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Pen & Paper Roleplaying Central => Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion => Topic started by: GeekyBugle on September 17, 2022, 11:23:05 AM

Title: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GeekyBugle on September 17, 2022, 11:23:05 AM
As most around here know I'm in the camp of "WotC is a detriment to the hobby", so I'm not sharing this to defend them, I'm sharing this as yet another example of why you NEVER BEND THE KNEE TO THE WOKE.

https://archive.is/PdnwY (https://archive.is/PdnwY)
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: FingerRod on September 17, 2022, 11:52:12 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.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: VisionStorm on September 17, 2022, 12:32:17 PM
Quote
“Dungeons & Dragons will continue to fail unless—or until—they fundamentally change their approach to race,” said tabletop RPG designer Connie Chang.

Fail at what? Being the #1, greatest selling and most recognizable TTRPG of all time, specially now more than ever? Words either mean something or they don't, and these people are clearly pulling their words right out of their ass to paint their own imaginary version of reality, the way they want it to be. The only time D&D has ever even remotely approached the realm of being a "failure" was when it shot itself in the foot during the 4e era, and maybe briefly in the 90s when Vampire gained popularity, and even then it was still #2. So not a failure even then, just not #1.

This is all imaginary nonsense baked for clickbait outrage with no basis in reality but their own delusions.

By the way, I absolutely love all the changes to race they made in the Unearthed Arcana: Character Origins document*. I was hesitant about them at first, cuz I hate the rationale behind eliminating racial ability modifiers, but from a purely game mechanics perspective prefer they way it frees us to make any character build we want without being bound by racial modifiers as a limiting factor for viability.

I do think that there are mechanical issues with tying ability bonuses to Background specifically, though, since it incentivizes picking backgrounds with bonuses that match your class's key ability, or going with the custom Background option, which defeats the point of tying them to background. They should just give everyone a +2 bonus to one or two abilities of choice and leave it at that, or maybe make players pick the bonuses from either race, class and background, like I did when trying it out in my own game.

But other than that I prefer the new treatment for races—including the addition of Orcs as a standard race—and it's what I'd use from now on.

"EDIT/PS: Except for Ardlings. I absolutely hate that stupid furry-angel concept they pulled out of nowhere. It's like they didn't know WTF to do with Aasimar, so lets just make them furries. Cuz furries have a lot to do with angels, amirite?

I'd just make them Aasimar that look like angels and drop that stupid "Ardling" name and concept. You don't need to make angels furries to make them cool, you just need to make them angels.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: hedgehobbit on September 17, 2022, 12:45:42 PM
The most interesting part of the article is when they point to female strength limits as the ground zero of this line of thinking. The argument I've seen as to why female characters shouldn't be penalized is because they are "exceptional" and normal statistical deviation don't apply. This same argument can be made to say that your elf is exceptional so normal ability score modifiers shouldn't apply either.

This is a rare case where the SJWs are the ones being consistent.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Slambo on September 17, 2022, 01:12:17 PM
Quote
“Dungeons & Dragons will continue to fail unless—or until—they fundamentally change their approach to race,” said tabletop RPG designer Connie Chang.

Fail at what? Being the #1, greatest selling and most recognizable TTRPG of all time, specially now more than ever? Words either mean something or they don't, and these people are clearly pulling their words right out of their ass to paint their own imaginary version of reality, the way they want it to be. The only time D&D has ever even remotely approached the realm of being a "failure" was when it shot itself in the foot during the 4e era, and maybe briefly in the 90s when Vampire gained popularity, and even then it was still #2. So not a failure even then, just not #1.

This is all imaginary nonsense baked for clickbait outrage with no basis in reality but their own delusions.

By the way, I absolutely love all the changes to race they made in the Unearthed Arcana: Character Origins document*. I was hesitant about them at first, cuz I hate the rationale behind eliminating racial ability modifiers, but from a purely game mechanics perspective prefer they way it frees us to make any character build we want without being bound by racial modifiers as a limiting factor for viability.

I do think that there are mechanical issues with tying ability bonuses to Background specifically, though, since it incentivizes picking backgrounds with bonuses that match your class's key ability, or going with the custom Background option, which defeats the point of tying them to background. They should just give everyone a +2 bonus to one or two abilities of choice and leave it at that, or maybe make players pick the bonuses from either race, class and background, like I did when trying it out in my own game.

But other than that I prefer the new treatment for races—including the addition of Orcs as a standard race—and it's what I'd use from now on.

"EDIT/PS: Except for Ardlings. I absolutely hate that stupid furry-angel concept they pulled out of nowhere. It's like they didn't know WTF to do with Aasimar, so lets just make them furries. Cuz furries have a lot to do with angels, amirite?

I'd just make them Aasimar that look like angels and drop that stupid "Ardling" name and concept. You don't need to make angels furries to make them cool, you just need to make them angels.

Imo they ahould just remove the ability mods all together and add a few more points to their point buy/standard array, maybe just add +2 +1 to the pragraph on rolling for stats. I have no idea how someone could complain about that...they may find a way though.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Jam The MF on September 17, 2022, 02:01:06 PM
Quote
“Dungeons & Dragons will continue to fail unless—or until—they fundamentally change their approach to race,” said tabletop RPG designer Connie Chang.

Fail at what? Being the #1, greatest selling and most recognizable TTRPG of all time, specially now more than ever? Words either mean something or they don't, and these people are clearly pulling their words right out of their ass to paint their own imaginary version of reality, the way they want it to be. The only time D&D has ever even remotely approached the realm of being a "failure" was when it shot itself in the foot during the 4e era, and maybe briefly in the 90s when Vampire gained popularity, and even then it was still #2. So not a failure even then, just not #1.

This is all imaginary nonsense baked for clickbait outrage with no basis in reality but their own delusions.

By the way, I absolutely love all the changes to race they made in the Unearthed Arcana: Character Origins document*. I was hesitant about them at first, cuz I hate the rationale behind eliminating racial ability modifiers, but from a purely game mechanics perspective prefer they way it frees us to make any character build we want without being bound by racial modifiers as a limiting factor for viability.

I do think that there are mechanical issues with tying ability bonuses to Background specifically, though, since it incentivizes picking backgrounds with bonuses that match your class's key ability, or going with the custom Background option, which defeats the point of tying them to background. They should just give everyone a +2 bonus to one or two abilities of choice and leave it at that, or maybe make players pick the bonuses from either race, class and background, like I did when trying it out in my own game.

But other than that I prefer the new treatment for races—including the addition of Orcs as a standard race—and it's what I'd use from now on.

"EDIT/PS: Except for Ardlings. I absolutely hate that stupid furry-angel concept they pulled out of nowhere. It's like they didn't know WTF to do with Aasimar, so lets just make them furries. Cuz furries have a lot to do with angels, amirite?

I'd just make them Aasimar that look like angels and drop that stupid "Ardling" name and concept. You don't need to make angels furries to make them cool, you just need to make them angels.

Imo they ahould just remove the ability mods all together and add a few more points to their point buy/standard array, maybe just add +2 +1 to the pragraph on rolling for stats. I have no idea how someone could complain about that...they may find a way though.


There are times, when i think the simple fix to all the angst about racial modifiers; is you get nothing.  Now you have the equality you desired.  You get nothing.  Just play your character, and stop whining about silly stuff.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: THE_Leopold on September 17, 2022, 02:40:08 PM

Imo they ahould just remove the ability mods all together and add a few more points to their point buy/standard array, maybe just add +2 +1 to the pragraph on rolling for stats. I have no idea how someone could complain about that...they may find a way though.

They did that in the "Custom Lineage" from Tasha's.
 You get +2 to a stat, pick a feat or dark vision, small or medium, Select a language or 2, and then go pick your stats.

Call yourself whatever race you want it doesn't matter, you can be a tall halfling, short elf, human with fur,  whatever you want.  They stripped a race down to be anything you want all you gotta do is assign a few numbers and drop downs.

Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Palleon on September 17, 2022, 03:05:33 PM
There are times, when i think the simple fix to all the angst about racial modifiers; is you get nothing.  Now you have the equality you desired.  You get nothing.  Just play your character, and stop whining about silly stuff.

Correct.  The only way to fix it is to remove all mechanical aspects of race.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: hedgehobbit on September 17, 2022, 03:21:23 PM
By the way, I absolutely love all the changes to race they made in the Unearthed Arcana: Character Origins document*. I was hesitant about them at first, cuz I hate the rationale behind eliminating racial ability modifiers, but from a purely game mechanics perspective prefer they way it frees us to make any character build we want without being bound by racial modifiers as a limiting factor for viability.

I see D&D as a game where you play whatever character you roll up rather than a game where you can build any character you want. If I wanted to play a game where building any character was the design goal, I'd play something like GURPS or Champions. Where cosmetic features of the character, such as race, are entirely optional.

So when the designers of D&D make these changes to races, background, ancestry, etc, they are just playing a shell game, moving points around, without really addressing the main issue. IOW, all these changes aren't making D&D  a better game, they are just turning D&D into a different type of game.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Slambo on September 17, 2022, 03:47:18 PM
Quote
“Dungeons & Dragons will continue to fail unless—or until—they fundamentally change their approach to race,” said tabletop RPG designer Connie Chang.

Fail at what? Being the #1, greatest selling and most recognizable TTRPG of all time, specially now more than ever? Words either mean something or they don't, and these people are clearly pulling their words right out of their ass to paint their own imaginary version of reality, the way they want it to be. The only time D&D has ever even remotely approached the realm of being a "failure" was when it shot itself in the foot during the 4e era, and maybe briefly in the 90s when Vampire gained popularity, and even then it was still #2. So not a failure even then, just not #1.

This is all imaginary nonsense baked for clickbait outrage with no basis in reality but their own delusions.

By the way, I absolutely love all the changes to race they made in the Unearthed Arcana: Character Origins document*. I was hesitant about them at first, cuz I hate the rationale behind eliminating racial ability modifiers, but from a purely game mechanics perspective prefer they way it frees us to make any character build we want without being bound by racial modifiers as a limiting factor for viability.

I do think that there are mechanical issues with tying ability bonuses to Background specifically, though, since it incentivizes picking backgrounds with bonuses that match your class's key ability, or going with the custom Background option, which defeats the point of tying them to background. They should just give everyone a +2 bonus to one or two abilities of choice and leave it at that, or maybe make players pick the bonuses from either race, class and background, like I did when trying it out in my own game.

But other than that I prefer the new treatment for races—including the addition of Orcs as a standard race—and it's what I'd use from now on.

"EDIT/PS: Except for Ardlings. I absolutely hate that stupid furry-angel concept they pulled out of nowhere. It's like they didn't know WTF to do with Aasimar, so lets just make them furries. Cuz furries have a lot to do with angels, amirite?

I'd just make them Aasimar that look like angels and drop that stupid "Ardling" name and concept. You don't need to make angels furries to make them cool, you just need to make them angels.

Imo they ahould just remove the ability mods all together and add a few more points to their point buy/standard array, maybe just add +2 +1 to the pragraph on rolling for stats. I have no idea how someone could complain about that...they may find a way though.


There are times, when i think the simple fix to all the angst about racial modifiers; is you get nothing.  Now you have the equality you desired.  You get nothing.  Just play your character, and stop whining about silly stuff.

I agree with this too
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Ratman_tf on September 17, 2022, 03:52:18 PM
Quote
“Dungeons & Dragons will continue to fail unless—or until—they fundamentally change their approach to race,” said tabletop RPG designer Connie Chang.

Fail at what? Being the #1, greatest selling and most recognizable TTRPG of all time, specially now more than ever? Words either mean something or they don't, and these people are clearly pulling their words right out of their ass to paint their own imaginary version of reality, the way they want it to be. The only time D&D has ever even remotely approached the realm of being a "failure" was when it shot itself in the foot during the 4e era, and maybe briefly in the 90s when Vampire gained popularity, and even then it was still #2. So not a failure even then, just not #1.

This is all imaginary nonsense baked for clickbait outrage with no basis in reality but their own delusions.

By the way, I absolutely love all the changes to race they made in the Unearthed Arcana: Character Origins document*. I was hesitant about them at first, cuz I hate the rationale behind eliminating racial ability modifiers, but from a purely game mechanics perspective prefer they way it frees us to make any character build we want without being bound by racial modifiers as a limiting factor for viability.

I do think that there are mechanical issues with tying ability bonuses to Background specifically, though, since it incentivizes picking backgrounds with bonuses that match your class's key ability, or going with the custom Background option, which defeats the point of tying them to background. They should just give everyone a +2 bonus to one or two abilities of choice and leave it at that, or maybe make players pick the bonuses from either race, class and background, like I did when trying it out in my own game.

But other than that I prefer the new treatment for races—including the addition of Orcs as a standard race—and it's what I'd use from now on.

"EDIT/PS: Except for Ardlings. I absolutely hate that stupid furry-angel concept they pulled out of nowhere. It's like they didn't know WTF to do with Aasimar, so lets just make them furries. Cuz furries have a lot to do with angels, amirite?

I'd just make them Aasimar that look like angels and drop that stupid "Ardling" name and concept. You don't need to make angels furries to make them cool, you just need to make them angels.

Imo they ahould just remove the ability mods all together and add a few more points to their point buy/standard array, maybe just add +2 +1 to the pragraph on rolling for stats. I have no idea how someone could complain about that...they may find a way though.

Set stat arrays. Characters should be equitable cookie cutter cut outs.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Ratman_tf on September 17, 2022, 03:55:23 PM
As most around here know I'm in the camp of "WotC is a detriment to the hobby", so I'm not sharing this to defend them, I'm sharing this as yet another example of why you NEVER BEND THE KNEE TO THE WOKE.

https://archive.is/PdnwY (https://archive.is/PdnwY)

Yep. The goal is control. They don't give a shit about racism. It's a tool towards their social hell. If they can ever "fix" racism, they lose their power.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: BoxCrayonTales on September 17, 2022, 04:22:20 PM
D&D doesn’t reinforce racist attitudes. We have research showing no connection. The article is full of shit. Again. https://areomagazine.com/2022/02/04/evil-orcs-accusations-of-racism-in-dungeons-and-dragons/

Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Brooding Paladin on September 17, 2022, 04:38:02 PM
I saw this moron post her article link on Twitter.  I stopped reading it early on to preserve my IQ. 

I guess D&D is now so far removed from it's origins that the late arrivers or new wavers don't understand what the early appeals were to wanting to play a certain race and now in the interest of "everything needs to be fair" you can just buy what you want, claim it's lineage, and that's that.  So what's the differentiation if a Dragonborn can have all the same stuff as a Tiefling?  Why call it a Dragonborn at that point?  It just loses something altogether but it's their loss.  I'm not playing that game.

But it is a good reminder as GeekyBugle pointed out.  Never bend the knee as it will never be enough.  If you show weakness once they will co-opt your game right out from under you forcing it to become something you never intended.  But it serves WOTC right.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: DocJones on September 17, 2022, 05:25:31 PM
The article undermines itself when it is acknowledged that "race" in D&D is more accurately "species".
And then all the complaining about bioessentialism goes out the window.  Or rather it should if they had any sense,
because it's a theory that biology plays a significant role in determining human psychological behavior.
Of course it doesn't apply to other species like cats, dogs, horses or bears. 
Likewise no one has studied how biology affects the behaviors of elves, orcs, gnolls, dwarves, or hobgoblins.
Or whether the theory of magiaessentialism  (as proposed by Mordenkainen) is determinative to the behavior of fey creatures like elves, brownies, pixies and yes, orcs.


Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: VisionStorm on September 17, 2022, 05:39:21 PM
By the way, I absolutely love all the changes to race they made in the Unearthed Arcana: Character Origins document*. I was hesitant about them at first, cuz I hate the rationale behind eliminating racial ability modifiers, but from a purely game mechanics perspective prefer they way it frees us to make any character build we want without being bound by racial modifiers as a limiting factor for viability.

