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3:51 AM
has been working on a campaign setting completely devoid of a notion of savage races
 
So no notion of savage races means things like Orcs and Goblins and Drow live side by side with humans and dwarves etc?
 
that's the idea
 
That just removes all racial identy they have then...
 
nah...think subtle :)
 
Orcs do subtle? :\
And what about Goblins? They eat people... You can't take that away from them :(
 
3:55 AM
for instance, I cast Orcs as largely a race of herdsmen, living on a vast steppe
 
So... Barbarians, with green skin.
 
@Nyoze -- not quite barbarians :) but they do hew to some of the traits demonstrated by herding-centric cultures through history
 
Today's misheard lyric: I'll just diet in your arms tonight.
 
Actually... That's pretty much all orcs are anyway.
 
(they retain their somewhat short fuses and chaotic-ness, for instance, as that serves them well in a land where the long arm of the law tends to find itself a bit short)
 
3:58 AM
@BESW Nothing beats Frozen in Cadbury's
Orcs view humans as race of sheep with a few wolves living in their midst. They freely kill or oppress humans too weak to fend them off but always keep one eye on the nearest exit in case they run into a formidable human. - I... Don't know how to reconcile this without making orcs... Not orcs :(
@Shalvenay That being said - I'd love to hear more :)
 
We've discussed this in chat before, but some of us just find it restrictive that totally sentient and intelligent species would be such a monoculture without some very good reasons (which are rarely ever provided). Ditto the idea that some species are just designated "kill it on sight justifiably."
 
@Pixie Yeah. I'm with you there. But saying that, there are certain tendencies which I don't think you can take away from a race, without removing their racial identity.
@Pixie Humans/Elves - Sure, they're constantly evolving, constantly changing. They move more then a 3 day ride away from another settlement and there's going to be differences. Especially in a fantasy setting.
 
I think @Pixie's point is that "racial identity" is an acquired product of the environment, not an inherent quality.
 
@Shalvenay I've taken on some of your ideas for my setting I'm (slowly, sporadically) building. Like, "dark" elves are now desert dwellers. There are underground elves, but they're albino. I also figured out a rationale behind why the pale elves live underground, and why the desert elves are nomads & their once mighty civilisation is in ruins under the shifting sands
 
I think a villiage with a race of dolphins with robot legs would be interesting
 
4:08 AM
Orcs on the other hand... They value brute strength over anything else. how they actually manage to keep existing is anyones guess (I blame rabbit DNA), but the racial identity of orcs being creatures of brute strength who try to kill anything that moves doesn't give them room to evolve.
I mean, sure, you could remove the "Hulk Smash" aspect of orcs, but in my opinion, thats what an Orc is, and you'd be creating a new race with a different name.
 
@Nyoze You could always make Orcs a Slave race, valued for their brute strength but rare due to humans outnumbering them and killing them all in wars
 
That's like taking Elves and saying that they have a human life span. It removes what makes then unique as a race.
 
That would lead to Half-Orcs being an intermingling between a slave and a human
 
@Sandwich Well... It takes all types to make a world I guess :P
 
Gnomes discover and elixir that uses Orc Blood that gives them incredible strength and muscle growth, making the Orc population drop and causing the gnomes to bulk up
 
4:12 AM
@Sandwich "Intermingling" between slave & master happened often enough in history
 
Orcs, I guess if you isolate them and brand them as similar to nomadic barbarians... it could kinda of work.
Goblins, on the other hand.
How can you possibly remove the savagery from a race that eats other races?
 
Yeah. Culture is defined by circumstance. It is simply not believable to me that any species as sentient as orcs are is always going to behave the same regardless of circumstance. No attempt is usually made to explain it, either. No mention of biology, no exploration of culture. Orcs are orcs and orcs smash.
 
@Pixie Orcs are throwbacks to nomadic barbarians. Even if tribes split up and move away, they always have a philosophy of "Strong take what strong want", because that is what they've been raised with, and it discourages further growth and evolution.
Looking at modern culture, these sorts of tribes have died out because they were just making too much trouble and were either eradicated or absorbed into other expanding tribes.
How that hasn't happened with the Orcs yet, I have no idea.
 
