perspective.

I'm going to introduce some hyperbole and exaggeration (and yes, there is someone out there who really believe what I'm about to write):

Elves. Fairies (derogatory).

Faerie Dragon? There's that derogatory word again. Someone will complain. Probably someone who doesn't play D&D. Injection of a real-world problem into a FANTASY GAME.

Goblins? Stereotyped. I think there was some mention of a Goblinoid high achieving society or maybe that was the Lizard Folk. This was actually a decent, unobjectionable change. I mean, seriously, Lizardmen? Back then, it was fine. However, stereotyping men as Lizards (as some one, somewhere undoubtedly pieced together)... I jest on the latter, but not the former. Tongue in cheek.

Every. "People". In. D&D. Is. A. Stereotype. Or, rather... ARCHETYPES consisting of characteristics given form.

Who here decided on the depictions of peoples in D&D? No one. The decisions were made long ago. Perhaps, centuries. It's like having slaveowners as ancestors. Should one feel ashamed of that? No. That's BLOOD LIBEL if one does. Are there some issues that still persist in real world society that should be dealt with that have had a long-reaching, negative affect? Yes. However - D&D is NOT THAT FORUM to deal with those issues. Some changes to D&D can be made within reason.

POLITICS is that forum. Protesting. Voting. REAL WORLD. D&D is part of the real world. It's a fantasy game. Players are inclusive. Players have been discriminated against by their social peers - nothing as serious as real world discrimination against Minorities in America. There is no comparison between the two. One is a fantasy game that will have little impact on the real world body politic. D&D is not a political party that will seize power over society to affect positive change. Other than the odd politician mentioning D&D as an "influencer of evil"...

Otherwise? The Monarchy-French Revolution-Monarchy cycle.

There is need to for some changes. Nothing wrong with the use of "people" instead of "race". Though, given the genetic definition of race, that one is more politics than actual change. Some things may (probably) do need changing.

Let's examine the defintion of race (Oxford only).

5. (countable] a group of people who share the same language, history, culture, etc.
6. (countable) a breed or type of animal or plant

Humans beings are animals. Quite frankly, I find number 5. to be inaccurate and objectionable now that science is here to inform us about genetics, but it is Oxford. Let's go by genetics - scientific reasoning. Peoples is quite fine. Flan. Oeridian. Suel. Baklunish. Etc. They are not "races", they are people sharing genetics. With differing cultures, languages, and practices. Who can forget "preparation of heads" in Perrenland (LG).

Elves and Orcs share genetics with humans in D&D though I did see a half-dwarf mentioned at some time... Humans + Dwarf = half-dwarf. Then we can have Dwarf + Elf, Dwarf + Orc, etc. Until we become bogged down by rules and exceptions and on and on and on. D&D does have half dragons.

Want to have s*x in D&D? There was a book for that. If you wanted to be offended? FATAL, now THAT system was OFFENSIVE. Wait, but there are others who would decry that depicting a medieval society realistically, complete with s*xual impropriety or immoral practices = immorality. Then again, they might have issues with how America truly was before the arrival of The Puritans. Kickin' society! Piraty! Back to the '80s "D&D Satanists" stereotype. Yes, I've been in games were a PC will gasp visit a bordello or brothel. That DM was rather detailed-oriented, though not excessively. The player forked over gold and that was it. Though, the PC finding the brothel was an adventure in itself. And do make the CON check.

Inclusivity? Many refrain from playing becuase they don't want to be stereotyped. They have to be in the "cool" crowd. This was a real world consequence of how others views people who play RPGs. D&D is not B&B (B*obs & Bikinis). Though, there are players who do like to inject their masculinity into the game. They are what polymorph other spells are for.

The only objections I've seen in a long "career" of playing RPG's? RULES LAWYERS. Rule Zero takes care of them. OFFENSIVE PLAYERS - language, crassness, real world politics, religious discrimination, or some such display. Occasionally, players have been offensive. That's why they don't get invited back. Top 3 in games - s*xual crassness, religious discrimination (both sides), politics (this last a rarity).

Okay, there is one campaign I've seen another player participate in. 1930's rip-off of Harry P*tter in America, where the DM was obsessive about characters falling in love and having s*x with each other. WAAAAAAY over the top. I won't mention the gender or s*xual orientation of the DM... the players all left. The DM is DMing NO ONE. What is a shame is that the prior campaign and game world run by that DM? Was top notch. Suddenly, the new campaign disolved into some s*xual fetish. No one knows WTF happened there with the DM... my guess is mental instability.

D&D is a fantasy game that relies on stereotypes to illustrate the struggle between Good & Evil & Neutrality. Dragonlance and Dark Sun were illustrative of this. Or of simply the struggle between Good & Evil. The "peoples" are there to clearly define boundaries.