I see D&D as a game where you play whatever character you roll up rather than a game where you can build any character you want. If I wanted to play a game where building any character was the design goal, I'd play something like GURPS or Champions. Where cosmetic features of the character, such as race, are entirely optional.

So when the designers of D&D make these changes to races, background, ancestry, etc, they are just playing a shell game, moving points around, without really addressing the main issue. IOW, all these changes aren't making D&D  a better game, they are just turning D&D into a different type of game.

I'd rather play the character I want. Besides, races still have racial traits, so it's not like racial distinctions are completely out of the picture. You just don't get pigeonholed into certain classes (that don't necessarily reflect a race's presumed class preferences) just because of racial ability modifiers. And ability modifiers were never that prevalent till more recent editions. D&D originally gave no ability modifiers (it had minimum ability scores, but that's a different deal I wouldn't mind bringing back), and AD&D only gave like +1 to one Attribute, -1 to another (two if the +1 was to STR, and the -1s were to INT and CHA).
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: jeff37923 on September 17, 2022, 06:37:53 PM
Dude, it's Gizmodo - you lose brain cells just looking at an article from them.

And who cares if it is a hit piece? WotC D&D lost me way back when they made 4e, fuck them and the worm they slither around on. WotC D&D deserves all the grief it gets because they decided to become the woke's catamite.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Lynn on September 17, 2022, 08:20:12 PM
The interesting thing is the warning about changing the system so much, you'll end up with another 4e debacle.

But if WoTC were to take into account everything these people want, that seems exactly what would be produced - a game that is so suffused with terminology to appeal to a new customer type that those that played before will reject it.

Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Fheredin on September 17, 2022, 09:58:18 PM
The most interesting part of the article is when they point to female strength limits as the ground zero of this line of thinking. The argument I've seen as to why female characters shouldn't be penalized is because they are "exceptional" and normal statistical deviation don't apply. This same argument can be made to say that your elf is exceptional so normal ability score modifiers shouldn't apply either.

This is a rare case where the SJWs are the ones being consistent.

To be fair, it's kinda my opinion that Player Characters are exceptions to the normal rules of the universe almost by virtue of existing, and that telling a player, "no, you can't play a chick with the body of a male pro bodybuilder," is uninteresting. Fantasy RPGs are by nature escapist fiction, and I see little reason to force real world structures onto them.

The real problem here is that the simple idea of "race" having mechanical differences in a game is a trigger for the Woke. I disagree with the why of them complaining about it, but fundamentally, I do think the way most D&D-derived games handle races is something between insipidly uninspired and downright unfun. Broken clocks can be right twice a day, and the Woke can take issue with something which should have really been done differently a long time ago.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Lunamancer on September 17, 2022, 11:20:01 PM
The thing is, if I were to put on my "woke" hat but had to adhere to facts while doing so, my conclusions would be the opposite of the ones the article arrives at. If anything, as the timeline advanced forward, the game has regressed despite the ramping up of political correctness, if not flat-out because of it.

Not that facts likely matter, but there are some things I feel the need to point out.

Bioessentialism refers specifically to humans and is specifically behavioral. We know full well certain physical features are determined by genetics. Hair color, eye color, etc. It's not a bioessentialist claim to say halflings are much smaller than humans. Nor is it bioessentialist to expect halflings are going to be less strong due to this difference in stature. Note that as far as the 1E PHB goes, racial attribute adjustments are strictly physical. Not behavioral. The exception that proves the rule is Charisma. That the Charisma penalty for Dwarfs and Half-Orcs does not apply when dealing with other members of their own race strongly suggests that this is the physical attractiveness component of Charisma that is being adjusted. Not leadership ability. Not whether or not the character has a winning personality.

I think this was intentional. But I don't think the motive was to shut up a bunch of twerps strangely obsessed with bioessentialism decades after the fact. I think it was to clear the path to allow the players to play their characters any way they saw fit. As time went on and as gamers got more obsessed with "just playin' muh character" we would later see players deferring "playing as they see fit" in favor of some preconceived notions about how the character ought to be played according to its characteristics--among those characteristics being the character's race.

So you could make the case for bioessentialism creep if you wanted to. But to play a character rather than playing yourself in that character's shoes is something that takes additional effort. It's not something automatically inherent to the RPG form. And bioessentialism is explicitly not a part of the old school rules. It would be factually incorrect to claim that the game is rooted in bioessentialism. To the extent it exists in the game, it came later on down the line.

In fact, by 1.5E, Unearthed Arcana provided additional race options for player characters. And some of these did involve adjustments to INT and WIS. I feel it's unfortunate. But it's still pretty minimal. Note that this is where the Drow is introduced as a playable race. And in UA it specifically states the player character drow may be of any alignment. This is another thing the article gets factually incorrect. The biology of drow does not make the character essentially evil. This is spelled out explicitly in the UA rules. There are no alignment dictates on any player character race at this point in the timeline.

Speaking of alignment, I think one of the key lines for how alignment works in 1E is, "Basically stated, the tenets of good are human rights, or in the case of AD&D, creature rights." Here you see there is some addressing of the fact that AD&D has non-human creatures that ought to be considered as humans in terms of such ethical concerns. But the rules do not tell us precisely where that line is drawn. Presumably, that will be up to each individual DM.

First, it's worth pointing out that this circles back to the definition of bioessentialism where I had indicated it specifically referred to humans. With this understanding of alignment, it's possible to see clear where bioessentialism can also refer to other creatures in the fantasy world in a way that doesn't render the idea meaningless. But it still wouldn't apply to every and all creatures. Again, it's going to be up to the DM where the line is drawn. If the DM decides orcs are monsters, not on the human side of the line, the question of bioessentialism becomes inapplicable. They would all be evil, and so Lawful Good characters could slay them without any alignment infractions, including women and children prisoners.

Personally, I think the most natural place to draw the line is between PC-playable and non-playable races. I don't use UA. So drows are not playable races in my campaign. Hence they are monsters. Hence, I follow the alignment guidelines from the Fiend Folio. But if I did decide to allow them as a playable race, I would allow PC drow to be of any alignment, per UA rules, and they would be on the human side of the line. Lawful Good characters couldn't just go around killing drow indiscriminately. That would be considered an evil act.

I'm not entirely sure why alignment is so hated by the author. As I describe it, it's not a relative thing. It's not a, "oh, we're the good guys, and those others over there are the bad guys" that could be equally claimed on each side. It's not like the game designer just has to arbitrarily pick a side they like better and define them as good. No. It's specifically tied to respect for "human" rights. Does the author of the article find this idea offensive? Honestly? Maybe. After all, she also sees people of color when she looks at orcs. I could see how any one of these accusations individually come off more like a cheap shot. But when they start stacking up, it starts to look like a pattern rather than a coincidence.

Of course maybe she just doesn't understand alignment. Most people don't. The 1E DMG is where the 9 alignment system is gone over in detail. If you never read another thing about alignment after that, I think alignments are perfectly clear. But every edition that came after kept tweaking and tweaking it, and it got more and more confusing over time. Another fact that fits my theme that the game regressed as the timeline moved forward.

The next factual inaccuracy I want to address is the author's claim that male and female stat adjustments were introduced in 1976 and were not overturned until 1989 with 2E. Of course those of us in the know know that there never were separate stat adjustments for male and female characters. You know what was different in 1989's 2E regarding males and females? That there was a section noting that only masculine pronouns would be used. In core 1E, pronouns were a lot more inclusive using "he or she" "him or her" etc laboriously throughout. This dropped off in late 1E, but there was no announcement. So you go from gender-inclusive 1.0 to mostly masculine-only pronouns in 1.5 to a big announcement in 2.0 saying that masculine-only pronouns would now be the standard and consistent throughout all official publications. Regression. But if you believed sex modifiers became official in 1976, you would get this trend absolutely backwards. Facts matter.

Once you see this trend, you start to see things falling in line. 2E did away with the ranger damage bonus against "giant class" creatures. What did they get instead? A hit bonus against a "hated race."

3E has a barbarian. What's their unique ability? Rage. This is what happens when you don't want to call a berserker a berserker and instead try to make it a generic thing. You end up with a game that suggests indigenous peoples have anger management issues. I can see how that could be taken as offensive in the generic sense. Whereas berserkers going berserk is not.


I should make clear that I'm not saying later editions of the game are hateful or any other such nonsense. I'm just saying that by "woke's" own standards, the facts reveal a pattern that they're screwing everything up even according to their own terms and values. And it's in large part due to their own ignorance. And face it. Incompetent laziness. And unwillingness to wrestle with their own sins, They seem to believe they can instead absolve themselves of those sins by denigrating everything that came before.

And you can see it quite clearly in action. Never forget, the WotC legacy disclaimer was a reaction to bad press WotC got from a disaffected employee of color. Rather than address the issues within their own corporate culture in the here and now, they threw products they never had anything to do with under the bus just to say, "See how good and decent we are, to recognize and denounce this?"


One last thing. I never think to look at the comments, whether it's a blog article or youtube. After reading some of the replies here referencing the comments, I decided to take a look. One hilarious one jumped out at me.

In one of the comments (reply to EpicLevelWizard), the author states, "all my sources are people of color."

Before I'd even read that comment, I had clicked on one of her sources. Rue V. Dickey. Someone who sounded especially ignorant but was hyped up with a stack of credentials. I thought I'd better take a closer look. Got the link right here:
https://ilananight.space/ (https://ilananight.space/)

They/he claim they're/he's "Roma-Indigenous-Welsh." You can see their/his photo for yourselves. Looks pretty white to me.

I'm a mix of Slavic, Portuguese, and American Indian. For those who don't know, Slavic apparently was recently added as an honorary people of color due to their impressive track record of being oppressed. Portuguese is considered by a few federal agencies in the US as being a minority group. Sometimes we're categorized as "hispanic" sometimes simply "other." And, yeah, I've got indigenous ancestors, too.

These all combine in such a way that I pretty much pass as white, aside from a few people who clocked me as Native American when I was younger. Must have been that I had long, straight, dark hair at the time. Maybe if I wore a feather in a headband or something, everyone would have noticed. But I've never claimed to be a person of color. I'm not aware of anyone ever discriminating against me for racial reasons. I don't have that lived experience, and it would be wrong of me to claim to be a person of color, especially in the context in which this is coming up.

And I have a hell of a lot more melanin in my skin than Rue.

But all of this author's sources are people of color.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Effete on September 18, 2022, 01:26:39 AM
There are times, when i think the simple fix to all the angst about racial modifiers; is you get nothing.  Now you have the equality you desired.  You get nothing.  Just play your character, and stop whining about silly stuff.

Precisely!

Just like the logical end to post-modernism is nihilism, the logical end to a post-modernist-infused rpg is NOTHING. You get no ability scores, no skills, no standards of beauty, no rules for interacting (because microaggressions or some shit), no race... hell, you get no character at all! You get a single d20 that you just roll to see if you beat whatever abstract, nebulous, non-descript challenge there is.
DM: "You enter a room. Roll the die."
Player: 16
DM: Ok, you beat it. Do you open the door?
Player: Yes
DM: Roll the die.
Player: Oof... 4.
DM: You die. Game over.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Effete on September 18, 2022, 01:57:50 AM
I agree with VisionStorm's earlier comment that the change to racial ASI is a good one. I just don't agree AT ALL with their rationale behind it.

I'd rather play the character I want. Besides, races still have racial traits, so it's not like racial distinctions are completely out of the picture. You just don't get pigeonholed into certain classes (that don't necessarily reflect a race's presumed class preferences) just because of racial ability modifiers. And ability modifiers were never that prevalent till more recent editions. D&D originally gave no ability modifiers (it had minimum ability scores, but that's a different deal I wouldn't mind bringing back), and AD&D only gave like +1 to one Attribute, -1 to another (two if the +1 was to STR, and the -1s were to INT and CHA).

Yes. In my reevaluation of earlier versions of D&D, I gained a new appreciation for "race-as-class" mechanics. If you wanted to play an elf, you adjusted your scores to match what it REQUIRES to play one. You don't simply pick the race you want and THEN adjust the scores. You had to roll exceptionally well in many cases to make the adjustments (such as with B/X rules), which justifies the reason demi-races were slightly more powerful. The fact that these earlier versions put much more emphasis on "player skill" over character stats is an important factor too, since it meant rolling low stats wasn't really that big a deal.

The shift to more focus on character stats led to min-maxing, and that led to this idea of "endless customization." And in a game with rigid class structures, that just leads to bloat since the barking seals always want "moar content."

In short, what I'm saying is simpler is better, but WotC are gonna fuck it up both with their politics and with ballooning the version with crap.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: FingerRod on September 18, 2022, 07:20:03 AM
Just want to take a moment to acknowledge Lunamancer’s post. Outstanding read.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: VisionStorm on September 18, 2022, 09:25:34 AM
I agree with VisionStorm's earlier comment that the change to racial ASI is a good one. I just don't agree AT ALL with their rationale behind it.

I'd rather play the character I want. Besides, races still have racial traits, so it's not like racial distinctions are completely out of the picture. You just don't get pigeonholed into certain classes (that don't necessarily reflect a race's presumed class preferences) just because of racial ability modifiers. And ability modifiers were never that prevalent till more recent editions. D&D originally gave no ability modifiers (it had minimum ability scores, but that's a different deal I wouldn't mind bringing back), and AD&D only gave like +1 to one Attribute, -1 to another (two if the +1 was to STR, and the -1s were to INT and CHA).

Yes. In my reevaluation of earlier versions of D&D, I gained a new appreciation for "race-as-class" mechanics. If you wanted to play an elf, you adjusted your scores to match what it REQUIRES to play one. You don't simply pick the race you want and THEN adjust the scores. You had to roll exceptionally well in many cases to make the adjustments (such as with B/X rules), which justifies the reason demi-races were slightly more powerful. The fact that these earlier versions put much more emphasis on "player skill" over character stats is an important factor too, since it meant rolling low stats wasn't really that big a deal.

The shift to more focus on character stats led to min-maxing, and that led to this idea of "endless customization." And in a game with rigid class structures, that just leads to bloat since the barking seals always want "moar content."

In short, what I'm saying is simpler is better, but WotC are gonna fuck it up both with their politics and with ballooning the version with crap.

I don't necessarily have an issue with (some) min/maxing per se, but I do think that racial ability modifiers promote the wrong kind of min/maxing, where you begin to see your race as stat adjustments for your "build". It provides the wrong kind of incentive, and makes everything about race a cost/benefit analysis, focusing on treating ability differences as hard bonuses and (once upon a time) penalties, rather than just tendencies.

One of the design benefits of treating racial ability differences as min/max REQUIREMENTS rather than modifiers is that you have to qualify for races, rather than your race just piling on a bunch of benefits. Which serves as a balancing mechanism rather contribute to more stuff that could beef up your character. And it also helps minimize the prevalence of some races, or at least make you pay for them somehow.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: 3catcircus on September 18, 2022, 01:18:02 PM
Quote
“Dungeons & Dragons will continue to fail unless—or until—they fundamentally change their approach to race,” said tabletop RPG designer Connie Chang.

Fail at what? Being the #1, greatest selling and most recognizable TTRPG of all time, specially now more than ever? Words either mean something or they don't, and these people are clearly pulling their words right out of their ass to paint their own imaginary version of reality, the way they want it to be. The only time D&D has ever even remotely approached the realm of being a "failure" was when it shot itself in the foot during the 4e era, and maybe briefly in the 90s when Vampire gained popularity, and even then it was still #2. So not a failure even then, just not #1.

This is all imaginary nonsense baked for clickbait outrage with no basis in reality but their own delusions.

By the way, I absolutely love all the changes to race they made in the Unearthed Arcana: Character Origins document*. I was hesitant about them at first, cuz I hate the rationale behind eliminating racial ability modifiers, but from a purely game mechanics perspective prefer they way it frees us to make any character build we want without being bound by racial modifiers as a limiting factor for viability.

