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Dungeons and Dragons to eliminate concept of "inherently evil" races


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3 hours ago, Bazza said:

So Wizards has decided to abandon objective and independent morality for moral relativism. It follows that the consequence of this is that virtues, vices, goodness, truth, justice, heroism, etc, have lost their essential defining quality. The intellectual disciplines of ethics & human nature as understood by many mystical, occult and philosophic traditions for thousands of years have been reduced to a subjective emotional individualistic hedonism.

 

Praise thee. :hail: 

The impetus for this was actually the problematic portrayal of orcs and drow.  The latter especially.   A dark skinned race that's inherently evil?    

As I understand it, many non playable races such as demons may remain "evil".  So I'll never get to play my noble Balor-din.  Dang it.

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I'd like to say I'm surprised that there are people who think that making a game more inclusive and less offensive to people is bad in some way. I'm not, but I wish I was.   There are people

Why am I not surprised?   Everyone else is bowing and scraping to the SJW and PC Police (which are, apparently, the only police that are allowed to exist now).   Well as mentioned,

3 hours ago, Bazza said:

So Wizards has decided to abandon objective and independent morality for moral relativism. It follows that the consequence of this is that virtues, vices, goodness, truth, justice, heroism, etc, have lost their essential defining quality. The intellectual disciplines of ethics & human nature as understood by many mystical, occult and philosophic traditions for thousands of years have been reduced to a subjective emotional individualistic hedonism.

 

Praise thee. :hail: 

I've heard no reports that smite evil won't work, protection vs evil won't work or that holy word is being rewritten.

 

What I have heard is that evil won't be a defining attribute of certain races.

 

I don't know what you heard.

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If this is just the main races then fair enough. Demons and Devils will always be evil and Celestials always good.

But if their deity is evil then it stands to reason that their people will try to emulate them like Gnolls, Orcs and Goblins.

The Drow situation is understandable bearing in mind that elves can come across as Aryan.

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I agree that getting the Romani consultant is a good move. I do wonder how it will affect what is essentially a horror/Dracula setting. Additionally I wonder how the history of the Roma people (who are not "gypsies" as that is a derogatory stereotype).will be authentically integrated into the horror/Dracula setting and retain authenticity and justice to the Roma people, their ethos, their culture and their spirituality.    

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10 hours ago, megaplayboy said:

The impetus for this was actually the problematic portrayal of orcs and drow.  The latter especially.   A dark skinned race that's inherently evil?    

As I understand it, many non playable races such as demons may remain "evil".  So I'll never get to play my noble Balor-din.  Dang it.

To be fair, the drow sure do know how to make pancake syrup. 

 

And, more importantly, the introduction of the duergar and derro makes it clear that the drow aren't just an evil race that happens to be dark-skinned. It's more like all dark-skinned races are evil. See? Much better. 

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22 hours ago, megaplayboy said:

https://www.themarysue.com/dungeons-dragons-inherently-evil-races-gone/

 

Fascinating.  Probably long overdue.

 

Though the idea of "virtuous" illithids and, uh, demons may take some getting used to.

I can't really see the alignment system as currently constituted surviving this.  Perhaps some alternative Outlook/Philosophy system?   

I've always kind of done this, though, in D@D the Gawds are real and present. So a tribe that follows Malar the CE Gawd of "red in tooth and claw" are likely going to be CN at best, and real hard a##es as well.....

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8 hours ago, death tribble said:

If this is just the main races then fair enough. Demons and Devils will always be evil and Celestials always good.

But if their deity is evil then it stands to reason that their people will try to emulate them like Gnolls, Orcs and Goblins.

The Drow situation is understandable bearing in mind that elves can come across as Aryan.

I've always viewed Elves as snooty "better than you monkeys" types, with the Hero elves being the 1% ers of elven society. So yeah, I do see them as one step down from racists by nature.

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4 hours ago, Bazza said:

I agree that getting the Romani consultant is a good move. I do wonder how it will affect what is essentially a horror/Dracula setting. Additionally I wonder how the history of the Roma people (who are not "gypsies" as that is a derogatory stereotype).will be authentically integrated into the horror/Dracula setting and retain authenticity and justice to the Roma people, their ethos, their culture and their spirituality.    

 

I'm sure it'll be done badly.

 

Ravenloft was never meant to be an accurate portrayal of Romania.  It was basically the world of Universal monsters and Hammer films.  And those movies have stereotypical "gypsies" in them.  So you're left with this awkward situation.  You say "real Roma aren't like the gypsies in the movies", but what you actually want are the movie characters.  So you call them Vistani, and you're free to include movie stereotypes if you wish.  But then someone comes in and insists that your gypsy stereotype group, who you renamed to something else, has to look like the real life people who are supposedly nothing like the movies...

