Racism in D&D 5e

No, I’m not talking about black vs. white… I’m talking about Orc vs. Elf and Human vs. Demi-Human. (Not a word used a lot anymore)


In our modern society if you wish to discriminate against somebody for their race, you can expect: lawsuits, packs of activists slapping together cardboard signs, a multi-media blitz pointing out your judgmental immoral ways, coverage on a plethora 24hr news stations showing what a hated jerk you are, inside of 24hrs you will be one of the most hated people in the country.


In a medieval society, if Frank’s dad was killed by an elf, and Frank goes around telling the whole society about the evil dangerous hated elves, chances are when that rare elf walks into the human village (even years after frank’s death) he’s likely going to get lynched. People simply didn’t move around so much, the wilderness was a dangerous place, news from other villages, cities and nations might take years to reach most settlements, not to mention the isolated ones.


Humans in the D&D realm live in a precarious position, they don’t really have a place to call their own and live under constant assault by things not human.  Elves have their sacred woods and the magical high elf cities, Dwarves live in mountains or hill keeps, Halflings make their homes near settlements of other powerful races… keeping a low profile (pun intended) but these good races have banded together for their common benefit, they may not like each other but they learn to get along… maybe even going so far as to allow a few individuals from other races live in their cities…


But what about those evil and weird races… Orks live for battle, setting up war camps anywhere raiding everywhere, the true scourge of the fantasy realm. Drow live in the underdark and raid the sunlit lands in the dead of night committing assassinations and kidnappings for slaves and sacrifice. I won’t even go into all the other races; warforged, dragonkin, lizardmen or whatever else may walk, slither, roll, or fly.  


That’s why I can’t understand how three Drow, and a few Orks might just walk up to the gates of a human settlement and say “Hi, were here to trade” and receive a “Come right in kind sirs” as a reply.


In our games, if you wanted to run a Minotaur or any other monster race you expected to hide in the forest when the rest of the party went to town, because otherwise at best you would be followed around by guards, baited, possibly imprisoned… At worst, mobs of angry townsfolk with torches and pitchforks… you want to play a monster, fine, your going to be treated like a monster.   


How does it work in other people’s worlds and can somebody explain to me how a woman raising a child in this setting would explain to her daughter “Yes, Mr. Gorestomp is an Ork bred for battle and war, the enemy of all good beings, one of the races of beings that have been attacking this kingdom and slaughtering or enslaving its people for generations untold, but he’s also really nice and bakes wonderful pies”


   

"The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules." Gygax
I can understand, The scenario plays out with the Drow and Orcs until the character wakes up and the DM tells him it was some wierd dream. TV show "Dallas" had a whole season a dream sequence, sad, but it has been done.... oh crap now i feel old

What is a Dallas?
All that AND a bag of dice Baby!!!

No, I’m not talking about black vs. white… I’m talking about Orc vs. Elf and Human vs. Demi-Human. (Not a word used a lot anymore)


In our modern society if you wish to discriminate against somebody for their race, you can expect: lawsuits, packs of activists slapping together cardboard signs, a multi-media blitz pointing out your judgmental immoral ways, coverage on a plethora 24hr news stations showing what a hated jerk you are, inside of 24hrs you will be one of the most hated people in the country.


In a medieval society, if Frank’s dad was killed by an elf, and Frank goes around telling the whole society about the evil dangerous hated elves, chances are when that rare elf walks into the human village (even years after frank’s death) he’s likely going to get lynched. People simply didn’t move around so much, the wilderness was a dangerous place, news from other villages, cities and nations might take years to reach most settlements, not to mention the isolated ones.


Humans in the D&D realm live in a precarious position, they don’t really have a place to call their own and live under constant assault by things not human.  Elves have their sacred woods and the magical high elf cities, Dwarves live in mountains or hill keeps, Halflings make their homes near settlements of other powerful races… keeping a low profile (pun intended) but these good races have banded together for their common benefit, they may not like each other but they learn to get along… maybe even going so far as to allow a few individuals from other races live in their cities…


But what about those evil and weird races… Orks live for battle, setting up war camps anywhere raiding everywhere, the true scourge of the fantasy realm. Drow live in the underdark and raid the sunlit lands in the dead of night committing assassinations and kidnappings for slaves and sacrifice. I won’t even go into all the other races; warforged, dragonkin, lizardmen or whatever else may walk, slither, roll, or fly.  


That’s why I can’t understand how three Drow, and a few Orks might just walk up to the gates of a human settlement and say “Hi, were here to trade” and receive a “Come right in kind sirs” as a reply.


In our games, if you wanted to run a Minotaur or any other monster race you expected to hide in the forest when the rest of the party went to town, because otherwise at best you would be followed around by guards, baited, possibly imprisoned… At worst, mobs of angry townsfolk with torches and pitchforks… you want to play a monster, fine, your going to be treated like a monster.   


How does it work in other people’s worlds and can somebody explain to me how a woman raising a child in this setting would explain to her daughter “Yes, Mr. Gorestomp is an Ork bred for battle and war, the enemy of all good beings, one of the races of beings that have been attacking this kingdom and slaughtering or enslaving its people for generations untold, but he’s also really nice and bakes wonderful pies”


   




D&D isnt our world.
All that AND a bag of dice Baby!!!
Heh, Dallas was a long running tv show. IIRC, at the beginning of the last season, the previous seasons cliffhanger was solved with the excuse that it was all previous seasons were a dream. It never recovered after that.

