D&D 5E Yes to factionalism. No to racism.

Scribe

Legend
It's interesting to me that occasionally this discussion refers back to the Tolkien-derived races, when even in his own works we can see that elves, dwarves, and orcs all have, or are implied to have, different cultures. This is very much a D&D problem.
I'd agree, and its become more of one with a push for generalization without definition.

If Wizards would properly support its other settings, it wouldnt be such an issue, as people would be less likely to assume that the core books are the Gold Standard and No Deviation Allowed.

(He says, despite the CLEAR language saying deviation is both permitted, and recommended to the DM lol.)
 

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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I wanna see D&D do the "Gunpowder" faction.

An alliance of elves, dwarves, human, and of course orcs united in the Supremacy of the Holy Sound of SHOOTING ENEMIES IN THE FACE!
 

For example, right now we have stats for a Bandit and an Orc. That creates the assumption that Bandits are not orcs, but also that Orcs, like Bandits, are synonymous with "enemy."

I don't think that's a good example. "Bandit" is in the MM, yes, but it's in the section titled "non-player characters" and specifies that they can be human or non-human(with the racial features being the difference). The bandit and other NPC entries exist for the same reason that monster entries do: to give you an encounterable being without having to roll a complete character. And the reason that the orc has an entry in the MM rather than just being considered an option for the NPC entries is simply because there is no racial entry for orcs in the PHB. You can make the assumption you claim, but I wouldn't say that it has anything to support it. Once you have a sourcebook that has orc as a playable race, you also have orc bandits simply because the bandit entry is for every playable race.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
No, we are not saying that. We are saying that past representation has emphasized just how much representation matters. Knowing that, we should keep it in mind going forward and find better ways of doing it.
My point is, sometimes a PC wants to play a dwarf. Maybe they like the mechanics, or they thought Gimli was cool, maybe they just like the default dwarf. Should I still have to create a dozen subcultures for every race a PC might play, or I want to include on my world map? If I want to include a Shire-type community of halflings, I shouldn't also have to include 5 other halfling cultures to balance it out. Especially if most of the different cultures in the setting are human anyway.
 

Scribe

Legend
My point is, sometimes a PC wants to play a dwarf. Maybe they like the mechanics, or they thought Gimli was cool, maybe they just like the default dwarf. Should I still have to create a dozen subcultures for every race a PC might play, or I want to include on my world map? If I want to include a Shire-type community of halflings, I shouldn't also have to include 5 other halfling cultures to balance it out. Especially if most of the different cultures in the setting are human anyway.
I dont think you need to.

I think the intention would be that your Dwarf could grow up in the Shire, and would have that culture, instead of a Dwarven one.
 

Bolares

Hero
My point is, sometimes a PC wants to play a dwarf. Maybe they like the mechanics, or they thought Gimli was cool, maybe they just like the default dwarf. Should I still have to create a dozen subcultures for every race a PC might play, or I want to include on my world map? If I want to include a Shire-type community of halflings, I shouldn't also have to include 5 other halfling cultures to balance it out. Especially if most of the different cultures in the setting are human anyway.
You don't have to create a place for every option in the game on your world....
 

cowpie

Adventurer
And then, again, where are the monocultures, even in 1e ? Yes, the PH is fairly generic but so is the one in 5e, but let's take for example Greyhawk, as I've pointed out, it's the same as Eberron, there are multiple and very varied elven cultures, for example, from Celene to Ulek including some very reclusive cultures like the Grugach and the Valley Elves, and at the same time you find elves in large numbers in a lot of countries around the map, for example in Geoff, Keoland, etc.

As for their creation, a lot of the demi-human races were created as derivative of Tolkien, simplified for use in the game, that's all. It was not even a question of culture...
I think D&D uses stereotyped "templates" for character races for several practical reasons:

1) It provides new players with a simple template to latch onto when playing the character. In no way are they forced to follow this, it just gives newbies some guidelines on how to get into character. As D&D has traditionally been a DIY hobby, it was assumed players would make their own worlds, and change these templates to suit their personal taste (ie: just cause it's in the book doesn't mean you have to use it). Providing basic character templates is a big selling point for all major RPGs.

2) Elves, Dwarves and Halflings were based on Tolkien, because LOTR was published in paperback in 1967, which triggered a massive Tolkien craze in the 70s (this had a follow-on effect of driving demand for new fantasy books). TSR put these templates in the game, to capitalize on this craze. Players loved LOTR, so they gave them what they wanted--a chance to live out their fantasies by getting to play Legolas, Gimli or a Hobbit in a game, instead of just passively reading about them in a book. This was a very successful sales strategy, one WOTC should be careful not to forget (IMHO).

3) Fiction uses stereotyped characters all the time -- not to promote discrimination, but for story economy. Every incidental NPC (especially ones who are only in the story for 5 minutes) don't need to be fleshed out. Guard #5 doesn't need a backstory. Just the main characters. Orcs being evil in D&D serves the same purpose as Nazi's all being evil in Raiders of the Lost Ark. The Stormtroopers on Tatoonie are there to be a threat that drives the characters along in the story and remind the audience that the Empire is dangerous and a force for evil. As such, no one mourns Stormtrooper #3 when Han blasts him in Mos Eisley. It is, after all, only a movie.

4) If you want to use Orcs as more than "bad guys" in your game, that's great! See #1 on how the game is DIY. Just modify them to taste. This mitigates the need to change the lore in the core books--because everyone is already free to change them.
 

cowpie

Adventurer
Where they created in that way? I feel like, there's an element of that, but it's only limited part of what was going on. The main issue, since 1E, has been that monocultures don't feel great.

Many settings, all the way back to our good friend Time of the Dragon (Taladas) in October 1989, went pretty far out of their way to avoid monocultures.

I actually think 3E was a problem here (and 4E and 5E largely followed it) in that it basically ignored all of what 2E had done, and rolled back to monocultures, and then various splatbooks relied on these monocultures existing and provided new monocultures for new races. Of course Eberron went the opposite way.
But given that D&D is basically a fantasy construction set, why not just modify them in your home game to suit your personal preferences, rather than get WOTC to impose a change on hundreds of thousands of players who might not share this opinion?
 

Oofta

Legend
My point is that why do we accept only a few bland barely subraces then act surprised when these barely developed simplified races are played to the worse versions of themselves which are most prone for getting out of touch as time flies.

Wouldn't factions be easier to implement, paint, and update?
I don't see why they wouldn't just hit the same issues. Look at the Vistani as a case in point. If you have depictions of a faction that some people might consider negative, you're going to have the same problems.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
My point is, sometimes a PC wants to play a dwarf. Maybe they like the mechanics, or they thought Gimli was cool, maybe they just like the default dwarf. Should I still have to create a dozen subcultures for every race a PC might play, or I want to include on my world map? If I want to include a Shire-type community of halflings, I shouldn't also have to include 5 other halfling cultures to balance it out. Especially if most of the different cultures in the setting are human anyway.
Or just create a bunch of factions in your world and then people who agree with that faction join regardless of race or possibly due to race is race is important to that faction.

Boom. Done.
 

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