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D&D 5E WotC On Tasha, Race, Alignment: A Several-Year Plan

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WotC spoke to the site Dicebreaker about D&D race and alignment, and their plans for the future.

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  • On of the motivations of the changes [character customization] in Tasha's Cauldron was to decouple race from class.
  • The 'tightrope' between honouring legacy and freedom of character choice has not been effectively walked.
  • Alignment is turning into a roleplaying tool, and will not be used to describe entire cultures.
  • This work will take several years to fully implement.
 

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

A sign of how this is a work-in-progress: The new Young Adventurer's Guide, Beasts & Behemoths, describes orcs in all the ways that WotC has said they're going to stop doing. And given that was an additional book announced after the apparent success of the first four Young Adventurers Guides (I liked them, for the record), the book was likely written in the first half of 2020, but seems to have made it through the editing process before the new direction was decided upon.

Which is a shame, frankly, because I think the "individuals are bad, not cultures" message would have been even more appropriate in a kid-facing book.
 



When do we get to the part where people complain that "killing people and taking their stuff" in the real world is wrong, so we should take it out of D&D?
We are in fact past that point. I'd post a link, but I'm not sure if linking to an rpg.net thread is kosher on EN World. (Does that constitute inter-forum drama? I don't want to do anything that isn't on the up-and-up.)
 



toucanbuzz

Legend
Do what you gotta do WOTC. I'm not sure about demons from the 666th level of the Infinite Abyss not being "evil" or those who would traffic with them by summoning them into temporary slavery to fight for their amusement.... Ah, I'll stop. I have some strange feeling this thread is going to rehash prior threads' commentaries.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
I think some of these rules should have been in the DMG to begin with. Rules on making your own race, and customizing the existing races with these optional rules, made a lot of sense for the 5e theme they were promoting when the game was in beta. I am not sure why it took "years" to come up with what is essentially customization kit rules which fit the "module" of rules idea for the DMG to make the game your own. I mean, most of these rules are directly the baseline they were using to make the races to begin with, so what took so much work to write down for consumers what they already must have been working with internally to begin with? But I am glad they're here now.
 



whimsychris123

Adventurer
I feel split on this. In my own games, I like having a diversity of races to roleplay with, without the straight jacket of racial alignment. That’s one reason I like Eberron.

I also understand the parallels of racial descriptions (like “savage”) in both fantasy and real life and how such language could be painful for some players.

On the other hand, virtually every culture (whether you go to Asia, Africa, or Europe) has mythological creatures that are universally evil. It feels like it’s important part of myths and storytelling.

It’s definitely something I would discuss with my group before making major choices about “evil” races and what they represent. One thing I like about roleplaying is that it ultimately comes down to the individuals at the table.
 



I find it really unfortunate that they half-arsed this. Pretty much no one is happy with what they did. Neither the people who wanted changes nor those who didn't are satisfied with what we got. I always felt that the real issue was never the rules (aside the alignment), it was how the races were represented in the fiction and this does nothing to that, and furthermore their 'rebalancing' of the races is just an utter mess from mechanical perspective.
 
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Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
I find it really unfortunate that they half-arsed this. Pretty much no one is happy with what they did. Neither the people who wanted changes or those who didn't are satisfied with what we got. I always felt that the real issue was never the rules (aside the alignment), it was how the races were represented in the fiction and this does nothing to that, and furthermore their 'rebalancing' of the races is just an utter mess from mechanical perspective.
I am fine with it so far, and everyone I know who plays the game and is aware of it is fine with it so far. Not sure where you are getting the impression "no one is happy with what they did?"
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
It is for many people, and not for others, and any generalized declaration of what the game is and is not about is a hasty one.
Kind of like how alignment is used by many people, and not by others? Or how the optional rules in Tasha’s will be used by many people, and not by others?

If you like your games to be about killing people and taking their stuff, knock yourself out. Nothing WotC can do can stop you from doing that. If you’re worried about that no longer being the focus of published modules, you’re about 20 years behind the times.
 

The switch from a default "Entire cultures can be uniformly bad or good but some individuals may not be" to a default "Cultures cannot be uniformly good or bad, but individuals may be" is an interesting one. The effect on playstyle is to significantly limit the ability of non-evil PC groups to strike first.

You go from "kill em unless there is a clear and present indicator that is wrong" to "never kill em unless there is a clear and present indicator that is right".

It may be more nuanced, but I question if it is more fun.
 

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