I do think that there are mechanical issues with tying ability bonuses to Background specifically, though, since it incentivizes picking backgrounds with bonuses that match your class's key ability, or going with the custom Background option, which defeats the point of tying them to background. They should just give everyone a +2 bonus to one or two abilities of choice and leave it at that, or maybe make players pick the bonuses from either race, class and background, like I did when trying it out in my own game.

But other than that I prefer the new treatment for races—including the addition of Orcs as a standard race—and it's what I'd use from now on.

"EDIT/PS: Except for Ardlings. I absolutely hate that stupid furry-angel concept they pulled out of nowhere. It's like they didn't know WTF to do with Aasimar, so lets just make them furries. Cuz furries have a lot to do with angels, amirite?

I'd just make them Aasimar that look like angels and drop that stupid "Ardling" name and concept. You don't need to make angels furries to make them cool, you just need to make them angels.

Imo they ahould just remove the ability mods all together and add a few more points to their point buy/standard array, maybe just add +2 +1 to the pragraph on rolling for stats. I have no idea how someone could complain about that...they may find a way though.


There are times, when i think the simple fix to all the angst about racial modifiers; is you get nothing.  Now you have the equality you desired.  You get nothing.  Just play your character, and stop whining about silly stuff.

You forgot the rest of  "You get nothing." I'll help you out. "You lose! Good day, sir!! I said, 'good day!!!'"

FIFY  ;D
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Aglondir on September 18, 2022, 01:18:42 PM
ICE had an interesting take in their Middle Earth game. You rolled your scores and then assigned them to atts. If you were non human, you had to assign your highest or second highest to X. This resulted in Dwarves having better Con than humans on the whole, but no individual Dwarf had a higher Con than an individual human.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Lidless_Eye on September 18, 2022, 01:28:59 PM
I am reminded of this.
(https://i.imgur.com/33v6PbH.jpeg)
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Effete on September 18, 2022, 05:36:52 PM
... It provides the wrong kind of incentive, and makes everything about race a cost/benefit analysis, focusing on treating ability differences as hard bonuses and (once upon a time) penalties, rather than just tendencies.

One of the design benefits of treating racial ability differences as min/max REQUIREMENTS rather than modifiers is that you have to qualify for races, rather than your race just piling on a bunch of benefits. Which serves as a balancing mechanism rather contribute to more stuff that could beef up your character. And it also helps minimize the prevalence of some races, or at least make you pay for them somehow.

Yes. This is what I was trying to say, but couldn't put the right words together.

Gettong rid of racial ASIs is not a bad thing. Doing it because of "bioessentialism" nonsense and not for balancing purposes is missing the point and sets WotC up for creating a mess of the mechanics.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Ghostmaker on September 18, 2022, 06:24:29 PM
... It provides the wrong kind of incentive, and makes everything about race a cost/benefit analysis, focusing on treating ability differences as hard bonuses and (once upon a time) penalties, rather than just tendencies.

One of the design benefits of treating racial ability differences as min/max REQUIREMENTS rather than modifiers is that you have to qualify for races, rather than your race just piling on a bunch of benefits. Which serves as a balancing mechanism rather contribute to more stuff that could beef up your character. And it also helps minimize the prevalence of some races, or at least make you pay for them somehow.

Yes. This is what I was trying to say, but couldn't put the right words together.

Gettong rid of racial ASIs is not a bad thing. Doing it because of "bioessentialism" nonsense and not for balancing purposes is missing the point and sets WotC up for creating a mess of the mechanics.
The whole argument to get rid of racial attribute adjustments has always been kind of weaksauce to me. The adjustments aren't THAT limiting and playing against type can make for an interesting character.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: ShieldWife on September 18, 2022, 08:49:49 PM
There is no way to make these sort of people happy. They’re hate filled fanatics and they are consumed with racial animosity, part of which involves a constant search for anything they can attack as being racist. The more they are placated, the worse they get, which is why they are so nasty now.

If I were running a 5th Edition game and someone asked me to switch around the racial modifiers for their character, let’s say they want to play an orc wizard and want +2 to Int instead of +2 Strength, then I would seriously consider that request depending on the nature of the campaign and other circumstances. If the player said that they objected to those racial modifiers because orcs somehow represent blacks people and that racial modifiers were bioessentialism, then I think I’d probably tell the player to find another group.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Lunamancer on September 18, 2022, 09:11:24 PM
(https://i.imgflip.com/6tvack.jpg)
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Effete on September 18, 2022, 11:23:27 PM
... It provides the wrong kind of incentive, and makes everything about race a cost/benefit analysis, focusing on treating ability differences as hard bonuses and (once upon a time) penalties, rather than just tendencies.

One of the design benefits of treating racial ability differences as min/max REQUIREMENTS rather than modifiers is that you have to qualify for races, rather than your race just piling on a bunch of benefits. Which serves as a balancing mechanism rather contribute to more stuff that could beef up your character. And it also helps minimize the prevalence of some races, or at least make you pay for them somehow.

Yes. This is what I was trying to say, but couldn't put the right words together.

Gettong rid of racial ASIs is not a bad thing. Doing it because of "bioessentialism" nonsense and not for balancing purposes is missing the point and sets WotC up for creating a mess of the mechanics.
The whole argument to get rid of racial attribute adjustments has always been kind of weaksauce to me. The adjustments aren't THAT limiting and playing against type can make for an interesting character.

Sure, but if the adjustments "aren't that limiting" then a similar argument can be made for them being "not that useful." What really matters is the purpose they serve, which initially seemed to be balance along with some cohesion with a race's physiology. If a race is described as "large and muscelled" it makes no sense to have them just as strong (or just as weak) as a race of four-foot spindly-arms wimps. Racial adjustments fills the purpose just as easily as racial requirements. Want to play a strong orc? Put a minimum requirement score into Strength.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Ghostmaker on September 19, 2022, 08:18:29 AM
... It provides the wrong kind of incentive, and makes everything about race a cost/benefit analysis, focusing on treating ability differences as hard bonuses and (once upon a time) penalties, rather than just tendencies.

One of the design benefits of treating racial ability differences as min/max REQUIREMENTS rather than modifiers is that you have to qualify for races, rather than your race just piling on a bunch of benefits. Which serves as a balancing mechanism rather contribute to more stuff that could beef up your character. And it also helps minimize the prevalence of some races, or at least make you pay for them somehow.

Yes. This is what I was trying to say, but couldn't put the right words together.

Gettong rid of racial ASIs is not a bad thing. Doing it because of "bioessentialism" nonsense and not for balancing purposes is missing the point and sets WotC up for creating a mess of the mechanics.
The whole argument to get rid of racial attribute adjustments has always been kind of weaksauce to me. The adjustments aren't THAT limiting and playing against type can make for an interesting character.

Sure, but if the adjustments "aren't that limiting" then a similar argument can be made for them being "not that useful." What really matters is the purpose they serve, which initially seemed to be balance along with some cohesion with a race's physiology. If a race is described as "large and muscelled" it makes no sense to have them just as strong (or just as weak) as a race of four-foot spindly-arms wimps. Racial adjustments fills the purpose just as easily as racial requirements. Want to play a strong orc? Put a minimum requirement score into Strength.
But that's not what the wokeists want. They don't want ANY adjustments or requirements.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: hedgehobbit on September 19, 2022, 10:16:30 AM
But that's not what the wokeists want. They don't want ANY adjustments or requirements.

Yeah, we can talk about all sorts of changes to make race selection more interesting or compelling, but as long as "bioessentialism" is the driving force, none of those things will be implemented.

The sad part is that bioessentialism isn't really important to these people. If you get to the end of the article you see this:

"I want them to hire mixed-race people to consult on this."

The entire thing is just an extortion racket for a low paying consultation job on D&D6.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: BoxCrayonTales on September 19, 2022, 10:49:25 AM
I can understand discarding mental ability score modifiers because we don't really understand how intelligence works, much less across species. If we're being realistic then each race would have dozens of circumstantial modifiers to account for how they value different things. What might be charismatic to dwarves might not appear charismatic to humans, for example, so it doesn't make sense to give dwarves a flat charisma penalty because that also applies to interactions between dwarves. And then there's nature versus nurture...

But of course the SJWs are just doing it to grift rather than because they're remotely interested in actually deepening how writers approach speculative worldbuilding.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Ghostmaker on September 19, 2022, 10:54:57 AM
I can understand discarding mental ability score modifiers because we don't really understand how intelligence works, much less across species. If we're being realistic then each race would have dozens of circumstantial modifiers to account for how they value different things. What might be charismatic to dwarves might not appear charismatic to humans, for example, so it doesn't make sense to give dwarves a flat charisma penalty because that also applies to interactions between dwarves. And then there's nature versus nurture...

But of course the SJWs are just doing it to grift rather than because they're remotely interested in actually deepening how writers approach speculative worldbuilding.
A good way to manage that is to lower the DC for social interactions in appropriate encounters.

But you and hedgehobbit have it right. This isn't about background or mechanical refinement of the game. It's about grifting and virtue signaling.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: ShieldWife on September 19, 2022, 12:23:09 PM
I can understand discarding mental ability score modifiers because we don't really understand how intelligence works, much less across species. If we're being realistic then each race would have dozens of circumstantial modifiers to account for how they value different things. What might be charismatic to dwarves might not appear charismatic to humans, for example, so it doesn't make sense to give dwarves a flat charisma penalty because that also applies to interactions between dwarves. And then there's nature versus nurture...

But of course the SJWs are just doing it to grift rather than because they're remotely interested in actually deepening how writers approach speculative worldbuilding.

I can't just be a matter of other races disliking dwarves. A Charisma modifier means that dwarves don't get along with each other as well as elves get along with other elves. If we wanted to represent racism or some kind of cultural boundary that makes it harder for different races to interact with each other, then we could, for example, just give anybody a -2 penalty to Charisma based rolls with other races. Then a dwarf with suffer a -3 penalty with other races while elves would suffer a -2 penalty. Dwarves would have a -1 penalty with each other while elves no penalty with each other. Elves would still have a harder time interacting with dwarves than dwarves would with each other.

There is no reason why this couldn't be the case. It could be that for what ever reason, dwarves are biologically less social than other races, even with each other.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Zelen on September 19, 2022, 01:24:58 PM
As a DM I could care less about letting an individual player change their character's attributes. If they want to have an across-the-board 18 statline, that's fine by me.

What I care about is having a logical and sensible gameworld that my players and I can relate to. From that perspective, removing racial modifiers is damaging to the game fiction. A world where halflings are just as capable at being warriors as orcs, and orcs are just as capable as humans, and giants are just as strong as gnomes, makes no sense at all.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: jhkim on September 19, 2022, 04:44:12 PM
What I care about is having a logical and sensible gameworld that my players and I can relate to. From that perspective, removing racial modifiers is damaging to the game fiction. A world where halflings are just as capable at being warriors as orcs, and orcs are just as capable as humans, and giants are just as strong as gnomes, makes no sense at all.

I generally assume that PCs are not representative samples of their race and gender. In most systems, I keep the default that female humans PCs don't have stat adjustments, but I still have it in my world that human women are smaller and less strong than men. Similarly, in AD&D, I wouldn't have said that the average halfling had 9.5 Strength, just that adventuring halflings were stronger than average.

In most systems, the PC creation rules don't define what an average member of that race is. There are at least three different sets: all members of a race, typically encountered member of the race, and typical PC. For example, often a quarter or more of PCs are wizards or similar, but I don't keep that percentage for members of any PC race.

In general, I think it's tricky balancing PC options in general - and multiple option picking can complicate things further. I'd like to start a thread on that separated from the politics.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GeekyBugle on September 19, 2022, 04:59:05 PM
What I care about is having a logical and sensible gameworld that my players and I can relate to. From that perspective, removing racial modifiers is damaging to the game fiction. A world where halflings are just as capable at being warriors as orcs, and orcs are just as capable as humans, and giants are just as strong as gnomes, makes no sense at all.

I generally assume that PCs are not representative samples of their race and gender. In most systems, I keep the default that female humans PCs don't have stat adjustments, but I still have it in my world that human women are smaller and less strong than men. Similarly, in AD&D, I wouldn't have said that the average halfling had 9.5 Strength, just that adventuring halflings were stronger than average.

In most systems, the PC creation rules don't define what an average member of that race is. There are at least three different sets: all members of a race, typically encountered member of the race, and typical PC. For example, often a quarter or more of PCs are wizards or similar, but I don't keep that percentage for members of any PC race.

In general, I think it's tricky balancing PC options in general - and multiple option picking can complicate things further. I'd like to start a thread on that separated from the politics.

Lets talk about bell curve distribution regarding the members of an adventuring party:

We have one of each:

Human
Elf
Dwarf
Halfling
HalfOrk

ALL are exceptional among their race, agreed?

It still makes no fucking sense to have the halfling be as strong as the average human, much less the average halfork.

Take it from real life, the strongest woman isn't nearly as strong as the strongest man, hell she gets bested by guys not even in the competition for strongest man.

So, yes, racial modifiers DO make sense even if all of the party are exceptional among their own.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: jhkim on September 19, 2022, 05:40:48 PM
In most systems, the PC creation rules don't define what an average member of that race is. There are at least three different sets: all members of a race, typically encountered member of the race, and typical PC. For example, often a quarter or more of PCs are wizards or similar, but I don't keep that percentage for members of any PC race.

Lets talk about bell curve distribution regarding the members of an adventuring party:

We have one of each:

Human
Elf
Dwarf
Halfling
HalfOrk

ALL are exceptional among their race, agreed?

No, that is contradictory to what I said. As I said, PCs aren't representative of their races. That doesn't mean they're all exceptional. Some may be exceptional, some may not. If we follow after Tolkien, then maybe halflings are very rarely adventurers. So the halfling fighter in the party might an extraordinary example - like Bullroarer Took who was legendary and maybe one in a million. Conversely, half-orcs might be very used to adventuring, and a given half-orc isn't exceptional at all for his kind.

To put it another way: we'd expect halfling PCs to be roughly equal in effectiveness overall compared to dwarvish PCs. That's the nature of game balance for players. However, that doesn't necessarily imply that in the game-world, we'd expect a typical halfling army to be just as effective as a typical dwarvish army.

This isn't a new thing. I'd say that even in AD&D1, the -1 Strength +1 Dexterity for halflings wasn't intended to mean that 40% of the time an NPC halfling is stronger than an NPC human.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: SHARK on September 19, 2022, 06:05:13 PM
Greetings!

The woman that wrote the article for Gizmodo is insane. She admitted that she is an SJW and involved in "Social Justice Activism". All of her "sources"--of whatever colour or race--are all pearl-clutching, sobbing pussies. They are all *worthless* Not a damned one of them loves D&D. Yes, they all hate D&D, and as several proclaimed, "D&D needs to be changed into a different, new game!"

They are all disgusting, moron scum that should be beaten to death with lead pipes. While those who crush them laugh at them mercilessly.

Why does anyone in this hobby even listen to these fucktards? Don't play games with them. And certainly, don't hire them to do a damned thing concerning D&D. I wouldn't hire anyone of them to so much as clean the outhouse. From start to finish, all of them are morally and intellectually bankrupt. They have nothing meaningful or worthwhile to contribute to the D&D game hobby. Their opinions, their ideas, their fucking feelings--are all meaningless. With every sentence, that article describes and defines from them, the fucktards, the growing corruption and degradation of our hobby. The hobby doesn't have a problem with racism, or sexism, or any other nonsense. The hobby does have a problem, however--with these corrupt Libtard racist degenerates.

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Zelen on September 19, 2022, 06:23:56 PM
As a DM I could care less about letting an individual player change their character's attributes. If they want to have an across-the-board 18 statline, that's fine by me.

What I care about is having a logical and sensible gameworld that my players and I can relate to. From that perspective, removing racial modifiers is damaging to the game fiction. A world where halflings are just as capable at being warriors as orcs, and orcs are just as capable as humans, and giants are just as strong as gnomes, makes no sense at all.

