DnD addresses racism.

Gethsemani

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Again they retconned the Drow Elves to have a good aligned deity at some point so that there could be more Drow Elf adventurers because they are a super popular race to play.
Apparently Eilistraee was invented by Ed Greenwood as early as 1991 on the behest of his editor, since the editor wanted a good aligned god for Drow characters. Seeing as how the first official FR campaign setting was released in 1987 one can reasonably state that she's been a fixture for a long time.

If nothing else, it goes to prove that the main desire of a good campaign setting (which FR would have to be classed as on popularity alone if nothing else) is to provide players and game masters with interesting choices. A Drow goddess that is nurturing and protective as a counterpart to the sadistic and uncaring Lolth is just that. It gives the Drow race depth and nuance which makes them more fun to play. That Orcs (who are not differentiated much, if at all, compared to Elves) do not get good or neutral deities is a gross oversight in this context, as it keeps Orcs as one dimensional bad guys.
 
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Secondhand Revenant

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Apparently Eilistraee was invented by Ed Greenwood as early as 1991 on the behest of his editor, since the editor wanted a good aligned god for Drow characters. Seeing as how the first official FR campaign setting was released in 1987 one can reasonably state that she's been a fixture for a long time.

If nothing else, it goes to prove that the main desire of a good campaign setting (which FR would have to be classed as on popularity alone if nothing else) is to provide players and game masters with interesting choices. A Drow goddess that is nurturing and protective as a counterpart to the sadistic and uncaring Lolth is just that. It gives the Drow race depth and nuance which makes them more fun to play. That Orcs (who are not differentiated much, if at all, compared to Elves) do not get good or neutral deities is a gross oversight in this context, as it keeps Orcs as one dimensional bad guys.
I do think there's a place for some one dimensional bad guys. Just there's implications to what you decide the intractable evil is and how you choose to portray them, what trappings you use. If it's just 'the dumb race that listens to their evil god and uses all stuff from this exotic real world culture' that's uh mmm. Let's just say it's different from a being of pure evil and destruction like a demon, or the mindless undead.
 
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Gethsemani

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I do think there's a place for some one dimensional bad guys. Just there's implications to what you decide the intractable evil is and how you choose to portray them, what trappings you use. If it's just 'the dumb race that listens to their evil god and uses all stuff from this exotic real world culture' that's uh mmm. Let's just say it's different from a being of pure evil and destruction like a demon, or the mindless undead.
Absolutely, look at Sauron and the Nazguls. But in the context of D&D even Demons and Devils get a nuance that Orcs don't get. Demons and Devils get nuance to their evil and what their desires are. Orcs are savages that worship evil gods and do evil stuff, you don't even get Mountain Orcs and Forest Orcs like the Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes and Halflings get. This is really what I'm turning against, this simplification of Orcs that no other major race (and many minor ones) get.
 
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Secondhand Revenant

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Absolutely, look at Sauron and the Nazguls. But in the context of D&D even Demons and Devils get a nuance that Orcs don't get. Demons and Devils get nuance to their evil and what their desires are. Orcs are savages that worship evil gods and do evil stuff, you don't even get Mountain Orcs and Forest Orcs like the Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes and Halflings get. This is really what I'm turning against, this simplification of Orcs that no other major race (and many minor ones) don't get.
Yeah definitely, was agreeing with you. There is a place for plain simple evil that exists to be an opponent but when it comes to Orcs and the like it falls flat and has somewhat different implications
 

Dreiko

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I don't know if you know this, but the "5e" part of "5e D&D means "5th Edition". Which itself isn't quite accurate, as there have been half editions and advanced editions of previous editions.

Which means that D&D and its worlds have been iterated on, completely rewriting its lore, mechanics, aesthetics, and even foundational genre, over half a dozen times thus far. When I started playing D&D, only lawful good humans with a certain high end stat lines could become Paladins, half-orcs didn't even exist, and saving throws weren't based on a spellcaster's casting stat. (EDIT: Relevant to this argument, 4th edition Orcs didn't have stat penalties and it somehow didn't break the game in half to appease the SJWs)

So don't try using "you can't change well established lore" as an argument.
Each edition is its own thing the way I see it, you can still run campaigns in an older edition, they don't get removed when a new one comes out. When you change something fundamental that exists everywhere, and when you change an edition already out (as opposed to just releasing a 6th edition with these changes, which would be more acceptable) then you cause problems to arise like I described.