In response to the OP, I agree. And generally, that's why I either like to run Planescape type games or my players tend to stick to the core races.

-Calestin Kethal
But what about those evil and weird races… Orks live for battle, setting up war camps anywhere raiding everywhere, the true scourge of the fantasy realm. Drow live in the underdark and raid the sunlit lands in the dead of night committing assassinations and kidnappings for slaves and sacrifice. I won’t even go into all the other races; warforged, dragonkin, lizardmen or whatever else may walk, slither, roll, or fly.  


It's a setting issue. In my setting, Orcs are generally respected, although they are known to be somewhat savage at times, but hey, at least they're not Taronblooded.

Now, a Taronblooded individual? Yeah, there are towns where they'd get killed on sight. There are towns where they'd be fleed from.

And then there are cities. And in a city they'll be treated, mostly, fairly.

That’s why I can’t understand how three Drow, and a few Orks might just walk up to the gates of a human settlement and say “Hi, were here to trade” and receive a “Come right in kind sirs” as a reply.

 



Are they famous? If that party is a famous party of heroes, then there's a good chance they will get that.

Otherwise, IN THE SETTING YOU DESCRIBED, it's not going to happen. Because the setting you described has orcs and drow actually being 99.9% evil. Not everyone's setting has that.
How does it work in other people’s worlds and can somebody explain to me how a woman raising a child in this setting would explain to her daughter “Yes, Mr. Gorestomp is an Ork bred for battle and war, the enemy of all good beings, one of the races of beings that have been attacking this kingdom and slaughtering or enslaving its people for generations untold, but he’s also really nice and bakes wonderful pies”

I mostly play Eberron, which is much more cosmopolitan in it's intermingling of races. You define yourself more by nation and continent than race. Theres still tension between the races of Eberron, but it's more like real racism with distrust and predjuice being prominent over "Minotaur! Burn it down!"

Outside Eberron my group runs things much the same way. Orcs might be the last roar of a dead warrior god made manifest, but they are still by-and-large individuals whose actions are united by culture, not blood. So people a Human village might not trust the Orc, but they're also suspicious of the other people who are different from them.

I don't like ascribing personality/alignment traits to races just because they are that race. Cultural upbringing rules the roost in my games.
A few reasons.
1- racism generally isn't fun in any way shape or fun. Since we make the game how we want it, we cut out racism.
2- sure an orcs might occasionally raise an army and try to conqure the city butthis one isn't. Also he has loads of money, is super powerful and wants to protect us. Lets let him.
3- this is a setting where demons might actually burst into town and kill everyone anyday. A non hostile orc isnt paticularly threatening.

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"                                                  "I'd recommend no one listed to Krusk's opinions about what games to play"

Sometimes I wish some races in my settins aren´t so evil.

And about prejudices the good races suffer them too (like haflings are thiefs, dwarfs destroy Nature to get gold, elves are proud and gays, half-orcs are muscles without brain and usually sons of raped women, half-eves are sons out of marriage, githzerai are xenophobic, korobokuru (from Oriental Adventures) are very primitives... and the kenders from Krynn (It´s better we don´t talkt about it)..... 

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

Racism works in D&D (its a Game folks, lets keep our eye o the ball here) Regarding the creatures aka demi-humans. Orcs, drow are/were known as evil folk as were many other types. To me it keeps things simple. It makes the morality issue less of one when characters kill them including the unarmed and children of that race. D&D has always had conflict in the game and from many directions. The racial hatred being just one of them. Take the half-orc and Elf relationship in a group. They have to learn to get over it and work together, it makes for some good role play with the right people. 
(totally agreeing with ancient)

Wait, what?


Racism isn’t fun? What about the racism that exists between elves and dwarves… that was comedy relief for the entire lord of the rings movies. Racial animosity is great fluff for the characters to use in their role-playing.


And one of the great things about D&D is the black and white morality…


In WWII we depicted all images of Germans and Japanese as bestial creatures that were barely human, with monstrous desires and appetites… we de-humanized them to make it ok to slaughter them and drop A-bombs on them. We did the same thing with every non-WASP group to immigrate in large numbers to the US.


But in D&D the proposed enemies of humanity… really are bestial non-human things.


Orks…


Eat…


People…


“well yeah they used to, but that was before General Gorestomp defended the city from the demon invasion, now they farm, raise livestock, and try and keep the owlbears away from their villages just like us…”


Uh… no thanks..  I got no use for kinder gentler Orks… I want my evil brutal warlike races to remain evil brutal warlike races that don’t belong in the inn or selling pies on the corner.

A villian should be hated by the characters, a race of villians should also be hated by the characters, if you cant feel good about killing an ork arent your charactes going to feel traumatized and worried about murdering another living being, etc. ???

