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1:51 AM
Oh good lord, please smite this stupid chart table, Amen
 
 
1 hour later…
3:10 AM
If you’re having a rough day, please look at this giant dog who adopted a tiny rescue owl https://www.happiest.net/2016/12/02/gentle-giant-adopts-tiny-rescue-owl-protective-ways-will-make-day/
 
Very cute
Offering accepted
 
 
5 hours later…
8:07 AM
how does one make DnD safer and more welcoming. You are literally going on a quest to slay a dragon, that most likely ends in death and burning and suffering
 
There've been a number of discussions about "acceptable targets" and finding ways to tell a traditional-feeling narrative in D&D without treating sapient beings as cannon fodder or justifying mass slaughter.
 
"acceptable targets"?
what does that even mean
like the DM denies the player an ability to target something for some reason
 
An acceptable target is a group that it's considered okay to treat as less worthy of dignity and respect.
eg, it's okay to kill orcs because orcs are evil.
 
Like orcs as a whole? Or in the context of singular campaigns?
to play off your example
 
In D&D, orcs are usually treated as acceptable targets. They're described using language of dehumanization and portrayed as incapable of civilized behavior.
So when the party meets a bunch of orcs and kills them, the game doesn't expect the PCs to feel any hesitation or remorse.
 
8:17 AM
yea, so then now pulling it back to what she'd like: are we trying to deconstruct the trope of killing orcs because they're sapient at the level of DnD or a particular campaign
 
Similarly, dragons are color-coded for your convenience: just by looking at a dragon you can tell if it's one that you "ought to" kill.
You asked how to mitigate the level of suffering and death that D&D's default assumptions have the party inflicting, right?
 
yea, I've tried to approach this problem at a campaign level a few times
 
That starts by looking at why it's happening: guiltless slaughter is something the developers think is good and maybe even necessary for the game.
 
would Suzy here prefer a solution akin to DnD6 erasing the acceptability to kill orcs, or instead a 5e campaign where they add in an inversion to this trope
The necessary may be a good point, it creates a form of social lubrication for the party
 
So the question is, do you want guiltless slaughter and just want to change what the acceptable targets are so that your group is more comfortable actually being guiltless (mindless undead, automatons, giant bugs)? Or do you want to remove guiltless slaughter from the game entirely and tell stories about people for whom "kill the things in our way" is not their first solution to a problem?
 
8:20 AM
Survive or Die
 
I don't know who you're talking about.
So I can't speak for her preferences.
There are a lot of games where lethal combat is not the default solution for problems.
 
It's just that I always feel like there are people who say something like DnD is wrong for having it be OK to kill Orcs, thats a bad thing and ergo shouldnt exist.
 
D&D... isn't really one of them.
 
I'd agree from my experience for sure
 
@Skyler That's a different question from the one you asked above.
I think I don't know what you're actually looking for.
 
8:23 AM
Hmm
 
16 mins ago, by Skyler
how does one make DnD safer and more welcoming. You are literally going on a quest to slay a dragon, that most likely ends in death and burning and suffering
 
Well its more like a possible answer to your second question
 
Safer for who? More welcoming for who?
Suffering of who?
 
it seemed like we've been kind of moving away from that into the logistic side a bit more
 
(I do think that it's a MASSIVE problem that D&D talks about orcs with language and concepts that've been used in the real world to justify subjugation and genocide. But that's also a problem with the fantasy genres it's inspired by.)
 
8:26 AM
In some ways shouldn't that be the point
As much as we think we've evolved out of behavior like that it's something that needs to be confronted in narrative form to understand, in my opinion
Fantasy is an excuse not just for an author to make something really cool, but to also make a hyper-real depiction of some truth of the world
Usually kind of along the lines of human nature
I wish DnD would get more like that sometimes quite frankly
Like if DnD never included the trope it's a lot more work on a potential DM's part to invert it
you know what i mean
 
9:01 AM
Nope, sorry. The more you say the less I know what problem you're trying to solve.
 
