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

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Gammadoodler

Adventurer
Depth (or caring about such things) isn't necessarily correlated with number of races. Some DMs find it easier to build depth with fewer races, but it is a preference not a prerequisite.

I'd rather have depth than width, but if I could have both that would just be having my cake and eating it too.

It's just a question of style and every DM, every table, should do what makes sense for them.
Correct, it isn't correlated, yet some people (ahem) in this thread have made that correlation

In fact, IIRC one of our earlier disagreements was over this exact thing, where you attributed the OPs discomfort with weird races to a desire for "consistent believable worldbuilding" when nothing in the original post supports that.
 

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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Depth (or caring about such things) isn't necessarily correlated with number of races. Some DMs find it easier to build depth with fewer races, but it is a preference not a prerequisite.

I'd rather have depth than width, but if I could have both that would just be having my cake and eating it too.

It's just a question of style and every DM, every table, should do what makes sense for them.

Personally my guess is that many DMs don't have the time to go deep and many wont admit it.

D&D started with a dozen of more intelligent humaniods with everyone but humans being basic fantasy stereotypes who have derivative or nonsensical cultures.
After decades of play and millions of new fans, the blandness has started to show.
Some many shrink the world down to go deep. Then say it is better that way rather then admit they don't have the time to give the less locally famous ones depth nor to research it the depth.

Not saying you do this but I know/knew worldbuilders who do. They wont touch the "are they monsters or intelligent humaniods?" question because one answer adds work if they keep them in.
 

Will you please quote someone saying: "You use cantina style, you are wrong." Because saying a race is weird does not equate to someone is playing a game "wrong."

Again, the beginning of your quote I am okay with. Many people have said they do not like the cantina style play. When have they used it to "dismiss" your playstyle? I have not seen it, especially from a group of people. In fact, almost everyone on here says - you do you.
Here, I'm just giving one example of this. The same author said a lot of other stuff like that about how "non humans always strive to be more human" and so on.
For some reason D&D especially has become focused on this aspect in recent editions by allowing a plethora of, I hate to say it, Humans With Funny Hats! Sure the dragonperson is cool looking and you made up some goofy nonsense culture for it, but how come it acts (and thinks and feels) the way a Human would.
Also, "weird" has negative connotations. I'm sure you've heard someone call someone else "weird" at a school or workplace. It's not a nice or neutral thing. It's offensive.
No one is picking on you or cantina. That's what I am saying. You are literally listening to someone say: "Nice shoes. I like all the colors. I wouldn't wear them because it's not my style. But they're cool" And then equating them not liking to your style to them hating your shoes. And then you take it a step further and think they are trying to get you to stop wearing the shoes. That is literally what is happening.
There's a difference between "That's a different style than I prefer, but you rock it. You do you." and "I hate that style, and personally wouldn't do it or recommend it, and here are reasons why I hate it and think it's bad for the game, but do it if I can't convince you that it's bad." Even if you haven't been using the second example, others have, and you're denying that such gatekeepers have been in this thread. That's literally what has been happening.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
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.
I think you're reading too much into it. Saying that they don't like a cantina style world is often just their way of saying one with a lot of races that look far from human. It's not inherently dismissive of the way you do things. It's just not how they do things. It's descriptive, not pejorative.
"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.
Gnomes did not exist in Tolkien. At one point he called the Noldor gnomes, but that was just an alternative name for an elven subrace, not some short little race that lives in caves or forests. That didn't make them anything at all like D&D gnomes.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
A word is insulting when used in an insulting way. Typically, this is intended. You can go back and read the earlier posts in this thread, which is when more people were using "Cantina" in a dismissive way. It's not offensive if you're trying to give a mental image to new players unfamiliar with it, but it is offensive if people say "I don't want D&D to be a boring cantina", which is what I have seen happen hundreds of times on this site and others.
And I'm sure you can find positive examples of it. A great many words are used both positively and negatively when referencing the same thing, depending on what someone likes. That doesn't turn the word itself into a pejorative.
 

And I'm sure you can find positive examples of it. A great many words are used both positively and negatively when referencing the same thing, depending on what someone likes. That doesn't turn the word itself into a pejorative.
I didn't say that it was always used negatively, but in the majority of circumstances, it is. "Weird" is typically only used positively as a way of expressing endearment for someone you have a friendship or other positive relationship with. There's a difference between the party's bard calling the party's tabaxi rogue weird and a random NPC calling the tabaxi rogue weird.