 

It would be like if you had a tribe of cannibals in a jungle adventure game.  And to get away from the troublesome African tribe stereotypes, you change them and make them nonhumans who practice necromancy.  So they're now a tribe of human-eating hobgoblins, who use bone magic and wear colorful tribal masks.  Like you can still kinda tell what they're going for, but they changed it to avoid implications of racism.  And then somebody comes in and says "that's not what real African tribes are like!"  Yeah no shit.  The more you make them like a real world culture, the more trouble you can get in.  The purpose is to hit the tropes of the genre while avoiding any racist connotations.

 

I'm not really sure how much of a market exists for traditional Ravenloft anymore though.  The movies it is based on are really old, and I kinda doubt that modern day teenagers are that familiar with them.

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10 hours ago, death tribble said:

If this is just the main races then fair enough. Demons and Devils will always be evil and Celestials always good.

But if their deity is evil then it stands to reason that their people will try to emulate them like Gnolls, Orcs and Goblins.

The Drow situation is understandable bearing in mind that elves can come across as Aryan.

Aryan is ancient tribe of  people from India. Hitler just stole the term togheter with the sun cross because he thought it was cool. 

Also you mean Aryan in the hitler term which means white not drow black, purple, grey, blue or whatever dnd use for drow skin now adays. Which makes no sense no matter from what angle I am looking at your argument in. Furthermore the evil of drows are because of their evil goddess and their matriarchal rule. Black matriarchs are not the same as the hitler youth. 

 

1 hour ago, pinecone said:

I've always viewed Elves as snooty "better than you monkeys" types, with the Hero elves being the 1% ers of elven society. So yeah, I do see them as one step down from racists by nature.

I seen this attitude in lots of players both online and off line. Orcs and other powerful aggressive conquering types are either misunderstood victims or cool warrior people worthy of admiration.

While passive and contemplative races that spend most of their time in the woods drinking wine and doing poetry are seen as "actually" evil and hateful. 

And if the game designers take this into consideration and create evil elves for instance. (In rpgs now I think there are more evil elves concepts than good tbh)

Then the players start to interpret the evil elves as either as cool misunderstood victims or bad ass warrior people worthy of admiration.

It seems to be instinctual in some people. Anything that is threatening and coming after you, like orcs are bad ass alpha individuals that should be sucked up to. 

And everything that is passive, cultural and maybe a little bit feminine, like elves are looser victims that should be crushed, spat on and hated.

And lets be honest here. there is more than a little bit of dislike of potentially gay and or the feminine woven in with elves hatred, maybe not that much at my table but certainly online. 

In my dnd campain back in the day I could not stand for such nonsense so I had one of the evil npcs high priest of the blood religion kill off the last elven tribes. So if you wanted to play an orc you could go test your steel on heavy dwarven infantry instead. Focused on macho ritualistic behavior of the orcs which most often the players would succeeded at but they could also fail at created an "on the edge" and slightly paranoid culture which gave the orcs a distinct flavor but also made the players aprichaite humanity and human culture more. Which to be honest is perhaps what orcs should be?

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Every GM will have his own interpretation of "what Orcs should be" -- or elves, for that matter. World of Warcraft with its Orc player characters has probably helped alter players view of Orcs in other roleplaying games. The cultrue was still a bit one-note, but it was a little better.

 

Nobody believes they are evil. Nobody. Every atrocity was someone's idea who thought it was the right thing to do. I imagine that even the people in gaming who worship Mythos beings and other Dark Gods think they are making their lives and the lives of those they care about better. There is some understandable need or motive that leads a person to do what they do. In comics, for example, Doctor Doom may want to conquer the world, but he loves his own people in Latveria and some of them love him. He believes he can rule more effectively than the people in charge now, and so he strives to accomplish this in the most arrogant and demeaning way possible. He believes Reed Richards wronged him greatly, wounding his body and his soul,, and no apology from his rival could deter him from his quest for revenge. Is Doom evil?  When it comes to his interactions with other nations, superheroes, and particular the Fantastic Four, definitely.  He seeks to impose his new world order without bothers to convince anyone outside perhaps Latveria that it would be a better alternative to what they have now. In the process of imposing that order, thousands if not millions of people would die and suffer needlessly because of his pride. His new order, if imposed, would stifle the will and creativity of untold numbers of people as he has the fruit of their intellectual labor twisted to his advantage as all dictators try to do. He doesn't believe himself to be evil, but just about everyone else outside Latveria knows better. Another good example is Baron Klaus Wulfenbach from Girl Genius, performing atrocities and playing the evil mastermind in order to keep the "mad scientists" of Europa under control and create some semblance of peace.  Give a D&D or Fantasy campaign a brilliantly conceived villain like that and the possibilities are endless.

