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3:15 PM
Does anyone know why the D&D5e books use “it” to refer to an NPC where the gender is unknown?
 
@BardicWizard could be monster?
 
@BardicWizard is that not convention in English (fairly outdated mind you)
 
@AncientSwordRage not for persons
certainly not now
 
I guess, but it’s even in like the bandit stat block or the mage stats
 
for a "monster", yes
I think you have to chalk that up to an unfortunate idiosyncrasy of the writing, things in the monster manual are monsters are "it"s
even when they're intelligent and that usage would be dehumanising
 
GcL
3:18 PM
Aren't the NPCs in an appendix to the MM?
Seems like they were an add on that got shoe horned into the style guide for the rest of the text.
 
Yeah, but I’ve seen it in more than just the MM. some are in the newer books
Seems like anything that doesn’t have a name (so just your average intelligent npc) is designated “it”
 
I wonder if this is something outlined it WotC's style guide that someone found a bit ago
 
@GcL sounds about right
@Carcer yeah not now
I've definitely encountered people online who felt they was a plural only meaning 'it' was the only option
 
@AncientSwordRage it's not as if Stack Exchange has recently had significantly upheaval prompted by that exact argument or anything
 
GcL
@BardicWizard Rising from the Last War also uses the same convention in the stat blocks for the Generic NPC section. The descriptions in the surrounding text use they. Maybe that's the style guide for stat blocks?
Certainly makes copy pasting easier.
 
3:27 PM
The D&D (and Forgotten Realms) style guide is available at dmsguild.com/product/267467/… (not that WotC always follows it, and it's got its share of typos)
 
@Carcer this long predates that
 
The current version says that singular "they" is allowed, but the older version that Rubiksmoose linked says not to use a singular they.
So it may be that the MM is older and uses "it" whereas some newer stuff uses "they".
 
The classic example I've heard is, when referring to a baby "what's it's name?"
 
@AncientSwordRage no doubt
@AncientSwordRage yeah. That usage makes me feel weird but seems pretty common
I'm not sure what the unspoken rules are about when someone or something stops being an it
 
I think we should either leave the discussion at "/shrug" or move gender terms to NAB.
 
3:31 PM
@Carcer likewise
@NautArch good plan
 
I'm going to move the conservation over for those that would like to continue.
 
34 messages moved from TRPG General Chat
 
I know an enby who wanted people to refer to them as "it" for a while but I think they gave up on it because nobody felt happy doing it
 
@Carcer I think there's be a language shift tbh, at least from my perspective
 
3:34 PM
@AncientSwordRage with "it" specifically?
 
Singular they is pretty much the standard now for referring to a person of unknown gender. (And the style guides have caught up with that, and thus WotC now uses it in MtG & D&D whereas they didn't used to.)
 
@AncientSwordRage yeah. As a semi-out enby, I faced some serious problems last year with an Eng-Lit teacher who said no singular they. My preferred pronoun is singular they. It was a long year.
 
The main exception I can think of common usage of singular they being an unborn (or perhaps as AncientSwordRage suggests a recently born) child, where "they" gets awfully confusing if you aren't referring to twins.
 
@Carcer yes
 
She was old, and language had changed since she started teaching
 
3:37 PM
@BardicWizard language changed before she started teaching too. "No singular they" was an arbitrary artificial rule imposed by some manual of style IIRC
 
@PeterCooperJr. I hadn't considered twins
 
If I start talking about the baby inside my pregnant wife as "they", it can cause a lot more confusion than singular they usually causes.
 
@PeterCooperJr. generating confusion appears to be the primary design goal of the english language, so mission accomplished
2
 
And I know that part of why WotC resisted singular they for so long (at least with MtG) was that for rules text it could cause confusion with how many players were supposed to do what, depending on how it's worded.
 
@PeterCooperJr. "parasite" is always a safe term :P
2
the wives love that one
 
3:40 PM
D&D tries to avoid confusion by trying their hardest to refer to participants as "you". Which often works, but can cause its own confusion.
 
We could combine he, she and it Into a portmanteau pronoun but that would be sh*t
 
Plenty of singular pronouns for referring to people of unknown gender have been proposed, but none have really caught on broadly.
Though I must admit I've not heard that particular proposal before.
 