"The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules." Gygax
Yup, you don't want to sow seeds of doubt in your characters and players. You meet a conflicted teenage orc and you'll always question "Is this orc simply missunderstood?" Naaa orcs are bad and its simler that way (for my group anyway) Life is tricky enough with political correctness on overdrive and such. Escape where there are some things you can count on.... That Red dragon in the sky coming our way, Don't want to offer us a ride to next town. (pee pants and cower)

great for comics bad for internal conflict.
I believe OOTS #93 "Teenage wasteland"
 www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0093.html
  How does it work in other people’s worlds


It depends on the world.  I'm not overly fond of black and white morality, so it's rarely as simple as "His skin is green, kill on sight."  That said, racism in my worlds isn't a foreign concept.  When I have it, though, I usually like to have it be more political or race-specfic rather than binary.  For example, in my last world, there was one orc tribe and one minotaur tribe that were mortal enemies.  A human might have entered the minotaur tribal grounds and been treated well enough, so long as they didn't think he was in cahoots with the orcs.


and can somebody explain to me how a woman raising a child in this setting would explain to her daughter “Yes, Mr. Gorestomp is an Ork bred for battle and war, the enemy of all good beings, one of the races of beings that have been attacking this kingdom and slaughtering or enslaving its people for generations untold, but he’s also really nice and bakes wonderful pies”


She wouldn't.  Whether you're orc, or human or a friggin' angel, if you've been waging war on a people for generations, they don't write it off when you bake pies.  Maybe if you're playing a more light-hearted comedy game and it's played for laughs or something.
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
Knights of W.T.F.- Silver Spur Winner
4enclave, a place where 4e fans can talk 4e in peace.
We can't even get around problems in our own world where humans dislike other humans because they look difference.  I find it very hard to suspend disbelief that far more primitive cultures depicted in fantasy games are fine with dudes rolling up to the city gates with horns and tails...aren't automatically reaching for their pitchforks.
It makes the morality issue less of one when characters kill them including the unarmed and children of that race.


My group doesn't kill unarmed prisoners or children. I don't think I'd fit in with a group that did.

Orks…

Eat…


People…



Not in my games. They're a different race with a more brutal culture, but not that extreme. Most of the time.


“well yeah they used to, but that was before General Gorestomp defended the city from the demon invasion, now they farm, raise livestock, and try and keep the owlbears away from their villages just like us…”

Uh… no thanks..  I got no use for kinder gentler Orks… I want my evil brutal warlike races to remain evil brutal warlike races that don’t belong in the inn or selling pies on the corner.



That's nice. One of my players loves Orcs (damn Warcraft...) so we give them a different culture and place in our games. It's worked out well.

A villian should be hated by the characters, a race of villians should also be hated by the characters, if you cant feel good about killing an ork arent your charactes going to feel traumatized and worried about murdering another living being, etc. ???


Bah, I refuse to let my players be that comfortable with hatred. They know that they have to defend themselves and others, but I reward doing the right thing in my games.

We can't even get around problems in our own world where humans dislike other humans because they look difference.  I find it very hard to suspend disbelief that far more primitive cultures depicted in fantasy games are fine with dudes rolling up to the city gates with horns and tails...aren't automatically reaching for their pitchforks.


Well, I like the idea of helping the ignorant townsfolk overcome their fear of what they don't understand. Also, I base their predjudice on culture over race. They'd be more accepting of an Orc from the Tribe-Of-Guys-We-Don't-Especially-Hate than a Human from the City-Of-Those-Total-****weeds. But the Orc is still different so he still won't be accepted very easily.
I'm talking suspension of disbelief.  it's easier to tell a story, when you can suspend disbelief in certain things.  Magic isn't hard because there's no frame of reference.  Unfortunately, there IS a frame of reference with human nature.  I just have a hard time believing in societies that easily accept "weird races" and to me, that disbelief detracts from the story.

Just a point of view, not trying to argue or anything.
I think this is somthing that depends on the rules of the campaign setting.

the OP mentioned minotaurs having to hide in the forest, well no if it is dragonlance they can just walk into any city they want to.


 
Obviously, this is a personal taste issue.  There is little mechanical relation to the moral status of the races, save possibly in alignment. My personal take goes back and forth. Sometimes I like to use games like fiction.  They can be a mirror for real world issues.  So you could go into a village and found all the young boys wee rounded up, addicted to a magical drug and made to fight for the bad guy.  What are you to do as a pc?  That is a moral question and it gives tension to a normally straight forward adventure.

On the other hand, there is a reason why a lot video games use nazis and zombies as bad guys. Generally speaking, you will not feel guilty about curb stopping them.  You can use orcs that way as well, or you can make them an oppressed minority.  It is all a matter of taste.  
In our modern society if you wish to discriminate against somebody for their race, ..inside of 24hrs you will be one of the most hated people in the country.

D&D hasn't been a social risk-taker in a very long time.  Nothing stops a DM from doing so in his game.  But, to avoid 'trouble' WotC will doubtless go on publishing medieval fantasy settings in which people act all 21st-century-enlightened (and then some) about race and sex, because anything else would be deemed offensive. 

 

 

Oops, looks like this request tried to create an infinite loop. We do not allow such things here. We are a professional website!

Racism isn’t fun? What about the racism that exists between elves and dwarves… that was comedy relief for the entire lord of the rings movies. Racial animosity is great fluff for the characters to use in their role-playing.

