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

Thats fair, but when I had asked for examples for Tiefling for example (my own personal issue, I cant get over what 4e did lol) I was given this list of things which...remove the 'I now look like your stereotypical Devil but i'm not I promise!' was just stuff that can be ANYONE's back story.

I get it though, and please dont feel I'm harassing you personally, everyone has their own preferences and what attracts them to various aspects (sp) of a game or setting.

The issue with that approach is that you could say the exact same about any race.

Take out "I'm an elf" and you could have anything have that same backstory. Maybe with smaller numbers if you are one of the few actually utilizing their extended lifespan, but dwarves, gnomes, and a few other races also have those extended lifespans.

Sure, anyone can have the backstory that their bloodline was tainted by the presence of evil, manifesting itself in inherit powers and whispers in the darkness of their soul. But Tieflings are that trope, and looking for "what can I do beyond that that is not able to be done by any other race" is relying on the DM to do that heavy lifting.

For Example, I took them for my homebrew world and said that during the destruction of the human's original world by the Great Old Ones, the Tieflings lost faith in the Gods who had stopped responding to their prayers, and turned to dark powers to try and save their kingdoms. They actually had a unique religion, not worshipping the gods, but instead worshipping the "Lost Legion" a military unit that had held the line as humanity retreated through the Gate that led to this world, sacrificing their lives for the safety of humanity.

That isn't the initial design of Teiflings, but it plays in the same space, and shows that it falls to us to design things if we want more than just the generic tropes.
 

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I have a question has anyone else noticed that the arguments over how people build their settings, over what terms to use for things (literal semantics) and over what people prefer in their games is not advancing topic in much of a meaning full fashion.

perhaps we should start to analyze what people might like in a particular character option?like how the person above did partly for teiflings.
 

Hussar

Legend
I'm still a little baffled here to be honest that anyone is arguing that terms like "cantina" and "weird" aren't pejorative?

I posted a link to a thread from over TEN YEARS AGO, showing how "cantina" was being used pejoratively. It's not like it's gotten better since then. Heck, here is the first post from that thread:

I just threw up all over page 7 of the PHB2.

It looks like a terrible space fantasy for little kids! The whole game store I was at tonight was laughing hysterically at it!

THIS is Dungeons & Dragons?

"It's a cold and rainy night.
The village locals gather in the small tavern over mugs of ale to soothe their weary spirits after a long, hard day of toil.
Suddenly, the tavern door slams open and in walks a party of adventurers.

The first one through the door is a squat little wolfman with a hairy face and feral eyes. The second is what looks like a gnome-drow. The third, a half-orc... that is, apparently: half-orc and half vampire (worst artistic rendering of half-orcs EVER). The fourth is a blue skinned space man with a glowing, spectral pet wolf. Finally, a miniature stone giant."


When did Spelljammer become the default game world!

It's just so RIDICULOUS! It's like the Mos Eisley Cantina threw up all over the D&D universe.

I wish these designers would ease back on the cheese throttle.

From PHB2 Races = Mos Eisley Cantina

You can see this same attitude repeated over and over again. Heck, that same attitude is repeated IN THIS THREAD.

Howzabout this quote from 2009

Why do DM's tend like Dark, gritty worlds and players like colorful worlds where they can do/play anything?

Since I gave up DMing after 30 years to join the ranks of the no-prep-required masses, I've had a chance to study DM techniques a little more. It seems like players (myself now included) want worlds where you can play any race/any class and they all get along in some kind of colorful, happy world where we can just "push the win button."

DM's on the other hand (in general) lean towards wanting worlds that are more challenging, darker, and grittier. Places that are rife with disease, evil, and things that go "kill, kill, kill" in the night.

Why is that? Is it just the job of the DM or are we like the "Prison Guards" in that old psychological experiment where the actors took on the traits of the expected roles they were playing?

jh
from Why do DM's like Dark, gritty worlds and players the opposite?

This particular iteration of this discussion is very much not new.
 