So basically, all you need to do to get Kae's point and not go on a wild tangent about the relativity of culture (which I honestly think is cool and all, but not really appropriate) is replace the idea of Greek culture with gamer culture. Would you like a race in an RPG which is called Nerds, has malus to charisma and constitution (because they are all basement dwellers who don't shower or exercise) and are all sociopathic manchildren who don't take responsibility and get mad over the smallest slights and are obsessed with their pop-culture to the point of violence if it is questioned or criticized? They are all devil worshippers and a large subset of them (the Animefans) are also pedophiles and rapists due to their branch of their religion being obsessed with "lolis".

Because that's kind of how Orcs have been portrayed in relation to black people in D&D.

You're not comparing like to like.

Nerds/Gamers are not the characteristics you describe, those are like a negative stereotype caricaturing them.

Orcs literally are those things, and for the most part not much else. Hence it is fine to depict them thus.

You are trying to make it be the case that orcs are mainly fine and have a couple outliers who are dumb and savage and like to eat people for fun, when that's actually the vast majority of them.

Also, your hypothetical Nerd race sounds hilarious as a satyrical ironic take, like how the Jew was a class in the Southpark rpg, so I'd love to play it since I don't take myself so seriously so as to be unable to laugh at myself.
 

Terminal Blue

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I think the issue here comes because you conflate "culture from where you hail from" to "your culture".
That's not something people do for themselves though.

If you have brown skin, and you live in a society full of white people, people will assume things about your cultural background based on the colour of your skin. The reverse is also true, of course. If you move to Japan and you don't look east Asian, people will assume things about your cultural background based on the way you look. You can have literally grown up in a place, you can know nothing else and have no other culture, and yet you will always remain bound to the culture you look like you belong to.

Even if you feel no deep personal connection with the culture you come from, that culture becomes very important in those situations because it becomes the thing that marks you out. The way people interact with you and the things they associate with you become influenced by their perception of your culture. Culture and race are not clearly distinct, because your race is part of how your culture is read and interpreted.

The thing about ancient greek myths is that they are not accompanied by a reductive, racialized idea of the ancient greek culture that produced those myths. For anglo-Americans, ancient Greece is a part of our own cultural history. It's not foreign in the way Chinese mythology is foreign, for example, despite the fact that the culture that produced those myths is incredibly foreign to any culture that currently exists.

People, even classicists, have also tended to sanitize Greek myths when they don't fit in with the prevailing sensibilities of the time. Patroclus and Achilles in the Iliad are lovers. Narcissisus' punishment is not due to him being vain, but because he cruelly refuses to submit to the sexual advances of older men who want to fuck him. The abduction of Persephone isn't just a cute story about why the seasons exist, it's the story you tell your 9 year old girl to comfort her as she's about to be married to an adult man.

The idea that ancient Greek culture that produced these myths in any way resembles the default culture of fantasy settings is laughable. (White) people in fantasy settings are just modern people, not ancient Greeks. They aren't tied to a mangled, exoticized idea of a foreign culture at all. The same is often not true of non-white people, or non-human races that are stand ins for non-white people. Fantasy is structured a lot like the study of mythology used to be structured, with a normal, default interior culture which just conspicuously resembles our own, and a lot of exotic "variations" on the outside.
 
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Dreiko

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That's not something people do for themselves though.

If you have brown skin, and you live in a society full of white people, people will assume things about your cultural background based on the colour of your skin. The reverse is also true, of course. If you move to Japan and you don't look east Asian, people will assume things about your cultural background based on the way you look. You can have literally grown up in a place, you can know nothing else and have no other culture, and yet you will always remain bound to the culture you look like you belong to.

Even if you feel no deep personal connection with the culture you come from, that culture becomes very important in those situations because it becomes the thing that marks you out. The way people interact with you and the things they associate with you become influenced by their perception of your culture. Culture and race are not clearly distinct, because your race is part of how your culture is read and interpreted.

The thing about ancient greek myths is that they are not accompanied by a reductive, racialized idea of the ancient greek culture that produced those myths. For anglo-Americans, ancient Greece is a part of our own cultural history. It's not foreign in the way Chinese mythology is foreign, for example, despite the fact that the culture that produced those myths is incredibly foreign to any culture that currently exists.

