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Author Topic: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons  (Read 9253 times)

Osman Gazi

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Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
« Reply #105 on: September 23, 2022, 10:34:05 AM »
1.- Race, in the D&D sense means species, there's the HUMAN race and there's the OTHER races, this was of course muddled when they started allowing halfbreeds, if I find ANY fault is in allowing half elves/orcs/etc.

Race is the accurate term. We use the term "the human race" in the real world all the time. And I don't know where you get your crazy ideas about things becoming muddled. In myth and folklore, you have examples of things like nymphs bearing offspring with humans and such. You're just speaking crazy talk to force the facts to line up with your conclusions.

Things become muddled in the game since different species can't interbreed and produce fertile offspring, so race becomes something else than the synonym of species.

Not entirely accurate.  There are many examples of different species cross-breeding and producing fertile offspring.  Even homo sapiens had fertile offspring when they interbred with Neanderthals and Denisovans, which were different species, taxonomically speaking.  Another more common example today is wolves and dogs, two separate species, can produce fertile offspring.

You're aware (I hope) that speciation is a process, it takes a very long time for a new species to form from another, Tigers and Lions can still interbreed, their offspring isn't fertile, same for horses and donkeys.

In the process of speciation there's a point where the new species is different enough to be recognized but still close enough to the mother to be able to interbreed. Then, after enough time passes WITHOUT the species interbreeding then they can no longer produce fertile offspring, then they can no longer produce offspring, at which point they will even stop trying and even attrack if the other tries.

Now, here's a definition for you:

https://www.britannica.com/science/species-taxon

I don't think we're really disagreeing here; an article I linked in a different thread about this very subject said as much: https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelmarshalleurope/2018/08/28/a-long-busted-myth-its-not-true-that-animals-belonging-to-different-species-can-never-interbreed/?sh=150bd1543e65  The definition that you linked did acknowledge that there are many other definitions, though it did seem to oversimplify hybridization.

Even long-separated species can interbreed, as this article links to a paper that claims that 88% of fish species could interbreed: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-294X.2007.03529.x  And even species separated 1.5-2 million years apart can still interbreed: https://theconversation.com/revealed-the-ancient-genetic-link-between-chimpanzees-and-bonobos-67760 (and had some admixture in the past as well).

Another fascinating thing is one of the mutations that marks us as different from the great apes is the fusion of their chromosomes 2a and 2b into our chromosome 2.  This usually is cited as a way of keeping us from interbreeding with the great apes (yuck factor aside).  But live births of humans who have further fusions isn't unknown: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4912789/  Here's a less dry account of it, in layman's terms: https://www.thetech.org/ask-a-geneticist/48-46

Taxonomy, like all of biology, isn't very neat or simple.  The rule of thumb that different species cannot interbreed and produce fertile offspring is one that is largely true, but fuzzy around the edges.  It's an artificial definition, and nature doesn't always play by our rules.  And as the Forbes article points out, even Mules can sometimes be fertile: https://www.nature.com/articles/129130c0

As far as this relates to Fantasy RPG, even "realistic" fantasy races (a weird concept, I admit--Tolkien didn't play by those rules, he had thoroughly fantastic explanations for the origins of his intelligent species) could have fertile offspring from, say, human-dwarvish relations--if they're sufficiently related.  But in worldbuilding, depending on how much of a deep dive you want to take, a plausible explanation why they exist as separate species should be offered, assuming that they have a lot of social interactions.

Keep in mind, for thousands of years, homo sapiens and other human species shared this planet...but eventually only one human species survived, in the long term.  We weren't sufficiently different from the other species to not interbreed, so, for example, non-African homo sapiens have a small amount of Neanderthal and/or Denisovan DNA.  And so, we're the "Last Man Standing" among the competition for filling our particular ecological niche.  When fertile hybridization is possible, and both species start interacting, there will probably be an eventual loss of speciation.  But in the interim, you have different species, though perhaps for a "short" span of time (thousands or tens of thousands of years).

Ghostmaker

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Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
« Reply #106 on: September 23, 2022, 10:37:24 AM »
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The Spaniard

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Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
« Reply #107 on: September 23, 2022, 10:52:31 AM »
Deleted, off topic

GeekyBugle

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Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
« Reply #108 on: September 23, 2022, 11:11:55 AM »
1.- Race, in the D&D sense means species, there's the HUMAN race and there's the OTHER races, this was of course muddled when they started allowing halfbreeds, if I find ANY fault is in allowing half elves/orcs/etc.