To follow up here regarding the rationale:

If we can make the argument that, "Well, PCs are exceptional people, therefore describing the physical characteristics of a given race makes no sense," then why do we have pages that describe the characteristics races at all?

Just glancing over one of the race entries in the 5E handbook, we have countless features described that we should also remove:


If you remove all of the physical characteristics of the races, is there anything left?
Is an Orc who is adopted by Samwise Gamgee going to have the same characteristics if they both choose "Gardener" as a profession?

We can easily see how this bleeds into complete dissolution of "race" as a concept whatsoever. For example, a typical conception of an Orc culture would suggest that Orcs highly value strength and probably engage in contests of strength, like brawling or arm wrestling, rather than something like gardening, poetry, or craft. When these two do not align then why describe culture at all? Certainly in a game like D&D which aims to span myriad settings, the cultural information is much more likely to "Not matter because PC's are exceptional" than the biological underpinnings of their body?
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: FingerRod on September 19, 2022, 06:33:47 PM
Greetings!

The woman that wrote the article for Gizmodo is insane. She admitted that she is an SJW and involved in "Social Justice Activism". All of her "sources"--of whatever colour or race--are all pearl-clutching, sobbing pussies. They are all *worthless* Not a damned one of them loves D&D. Yes, they all hate D&D, and as several proclaimed, "D&D needs to be changed into a different, new game!"

They are all disgusting, moron scum that should be beaten to death with lead pipes. While those who crush them laugh at them mercilessly.

Why does anyone in this hobby even listen to these fucktards? Don't play games with them. And certainly, don't hire them to do a damned thing concerning D&D. I wouldn't hire anyone of them to so much as clean the outhouse. From start to finish, all of them are morally and intellectually bankrupt. They have nothing meaningful or worthwhile to contribute to the D&D game hobby. Their opinions, their ideas, their fucking feelings--are all meaningless. With every sentence, that article describes and defines from them, the fucktards, the growing corruption and degradation of our hobby. The hobby doesn't have a problem with racism, or sexism, or any other nonsense. The hobby does have a problem, however--with these corrupt Libtard racist degenerates.

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK

So SHARK, if I may paraphrase…you are not a net promoter?
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: mightybrain on September 19, 2022, 07:07:27 PM
If you were to design a game the opposite of everything suggested in the article it would probably be pretty good.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Lunamancer on September 19, 2022, 07:18:14 PM
This isn't a new thing. I'd say that even in AD&D1, the -1 Strength +1 Dexterity for halflings wasn't intended to mean that 40% of the time an NPC halfling is stronger than an NPC human.

I think you're absolutely right there.

Look, if a Halfling is basically half of a man, their STR should top out around 9--half of 18. Or if we're trying to account for exceptional STR, maybe I could argue a halfling as possibly having as high as a 12 STR. Average STR for a halfling should maybe be 6, tops.

It goes to show just how far away from any attempts to model biology the game is written. I think the idea is indeed to allow PCs to vary. The game wanted to retain the least amount of differentiation possible to say something about the world. That, yeah, halflings are obviously weaker than humans to an extent great enough to break through the noise of the variation of individuals.

It's worth holding onto lest the game become abstract mush. It was actually suggested in the linked article for the game numbers to be entirely divorced from the lore. I can't think of a better sign to indicate we're dealing with people who just don't "get" roleplaying games at all.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: SHARK on September 19, 2022, 07:18:48 PM
Greetings!

The woman that wrote the article for Gizmodo is insane. She admitted that she is an SJW and involved in "Social Justice Activism". All of her "sources"--of whatever colour or race--are all pearl-clutching, sobbing pussies. They are all *worthless* Not a damned one of them loves D&D. Yes, they all hate D&D, and as several proclaimed, "D&D needs to be changed into a different, new game!"

They are all disgusting, moron scum that should be beaten to death with lead pipes. While those who crush them laugh at them mercilessly.

Why does anyone in this hobby even listen to these fucktards? Don't play games with them. And certainly, don't hire them to do a damned thing concerning D&D. I wouldn't hire anyone of them to so much as clean the outhouse. From start to finish, all of them are morally and intellectually bankrupt. They have nothing meaningful or worthwhile to contribute to the D&D game hobby. Their opinions, their ideas, their fucking feelings--are all meaningless. With every sentence, that article describes and defines from them, the fucktards, the growing corruption and degradation of our hobby. The hobby doesn't have a problem with racism, or sexism, or any other nonsense. The hobby does have a problem, however--with these corrupt Libtard racist degenerates.

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK

So SHARK, if I may paraphrase…you are not a net promoter?

Greetings!

*LAUGHING*! Hey, my friend! Yeah, it just...geesus. These people are so moronic that they see racism and "Racist Coding" in stat modifiers? In languages? WTF is wrong with these people? "The race coding of D&D causes real harm to people of colour" (Paraphrase). WTF? Somehow, having specific race-based attribute profiles--for fantasy game characters in a fantasy world--somehow promotes racist attitudes for people in the real world? WTF?????

How fucking retarded can these people get? I feel like I am listening to drugged up, brain-damaged homeless people ranting about aliens fucking their life over and are insidiously infiltrating society.

NB: I have gamed with *many* friends that were minorities. Or "People of Colour". Blacks, Hispanics, Asians. Many of them were brothers of mine in the Marine Corps, carrying a rifle and jumping out of helicopters with me. Strange, not fucking one of them ever brought any of this kind of bullshit up about the game. NONE of them felt fucking "oppressed" or otherwise insulted by the game rules. Everyone was happy with having different races all have different racial attribute profiles and characteristics. Elves, Dwarves, Halflings, Gnomes, Half Orcs, Half Elves, Humans. Even when I also allowed Wolf Humanoids, Minotaurs, and Half Ogres. Everyone knew and expected each race to be distinct and different, all having some advantages and some disadvantages. In the Marines, my game group was filled with hard-charging beasts, most of whom smoked and drank, and were absolutely ruthless in-game. ;D Can you even imagine what they all talked about at the game table? Glorifying violence. Glorifying hunting down the sweet women. Full Conquest mode, my friend! Even in my groups now, none of my friends even think or speak like these people, except in satire.

ARRGGHH. These people have been so corrupted and poisoned in their minds that they cannot even think anymore in a serious manner, you know what I'm saying? Just listening to them spew their emotional diarrhea shows me how mentally dysfunctional they are. GAMING is about playing an *imaginary* fantasy character--not a mirror image or stand-in of you, the pathetic sobbing crybaby. The game isn't "about people of colour" or "social justice"--it doesn't have fuck all to do with our modern sewage world. And yet, again, and again, and again, these people can't even comprehend a game or game world where their character themselves isn't a precise stand-in for themselves!

*Sigh* I am relaxing with some fresh coffee now, and smoking my pipe. I use a Cavendish mix, with a bit of Lattikah.

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Lunamancer on September 19, 2022, 07:38:19 PM
Quote from: an IQ-draining article
Chris Nammour, a lifelong roleplayer, described how people often codify racial dynamics onto their fantasy unintentionally. “[I’ll ask players] what does an elf sound like? What’s their accent? And people say, Oh, well, they sound British, and dwarves sound Scottish and so on,” he says. “It’s always associating historically heroic races with Western and Northern European traits. And then my immediate response to that is what accent does an orc have?” The responses, he noted, are not ‘they sound British.’

It's a real shame Linda only sees what she wants to see. Otherwise she might have come upon that time Gary Gygax suggested that dwarves should have a Jamaican accent. The more I think about it, the more right that feels. At the very least, people could read the actual dwarf description.

I won't be lectured on racial coding by people who white-wash dwarves.

Quote from: Monster Manual
Description: Dwarves are typically deep tan to light brown of skin, with ruddy cheeks and bright eyes (almost never blue). Their hair is brown, black or gray.

Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: jhkim on September 19, 2022, 08:10:55 PM
Look, if a Halfling is basically half of a man, their STR should top out around 9--half of 18. Or if we're trying to account for exceptional STR, maybe I could argue a halfling as possibly having as high as a 12 STR. Average STR for a halfling should maybe be 6, tops.

It goes to show just how far away from any attempts to model biology the game is written.  I think the idea is indeed to allow PCs to vary.
It was actually suggested in the linked article for the game numbers to be entirely divorced from the lore. I can't think of a better sign to indicate we're dealing with people who just don't "get" roleplaying games at all.

You're saying that the game-world accurate answer would be -4 or -5 Strength, max 12 tops. But then of two implementations:

A) -1 Strength (AD&D)
B) -0 Strength (D&D 4th, D&D 5th)

It sounds like you think A is okay presuming some reason for it, but B means the authors don't understand RPGs at all. I feel like in practice, these two are negligibly different.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Lunamancer on September 19, 2022, 09:07:06 PM
A) -1 Strength (AD&D)
B) -0 Strength (D&D 4th, D&D 5th)

It sounds like you think A is okay presuming some reason for it, but B means the authors don't understand RPGs at all. I feel like in practice, these two are negligibly different.

If an ordinary bee stings a PC, I say, "Take a half point of damage." The player emits an almost involuntary "Ouch!" Works every time.

Whether the PC has 10 hit points after the bee attack or 9 1/2 hit points after the bee attack, the PC will still survive 9 damage, and still go down after taking 10 damage. The difference between a half point of damage and 0 damage is even more negligible than a -1 to STR vs -0 to STR.

But I still got the player to say "Ouch!"

That's the significance your question misses.

And that's the significance that gets lost if you divorce the flavor text from the game numbers. And when people aren't even aware that something is even being lost by separating the lore from the mechanics? I'm definitely on firm ground saying there's something they clearly just don't get. That thing, in this case, happens to be the magic of the correlation of descriptions to stats and action to narrative. I believe that to be the single most fundamental thing there is about RPGs.

Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Effete on September 19, 2022, 11:02:36 PM
If an ordinary bee stings a PC, I say, "Take a half point of damage." The player emits an almost involuntary "Ouch!" Works every time.

Whether the PC has 10 hit points after the bee attack or 9 1/2 hit points after the bee attack, the PC will still survive 9 damage, and still go down after taking 10 damage. The difference between a half point of damage and 0 damage is even more negligible than a -1 to STR vs -0 to STR.

But I still got the player to say "Ouch!"

That's the significance your question misses.

And that's the significance that gets lost if you divorce the flavor text from the game numbers. And when people aren't even aware that something is even being lost by separating the lore from the mechanics? I'm definitely on firm ground saying there's something they clearly just don't get. That thing, in this case, happens to be the magic of the correlation of descriptions to stats and action to narrative. I believe that to be the single most fundamental thing there is about RPGs.

Let me first start out by saying that I agree with the sentiment you proposed: that a setting should provide standards and "averages" for the different inhabitants of the world. Halflings, at their strongest, should not be as strong as a peak human, let alone a peak orc or giant. To that extent, racial adjustments serve the role of reinforcing those standards, even if player-characters occasionally prove to be the exception.

My contention with racial ability score adjustments is that it sets a bad example of how to create a character.

Take, for example, this character concept:
An orc who made a bargain with a Deep God to become highly intelligent, but the treacherous god cursed him with a muscle-wasting disease. The player puts his lowest stat (6) into Strength and his highest stat (16) into Intelligence. With racial adjustments, the game then "forces" the player to increase Strength and decrease Intelligence, REGARDLESS of what their backstory would say.

If the game instead used minimum scores as "racial qualifiers," they player can enter into negotiations to have their concept realized.

"But, Effete, you fukken moron," you might say, "you can negotiate ability score adjustments too!"
True, but it's the perception that such negotiations aren't required that puts a damper on that. Because there's NOTHING STOPPING a player from putting Strength 6 on their orc, there no implied reason to negotiate scores. But if it REQUIRES a Strength 9 or 10 to even be eligiable for an orc, it raises the question of, "what would it take to have a lower score?"

The real problem of WoTC getting rid of racial ability adjustments is that they aren't replacing them with something else. To this end, you and I are in agreement... it's going to turn the setting into shapeless mush, with halflings that can deadlift 500 lbs and ogres that can recite Shakespeare.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Lunamancer on September 20, 2022, 12:46:04 AM
Let me first start out by saying that I agree with the sentiment you proposed: that a setting should provide standards and "averages" for the different inhabitants of the world. Halflings, at their strongest, should not be as strong as a peak human, let alone a peak orc or giant. To that extent, racial adjustments serve the role of reinforcing those standards, even if player-characters occasionally prove to be the exception.

Let me first reinforce that where I'm coming from is bigger than a setting providing standards. It's that the mechanics should be linked to the descriptive elements. If I'm playing old-school D&D where we really don't have hit locations, but the player says "I want to fire my crossbow into his leg" I don't want to treat that the same way as any other attack roll and then just pretend *wink*wink* and narrate it as if you actually shot the guy's leg. I want there to be at least some mechanical differentiation.

On the flip side, if I'm running an RPG with a more complicated combat system, I don't want to hear a player say, "Okay, so I use the all-out combat option, convert my free defense for being ninjaborn into a half-attack, then sacrifice that for a bonus to my main attack..." That doesn't tell me anything about what your character is actually doing. You're just mashing up a bunch of numbers. I don't know what it looks like or what exactly your character is even doing that makes the attack "all out."

If I'm imagining something, I want some idea of what it means game wise. If something has a mechanical effect, I want to be able to picture in my mind what's happening. I don't want these two things to be separate just because we can make them separate as an intellectual exercise.

Quote
My contention with racial ability score adjustments is that it sets a bad example of how to create a character.

Take, for example, this character concept:

Just so you know, in my opinion, I think beginning with a character concept sets a bad example of how to create a character.

Quote
An orc who made a bargain with a Deep God to become highly intelligent, but the treacherous god cursed him with a muscle-wasting disease. The player puts his lowest stat (6) into Strength and his highest stat (16) into Intelligence. With racial adjustments, the game then "forces" the player to increase Strength and decrease Intelligence, REGARDLESS of what their backstory would say.

The thing is, and I'm trying my best to address the central point rather than flying off on tangents, it's just this is so foreign to the way I'd handle such a request. Or even the way I do character creation in general.

First thing I'd ask is if this is even something the character should start the game with. Should this be something that should be happening in game. Even if I ultimately decide it is best left to the background, by simply entertaining the idea if playing it out, it tells me the stats are set prior to the bargain, meaning the adjustments would also be applied prior to the bargain.

Second, I don't consider it a bad thing at all if the stat adjustments do run counter to the concept. In fact, I often think that's for the best. I can almost imagine the Deep God mocking the orc, saying what a waste of a gift, more knowledge than his stupid orc brain can handle. (Though, I also have to point out, I don't do racial attribute adjustments for non-physical features for PCs).

Third, and this circles back to what I said at the start of this comment, this is an extraordinary background. Is it really appropriate for you to use the same exact mechanics you'd use for standard character creation? Is it really what your character bargained for, to have a high intelligence but perfectly within human range and not even at the top of human range? That's what you're seeking out a deep god for? So you can get into MENSA by the skin of your teeth? I'm not suggesting we bump it up to 20 INT. 16 is just fine. But how about a special ability related to intelligence? How about a photographic memory? Or the ability to learn any language you encounter with a successful INT check? Or being able to read any magical writing on an INT check without needing Read Magic?

Quote
The real problem of WoTC getting rid of racial ability adjustments is that they aren't replacing them with something else. To this end, you and I are in agreement... it's going to turn the setting into shapeless mush, with halflings that can deadlift 500 lbs and ogres that can recite Shakespeare.

Maybe. There are a lot of real problems going on. Who's to say which is the real one?

