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Diversity & Dungeons & Dragons

Jun 18, 2020 8:05 am
From WotC yesterday: https://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/diversity-and-dnd

Highlights:
* Orcs and drow are going to be less stereotypically evil - I think most DMs had already done this.
* The Vistani in CoS. Yeah.... I've run this module. It's pretty uncomfortable having to keep answering the players "Yes. It actually says that."
* Ability scores and races. I kinda understand where they're going with this, but that'd be a whole debate which I don't want to join on here. On the plus side we'll see fewer cliché characters where the race was chosen just for the bonus. I'm kinda sick of goliath barbarians, firbolg druids, tabaxi rogues and gnome wizards.
* They're going to try harder, and isn't that the main thing? I quite like the diversity in the new modules like WDH. It's clear that they're already trying quite hard.
Jun 18, 2020 11:20 am
I've always been of the school of though that prejudice and discrimination was something for the heroes to overcome. A social challenge if you will (after all you can't be fighting monsters and disarming traps all the time). But hey, god forbid we trigger any half-orcs or drows... **roll eyes**
Jun 18, 2020 11:28 am
Intellectual Reasoning vs. Emotional Reasoning ... too many "snap" decisions these days made with the latter method these days me thinks.

But, maybe it'll work. idk
Last edited June 18, 2020 11:32 am, a total of 2 times
Jun 18, 2020 12:28 pm
I'm not sure what y'all trying to say here. But it sounds like you're agreeing with WotC.
[ +- ] Spoiler: CoS and WDH
Jun 18, 2020 12:47 pm
Adam says:
I'm not sure what y'all trying to say here. But it sounds like you're agreeing with WotC.
[ +- ] Spoiler: CoS and WDH
I see what they're trying to do...I think. I just don't agree with the premise for the "change." But, to each their own.
Jun 18, 2020 12:59 pm
I think it’s only good that they’re trying to be more inclusive in the future and rectify some of the mistakes that they’ve done. I’m not sure how the whole different ability scores/races thing will work in practice, so I’ll wait to pass judgment on that even if it seems slightly strange on the surface, maybe it works within context. But the rest seems absolutely fine to me, especially when it comes to official releases.
Jun 18, 2020 1:18 pm
This all seems great, and very in-tune with the cultural moment. I noticed that they don't use the word "races" in their explanation of how the (seemingly entirely optional) new ability score rules will work. This is honestly such a simple, obvious, and long-overdue change.

I think it's really exciting when publishers analyze their past work with a critical eye, and are able to say, "Well, here's the stuff that made this game or module great, and here's where we missed the mark 30 years ago." I don't see how working to make more people feel included can do anything but strengthen a game and its community.

Why is it an "emotional response" when members of minority groups don't want to have to be confronted with material that offends them, but not when people freak out on the internet over half-orcs having something other than a +2 STR/-2 INT ability score modifier? Is that an "intellectual response"? How is it "intellectual" to adhere to stereotypes that are literally based on things like phrenology and scientific racism?

The premise for the change seems to be that people are sick of racist crap. Are you really saying you don't agree with that premise?
Last edited June 18, 2020 1:18 pm, a total of 1 time
Jun 18, 2020 1:41 pm
I wonder if this rethink of Orcs and Drow will carry over to other intelligent creatures? I came to D&D relatively late, and my group didn't understand why my cleric character insisted on giving last rites to dead Goblins we'd fought and so on. But as a player, it just seemed ethical. Goblins are an intelligent people with their own culture and customs. I guess what I'm saying is that WotC is in difficult waters in trying to distinguish "races" from "monsters." But it's a good question to ponder.
Last edited June 18, 2020 1:41 pm, a total of 1 time
Jun 18, 2020 1:54 pm
Was there a big outcry to WotC about the racism in D&D over the years? I might have missed all that...being a bit fresh to the tabletop community.

However, my comment was more related to the issue that much is happening very quickly in response to all the "racist crap."

Hence, the Emotional vs Intellectual comment.
Jun 18, 2020 1:55 pm
SavageBob says:
I wonder if this rethink of Orcs and Drow will carry over to other intelligent creatures? I came to D&D relatively late, and my group didn't understand why my cleric character insisted on giving last rites to dead Goblins we'd fought and so on. But as a player, it just seemed ethical. Goblins are an intelligent people with their own culture and customs. I guess what I'm saying is that WotC is in difficult waters in trying to distinguish "races" from "monsters." But it's a good question to ponder.
That is a good question! :)
Jun 18, 2020 2:46 pm
GM.Maestro.82 says:
Was there a big outcry to WotC about the racism in D&D over the years? I might have missed all that...being a bit fresh to the tabletop community.

However, my comment was more related to the issue that much is happening very quickly in response to all the "racist crap."
If you think this "racist crap" in D&D is modern, then I don't know what to tell you except - no, it's always been always been there. It's just now people aren't putting up with "racist crap" as much - does that bother you? Surely it can't bother you that people are trying to fix it.