Thanks. Gotta say if I wanted to refer to Tolkien, I would just invoke Middle Earth or his name, such as "It's like Middle Earth," or "Picture Tolkien's world." Why core four came about when there is already a standard in place is beyond me.

Again, I can respect what you would do.

But the points at issue aren't solely about you. They are about a fragment of the community. So, you would say "Middle Earth" if you wanted to reference Tolkien, but for some DMs (as we have seen from the comments of some posters) "Fantasy" refers to Tolkien. To the extent that they have a hard time imagining that there is anything beyond Tolkien, aspects of fantasy that commonly use these other races and tropes.

And "Core Four" is a symptom of that. It shows that people, maybe on purpose, maybe unconsciously, have developed the mind set that the Fellowship of the Ring, the alliance between Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits and Humans, is at the center of all Fantasy worlds, and that moving beyond that core is strange and weird.

I just reread my post and I definitely did not make myself clear. I meant that, in my experience, there are so few DMs that have done that work (like 10-20% maybe), that the other 80% of the tables are open. They are the buffet. That has been my experience. Most DMs allow almost anything. A few have put in a a lot of work and limit things. Sorry for not being clear.
Basically, from my vantage point it is easy for a player to just go find one of the 80%ers out there.

Might be, but it is a roulette, and again, it doesn't change the underlying issues I pointed out with your "solutions"

A player either gets lucky to find a game where a DM already implemented their idea (or something close enough) or they make the choice of whether what they want outweighs the other considerations, and leaves the game to try again.

That is not how it is meant to be taken. And I have probably stated fifty time (but I know, it is a long thread) that a player should ask. They should. And the DM should work with them. But view it with my 80% experience. Even if, somehow, this is the only table they can play on, and it is part of the 20% that do the work and limit races, then ask. And if the DM can't. Then ask for the inclusion of whatever race or class you want to be included in the next campaign. This way the DM has time to add them. And if they don't after having a six months to find a way to include them, then they are not the table for that player. They want a different playstyle. And that is okay.

You may not have wanted it taken that way, but when you present a massive list of all the things the DM does, couple that with how little the player does, and then ask "why would a player ask for more" then you have presented a scenario where asking is akin to be greedy or callous.

And, I'll again remind you, many posters here have expressed not only that they have long-running campaign worlds, but that they would not change them. Period. You are about the only poster who keeps discussing the aspect of how much work the DM has done, and from that limited set of data, it seems that if someone wasn't willing to work on it for the campaign you are joining, they won't want to do it for the next one either.

We are in a separate community. Geeks. And ask any Geek outside of the few on this forum, ask them what the Mos Eisley's Cantina is and they are likely to hum you the song and have a smile on their face. And I used drag queens to be funny, because I just watched the show with my wife and heard the phrase. I could have just as said, Will Farrell or my niece using the phrase and the context and connotation would have the exact same equivalency - bitch being used in a positive light.

You missed my point.

You and me Scott? And Oofta and Jack Daniel and Aceraktriplesix and all of us. We are a community. The Community of ENWorld.

Sure, people at large like the Mos Eisley Cantina, they might hum a few bars if you stopped them in the street. But just like a negative word can be positive, a positive word can be negative. And in this thread "Cantina Worlds" were equated with a variety of negative traits. From lack of focus, to poor quality, to uncaring DMs with no vision, ect. You used that term, in the same thread where it had been used negatively repeatedly, on a forum where it has been used negatively repeatedly, and yet you want to get insulted that someone took it negatively.

Of course they did. They even explained it to you at the time why they did, stating that "seeing as how that has been used as an insult in this thread" they weren't going to take your recommendation as being positive. Why you can't seem to accept that is beyond me. You clearly understand that context and community can change the meaning of something, you've tried to use that to prove that you in your community of one took a negative to use positively, but you seem to be forgetting that without other people agreeing to change the meaning, the meaning remains.
 


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.

Again, when you post a word or phrase that has been used negatively in a thread.

And then someone takes it negatively, referencing how it has been used in that thread.