9:20 AM
ok, lets ignore everything I've had to say for now: You said a massive problem with fantasy genre is "language and concepts that've been used in the real world to justify subjugation and genocide". How would you solve it if you could do that in the blink of a finger
 
9:41 AM
"What's a simple solution for an extremely complex intersectional problem rooted in an entire cultural epistemology?" No. If you're really interested in these topics and not just trying to get a rise out of me, read the thread I linked.
Read NK Jemisin, Nnedi Okorafor, bankeui and the articles they link.
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Christopher Judge, Toni Morrison.
They will not agree with each other. They will have different perspectives on the nature of the challenge and different solutions to implement. You will have to syncretize your study into an informed opinion.
Read and play games like Ki Khanga, Dog Eat Dog, Bubblegumshoe, and Cthulhu Confidential, which each address aspects of the situation in their own particular ways.
Follow online aggregates that collect inclusive speculative media from a variety of sources.
Look for game reviews written by marginalized people.
 
10:14 AM
DnD sort of hand-waves the problem away by having an universe where "Evil" is a real thing, not just an opinion. But that's just a hand-wave. Many real-life oppressors believed (or claimed to believe) that they were dealing with actual evil, and doing actual good, when waging their conquests.
 
Well ok, simply put I think that you're picking the wrong thing to call the problem.
The problem isn't the language to use the orcs, its the correspondence to reality, and the sick realities of humanity that it has corresponded to.
 
What do you mean?
Well, you could change one, but the other is pretty much immutable.
 
i was responding to besw there
If humans lived in a world where there'd never been genocide then that problem wouldn't exist, BUT, you saw the parallel, and the real thing is what bothers you
 
If reality were different, we would have different problems? Yes. But D&D exists in the world we live in.
 
By including this representation of the real world, you can see something is wrong
So you have the ability to confront it.
Like what if they didn't include anything resembling this problem in DnD, and you wanted to do a story about that just because you got inspired about addressing that topic
You'd have to make it all from scratch
 
10:18 AM
DnD does nothing to confront genocide.
 
Or base it off something else
The DM can pick to do it just by creating a campaign
 
Most people don't even realize what @BESW has said about its justifications for violence before someone says it out loud.
@Skyler The DM can do anything, but what the DM does is not a feature of the game. If I read Harry Potter to my kids and replace all mentions of witchcraft with "cooking", it doesn't make it a cookbook.
 
And its especially more powerful because until then people have just accepted it as part of their belief system. They incorporated quite a darkness in their soul.
@kviiri that's kind of the difference between literature and tabletop games though
 
@Skyler In this case, it's not a difference.
 
@kviiri DnD isnt a game until a DM puts together something
 
10:21 AM
@Skyler Yes, and that's why you shouldn't include the GM in the equation. Most RPGs implicitly or explicitly leave a lot of stuff in the GM's hands. You can't judge or praise a game based on what a GM might do. Especially if you leave out the other end of the spectrum.
 
I suggest you read some games which engage with the material rather than uncritically portraying it. There's a big difference between including troublesome concepts in your material, and engaging with them.
 
Engaging meaning what exactly?
 
It's an unquestionable fact that DnD considers several types of sapient being - goblins, orcs, kobolds, hags to name a few - to be categorically evil. If the game was intended that to be a topic to be explored, not just accepted for the sake of hack and slash gameplay (which I do find enjoyable myself) the books should be expected to say so.
 
The point of a trope is that it can be inverted/nullified/satirized/deconstructed, not that it is always the inverted/nullified/satirized/deconstructed case. If you remove categorically evil things all you have done is decrease the amount of classifications (i.e.: information) that the system contains.
 
@Skyler It can be deconstructed, sure - but that's a moot point because everything can be deconstructed. You can always invoke a few more decrees of GM fiat to turn DnD into a first person shooter.
 
10:32 AM
That's not what we're talking about, nor is it how tropes work in an RPG.
 
