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5:09 AM
@bobble Have you come across Latitudes.org? (I'm not 100% sure that it's ".org".) They're mainly about alternative treatments and I'm not confirming or denying that any of the things mentioned work (though a lot of people seem to swear by some of the more straightforward ones), it just occurred to me that they do very much talk about things that are more complicated than Tourette's or nothing.
@AncientSwordRage That is perfect.
 
 
9 hours later…
2:16 PM
Hello, I need people for my D&D campaign. Would anyone like to join? If so, please ping me and I'll invite you to the chat room. It's 5e just so you know
 
2:40 PM
@A.B. I just read their article on Tourette's/tics. Annoyingly, titled "What is Tourette Syndrome?", but that's an accurate title of an article focused on Tourette's with "tics" just being the manifestation. The "Social and practical implications" bit brought up some memories.
 
 
8 hours later…
10:14 PM
Shower thought: does 5e have demographic tables like the 3.5 DMG did, and are they still saying that ethnostates are the default for everything from the biggest city to the smallest hamlet?
 
@BESW Off the top of my head, I don't think so. maybe in specific adventures based in cities. I know the Ghosts of Saltmarsh adventure collection book does mention some loose demographics for the titular town, but I have no idea if that's considered "normal" information.
There are some ethno-states but they're mostly region-specific, like the Drow city in the Underdark. But that's more of a common lore item, rather than inherent to 5e design.
 
@BESW Oddly, I am able to play with absolutely zero knowledge and/or use of any lore.
 
I'm not sure there's a distinct difference between lore and design, but that's probably a different conversation.
 
@BESW I'm saying that the existence of certain settlements being mostly one ethnic group isn't inherent to 5E ideology
 
@BESW Then I would also be ignorant of the design level information for things like that.
 
10:20 PM
And it also isn't the norm, by a wide margin
Roving tribes/bands/groups of X race are a common trope, but aren't necessitated by the 5E rules. You could just as easily have a group of only goblins or a completely mixed group. I'd say that could trace all the way back to Tolkien. Even the ethnostates. Here's where the hobbits live. Here's where the elves live. etc.
 
I'm very familiar with the fact that D&D consistently ignores its own statements about itself, and that its tropes are not unique to it. That's not what I'm asking.
I'm asking if 5e has an equivalent to this:
 
per Ghosts of Saltmarsh : "Saltmarsh’s roughly five thousand residents are predominantly human, with the dwarven mining contingent of about two hundred workers the largest non-human faction in town. Elves and halflings draw no special notice, since the Silverstand hosts a wood elf enclave and a few halfling villages are tucked in the hills around town. The residents react to other visitors, especially tieflings and dragonborn, with a mixture of curiosity and fear."
 
@BESW Pretty sure there's no such table in the 5e DMG
 
@G.Moylan That's as detailed as it gets. and I'm not sure how well-defined that is in other adventures. At any rate, the closest thing I can think of that's supposed to be a "universal" rule is that Dragonborn and maybe Tieflings are supposed to be very rare. Tieflings because of their heritage. Dragonborn becuase their ancestral home is very far from the Sword Coast
 
I think the only table in the making a settlement section is for (randomly) determining the governance
 
10:29 PM
@Someone_Evil Similar to that? [gestures above]
(They think that a community in which the official government is beholden to an unofficial plutocracy is nonstandard.)
 
@BESW laughs cries in Late-Stage Capitalism
 
That's the one I was thinking of, but looking for that I found that the other section on making a settlement has a lot more tables
 
@G.Moylan [makes statues for the de' Medicis]
 
@BESW I'll have the rail and oil barons get together to ship the necessary goods
 
10:43 PM
I'm not sure whether the table called Race Relations is of interest to you. There's no additional guidance around it, it's for randomly generating a settlement. It feels like a good way to accidentally put a landmine into your game and while it's skippable I don't like it being first of those tables (though that might be a layout thing, at least it might have that excuse)
 
I notice that there's no chance for a racial minority to be conquerors. [stares in colonized]
 
@BESW I think they intended it to be like for cities, not for whole regions. So in this case We'd pick Roanoke as the settlement, and the racial majority would indeed be conquerors, while regionally they are a minority
All of those tables break when you expand the zone you're applying them to
The only scenarios I'm coming up with where your scenario could be true within the bounds of a single settlement are where the seat of power is primarily one race or where the racial majority is enslaved. I'd like to think that the reason those aren't possible from the rolls on the table is because they didn't think those would be common and should be handled consciously instead of "whoopsies, I rolled it. " But who knows
I'm sure I'm forgetting something.
 
11:01 PM
You may be right, since I don't actually expect D&D worldbuilders to have an understanding of history or colonial power.
They probably do think that physical majorities somehow "naturally" rise to political power except in unusual circumstances.
 
@BESW in *fair representative governments, I'd think they would. But that's the catch
 
They probably also don't understand that a major element of colonial consolidation of power is raising assimilated locals to positions of authority such that their personal self-interest leads them to support the continued colonization of their own people.
The minority/majority phrasing, especially with the reductive category-by-ethnicity approach which D&D's worldbuilding renders necessary, handily eliminates such nuance and complexity.
 
I'm leaning heavily towards these tables just being suggestions and not meant to be comprehensive. There are many people who create stuff without using the tables in the DMG. I see them only as a way to get started or to overcome a creative block. So I'm willing to make the concession that they couldn't/wouldn't include everything for that reason
 
I'm not asking them to.
I'm noticing what they do and don't include.
 
sure, valid. I just wonder where the line should be drawn. They're self-limited to using lists as long as the number of faces on certain dice
for better or worse
 
11:10 PM
Not really, they could always use a d% or d100 or even a d1000 if they really felt the need. But again, I'm not expecting them to be comprehensive. I'm noticing what they chose to be representative.
 
