evileeyore
 member, 356 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Thu 2 Jul 2020
at 12:55
Re: D&D race restructure
Low Key:
I know the reason I didn't get into the how of the message being given is that it's a large, complex subject not well suited to explaining via an internet forum and especially not suited to RPoL with it's restrictions on politics in public forums (which I understand).

No it isn't, it's simple.

For instance, if I say I can't stand Corrie's portrayal of elves, they are problematic.  It's because he portrays those who live in trailers as "the lowest common denominators, white trash, universally uneducated, and lacking in quickness and complexity of thought" and note I grew up in trailers, well, it's very simple to understand why I find that protrayal of white people as 'problematic' is it not?

Likewise, if some aspect of how 'Orcs' (or whatever other race) is presented in D&D speaks to you as being designed to racially misrepresent your tribe, you should be able to explain, or describe, a few of those characteristics, and how they are misrepresentative or problematic.

Otherwise I'm left to believe that you don't actually know (it doesn't actually apply to you), that someone else made this complaint and you're parroting them without understanding (you're getting 'offended' on someone else's behalf and are unable to to articulate the offense).

quote:
If you genuinely want to understand, go do the research.

I'm not going to make your argument for you.

And I've done the research, and as far as I can tell it boils down to "Orcs are portrayal of blacks because blacks are violent and brutish".  Which is a hellish description and false.

quote:
But don't put your responsibility to learn on someone else by expecting them to teach you.

I'm putting the responsibility of making your arguments on you.  Just as I'm making my arguments, which are "Orcs are not representative of any human ethnicity or culture, they do not and were not meant to represent any peoples of the Earth".

Like I said, I've yet to have someone who actually felt that orcs were problematic explain what aspects or qualities of orcs they saw as representative of their own ethnicity or culture, it's always just been "Because I say so" or "educate yourself".

Now, other representations in other RPGS (White Wolf notably)?  Yeah, I've got good reasons for why the Rom in White Wolf are problematic representations of 'gypsy' culture, even singular aspects of Roma culture (like American Traveller families).  Why do I have those reasons?  The people who made those arguments explained their reasoning.

But having good reasoning n one area of this discussion is not blanket coverage for the broad argument of "RPG races are problematic and racist".  We're talking D%D here, not the general category of gaming in general.

quote:
Asking is one tool available to you, but from your earlier comment (that no one is explaining the how to you) asking hasn't worked.

Of course it hasn't worked, refusing to answer, responding with "educate yourself" is the standard response given by Critical Theory, because forcing a view from Critical Theory to be explained most often reveals that it's problematizing for the sole sake of problematizing, rather than for the sake of seeking correction or revealing an actual problem.

And chanting "racist" is the modern day McCarthyism/witchhunt, no one dare stand against the accusers lest they be accused.
Low Key
 subscriber, 242 posts
Thu 2 Jul 2020
at 14:10
Re: D&D race restructure
Except I'm not saying Orcs = black people and then refusing to say why.
I also didn't say RPG games are problematic and racist.
I certainly didn't call anyone a racist.

I'm saying D&D sends (or sent, I haven't read 5th edition) a message that some people are not welcome.

And the how and why of that is far more complex than Orcs = black people or RPGs are racist.
And that complexity is exactly why I didn't try to address the how here. It's too easy to take a complex situation and boil it down to simplistic elements like those.

My argument is simply that this message exists.
My evidence is that people have received that message (myself and another poster in this thread, at a minimum).

I'm also saying why and how this message exists and is received is complex, nuanced, and not something I feel equipped to explain in depth in this forum.

If you don't see the message but want to understand the perspective of someone who does, there are resources out there.
I understand it's frustrating to try to understand something and to feel like no one will answer your questions in a satisfactory way. If you genuinely want to discuss this because you're trying to learn but keep hitting dead ends RMail me. But be aware, I'm not offering to argue or debate, I'm offering to discuss. I won't be setting out to change your mind or 'win', and I don't want to try to have a discussion about a subject like this with someone who is trying to change my mind or 'win'. But I'll answer questions if you have them.

Edit to add: I intend to make this my last post in this thread.
I've made my point.
I've clarified my point.
I don't see the value in repeating myself. I've said my piece, hopefully between the two posts what I'm saying is clear. If not, I've done my best and repeating it is unlikely to help. And if it is but it gets misunderstood (for whatever well meaning reason) the discussion becomes about that rather than what I was trying to say.
So, instead of tying this thread up, I'll leave the floor open to others and leave what I've said for those who want it.