Race is the accurate term. We use the term "the human race" in the real world all the time. And I don't know where you get your crazy ideas about things becoming muddled. In myth and folklore, you have examples of things like nymphs bearing offspring with humans and such. You're just speaking crazy talk to force the facts to line up with your conclusions.

Things become muddled in the game since different species can't interbreed and produce fertile offspring, so race becomes something else than the synonym of species.

Not entirely accurate.  There are many examples of different species cross-breeding and producing fertile offspring.  Even homo sapiens had fertile offspring when they interbred with Neanderthals and Denisovans, which were different species, taxonomically speaking.  Another more common example today is wolves and dogs, two separate species, can produce fertile offspring.

You're aware (I hope) that speciation is a process, it takes a very long time for a new species to form from another, Tigers and Lions can still interbreed, their offspring isn't fertile, same for horses and donkeys.

In the process of speciation there's a point where the new species is different enough to be recognized but still close enough to the mother to be able to interbreed. Then, after enough time passes WITHOUT the species interbreeding then they can no longer produce fertile offspring, then they can no longer produce offspring, at which point they will even stop trying and even attrack if the other tries.

Now, here's a definition for you:

https://www.britannica.com/science/species-taxon

I don't think we're really disagreeing here; an article I linked in a different thread about this very subject said as much: https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelmarshalleurope/2018/08/28/a-long-busted-myth-its-not-true-that-animals-belonging-to-different-species-can-never-interbreed/?sh=150bd1543e65  The definition that you linked did acknowledge that there are many other definitions, though it did seem to oversimplify hybridization.

Even long-separated species can interbreed, as this article links to a paper that claims that 88% of fish species could interbreed: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-294X.2007.03529.x  And even species separated 1.5-2 million years apart can still interbreed: https://theconversation.com/revealed-the-ancient-genetic-link-between-chimpanzees-and-bonobos-67760 (and had some admixture in the past as well).

Another fascinating thing is one of the mutations that marks us as different from the great apes is the fusion of their chromosomes 2a and 2b into our chromosome 2.  This usually is cited as a way of keeping us from interbreeding with the great apes (yuck factor aside).  But live births of humans who have further fusions isn't unknown: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4912789/  Here's a less dry account of it, in layman's terms: https://www.thetech.org/ask-a-geneticist/48-46

Taxonomy, like all of biology, isn't very neat or simple.  The rule of thumb that different species cannot interbreed and produce fertile offspring is one that is largely true, but fuzzy around the edges.  It's an artificial definition, and nature doesn't always play by our rules.  And as the Forbes article points out, even Mules can sometimes be fertile: https://www.nature.com/articles/129130c0

As far as this relates to Fantasy RPG, even "realistic" fantasy races (a weird concept, I admit--Tolkien didn't play by those rules, he had thoroughly fantastic explanations for the origins of his intelligent species) could have fertile offspring from, say, human-dwarvish relations--if they're sufficiently related.  But in worldbuilding, depending on how much of a deep dive you want to take, a plausible explanation why they exist as separate species should be offered, assuming that they have a lot of social interactions.

Keep in mind, for thousands of years, homo sapiens and other human species shared this planet...but eventually only one human species survived, in the long term.  We weren't sufficiently different from the other species to not interbreed, so, for example, non-African homo sapiens have a small amount of Neanderthal and/or Denisovan DNA.  And so, we're the "Last Man Standing" among the competition for filling our particular ecological niche.  When fertile hybridization is possible, and both species start interacting, there will probably be an eventual loss of speciation.  But in the interim, you have different species, though perhaps for a "short" span of time (thousands or tens of thousands of years).

Agreed on all of that, biology isn't math.

What I think is needed is a redefinition of who is a different species from whom.

Let me explain: Canis Lupus & Canis Lupus Familiaris can still interbreed? They are the same species just two different breeds of.

I think that, just like cladistics was created to better organize life forms we need to better organize said life forms, we're draging centuries old ignorance and beliefs, especially in biology.

Remember that not that long ago Humans "weren't" Apes, because of our ignorance/arrogance we defined ourselves as special.

I don't like to play by Tolkien's rules, as much as I love his work. I like it better when it's closer to brother's Grimm.

It also solves all the cries of "problematic" but that's not why, I was doing it before they gained a strong foothold in media/politics/academics/the hobby for anyone to listen to them.

So, as a general rule, in my table Humans can only interbreed with humans, rare exception is Sword & Planet where you find Green Humans in other planets that can interbreed with terrans.
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Osman Gazi

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Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
« Reply #109 on: September 23, 2022, 11:17:59 AM »
Agreed with all you said, GeekyBugle.