I think too much emphasis on character customization contributes to becoming a hobby of wankers. It shifts the fun away from the game as the DM develops migraines trying to work in a bunch of goofy character builds into the campaign, and shifts it towards the pre-gaming character creation phase because there's so many interesting builds to try. I think what goes right along like that is overly elaborate backstories. So you have a story before you even play the game. Because, the way things go a lot of the times these days, there's a good chance you'll never get a good story for your character during play. Or at least not a complete one.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Ratman_tf on September 20, 2022, 01:11:02 AM
This isn't a new thing. I'd say that even in AD&D1, the -1 Strength +1 Dexterity for halflings wasn't intended to mean that 40% of the time an NPC halfling is stronger than an NPC human.

I think you're absolutely right there.

Look, if a Halfling is basically half of a man,

That doesn't follow. Their name is clearly a play on the fact that halflings are typically half the height of a human, but that doesn't indicate anything else. Do halflings have half the dexterity of a human? Half the imagination? Half the number of toes?
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: jhkim on September 20, 2022, 01:36:37 AM
The real problem of WoTC getting rid of racial ability adjustments is that they aren't replacing them with something else. To this end, you and I are in agreement... it's going to turn the setting into shapeless mush, with halflings that can deadlift 500 lbs and ogres that can recite Shakespeare.

So over my gaming history, I've played a lot of Hero System and GURPS, which give players a lot of freedom about which abilities / powers they can take - along with various others. A common criticism is that this will end up like "shapeless mush" because the mechanics don't force players to take abilities that fit together or fit what the character is supposed to be.

In practice, I never found that a problem. 90% of players are really trying to make a coherent character, and the other 10% can be dealt with by the GM simply saying "no". If a GM can't say "no", then I could foresee an issue - but it's only a small part of the big problem of not being able to say "no".

Player choice is not "shapeless mush". Given a choice, players will often come up with interesting as well as coherent backgrounds. Especially in worlds with hundreds of sentient creatures and endless variations of each ("sylvan wetlands high twilight elf"), there's room for plenty of options. At some point, rather than trying to carefully balance each of dozens of packages, it is simpler and cleaner to just have players select appropriate options and have the GM veto it if it doesn't seem appropriate for the game-world.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Wisithir on September 20, 2022, 01:45:55 AM
So in a made up game about pretend elves we have humanoids, presumably related by descent from common ancestors and visibly similar in most characteristics, but quantifying and relatively differentiating the capabilities of each subgroup is considered "racist."  Meanwhile, in the real world we have a species of animal, the dog, with many breeds of various behaviors, sensory capabilities, and physical attributes and vary widely in shape, size, and color. Would the same train of thought, or lack thereof, suggest that it is "racist" to say that Poodles or Australian Shepherds are the smartest dogs of that Grate Danes are stronger than Chihuahuas?
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Effete on September 20, 2022, 03:05:22 AM
Just so you know, in my opinion, I think beginning with a character concept sets a bad example of how to create a character.

Out of curiousity, and just so we don't run the risk of talking past each other, what is your preferred method of character creation?

Other than that, I think we are mostly in agreement: that the mechanics should reflect the world in some way. We just might debate on the method of approach.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Effete on September 20, 2022, 03:28:18 AM
The real problem of WoTC getting rid of racial ability adjustments is that they aren't replacing them with something else. To this end, you and I are in agreement... it's going to turn the setting into shapeless mush, with halflings that can deadlift 500 lbs and ogres that can recite Shakespeare.

So over my gaming history, I've played a lot of Hero System and GURPS, which give players a lot of freedom about which abilities / powers they can take - along with various others. A common criticism is that this will end up like "shapeless mush" because the mechanics don't force players to take abilities that fit together or fit what the character is supposed to be.

In practice, I never found that a problem. 90% of players are really trying to make a coherent character, and the other 10% can be dealt with by the GM simply saying "no". If a GM can't say "no", then I could foresee an issue - but it's only a small part of the big problem of not being able to say "no".

Player choice is not "shapeless mush". Given a choice, players will often come up with interesting as well as coherent backgrounds. Especially in worlds with hundreds of sentient creatures and endless variations of each ("sylvan wetlands high twilight elf"), there's room for plenty of options. At some point, rather than trying to carefully balance each of dozens of packages, it is simpler and cleaner to just have players select appropriate options and have the GM veto it if it doesn't seem appropriate for the game-world.

I think you may have misunderstood.
I'm not opposed to player options. I just think options without foundation is a recipe for disaster. What does it actually mean if both the halfling and the human have Strength 18? If the obvious biological difference between the two species is not addressed, then the game loses all meaning. Why differentiate between anything at that point?

Can there be situations where a halfling is as strong as a human? Sure, but those should be rare exceptions discussed with (and approved by) the Game Master, not normal fare. It's the difference between allowing something not expressly supported by the rules, and refusing to allow something that is supported by the rules. It's the difference between saying 'no' to a player and saying 'yes' to them. One clearly builds a more positive experience than the other.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Lunamancer on September 20, 2022, 08:05:28 AM
Out of curiousity, and just so we don't run the risk of talking past each other, what is your preferred method of character creation?

I prefer methods of character creation involve give and take, and that require players come to the table with some flexible ideas. And I like it if the method kicks off with rolling dice to spark ideas so that you don't have to have any idea at all what you want to play when you begin character generation.

For AD&D, I actually like 3d6 in order. And I like the 1E class requirements, including the sneaky ones (like in addition to 9 STR, fighters need a minimum of 6 WIS, 6 DEX, 7 CON, and 6 CHR). You'll end up having to re-roll about one in four times due to not qualifying for any class. Sometimes you might end up only qualifying for one class. You will rarely ever qualify for the elite classes--Druid, Paladin, Ranger, Illusionist, Monk.

I use both race and age adjustments. In my big long rejoinder to the linked article, I do make the point that racial adjustments in the 1E PHB are strictly physical--there are no racial adjustments for INT or WIS, and even when CHR is adjusted, the original charisma is the one that applies when dealing with members of one's own race.

And, yeah, often the adjustments are strong enticements. In 1E, it makes little difference what your exact DEX score is between 7 and 14. But if you happen to roll a 14, playing an Elf or Halfling will actually get you what might be your only bonus. The flip side, though, is I'm also using the racial class/level restrictions. So you're probably not going to choose a race just based on min-maxing your stats because so much else is attached to that decision. This is some of the stuff that gets lost in later editions.

I do have something I call the newbie rule, where you can always choose to play a human fighter, get your scores boosted to meet all the class minimums if need be, and also get STR boosted to 16 if it's not already higher.

Once play begins, there are plenty of opportunities for attributes to change. It's possible to later qualify for a class you didn't qualify for at first. And humans, anyway, are allowed to change classes.


If you have a very specific idea and you can't generate it by this method, it can still be a goal to work towards. Move the cool background event into something that can potentially happen in-game. Move the story into the present tense rather than the past tense. You should be unsatisfied with the character you've created. People who achieve great things do not begin at a point of being satisfied with everything.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Steven Mitchell on September 20, 2022, 08:40:38 AM
The article is also yet another example (as if we need one) that the people screaming about "diversity" constantly, don't understand it.  They are the exact same people that showed their non-conformance with society by--all dressing the same, talking the same, wearing the same make up, etc.  It's like Henry Ford setting up the factory line for the Model T--without the producing anything useful part.

You want real diversity?  Play something outside your usual range.  Had it happen, again, recently.  Player usually plays elves, sometimes humans, occasionally something exotic.  Now, my system is 3d6 down the line, just like in some of the early D&D games, but I've got two outs:  A primary character with no score of 14 or higher gets to boost the highest score to 14.  The player can swap any two scores.  She got some unusual rolls, no bump, no obvious swap.  Took one look at it, and said, "This looks like a dwarf to me."  Two hours of play later, she said, "I've never played a dwarf before, and I'm really enjoying this."  We've been playing together, different systems, since 1987.

With the swap, she could have forced the character into one of her usual types.  Maybe not a perfect fit, but it would have worked.  The only reason she went dwarf was because the way the dwarf was described in the setting and represented mechanically had enough difference to stand out as a thing.  Mush as advocated in the article would have deprived her of the experience. 
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GeekyBugle on September 20, 2022, 11:21:33 AM

Can there be situations where a halfling is as strong as a human? Sure, but those should be rare exceptions discussed with (and approved by) the Game Master, not normal fare. It's the difference between allowing something not expressly supported by the rules, and refusing to allow something that is supported by the rules. It's the difference between saying 'no' to a player and saying 'yes' to them. One clearly builds a more positive experience than the other.

IMHO new players need more "NO" in their lives, and this goes back to their childhood.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Brooding Paladin on September 20, 2022, 11:46:41 AM
I was thinking about this on my walk this morning.  What's fascinating to me is that what the SJWs usually push have exactly the opposite effect of what they claim they want.  Consider the following:

Once upon a time, you would see necessarily diverse parties built because someone needed to be good at spotting secret doors, someone needed to be good at hiding, someone needed to be good at detecting grades and understanding stonework, etc.  Meaning, invariably, that someone would make sure there was an elf, a halfling, and a dwarf in the party.  Diversity!  Required due to having different things that we were good at and then coming together as a team.

You'd think that would check the boxes for the more honest SJWs.

But no.  Now we are about to have rulesets that say there's no difference between anyone and anyone can have anything and we can call it lineage.  Because eQuaLiTy! (I learned to do that from Effete; thanks Effete!).

So now nothing stops you from having a party of 20 Dragonborn all standing around about to go off adventuring with their various "lineages" making them suited for adventuring.

Are these people just willfully stupid?  (rhetorical)
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Zelen on September 20, 2022, 01:18:17 PM
Modern adventuring party

(https://64.media.tumblr.com/a46c8015a8dcc5b9e654a3d40d53a915/59598fc07aed1a7b-f6/s500x750/ae426e79bdf785bdfd8a2556f47a531470c4f269.jpg)
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Ruprecht on September 20, 2022, 01:21:08 PM
What annoys me about the comments on the original article is the author mentions off hand that everyone agrees orcs are racially coded or something like that. I didn't finish the comments but nobody challenged that (presumably because its Gizmodo). Really? Everyone agrees to that? Living in a echo chamber of victimhood and hate is not mentally healthy.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Lunamancer on September 20, 2022, 01:35:31 PM
What annoys me about the comments on the original article is the author mentions off hand that everyone agrees orcs are racially coded or something like that. I didn't finish the comments but nobody challenged that (presumably because its Gizmodo). Really? Everyone agrees to that? Living in a echo chamber of victimhood and hate is not mentally healthy.

I didn't read all of the comments, so I didn't see this comment directly, but I did read one that referenced it. It seems like this did get pushback. And it was a black person doing the pushback. The author said in her defense that all of her sources were people of color. But one of those persons of color is actually very very white if you click the bio and see their/his photo. I thought it was really in poor taste to include something like that, someone speaking as a person of color despite passing as white.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Effete on September 20, 2022, 03:02:15 PM
I prefer methods of character creation involve give and take, and that require players come to the table with some flexible ideas. And I like it if the method kicks off with rolling dice to spark ideas so that you don't have to have any idea at all what you want to play when you begin character generation.

Yeah, that's one thing I neglected to mention: I always start with rolling for attributes before anything else. I haven't used the "roll in order" method in a long time, but I'm considering bringing it back for a future game.

Quote
If you have a very specific idea and you can't generate it by this method, it can still be a goal to work towards. Move the cool background event into something that can potentially happen in-game. Move the story into the present tense rather than the past tense. You should be unsatisfied with the character you've created. People who achieve great things do not begin at a point of being satisfied with everything.

This is a very good point. I need to remember this next time I have a player who complains about their character.


Can there be situations where a halfling is as strong as a human? Sure, but those should be rare exceptions discussed with (and approved by) the Game Master, not normal fare. It's the difference between allowing something not expressly supported by the rules, and refusing to allow something that is supported by the rules. It's the difference between saying 'no' to a player and saying 'yes' to them. One clearly builds a more positive experience than the other.

IMHO new players need more "NO" in their lives, and this goes back to their childhood.

Haha! I can't argue with you here. It true!

However, my comment was assuming you AREN'T playing with a bunch of emotionally-stunted children who never heard 'no' in their life, and was about fostering a more positive vibe around the table. If the game uses "built-in" limitations (such as racial requirements/restrictions), then the "no" is already implied without the GM needing to say it. Breaking from the mould and "playing against type" would require GM-approval, so it then becomes a positively-reinforced concept, even if it is mechanically a crutch.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Effete on September 20, 2022, 03:21:54 PM
What annoys me about the comments on the original article is the author mentions off hand that everyone agrees orcs are racially coded or something like that. I didn't finish the comments but nobody challenged that (presumably because its Gizmodo). Really? Everyone agrees to that? Living in a echo chamber of victimhood and hate is not mentally healthy.

I didn't even make it through the article, but I groan audibly when I read that part. These people are literally deranged, by every definition of the word (assuming they don't decide to change it). It's why I always say, you should never get in an argument with them; you'll never win. They will lie and spin facts, or make up their own, and move goal posts CONSTANTLY just to get their way. They should be mocked or ignored (or mocked, then ignored).

Bending the knee is the first step on a downward spiral.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: jhkim on September 20, 2022, 07:02:10 PM
Can there be situations where a halfling is as strong as a human? Sure, but those should be rare exceptions discussed with (and approved by) the Game Master, not normal fare. It's the difference between allowing something not expressly supported by the rules, and refusing to allow something that is supported by the rules. It's the difference between saying 'no' to a player and saying 'yes' to them. One clearly builds a more positive experience than the other.

IMHO new players need more "NO" in their lives, and this goes back to their childhood.

Haha! I can't argue with you here. It true!

However, my comment was assuming you AREN'T playing with a bunch of emotionally-stunted children who never heard 'no' in their life, and was about fostering a more positive vibe around the table. If the game uses "built-in" limitations (such as racial requirements/restrictions), then the "no" is already implied without the GM needing to say it. Breaking from the mould and "playing against type" would require GM-approval, so it then becomes a positively-reinforced concept, even if it is mechanically a crutch.

I can see this is a personal preference. In general, I prefer to trust the players to behave responsibly and say "no" when needed - rather than having a complex set of rules that encodes all possibilities incompletely that I then have to override as GM when they ask.

As an example, I have a character in my current D&D campaign who is a human woman melee fighter. The player wanted something along the lines of Xena, and has an 18 Strength. On the one hand, it's a fantasy setting that takes after Earth, so women in general are less strong than men. On the other hand, it's a somewhat high magic setting - somewhere between Faerun and Eberron, where there are many strange creatures and effects around. I am running that people comment on how strong she is as a woman, but I don't feel like it would have worked better to put in a mechanical Strength limit on women and have her ask to override it.

In D&D, I get bugged by seeing the endless subrace variations that keep showing up in supplements that all need their special rules - starting back in AD&D with wild elves and others.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: mightybrain on September 20, 2022, 07:32:59 PM
I think the actual races, sub-races, cultures, etc. should belong to the setting. The rule books only need to supply the framework for creating races and maybe include some examples to start you off. D&D players tend to treat these selections like a menu, which is why most parties (in my experience) resemble muppet shows. For example, the game I'm playing currently is set in the frozen north of Icewind Dale. So I chose a shield dwarf. However, the other players chose a bugbear, a firbolg, a tabaxi, and a gnome. What can you do?
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Effete on September 20, 2022, 10:41:24 PM
I can see this is a personal preference. In general, I prefer to trust the players to behave responsibly and say "no" when needed - rather than having a complex set of rules that encodes all possibilities incompletely that I then have to override as GM when they ask.

Except it's not a "complex set of rules that encodes all possibilities incompletely," it's a fairly simple requirement system that reinforces the differences between the playable races. This has been the heart of the conversation this whole time, how the hell did you miss it?

Quote
I am running that people comment on how strong she is as a woman, but I don't feel like it would have worked better to put in a mechanical Strength limit on women and have her ask to override it.

So, hypothetically, what if every player wanted to play a Str 18 women in this world where women are characteristically weaker than men? Which ones do you say no to, and how would you justify that decision if you ARE allowing some women to be as strong as men?

