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D&D 5E What is the appeal of the weird fantasy races?

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Scribe

Explorer
The appearance is really the least important part, and the easiest to change for Tieflings.

Yes, but if we are talking about 'monstrous' or exotic, I still believe its 4e changes that made it so. They were rare before, but nothing said they had to be walking around looking like a typical devil Halloween costume.
 

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Dire Bare

Legend
Supporter
I think you are missing the point though.

When someone could have been playing a Genasi for the last 30 years, almost the entire lifetime of Dungeons and Dragons, why are we still saying that they are only playing it because it is shiny and new.

I mean, let me put this into context for people. 1991 is an important date in world history. It was when the Internet became publicly available.

Many many many of the Races we are talking about, Tieflings, Lizardfolk, Centaurs, Genasi, Goblins, Kobolds, ect ect ect, have been playable races since before the internet. They are "new" in the same way as the internet is "new". Sure, if something debuted in 3rd, it is newer than the internet, but the vast majority of the options we are talking about are older than that.

So, why is it we are still being told "You like these weird races, but if they became popular and not as new then you wouldn't like them anymore" when most of them are OLD.
I'm not missing the point.

These races are not new. Yet they feel "shiny and new". That's my point.
 


Dire Bare

Legend
Supporter
can you better articulate that? it would be of great help?
I'm not sure I can.

To say that many of these races have been with the game a long time is, of course, true. As playable PC races.

Yet, there is a persistent feeling among many gamers that these races are "new" when compared to the core demihuman races (elves, dwarves, hobbits). In my initial post on this, I explained why.

So, they're not new, but feel new . . . . so folks need to accept both the reality and the perception.
 




lizard folk are more or less a classic of media been around longer that I have been alive rarely a headline race outside of in video games where they turn up as options or at least in the ones I play.

on things that are old but apparently feel new Goliath seem lacking in world presence and things to work with for a character they live in mountains and do not do a lot.
 



If you have a scene with dozens of races, what would you call it? Seems like you could label any term or phrase used to describe it as an insult. I mean, I obviously can't compare a multitude of anthropomorphic animal races to Zootopia (a movie I enjoyed) because that's an insult as well.

I can't stop you from being insulted, but insisting that everyone who uses the term is using it as an insult seems a bit of a stretch. Especially when the person using the term specifically clarified what they meant.
*Grabs a thesaurus.

"Diverse"
"Multicultural"
"Varied"
"A sundry of species"
"A myriad/manifold of races"
"A mixed crowd"
"A group of miscellaneous peoples"
"Heterogenous"

All of those would work and not be offensive. "Cantina" has specifically been used as an insult. Trying to use "diverse" as an insult displays bigotry.

It's not that hard.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
*Grabs a thesaurus.

"Diverse"
"Multicultural"
"Varied"
"A sundry of species"
"A myriad/manifold of races"
"A mixed crowd"
"A group of miscellaneous peoples"
"Heterogenous"

All of those would work and not be offensive. "Cantina" has specifically been used as an insult. Trying to use "diverse" as an insult displays bigotry.

It's not that hard.

All of which could be used to describe a tavern full of humans (except of course for the "species" one but for some reason some people find that term insulting). 🤷‍♂️
 

All of which could be used to describe a tavern full of humans (except of course for the "species" one but for some reason some people find that term insulting). 🤷‍♂️
Are you saying that a "cantina" can't describe a tavern full of humans? It's a human word originating from a human language to describe a human environment. We don't have many words for diverse groups of sentient non-humans.

(Species is no more offensive than the others, IMO. It's silly to be offended by being called a group of different species' if you're literally discussing a group of lizardfolk, kenku, tabaxi, and elves.)
 