This message was last edited by the user at 14:16, Thu 02 July.

PCO.Spvnky
 member, 446 posts
Thu 2 Jul 2020
at 15:07
Re: D&D race restructure
Low Key:
If you genuinely want to understand, go do the research.
There's a wealth of material out there.


Here is the problem I HAVE done the research.  I spent 4 years of my life getting a bachelor's in cultural anthropology with a specific focus on inequality in the US.  I have read 100s of research papers on the subject, I was a member of the Black Student Union and made it a point to talk to each and every one of them about their personal experiences with racism, I (literally) watched Jane Elliott's "Brown eyed, blue eyes experiment" 20 times in one quarter.  What I want to know (and something that hasn't been explained) is how, in a game that has multiple positive examples of black human kingdoms and cultures, orcs "represent" black people?

I realize that there are racist elements in other games and I have stated that I think a species restructuring is a good idea.  I just don't see the correlation here.
Carakav
 member, 663 posts
 Sure-footed paragon
 of forthright dude.
Thu 2 Jul 2020
at 15:43
Re: D&D race restructure
In reply to Low Key (msg # 59):

Not to butt-in, but while I'm totally sympathetic to the idea that DnD and medieval fighting fantasy more broadly has been exclusionary for different groups (and I've read lots of articles explaining why), I also agree with evileeyore that you can't step into a public space, make a broad and challenging statement, then turn around when asked to qualify your argument and basically say "if you have to ask, you'll never know."

That's its own kind of gatekeeping. Regardless of whether you're right or wrong about a subject, or whether you'll ever be able to actually change someone's mind, you can't expect other people to do the work of making your point for you.

evileeyore:

The most important thing I think to understand about this is that the accusation of exclusion doesn't imply intentional racism on behalf of the people who make or play TTRPGs. It really more boils down to how a lot of writers and world-builders, from as early as Tolkeen (and even earlier), have often used Eurocentric thinking as the default, while other peoples/cultures have been used as short-hand for the exotic or even in some cases, for "evil". The most famous example is how Tolkeen wrote about the men of the east: coding them using a lot of Victorian and Edwardian misconceptions of what middle-eastern peoples were like, and not providing any examples in his most read works of Easterlings who were fighting on the side of good. Over the years, some of those things he wrote about slipped into derivative works, and though the clues might be subtle to the point of nit-picky, folks from those cultures tend to pick up on them. Sometimes without even consciously knowing about it.

Again though, most serious scholars of the topic aren't implying that Tolkeen, or fans of Tolkeen, are intentionally suggesting that middle-eastern peoples are inherently evil or prone following evil paths. Nor are they suggesting that you can't have middle-eastern coded cultures anywhere that fall to evil or have evil aspects in fiction. The point is that when the only example given of a people or culture in your world-building is constructed through such a narrow lens, it ultimately does feel exclusionary for people who might come from those heritages.

Women have also struggled for complex representation in TTRPGs, but from what I can tell, we've made a huge amount of progress in that area in the last few decades. I think there's always room for improvement, even when it comes to how we represent men and white historical cultures (*see how we represent vikings and pagans, for a good example, or yes: even rural/poor folks), but I think it's also important for the audience and people in those groups as a whole to enter into the discussion with flexibility and a "thick skin". To try to make the established 'traditions' work, or to make them better, rather than to upend them entirely. Stereotypes work for a reason; the problem is when they are overused or misused.

At the end of the day this is all really about making a choice: do you want to appeal as broadly as possible with your product? If the answer is 'yes', then you have to give other people from different cultures/races/genders broad and positive representation, and take care not to use things they associate with exclusively as a short-hand for 'evil' or 'other'. If you find that your product does do those things, even if you didn't intend for them to, then it doesn't imply that you're racist or sexist unless the examples are particularly egregious or unless they get paired with other statements you make. It just implies that you either didn't know, or that your focus was elsewhere, or that you had a broader point or context that you could maybe clarify.

At least, that's my limited understanding of the situation.
evileeyore
 member, 358 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Thu 2 Jul 2020
at 23:39
Re: D&D race restructure
Carakav:
It really more boils down to how a lot of writers and world-builders, from as early as Tolkeen (and even earlier), have often used Eurocentric thinking as the default, while other peoples/cultures have been used as short-hand for the exotic or even in some cases, for "evil".