@BardicWizard that sounds rough
 
@BardicWizard Wouldn't that be the gender of the word 'creature' (which can be a monster or a demihuman)?
 
@PeterCooperJr. They could use the brooklynish "youse" to clarify confusing bits.
 
3:45 PM
@MikeQ That's just opening the gates for millions of other standards like y'all and all'y'all. No, better just de-tabooify 'thou'.
 
@vicky_molokh-unsilenceMonica thee/thou/thine/"tha" are already common in Yorkshire/Lancashire dialect
2
probably less common these days but a generation or two ago, quite widespread
 
@Carcer That's actually nice to learn. But I did mean in the standard dialect, the kind that gets used for writing laws, reporting news on TV, writing contracts and EULAs &c.
Maybe I should've spelled that out explicitly.
 
I was just relaying to you a tangentially related fact, no deeper assertions intended
 
@Carcer Oh, it's definitely a cool fact. Thanks for sharing it.
 
I have an uncle who used to deliberately play up the dialect when my family were visiting up north, us kids who grew up in the south couldn't understand a word and that amused him a lot
 
GcL
3:54 PM
@MikeQ In Pittsburgh it's "yins"
@BardicWizard That's a weird thing for an English instructor to say. They has always had valid use as a singular in my recollection.
 
@GcL where is youns from?
 
GcL
4:12 PM
@AncientSwordRage I have a book about that. Lemme see if I can find it in there.
 
@GcL again, really old teacher in a conservative religious school. I think I had one teacher who actually knew to ask about pronouns for kids on the first day and the rest didn’t bother.
 
GcL
@AncientSwordRage Yous/youse is eastern PA and a bit of south western NJ. I don't know the exit number for that area of NJ.
 
@GcL yeah but youns with an n is from elsewhere
From you ones
 
@GcL 2-4ish.
 
@GcL this might be what I'm thinking of
 
GcL
4:22 PM
@AncientSwordRage The book I have doesn't have an entry for "youns"
@BardicWizard I have such poor connotations of religious school and such low expectations of them. I nearly got intellectually hamstrung by a biology teacher that did what to today would be called "teaching the controversy". Made subsequently learning molecular biology just a little bit more of an uphill climb. Never forgave them for it.
 
@GcL the actual content was good, but the attitude has not been the best, especially toward queer issues
 
GcL
@BardicWizard Apparently that ran over the content sometimes. E.g. singular they.
 
GcL
4:46 PM
I'm jealous of Australia's election day barbecues.
 
@GcL it's a great tradition
 
GcL
I could go for democracy dumplings.
Vote for some stuff. Eat a couple dumplings. Call it a day.
 
5:08 PM
@GcL I wish it was as simple as that, and I don’t vote yet
 
GcL
Highly recommend voting. Highly recommend never voting for anyone who uses tanning cream.
 
I can’t, legally
but I do want to
 
GcL
The hurry up and wait game. At least you can legally have barbecue or dumplings. So partial win there.
 
5:56 PM
I strongly encourage voting though I must admit it's never been much fun for me
I've been on the losing side of every vote I've ever cast a ballot in
(not technically true but true in spirit)
 
GcL
Have you tried casting your ballot in something stouter? Cast your vote in bronze. It carries a lot of weight and resists corrosion corruption
 
6:22 PM
Come to Finland, lots of opportunities to vote. Municipal elections every four years! MEPs every five years! Parliament every four years! President every six years! Parish council elections every four years! Regional elections every four ye- well no because they've been canceled (before they even had the first one, sans a single-region pilot study) until some issues regarding them are settled
 
GcL
Who dies in the Parish elections?
 
@GcL So far no one but the time will come.
 
6:42 PM
I mean... at least making a bold assumption (that the parish council elections will continue forever) and a much less bold one (that the probability of someone dying over the course of the election is greater than zero)
 
GcL
I feel weird about electing people to perish. I mean, there's plenty of people that probably deserve such a fate, but no good feels about voting to sort out who.
 
 
2 hours later…
8:22 PM
Sometimes, people volunteer as a tribute
 
 
3 hours later…
11:47 PM
@BardicWizard English is a language of kludges :p
(unsurprising considering its habit of mugging other languages in dark alleys and rifling their pockets for loose grammar)
 

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