So when someone wants something categorically evil they have to put much more energy to create it.
 
@Skyler You could have "acceptable targets of violence" -style evil without having to invoke racial parallels.
 
@kviiri But in the real world there's plenty of that that happens.
 
@Skyler Plenty of what?
 
Pakistan and Israel both do that huge "this other race is evil" thing for example.
What I'm saying is the game didn't explore it for several reasons, maybe even laziness. There are plenty of ways to create a more favorable solution, but none of the answers that I think are better involve scrubbing out this information. Expand on it maybe, kind of like the idea of that half-orc (or was it tiefling) hero in 5e.
 
10:39 AM
There are many ways for speculative fiction to talk about an issue. If you portray a thing without comment or critique, you are reinforcing it as acceptable. This is what many fantasy settings do with prejudices about real-world marginalized people, by including those prejudices as facts rather than opinions and then not examining the implications of the implications of that choice.
Nobody here is saying that the subjects need to be erased entirely.
 
Hi
 
@Skyler Sure, many of the people in those countries do. Now suppose you're playing a RPG made in some alternative universe, set in our world. Would you think it was fair for the game to portray the people of either of those countries in the terms used by DnD about orcs or goblins?
 
can I have a two-sentence version of the current discussion's topic?
 
I've already pointed you to multiple instances where these subjects are very much the center of an entire game's raison d'être.
@eimyr I shared this. It is being wildly misinterpreted.
 
Basically the core point is something like: in a fiction environment do problematic parallels with the real world categorically imply a problem existing in the work (i.e.: introduce an impetus for the work to change in something)?
 
10:42 AM
So, essentially, you said "RPGs matter and should be used to make the world better when possible" and it started a shitstorm? Nihil novi sub sole...
 
@BESW That's a way more biased way of bringing it up, and doesnt tell him ANYTHING useful to join in this discussion./
 
Oh, I can see already who opposes the point.
 
Yeah, I kinda gave up on this discussion being useful right around here.
ttfn
 
I went through the last couple points made, so don't worry about me. Carry on.
 
later BESW
 
10:45 AM
@Skyler So I kinda see the point BESW was making (probs because I talked to him about these things before), what's yours?
 
To borrow some of your language, I was saying that I like the idea of making it better, but I think it's not apparent that there is a problem in the source material.
It's more that people have a problem with the reality that underlies the depiction, but that it's quite a privilege in a piece of fiction to even be able to point something like that out. Having the "problematic element" in the material means that someone can do whatever they want with that idea.
And thus explore it
 
Oh. So were you trying to persuade that oppressive and harmful aspects of society are somehow absent in RPGs or that their presence there is not important?
 
And even better, invert it after getting bored with this staple aspect of the system and realizing the problems they might have with it
 
@Skyler DnD doesn't "point problems out". Like I said before, most people are quite untroubled by the whole genocidal thing until it's pointed out to them by someone else.
 
Quite the opposite eimyr, they exist as part of the human situation, they just are. In DnD they just are. They exist, and they're presence is important (in a positive light)
 
10:51 AM
Of course you can confront these issues in your game if you like, but DnD as a system does nothing to promote it.
 
Why should it
its not like you should confront genocide in your day to day life
maybe your barely putting food on the table
 
Now I completely fail to understand what you're saying
 
OK, this is clearly futile now. Sorry but I'm out too.
Happy to discuss something else thoguh.
@BESW Shame on me, I don't know what that is, to the point that I've never heard the name before.
 
@Skyler Are you seriously asking why a game that uses racial background as a major justification for violence should be critical about that topic?
 
@kviiri ill wrap it up then too, kviiri but there shouldn't be too strong a reason to compel that the greys of evil should be explored with every evil race. There exist shade of grey or morally relativistic examples in DnD as well
 
10:55 AM
@Skyler What I'm asking is, why are we still even tying absolute evil in with race at all.
 
