D&D race

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Skyman
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D&D race

Post by Skyman » Sat Nov 22, 2008 12:35 am

So back inthe day I tried to get my Dad to play AD&D and his first observation was very much like this [SIZE="5"]ONE.[/SIZE]
My dad refused to play as a result

You might want to check out the power point

Now this can easily go in discussion but this topic is most likely best suited here
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Post by jimmy corrigan » Sat Nov 22, 2008 3:21 am

Skyman wrote:So back inthe day I tried to get my Dad to play AD&D and his first observation was very much like this [SIZE="5"]ONE.[/SIZE]
My dad refused to play as a result


do you think your dad would play today? would he be more amenable if he was allowed to play a character who was uncharacteristic of his "race"?

i admit, i wish more rpg's would be looser with racial stat bonuses, physical descriptions, behavioral profiles and such, but understand why they're there. race is a human construct and as such creep up in other ambiguous human constructions, like fictional entertainment. i do have this aversion to sections of flavor text in rpg books that outline how a whole race behaves, described in pretty heavy handed broad strokes. but i try not to get all holier than thou and just try to have fun regardless.

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Post by Skyman » Sat Nov 22, 2008 10:32 am

no

The system dictates that certain races kill another race based on them being from another race...sure you can 'exceptions' but then those exceptions exist when there should not be in his mind. The game probably looks like institutionalize racism at it's best.
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Post by Dragonkin » Sat Nov 22, 2008 11:13 am

Skyman wrote:no

The system dictates that certain races kill another race based on them being from another race...sure you can 'exceptions' but then those exceptions exist when there should not be in his mind. The game probably looks like institutionalize racism at it's best.


<insert=$0.02>

While I can understand, and respect, your father's views to some point, I also understand the following:

Any "game" exists due to conflict. In every game, the conflict is built in. Player one vs. Player two, PC's vs. evil, etc. The easiest way to build conflict into a cooperative game, such as an RPG, is to insert racial/cultural tensions. It may not be ideal, and an author can certainly insert their socio-political views into the fabric of the rules (and I know this has been done, though I'm unable to point out any specifics), but there it is.

Insofar as mechanical modifiers/abilities which differentiate between races are concerned, why play anything other than human, if all the races are the same? While the old wording that humans are innately superior to the other races is offensive at best, I can understand making human the baseline. We are, after all, human. If the world were populated by elves, or tieflings, or gelatinous cubes, then that would be the baseline. It offers flavor, and incentive to pretend you're something else than a CPA (apologies to any CPA's on the board!).

While the chosen illustrations could certainly be more culturally diverse, I think we can take some small comfort in the following: Man is not described warring with Man over these cultural divisions.

</insert=$0.02>
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Post by Skyman » Sun Nov 23, 2008 8:54 pm

Dragonkin wrote:<insert=$0.02>

While I can understand, and respect, your father's views to some point, I also understand the following:

Any "game" exists due to conflict. In every game, the conflict is built in. Player one vs. Player two, PC's vs. evil, etc. The easiest way to build conflict into a cooperative game, such as an RPG, is to insert racial/cultural tensions. It may not be ideal, and an author can certainly insert their socio-political views into the fabric of the rules (and I know this has been done, though I'm unable to point out any specifics), but there it is.

Insofar as mechanical modifiers/abilities which differentiate between races are concerned, why play anything other than human, if all the races are the same? While the old wording that humans are innately superior to the other races is offensive at best, I can understand making human the baseline. We are, after all, human. If the world were populated by elves, or tieflings, or gelatinous cubes, then that would be the baseline. It offers flavor, and incentive to pretend you're something else than a CPA (apologies to any CPA's on the board!).

While the chosen illustrations could certainly be more culturally diverse, I think we can take some small comfort in the following: Man is not described warring with Man over these cultural divisions.

</insert=$0.02>


Yeah I said something similar to him along those lines when I was 15yo but that didn't fly...Hey he didn't stop me from playing so that's what really matters. At least he didn't give me some BS about this being Satans game.
Reading the article and the power point really open my eyes to his point of perspective. He would tell me stories about growing up and seeing racist stuff like the segregated bathrooms and crappy treatment people would get. Yeah people getting carted off to concentration camps is the shitz
Being older now and having more understanding how the world works. I don't think I could get back into that discusion with him and expect not to make myself look like an idiot.
I currently played in Svens D&D game and he ran it in such a way that issues like that were not needed to drive the game or entice me to play an elf. I think Gnomes are oppressed in 4.0
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Post by jimmy corrigan » Mon Nov 24, 2008 1:38 am

yeah, your father has every right to feel the way he does and i feel i'd have similar sentiments as him had i lived through our pre-civil rights days.

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Post by cczernia » Mon Nov 24, 2008 7:59 am

I have mixed feelings with the article. I agree with a lot of what he has to say but I don't know how I would change D&D.

If you removed all racial abilities and put in an equal amount of pictures of different ethnic humans would that fix D&D and make it more politically correct. Perhaps a little but the article went into a lot more then that.