So, as a general rule, in my table Humans can only interbreed with humans, rare exception is Sword & Planet where you find Green Humans in other planets that can interbreed with terrans.

Interesting...shades of Burroughs?

The Spaniard

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Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
« Reply #110 on: September 23, 2022, 11:33:54 AM »
The activist writing it was pretty thoroughly taken apart in the comments section. Over time since Gizmodo is a leftist shithole, the stars next to the comments could climb back into the writer’s favor, but for now, reasonable heads are prevailing.

It is a fact. If you see orc and think black person, YOU are the racist. The thought would never occur to a non-racist.

And If you are writing these types of things for clicks and money, then you are being paid to be racist.

Yea, this talk about "racial coded language" is all nonsense.  Orcs are orcs, that's it.  There's no hidden agenda.

GeekyBugle

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Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
« Reply #111 on: September 23, 2022, 11:34:11 AM »
Agreed with all you said, GeekyBugle.

So, as a general rule, in my table Humans can only interbreed with humans, rare exception is Sword & Planet where you find Green Humans in other planets that can interbreed with terrans.

Interesting...shades of Burroughs?

With his inspiration Otis Adelbert Kline and a few others from the Pulp era, and even then, if it was Barsoom, Green Martians CAN'T interbreed with other Martians nor with humans, I don't remember if the Martians of other colors could interbreed among themselves (Red with Yellow, etc) or with humans (besides the Red Martians).
Quote from: Rhedyn

Here is why this forum tends to be so stupid. Many people here think Joe Biden is "The Left", when he is actually Far Right and every US republican is just an idiot.

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GhostNinja

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Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
« Reply #112 on: September 23, 2022, 12:12:25 PM »
I wrote a post on my blog going over stupid points in the hit piece.  Probably going to post a link to my rebuttle on the comment section of the article.  We will see how it goes.

If you are interested: http://www.therustyaxe.com/2022/09/23/clueless-writer-posts-hit-piece-against-dungeons-and-dragons/

*Edit* I sent the author of that article the following email:

"I read you're article on D&D and it is clear you know nothing about D&D or role playing games at all and decided to write an article about something you know nothing about.

Which promopted me, a gamer for many years to post a blog post pointing out the misconceptions and simply wrong statements found in your article.

http://www.therustyaxe.com/2022/09/23/clueless-writer-posts-hit-piece-against-dungeons-and-dragons/

Read it or dont.  But you should really know what you are talking about before you write an article if you want anyone to take you seriously.

- GhostNinja"
« Last Edit: September 23, 2022, 12:18:10 PM by GhostNinja »
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BoxCrayonTales

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Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
« Reply #113 on: September 23, 2022, 12:40:03 PM »
The activist writing it was pretty thoroughly taken apart in the comments section. Over time since Gizmodo is a leftist shithole, the stars next to the comments could climb back into the writer’s favor, but for now, reasonable heads are prevailing.

It is a fact. If you see orc and think black person, YOU are the racist. The thought would never occur to a non-racist.

And If you are writing these types of things for clicks and money, then you are being paid to be racist.

Yea, this talk about "racial coded language" is all nonsense.  Orcs are orcs, that's it.  There's no hidden agenda.

Racial caricatures are obvious. That's the point. For example, the hypothetical fantasy novel written by AU!Hitler in The Iron Dream has obvious racial caricatures.

The martian roaches in Terra Formars are an obvious racial caricature. You can make a list of their traits and compare it to racist propaganda and stereotypes: https://thekenpire.com/2015/03/17/terra-formars-is-an-obscenely-racist-manga-and-anime-series-but-its-sort-of-hilarious/

With orcs, any resemblance to human racial caricatures is extremely tenuous at best. They're so genericized that you can't really trace them to any specific human ethnicity. Also, using orcs in your games has no correlation with racist attitudes. https://areomagazine.com/2022/02/04/evil-orcs-accusations-of-racism-in-dungeons-and-dragons/

Yes, many fictional races are based on stereotypes of real ethnic groups. Klingons are based on Russians, Yellow Peril (especially the 60s yellowface), and Vikings, Ferengi are based on caricatures of Jews (big noses, big ears, obsessed with money). But as times goes on the writers add tons of other baggage that makes them more than just allegories for real cultures, but their own thing. Of course, in Star Trek they exist to impart moral lessons on to the audience about racism and cultural imperialism. The Klingons and Ferengi are people with rights to self-determination that should be respected.