Racial Tension =/= Racism or Genocide

And one of the great things about D&D is the black and white morality…

Not always; that sounds like something you'd find in a video game, honestly...
A villian should be hated by the characters, a race of villians should also be hated by the characters, if you cant feel good about killing an ork arent your charactes going to feel traumatized and worried about murdering another living being, etc. ???

To this and the comment about worrying if maybe he's just misunderstood: Yeah, because your Characters totally worry about who those Human Bandits really are or whether they have a family or not as they slaughter them all.

/sarcasm
Resident Logic Cannon
Really, this is a matter of the setteing being played and not the game itself. Even within a setting, given enough verisimilitude, it will probably vary by region and such.

Say, for example the World of Greyhawk. In most areas, people fear, hate or at least generally distrust orcs. However, they are the dominate people in the Empire of Iuz, an accepted (but second class) minority in Zeif, frequently used as mercenaries in the North Kingdom, etc. The members of the Scarlet Brotherhood are unabashed racists that seek to dominate and enslave others--be the other human ethnicities or nonhumans. Sunndi is a country with a human majority, a respected grey elf king and is rather racially integrated.

Rather than trying to place this sort of thing in core rulebooks, it should be left to the campaign settings so that each can create their own dynamic in a more rationalized and informed perspective than a base rulebook could offer.
Y know, I'm fine with racial tensions in a fantasy world, say between elves and dwarves or orc and humans. It make the world feel more plausibe and quite a bit richer. It's the "This race is evil, it's okay to commit genocide on them, even the children" trope I cannot stand.

D&D's moving away from this trope, with perfectly usable stats for monster races, is something I applaud, because the fact is that embracing them makes you look like a dinosaur. I mean, it should tell you something that so many more fantasy works deconstruct this rather than to play it straight nowadays. And plus, there are oodles of horrible, horrible unfortunate implications that go along with this ("Hey, it's okay to murder orc children, they'll grow up to be evil anyway!"), which I find as odious relics from a less enlightened time.

I will just leave off with this: Tolken, the originator of the "Always Chaotic Evil" orc trope actually was really bothered by the idea of all orcs being inherently evil, as it clashed with his concept of spiritual salvation. He was so bothered by this that he eventually said that there were good orcs, but we just didn't see them. If that's not an indictment of this trope, then I don't know what is.
Racism is not the same as racial tensions. Dwarves in general don't hate orcs just because they're orcs, but because of a long history of war. That is not to say individual dwarves may not be racist.

Separate from that, I think there can be cultural differences that result in tensions. Perhaps Orc culture is savage, and they are raised to fight - every day, kill or be killed. Knowing this, if you try to talk to the one barreling down on you, you're going to die. To the Orc, you are a weakling and if you don't fight back then it's your own fault.

Alignments are almost cultural opinions, assuming a Western world point of reference. 
I agree with what you're saying whole-heartedly SurlyCleric, and I do think that that sort of racism via cultural grudges and cultural dissonance works as an interesting worldbuilding tool and leaves room for "good" (at least by other race's standards) members of those races.

It's just the absurdly simplistic "These monster-people are evil, so feel free to slaughter them, even the women and children" racism that I loathe. I only think that a race should be unchangably evil if they are metaphysiclaly corrupt, which is why I think that (via 4e's cosmology) devils (Who are angels who fell of their own free will, thus their descendants could theoretically "fall up") could theoretically be reformed, but demons (Who were metaphysically morally tainted by the Shard of Evil) couldn't.

What about the racism that exists between elves and dwarves… that was comedy relief for the entire lord of the rings movies. Racial animosity is great fluff for the characters to use in their role-playing.

I see these movies pretty regulalrly, like 2+ times a year. My wife is way into them. I remember that existing at the table discussions early on and presented as evidence for why those specific races were not good enough to carry the ring. Thus the ring being given to the hobbits. 

The rest of the series I remember very little racial tension between gimli and legolas. Just a lot of tounge in cheek "We are banging off camera" jokes. (toned down from the book...)


And one of the great things about D&D is the black and white morality…

I can't stand settings that include black and white morality. I rarely play in them, and don't know many who do. That said, its not the default, and other options are often presented as core to the system. See 4e warlocks. (I make pacts with devils, but am not evil)

In WWII we depicted all images of Germans and Japanese as bestial creatures that were barely human, with monstrous desires and appetites… we de-humanized them to make it ok to slaughter them and drop A-bombs on them. We did the same thing with every non-WASP group to immigrate in large numbers to the US.

And that was terrible. Also, this thread godwin-ed fast. 

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"                                                  "I'd recommend no one listed to Krusk's opinions about what games to play"

Also, this thread godwin-ed fast. 



It didn't Godwin-ed as much as it Dower-ed.

(Baal's post drew very heavily on Dower's contribution to historiography, whether he knew it or not.)

Edit: But, to bring the thread back on topic, the racism inherent in D&D is a bit disturbing. Granted, it makes things occasionally easy; "There's an orc tribe nearby? They're obviously hostile and should be destroyed!" Its kinda a trope of classic high fantasy, I guess, that Every Representative Of This Race Is Evil And Deserves To Be Killed.

Which makes it all sorts of fun for a DM who hates Paladins...."If you don't kill the women and children, you are letting those children grow up to be violent, evil creatures, and if you do kill them all, you just killed innocents!"