I mean, the example is sort of shifted goal posts since the conversation was centered on differences between races, not human genders, but since you brought it up...
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: jhkim on September 20, 2022, 11:06:23 PM
I am running that people comment on how strong she is as a woman, but I don't feel like it would have worked better to put in a mechanical Strength limit on women and have her ask to override it.

So, hypothetically, what if every player wanted to play a Str 18 women in this world where women are characteristically weaker than men? Which ones do you say no to, and how would you justify that decision if you ARE allowing some women to be as strong as men?

I mean, the example is sort of shifted goal posts since the conversation was centered on differences between races, not human genders, but since you brought it up...

If I were running that, I'd probably come up with a common Amazonian backstory for their strength - perhaps something that runs in their family, or perhaps a magic spring they all drank from. PCs often have shared backstory in my games.

But here's the thing - even with required stat minimum/maximums, you could just as easily get unlikely combinations. Players could choose to play all halfling fighters and half-orc wizards - choosing highest Int possible and lowest Str possible for half-orcs, etc. The only way to get PCs to be representative of their races is for strict in-order rolling of attributes and random-roll race.

And there's no reason that PCs should necessarily be representative. I played a half-orc wizard in a recent convention game and it was great fun. He wasn't typical of half-orcs, but no one thought he was.


EDITED TO ADD: In general, I don't think the racial attribute adjustments have all that big a practical effect on games. If that elf had a 16 Dex instead of a 17 Dex, it is a slight adjustment - but for the most part, I think the game would go almost exactly the same. What I like about it is that it cuts down on the urge among many players to min-max - i.e. "I'm a half-orc fighter because I want that +2 Str."  I haven't played with minima and maxima that much, but I don't think it would also change that much - especially if the DM is often willing to make exceptions if asked.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Effete on September 21, 2022, 12:19:04 AM
So, hypothetically, what if every player wanted to play a Str 18 women in this world where women are characteristically weaker than men? Which ones do you say no to, and how would you justify that decision if you ARE allowing some women to be as strong as men?

If I were running that, I'd probably come up with a common Amazonian backstory for their strength - perhaps something that runs in their family, or perhaps a magic spring they all drank from. PCs often have shared backstory in my games.

Okay, but that doesn't answer the question. If not all of the players want Amazonian blood or want to drink from the same magic spring, you're going to either accept all their characters or say no to some of them.

But I made my point, which was to get you to admit that exceptional situations require exceptional justifications within the setting. Bringing this back to the main issue, racial differences (and gender differences too, if that's pertinent to the setting) matter.

Quote
But here's the thing - even with required stat minimum/maximums, you could just as easily get unlikely combinations. Players could choose to play all halfling fighters and half-orc wizards - choosing highest Int possible and lowest Str possible for half-orcs, etc. The only way to get PCs to be representative of their races is for strict in-order rolling of attributes and random-roll race.

I think you failed to realize that those characters would STILL be within the prescribed parameters of the setting. I'm unsure of your point since having a party of all average half-orcs doesn't track with the example of having all exceptional, beefcake women (in a setting you admit has sexual dimorphism).

Quote
And there's no reason that PCs should necessarily be representative. I played a half-orc wizard in a recent convention game and it was great fun. He wasn't typical of half-orcs, but no one thought he was.

It's almost like you don't read a single thing I write... or choose to ignore it when you think you can score a point. I never said characters couldn't be the exception to the norm. What I DID say was that it should be a negotiation with the GM.

Quote
EDITED TO ADD: In general, I don't think the racial attribute adjustments have all that big a practical effect on games. If that elf had a 16 Dex instead of a 17 Dex, it is a slight adjustment - but for the most part, I think the game would go almost exactly the same. What I like about it is that it cuts down on the urge among many players to min-max - i.e. "I'm a half-orc fighter because I want that +2 Str."

Now I know you're clowning. I've seen plenty of builds throughout my time with 3e, and more recently with 5e, that place the highest score to stack with the racial bonus, and sometimes then give the character a Feat to push it higher (usually to hit that coveted score of 20). Racial ability adjustments ABSOLUTELY encourage min-maxing. Just because you've been lucky enough to play in groups that don't, doesn't mean it doesn't happen.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Zelen on September 21, 2022, 01:14:12 AM
Minmaxing is a universal constant, the only question is how much do the rules reward it.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: BoxCrayonTales on September 21, 2022, 12:21:08 PM
What annoys me about the comments on the original article is the author mentions off hand that everyone agrees orcs are racially coded or something like that. I didn't finish the comments but nobody challenged that (presumably because its Gizmodo). Really? Everyone agrees to that? Living in a echo chamber of victimhood and hate is not mentally healthy.

I didn't read all of the comments, so I didn't see this comment directly, but I did read one that referenced it. It seems like this did get pushback. And it was a black person doing the pushback. The author said in her defense that all of her sources were people of color. But one of those persons of color is actually very very white if you click the bio and see their/his photo. I thought it was really in poor taste to include something like that, someone speaking as a person of color despite passing as white.
I do think that the depiction of orcs and other humanoids in earlier editions of D&D when it was more obviously influenced by westerns and pulp fiction did have roots in Old West propaganda against native americans. That said, I don't think anybody sane will use the depictions of frontier settings in speculative fiction to argue that what happened to native americans was remotely moral. People can distinguish reality from fiction. I think most people can agree that fictional frontiers make excellent adventuring settings. I'm sure everybody knows the real frontier was a horrible campaign of genocide against innocent ill-equipped native tribes that could hardly advocate for themselves against our evil racist white ancestors.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: tenbones on September 21, 2022, 12:37:39 PM
You should read Empire of the Summer Moon.
 

Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: BoxCrayonTales on September 21, 2022, 12:49:11 PM
You should read Empire of the Summer Moon.
It would make an interesting inspiration for an rpg setting.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: hedgehobbit on September 21, 2022, 01:08:54 PM
I do think that the depiction of orcs and other humanoids in earlier editions of D&D when it was more obviously influenced by westerns and pulp fiction did have roots in Old West propaganda against native americans. That said, I don't think anybody sane will use the depictions of frontier settings in speculative fiction to argue that what happened to native americans was remotely moral. People can distinguish reality from fiction. I think most people can agree that fictional frontiers make excellent adventuring settings. I'm sure everybody knows the real frontier was a horrible campaign of genocide against innocent ill-equipped native tribes that could hardly advocate for themselves against our evil racist white ancestors.

I know this is a common mistake, but D&D was written in the 1970s, not the 1870s. 
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: hedgehobbit on September 21, 2022, 01:14:09 PM
Minmaxing is a universal constant, the only question is how much do the rules reward it.

I found that randomly generating race as well as ability scores eliminates min maxing.

This is also a deviation, IMO, between old school and modern RPGs. Going from playing what you rolled to creating a character from a concept. Playing D&D with my kids really opened my eyes to the potential of playing something random and how unimportant the modern concept of "role playing" is the the appeal of the game. I think that the main problem with RPGs today is that the people writing the RPG rules have been playing the game so long that they've forgotten how to use their imaginations. They are, essentially, bored with the game and so they need all these extra, exotic, character types just to have something different. Like when a guy decides to replay Skyrim by making an all-unarmed character or a magic-only character.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Darkwind on September 21, 2022, 01:29:15 PM
I was thinking about this on my walk this morning.  What's fascinating to me is that what the SJWs usually push have exactly the opposite effect of what they claim they want.  Consider the following:

Once upon a time, you would see necessarily diverse parties built because someone needed to be good at spotting secret doors, someone needed to be good at hiding, someone needed to be good at detecting grades and understanding stonework, etc.  Meaning, invariably, that someone would make sure there was an elf, a halfling, and a dwarf in the party.  Diversity!  Required due to having different things that we were good at and then coming together as a team.

Are these people just willfully stupid?  (rhetorical)

Stupid does not assign the proper malice and aforethought of intention. They are far more dangerous than stupid.

"Diversity" is not, and has never been the goal. Total conformity and lockstep of speech & thought is the true goal. "Opposite Rule of Leftism".  You MUST think like I do, but you can look any you want = Diversity.  Black guy who has an opinion different than mine? "White Supremacist"

Why so many people give these people so much thought and ink also mystifies me. Ignore them or start the 'party' already and take this entire clown world to its only logical conclusion.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: BoxCrayonTales on September 21, 2022, 01:32:58 PM
I do think that the depiction of orcs and other humanoids in earlier editions of D&D when it was more obviously influenced by westerns and pulp fiction did have roots in Old West propaganda against native americans. That said, I don't think anybody sane will use the depictions of frontier settings in speculative fiction to argue that what happened to native americans was remotely moral. People can distinguish reality from fiction. I think most people can agree that fictional frontiers make excellent adventuring settings. I'm sure everybody knows the real frontier was a horrible campaign of genocide against innocent ill-equipped native tribes that could hardly advocate for themselves against our evil racist white ancestors.

I know this is a common mistake, but D&D was written in the 1970s, not the 1870s.
So Keep on the Borderlands wasn't influenced by the westerns of the 40s and 50s or by the pulp serials of the 20s, 30s and 40s?
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: jhkim on September 21, 2022, 01:41:14 PM
EDITED TO ADD: In general, I don't think the racial attribute adjustments have all that big a practical effect on games. If that elf had a 16 Dex instead of a 17 Dex, it is a slight adjustment - but for the most part, I think the game would go almost exactly the same. What I like about it is that it cuts down on the urge among many players to min-max - i.e. "I'm a half-orc fighter because I want that +2 Str."

Now I know you're clowning. I've seen plenty of builds throughout my time with 3e, and more recently with 5e, that place the highest score to stack with the racial bonus, and sometimes then give the character a Feat to push it higher (usually to hit that coveted score of 20). Racial ability adjustments ABSOLUTELY encourage min-maxing. Just because you've been lucky enough to play in groups that don't, doesn't mean it doesn't happen.

Sorry I wasn't clear here. I absolutely agreeing that racial ability adjustments encourage min-maxing, even though the practical difference is minimal, because it's one of the main levers by which players can make min-max choices.

This isn't regarding your point over minimum/maximum scores. It's regarding other posters who have said that if racial ability adjustments were removed, then it would completely change the game and remove all difference between races. I think that if an elf character has 16 Dex instead of 18 Dex, it makes little practical difference to the game, except to reduce min-maxing.


Okay, but that doesn't answer the question. If not all of the players want Amazonian blood or want to drink from the same magic spring, you're going to either accept all their characters or say no to some of them.

But I made my point, which was to get you to admit that exceptional situations require exceptional justifications within the setting. Bringing this back to the main issue, racial differences (and gender differences too, if that's pertinent to the setting) matter.

I agree that racial differences matter - as does social class, country of origin, religion, and many other aspects to player characters. The question is what should be encoded in the rules. I don't think that +1 or +2 ability adjustments are the main part of representing an elf or dwarf, and they serve primarily to drive min-maxing rather than interesting role-play. I am OK with racial ability adjustments for random-roll abilities in order and random race selection, like HarnMaster, but in roll-and-assign or other ability score schemes, I don't like them.

PCs are *generally* exceptional rather than run-of-the-mill. The question is what level of exceptionality is needed to say it's off-limits and requires overriding the rules. In high-magic D&D settings (like Eberron or Faerun or my own setting), the PCs encounter multiple weird, exceptional things in every adventure - most likely weirder in-game than someone with an ability score one or two points beyond expected. In a low-magic and/or historical campaign, then it is harder to explain -- but it would also take just as much justification to have a PC wizard.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: jhkim on September 21, 2022, 01:55:46 PM
This is also a deviation, IMO, between old school and modern RPGs. Going from playing what you rolled to creating a character from a concept. Playing D&D with my kids really opened my eyes to the potential of playing something random and how unimportant the modern concept of "role playing" is the the appeal of the game. I think that the main problem with RPGs today is that the people writing the RPG rules have been playing the game so long that they've forgotten how to use their imaginations. They are, essentially, bored with the game and so they need all these extra, exotic, character types just to have something different. Like when a guy decides to replay Skyrim by making an all-unarmed character or a magic-only character.

I've played lots of non-random character creation since I became a teenager in 1983. In the 1980s I played lots of games like Champions, James Bond 007, The Fantasy Trip, Ars Magica, GURPS, and Star Wars D6 - all of them using non-random character creation. I feel like it's bizarre to call these 1980s games "modern".

I sometimes enjoy random-roll character creation as well, like in HarnMaster and Call of Cthulhu. I don't think either random or non-random character creation is lacking in imagination, though.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Steven Mitchell on September 21, 2022, 02:25:42 PM
I found that randomly generating race as well as ability scores eliminates min maxing.

This is also a deviation, IMO, between old school and modern RPGs. Going from playing what you rolled to creating a character from a concept. Playing D&D with my kids really opened my eyes to the potential of playing something random and how unimportant the modern concept of "role playing" is the the appeal of the game. I think that the main problem with RPGs today is that the people writing the RPG rules have been playing the game so long that they've forgotten how to use their imaginations. They are, essentially, bored with the game and so they need all these extra, exotic, character types just to have something different. Like when a guy decides to replay Skyrim by making an all-unarmed character or a magic-only character.

I find that players who can make something fun out of being handed a randomly generated character will do a better job in any game where they have more control, compared to other players lacking that experience.  At least for some time, as there can be some backsliding if complete control goes on too long.  The exact length depends on the player, and how much they've consciously absorbed what running with a random character means. 

The opposite is seldom true.  So in my experience, this is a one-way street. 

For my table, I don't insist that all players, all the time, play in systems where random characters are the only way.  I do insist that they be capable of doing so when that is what we are playing, both for the enjoyment of others in the group and for the way the experience helps them make better characters in all games going forward.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: KindaMeh on September 21, 2022, 02:45:50 PM
I kinda feel like if anything there should be more racial differences in stats in 5e. A somewhat above average roll on a gnome for strength can have a noticeably higher strength stat than a minotaur with a moderately below average roll even without Tasha’s. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. Even if you let the players assign their stats or use point buy, an equally strength focused minotaur should flex on a gnome no problem. This is not even going into how little say a +2 to strength score (+1 mod)  means statistically in a roll off where that’s the main difference. Hell, even a +4 to strength score is kinda wimpy in its impact compared to random chance. To the point where on average it is beaten by, the guidance cantrip.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Effete on September 21, 2022, 03:16:04 PM
... This is not even going into how little say a +2 to strength score (+1 mod)  means statistically in a roll off where that’s the main difference. Hell, even a +4 to strength score is kinda wimpy in its impact compared to random chance. To the point where on average it is beaten by, the guidance cantrip.

This is a problem with over-reliance on game mechanics and not enough focus on capturing the essence of a role-playing game. Mechanically, a +2 Str means +1 on damage rolls, or being 5% better at climbing or breaking down doors. But if 10 is the average strength for a human and 20 is the absolute peak of physical prowess, a +2 adjustment is actually 20% of the way to peak. This is something the mechanics don't emulate very well, considering the d20 granularizes each +1 as 5% improvement. It's not very coherent.

Those discrepancies are only exacerbated by the disparity between smaller races and larger ones. Yeah, a minotaur of any strength should totally flex on a gnome of "high" strength. Some versions of the game tried to address this by giving smaller races lower carrying capacities, but that's where they petered off. No decreased chance to break things, no penalty to arm-wrestling. These are things a GM needed to use "common sense" for, but the game system ITSELF pushed an over-reliance on rules over rulings (complete opposite of the hobby's early days), so a pitiful few GMs ever made such distinctions.

I don't think the answer, necessarily, is adding more rules. Indeed, maybe less rules and more GM freedom is the better approach.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: KindaMeh on September 21, 2022, 03:29:59 PM
... This is not even going into how little say a +2 to strength score (+1 mod)  means statistically in a roll off where that’s the main difference. Hell, even a +4 to strength score is kinda wimpy in its impact compared to random chance. To the point where on average it is beaten by, the guidance cantrip.