The same applies to "cantina".
 

Gnomes did not exist in Tolkien. At one point he called the Noldor gnomes, but that was just an alternative name for an elven subrace, not some short little race that lives in caves or forests. That didn't make them anything at all like D&D gnomes.
Typical D&D gnomes did not exist in Tolkein, but gnomes did exist. There are also some similarities between the Noldor and d&d gnomes; being incredibly knowledgeable and being skilled in crafting (especially with metals and gems).
 
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Thomas Shey

Adventurer
Personally my guess is that many DMs don't have the time to go deep and many wont admit it.

D&D started with a dozen of more intelligent humaniods with everyone but humans being basic fantasy stereotypes who have derivative or nonsensical cultures.
After decades of play and millions of new fans, the blandness has started to show.
Some many shrink the world down to go deep. Then say it is better that way rather then admit they don't have the time to give the less locally famous ones depth nor to research it the depth.

Not saying you do this but I know/knew worldbuilders who do. They wont touch the "are they monsters or intelligent humaniods?" question because one answer adds work if they keep them in.

I'd think that was kind of fair, honestly; if you don't have the time and energy to to ten races justice, doing three makes sense.

There's just no reason it needs to be "Humans and near-human A and B"; that make work better for you in terms of easily tying everything up with a bow on it, but its not self-evidently easier to do than having your three races be, say, humans, lizard folk and insect people.
 

I'd think that was kind of fair, honestly; if you don't have the time and energy to to ten races justice, doing three makes sense.
It is fair to not want to do in-depth culture for all of those. However, there's an easy fix for that, which has been said multiple times before in this thread. Just have them be completely unique to the setting. The Tabaxi character was a wizard's experiment on combining a cat and a person. The Tortle was a turtle/tortoise that walked into toxic waste (Demon Ichor). The Tiefling was produced by their personal meddling with devils, infusing themselves with demonic essence.

Unique people can exist in the world.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
"Weird" is typically only used positively as a way of expressing endearment for someone you have a friendship or other positive relationship with.
Or when the next word is Al. ;)
There's a difference between the party's bard calling the party's tabaxi rogue weird and a random NPC calling the tabaxi rogue weird.

The same applies to "cantina".
I get that it's sometimes used negatively. I don't agree that it's used that way a majority of the time or with your separation. Tone matters a lot, even when talking about a stranger when using that word.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Typical D&D gnomes did not exist in Tolkein, but gnomes did exist.
They did not. Elves existed and gnome was just another word for elf. He used the word to describe the Noldoli which became Noldo. He dropped the name "Gnome" because the Noldoli were physically elves and not what people in Europe viewed gnomes to be. There was no actual race of gnomes.

Gygax on the other hand, unlike Tolkien, made a race of gnomes to match the European ideal.
There are also some similarities between the Noldor and gnomes; being incredibly knowledgeable and being skilled in crafting (especially with metals and gems).
Those similarities would be because they were the same race ;)
 

Or when the next word is Al. ;)

I get that it's sometimes used negatively. I don't agree that it's used that way a majority of the time or with your separation. Tone matters a lot, even when talking about a stranger when using that word.
Tone is also incredibly hard to communicate via text, and incredibly easy to claim that it's supposed to be one way and others shouldn't read it as another way.

Which is why I've said, repeatedly, that it doesn't matter what the intent behind a number of the statements made here was. It doesn't matter if they were meant perfectly congenially, without even the slightest thought of antipathy or even disapproval. What matters is that these things are and have been quite frequently used with antipathy or worse, that they are and have been pejoratives both within and outside the TTRPG sphere, that people like me and others genuinely have endured a fair amount of people crapping on our preferences using identical or highly similar words.

Hence:
I chose to ignore the original "furry roleplay" comment because I assumed it was simply spoken in ignorance, but now I guess I should say something.