Then you really can't keep claiming surprise and shock that someone took it negatively. And this desire to keep pushing back and saying that it is on the reader who made it negative when it was a clearly logical response, makes no sense. Especially from posters who have been in this thread long enough to know that the term has been used negatively.
 

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.

Wrong. This is an example of Signal to Noise Ratio.

Communication is two way, but those two ways are not "communicated" and "Perception" but "Sending" and "Receiving". If a listener received "Please" then that was what was communicated, because that is what they received.

This is why there are techniques in discussion to have a back and forth, to seek to reduce the signal to noise ratio, but such things are far harder in text, where you can not have that immediate back and forth that allows for the ratio to be quickly reduced.

Claiming "I communicated properly, the fault is on you, the listener" is bad communication.
 

I have a question has anyone else noticed that the arguments over how people build their settings, over what terms to use for things (literal semantics) and over what people prefer in their games is not advancing topic in much of a meaning full fashion.

perhaps we should start to analyze what people might like in a particular character option?like how the person above did partly for teiflings.

We started that way.

It then quickly devolved into people only wanting to power game because you can roleplay any concept and backstory as a human and that is the only way to get truly deep roleplaying instead of using the crutch of stereotypical races.

You are welcome to try again, but I have little faith in it leading anywhere productive.
 

I did read that bit and the human only guy seems to for what ever reason no longer be on this thread, so I will start from the small step away from human of the F.D.F or fellowship derived folk.

does anyone have an idea for why people would play a halfling or halfling derived race? well be only mentioning stats in passing as they change per edition or setting.

special note should be given to why a player would main such a race.

terminology maining: we all know of people who if given no restrictions would always pick a certain race to play as it is thier favorite e.g. the guy who always pick elf or the guy who always play dwarf.
 

Azzy

KMF DM
I have a question has anyone else noticed that the arguments over how people build their settings, over what terms to use for things (literal semantics) and over what people prefer in their games is not advancing topic in much of a meaning full fashion.
At this point, I don't think that the original topic can be advanced any further, though. Some people like to limit themselves to the races that were in the 1e PHB and others do not. For those that do do it's typically because those extra-1e races are a) neat, b) have different roleplaying potential, c) have interesting mechanics, d) haven't played the particular race before, e) are tired of the 1e PHB races, or f) some combination thereof. I don't know how much further that can be elaborated.

perhaps we should start to analyze what people might like in a particular character option?like how the person above did partly for teiflings.
Considering that the exact reason will vary from person to person, option to option, and usage to usage, the only real thing to be gained from this are individual snapshots of reasons that have limited applicablity to the community in general.
 

To be fair, I believe you are missing the connotations which are (as seen in those older threads linked) present with the term. You may not intend it to be used in that manner, but that doesnt change that it is perceived in that way.
One hundred percent. I may be missing an example from one poster on this forum who used it negatively. (I certainly do not remember one, but I may be missing it.) But, when I use it surrounded by positive connotations, it should be taken as such. Not automatically distorted to be negative. That is what I asked the reader to do. I do not believe it is too difficult considering the intelligence housed in this forum.
 

At this point, I don't think that the original topic can be advanced any further, though. Some people like to limit themselves to the races that were in the 1e PHB and others do not. For those that do it's typically because those extra-1e races are a) neat, b) have different roleplaying potential, c) have interesting mechanics, d) haven't played the particular race before, e) are tired of the 1e PHB races, or f) some combination thereof. I don't know how much further that can be elaborated.


Considering that the exact reason will vary from person to person, option to option, and usage to usage, the only real thing to be gained from this are individual snapshots of reasons that have limited applicablity to the community in general.
although you certainly have a point if what you suggest is true then this thread is pointless, I have decided that trying to analyze the race could be better than going in circles.

much like how we say the same sort of things about why people might play a particular class, or we can look at the themes that make a particular class stick out and thus be selected as mechanics are used to simulate concepts.

most of what people like about a race can be broken down to the following: stats, themes, the aesthetics, the connection to something else e.g. like how elves are often highly magical and thus attractive to people who really like magical characters.
 