So, why do we say "Core Four"? Why do we think that Human, Elf, Dwarf, Hobbit are the foundations of DnD?
I can't speak for anyone else on here, but I use the term "core four" in this forum. On this thread. Prior to this thread, I had never even heard the term. I consider gnomes to be part of the core races. Always have.
If they came to me and said "I spent hundreds of hours on this world of the Blade coast, with the city of Everwinter and there is a powerful wizard called Leminster" Then I'm going to be highly skeptical they really devoted hundreds of hours to the game world. Maybe they did, but it is all stuff so far behind the scenes that all I can see is a poorly painted copy of the Forgotten Realms.
Thanks for the clarification. It is appreciated. I think we might still see things differently based on skepticism. (Perhaps?) I would never be skeptical of a DM that told me that. I can't imagine someone lying about the amount of work they put in because it corners them into very high expectations. (Maybe?) You are skeptical of them. I think that is our difference, which causes us to have different takes on DM power.
Time is a commodity. I'll grant you that, but no player then ever has a chance. DMs build their worlds before they bring them to the players, so no player would ever have a chance to try something the DM didn't think of .
Every player has a chance though. They have many chances. They can:
  • find a different table
  • join a different game online
  • choose to DM next campaign
  • wait until the next campaign and prior to the DM starting the parameters ask them to insert their choice
And I do not mean any of those as a negative. As I have noted, I have never seen a DM not bend over backwards. I also have played on very few tables (I can only think of two campaigns in D&D out of my 30+ years) that limited races. So there are many many many out there for that player if they have the absolute need and cannot deviate from their ideal character of a specific race. Again though, those are my experiences viewing the problem associated with a DM limiting races. I just really don't see it as a problem; one because I have never seen this type of conflict at a table, and two, because it literally is six months to a year until they get to play something else (average).
And I'll be frank with you, and this may be just my style, but I'd rather get the chance to work in a new race or a new section of the world than have a painted miniature or the DM talk in an accent.

Especially since, after the game starts, then they have plenty of time to paint their minis and practice their voices.

But again, I guess that is just my style. I don't bother with miniatures, too poor, so maybe it really does require so much extra work.
I respect your playstyle. And that was kind of my point about time. A DM puts the work into the world pre session zero from my experience. I have never seen a DM hold session zero and then build the mythos, gods, races, cultures, kingdoms in the time allotted (one or two weeks) until the next session. That seems impossible, even if they were on vacation or retired. One way they could do it is to improv a lot of things. But I have been very clear. If the DM is just going to improv, then they should probably allow any race the player chooses (outside of power or clear turbulent dynamics of said race). I know not everyone on the DM side agrees with that. And that is okay. Just my two copper.

But back to the point. Once a DM builds their world, then the work falls into other things: adventures for the players to go on, plot lines, character arcs, dungeon design, NPCs, villains, (and for some - minis, maps, etc.). Online offers even more work at times. So there is no time to expand the cosmology, add a new kingdom, etc.
I think the point more was "People have been using this term negatively for over ten years, why should I have taken it to be positive in this context"

Which, is a fair point. When something has commonly been an insult, it is very hard to believe it should be taken as a compliment.
Ok. We'll just have to agree to disagree then. The context of my sentence was clearly positive - uber positive - in my mind. A negative word surrounded by all positive context means it is meant as a positive. I mean, a drag queen on RuPaul's Drag Race saying, "Bitch you look so stunning, I have to shield my eyes. I am jealous!" is not referring to the other person negatively even though they use bitch. ;)
 

Yes, but if we are talking about 'monstrous' or exotic, I still believe its 4e changes that made it so. They were rare before, but nothing said they had to be walking around looking like a typical devil Halloween costume.

Okay, fine, but I think they were using "monstrous" more as "exclusively enemy NPC" instead of "Looks like a monster" in their post.
 

I'm not sure I can.

To say that many of these races have been with the game a long time is, of course, true. As playable PC races.

Yet, there is a persistent feeling among many gamers that these races are "new" when compared to the core demihuman races (elves, dwarves, hobbits). In my initial post on this, I explained why.

So, they're not new, but feel new . . . . so folks need to accept both the reality and the perception.

Okay, counter point.

They don't feel new. They feel under-utilized.

Lizardfolk don't feel new to me, even though they just were added back into the game as a playable race. It just feels like the game catching back up to where it should be, instead of it feeling like it is somehow "new" to the game.
 

*Grabs a thesaurus.

"Diverse"
"Multicultural"
"Varied"
"A sundry of species"
"A myriad/manifold of races"
"A mixed crowd"
"A group of miscellaneous peoples"
"Heterogenous"

All of those would work and not be offensive. "Cantina" has specifically been used as an insult. Trying to use "diverse" as an insult displays bigotry.