However, when you deconstruct morality in D&D, it leads to a severe slowdown. If there is an Orc tribe getting ready to attack, the PCs first have to prove that yes, they ARE a threat, they CANNOT be negotiated with, and all sorts of things to give the moral justification to kill them all. Otherwise, the PCs are evil.

On the flip side, though, one of the things that made me kinda mad about the Forgotten Realms Players Guide was how little emphasis was placed on monsterous characters. There was even a passage that pretty much said, "Hobgoblins are wiped out on sight" and various other comments. I was so offended because my preferred setting is Eberron, where Goblinoids at least have their own nation, but are treated like second-class citizens in the "civilized" human-dominated nations. Plus, they have awesomeness. 

Gold is for the mistress, silver for the maid

Copper for the craftsman, cunning at his trade.

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"But Iron -- Cold Iron -- is master of them all." -Kipling

 

Miss d20 Modern? Take a look at Dias Ex Machina Game's UltraModern 4e!

 

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Back in the day, it seemed more good v evil.  You could tell if someone was good or bad by the point of their ear of the tusk poking out of their smile.  Even drow are distinguished just be skin color - why that was okay with people I never got.

As we got older, we played against this obvious distinction.  Every DM has at least one Don't Judge A Book By It's Cover story arcs or even Encounters in their campaign.  I love the bad guy humans attacking the demihuman caravan.  At this point in my group, it's almost a test to see if your gonna roleplay your character as prejuidiced or not.

I really don't think the same racism exists, lol what a random thread, with all the half human races.  Most humans know someone who had a child with a demihuman.

Personally, I DM two kinds of campaigns.  One, I lay out all the racism at the start and the players make choics based on it.  Two, I let the players pick whatever they want and then draw the racism around their decision.  My current game has Elve and Orcs being ancient druidic allies that were tricked into war by the gods - elven druid and half orc barbarian were 2 of the starting PCs.
Can´t we kill all the women and children? why? Anakin Skywalker did it when his mother was kidnapped and died (the famous massacre of Tatooine). And later he was a heroe of galaxy who saved the democracy when the jedi master Maced Windu tried to kill the democratically elected president Palpatine.

Please, don´t forget the good guys have to respect the dignity of all persons.

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

Sorry to interupt, but what does it have to do with the game mechanics ?
Is it not a role playing matters, that the dm decide where racial tensions are ?
't has nothing to do with game mechanics, right. I believe the OP wants more racial tension, or outright racism added in the core description of each race. And since races and racial fluff will be in the PHB the need to discuss such things is understandable.

Well, I don't need any kind of racism per default. Races in the PHB should be generic and be able to support any kind of setting. So it would be wise to not mention their maybe-wary background with some other race. (See: Eberron and the Drow)
Racial tension should be up to the setting and the DM. If Drow and elves hate each other to death in FR because of their past, then this is fine. If the PHB says that elves and dwarves hate each other to death because, well, they don't get along because of their natural lifestyle then this is too much. 

Also, I find default racism a bit problematic per se. What's next? Default sexism?

However, when you deconstruct morality in D&D, it leads to a severe slowdown. If there is an Orc tribe getting ready to attack, the PCs first have to prove that yes, they ARE a threat, they CANNOT be negotiated with, and all sorts of things to give the moral justification to kill them all. Otherwise, the PCs are evil.


You have a very strange definition of evil.

If you know the orcs are going to try and attack, it's not evil to strike first. Now, it would be a GOOD act to try and talk them down, and find a peaceful resolution, but just killing them first? That's not evil, that's neutral.


Evil is going "There's an Orc tribe over there, being peaceful and trading with people. But they're bloody greenskins, you know what they're like right! Let's slaughter the lot of them!" 

However, when you deconstruct morality in D&D, it leads to a severe slowdown. If there is an Orc tribe getting ready to attack, the PCs first have to prove that yes, they ARE a threat, they CANNOT be negotiated with, and all sorts of things to give the moral justification to kill them all. Otherwise, the PCs are evil.


You have a very strange definition of evil.

If you know the orcs are going to try and attack, it's not evil to strike first. Now, it would be a GOOD act to try and talk them down, and find a peaceful resolution, but just killing them first? That's not evil, that's neutral.


Evil is going "There's an Orc tribe over there, being peaceful and trading with people. But they're bloody greenskins, you know what they're like right! Let's slaughter the lot of them!" 



This is a lesson about the problems with alignment, I can see where Orgwin is coming from.  You can't be certain they are going to attack until it happens.  Now we could talk about what is smart (defending your life) and what is dumb (doing nothing) in this instance.

No, I’m not talking about black vs. white… I’m talking about Orc vs. Elf and Human vs. Demi-Human. (Not a word used a lot anymore)




I have to admit that racial mechanics and "racism" is one of my biggest struggles in D&D.


Does moral relativism have a place in the game or not?


Most people don't have issues with eating meat because they believe that God provided us with food sources so we could survive. Even if you don't believe in God you probably believe that plants, cows, chickens, even little baby lambs are a good source of food that we can exploit and that there are health benefits to eating them. Now let's imagine that all plants and animals in the world could think, reason and communicate with each other. Plants considered their fruit/nuts to be their babies. Would lions still eat gazelles? Would gazelles still eat plants? Would the roots of one plant strangle another to keep itself strong? I don't have the answer to this.