Okay, if you're coming at it from that direction, I agree.

I also don't see what it has to do with Orcs, Drow, and other Evil races getting a revamp in D&D.

If someone wants to say "Oh and the Red Wizards of Thay are getting a cultural update", well, then okay.  That's on point for your argument... but that's not what we have going on here.

quote:
Women have also struggled for complex representation in TTRPGs, but from what I can tell, we've made a huge amount of progress in that area in the last few decades.

I keep hearing this, I keep hearing anecdotes, but I've never seen it.

No, I don't "listen and believe", I'll accept that individuals have had problems, but as a hobby I don't accept it was "institutionalized".  Not when I've seen plenty of female gamers at cons, at local gaming stores, and in my games over the years (by "plenty" I do mean they're at a lower representational ratio, but then there have been far fewer girls and women that I've met who wanted to game or viewed gaming as a positive activity - the majority always sneered "no, I'm not a neeeeeeeeeerd" and that was that).

quote:
Stereotypes work for a reason; the problem is when they are overused or misused.

Agreed.

quote:
If the answer is 'yes', then you have to give other people from different cultures/races/genders broad and positive representation, and take care not to use things they associate with exclusively as a short-hand for 'evil' or 'other'.

Perhaps you should bend WotC's ear, as this is not what they are doing, and what they are doing doesn't really even apply.
Carakav
 member, 664 posts
 Sure-footed paragon
 of forthright dude.
Fri 3 Jul 2020
at 00:04
Re: D&D race restructure
In reply to evileeyore (msg # 62):

I was merely trying to explain the assertion that some people feel 'othered' by misrepresentation, that Low Key decided not to provide. As for what WotC is specifically doing, I believe I already voiced my opinion on that earlier in this thread.

As for what you said about women's representation: your anecdotal personal experience isn't a solid counter-argument. The simple fact is: older versions of the game, and the broader genre of fantasy they derived from (again, see Tolkeen's work as the baseline example. I mean: The Hobbit literally had not one active female character in it. Only three are even mentioned, but they don't actually appear in the story. It was all men.) had very limited, and sometimes even nonexistent female representation. The hobby was marketed toward men and boys, most because it had its roots in wargaming (which is/was definitely dominated by men, even today) and largely designed to appeal to their interests for that and other reasons. That isn't to say that there was no representation, or that some women didn't break-through and enjoy the hobby for what it was, but it definitely, irrefutably, favored men. Especially before the 2000's. Just like video games, sci-fi films, comic books, and most other forms of genre media at the time. There were exceptions of course, but they were definitely exceptions, not the rule.

But like I said, the last 20 years has seen so much progress, that it's even being said that women are actually a major driving factor in the current "DnD Renaissance". So as far as I can tell, that battle is mostly resolved, and it was a win for everyone involved.
evileeyore
 member, 359 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Fri 3 Jul 2020
at 03:26
Re: D&D race restructure
Carakav:
I was merely trying to explain the assertion that some people feel 'othered' by misrepresentation, that Low Key decided not to provide.

Again, if that's what WotC was doing I'd have no contentions with the "this is a good thing" crowd.

quote:
As for what you said about women's representation...

I've never met a woman who said "I can't get into roleplaying because there are no females being (positively) represented in it".  It's literally always been "That looks boring" or "I'm not a nerd".

Hell, I hear that from males as well, ones who enjoy other types of games (board games, video games, tactical miniatures games, etc), so it's not like it's a "females only" thing.  I just hear "yeah that looks cool" far more often from guys.

Unless it's LARPing, and suddenly there are a ton of chicks who all think it's cool.  Though to be fair, it might be the 'vampire' thing.  I've known way more women who played White Wolf's Vampire games than any other rpg ever, enough so I've been in more groups where the ratio was reversed than not.

This message was last edited by the user at 03:32, Fri 03 July.

Carakav
 member, 665 posts
 Sure-footed paragon
 of forthright dude.
Fri 3 Jul 2020
at 03:46
Re: D&D race restructure
In reply to evileeyore (msg # 64):

I think that it's rare for any person to openly articulate why they aren't into something, and that's even assuming they had the desire or ability to.