The Harn setting gives more insight into goblins. They have a whole sourcebook about them - Nasty, Brutish, and Short. I haven't read that one, but the setting is very detailed. The main setting guide even shows the prevailing ocean currents.
 
You can make goblins harmless
 
4:17 AM
@Nyoze Nomadic human societies are not a monoculture, they have not completely died out (and where they've been reduced, the reasons are way more complex than that), and I also have issues with boiling down human societal traits into a nonhuman creature and making it That One You Kill On Sight.
 
@Nyoze For the same reason that technology hasn't advanced past medieval/renaissance?
 
You just have to make goblins like cats
Make them a little sadistic, lazy, hungry, and curious
They already aren't very smart
 
@Pixie No way at all am I saying that nomadic humans are a monoculture. But those that exhibited similar traits to the Orcs are ones that have died out.
@Pixie Of course, the ethics of making an entire culture of sentient beings kill on sight is something completely different, and I agree with you there.
 
@Nyoze You're going to have to be a bit more specific here. Who are you talking about?
 
@Pixie American Indians, Ancient Greek Spartans, Mongolian Huns. There's been plenty of examples through history of cultures who live based on "They aren't like us, kill them"
The problem is, that all the other cultures around them have said "They're trying to kill us", and work together to dissapate the threat.
 
4:21 AM
@Nyoze I think you're hugely oversimplifying all of those cultures
 
@Nyoze Spartans aren't around, but... the rest of those cultures definitely are (and have many many many subcultures within them), and in the case of Native Americans, that is definitely not what happened.
 
I'm completely oversimplifying, and trying to focus on one aspect of the culture, and why that aspect isn't still a part of the culture today.
 
@Pixie Yesssss. Absolutely.
 
Wow, yeah, that's some extreme reductionism where it's not outright misinformation.
 
Japan didn't evolve a die-for-your-lord Samurai military state because people felt like it, for instance.
 
4:22 AM
I'm not trying to say that their entire culture was "Kill Kill Kill", that would be completely wrong, and I'm not that mean lol.
 
The problem with orcs is not that they mirror "failed" human cultures, and yet they don't fail.
 
@Nyoze Nomadic tribes have not died out, and a lot of them have changed to adapt to the modern situation.
 
I'm just saying that these cultures did have examples of what the orcish race displays, and that those exhibiting these examples have been amalgamated into other cultures.
 
There are three things you can do to change a race
 
The problem with orcs is that (aside from their monoculturism, which is a problem for almost ALL fantasy races, especially in D&D) they aren't anything like any human cultures because they're so one-note.
 
4:24 AM
@BESW Exactly this.
 
@BESW Exactly.
 
@Nyoze Uh. None of this is accurate to say.
 
@Nyoze You are agreeing with something that is the exact opposite of everything you've said above.
 
1. Change their Population ( A race will change their behavior depending on how many people function inside that race. )
2. Give the race a new natural enemy ( A race will adapt to fight a new enemy, the type of enemy changes the race depending on its characteristics )
 
Okay, hang on... Let me go back a step.
I'm trying to explain tha I think that a monoculture of Orcs actually fits because of the way that Orc culture behaves.
 
4:26 AM
What BESW is saying is there were never human cultures that were like Orcs. Ever. Anywhere in history.
 
Weren't the Zulu a lot Like Orcs when Shaka was ruling them?
 
And there has neve been an exact human analouge to Orcs, but the way of Orc life is an incredibily barbarised over-simplified version of human nomadic cultures.
 
... and therein is my problem.
 
Looking at the Orcish aspects of human tribes, these aspects have been removed by removal of the tribe, or by amalgamation into another society.
 
You are trying to suggest there were ever human societies like Orcs.
Whilst you are simultaneously suggesting that Orcs are exaggerated and unrealistic and there was nothing really like them.
 
4:28 AM
I'm not trying to suggest that there are humans societies exactly like orcs, sorry.
 