As for "very quickly" - they've been on notice since at least 1981. Dragon Magazine, February 1981 https://annarchive.com/files/Drmg046.pdf (discussing part of Greyhawk).
Almost40YearsAgo says:
The map says that both are inhabited by “savages”; the gazetteer describes one, the Amedio Jungle, as “inhabited by tribes of cannibal savages.” This talk of “savages” reminds me of the Tarzan movies that depicted black Africans as stupid “yasa, Bwana” types or animal-like monsters that would kill everyone they came across, usually via some barbaric method reminiscent of Josef Mengele. To use such terms in the product is an indirect insult to the black man, and should not have been done.
Jun 18, 2020 2:50 pm
GM.Maestro.82 says:
Was there a big outcry to WotC about the racism in D&D over the years?
Well... yes.

But the actual point here is that, if published gaming material contains demeaning stereotypes of analogs of RL groups of people, that is clearly not okay. Everyone should be able to join a game with the expectation of feeling equal and included, and it's hard to feel that when the module you're playing contains racist, ablist, or other bigoted assumptions or explicit insults.
Jun 18, 2020 3:21 pm
kalajel says:
I've always been of the school of though that prejudice and discrimination was something for the heroes to overcome. A social challenge if you will (after all you can't be fighting monsters and disarming traps all the time). But hey, god forbid we trigger any half-orcs or drows... **roll eyes**
It needs hardly be said that it's not half-orcs and drows who are objecting to the negative traits that these races have been saddled with, but members of non-white, non-European heritage groups who are clearly aware of why those negative traits have been applied as they are in the gaming material.

And you can't really have a campaign about overcoming prejudice and discrimination if the material doesn't acknowledge the bigotry that is baked into the concepts.
Jun 18, 2020 3:30 pm
Moonbeam says:
And you can't really have a campaign about overcoming prejudice and discrimination if the material doesn't acknowledge the bigotry that is baked into the concepts.
I also don't see how someone could possibly have a game about overcoming prejudice and discrimination when they meet every real-life attempt to do so with reactionary disdain and smug jokes at the expense of people who have been traumatized by violence and oppression.
Jun 18, 2020 3:48 pm
And if those negative stereotypes and prejudices are not just that but the literal truth in the game setting
Jun 18, 2020 4:13 pm
As always, a reminder to keep things civil. I'm seeing some really interesting points that phrase things better than I could have in the past, but keep things friendly.
Jun 18, 2020 4:48 pm
I was chatting with bowl and ... this is really a non objective debate. No offence to anyone, I understand and agree with the idea. But, rationalising it...

First it is fantasy so yeah... by definition things don’t have to work as in the real world. We can always find the relationships we’re looking for. I mean I can say orcs are basically African tribes and so it’s racist (though some of those empires kicked some proper European ass!). But maybe they are germatic tribes. I mean those guys were big and carried axes no? That’s racist as well because... germans. In respect to the fantasy aspect. Is it ok to have movies about slavery and racism? Then why not games? Different media to explore the same concepts. (I think this is what Kalajel meant)

Second, if we want to go there, race is one problem in the big picture. I mean, I would complain about classes. Really? Barbarians? May as well call them savages or smash peoples! Or the fact that there are literally gods wanting to kill each other. I mean, religious intolerance is as bad as racism and the drow are simply on a crusade/jihad. It’s not personal, they just worship a demon. You can’t even argue they are a bunch of crazies making stuff up because She is real. Deep down, they are oppressed people, not evil.

Which, takes me to the next point... why are demons evil? Because they were born in hell? Just because they were unlucky? Well if that is acceptable, then a race created for evil like orcs should be ok. I mean, it’s the same logic no? Where do you draw the line? Demons are not only a group of sentient races... they are wiser and smarter than the average human... on average

Lastly, the race attributes are comparing to the average human. It’s stats. Is saying the average Scandinavian is taller than the average Japanese offensive? If not, why is it saying that a sentient races has, on average, less cognitive capacity than the human average? (Pretty sure no one argues about the orc +2 STR). Some will be smarter, some will be dumber. It’s just that it’s more likely that PCs will find a dumber one. Nothing is actually preventing any player from making a “orc wizard”. I mean, it would just take the GM to not assume optimal and min/max parties and balance the combat no?
OOC:
right, just food for thought. You may burn down GP now:D
Last edited June 18, 2020 4:57 pm, a total of 7 times
Jun 18, 2020 4:55 pm
I think the issue is that all of the assumptions that are made about what is "default" or "normal" or "human" have invariably done so with the conscious or unconscious centering of traits and norms associated with white European culture and attitudes (not to mention, straight and male expectations and values). That's how the racism and bigotry gets baked right in, and it's why people who are white, of European descent, straight, male, etc. often don't see it. Because it centers their own understanding of the world and mirrors their experiences.

Those of us who aren't part of that overall dominant culture, however, see it - and feel it - very plainly.
Last edited June 18, 2020 4:56 pm, a total of 1 time
Jun 18, 2020 4:59 pm
Quote:
I was chatting with bowl
I just want to briefly add for transparency that while we did chat about it, those aren't any sort of conclusions that we reached together. Those are just CESN's thoughts on the matter xD
Jun 18, 2020 5:07 pm
Though I see we’re you’re coming from and agree, I’ll have to add that racism is not a white European thing. It is/was everywhere even where white Europeans are/were not. It is not even about white vs black. That is one form of racism. Second, an average man, an average woman, and average Asian or any other human have the same stats: 10 on everything. So I think it goes back to see what we want to see. And the dominant culture in the game is “human”, so that’s the baseline.

(You are totally right about the real world, just thinking game rules here)
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