It doesn't really matter if you didn't mean judgment when you said "as if it were Zootopia," or if the OP meant derision when referring to my preferences as though they were a fetish community. Derision and judgment were communicated, regardless of the intent.
I posted that on page 31. I'm pretty sure this isn't the first time we've cycled back around to it again. (Frex, "design by committee.")
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Tone is also incredibly hard to communicate via text, and incredibly easy to claim that it's supposed to be one way and others shouldn't read it as another way.

Which is why I've said, repeatedly, that it doesn't matter what the intent behind a number of the statements made here was. It doesn't matter if they were meant perfectly congenially, without even the slightest thought of antipathy or even disapproval. What matters is that these things are and have been quite frequently used with antipathy or worse, that they are and have been pejoratives both within and outside the TTRPG sphere, that people like me and others genuinely have endured a fair amount of people crapping on our preferences using identical or highly similar words.
I disagree. Intent still matters. As for tone, that's why I use emoji's so much here.
I posted that on page 31. I'm pretty sure this isn't the first time we've cycled back around to it again. (Frex, "design by committee.")
Perception doesn't equal communication. You can perceive something not communicated. Communication is two way. If I say "Cheese" and you hear "Please," I did not communicate "please" to you. What I communicate is dictated by my intent, not by your perception.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I'd think that was kind of fair, honestly; if you don't have the time and energy to to ten races justice, doing three makes sense.

There's just no reason it needs to be "Humans and near-human A and B"; that make work better for you in terms of easily tying everything up with a bow on it, but its not self-evidently easier to do than having your three races be, say, humans, lizard folk and insect people.
Of course it is fair to use a limited amount of races due to time and effort.

What is not fair is to disguise time and effort concerns under a sense of superiority of your own preferences or denying that D&D historically had lots of races and used flimsy reasons to make some of the exotic ones weak or not playable..
 
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Azzy

KMF DM
I disagree. Intent still matters. As for tone, that's why I use emoji's so much here.

Perception doesn't equal communication. You can perceive something not communicated. Communication is two way. If I say "Cheese" and you hear "Please," I did not communicate "please" to you. What I communicate is dictated by my intent, not by your perception.
Yeah, let's replace "cantina" or "weird" with any well-known perjorative and see how fast that argument crumbles.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Yeah, let's replace "cantina" or "weird" with any well-known perjorative and see how fast that argument crumbles.
Exceptions don't disprove what I'm saying. Every rule has exceptions. So go ahead and replace them. It changes nothing. I'm not responsible for misperceptions of others. Nor do those misperceptions become what I communicated.
 

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
Depth (or caring about such things) isn't necessarily correlated with number of races. Some DMs find it easier to build depth with fewer races, but it is a preference not a prerequisite.

I'd rather have depth than width, but if I could have both that would just be having my cake and eating it too.

It's just a question of style and every DM, every table, should do what makes sense for them.
Games that only allow a few race choices are so whitebread.

See what I did there...I called a game whitebread. You know, the most popular and best selling of all the breads. It's totally a compliment of the game.

Or, perhaps, one that likes a setting with a few races may infer I meant something not nice by using that term.
 

Go to the fantasy section of a bookstore and many will have elves, dwarves and perhaps gnomes (which are even in Harry Potter books, although they are a different incarnation). A few will have cat people or similar. Some will have anthropomorphic animals.
Dobby is an elf, not a gnome. Which demonstrates that the D&D idea of an elf is far from universal. The most prominent non-human protagonists in Harry Potter are a half giant, a werewolf, a goblin and a centaur. Professor Flintwick is a dwarf, but again, very different from D&D dwarves.

If Merlin's fiendish ancestry hadn't been mentioned in this thread I would have never known it. He certainly looked human, nary a horn nor tail in sight.
But what you don't know =/= what other people don't know.
 

Hussar

Legend
I just told you you were assuming the wrong stuff, Hussar. Am I lying now?
Nope. But, since I can only respond to what you actually wrote, rather than what you think you meant, and since you ACTUALLY WROTE reasons for banning things other than personal preference it appears that we are having a failure to communicate.
 

Hussar

Legend
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.
Why not just call it a scene with dozens of races? Why do you need to choose some sort of label which, since you've been informed repeatedly, you know will be taken in a negative context?

What's the benefit of labeling something using either a pejorative (Cantina scene) or an example of a children's movie?

There are very, very few labels which are not pejorative.
 

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