This is a problem with over-reliance on game mechanics and not enough focus on capturing the essence of a role-playing game. Mechanically, a +2 Str means +1 on damage rolls, or being 5% better at climbing or breaking down doors. But if 10 is the average strength for a human and 20 is the absolute peak of physical prowess, a +2 adjustment is actually 20% of the way to peak. This is something the mechanics don't emulate very well, considering the d20 granularizes each +1 as 5% improvement. It's not very coherent.

Those discrepancies are only exacerbated by the disparity between smaller races and larger ones. Yeah, a minotaur of any strength should totally flex on a gnome of "high" strength. Some versions of the game tried to address this by giving smaller races lower carrying capacities, but that's where they petered off. No decreased chance to break things, no penalty to arm-wrestling. These are things a GM needed to use "common sense" for, but the game system ITSELF pushed an over-reliance on rules over rulings (complete opposite of the hobby's early days), so a pitiful few GMs ever made such distinctions.

I don't think the answer, necessarily, is adding more rules. Indeed, maybe less rules and more GM freedom is the better approach.

That’s one solution, and not necessarily a bad one at all. That said, I do like when mechanics of a game fit the fluff, or make logical coherent sense as published. I also like it when, as in Ascendant (tried that one recently),  the mechanics and stats are comprehensive and comprehensible in real world terms to some extent. I’m a simulationist gamer to some degree, so sue me.  ;D
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: jhkim on September 21, 2022, 04:54:13 PM
... This is not even going into how little say a +2 to strength score (+1 mod)  means statistically in a roll off where that’s the main difference. Hell, even a +4 to strength score is kinda wimpy in its impact compared to random chance. To the point where on average it is beaten by, the guidance cantrip.

Yeah, a minotaur of any strength should totally flex on a gnome of "high" strength. Some versions of the game tried to address this by giving smaller races lower carrying capacities, but that's where they petered off. No decreased chance to break things, no penalty to arm-wrestling. These are things a GM needed to use "common sense" for, but the game system ITSELF pushed an over-reliance on rules over rulings (complete opposite of the hobby's early days), so a pitiful few GMs ever made such distinctions.

I don't think the answer, necessarily, is adding more rules. Indeed, maybe less rules and more GM freedom is the better approach.

Well, D&D and many other RPGs are deliberately high randomness. It's the same feature that gives a human a chance fighting a dragon that allows a halfling to contend well with a human. Everyone has a chance, which in a game means its more passing around of the spotlight and less getting stuck for not having the right specialist. There are only a handful of low-randomness and diceless RPGs that go against this trend.

But in general, I also prefer the philosophy of less rules and more GM freedom.

That's why I didn't feel it was better to have more rules for races so that the GM didn't have to say "no" to a player, but instead the GM could say "yes" in making an exception to the rules. Especially if the rules don't have a major effect on play, I'd prefer to simplify and put more in the hands of the GM.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Lunamancer on September 21, 2022, 08:25:53 PM
I do think that the depiction of orcs and other humanoids in earlier editions of D&D when it was more obviously influenced by westerns and pulp fiction did have roots in Old West propaganda against native americans.

The earlier editions of D&D are readily available in electronic format. It's not that hard to go directly to the source. That you would raise speculative inferences as to the influences rather than go to the source suggests to me one of two things. Either you are entirely unfamiliar with the early edition material and are speaking out of school. Or you felt the need to cite supporting evidence that backs a racist interpretation of the early edition because you are fully aware how often people can read it and not find any racism present at all. Either way, it's an extremely weak sauce statement.

I use what's actually in the old school D&D books to reliably refute claims of the hobby's "problematic roots." I'm familiar with what the books actually say and specifically where the claims are mistaken or just plain factually wrong.

And I also must chime in in agreement with hedgehobbit's quip:

I know this is a common mistake, but D&D was written in the 1970s, not the 1870s. 

I think this has more substance than it seems. Unlike with old school D&D, it's much harder to go back to the original material with old films. John Wayne, of course, starred in far more than his fair share of Westerns. But a lot of his movies just aren't available for a variety of reasons. For instance, his family pulled anything where John Wayne is smoking on screen. There may have been others that have just been sanitizes for modern sensibilities. So unlike with D&D, I can't just say, "Hey, idiot, stop being a mentally obese sack of shit and just go through the original fucking material for Christ's sake!" I do have to resort to making a case via related facts.

And the story as I hear it goes, as we know, in the first half of the 20th century, film was born and bloomed into a massive industry, and there were two world wars. In light of this, at least one of the propaganda agendas at the time was to promote North American unity, and as such there was a concerted effort to show Mexicans and Native Americans in a positive light in the old Westerns. And from what westerns I have seen, they are at least consistent with this thesis.

I do think people who are sloppy thinkers and sloppy at synthesizing knowledge probably get this confused with the popular dime novels of the 1800's where anti-Native propaganda helped the agenda of western expansion of the US, and in particular the building of the railroads. And this is where the bulk of the genocide took place. Government offered land grants to private outfits to get the railroads built. And this is where you get the slaughtering of the buffalo in an attempt to starve out the indigenous peoples. (The American Buffalo, by the way, is the only surviving evolutionary descendent in North America of the large land animals of the ice age--their extinction would have also been a great tragedy perpetrated by the US government.)

Prior to that, there were certainly instances of hostilities between the settlers and the natives. The Plymouth colonists nearly wiped out the Pequots--though it's worth mentioning the colonists had the help of their alliance with the Narragansett and Mohegan tribes. The relations between the white man and the Indians were a lot more nuanced than PC revisionist history would suggest.

So Keep on the Borderlands wasn't influenced by the westerns of the 40s and 50s or by the pulp serials of the 20s, 30s and 40s?

Obviously there's a good amount of pulp era fiction listed in Appendix N as inspirational for the game in general. But can you actually point to anything specific in Keep on the Borderlands that indicates its influenced by Indian genocide propaganda?

There are certain things that jump out at you when you have a good working familiarity with a lot of Gary Gygax's works. One quick thing I'll let you know if you do decide to go back to the original descriptions of orcs and other humanoids and demi-humans, Gary had an obsession with colors. He's very precise and systematic in his descriptions with regard to colors. A less precise, less original author--like a typical gamer--might not be able to create an original race without linking it to their conception of something in the real world. But Gary was not so limited.

There's a colored cave complex in his Isle of the Ape module. I've heard gamers complain that he offers no clues as to what the right path is. I nailed the right path 100% correctly my first time through. Because I understand Gary's obsession with colors.

Gary was also big into play-on-words. And I think "Keep on the Borderlands" was meant to be a play on words. The title is telling you to keep, as in stay, on the borderlands. Because if you bear in mind the underlying assumptions of the game, especially old school, where the idea is some day you would become a king by your own hand, clear your own hex, build your own stronghold, that requires there be vacant land up for grabs. But you still need a civilization to go back to. Trainers to level up. Shops to buy stuff. Bars to recruit mercenaries. If you want to maximize your D&D experience, you should keep on the borderlands. In my opinion, that's exactly what the module is about.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: David Johansen on September 22, 2022, 12:19:32 AM
Oddly enough, when I was ten I didn't know what a "keep" was so I immediately assumed that you had to walk the line between two dangerous powers.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Armchair Gamer on September 22, 2022, 08:36:14 AM
I do think that the depiction of orcs and other humanoids in earlier editions of D&D when it was more obviously influenced by westerns and pulp fiction did have roots in Old West propaganda against native americans.

The earlier editions of D&D are readily available in electronic format. It's not that hard to go directly to the source. That you would raise speculative inferences as to the influences rather than go to the source suggests to me one of two things. Either you are entirely unfamiliar with the early edition material and are speaking out of school. Or you felt the need to cite supporting evidence that backs a racist interpretation of the early edition because you are fully aware how often people can read it and not find any racism present at all. Either way, it's an extremely weak sauce statement.

   I think part of the issue is also the tendency to lump all the early source material together. I wonder how much of the assumptions about D&D's 'coding' of humanoids comes from taking GAZ10 The Orcs of Thar--which does make some racial and historical references, but is done with a largely parodic tone that allows for PC humanoids--and projecting that back onto all the old material, including the stuff where humanoids are an irredeemable, implacable threat. I do have a copy of GAZ10, but it would take a braver soul than me to do a deep dive into it in an online environment. :)
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Slambo on September 22, 2022, 09:50:50 AM
I do think that the depiction of orcs and other humanoids in earlier editions of D&D when it was more obviously influenced by westerns and pulp fiction did have roots in Old West propaganda against native americans.

The earlier editions of D&D are readily available in electronic format. It's not that hard to go directly to the source. That you would raise speculative inferences as to the influences rather than go to the source suggests to me one of two things. Either you are entirely unfamiliar with the early edition material and are speaking out of school. Or you felt the need to cite supporting evidence that backs a racist interpretation of the early edition because you are fully aware how often people can read it and not find any racism present at all. Either way, it's an extremely weak sauce statement.

   I think part of the issue is also the tendency to lump all the early source material together. I wonder how much of the assumptions about D&D's 'coding' of humanoids comes from taking GAZ10 The Orcs of Thar--which does make some racial and historical references, but is done with a largely parodic tone that allows for PC humanoids--and projecting that back onto all the old material, including the stuff where humanoids are an irredeemable, implacable threat. I do have a copy of GAZ10, but it would take a braver soul than me to do a deep dive into it in an online environment. :)

I know a couple youtubers that did, the book looked likenitd be funny so i got a copy.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Lunamancer on September 22, 2022, 10:14:39 AM
   I think part of the issue is also the tendency to lump all the early source material together. I wonder how much of the assumptions about D&D's 'coding' of humanoids comes from taking GAZ10 The Orcs of Thar--which does make some racial and historical references, but is done with a largely parodic tone that allows for PC humanoids--and projecting that back onto all the old material, including the stuff where humanoids are an irredeemable, implacable threat. I do have a copy of GAZ10, but it would take a braver soul than me to do a deep dive into it in an online environment. :)

In my big long rejoinder to this article, I do put forward the thesis that to the extend you want to lend credence to these sorts of claims, an examination of the facts show that the roots of the game are free and clear, that it was as the timeline moved forward the game became more "problematic."

There seems to be a "Whig Theory of History" in play, where there's the unspoken assumption that history is a story of constant progress onward and upward towards the light. If you find something you could legitimately call "problematic" in a D&D product published in 1988, it is therefore assumed without evidence that what was written in 1983 was even worse, in 1978 even more worse, and in 1973 worse still.

Again, I think the facts demonstrate if anything the reverse is true. As time marched on, things got worse.

I'm sure one of the reasons is that socially inept troglodytes make up not only a part of the fan base, but also a part of the talent base. And so hapless idiots gonna hapless idiot. Why should rangers just be giant slayers? There are so many other types of creatures in the game world. Let's allow players to make their rangers unique. Instead of bonuses against "giant class," in 2E rangers get to choose a hated race.

But I do think that trying to be PC can make things un PC. One example I touched on is, take the berserkers (1E MM). Now I'm not saying this actually was the rationale or how it came about in 3E. But you could ask "Why should this be limited to the white-as-snow Norse culture? Shouldn't we be more inclusive and open this up to people of color?" 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.

What both these examples have in common is taking an existing idea that is very specific, then making it generic so it fits within the framework of a general rule rather than an exception, thereby increasing options for the player while making the rules more streamlined. This is more or less the very nature of what happens when an old system gets "refined." I'm not saying all refinements are a bad thing. I'm just saying this sometimes happens, and so it actually gives a causal mechanism as to why D&D has actually become more "problematic" rather than less over time.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GeekyBugle on September 22, 2022, 10:31:45 AM
   I think part of the issue is also the tendency to lump all the early source material together. I wonder how much of the assumptions about D&D's 'coding' of humanoids comes from taking GAZ10 The Orcs of Thar--which does make some racial and historical references, but is done with a largely parodic tone that allows for PC humanoids--and projecting that back onto all the old material, including the stuff where humanoids are an irredeemable, implacable threat. I do have a copy of GAZ10, but it would take a braver soul than me to do a deep dive into it in an online environment. :)

In my big long rejoinder to this article, I do put forward the thesis that to the extend you want to lend credence to these sorts of claims, an examination of the facts show that the roots of the game are free and clear, that it was as the timeline moved forward the game became more "problematic."

There seems to be a "Whig Theory of History" in play, where there's the unspoken assumption that history is a story of constant progress onward and upward towards the light. If you find something you could legitimately call "problematic" in a D&D product published in 1988, it is therefore assumed without evidence that what was written in 1983 was even worse, in 1978 even more worse, and in 1973 worse still.

Again, I think the facts demonstrate if anything the reverse is true. As time marched on, things got worse.

I'm sure one of the reasons is that socially inept troglodytes make up not only a part of the fan base, but also a part of the talent base. And so hapless idiots gonna hapless idiot. Why should rangers just be giant slayers? There are so many other types of creatures in the game world. Let's allow players to make their rangers unique. Instead of bonuses against "giant class," in 2E rangers get to choose a hated race.

But I do think that trying to be PC can make things un PC. One example I touched on is, take the berserkers (1E MM). Now I'm not saying this actually was the rationale or how it came about in 3E. But you could ask "Why should this be limited to the white-as-snow Norse culture? Shouldn't we be more inclusive and open this up to people of color?" 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.

What both these examples have in common is taking an existing idea that is very specific, then making it generic so it fits within the framework of a general rule rather than an exception, thereby increasing options for the player while making the rules more streamlined. This is more or less the very nature of what happens when an old system gets "refined." I'm not saying all refinements are a bad thing. I'm just saying this sometimes happens, and so it actually gives a causal mechanism as to why D&D has actually become more "problematic" rather than less over time.

Bolding mine

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.

Therefore, the Ranger having a "hated race" isn't racist as we understand it. But again, I don't like the choice of words, preferred prey/enemy would be a much better wording.

2.- You're assuming two things (erroneusly) here:
a) Indigenous means non-white, when it doesn't.
b) Only non-whites are barbarians, which is also false.

Given all of that, IMHO the only "problematic" content is in your eyes, and just like the Orcs are stand ins for black people crowd are projecting their inner thoughts on those who don't share them you're projecting your conclusions unto others.

We say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, in this case I would say that:

Bigotry/Hate/Istophobia is in the mind of the beholder. Either by projecting their own or by judging stuff in current year "morals" and assuming ill intent on others.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Lunamancer on September 22, 2022, 11:02:00 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.

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Therefore, the Ranger having a "hated race" isn't racist as we understand it. But again, I don't like the choice of words, preferred prey/enemy would be a much better wording.

Congratulations, You managed to argue your way to exactly what I was saying.

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2.- You're assuming two things (erroneusly) here:
a) Indigenous means non-white, when it doesn't.
b) Only non-whites are barbarians, which is also false.

You're assuming two things (erroniously) here:
1) that I assumed indigenous means non-white when I wasn't;
2) that I assumed only non-whites are barbarians, which I also didn't assume

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Given all of that,

No. That's not given. You're just completely wrong on the facts and you're saying crazy things to make the facts what you need them to be to reach your conclusions.

Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GeekyBugle on September 22, 2022, 11:16:51 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.

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Therefore, the Ranger having a "hated race" isn't racist as we understand it. But again, I don't like the choice of words, preferred prey/enemy would be a much better wording.

Congratulations, You managed to argue your way to exactly what I was saying.

Congratulations, you managed to say stuff in such a weird way that the opposite is understood then.

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2.- You're assuming two things (erroneusly) here:
a) Indigenous means non-white, when it doesn't.
b) Only non-whites are barbarians, which is also false.

You're assuming two things (erroniously) here:
1) that I assumed indigenous means non-white when I wasn't;
2) that I assumed only non-whites are barbarians, which I also didn't assume

So, IF you're not assuming those (and you're not just backpedaling) why is it "problematic" the use of Barbarians? Is it because they can be of ANY color/race?