You may have had some positive anecdotal experiences. My own experiences have been quite the opposite. So they aren't really a basis on which to have a discussion.

I'm also not really sure what you're trying to say. Are you refuting that representation matters when it comes to gender in TTRPGs? The numbers strongly suggest otherwise, especially the further back you go.
Kagekiri
 member, 194 posts
Fri 3 Jul 2020
at 05:37
Re: D&D race restructure
Carakav:
...especially the further back you go.


Yeah... I probably dodged the worst of it (I was a kid at the time), but I did read a pretty sweaty Ed Greenwood module. Half dressed damsels in distress, you know, the usually thing. Nothing morally reprehensible, but yeah, not a big selling point for female audiences. I believe this would fall under the "other reasons" you cited in regard to early RPGs being " largely designed to appeal to [male] interests." =)

Love Ed Greenwood btw. No qualms.
Hunter
 member, 1606 posts
 Captain Oblivious!
 Lurker
Fri 3 Jul 2020
at 07:58
Re: D&D race restructure
In reply to PCO.Spvnky (msg # 60):

I'll respond to what you've said with several thoughts of my own.   We've seen a drastic rise in the general toxicity of Western culture.   At the core, we find social media: sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube allow dispersal of ideals unchecked.   Back when I was a kid, hate and discrimination typically required face to face contact.  Now, you can go to site like YouTube and get the worst and latest instantly; and it often goes unrecognized due to the sheer volume of material.

But I digress.  My personal thoughts/feelings on the subject of race and gender boil down to this: Perception equals Reality.   And sometimes, clarifying things only make it worse.
brokenlogic
 member, 9 posts
Fri 3 Jul 2020
at 09:35
Re: D&D race restructure
So I have a couple of thoughts about this.

I don't think the bad vibes about race are specifically because - for example - rapacious, belligerent, culturally incurious orcs are riffing on a negative stereotype of white people. Rather it's the broader philosophy that race determines a character's capability and moral proclivity that is out of touch with today's values. I can see why a commercially astute company wouldn't want to embed that message in its products.

But I also think that making race so central and indispensible to character creation limits the game. It leads to settings that are stuck in the Tolkien and Star Trek inflected fantasy tropes of the 1980s - like Dragonlance and Discworld (itself a parody of those tropes). And a lot of contemporary fantasy literature has moved on from there: Westeros, for example.

By which I'm saying, not that settings with race (fantasy race anyway) as a major theme are bad, but it would be better for the rules mechanics to make it less central. Yes, you can say to your players, "You have to play humans," but you then lose a major axis of character creation. I specifically chose not to use D&D in a campaign I started recently because the character mechanics made it so difficult to run a setting without race being a big consideration in how it worked.
Low Key
 subscriber, 245 posts
Fri 3 Jul 2020
at 09:45
Re: D&D race restructure
I know I said I was done, but there are two quick things I want to say:

1. I like how the RPoL community can and does discuss potentially contentious topics in a mature way despite there being a variety of opinions.
It's refreshing to see and it makes RPoL a great place to be.

2. Having thought about it, I've taken on board evileeyore and Carakav's point.
The way I phrased what I was saying it was a Declaration of Fact. If I offer something that's presented like that then I should be willing and able to explain and defend it.
So, that's a learning point for me, thank you both. :)
Der Rot Konig
 member, 227 posts
 Educated Pirate
Fri 3 Jul 2020
at 19:10
Re: D&D race restructure
Good lord...I believe civility has begun to run rampant!  And on a forum!!!  These are truly dark times. :D
evileeyore
 member, 360 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Fri 3 Jul 2020
at 23:40
Re: D&D race restructure
Der Rot Konig:
Good lord...I believe civility has begun to run rampant!  And on a forum!!!  These are truly dark times. :D

I like to think that there is a better crowd here in general.  We came here to play, not rant at the designers about how they screwed up Two-Handed Weapon Training or some such.  The later types tend to congregate at publisher run message boards and have the belief that their complaints are never wrong.
Brianna
 member, 2220 posts
Sat 4 Jul 2020
at 12:22
Re: D&D race restructure
Evil/good is relative, and depends on what the GM allows and what the players create and play.  I remember one long ago game where the typically 'evil creature' house band were all benign, and one of the player characters had a tendency to evil.  LOL My cleric PC took to casting Know Alignment along with her morning greeting to the rest of the party, just to see how the day was going.
praguepride
 member, 1646 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 00:30
Re: D&D race restructure
First of all let me say that standing and saying ďThere isnít anything wrongĒ is an opinion, not a fact. Just because YOU donít see anything wrong with the game doesnít mean that other people donít. Of COURSE a lot of this is very subjective. One personís racism is another personís joke. Both of them are right, and both of them are wrong. You HAVE to apply empathy and nuance because ultimately you are dealing with peopleís feelings, not hard facts. There is no codification for being offensive or taking offense. It is an abstract concept that has no measure and is entirely subjective.