Humans have a huge range of motivations and when we feel we are endangered or feel our survival is at stake we are capable of doing some intense stuff. Should all sentient, intelligent beings (orcs, gnolls,elves, etc.) have the same set of motivations (i.e human ones)? Or do demi-human and humanoids have narrower, or potentially greater(not sure how you'd roleplay that) set of motivations.


What if there are genetic differences that make ogre to elf, what lion is to gazelle?


What is the circle of life that holds these races in check? Is the orc violent, expansionist, quick to breed, with a short lifespan, and digging the taste of demi-humans? Are these hardwired into the creatures DNA? Is the elf, long lived, intelligent, with a small number of young and pre-disposed to kicking orc butt? Does the elf keep the balance by preventing the orcs from overrunning the planet? In earlier editions the hardwired idea fostered an internal consistency/logic. Are some races dying out? are some races on the rise?


The game was human centric and one of the facets of alignment was how each creature, thing, person, was acting in relation to humanity. If a creature didn’t have humanities best interests at heart it was evil. If they worked well with humans they were good.

The 4E solution was to let racial interplay be handled in setting. Which is fine in theory, but I have a feeling that any setting that imposed regulations would be shunned as too restrictive. "What do you mean my orc bard can't be better than an elf bard at 1st level?"


Should the core rules codify a creatures DNA and motivations? Or should DNA be an open ended thing that the setting has to change?

Can´t we kill all the women and children? why? Anakin Skywalker did it when his mother was kidnapped and died (the famous massacre of Tatooine). And later he was a heroe of galaxy who saved the democracy when the jedi master Maced Windu tried to kill the democratically elected president Palpatine.

Please, don´t forget the good guys have to respect the dignity of all persons.


I can't believe that nobody commented on this.  I
I REALLY think that treatment of one race by another should be left to the Campaign Guide series of books.    Each world should have different relationships based on things that happend in that world.    So in one world an ancient war between elves and dwarves resulted in emnity between them.   In another world in an ancient war where they fought side by side against a great evil resulted in them being best of friends.

    Also, I would love to see them get away from genral statements of X hates Y.    I loved playing a nonhuman in the Theocracy of the Pale, who hates everyone except humans...  but I wouldn't have wanted the whole world to be that way.    So having different sections of the world think differently on how to deal with different fantasy races makes a lot of sense to me.

                                                                                                                                    Boojum the brown bunny
As a GM, I regularly move races like minotaurs, orcs, gnolls and hobgoblins out of the 'always evil' camp and into the 'primative barbarian' camp.  Means they get to go raiding and be warlike without being totally evil.

But racisim can and does exist, because it would be unrealistic otherwise.  Sometimes it is perfectly logical - like hating elves and bruning down their forest (those pointy-eared, dandelion-eating holier-than-thou gits totally deserved it.)

Oddly, one of the most memorable campaigns I ran was in a human dominated world which despised non-humans (except gnomes - and they were merely tolerated because 1) they were the only arcane users and 2) they were the emissaries for the dwarves, who were super-powerful but didn't leave their mountains).


That’s why I can’t understand how three Drow, and a few Orks might just walk up to the gates of a human settlement and say “Hi, were here to trade” and receive a “Come right in kind sirs” as a reply.



Business sense?

"Hello good sirs, I come bearing more gold than you'll see in your lifetime, I wish to do business with you and potentially build brand loyalty if my interactions with you prove pleasant."
"Go [Debutantes avert your eyes] yourself, Bullywug (Incidentally, for funsies, whenever these sorts of examples crop up, I like to mentally replace all mentions of "undesirable" fantastical races with a racial slur of my choice. Puts things in an amusing new light)"

Then I dunno, the bullywug just buys the town outright from the mayor and evicts the shopkeeper. 

How does it work in other people’s worlds and can somebody explain to me how a woman raising a child in this setting would explain to her daughter “Yes, Mr. Gorestomp is an Ork bred for battle and war, the enemy of all good beings, one of the races of beings that have been attacking this kingdom and slaughtering or enslaving its people for generations untold, but he’s also really nice and bakes wonderful pies”



"Yes Mr. Gorestomp is a fine upstanding gentleman who bakes pies and started a cat shelter ad has done nothing but good for the community, but he's also a {racial slur (See?)}, and therefore evil by nature. We should ostracize him."

Zammm = Batman.