People, even classicists, have also tended to sanitize Greek myths when they don't fit in with the prevailing sensibilities of the time. Patroclus and Achilles in the Iliad are lovers. Narcissisus' punishment is not due to him being vain, but because he cruelly refuses to submit to the sexual advances of older men who want to fuck him. The abduction of Persephone isn't just a cute story about why the seasons exist, it's the story you tell your 9 year old girl to comfort her as she's about to be married to an adult man.

The idea that ancient Greek culture that produced these myths in any way resembles the default culture of fantasy settings is laughable. (White) people in fantasy settings are just modern people, not ancient Greeks. They aren't tied to a mangled, exoticized idea of a foreign culture at all. The same is often not true of non-white people, or non-human races that are stand ins for non-white people. Fantasy is structured a lot like the study of mythology used to be structured, with a normal, default interior culture which just conspicuously resembles our own, and a lot of exotic "variations" on the outside.

I think we're shifting the goalposts a bit here. The topic is about what culture you actually identify with and seek representation of in your games, not what culture others think you belong to and how they treat you as a result. I'm sure that because I look white and don't wear weird traditional garb or what have you, people who just pass me by think that I'm just a generic white American who can't speak a single word of Greek (never mind converse in Japanese), which is not true, but I also don't care about that one bit. If I was acting the way you're suggesting, I'd be seeking that type of representation, the generic brown haired white guy you see too much of in games because that's what the world is most likely to see me as here, but as I think I described sufficiently already, I do not. I suggest the same to others.

Hell, I legit had people confuse me for a native american at a mall once, cause I have long hair and while I'm pretty pale I am not Anglo but rather from the Mediterranean so I guess it's hard to place my features. Do I now have to look for native american chars to identify with? Is it bad to just like my dragons and ninjas and keep having fun? lol

Any art that is the cultural artifact of a particular people has a "default" person. Ethnocentrism is the word for that. If you draw a stick figure like you do in Hangman and ask a Japanese person if the figure is white or asian they'll say Asian whereas a European will say it's white. Every society has that, it's normal, and as a result you get anime chars who to us seem white but who are intended to be the way Japanese people view and represent their own race instead. There's nothing wrong with any of this. To try to tell people not to do this thing that comes naturally to them and is purely innocuous is highly absurd.


The solution here is for the Astecs/mexicans and whoever else to just come up with their own thing and mold it how they like, not to change the one the Americans and Britons created. And if the reason they feel entitled to change it is that they too are americans and should be represented, well, they already are! Only the non-american Astecs and Mexicans aren't represented. The issue is not those people's representation, the issue is identifying with them when you just stated you're in fact American. Even if you're a dual citizen like me, the part of you being American which is being represented should suffice. But what you have here is people who are behaving as if they're not at all American and only their country of origin could possibly represent them. You legit don't have to fall in that thought pattern simply because other people are doing that (and in the process wronging you since you're actually just an American).
 
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Buyetyen

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It should bother anyone who cares about a world. When you change something in a canon or lore that is well-established, you weaken the foundation of every other element in that universe, because it, too, is now subject to arbitrary change. It makes everything else feel that much less real for it. You now have less incentive to become attached to something, because it may vanish into mist as soon as popular complainers gain enough power to have it do that. This should be something that is above such concerns, not something subservient to them.
This is empty First Draft Culture bullshit. I can say with some degree of certainty that I have more experience in world building than you do, and your attempts to sanctify it are frankly embarrassing.

When you write something and set it in stone,
But it's not set in stone, so it's not a problem.

Each edition is its own thing the way I see it, you can still run campaigns in an older edition, they don't get removed when a new one comes out.
You're only proving that your complaining is empty, pointless and petty by agreeing with this. I still have yet to see any of you complainers address the fact that you can just house rule your stat penalties back in. I'll let you in on a little secret: I'm old enough to have played AD&D and I did away with race-class restrictions at my tables because I thought it was arbitrary. No one ever complained.
 

Gethsemani

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You're not comparing like to like.

Nerds/Gamers are not the characteristics you describe, those are like a negative stereotype caricaturing them.
But dude, it is just an RPG race man. Why are you saying they are a caricature? It is just a fun race for an RPG and has no real world equivalent.

Orcs literally are those things, and for the most part not much else. Hence it is fine to depict them thus.