 

A contrary example is Lina Inverse, heroine of the Slayers anime franchise. She may be the one that prevents the destruction of her world with superior magical ability and resourcefulness, and we see the world mostly through her eyes, but she does not have a drop of benevolence in her. She slaughters raiding bandit gangs without hestitiation and instead of returning the loot to the people the bandits robbed she keeps it all for herself.  Her relationship with her companion is abusive, from beating him down by constantly telling him how stupid he is to beating him down with her fists. That he tolerates it is no excuse. Plus her powers come from the very beings she fights against -- the Demon Race of Mazoku. She thinks about herself first, last, and only. She is in many ways the archetype of a high-level PC who in the old D&D alignment system might fall into Chaotic Neutral depending on how selfishly she is played.

 

Have you ever wondered why Orcs raid agricultural villages and serve dark overlords who tell them to kill and kill? You can give reasons that don't paint them as pure hate personified. Perhaps Orcs raid villages because they need to survive. Their children would starve if they couldn't bring home the proceeds of the raid. They could in theory buy foodstuffs, but where would they get the money? Perhaps by enlisting in the army of a wizard, lich, or other Dark Lord who needs manpower to launch his latest scheme. It might not matter to the players -- the Orcs are still going to be deadly enemies most of the time -- but in the DMs mind it might make it easier for the GM to create more interesting encounters to have some idea why adversaries act the way they do.

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I'd like to say I'm surprised that there are people who think that making a game more inclusive and less offensive to people is bad in some way. I'm not, but I wish I was.

 

There are people who think that Political Correctness is some evil thing, akin to the removal of their basic human rights. It's not. It's what my Nanna would have called Good Manners. So the next time you see something that makes you think "Argh! No! Polical Correctness!" maybe instead try to think "Good Manners." After all, they cost nothing.

 

So any way, here's links to Parts 1 & 2 of a very well written article about the issue of inherently evil races in games and how the language used to describe them in gaming parallels the language used by real world racism.

 

https://jamesmendezhodes.com/blog/2019/1/13/orcs-britons-and-the-martial-race-myth-part-i-a-species-built-for-racial-terror

 

https://jamesmendezhodes.com/blog/2019/6/30/orcs-britons-and-the-martial-race-myth-part-ii-theyre-not-human

 

I am sure that those who need to read them the most will not bother to, but I can hope.

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15 hours ago, Trencher said:

Oh one more thing lol. Instead of fixing their main books Wizard are going to sell another book which tells players how to "fix" a problem wizards created in the first place LOL!

 

 

I don't disagree with your sentiment, but Wizards didn't create the problem.

 

Gygax and Tactical Systems Research ("Research!"  HA!  :rofl:   ) created the problem.

 

For what it's worth, I don't care if they leave the alignment system in or not, because _screw_ D&D.   ;)      However, I've never been really big on accepting "this whole race is evil; deal with it."   I am _totally_ cool with "this particular dickhead right here, _he_ is totally evil."  I'm _way_ fine with that.  I just can't figure how a race of mortals with any sort of society can all just "be evil" and a society is still maintained.  I'm willing to be that even Mayans weren't chucking people onto the altar every stinking day.....

 

 

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I have never seen the alignment system as absolute. In any game (even rl) everyone possesses a code that they will live by and to some point controls their actions. This code is not mandated by some outside force but rather by their own past experiences and beliefs. This code can be considered to be that person's position on the alignment chart. It will state of I determine if some being will be good, neutral, or evil (basically the position it and I have on the alignment system). I can make a successful attack on someone who sees himself as good with a spell that only targets evil because I see that target as evil, not because they are evil.

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4 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

 

 

I don't disagree with your sentiment, but Wizards didn't create the problem.

 

Gygax and Tactical Systems Research ("Research!"  HA!  :rofl:   ) created the problem.

 

For what it's worth, I don't care if they leave the alignment system in or not, because _screw_ D&D.   ;)      However, I've never been really big on accepting "this whole race is evil; deal with it."   I am _totally_ cool with "this particular dickhead right here, _he_ is totally evil."  I'm _way_ fine with that.  I just can't figure how a race of mortals with any sort of society can all just "be evil" and a society is still maintained.  I'm willing to be that even Mayans weren't chucking people onto the altar every stinking day.....

 

 

I think that was more the Aztecs, but I Am fuzzy on Maya religion

 

 

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As yet, all I have to go on is that one paragraph quoted in the article. I think it's a creative reading of the text to say that WotC has embraced "moral relativism." The passage only says they are trying to move away from the notion that an entire species or ethnic group can be born evil, with no choice in the matter.

 

Is that "Political Correctness"? Well, maybe. Is that a bad thing? Maybe if you think the morals of the past are sacrosanct. I don't. Here in the 21st century, we know more about medicine than Galen and more about celestial mechanics than Ptolemy. I have no trouble believing we also know more about ethics than did people of the past. Or should.

