D&D 5E WotC's Jeremy Crawford on D&D Races Going Forward

Status
Not open for further replies.
On Twitter, Jeremy Crawford discussed the treatment of orcs, Vistani, drow and others in D&D, and how WotC plans to treat the idea of 'race' in D&D going forward. In recent products (Eberron and Wildemount), the mandatory evil alignment was dropped from orcs, as was the Intelligence penalty.


636252771691385727.jpg


@ThinkingDM Look at the treatment orcs received in Eberron and Exandria. Dropped the Intelligence debuff and the evil alignment, with a more acceptable narrative. It's a start, but there's a fair argument for gutting the entire race system.

The orcs of Eberron and Wildemount reflect where our hearts are and indicate where we’re heading.


@vorpaldicepress I hate to be "that guy", but what about Drow, Vistani, and the other troublesome races and cultures in Forgotten Realms (like the Gur, another Roma-inspired race)? Things don't change over night, but are these on the radar?

The drow, Vistani, and many other folk in the game are on our radar. The same spirit that motivated our portrayal of orcs in Eberron is animating our work on all these peoples.


@MileyMan1066 Good. These problems need to be addressed. The variant features UA could have a sequel that includes notes that could rectify some of the problems and help move 5e in a better direction.

Addressing these issues is vital to us. Eberron and Wildemount are the first of multiple books that will face these issues head on and will do so from multiple angles.


@mbriddell I'm happy to hear that you are taking a serious look at this. Do you feel that you can achieve this within the context of Forgotten Realms, given how establised that world's lore is, or would you need to establish a new setting to do this?

Thankfully, the core setting of D&D is the multiverse, with its multitude of worlds. We can tell so many different stories, with different perspectives, in each world. And when we return to a world like FR, stories can evolve. In short, even the older worlds can improve.


@SlyFlourish I could see gnolls being treated differently in other worlds, particularly when they’re a playable race. The idea that they’re spawned hyenas who fed on demon-touched rotten meat feels like they’re in a different class than drow, orcs, goblins and the like. Same with minotaurs.

Internally, we feel that the gnolls in the MM are mistyped. Given their story, they should be fiends, not humanoids. In contrast, the gnolls of Eberron are humanoids, a people with moral and cultural expansiveness.


@MikeyMan1066 I agree. Any creature with the Humanoid type should have the full capacity to be any alignmnet, i.e., they should have free will and souls. Gnolls... the way they are described, do not. Having them be minor demons would clear a lot of this up.

You just described our team's perspective exactly.


As a side-note, the term 'race' is starting to fall out of favor in tabletop RPGs (Pathfinder has "ancestry", and other games use terms like "heritage"); while he doesn't comment on that specifically, he doesn't use the word 'race' and instead refers to 'folks' and 'peoples'.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

aco175

Legend
Do we know where this is coming from? Does it stem from the recent Black Lives Movement or is it more to unify the fantasy worlds and treat all the monster races more like the traditional PC races.

I tend to play just in FR for the last while so I'm not having any problems with orcs from one world being different than what we have been playing. Same with the other races. My group does not really play 'monster' races as PCs, but I know many like the idea.
 


Fenris447

Explorer
There's certainly room for a discussion of problematic cultural stereotyping in the fantasy genre. And I'll be okay if we need to change the terminology we use. But I worry that there will be an overcorrection to just make everything unnecessarily homogenous.

Just like in real life, the greatest good for society comes from celebrating diversity and the different perspectives it can bring us. Ignoring differences is a disservice to everyone who deviates from a decided norm, and in not something I want in my games or my life.

Just spitballing here, but maybe the game mechanics solution could come in the form of separating physiological differences (STR, DEX, CON) from cultural differences (INT, WIS, CHA). The term "Race" can relate to the former, while backgrounds or maybe a new category of "Culture" can govern the other? We know a big minotaur man will be, in general, stronger than a halfling. But cultural values will dictate whether a character has spent time honing an aspect of their mind and personality.
 



clearstream

(He, Him)
There's certainly room for a discussion of problematic cultural stereotyping in the fantasy genre. And I'll be okay if we need to change the terminology we use. But I worry that there will be an overcorrection to just make everything unnecessarily homogenous.

Just like in real life, the greatest good for society comes from celebrating diversity and the different perspectives it can bring us. Ignoring differences is a disservice to everyone who deviates from a decided norm, and in not something I want in my games or my life.

Just spitballing here, but maybe the game mechanics solution could come in the form of separating physiological differences (STR, DEX, CON) from cultural differences (INT, WIS, CHA). The term "Race" can relate to the former, while backgrounds or maybe a new category of "Culture" can govern the other? We know a big minotaur man will be, in general, stronger than a halfling. But cultural values will dictate whether a character has spent time honing an aspect of their mind and personality.
One problem is generalising, so that an entire race is given the same inclinations and ability modifiers. Perhaps there could be greater diversity, were diversity recognised within species. It's a difficult area, and I feel far from having good answers.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
I see them going more towards a species, rather than race terminology, with subcultures instead of subraces. And every race being able to choose a subculture. Kind of like with classes and backgrounds now.

Choose your species, which grants inherent benefits (like darkvision, or dragon breath), then choose a subculture (a scholarly culture would grant INT bonuses, while a war culture might grant CON or DEX), etc. That way, the ability modifiers aren't tied to a specific race/species, but the background and culture that race/species has evolved into over generations.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
We're talking about player characters though. So why not have a halfling that's as strong as the minotaur, if that's the player's vision? Why have the rules prevent that character choice? PCs are heroes!
Indeed. My minotaur detests all forms of exercise, and has a troubling penchant for laudanum. One could let the dice decide (or guide) to such things, though. Mechanically, it makes a lot of sense to offer packages of advantages and disadvantages, and to make those recognisable on a unit type. It allows variety and balance, and parsability. Almost all halflings are lucky, everyone knows it.

Perhaps the happy path is to separate ability packages somewhat from race, so that they come more from background. And instead with race offer incommensurables. Luck versus dark vision, say.
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
Sure, generalizing is bad for looking at behavior......but shouldn't MOST minotaurs be stronger than an average human or halfling? I too worry that making every humanoid "the same" in terms of rules makes them less useful and interesting. The rules define what things are in the game, striking a balance is difficult, imo.

Also, I'm not sure every player wants a grey world......sometimes it is nice to know some black and white, we are, after all, mostly fighting and killing (and yes, some games aren't like this......but I'd bet good money most are).
 

Status
Not open for further replies.
Remove ads

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top