@Nyoze <- This asserts that was ever the case.
 
But Zulu were a lot like orcs though
 
@Sandwich ...no. Among many MANY other things, Zulu under Shaka integrated conquered clans into their society as equals.
 
I'm trying to suggest that human societies once displayed traits similar to Orcs as part of their culture, which was removed by various methods of evolution and selection.
 
I'm pretty sure that Shaka murdered thousands of people to expand his influence of power
 
4:29 AM
@Nyoze This is a poor thing to try to suggest.
... Apart from the fact that we still have warring nations and tribes.
 
@Sandwich So did many, many cultures which we would probably not call "similar to orcs."
 
Before Shaka Zulu tribes were completely peaceful and only fought each other during ceremonies
 
@doppelgreener More then likey. I'm just trying to explain why to me at least, an Orcish monoculture based on this one aspect of humanity, wouldn't progress, even when miles apart.
 
@Sandwich You are enormously simplifying the Zulu people.
 
@Sandwich That I don't believe even for a minute.
 
4:31 AM
@Sandwich Ah, yes, the Noble Savage. [sarcasm]
 
The Zulu were savages post Shaka
 
@Sandwich You may want to rethink calling a tribal society savages.
 
Okay, at this point we're denying entire civilisations in order to support an unclear thesis about a fictional construct. I'm moving it to the Not A Bar.
 
@doppelgreener BESW Just called them savages too =\
 
@BESW Ok with me.
@Sandwich Did you also see the sarcasm bit? BESW was asserting this is the Noble Savage thing, which is an unrealistic trope.
 
4:33 AM
@BESW Thank you, I really don't think I can proceed with the discussion. P:
 
96 messages moved from RPG General Chat
 
The topic was that no group of people on earth fits the bill on orcs, right?
 
Actually, the topic was that removing a particular cultural attitude from the depiction of orcs makes them no longer orcs.
 
The original topic was that removing savagry from orcs makes them... Not orcs.
 
Which is really only defensible because orc culture is constructed solely to make them Morally Acceptable Targets, and so there's no effort to make them complex.
 
4:38 AM
@BESW Exactly.
 
Nothing prevents me reconstructing Orc culture in a work of fiction to not be people automatically morally right to kill.
 
@doppelgreener Not at all, but I think that by doing that, you would remove what actually makes Orcs Orcs, and would be creating an entirely different society instead.
 
This is that No True Scotsman fallacy thing.
 
No True Scotsman?
 
It's akin to saying that a Chinese person who dislikes rice isn't Chinese, or that a cat which plays fetch isn't a cat.
 
4:40 AM
or actually
No true Scotsman is an informal fallacy, an ad hoc attempt to retain an unreasoned assertion. When faced with a counterexample to a universal claim ("no Scotsman would do such a thing"), rather than denying the counterexample or rejecting the original universal claim, this fallacy modifies the subject of the assertion to exclude the specific case or others like it by rhetoric, without reference to any specific objective rule ("no true Scotsman would do such a thing"). == Examples == Bradley Dowden explains the fallacy as an “ad hoc rescue” of a refuted generalization attempt, the following is an...
 
The problem is that D&D has defined orcs too narrowly, not that orcs as a concept are incapable of nuance.
 
Wikipedia explains it better in simple language.
> No true Scotsman is an informal fallacy, an ad hoc attempt to retain an unreasoned assertion.[1] When faced with a counterexample to a universal claim ("no Scotsman would do such a thing"), rather than denying the counterexample or rejecting the original universal claim, this fallacy modifies the subject of the assertion to exclude the specific case or others like it by rhetoric, without reference to any specific objective rule ("no true Scotsman would do such a thing").[2]
You asserted Orcs can't be not-barbaric. We can say well, they can be. To which you respond: Ah, but they are not true Orcs anymore. They're something else!
 
@doppelgreener Ah, I see exactly what you're saying.
 
E.g.: "All Scotsman like haggis." "I know a Scotsman who doesn't like haggis." "Ah, but he isn't a true Scotsman. All true Scotsman like haggis." - but "liking haggis" is nowhere in the definition for what makes a Scotsman. It's a dismissive argumentative technique, and a fallacy.
 