So, how would you fix D&D because I don't really know?
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Post by ekomega » Mon Nov 24, 2008 12:32 pm

I found this article very interesting. It doesn't surprise me, though. Did TSR or does WotC even have any non-white people on the staff? How many women? I guess artists and writers at those companies find it easier to "paint what you know".

This issue of WotC "bias" -- although I hate to use that word because I doubt it's intentional, but rather complete cluelessness-- became evident to me when they introduced the Confessions of a Part-time Sorceress shit.

It proved to me, and this article highlights further, that the creators of DnD are racist, misogynist assholes with no connection to reality in their tiny all-white Washington suburbs. I bet they don't even see black people once a week.

If I were a minority, why would I live out a fantasy of being poor, oppressed, and unhappy? I already live that every day! Of course every roleplayer wants to be rich, successful, and powerful -- and therefore everyone wants to roleplay a misogynist, racist white guy.

As for misogynism, someone at WotC had the brilliant idea that to convince women that DnD was for them, they would hire a weirdo lesbian to write articles about her experience with DnD, except she would pretend that she was a hipster-barbie heterosexual. Just so that she would represent the main woman demographic they were targeting, which is affluent, white, heterosexual women ages 18-45.

I can't read any of that Confessions garbage without feeling insulted for women, and the human race in general. My main problem with her is that she thinks destroying feminism (by pretending to be a barbie idiot, and espousing deprecating values) is the key to gaining market share (or at least they make her writing say that).

As an example, in one article, she goes to the perfume section of Nordstrom to buy something, and happens to be carrying around a dice bag and drops the dice all over the floor, and then explains to the slightly curious saleswoman what DnD is all about, and why she's carrying a d12 in Nordstrom. Besides the complete bullshit story (no one would believe it, I mean... come on!), the idea is that women who should play DnD can be found wearing lots of makeup and selling perfume to other beautifully appointed women who shop at Nordstrom (affluent white women). Not that there's anything wrong with women doing that or wearing that stuff, but to me it screams 50's era mentality of women's roles and attitudes.

So... in conclusion, DnD is for rich whitey men and nobody else.

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Post by mordraine » Mon Nov 24, 2008 5:02 pm

cczernia wrote:I have mixed feelings with the article. I agree with a lot of what he has to say but I don't know how I would change D&D.

If you removed all racial abilities and put in an equal amount of pictures of different ethnic humans would that fix D&D and make it more politically correct. Perhaps a little but the article went into a lot more then that.

So, how would you fix D&D because I don't really know?


Me either. I say "fuck it" and leave it alone, but that's just me.

I don't think D&D is racist. I think it's written (a) based on particular fantasy tropes, and (b) based on the experience of the creators, writers and artists who worked on it (the vast majority of whom happen to be white).

Let me ask a general question - is the exclusion of a race from something considered racist? I.e. - if Stephen King always has white protagonists in his books, is he racist? Further - if all of his protagonists are male, is he sexist? How about if all of his protagonists are heterosexual, is he homophobic?
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Post by Dragonkin » Mon Nov 24, 2008 5:34 pm

ekomega wrote:I found this article very interesting. It doesn't surprise me, though. Did TSR or does WotC even have any non-white people on the staff? How many women? I guess artists and writers at those companies find it easier to "paint what you know".


You know, that's a good point. I didn't even really think about it until reading your post. For years after discovering D&D, the only people I gamed with were white males. I was shocked (albeit, pleasantly) to discover that women also enjoyed RPG's. And, it's only in recent years that I've gamed with people who weren't white.

These omissions weren't intentional. I never made any attempt to hide my "gamer tendencies," nor sought to exclude the opposite gender or other "races." I think that the social stigma surrounding RPGs in general (and D&D specifically) is still present, though slowly being replaced with understanding and acceptance. If only we could say the same about society in general, n'est-ce pas?
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Post by ekomega » Mon Nov 24, 2008 6:48 pm

mordraine wrote:Let me ask a general question - is the exclusion of a race from something considered racist? I.e. - if Stephen King always has white protagonists in his books, is he racist? Further - if all of his protagonists are male, is he sexist? How about if all of his protagonists are heterosexual, is he homophobic?


It depends. If there is intent, then yes, they are all those things. If not, then they are ignorant, which is only slightly better.

I'm not going to get all PC here, but I think if someone makes a valid, rational argument that the game you've been designing for years is unintentionally racist, if you don't at least acknowledge it or try to do something about it, then you are only marginally better than actually being racist.

For people who are intelligent, and who write things professionally which require a lot of thought, they have to have noticed this.

Edit-- I realized much later that I give the writers at WotC too much credit. Unlike professional writers (say Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Tom Clancy, and not JK Rowling or Stephanie Meyer) who carefully choose their words and edit their work, the WotC authors barely manage to barf on the paper and they are very lightly edited. I'm sure they have not noticed this racist trend, because they don't think about what they're writing for more than one second. I'm sure some of them do, but apparently not enough to care.

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