I just don't think it's possible to be wholly representative and also be brief, especially in the interest of not overwhelming a DM that is looking to the DMG for inspiration in the first place.
 
Again, that's not what I'm talking about.
I have not, anywhere, said that I expect them to be comprehensive or complete. I've said the opposite. "Representative" is not another word for "exhaustive."
 
I think it might be better to let people who want to tackle sensitive or complicated topics in hopefully more thoughtful and conscious ways do so on their own terms, rather than present a scenario where someone stuck in a creative rut just rolls that up and says "ok let's go for it." I'd think that would encourage more damage in the long run
 
Knowing that they have limited space, they made a certain set of choices about what should be given that space. And as a game designer who designs with very limited spaces, I'm looking at the implications of those choices.
@G.Moylan You're implying that they think "Racial minorities are refugees" is less sensitive or complicated than "Racial minorities are conquerors."
 
@BESW it seems like that would be the case given the traditionally largest demographic of players. Many people are familiar with the concept of refugees. I'd posit that many white people are much less attuned to the adverse affects of colonization, and D&D has had a long history of being a predominately white male demographic, so they're catering to that, it seems. I'm not saying that's Right, I'm just looking at why they may have made these decisions
 
11:19 PM
You're probably not wrong. This whole conversation started because I asked about the normalization of the ethnostate, and you pointed out that they were just doing it because an Anglo-Saxon Brit thought his national myth was too Welsh.
51 messages moved from TRPG General Chat
 
@BESW a wealthy white male Anglo-Saxon Brit, at that
@G.Moylan they may have just as easily made their decisions based on their own white male biases, as the creative team there is widely known to so be
 
However, I'm a lot more interested in what those choices do, than in why they might have been made in the first place. Speculating on intent doesn't teach me much about how to write my own games or use other games texts.
eg: that table says that in half the settlements the party visits, racial identity will be a cause of major strife.
That's a statement about the nature of the world and the role of race across societies.
That they included a table on race relations at all is a strong worldbuilding statement.
 
Yeah it makes an interesting statement about what they think a given game of D&D should include. The fact that they include the idea or racial tension but then didn't fully flesh it out seems to suggest that it's up to the GM to facilitate thoughtful or conscious exploration of the same, but that's a bit of a load to give someone
I wonder how much of it is a carry over from specific racial issues with Dragonborn and Tieflings, though
Those races (and some others, like Drow) have "traditionally" had complicated or adverse relationships with other races in D&D
 
I have very little patience with games that introduce heavy issues like racial hatred and then run away without providing support for it, shouting "GMs can figure it out!" over their shoulder as they flee.
Either leave that subject alone, or stick around and do the work.
 
11:35 PM
@BESW "but they're part devil, of course people are gonna hate them lol"
 
Were Dragonborn even in any editions as a playable race in versions before 4E? And if so did they have trouble with some other races before 4E? (In 4E I know they had issues with tieflings and the standard human empire)
 
@trogdor Not in any major visible way, no.
 
Mk
I do think 4E handled that at least on an interesting way
 
The only racial tension they suggest with DB (that I recall) is that they're rare and might be seen as an oddity
 
Even if it wasn't terribly nuanced
 
11:36 PM
And also of course 4e made tieflings non-diabolic, and they were one of the only races that specifically had no racial animosity with humans.
 
Yeah they basically were humans in a way
There weren't any non-human derived tieflings in 4E I think
 
@trogdor The opposite of aasimar. They were supposed to be "humans, but with horns and stuff"
 
But anyway, I did kinda like what they had to say about Tieflings and Dragonborn in 4E
 
The idea that they're hated or seen as less-than has very much permeated popular culture around Tieflings, though. It's everywhere
 
@G.Moylan In 4e, tieflings were humans whose kingly ancestors had made a hereditary warlock pact in order to conquer the world for humanity. Tieflings non-human features are not a sign of mixed ancestry, but of that pact.
 
11:40 PM
The standard human empire treated tieflings better than Dragonborn because the Dragonborn empire were fighting "humans" even though it was a tiefling lead empire
 
@BESW Which is an interesting take, since they're a reminder of a race's attempt at domination
 
Dragonborn nations were the only major power that could stand up against their warlock-empowered conquest, and so in modern times tieflings are considered "cool" by humans while dragonborn are considered suspicious, because the tiefling empire propaganda endures.
 
Yeah
 
I don't think any of that has been canonized in 5E lore
though I could be wrong
 
I like that it basically comes out and says the prejudice involved is based off of racial propaganda
 
11:42 PM
 
No I'm pretty sure 5E has edged away from being in any way associated with 4E
Besides some of the mechanical bits they took, filed the serial numbers off of, and then changed to try to fit 5E better
 
Yeah, 4e was... still awful about its racial coding, but relatively speaking it put in a surprising amount of effort to take the teeth out of some of the more obvious common problems.
 
Yeah I'm not trying to hold it up as a shining example
Mostly I think they did one thing specifically that was pretty neat
 
(On the one hand, they removed the "half orcs are mostly the children of assault" thing and gave them their own origins; on the other hand, it still used all the exotic-savage vocabulary for them.)
 
Yep
 
11:49 PM
At any rate, I'm gonna try and be very careful in my game designs about what sorts of conflicts I casually add to my worldbuilding.
Like, Goblin Court is 'goblins exploited by humans' but it's very careful and pointed about what that looks like and what it doesn't look like, in ways that center goblin joy.
 
I do like Gonlin Court a lot
 
I wrote it knowing that the core conceit of the game was pretty grim, and so I surrounded it with care and joy.
I need to be similarly careful with Traveling Librarians, since it's very easy for that to turn into misery porn or a savior complex.
 

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