It's my sig in a box
58280208 wrote:
Everything is better when you read it in Bane's voice.
192334281 wrote:
Your human antics and desire to continue living have moved me. Just kidding. You cannot move me physically or emotionally. Wall humor.
57092228 wrote:
Copy effects work like a photocopy machine: you get a copy of the 'naked' card, NOT of what's on it.
56995928 wrote:
Funny story: InQuest Magazine (I think it was InQuest) had an oversized Chaos Orb which I totally rooked someone into allowing into a (non-sanctioned) game. I had a proxy card that was a Mountain with "Chaos Orb" written on it. When I played it, my opponent cried foul: Him: "WTF? a Proxy? no-one said anything about Proxies. Do you even own an actual Chaos Orb?" Me: "Yes, but I thought it would be better to use a Proxy." Him: "No way. If you're going to put a Chaos Orb in your deck you have to use your actual Chaos Orb." Me: "*Sigh*. Okay." I pulled out this huge Chaos Orb and placed it on the table. He tried to cry foul again but everyone else said he insisted I use my actual Chaos Orb and that was my actual Chaos Orb. I used it, flipped it and wiped most of his board. Unsurprisingly, that only worked once and only because everyone present thought it was hilarious.
My DM on Battleminds:
no, see i can kill defenders, but 8 consecutive crits on a battlemind, eh walk it off.
144543765 wrote:
195392035 wrote:
Hi guys! So, I'm a sort of returning player to Magic. I say sort of because as a child I had two main TCG's I liked. Yu-Gi-Oh, and Pokemon. Some of my friends branched off in to Magic, and I bought two pre-made decks just to kind of fit in. Like I said, Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon were what I really knew how to play. I have a extensive knowledge of deck building in those two TCG's. However, as far as Magic is concerned, I only ever used those two pre made decks. I know how the game is played, and I know general things, but now I want to get in the game for real. I want to begin playing it as a regular. My question is, are all cards ever released from the time of the inception of this game until present day fair game in a deck? Or are there special rules? Are some cards forbidden or restricted? Thanks guys, and I will gladly accept ANY help lol.
I have the same problem with women.
117639611 wrote:
198869283 wrote:
Oh I have a standing rule. If someone plays a Planeswalker I concede the game. I refuse to play with or against people who play Planeswalkers. They really did ruin the game.
A turn two Tibalt win?! Wicked... Betcha don't see that everyday.

The Pony Co. 

Is this my new ego sig? Yes it is, other Barry
57461258 wrote:
And that's why you should never, ever call RP Jesus on being a troll, because then everyone else playing along gets outed, too, and the thread goes back to being boring.
57461258 wrote:
See, this is why RPJesus should be in charge of the storyline. The novel line would never have been cancelled if he had been running the show. Specifically the Slobad and Geth's Head talkshow he just described.
57461258 wrote:
Not only was that an obligatory joke, it was an on-topic post that still managed to be off-topic due to thread derailment. RP Jesus does it again folks.
92481331 wrote:
I think I'm gonna' start praying to Jesus... That's right, RPJesus, I'm gonna' be praying to you, right now. O' Jesus Please continue to make my time here on the forums fun and cause me to chuckle. Amen.
92481331 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
It was wonderful. Us Johnnies had a field day. That Timmy with the Grizzly bears would actually have to think about swinging into your Mogg Fanatic, giving you time to set up your silly combo. Nowadays it's all DERPSWING! with thier blue jeans and their MP3 players and their EM EM OH AR PEE JEES and their "Dewmocracy" and their children's card games and their Jersey Shores and their Tattooed Tenaged Vampire Hunters from Beverly Hills
Seriously, that was amazing. I laughed my *ss off. Made my day, and I just woke up.
[quote=ArtVenn You're still one of my favorite people... just sayin'.[/quote]
56756068 wrote:
56786788 wrote:
.....would it be a bit blasphemous if I said, "PRAYSE RPJAYSUS!" like an Evangelical preacher?
Perhaps, but who doesn't like to blaspheme every now and again? Especially when Mr. RPJesus is completely right.
56756068 wrote:
I don't say this often, but ... LOL
57526128 wrote:
You... You... Evil something... I actualy made the damn char once I saw the poster... Now you made me see it again and I gained resolve to put it into my campaign. Shell be high standing oficial of Cyrix order. Uterly mad and only slightly evil. And it'll be bad. Evil even. And ill blame you and Lizard for it :P.
57042968 wrote:
111809331 wrote:
I'm trying to work out if you're being sarcastic here. ...
Am going to stop you right there... it's RPJesus... he's always sarcastic
58335208 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
112114441 wrote:
we can only hope it gets the jace treatment...it could have at least been legendary
So that even the decks that don't run it run it to deal with it? Isn't that like the definition of format warping?
I lol'd.
56287226 wrote:
98088088 wrote:
Uktabi Orangutan What the heck's going on with those monkeys?
The most common answer is that they are what RPJesus would call "[Debutantes avert your eyes]ing."
56965458 wrote:
Show
57461258 wrote:
116498949 wrote:
I’ve removed content from this thread because off-topic discussions are a violation of the Code of Conduct. You can review the Code here: www.wizards.com/Company/About.aspx?x=wz_... Please keep your posts polite, on-topic, and refrain from making personal attacks. You are welcome to disagree with one another but please do so respectfully and constructively. If you wish to report a post for Code of Conduct violation, click on the “Report Post” button above the post and this will submit your report to the moderators on duty.
...Am I the only one that thinks this is reaching the point of downright Kafkaesque insanity?
I condone the use of the word Kafkaesque. However, I'm presentely ambivalent. I mean, that can't be serious, right? We're April 1st, right? They didn't mod RPJesus for off-topic discussion when the WHOLE THREAD IS OFF-TOPIC, right? Right.
57545908 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
Save or die. If you disagree with this, you're wrong (Not because of any points or arguements that have been made, but I just rolled a d20 for you and got a 1, so you lose).
58397368 wrote:
58222628 wrote:
This just won the argument, AFAIC.
That's just awesome.
57471038 wrote:
57718868 wrote:
HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THE BEAR PRODUCING WORDS OF WILDING?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!
That's what RPJesus tends to do. That's why I don't think he's a real person, but some Magic Card Archive Server sort of machine, that is programmed to react to other posters' comments with obscure cards that do in fact exist, but somehow missed by even the most experienced Magic players. And then come up with strange combos with said cards. All of that is impossible for a normal human to do given the amount of time he does it and how often he does it. He/It got me with Light of Sanction, which prompted me to go to RQ&A to try and find if it was even possible to do combat damage to a creature I control (in light that Mark of Asylum exists).
71235715 wrote:
+10
100176878 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
57078538 wrote:
heaven or hell.
Round 1. Lets rock.
GG quotes! RPJesus just made this thread win!
56906968 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
143359585 wrote:
Blue players get all the overpowerered cards like JTMS. I think it's time that wizards gave something to people who remember what magic is really about: creatures.
Initially yes, Wizards was married to blue. However, about a decade ago they had a nasty divorce, and a few years after that they began courting the attention of Green. Then in Worldwake they had a nasty affair with their ex, but as of Innistrad, things seem to have gotten back on track, and Wizards has even proposed.
You are my favorite. Yes you. And moments like this make it so. Thank you RPJesus for just being you.
On what flavor text fits me:
57307308 wrote:
Surely RPJesus gets Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius?
56874518 wrote:
First: I STILL can't take you seriously with that avatar. And I can take RPJesus seriously, so that's saying something.
121689989 wrote:
I'd offer you a cookie for making me laugh but it has an Upkeep Cost that has been known to cause people to quit eating.
56267956 wrote:
I <3 you loads
57400888 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
"AINT NO LAWS IN THE SKY MOTHER****." - Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran
10/10. Amazing.
How does it work in other people’s worlds and can somebody explain to me how a woman raising a child in this setting would explain to her daughter “Yes, Mr. Gorestomp is an Ork bred for battle and war, the enemy of all good beings, one of the races of beings that have been attacking this kingdom and slaughtering or enslaving its people for generations untold, but he’s also really nice and bakes wonderful pies”