@BESW I completely agree. But going by the supplied definition we have of orcish culture, and Orc who isn't savage is an orc that wasn't brought up in an orcish culture. I mean, sure, you could amalgamate the entire orcish race into human culture, but is there a point in having them as a seperate race again?
 
4:43 AM
@Nyoze So an orc that isn't brought up in the orcish culture stops being an orc?
 
@Nyoze Any culture which belongs to Orcs is tautologically an Orcish culture.
 
@doppelgreener That being said... "Savage" Is in the definition of Orcs in the information we have to work with.
 
@Nyoze I reject this.
 
@BESW on an individual level, no. But if Orcish culture isn't Orcish culture, then what is it?
 
@Nyoze .....
 
4:45 AM
@Nyoze This makes no sense.
You're doing no true scotsman.
 
When the local people of my island started writing songs using "country music" styles, but in their own language and about their own themes, there was a debate over whether it was really part of the local culture or not.
 
Okay. Hang on a second.
 
@BESW Our cat used to play fetch. Very common among Devon Rexes, from what I hear.
 
The answer is: The local people are doing it, so it's part of the local culture.
If orc behaviour changes, it's still how orcs behave and thus is orc behaviour.
 
I guess I'm just caught up on the idea that Orcs are Orcs, and they have a monoculture that is inescapable. If in a setting orc culture didn't exist, then whatever culture the Orcs were part of is the new orc culture.
 
4:47 AM
Even ignoring the monoculture problem, culture changes. That's kind of its thing.
 
But I'm trying to compare a new culture to a culture which never really existed in that setting trying to invalidate it.
 
Here's the facts:
- An orc is a big green dude. Usually.
- Some settings appropriate them as evil creatures that are righteous targets. Fine, that's their thing.
- Orcish culture is any culture which belongs to Orcs. (In some settings, this is violent and barbaric. In some settings, it is not.)
- Any culture the Orcs have is Orcish. (Them having it makes it Orcish.)
- I can write a setting which features big green Orcs which have a peaceful shamanic existence with very little fighting and respect and dignity for other lives. There are no other kinds of Orcs, and never have been.
 
Also you might want to read things like this for why "orcs = savages" is a major pile of doo-doo to step in from the start.
Savagification is a tragic real-world thing, and a lot of it is connected to the issues you're struggling against: the idea that one way of living is the only way an entire people can live.
 
To you, Orcs must be violent barbarians. Because you're operating on a setting that defines them that way. But Orcs are not defined that way, and any assertion that Orcs must inherently be that way is indefensible, and any assertion that Orcs that are not that way are not actually Orcs is a fallacy based on your attachment to a particular version of them. (They simply are not THAT VERSION of Orcs. They are still Orcs.)
 
@doppelgreener That's... The heart of it. I'm operating on what Orcs are in one particular setting, without taking the time to stop back and look at them in another setting.
 
4:50 AM
@Nyoze Yep. And that doesn't work.
 
Thanks for taking the time to actually help me understand where I'm going wrong :(
 
D&D doesn't sit in a vacuum. It's influenced, and influential.
 
I'll be back in a bit though :)
Sorry guys :(
 
One of the problems with D&D's conflation of race and culture is its association with mechanics.
For example, there are gentle, peaceful orcs in D&D. They're called sharakim, and they have to have a different set of racial stats and a backstory to justify that, because D&D believes changes in flavour must always be backed up by changes in mechanics.
This reinforces the idea that ordinary orcs are so firmly tied to their culture that only a physically altering event can shake them out of it.
IE: In order for orcs to change their current culture, they must physically cease to be orcs.
D&D does the same thing with elves (so. many. elf. templates.), where each cultural shift is reflected by a physical alteration to justify a new mechanical template.
You'll find shadow gnomes and rock gnomes and whisper gnomes; deep dwarves and desert dwarves and demon dwarves.
Each is a racial type married to a racial culture, and in order to shake that culture they must undergo a commensurate physical change.
That's... problematic for a lot of reasons. It's limiting in terms of story, but it also reinforces some very unfortunate real-world ideas about the inability of groups to change.
Some D&D settings shake this off a bit --I think it's Forgotten Realms which has "what culture you're from" be part of your base mechanical framework, in addition to your race, rather than using your race as shorthand for culture.
 