Orcs are a gamist convention invented so that you can mow through hordes of mooks without worrying about whether they have families at home. (Writers screwed that up by introducing non-combatants later on, but my point stands.) If the presence of orcs made audiences more racist, then I would say that yes they're problematic. But they don't cause real world harm, so the criticism is moot.

How many points of similarity do orcs have with specific racial caricatures? Really, how many? They're ugly, savage, strong, stupid... okay, that narrows it to down to *checks notes* propaganda written by advanced cultures against lesser cultures (e.g. barbarians) or cultures being invaded against their invaders (e.g. steppe horsemen).

Meanwhile, here are the points of similarity between Dwarves and caricatures of Irish Jews: short, big noses, bearded, heavy drinkers, violent and rowdy, blunt, obsessed with wealth, persecuted minority (at least in The Hobbit), proud ancient people with valuable cultural contributions... Huh, I'm beginning to see why I could only find one article criticizing dwarves as a racist caricature of Irish Jews. https://alexraizman679957007.wordpress.com/2020/07/12/fantastic-diversity-the-fantasy-genres-unfortunate-implications/

Sigh. The problem with all these casual accusations of racism is that they undercut the actual harm of racism and alienate people who might otherwise have been allies.

The Spaniard

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Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
« Reply #114 on: September 23, 2022, 01:30:05 PM »
We're definitely aligned on your last point

GhostNinja

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Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
« Reply #115 on: September 23, 2022, 01:51:19 PM »

Sigh. The problem with all these casual accusations of racism is that they undercut the actual harm of racism and alienate people who might otherwise have been allies.

Wouldnt it be nice if these people writing articles had to, you know actually know what they were talking about in order to be able to write the article?

Crazy thought.
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BoxCrayonTales

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Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
« Reply #116 on: September 23, 2022, 01:53:06 PM »
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« Last Edit: September 24, 2022, 01:19:11 PM by BoxCrayonTales »

Ruprecht

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Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
« Reply #117 on: September 23, 2022, 03:14:48 PM »
So instead of berserking berserkers, you get raging barbarians. Great. So now you just put out a game that suggests indigenous people have anger management issues.
The thing about Barbarians (the class) is the assumption the term refers to one coming from a primitive culture when it just might just indicate one everyone (no matter what culture) considers a barbarian. One with limited skill in fighting but lots of rage. For example a soccer hooligan or Raiders football fan.
Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing. ~Robert E. Howard

BoxCrayonTales

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Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
« Reply #118 on: September 23, 2022, 03:30:11 PM »
So instead of berserking berserkers, you get raging barbarians. Great. So now you just put out a game that suggests indigenous people have anger management issues.
The thing about Barbarians (the class) is the assumption the term refers to one coming from a primitive culture when it just might just indicate one everyone (no matter what culture) considers a barbarian. One with limited skill in fighting but lots of rage. For example a soccer hooligan or Raiders football fan.
“Barbarian” in modern speech means an uncultured or brutish person. If used for someone because of their upbringing, then yes it is a racist slur. I prefer berserker because it’s the most accurate appellation.

For that matter, the word “class” probably isn’t appropriate either. It makes sense for peasants, nobles, and priests, but not wizards, sorcerers, warlocks, barbarians, fighters, rangers, etc. These aren’t comparable social divisions, but professions.

Mishihari

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Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
« Reply #119 on: September 23, 2022, 04:29:37 PM »
on what? I said it clearly and precisely the first time. It's problematic because Barbarians are indigenous. Has nothing to do with color, and only has to do with race insofar as we're treating the category of "indigenous" as a race. Barbarian is a synonym for savage. Savage people (non pejorative) refer to primitive people who inhabit their native lands, as opposed to primitive tribes that move around, which are nomads. Hence savages are indigenous to the lands they inhabit. Hence barbarians are indigenous.

There's no fancy argument. No logic you need to follow. It's simply a matter of words mean things. It helps clear up a lot of confusion if you know what actual meanings of the words are.

Quote
Nope, you're just completely incapable of communicating in a clear way what you're saying, assuming it's not a backpedal.

It's not my fault you don't know what words mean. That by itself isn't a problem. It's your this attitude you have where you think you know better than everyone else when you are literally the person who is lacking the requisite knowledge to follow along.

Your argument is specious.  Even synonyms have unshared shades of meaning.  You can't just assume that everything that applies to one word also applies to another.  Also, just glanced at a dictionary, there was no mention of "inhabiting their native land."  Easy counterpoint:  the vikings in North America for a short while were both savage barbarians, but certainly were not indigenous.