Second of all, letís just quick touch on sexism. The easiest example of this is fantasy art depicting women. Men are in full plate mail, women have giant holes in their armor so their butt/boobs/stomach can peek through. This is a choice by the artists and the production staff of the RPG and is it is understandable while that might be appealing to some, it is also a turn off for others. In the past the demographics were such that focusing on straight white teenage males as your core demographic was sufficient but times have evolved. That market is tapped out and now games all across are updating to be more inclusive in their demographics. Many games are either toning down on ďsexy armorĒ or at least making it more equal opportunity by putting men in sexy silly armor too. Again, broadening the appeal because not everyone wants to see a half-naked woman running around all the time.

Third, expansion of diversity. As has been pointed out this is a FANTASY world so any arguments against being racially diverse falls quickly into the ďracismĒ camp whether it was meant that way or not. Saying there canít be black people in the Witcher or Forgotten Realms or whatever is stupid because it is a FANTASY world.

Fourth, coded stereotypes. I will pull up Mystara, an old 1E D&D setting as I am most familiar with it at the moment. The predominant empires of civilization are white. Not just white but Western European Anglo-Saxon white. You find ďdark skinnedĒ characters only in savage jungles or primitive islands that are very stereotypical versions of Africa or the Caribbean. Back in the day they didnít even bother to mask it not because the authors were being intentionally racist but they werenít even considering how other people behind that white demographic might view the product.

That being said the history of Tolkien races being racist analogs to real world stuff is... very contentious. Yes it is heavily 9influenced by WW2 but if you go deep into the history of orcs it doesnít get cut and dry. There are some things that lean that way, other things that lean away and that is why I think it is so contentious. If you look for it, you see what you want to see and while there have definitely been individual examples of ďracistĒ pieces of art, as a whole Orcs/Goblins in D&D have not been a clear analogy for Africans or Mongols.

THAT BEING SAID this does go beyond D&D and D&D is the trend setter. Other games are notorious with their racism and one doesnít have to look any farther then the horrible ďKindred of the Ebony KingdomĒ World of Darkness book which depicts all African vampires as animal spirit worshipping savages to the point that they had lore that actively prevented them form being civilized.

My final point on this is that when you are looking at opening and expanding your demographic, of making a bold statement about being progressive and inviting to broader demographics it can be useful to drop the hammer, so to speak, and stomp out even the ambiguous parts. Give bigots absolutely no shadows or hooks to hold onto as a statement saying YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE. To some people it might look as an overreaction, or a cheap PR stunt but I see a similar path as when gay rights were on the rise. People and organizations would not just support them but declare themselves allies to the cause. They volunteered and pushed for rights and protections even though it didnít personally affect them because it wasnít enough to just be supportive, they wanted to declare to bigots that they were not welcome anymore.

So in conclusion the #1 thing to realize is that 9 times out of 10...THIS ISNíT ABOUT YOU, STOP TRYING TO MAKE IT ABOUT YOU. Unless you are a bigot being pushed out or a broader demographic being roped in, stop complaining. At best people will probably just ignore you because it isnít about you, and at worst you provide cover for the bigots trying to be driven out or make it seem to broader demographics that the game is just as bigoted as is sometimes the perception.

Updating racial mechanics and cultures isnít going to hurt the game. Donít pretend that this is the first time ever that either of those things have happened. Just because the game doesnít have a laser focus on your specific demographic doesnít mean you canít still play and enjoy it.

TL:DR: games update all the time to appeal to more demographics. Stop freaking out.
evileeyore
 member, 367 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 02:17
Re: D&D race restructure
praguepride:
First of all let me say that standing and saying ďThere isnít anything wrongĒ is an opinion, not a fact.