You are trying to make it be the case that orcs are mainly fine and have a couple outliers who are dumb and savage and like to eat people for fun, when that's actually the vast majority of them.
No, and if that's what you think you've severely misunderstood my argument. Orcs being a race that fall on the evil side of the games morality and being warmongering monsters is not bad in and of itself (though I do take umbrage with the lack of nuance, considering even Tieflings get a ton of nuance these days and they were originally meant to have primordial evil as a birth trait). What is bad is that Orcs get to have a bunch of traits associated with black people (or rather stereotypes and caricatures of black people) and then get portrayed as always savage, stupid, always evil brutes. That's not only bad design, that's also borderline racist whether it is intended or not.

Also, your hypothetical Nerd race sounds hilarious as a satyrical ironic take, like how the Jew was a class in the Southpark rpg, so I'd love to play it since I don't take myself so seriously so as to be unable to laugh at myself.
Sure, but this time it isn't satire. This is a serious race in a serious RPG that deals with serious stuff and demands serious RP.
 

Dreiko

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But dude, it is just an RPG race man. Why are you saying they are a caricature? It is just a fun race for an RPG and has no real world equivalent.
You literally just asked me to replace Greek with gamer culture, so I did. I'm not sure why you're criticizing me for doing what you asked. Shouldn't you damn yourself for asking me to do as I did instead?

No, and if that's what you think you've severely misunderstood my argument. Orcs being a race that fall on the evil side of the games morality and being warmongering monsters is not bad in and of itself (though I do take umbrage with the lack of nuance, considering even Tieflings get a ton of nuance these days and they were originally meant to have primordial evil as a birth trait). What is bad is that Orcs get to have a bunch of traits associated with black people (or rather stereotypes and caricatures of black people) and then get portrayed as always savage, stupid, always evil brutes. That's not only bad design, that's also borderline racist whether it is intended or not.
That's just a case of you looking to find something and seeing it. Like those people who see Jesus on a piece of toast and Mary on a tree hump. They're pretty damn invested to commune with the divine so they find a way to feel like they did. I watched LOTR when I was like 12 living in Greece where there were almost no black people at all and you'd only see em in foreign movies and it never even crossed my mind that Orcs had anything to do with them. They were just generic evil scary monsters. The fact that any sorts of people were likened to monsters is an indictment of the society that did that, not of the society that came up with the monsters in the first place.

Sure, but this time it isn't satire. This is a serious race in a serious RPG that deals with serious stuff and demands serious RP.
I mean, you can do it seriously in-world, but the mood outside of the game would be ironic and hilarious, so that'd permeate the experience, even while being completely dry and playing it straight in the game.
 

Hawki

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This is empty First Draft Culture bullshit. I can say with some degree of certainty that I have more experience in world building than you do, and your attempts to sanctify it are frankly embarrassing.
But it's not set in stone, so it's not a problem.
I'm sorry, I know this conversation is between you and Drieko, but I have to jump in.

From an absolute standpoint, a fictional world is, well, fictional. So of course, the rules of the setting are technically free to be adjusted by the creator(s) as they desire. For instance, I could create a setting/write for a setting where it's a rule that vampires burst into flames if exposed to sunlight. I could then write as part of the story where a vampire walks around in daylight with no repercussions. People who are aware of the setting's rules would point out, correctly, that I've broken one of the setting's rules. I could then retort that the setting is fictional, the rules are fictional, and ergo, I can change the rules as I so desire.

Problem is, this isn't a very good argument. I'm not only insulting the readers' intelligence, but I'm also breaking verisimilitude. It's self-defeating to the setting itself, because if the setting's lore can be so easily altered, why bother be invested in it? I can't answer for everyone, but I can answer for myself, being someone who edits wikis (moreso in the past than these days admittedly), and who still posts stuff on FFN, including multi-chapters where I try and ensure the lore stays accurate to canon as much as possible. Breaks in the lore are irritating from both a worldbuilding and writing standpoint. Worldbuilding, because it weakens the foundations of the setting.

And you can point out that there's few, if any fictional settings where the lore is completely airtight, where there's no internal contradictions. And yes, you'd be correct. But some worlds are built and maintained better than others, and it's usually indicative as to how much the writers give a shit. So while I can't comment on DnD, if someone secured the rights of Lord of the Rings and said "all orcs were actually good guys," I'd tell them to eff off. Even if it was out of supposedly good intentions, it would show utter contempt for the setting. If the creator doesn't respect the setting, why should the audience?
 