 

"It's okay to kill <fill in the blank> because they're born evil" is a common and authentic belief of some of the past cultures that inspire our Fantasy, but I do not feel obligated to preserve it if a game isn't specifically an attempt to portray a particular past culture.

 

(Actually, I suspect the more common belief was, "It's okay to kill anyone not in your tribe/city-state/whatever if they get in your way.")

 

Dean Shomshak

 

 

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"Is this group evil?" is also a complex question, in that it assumes a definition of what constitutes evil. That is not a simple thing.

 

In my Fantasy, as with my superhero games, I ask what makes the villains villainous, and why they act that way.

 

Some creatures "intrinsically evil" in that they cannot coexist with other intelligent creatures. They may have minds so alien that they don't perceive other creatures as people, or they must harm other intelligent creatures to survive. Aberrations generally fall in this category. Like, mind flayers *have to* eat brains.

 

Most undead in my setting are also morally unfree -- they are damaged creatures, the power of the soul melted down into something physically and metaphysically destructive, often an insane exaggeration of some passion from life. The murder victim who comes back and attacks anyone even vaguely reminiscent of their killer. The plaguevictim who was abandoned and died alone, coming back to reclaim its family... by making them undead too. (Etc.)

 

Some creatures were created to embody other peoples' notions of evil, whether as agents or scapegoats. The fiends of my setting fill this role. If Hell didn't exist, people would have to invent it -- so they did.

 

Some creatures have temperaments that are, hm, difficult for other people to work with. For instance, hobgoblins are disciplined, obedient, pitiless. Near-perfect soldiers for another's will. It's not a nice point of view. If the commander tells a group of hobgoblins to massacre a village, they do it, no hesitation or guilt. Order them to defend the village, and they'll fight to the death to do that, too. Or, trolls are rather stupid and accustomed to levels of violence that would self-exterminate any other people who lived that way, because they heal darn near anything in seconds. But they can think and act beyond their temperament, sometimes, if they must.

 

And some cultures are just horrible because people can do very bad things if they are trained to it. The Savaxi ruling class of the Macrine Empire are a tribe of cattle-herding human barbarian nomads who conquered an empire and have a monstrous superiority complex. The multi-species people of the Holy Empire are ruled by a fanatical cult determined to conquer or kill anyone who does not worship the sun god Sorath exactly the same way they do, because perfect virtue cannot compromise. The drow... Well, how they ended up ruled by the demon Lolth is by now forgotten. (Or suppressed.) Their culture of ambition, cruelty and deceit barely keeps from self-destructing. But people, who are actually people, have as much difficulty being Evil all the time as they have being Good.  The couple that affects to scorn and scheme against each other holds hands when they think nobody's looking.

 

Dean Shomshak

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20 hours ago, Trencher said:

Aryan is ancient tribe of  people from India. Hitler just stole the term togheter with the sun cross because he thought it was cool. 

Also you mean Aryan in the hitler term which means white not drow black, purple, grey, blue or whatever dnd use for drow skin now adays. Which makes no sense no matter from what angle I am looking at your argument in. Furthermore the evil of drows are because of their evil goddess and their matriarchal rule. Black matriarchs are not the same as the hitler youth. 

 

I seen this attitude in lots of players both online and off line. Orcs and other powerful aggressive conquering types are either misunderstood victims or cool warrior people worthy of admiration.

While passive and contemplative races that spend most of their time in the woods drinking wine and doing poetry are seen as "actually" evil and hateful. 

And if the game designers take this into consideration and create evil elves for instance. (In rpgs now I think there are more evil elves concepts than good tbh)

Then the players start to interpret the evil elves as either as cool misunderstood victims or bad ass warrior people worthy of admiration.

It seems to be instinctual in some people. Anything that is threatening and coming after you, like orcs are bad ass alpha individuals that should be sucked up to. 

And everything that is passive, cultural and maybe a little bit feminine, like elves are looser victims that should be crushed, spat on and hated.

And lets be honest here. there is more than a little bit of dislike of potentially gay and or the feminine woven in with elves hatred, maybe not that much at my table but certainly online. 

In my dnd campain back in the day I could not stand for such nonsense so I had one of the evil npcs high priest of the blood religion kill off the last elven tribes. So if you wanted to play an orc you could go test your steel on heavy dwarven infantry instead. Focused on macho ritualistic behavior of the orcs which most often the players would succeeded at but they could also fail at created an "on the edge" and slightly paranoid culture which gave the orcs a distinct flavor but also made the players aprichaite humanity and human culture more. Which to be honest is perhaps what orcs should be?

I usually used "Snooty Elves" to highlight systemic racist behavior, the few elves who gave a dang and tried to help save the world were viewed as dangerous deviants by their own kind. And the usual source of stable half elf families. Most 1/2 elf children were raised by single mothers.

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