5:06 AM
@BESW Only very slightly, and mostly only for humans
 
@Miniman I'm trying to give them some credit for challenging such an ingrained trend?
 
In some cases I can see the justification for racial abilities defining where a fantasy race tends to live (though not necessarily how). Light sensitive & can see in the dark? You'd probably be more comfortable living underground. Heat resistant & vulnerable to cold? You'd probably be more comfortable living in the desert.
 
I mean, elves get racial proficiency with certain weapons!
I'm pretty sure they don't pop out of the womb with the ability to wield a rapier, but even an elf raised among dwarves is gonna get that mechanic.
 
@BESW You've heard of people "born with a silver spoon in their mouth"? Elves are born with a rapier in their hand! (I pity the mothers)
 
@Adeptus Owowowow.
Still, it's probably easier than what the dwarven moms have to deal with.
 
5:11 AM
And that's why dwarves are not more populous
 
Because they've developed the best birth control technologies in the world?
 
Yes! If there's more than one child in a dwarf family, either they're twins, or they have access to high level healing magic
 
It's considered treason to leak dwarven birth control technology to non-dwarves, but there's a booming black market in never-again pills for those willing to pay premium prices.
 
5:29 AM
And thats why you never see a half-dwarf, ever?
 
@Nyoze Surely there are actually half-dwarves. Surely. Somewhere.
Somewhere in the thousands of D&D races, there has got to be a half-dwarf.
(Probably the other part is human, going by the trend.)
... aside from humans, by BESW's elf/dwarf headcanon.
 
Lol.
 
@doppelgreener On Dark Sun, they're fairly common. They're called Muls.
 
And they are enormous, on the liger principle of hybrid gigantism.
 
Actually, I still think that the Urgosh is better then a Dwarven flail...
Well... That failed.
There we go. :D
Can someone explain to me the actual name of this room? It's just confusing :(
 
5:47 AM
It started as a place for informal, impassioned conversations--like what friends would go to a bar to have drinks over.
This is obviously not a bar, however.
 
Ohhhhh
Now it makes sense.
It's not a bar, but it pretends to be with the topics that we talk about :)
 
Yes :D
 
[sips his Pink Ranger]
 
@BESW [sips his Invisible Ranger]
 
....what's that, vodka with water?
 
5:59 AM
[Sips his...] I don't even know. I just drink whatever everyone else around me is drinking.
 
@Nyoze [slides a Bruce Wayne down the bar]
 
@BESW Water with water.
 
Ahah.
 
@doppelgreener Well played, sir.
 
Chilled, gently shaken, with a splash of water added at the end.
 
6:02 AM
 
Also.
@BESW What exactly is in a Bruce Wayne outside of course, of your typical anti-hero? Google won't tell me :(
 
@Nyoze A Bruce Wayne is ginger ale in a champagne glass.
 
Oh, well... If you're going to have ginger ale...
 
(And a Pink Ranger is what you get when you add cranberry lemonade to a Bruce Wayne.)
 
[Adds Vodka, Lime juice and Bitters to craft a Moscow Mule] :)
 
6:06 AM
@BESW Or sparkling apple juice, right?
 
@doppelgreener Yes.
 
@Nyoze No, no! Think about that Bruce Wayne drink. :D
It's clever. It's great.
Bruce Wayne parties it up all the time. Everyone thinks so. But he also has to remain alert. He's never actually drinking. So he gets things that look like champagne instead.
 
@doppelgreener I can't drink it by itself though. Think about Bruce Wayne. He's clever, he's great. But without Alfred, and all his gadgets. He's nothing :(
 
(The Bruce Wayne is named in the same tradition as the Shirley Temple.)
 

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