If D&D is gonna be about human vs. demi-human, I think it should be on a game by game, setting by setting basis.  For instance, in my v3.5 homebrew, a common lament is "It ain't easy being un' orc" ;).  A half-orc who joins the knighthood and becomes a paladin would be 1 in a 1,000,000.  

Half-orcs have a brutish appearance and vile heritage.  That's a given.  Are others unable to get past such things, ever?  Not necessarily.  I'd like to think humans in a world of make-believe can be better than their real world counterparts.  I'd like to think.

In some settings, half-orcs might be as commonly accepted as any other race.  In Eberron for instance, they're judged more on merit than anything else.  For one thing, nothing says violence has to be a factor.  Maybe two half-orcs will have half-orc children.  Or, maybe unions with full-blooded races result in full-blooded children, not half-orcs.  No violence involved.

Racisim in D&D should be a case-by-case, world-by-world decision I say.  The rest of the system shouldn't have to spell it out, follow suit, or set a default.  That's up to the players.




/\ Art

However, when you deconstruct morality in D&D, it leads to a severe slowdown. If there is an Orc tribe getting ready to attack, the PCs first have to prove that yes, they ARE a threat, they CANNOT be negotiated with, and all sorts of things to give the moral justification to kill them all. Otherwise, the PCs are evil.


You have a very strange definition of evil.

If you know the orcs are going to try and attack, it's not evil to strike first. Now, it would be a GOOD act to try and talk them down, and find a peaceful resolution, but just killing them first? That's not evil, that's neutral.

Evil is going "There's an Orc tribe over there, being peaceful and trading with people. But they're bloody greenskins, you know what they're like right! Let's slaughter the lot of them!" 



You've got a very strange definition of neutral.  Even if it is absolutely true that the orcs are about to attack, you know *nothing* about their motivations.  Maybe they're defending their homeland from an incursion by the local human lord.  Maybe they've discovered that their water supply has been poisoned by the local villagers.  At *best*, you're killing a tribe of intelligent beings.  What if they're every bit as convinced that *you're* going to attack, so *they're* going the 'good' route you describe and attacking first?  At worst, you're murdering a tribe of desperate, people who have been pushed to the point of breaking and are defending themselves, their homes, and their families.

The best-case scenario for the PCs who just "go kill the orcs" is Neutral, pretty much anything else is Evil.  Remember, the PCs in that scenario have been told to go kill the threatening orcs, and have just gone ahead and done it without even bothering to find out *why* the orcs are threatening.  Their motivation consists entirely of "we were just following orders".  That's not likely to be neutral.
As has been said a few times now, this is a setting issue. I personally feel the game loses something when there isn't at least one group of 'others' out there to heap irrational fear and suspicion upon, but core flavor should eschew assumptions as to which races are feared or hated.
4e D&D is not a "Tabletop MMO." It is not Massively Multiplayer, and is usually not played Online. Come up with better descriptions of your complaints, cuz this one means jack ****.
Personally, I'd love to see a core rules which defaulted toward *HUMANS* being the race everyone fears and hates.  We're power hunger, conniving, deceitful, backstabbing, vile things at our worst.  Why on earth should a setting assume we're at our best, but some *other* race is at its worst?
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