It's not that hard.
I apologize for sounding curt - but are some of you really that hurt over someone calling a diverse range of species in one place a cantina? A word used to describe one of the most memorable and beloved scenes in one of the most classic movies of all time for geeks? A single word that summarizes multiple species in one place?
Is the other side going to start throwing fits when Tolkien or "core four" is mentioned now?
This is utter and complete madness. It is picking a fight with the kid who complimented your shoes. Good Lord.
 

Scribe

Explorer
Okay, fine, but I think they were using "monstrous" more as "exclusively enemy NPC" instead of "Looks like a monster" in their post.

Maybe, but I get a feeling that a lot of what this, and the 'What is the appeal of Tolkien races' thread, breaks down to superficial things. Not for everyone obviously, but when I see arguments that its about the role play, you can RP anything, with any race. A human, or a Half Elf, are still going to be 'standard' looking, regardless of whatever story or RP one wishes to go for.

Dragonborn? No, thats different, and its because of how they look.
 

I apologize for sounding curt - but are some of you really that hurt over someone calling a diverse range of species in one place a cantina? A word used to describe one of the most memorable and beloved scenes in one of the most classic movies of all time for geeks? A single word that summarizes multiple species in one place?
Not hurt, annoyed at it being used as a dismissal of a way of playing the game that others consider "weird/wrong". Read the name of the thread. "Weird fantasy races". Read this thread. You'll see plenty of people throughout it saying they dislike having a "cantina" style world. None of us are hurt by this, we're just annoyed by the fact that one of the most memorable and beloved scenes in one of the most classic movies of all times is being used to dismiss another person's playstlye.
Is the other side going to start throwing fits when Tolkien or "core four" is mentioned now?
"Core four" is a stupid phrase in any case. Gnomes existed in Tolkein. Orcs, goblins, and hobgoblins existed in Tolkein. Whether or not they were members of the "party" is irrelevant. They were there and acted more or less in human ways.
This is utter and complete madness. It is picking a fight with the kid who complimented your shoes. Good Lord.
No, it's not. It's picking a fight with a kid who pretended to like your shoes in order to make fun of them.

I don't like your patronizing tone, treating us as irrational children who can't handle being insulted. It's not that we are fussing or crying over any of this stuff. We're just annoyed at this act of gatekeeping that seems to be so ingrained in the culture of this site and others.
 
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Crit

Explorer
I can't speak for anyone else on here, but I use the term "core four" in this forum. On this thread. Prior to this thread, I had never even heard the term. I consider gnomes to be part of the core races. Always have.
Core four is such a subjective list that it might as well not exist-- I think that human, elf and dwarf are extremely widespread, but if their widespread presence is our metric, why wouldn't Orc be the fourth? I see them across media far more than halflings, gnomes, or whoever else. I still struggle to see the impact of those latter two races. In contrast, the presence of Orcs is almost guaranteed wherever a go-to fantasy enemy is needed. LotR, WoW, mythology, Discworld, games called "Kill All Orcs," Warhammer Fantasy and 40,000, Raid Shadow Legends (lol), and likely many more I can't remember or don't have experience with. Not to mention orc-adjacent species or surrogates. Comparatively, how many pieces of fiction (accounting for quantity and size) have a second or tertiary variant of small people?

Edit: The Elder Scrolls also has Orcs, as well as Elves and Dwarves, which supports my case, I believe. On the contrary, I don't see many other fantasy races (other than Giants or something) having nearly as great a cultural impact. I think WoW and Elder Scrolls, on top of some common sense, are responsible for people looking at "villain" races in a new light-- as in, just because something was one of the "monsters" doesn't mean it actually is. I don't think there's a reason Orcs should be treated any differently than just as a different culture/species like Dwarves and Elves, rather than being pure evil in all settings. Generic fantasy has moved on from explicitly being Tolkien centric because there are other Fantasy-genre titans that have affected the broader community afterwards. It's because of this that I think the Halfling has shrunk in relevance, and the sympathetic Orc has risen to take its place.
 
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