I'm responding to this first and foremost. The rest will come in a later post, because you were 100% being patronizing.



Exhibit A: "Are some of you really that hurt?"
Hurt implies a seeing the other side as immature, especially on the internet. It is also seen as being an incorrect response in our modern society, as if emotions can be wrong.

Exhibit B: "Is the other side going to start throwing fits"
Implies that you view us as whiny and immature. If nothing else in the post was intended as an ad hominem, this definitely was.

Exhibit C: "This is utter and complete madness. "
Trying to dismiss us as crazy.

Exhibit D: "It is picking a fight with the kid who complimented your shoes."
Another example of viewing us as children.

Exhibit E: "Good Lord."
Trying to dismiss us as unreasonable.


Verdict: You attempted a "reductio ad absurdum", but ended up with an ad hominem and strawman argument.
Sorry Acerak, I choose all of those words again to show the childish viewpoint people are taking, ie - only being able to see one side. I commented about a cantina positively. I expect the readers of this board, who are adults and imho, smarter than the average bear, to be able to dismiss a single comment about cantina style play from 150 pages ago, and use the context it was used in. (Because an adult can act like a child sometime - even me. ;) )

And please notice where I think this is going. For the other side to, only be able to see one side. See how I was simply stating that it is foolish. The example I use about shoes is appropriate, because a group is only seeing one tiny piece of the information. I have seen three other posters beside myself use cantina several times, and in every single post, they insist there is no good or bad, no right or wrong, just preferences. Yet, like some children, all anyone can see or read is - they do not like cantina style play - therefore, they are saying I am wrong. So the analogy is perfectly appropriate for the situation.

And good lord is used to represent the exasperation... you know, like Charlie Brown saying "good grief." Why exasperation? Because I was having a civil and communicative discussion with two posters. It was going places, in my belief. We were truly narrowing down the differences between the DM/Player power structure. That is a great thing! But... along comes a group that insists a word can't be used because there might have been one poster somewhere 200 pages ago that used it negatively.

I believe the thing to do is take it in context of the individual. If that is done, then perhaps anyone who thinks cantina is a bad word could reflect on why, and better yet, reflect on who is saying it, and then determine if it is negative. I certainly reflected when I received two posts about it being negative. I went back to my original post and reread it. I found only positive connotations.
 

I might have to look pretty hard for a direct "you are wrong" quote.

I can say for certain, in this thread, that the desire for fewer 'weird' races has been directly attributed DM's settings having 'depth' 'history' and 'culture'.

Directly and acontextually as in.. "I want fewer races" = "My setting has depth, history and culture"

It's also been used contrastingly as in "If you want more diversity, your setting has less depth history, and culture".

And that's ignoring some of the true zealots who have been more explicit in their tastes (and booted from the thread)
I can take credit for the second one. Although, to be fair, I was talking in the context of a curated world where the DM builds cultures from scratch. So, my thinking was, a DM only has so much time. It would be hard to get depth from many races, as opposed to a few. I never said weird. So if it came across that way, I apologize. But that is the context of the depth argument. So please read all of those statements through the lens of the DM building things, and I think you will see why the viewpoint exists.
I have also stated that when I run FR, I allow everything. Cosmologically, I think it is too messy to try and reign in. So it works better as a... um... strange bar in a distant galaxy that has a lot of races all drinking and playing music together. :) (Or heterogenous setting, which still doesn't quite capture FR in my opinion.)
So it is true, it has been said a curated world built by the DM with 40 races might not have the depth that one that has 8 races. And in the same breath, it has been said that FR should be run as a free for all. It has been said that a curated world built by the DM has a time structure attached to it. And in the same breath, it has been said that if you are not going to put in the time, then you should bend to the player's wants.
So I really have a difficult time remembering anyone using cantina as a "gatekeeping" word. Or as a "right/wrong" word.