Gethsemani

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You literally just asked me to replace Greek with gamer culture, so I did. I'm not sure why you're criticizing me for doing what you asked. Shouldn't you damn yourself for asking me to do as I did instead?
I was mostly just aping your style of deflection. One which you use in the last paragraph of the response I'm replying to, by the way. Your go to in these discussions is always to argue personal incredulity.

That's just a case of you looking to find something and seeing it. Like those people who see Jesus on a piece of toast and Mary on a tree hump. They're pretty damn invested to commune with the divine so they find a way to feel like they did. I watched LOTR when I was like 12 living in Greece where there were almost no black people at all and you'd only see em in foreign movies and it never even crossed my mind that Orcs had anything to do with them. They were just generic evil scary monsters. The fact that any sorts of people were likened to monsters is an indictment of the society that did that, not on the society that came up with monsters in the first place.
So when is LOTR D&D? This is a massive deflection, first by delivering an ad hominem that compares those that see the similarities to religious nut jobs and then by invoking an entirely different piece of pop culture then the one being discussed. Classy.
 
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Satinavian

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As a side topic, does anyone know an RPG setting that does precolumbian Mesoamerica really well and in depth? I know a couple that use it but still are a bit shallow or otherwise not that good.

Any official setting that is intended to host complete campaigns there with PCs from there and is recommandable quality wise ?
 

Buyetyen

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If the creator doesn't respect the setting, why should the audience?
That is a fair point. It does require though that one establish that disrespect has taken place. In the case of DnD removing racial stat penalties, I don't think I'm taking a particularly controversial stance in saying that doesn't quite clear the bar for disrespect.
 

Dreiko

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So when is LOTR D&D? This is a massive deflection, first by delivering an ad hominem that compares those that see the similarities to religious nut jobs and then by invoking an entirely different piece of pop culture then the one being discussed. Classy.
Most of them aren't religious nuts, they're like, random people who are maybe a little dumb and were indoctrinated their whole life to look for Jesus that one day they found him in their breakfast lol.

And I was relating my first experience with Orcs which happened to be LOTR ones, you will find some posts discussing Tolkein in this topic a couple pages back too. I don't think it's as much of a stretch as you're making it out to be.
 

Buyetyen

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Most of them aren't religious nuts, they're like, random people who are maybe a little dumb and were indoctrinated their whole life to look for Jesus that one day they found him in their breakfast lol.
You're proving her right.
 

Gethsemani

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Most of them aren't religious nuts, they're like, random people who are maybe a little dumb and were indoctrinated their whole life to look for Jesus that one day they found him in their breakfast lol.
Oh yeah, being a little dumb and indoctrinated is not a personal attack at all and totally a valid argument.

And I was relating my first experience with Orcs which happened to be LOTR ones, you will find some posts discussing Tolkein in this topic a couple pages back too. I don't think it's as much of a stretch as you're making it out to be.
So instead of going on random tangents about posts a few pages back that I didn't write, maybe respond to what I actually wrote when you decide to quote my posts?

You're free to re-visit my post with some serious arguments at any time, honestly. But if all you're gonna do is rhetorical fallacies, I'm not going to bother with any serious argumentation and will just point them out.
 

Chimpzy

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If you don't like a change to an rpg setting, one of the basic tenets of tabletop roleplaying offers a very fast and laughably easy solution.

Rule 0. The GM is the ultimate arbiter of all things in the game.

The GM can arbitrarily change, create or remove any rule or bit of lore or whatever at any time. You don't have to have anything in your game you don't want. You want classic always CE orks? They are. You want to get rid of alignment restrictions instead? They're gone. You want the MLP ponies to be the deific pantheon in your setting? They are. And as GM you need no more justification for it than Rule 0. Homebrewing has been a fundamental part of this hobby since the very beginning, it's how tons of game systems came to be in the first place. Whether what you homebrew is any good does nothing to diminish that you can if you want to.
 

Satinavian

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Rule 0. The GM is the ultimate arbiter of all things in the game.
Nope.

Most RPGs don't have this Rule 0. It is specifically a D&D thing. Elsewhere important decisions tend to be done by the whole group, not just the GM and that works far better.
 

Thaluikhain

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Nope.

Most RPGs don't have this Rule 0. It is specifically a D&D thing. Elsewhere important decisions tend to be done by the whole group, not just the GM and that works far better.
Surely that's not a system thing, that's a group thing?
 
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