Yup, and everything in your post is also an opinion (I know you lampshade this, but then you strive ahead as though your are the hallmark of accuracy. ;) )

quote:
You HAVE to apply empathy and nuance because ultimately you are dealing with peopleís feelings, not hard facts.

No I don't.  It would be nice if everyone did so, but it's not a requirement for a discussion or even for life.  Nor is it a requirement for creating a path forward, despite what many would demand.

However, let's just continue forward as though both sides should be applying empathy and attempting to understand the other and not project motivations.

quote:
There is no codification for being offensive or taking offense. It is an abstract concept that has no measure and is entirely subjective.

Which is why it is useless as a measure for the requirement of action.  Is someone objectively harmed?  Move forward to undo or repair the harm.  Is someone claiming their feelings were hurt?  Well, that comes down to the individual artists and how they individual feel they need to move forward.

quote:
Second of all, letís just quick touch on sexism.

Yes let's talk about mostly naked male barbarians running around in the snowy wastes.  Oh, you mean the 'sexy' female armor nonsense?  Of course you do.  I agree.  I've always hated that nonsense, it's nice that it's receding but still allowing for depictions like the Pathfinder iconic sorcerer or Jason Momoa running around with his shirt off...



I'm sorry, what were we talking about?

quote:
Saying there canít be black people in the Witcher...

I'm going to stop you right there.  1 - The Witcher series was written by a Pole and is a fantasy depiction of the oppression of the Polish people... you know, the white guys in that eastern european nation that gets swept under the rug* every time someone wants to pretend that only PoCs have ever been oppressed or mistreated.

So yes, demanding the Witcher be altered to include african people (or hispanics, etc) is colonization and it's nasty.  Stop doing it.

* Right along with the Irish.

quote:
Fourth, coded stereotypes. I will pull up Mystara...

Yup.  And things are changing... but this discussion was/is/and should be about non-human races, not about ethnicities.  As I mentioned earlier, if you really dislike the depiction of ethnicities in fantasy works, talk about it when that comes up and people pushback against it.

quote:
That being said the history of Tolkien races being racist analogs to real world stuff is... very contentious.

You can either take the authors word or continue insinuating that he's a racist liar.  You're choice, but i know which one isn't very empathic or understanding.

quote:
World of Darkness

Yup, WW was pretty bad in some places.  Conceded and has nothing to do with "D&D and race restructuring".  Besides, I'm pretty sure the Progressives won the war with WW, they've gone really Woke of late.

[EDIT]
Sorry, hit the wrong button.  For some stupid reason hit "submit' instead of "quote'.  Sheesh.
[/EDIT]

quote:
Give bigots absolutely no shadows or hooks to hold onto as a statement saying YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE.

No.

Not until "your side" stops attributing everything to bigotry.

Also, no, because if I was going to kick all the bigots out of the club an awful lot of 'Woke' people would hit the curb.

quote:
So in conclusion the #1 thing to realize is that 9 times out of 10...THIS ISNíT ABOUT YOU, STOP TRYING TO MAKE IT ABOUT YOU.

It's about changing the things I enjoy.  It's about making those things less enjoyable for some of the people currently enjoying it.

So yes, it is about me and what I want, and what I want is for your team to go make your own stuff.  If it's really swell, you'll get all the good people flocking to your products, the actual bigoted products will fall to the wayside, everyone wins.

quote:
Updating racial mechanics and cultures isnít going to hurt the game.

We'll see.  You're definition of "updating" and mine are probably not the same here.

quote:
TL:DR: games update all the time to appeal to more demographics. Stop freaking out.

Projection?  No one is freaking out.  However some of us have watched the trend and are tired of being accused of 'racism' because we enjoy things that some other people declare to be 'offensive'.

As the great Stephen Fry has said "You're offended?  So what?"

This message was last edited by the user at 02:29, Mon 06 July.

Hunter
 member, 1607 posts
 Captain Oblivious!
 Lurker
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 03:24
Re: D&D race restructure
Brianna:
Evil/good is relative, and depends on what the GM allows and what the players create and play.


Except that good and evil ARE NOT relative in D&D.  The alignment system (which some people hate) demonstrates how the universe views various forms of behavior.   It's not "my race is good and yours isn't", it's "the universe says my race is good and yours is evil".
Kagekiri
 member, 197 posts
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 04:26
Re: D&D race restructure
In reply to Hunter (msg # 75):

Right.