There is perhaps (as in - IMHO - definitely) an issue with? ART IN THE FANTASY GAMES. Seriously, chainmail bikinis and b*ob-boosting armor? That, if IIRC, is now on the outs - sort of. I'm a fan of Boris Vallejo. Nice art. I like the style, shading, and use of color. Really hyper-masculine, but it was the 70's and 80's.
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?

What is objectionable about D&D Heritage? Overall, NOTHING.

What about inclusivity? Got that. Barring the occasional OFFENSIVE PLAYER who would be summarily ejected.

Hindsight is 20/20. What was unobjectionable back then? Is now objectionable. Much like most of humanity are against slavery, which was acceptable (not to the slaves, of course) for many societies quite some time ago. Actually, Brazil was the last country to formally renounce slavery around 1895. Yet, today there are greater numbers of people who would be considered "enslaved" - by traditional definition and otherwise - than ever before in history.
 

dfuller1138

Villager
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?
1. Truths are important. The struggle between good and evil. In my prior post? Orcs in D&D were derived from Lord of The Rings, as a "race" created by an evil god specifically to be evil. How many know this?

2. You don't. Common sense would be applied. The problem? There will always be a sufficiently large enough group of people somewhere who would object - no matter what. Once an issue were resolved to their satisfaction? They move on to the next "issue". Ad infinitum. Does anyone who actually plays D&D associate certain "races" with ACTUAL REAL WORLD PEOPLE? These people are the HOA's of the world. Just be careful not to overlook legitimate issues.

3. Reasonable? Depart with the sexualization. IIRC, that is already being done. No more b*ob-enhancing armor, etc. There is a code of conduct. Follow it. Unreasonable? Changing "races" because someone out there IRL mistook a fantasy "race" - an archetype - for an actual group of people who exist in reality. This is where common-sense leaves the room. See 2.
 

Mecheon

Adventurer
1. Truths are important. The struggle between good and evil. In my prior post? Orcs in D&D were derived from Lord of The Rings, as a "race" created by an evil god specifically to be evil. How many know this?
D&D orcs are not LotR orcs. Additionally, as sapient beings, orcs have the freedom to deny the actions of their god and set out on their own path, unless you're there saying that likewise, elves, dwarves and all those sorts can't go and do their own thing?

2. You don't. Common sense would be applied. The problem? There will always be a sufficiently large enough group of people somewhere who would object - no matter what. Once an issue were resolved to their satisfaction? They move on to the next "issue". Ad infinitum. Does anyone who actually plays D&D associate certain "races" with ACTUAL REAL WORLD PEOPLE? These people are the HOA's of the world. Just be careful not to overlook legitimate issues.
This is a legitimate issue that's been raised previously.. This isn't new. This has been something going on for years. Previous editions honestly it wasn't too bad because, they did better than 5E at it. But 5E handles orcs poorly this time around so the issue's hopped up again

And as for certain races being associated with actual real world people? Yes. People have been doing this ever since the first person gave a Scottish accent to dwarves.

3. Reasonable? Depart with the sexualization. IIRC, that is already being done. No more b*ob-enhancing armor, etc. There is a code of conduct. Follow it. Unreasonable? Changing "races" because someone out there IRL mistook a fantasy "race" - an archetype - for an actual group of people who exist in reality. This is where common-sense leaves the room. See 2.
I fail to see how sexualisation has even entered into this conversation? Boobplate and all that is a completely different conversation that's mostly been done away with at this day and time due to artists.

People want fantasy races to be just that: Races. Cultures. Things to immerse yourself in. 5E's orcs are not that. They're slap-dashed stereotypes that previous editions found ways around. This is the same issue with gnolls, the same issue with Drow, the same issue with like a good 50% of the random 'We need a new race in this 3.5E book' races

Oh, and just to go for the obvious, you're complaining about things changing? 5E changed things from how they were in previous editions
 

Hussar

Legend
Re: Roman slavery (a tangent)
If WotC ever has 5e Dark Sun mechanics ready to release, will the setting background survive the social media flamethrowers sure to be aimed at it?
NOt being familiar with Dark Sun, was slavery presented as good and justified? Was it presented as a morally ok thing? Or, was it a setting where virtually everyone is shades of evil?

See, this is EXACTLY what I keep on talking about. People COMPLETELY missing the issue and inventing stuff to argue against. NO ONE has a problem with slavery in the game. Just as NO ONE has any problem with evil in the game. That's something you folks have invented whole cloth because you refuse to actually engage with what the actual issue is.

There's nothing wrong with having a module or a setting with slavery in it. That's perfectly fine. What isn't fine is having a module or a setting where slavery is presented as morally justified and something all good people should accept. I mean, look at Primeval Thule. It has slavery in it but, at no point does it pretend that slavery is right. Slavery is presented as evil. Good churches fight against it. The slaving culture in the setting is presented as the BAD GUYS.