Full Disclosure: I am a poster that is guilty of using a bad analogy. (Personally, analogies are nothin' but trouble, but they are interesting, so we keep using them.) My bad analogy was during our food analogy kick. I used the high end chef with a set menu in opposition to a chef running Cheesecake Factory. I made one high end, the other not high end. That was my bad. I should have used two chefs of equal caliber, one that hyper focused on a single style of cooking and the other that had very broad culinary experience.
 

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.
We will just have to not agree on this because, personally, from my memory almost every poster on here has said, "You do you." I have read it over and over and over. But if you remember it as gatekeeping, that's okay. I like reading all your other posts as I find them well thought out and insightful. But on this one, we just have different memories. And that is okay.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
You can have both depth and width, they're not opposites. I probably have over 100 race options in my homebrew world (I haven't counted), and all of them have a ton of depth. It takes more time, but it isn't impossible to have both depth and width.
Which is why I said it would be great if I could have my cake and eat it too. :rolleyes:

I could conceive of a world that had far more races, it's just not the campaign world I've developed over the decades. There's also never been a big demand to extend allowed races even though many of my players were recruited from public games which allow any and all races. Since I always have a full group I see no reason to change. Which is no reflection on you, your preferences or your game.

In addition, not caring about "depth" is neither inherently good nor bad. It's just a different preference.

Funny thing is I regularly go out of my way to say that other people's styles are perfectly fine, only to get a response like this that seems to almost willfully misinterpret what I said. Maybe it was my use of "have my cake and eat it too"? But there have been a ton of posts that say a DM is wrong if they limit races for "the wrong reasons". Those wrong reasons seem to often be in the eye of the beholder.

If you can have over a hundred races and it makes sense to you, great. I'm not sure how that works, but if you and your group have fun with it you're doing it right. I don't know how to state it any more clearly. Having a preference and a style does not invalidate or say that you preference and style is wrong.
 

I'm still a little baffled here to be honest that anyone is arguing that terms like "cantina" and "weird" aren't pejorative?

I posted a link to a thread from over TEN YEARS AGO, showing how "cantina" was being used pejoratively. It's not like it's gotten better since then. Heck, here is the first post from that thread:



From PHB2 Races = Mos Eisley Cantina

You can see this same attitude repeated over and over again. Heck, that same attitude is repeated IN THIS THREAD.

Howzabout this quote from 2009

from Why do DM's like Dark, gritty worlds and players the opposite?

This particular iteration of this discussion is very much not new.
I would ask this question again:
Why should the posters on here be beholden to a post written ten years ago? Yes. It is used negatively. It is written by someone not even in this discussion. Why not take the context of what these speakers are saying, rather than holding onto some random post from ten years ago?

I would also add, the writer there is trying to be entertaining. When people write for entertainment, they say a lot of silly things. Many of the times, they don't even mean them. An example of this would be every single comedian on earth.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Again, when you post a word or phrase that has been used negatively in a thread.

And then someone takes it negatively, referencing how it has been used in that thread.

Then you really can't keep claiming surprise and shock that someone took it negatively. And this desire to keep pushing back and saying that it is on the reader who made it negative when it was a clearly logical response, makes no sense. Especially from posters who have been in this thread long enough to know that the term has been used negatively.
Context matters. It will be clear from my context that I'm not using it that way. If the reader refuses to see past their bias and understand what is written, that's not my fault.

"When you put the races from all the books 5e has released so far together, you have a veritable Cantina of races. Love it!"

How am I responsible if someone takes that pejoratively?
 

FrozenNorth

Adventurer
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.
At this point, the discussion is going a bit in circles, but it bears repeating...

The DM has control over the entire universe. Even if he spent 100+ hours on his world-building, because he has control over so many aspects of the world, the onus is on him/her to be flexible.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
At this point, the discussion is going a bit in circles, but it bears repeating...

The DM has control over the entire universe. Even if he spent 100+ hours on his world-building, because he has control over so many aspects of the world, the onus is on him/her to be flexible.

Since we're going round-and-round I'll keep it simple. I disagree. There is no requirement for a DM to be flexible, the only "requirement" is that they run the best game they can in the hopes that they and their players have fun.
 

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