@kviiri Because that type of behavior exists. Just because it depicts something that has existed doesn't make it problem.
 
17 mins ago, by kviiri
@Skyler Sure, many of the people in those countries do. Now suppose you're playing a RPG made in some alternative universe, set in our world. Would you think it was fair for the game to portray the people of either of those countries in the terms used by DnD about orcs or goblins?
@Skyler Yes, uncritically depicting it is a problem.
Key word: uncritically.
 
@kviiri eh, i think it could add more to raise questions, but quite frankly most of the time critical depictions just reek too much of their critic and limit the scope of discussion.
@kviiri Maybe if you were playing a game where you were all literally Nazis (or like a post WW2 but axis won thing) it might be fine. It reads kind of like what people think in that time.
 
@Skyler That's the sort of thing that produces Wolsung, and it's awful.
 
Or perhaps even in some historical context. I mean we are talking about role-playing here after all so as long as the work itself is role-playing too then it's just a role
 
11:03 AM
> You’re not responsible for the fact a few centuries of racist stuff came out before, but you are responsible for joining into it. (source)
Again, playing uncritical characters is not the same as playing uncritically.
 
@Skyler Would you expect a book of an RPG, with the premise that "you are all Nazis" but written by someone non-Nazi, to have that content without plentiful disclaimers that "this is just what your character was taught to believe and it might not be reality" or something?
 
You can play terrible characters without playing out stories where they're right by having, for example, Japanese be literally yellow-faced buck-toothed little people.
 
@BESW This this this.
 
See again: Wolsung.
 
@BESW i dont think i actually understood what you said there
@kviiri well to cover their own ass maybe. If they didn't they'd likely be placing too much faith in the general public that everyone would implicitly understand that
(reading your article)
 
11:06 AM
You said that playing a game where the world conforms to Nazi propaganda would be okay if you were playing Nazis. I'm saying that sort of game exists, and it's awful.
 
@Skyler I'm talking beyond that. I would expect a RPG about being a Nazi to not actually have Nazi sympathies... unless it's Wolsung.
 
Well, Wolsung's more Victorian racist.
For the Actual Nazis you'd "want" to go for something like MYFAROG.
 
Oh yes, MYFAROG... oh lord.
It could be a powerful experience about losing one's faith in a prescribed doctrine and then having to deal with the emotional baggage of having been a monster. But if the book simply describes waht your character would think uncritically, then it's not going to be one.
 
@BESW RaHoWa
 
Yeeeah.
Again, I refer you to my recommendation above: seek out reviews of games written by marginalized people. For example, Native Americans can't just "not think about genocide," its reality colors every aspect of their existence. So getting the perspective of indigenous peoples on, say, savagification, is important.
 
11:13 AM
Namely,
@BESW like even if you find that type of game bad (probably doesn't adhere to my taste either), it's quite a grandiose position to say something shouldn't exist. Wolsung looks pretty bad in that regard and falls into the type of problem that being critical causes.
 
@Skyler Racism shouldn't exist.
 
he is critical in a blatantly racist manner
 
Again, you're the only person here I've seen bringing up the idea that a game should not exist.
 
with a possible intended agena
@eimyr case and point BESW
it makes that game probably unplayable by even the most tact GM because he chooses to be critical of things that takes away from the game
 
Yeeeah, at this point we're either having some major language issues, there's a context barrier that can't be overcome with a chatroom conversation, or you're just saying random stuff to keep the discussion going without thinking about how coherent you're being.
 
11:16 AM
being critical can do that in general though
 
@Skyler What?
In a message or two we'll need to switch to memes to maintain the conversation
 
"Racism shouldn't exist" is not "a game shouldn't exist." "A game portrays something in a way I don't like" is not "No game should portray that thing in any way." And you're shifting the subject every few minutes.
 