Good grief, even writers as bigoted as Howard didn't try to actually tell you that slavery was GOOD. Slavery is evil in the Conan stories. Freeing slaves, Conan throwing off his chains, is always presented as good. In @Lanefan's hypothetical Rome book, Conan would be the bad guy for being an escaped slave. Spartacus would be evil. Any escaped slave would automatically be evil.

And, you think a disclaimer of "Well this is how morality used to be" is going to make that a non-issue? Good luck with that.
 
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Hussar

Legend
/snip

What is objectionable about D&D Heritage? Overall, NOTHING.

What about inclusivity? Got that. Barring the occasional OFFENSIVE PLAYER who would be summarily ejected.
/snip
Wow, just so much wrong with this. And, @TaranTheWanderer You might find that no, I don't agree with your points, and you certainly don't agree with mine if you're giving a thumbs up to this drivel.

And, HOA? Now that's a new one. Hadn't run across that one before. I love when people decide to dehumanize the other side of a discussion by devolving into three letter acronyms. Just makes it so much easier to sort out those who want to actually have a discussion from the small minded bigots who, as far as I'm concerned, aren't welcome in our hobby.
 

Eltab

Hero
See, this is EXACTLY what I keep on talking about. People COMPLETELY missing the issue and inventing stuff to argue against. NO ONE has a problem with slavery in the game. Just as NO ONE has any problem with evil in the game. That's something you folks have invented whole cloth because you refuse to actually engage with what the actual issue is.
I commend to your attention the EnWorld Terms and Rules, especially the paragraph on Be Polite.
 

TaranTheWanderer

Adventurer
NOt being familiar with Dark Sun, was slavery presented as good and justified? Was it presented as a morally ok thing? Or, was it a setting where virtually everyone is shades of evil?

See, this is EXACTLY what I keep on talking about. People COMPLETELY missing the issue and inventing stuff to argue against. NO ONE has a problem with slavery in the game. Just as NO ONE has any problem with evil in the game. That's something you folks have invented whole cloth because you refuse to actually engage with what the actual issue is.

There's nothing wrong with having a module or a setting with slavery in it. That's perfectly fine. What isn't fine is having a module or a setting where slavery is presented as morally justified and something all good people should accept. I mean, look at Primeval Thule. It has slavery in it but, at no point does it pretend that slavery is right. Slavery is presented as evil. Good churches fight against it. The slaving culture in the setting is presented as the BAD GUYS.

Good grief, even writers as bigoted as Howard didn't try to actually tell you that slavery was GOOD. Slavery is evil in the Conan stories. Freeing slaves, Conan throwing off his chains, is always presented as good. In @Lanefan's hypothetical Rome book, Conan would be the bad guy for being an escaped slave. Spartacus would be evil. Any escaped slave would automatically be evil.

And, you think a disclaimer of "Well this is how morality used to be" is going to make that a non-issue? Good luck with that.
So, you only want settings that present slavery as evil while other people might want settings where slavery is considered the business of the day. The former tells the player how their characters should behave and how that behavior affects their alignment. The setting makes judgement before the players even engage the game. It sets the bar for what is 'right' and what is 'wrong'. The latter allows players to engage the setting without any moral judgement assigned by the creator of the setting. It lets the PCs decide their own morality and how it interacts with the social norms presented in the game.

You would prefer the former while others prefer the latter. Does it mean your opinion is the correct one while others is wrong? Are people not allowed to have a different opinions?

Wow, just so much wrong with this. And, @TaranTheWanderer You might find that no, I don't agree with your points, and you certainly don't agree with mine if you're giving a thumbs up to this drivel.
Whether or not I agree with any or all of @dfuller1138 points doesn't have much bearing on why I like it. It was a well thought out answer directly aimed at the OPs questions. Should I only 'like' the opinions that reinforce my own or should I like the posts that are thought-provoking and well written? It's not a popularity contest.
 
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TaranTheWanderer

Adventurer
If you want slavery to be anything else than evil, then yes, you are wrong. Emphatically so.
Why even post if you're just going to make broad sweeping judgments on people? Telling someone they're wrong is just voicing an opinion and telling people you don't want to have a discussion. I could state that your statement is wrong too and it gets us nowhere. 'In your opinion, you feel that a setting where slavery is anything else other than evil is wrong'? That's fair. I'm sure some people would disagree.

-Do you feel it's wrong because it will give impressionable children playing the game the wrong impression?
-Do you feel it may reinforce opinions that slavery is not bad?
-Or is it just on principle? Slavery is wrong and therefore we should never talk about it unless, when it is presented, it always be pointed out as wrong in all fiction and media.
Is it all of the above? Anything else?
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Why even post if you're just going to make broad sweeping judgments on people?
Mod Note:

You seem to want to have a discussion over whether slavery is good or bad. It is very hard to see your objection to that statement in any other light.

We are not having that discussion here. If you want to question why slavery is bad, have it on some other forum please.
 

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