In one of the first actually D&D games I DM'd (I had GM'd other games previously) a paladin player cornered some goblins, who threw down their weapons and begged for mercy. The paladin proceeded to slaughter them without a second thought. I narrated that the Paladin felt some form of disapproval from his deity and warned that similar actions would eventually strip him of his powers, and he went full rules lawyer on me, pointing out that the Monster Manual said all goblins are evil. While he wasn't expressly correct (I believe the Monster Manual said most goblin were evil or something like that), in general his view was probably more in-line with the then-current D&D culture, and I was the one being nuanced and weird.

Remembering the scene in LoTR where Saruman is convincing the wildmen to join his campaign against the Rohirrim, saying that the Rohirrim dispossessed their ancestors of their native lands. This might not have been Tolkien's read on Saruman, but it is mine thanks to Peter Jackson. What made Saruman a good persuader in this case is not that he was an expert liar, but that he was telling the truth. No, Saruman didn't actually care about the plight of the wild men, feigning sympathy was a lie, but he was right in that the Rohirrim did moved into the Riddermark, and in so doing pushed the wild men out. I try to view the squabblings between orcs/goblins and the "civilized races" in much the same way. Who really has claim to the Caves of Khaelzadon? The dwarves might want access to the gold veins, but what if the goblins were there first?

So, I believe to Brianna's point if I may be so bold, nuanced morality might solve 90% of the "race problem" (and in my case a host of other problems) which is one of the reasons I either scrap the alignment RAW or just don't play D&D. Yup, no horse in this race (forgive the pun). =D
dparasol
 member, 16 posts
 looking to uh have fun
 and destroy civilization
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 05:05
Re: D&D race restructure
praguepride:
That being said the history of Tolkien races being racist analogs to real world stuff is... very contentious.


Tolkien described his orcs with the following words: "...squat, broad, flat-nosed, sallow-skinned, with wide mouths and slant eyes; in fact degraded and repulsive versions of the (to Europeans) least lovely Mongol-types." (Since he lived during WW1 and WW2, we should note that racist stereotypes of Mongols were also associated with the "Hun threat," i.e., Germans. This came about by way of associating the Germans with the absolute height of barbarism, that is, the Huns, Mongols, and other East Asian and Central Asian steppe nomads. The notion of martial or barbaric races is, of course, racist as well.)

So yeah, pretty obviously both repugnant and racist.

I, personally, also find the notion of absolute cosmic good and evil to be abhorrent and flatly ridiculous. D&D's alignment system is ridiculous, and applying it to entire species is ridiculous. I think it's a simplistic view of morality and I don't think it's particularly fun.

Is what WotC doing right? Probably, if you ask me, but it's a far step off from really doing what they ought to do, which would be to bring POC in as something other than freelancers or diversity hires, to allow for POC to perform important work, and to pay POC well. (See also: Zaiem Beg, "The Wizards I Know.")
Hunter
 member, 1608 posts
 Captain Oblivious!
 Lurker
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 05:20
Re: D&D race restructure
In reply to dparasol (msg # 77):

Except that PoC shouldn't have a special place at the table.   What about fair representation for the Chinese/Asiatic groups?   And how about the America Indians?  When you start saying: "This group deserves more/special treatment", it opens a whole can of worms that I'm not sure this is the place to discuss.  Every group has suffered from persecution and slavery at some point in their history, civilization is truly built on the work/suffering of those in chains.

That said, I'm perfectly okay with leaving things rather nebulously defined and letting the people at the table decide how things like race and sex play out at the table.
dparasol
 member, 17 posts
 looking to uh have fun
 and destroy civilization
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 05:23
Re: D&D race restructure
In reply to Hunter (msg # 78):

Asian people and indigenous people are POC.
witchdoctor
 member, 187 posts
 ᏣᏔᎩ
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 05:24
Re: D&D race restructure
In reply to Hunter (msg # 78):

No one is asking for a 'special place at the table'; we're asking for A place, A voice at that table.
Hunter
 member, 1609 posts
 Captain Oblivious!
 Lurker
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 06:23
Re: D&D race restructure
In reply to dparasol (msg # 79):

I read PoC to mean black, sorry.
bigbadron
 moderator, 15907 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 12:14
Re: D&D race restructure
This is not the place for this discussion.  Thank you.