Im willing to step back on that claim, but eimyr repeatedly asekd is it OK this is happening
would you think its fair this is done
 
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it sounds to me like those questions are loaded, the assumption is the fact that it is done makes it wrong that it was done (ergo it is wrong that that came into existance)
 
11:20 AM
1 message moved from RPG General Chat
Remember to Be Nice. The Not a Bar is for conversations that are overrunning another chat, not a place where the rules of engagement don't apply.
 
@Skyler I would buy your Pakistan-Israel argument if the DnD depiction wasn't essentially "Pakistanians are evil".
 
I'm stepping out of the conversation and putting on my Room Owner hat from here on out.
 
Godspeed
@Skyler It could be better by having an analysis on why orcs are commonly accepted targets.
Something like
"Orcs traditionally live a tribal, nomadic lifestyle, bound together by a strong martial tradition. This, coupled with their strange appearance, has fostered hate towards them in the settled communities of humans, dwarves and elves - a hatred the orcs are eager to reciprocate. Orcs and the settled societies harbor such animosity towards each other that they tend to attack each other on sight."
 
I'm fine with adding more to raise questions but I ahve to be a bit critical of how you approach this. So immediately off the bat you made the classical society from the storytelling side the initial aggressor
You could just as easily have chosen to make it that they did a first attack and the other side realiated. That one adds friction to games where they dont really want to explore the orc stuff (and its fine they dont want to). I'd easily add in the tribal, nomadic sentence
 
Well, I never claimed to be an expert writer and just conjured up something quick. It's still way better than what DnD currently has.
How does it add friction?
 
11:34 AM
There's always this extra lingering aura of human (or whatever race you call it) aggression thats setup as the default status
 
I think it leaves more doors open than the current DnD lore on orcs, which pretty much closes everything except "savage targets" or at best, "savage mercenaries you might convince to join you, if you're lucky".
@Skyler That wasn't a part of the main point, and can easily be rectified.
"No one remembers how or when the hostilities between orcs and the settled folk (humans, dwarves etc) started, but it is a feud neither side is willing to relinquish."
 
thats definitely better
and it leaves things nebulous
which means both the orc is evil punching bag and orc has interesting history with settled folks are easy to layup
 
Yes
There is definitely the need for evil punching bags in DnD. Or at least, DnD-as-commonly-played
 
once a few properties about some species has been decided, basically the archetypes they fill in story telling, then you should only expand on them in ways that dont actively oppose the archetype
 
But it would be improved if it wasn't applied sloppily on a race-by-race basis
 
11:39 AM
i mean you can kind of chalk it up to different views on morality to if you want (though that's not the only interpretation available since we've decided to not ditch the entire archetype)
Like succubus/incubus are another example of an archetype of something that's generally just evil in DnD
hbu?
I think at least, dont think I've heard of any good or neutral ones
 
Devils and such are an interesting development I think I've discussed here or somewhere else before
 
are they played more along the "explore their morality" axis then orcs
 
I think they're a whole different case. Devils aren't a race in the way orcs or goblins are.
 
Why not?
 
Because you become a devil by being evil.
 
11:43 AM
So no devils are born in DnD?
and what about half succubus like the allurin and stuff
 
In 5e monster lore, devils are indeed spawned from souls condemned to Hell. Depends on the interpretation of "born" of course.
@Skyler Half-devils and such (I only remember the Cambion) are an interesting area, because there's plenty of fun to be had with the characters' tendencies to be drawn towards their evil side, but they don't necessarily need to be evil as a consequence of their ancestry.
Similar to tieflings (who in 5e monster lore at least only lean towards evil because of societal distrust)
 
But here it sounds like your saying its fine to say this entire population of a species is fine to call categorically evil, but the same can't be done for orcs. I can almost say with certainty that none of the players in my campaigns would have treated either differently in terms or being races/species.
 
@Skyler Yes, I'm saying that. But they're wholly different kinds of species.
One is a natural species that gets born into existence just like you and me.
The other is literally spawned from a soul that is evil.
To caricature, I'd say devils are more like a profession than a race.
 
@kviiri there isn't really any reason to draw that as a line, say that it's allegorical for the human experience, and not applicable for demons in DnD. Some hardcore radical (and many that did exist) do say something to the effect that people in x other religious groups are something like demon spawn.
It's especially more common in archaic traditions
 
@Skyler There wouldn't be a reason, but DnD does have a sort of universal sense of morality - even if we reduce the impact race has on it.
 
11:51 AM
demons are a race, functionally speaking, in DnD
 
But they're not a race in our universe's terms.
 
and orcs are?
that seems very arbitrary to me
 
Why wouldn't orcs be? They're sapient humanoids with their own distinctive appearance and culture.
 
I'd personally guess they are different species, like elves, succubi, dwarves, and goblins
 
They're different species, yep, but from a sociological point of view the term "race" is convenient since we humans don't really have any experience with communication with sapient beings (except crows, dolphins and primates and such)
@Skyler What's arbitrary about it? Demons and devils come into being literally because they are evil. If they weren't evil, they wouldn't even be demons.
 
11:58 AM
@kviiri so the gimmick that makes it ok is that all the souls are implicitly evil, say two demons copulate and have an offspring proper, its a damned soul filling that vessel
 
@Skyler You're assuming demons can do that.
If a devil somehow becomes non-evil, it's also no longer a devil. Maybe it becomes an angel or becomes a petitioner, but the point being that these particular cases are not races - they're more like "soul jobs".
 
i just dont think that most people really see it the way you do and it takes a very critical eye to have reached your decision about these two examples
 
@Skyler What decision?
 
ok for unelaborated evil in one case and not for the other
I feel like basically people will treat succubus and orc the same for the purposes of stories in most instances, players wont be thinking of treating orc like a race but not demons or the opposite unless a campaign explicitly is geared towards that.
 
That's a part of the problem, yes.
 
12:03 PM
But that's your conception of orcs and demons at play
to an extent at least
 
What part of this is my conception?
 
damned soul makes everything a-ok, to keep it short
 
Be more precise
Do you disagree with my assessment that all devils are evil?
Or that it can't be considered a race in the same way an orc is?
 
The second more so. For the first I think things are left loose enough that you can write campaigns where its not really the case, just like orcs in vanilla dnd
 
@Skyler Well, consider this alternative universe: elfs and orcs are actually the same species. If you're a Good elforc, you become an elf. If you're an Evil elforc, you become an orc. In these circumstances, would it be okay to make blanket judgments about elves or orcs?
 
12:09 PM
To make it concrete I think LotR operates something like this doesn't it?
 
Suppose further, that the choice isn't permanent - an orc who repents becomes an elf and an elf who embraces evil becomes an orc. There's no middle ground, no ambiguity.
@Skyler Not quite. Tolkien was always a bit flaky about where the orcs come from and one of the "theories" was that they're tormented and corrupted elves, but no new orcs are being made like this nor are orcs being rehabilitated into elves (I actually did a fanfic as a kid where they tried this)
Anyway, now elforc is essentially a race similar to devils in DnD. Or angeldevils.
 
@kviiri at that point though you've very clearly made elves and orcs into two sides of the same coin
for the case of demons basically all they say is they are damned souls
 
Bear with me
It says right there in the 5e player's handbook p122
"If [a devil] somehow ceased to be lawful evil, it would cease to be a devil"
So if you see a devil, you know for a fact that it is evil.
Like in our example, if you see an elf you know it's good.
 
fair enough, first time I've seen that page. I think basically everyone skips over the morality chapter =P
 
That's why I don't consider devils to be a race - it's more like a race+alignment
@Skyler Yuh
Alignment sucks :D
Anyway, I need to get on with my thesis
 
12:15 PM
i do have to say though, they never say what they do become
 
Yeah
 
the can of worms there man
 
That's DnD for you
But I must be afk now
 
yea, i should sleep since im probably 12 hours ahead of you in one form or another
good talk
 

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