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Given all of that,

No. That's not given. You're just completely wrong on the facts and you're saying crazy things to make the facts what you need them to be to reach your conclusions.

Nope, you're just completely incapable of communicating in a clear way what you're saying, assuming it's not a backpedal.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Cat the Bounty Smuggler on September 22, 2022, 02:23:18 PM
Quote from: an IQ-draining article
Chris Nammour, a lifelong roleplayer, described how people often codify racial dynamics onto their fantasy unintentionally. “[I’ll ask players] what does an elf sound like? What’s their accent? And people say, Oh, well, they sound British, and dwarves sound Scottish and so on,” he says. “It’s always associating historically heroic races with Western and Northern European traits. And then my immediate response to that is what accent does an orc have?” The responses, he noted, are not ‘they sound British.’

It's a real shame Linda only sees what she wants to see.

What's really ridiculous is that the dwarf/Scottish association is, IIRC, because of a Scottish voice actor who played a dwarf in an early BBC radio play of either The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, and the association got stuck in place. Literally no deeper reason than that.

Probably the same sort of reason for Elves: they were played by Brits with upper-class accents because (a) Tolkien was British, and (b) Elves are aristocratic in their portrayal.

Also in my mind orcs don't have any sort of ethnic accent, they just sound deep and guttural. Goblins are high-pitched and slightly squeaky, but otherwise not associated with any particular real-world group.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Lunamancer on September 22, 2022, 03:34:06 PM
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.

Maybe that's why it's called race and not species. In myth and folklore you can find wording describing a particular "race of fairies" for instance, and cross-breeding is possible.

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So, IF you're not assuming those (and you're not just backpedaling) why is it "problematic" the use of Barbarians? Is it because they can be of ANY color/race?

Backpedal 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.

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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.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Lunamancer on September 22, 2022, 03:41:06 PM
What's really ridiculous is that the dwarf/Scottish association is, IIRC, because of a Scottish voice actor who played a dwarf in an early BBC radio play of either The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, and the association got stuck in place. Literally no deeper reason than that.

That's exactly what I assumed it was. Only I didn't realize it went that far back. I've never been into Tolkien, so I just assumed Warcraft II (I think it was II) that popularized Scottish dwarfs.

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Also in my mind orcs don't have any sort of ethnic accent, they just sound deep and guttural. Goblins are high-pitched and slightly squeaky, but otherwise not associated with any particular real-world group.

When I was in highschool, blissfully ignorant of Tolkien and before Warcraft II was made, we had to make up our own dwarf accents whole cloth. And so we also went with a non-ethnic specific deep, guttural kind of accent. The closest match I can think of was probably Battle Cat from He-Man. So let it be known, my games are Furry-friendly. No, you can't play a Tabaxi. But you can play a dwarf.

As for orcs, I believe we've decided orcs drink Jagermeister. I guess that would mean half-orcs do Jager-bombs.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Effete on September 22, 2022, 04:08:47 PM
What's really ridiculous is that the dwarf/Scottish association is, IIRC, because of a Scottish voice actor who played a dwarf in an early BBC radio play of either The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, and the association got stuck in place. Literally no deeper reason than that.

Probably the same sort of reason for Elves: they were played by Brits with upper-class accents because (a) Tolkien was British, and (b) Elves are aristocratic in their portrayal.

Also in my mind orcs don't have any sort of ethnic accent, they just sound deep and guttural. Goblins are high-pitched and slightly squeaky, but otherwise not associated with any particular real-world group.

You begin by correlating accents directly with Tolkienian source material, but it's unclear if you are doing the same with orcs/goblins here. The Good Professor said orcs took whatever language they could, often multiple languages mashed together, but used in a very archaic manner. The "common tongue" of Middle Earth is Adüniac, thanks to the prevalance of the Numenorean kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor, so many orcs speak a debased version of "common". But many likely pepper their language with Black Speech, local human dialects, or even dwarven (possible for the Moria orcs, though we never get a clear example of their speech).

Goblins, in Middle Earth, are just a "breed" of orc, generally characterized as smaller than other breeds like Gundabad orcs or the uruk-hai (literally "orc-folk" or "orc-men" i.e., "half-orc"). I can't recall off hand if Tolkien explained the root of the term "goblin," but considering how the entire mythology is based around language, it's safe to assume "goblin" may be from some non-Aduniac human language, or just a "replacement word" for the benefit of the reader. Remember, Tolkien claimed (not seriously, but in keeping with his own mythos) that he was only translating the Red Book. The word "hobbit" was an anglicised version of OE holbylta (hole-dweller), which in Aduniac would have been Perriannath. No one in Middle Earth would have uttered the sound-structure "hob-bit." "Goblin" may be a similar case... just a word to help the reader differentiate between orcs," but never something the inhabitants of ME would have actually used.

D&D orcs and goblins are, of course, very different, with structured languages of their own and being wholly different species, ostensibly incapable of interbreeding.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Lunamancer on September 22, 2022, 06:27:47 PM
D&D orcs and goblins are, of course, very different, with structured languages of their own and being wholly different species, ostensibly incapable of interbreeding.

The 1E PHB and MM are quite clear on this matter. Orcs are fecund, breeding with just about anything (except elves). The most common half-breeds being orc-goblin, orc-hobgoblin, and orc-human. 9 times out of 10, they offspring is just straight up orc, but 10% are able to pass as the other stock.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Effete on September 22, 2022, 06:53:17 PM
D&D orcs and goblins are, of course, very different, with structured languages of their own and being wholly different species, ostensibly incapable of interbreeding.

The 1E PHB and MM are quite clear on this matter. Orcs are fecund, breeding with just about anything (except elves). The most common half-breeds being orc-goblin, orc-hobgoblin, and orc-human. 9 times out of 10, they offspring is just straight up orc, but 10% are able to pass as the other stock.

Ah, ha!
Thanks.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Zalman on September 22, 2022, 07:02:07 PM
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.

This argument may not be fancy, but it sure it perplexing.

Sure, barbarian and savage are synonyms ... but not because neither is a Nomad. It's because both mean "uncivilized". Nomadic means "moves around", which is neither opposite, nor even mutually exclusive with, being uncivilized.

Nomads are not "non-indigenous" just because they move around from season to season. They're not "wanderers". Nomads travel a route, and are perfectly indigenous to their area. That area is just a bigger one than "savage villagers". (Though one could make that point that enough of a "village" means they aren't "savages" at all, which is precisely counter to your curious contraposition with "nomads".)

Nor are "barbarians" necessarily indigenous. If encountered in their homeland, then they are. If they're the invading army in a foreign land, then they're not. It's not rocket science.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Osman Gazi on September 22, 2022, 07:36:59 PM
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.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GeekyBugle on September 22, 2022, 09:08:01 PM
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 (https://www.britannica.com/science/species-taxon)
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Lunamancer on September 22, 2022, 09:44:07 PM
This argument may not be fancy,

I never said it was an unfancy argument. I said it wasn't an argument period. Definition is not an argument.

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but it sure it perplexing.

I never said you wouldn't be perplexed. In fact, one of my points was if you have no idea what you're talking about, you're likely to be confused.

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Sure, barbarian and savage are synonyms ... but not because neither is a Nomad.

I never said the reason is because they're not nomads.

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It's because both mean "uncivilized".

I never said otherwise. Though I did say there were additional conditions involved. You're just using the least precise definition.

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Nomadic means "moves around", which is neither opposite, nor even mutually exclusive with, being uncivilized.

I never said nomadic tribes were not uncivilized. In fact, I was specifically speaking about primitive nomadic tribes.

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Nomads are not "non-indigenous" just because they move around from season to season.

I never said it was "just" because they move around.

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They're not "wanderers". Nomads travel a route, and are perfectly indigenous to their area.

I never said nomads can't have travel routes. But the fact is one of the defining characteristics of nomadic societies is the absence of ancestral land. A homeless man might beg on the same four corners year after year. That doesn't mean he's no longer homeless.

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That area is just a bigger one than "savage villagers".

No. It's not "just" bigger. There's a whole lot of factors that necessarily come along with this distinction that you're missing entirely.*

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(Though one could make that point that enough of a "village" means they aren't "savages" at all, which is precisely counter to your curious contraposition with "nomads".)

I never said savages and nomads were collectively exhaustive.

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Nor are "barbarians" necessarily indigenous. If encountered in their homeland, then they are. If they're the invading army in a foreign land, then they're not. It's not rocket science.

The people for whom making negative generalizations about indigenous people is considered "problematic" would not be suddenly okay with disparaging someone for their heritage just because they happen to be on vacation in another country at the time.


* Here's what you're missing. The word "savage" is a French derivative of the Latin word, silvaticus; aticus meaning "pertaining to" and silva meaning "woods" or "forest."

Wooded areas are more dense in the resources needed for survival--materials to build shelter, animals to hunt, naturally-growing vegetation. And so primitive societies living off the land don't need to move around a lot. They can establish permanent roots.

Open areas like plains, steppes, and deserts have their resources spread out over a wider area. Primitive societies living off the land in these areas need to be able to move long distances. They cannot establish permanent roots. They have to constantly be on the move to where the resources are.

Difference in size of land area held is hardly the only difference. The terrain differs. Access to resources differs. The set of skills necessary for survival differ. The cultures necessarily differ. What they value will differ. The first group highly value land. The second highly value horses. These are going to be two completely separate categories of peoples. You know the word for the latter; nomads. So what's the word for the former? What's the word that pertains to people of the woods?

If you don't know, you don't know, and that's why your perplexed. I gave you the word. You chose to respond in ignorance rather than assimilate the knowledge.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Chris24601 on September 23, 2022, 09:05:17 AM
Barbarian really just meant “those who are not of our ‘superior’ society and culture.” It’s purely an exonym used to describe other groups. If you were not Greek (or later Roman), the you were a barbarian.

Savage generally just means “a group whose morals and practices permit actions we deem excessively violent, if not outright evil.” It’s another exonym and is not actually a direct synonym with barbarian (though there can be crossover… i.e. an outgroup that is excessively violent).

Nomad is similar as it’s a group that doesn’t remain at fixed location year round. Depending on the society and practices they may or may not be considered barbarians or savages.

For example; shepherds are often nomadic because they move with their flocks who need more resources than a single location can provide, but are still considered part of the main culture in the region so are not barbarians nor are they excessively violent so are not savages.

By contrast, a wandering band of hunter-gatherers would likely be both nomadic and barbarians with whether or not they’re considered savages depending on their choice of food; animals/wild plants… probably just barbarians. other people’s food or actual people… savages.

Non-nomadic barbarians are pretty self-explanatory. They don’t belong to dominant local culture you come from. Whether they’re just barbarians or savage barbarians depends on how they treat others. Share a meal with you? Barbarian. Make you their meal? Savages.

For an inverse example, a dominant culture (ex. Aztecs) of high sophistication for the area can be savages in behavior (regular human sacrifice, often of slaves taken in conquest or demanded as tribute) while being neither the barbarians (not the regional outgroup) nor nomadic.

None of the terms though are endonyms… no one within those societies would consider their society to be barbaric or savage and would only consider “nomadic” in the sense that describes their moving about rather than placing some moral judgment on their people.

As to orcs… mine are green-skinned mutants operating a rump state of what essentially fantasy Rome whose leaders claim descent from the last Emperor before the Cataclysm and seek to re-conquer all the territory once controlled by “their” empire. If they’re “coded” as anything it’s self-entitled elites who think they deserve to rule the world.

The barbarians of the setting are primarily human survivors of the cataclysm who banded together into clans and tribes and abandoned the pagan conquest-based religion of the Empire for a more peaceful monotheistic faith brought by once persecuted missionaries who aided and protected them.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Osman Gazi 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 (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 (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 (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 (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/ (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 (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 (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).
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Ghostmaker on September 23, 2022, 10:37:24 AM
"If you're wondering how Mike eats and breathes, and other science facts,
Just repeat to yourself 'It's just a show!' and you really should relax!"
--from the MST3k theme

Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: The Spaniard on September 23, 2022, 10:52:31 AM
Deleted, off topic
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GeekyBugle 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 (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 (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 (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 (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/ (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 (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 (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.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Osman Gazi 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?
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: The Spaniard 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.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GeekyBugle 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).
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GhostNinja 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"
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: BoxCrayonTales 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.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: The Spaniard on September 23, 2022, 01:30:05 PM
We're definitely aligned on your last point
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GhostNinja 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.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: BoxCrayonTales on September 23, 2022, 01:53:06 PM
Deleted
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Ruprecht 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.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: BoxCrayonTales 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.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Mishihari 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.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: FingerRod on September 23, 2022, 04:41:44 PM
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.

Unless it was, you know, short for classification. Armor classification. Troop classification. Weapon classification. The types of things one might find in a war game.

Here is the problem. Words often have multiple meanings. Calling a fighter a class is just fine. Everyone knows what it means.

Playing the definition game with the socially stunted is a waste of time.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: BoxCrayonTales on September 23, 2022, 05:19:23 PM
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.

Unless it was, you know, short for classification. Armor classification. Troop classification. Weapon classification. The types of things one might find in a war game.

Here is the problem. Words often have multiple meanings. Calling a fighter a class is just fine. Everyone knows what it means.

Playing the definition game with the socially stunted is a waste of time.
In Japan they’re called “job classes.”
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GeekyBugle on September 23, 2022, 06:24:22 PM
Re Barbarians:

Counterpoint, Barbarian isn't a class it's a background, you could be a barbaric Thief, Fighter, Druid, etc.

Types of cultural background:

Savage (Stone Age)
Barbarian (Bronze/Steel Age, think the Celts, Vikings, etc before the Romans)
Nomadic (Steppes people, good riders, have steel are civilized up to a point, tribal)
Civilized (Romans up to the middle Ages, nation state)
Decadent (past civilized, too corrupt, given to vices, think the Stygians & Hyperboreans)

ALL cultures produce the 4 basic classes: Priest, MU, Fighter, Rogue. In different flavors, from Cleric, Druid, Shaman, etc...
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: BoxCrayonTales on September 23, 2022, 06:31:50 PM
Re Barbarians:

Counterpoint, Barbarian isn't a class it's a background, you could be a barbaric Thief, Fighter, Druid, etc.

Types of cultural background:

Savage (Stone Age)
Barbarian (Bronze/Steel Age, think the Celts, Vikings, etc before the Romans)
Nomadic (Steppes people, good riders, have steel are civilized up to a point, tribal)
Civilized (Romans up to the middle Ages, nation state)
Decadent (past civilized, too corrupt, given to vices, think the Stygians & Hyperboreans)

ALL cultures produce the 4 basic classes: Priest, MU, Fighter, Rogue. In different flavors, from Cleric, Druid, Shaman, etc...
That’s an interesting way to structure it. It feels more sensible than arbitrarily assigning druids to treehuggers when in real life they were just another Indo-European religion.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: PulpHerb on September 23, 2022, 06:32:18 PM
Types of cultural background:

Savage (Stone Age)
Barbarian (Bronze/Steel Age, think the Celts, Vikings, etc before the Romans)
Nomadic (Steppes people, good riders, have steel are civilized up to a point, tribal)
Civilized (Romans up to the middle Ages, nation state)
Decadent (past civilized, too corrupt, given to vices, think the Stygians & Hyperboreans)

ALL cultures produce the 4 basic classes: Priest, MU, Fighter, Rogue. In different flavors, from Cleric, Druid, Shaman, etc...

Having RQ3 flashbacks as those were the cultural backgrounds, excluding decadent.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: FingerRod on September 23, 2022, 06:44:31 PM
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.

Unless it was, you know, short for classification. Armor classification. Troop classification. Weapon classification. The types of things one might find in a war game.

Here is the problem. Words often have multiple meanings. Calling a fighter a class is just fine. Everyone knows what it means.

Playing the definition game with the socially stunted is a waste of time.
In Japan they’re called “job classes.”

Another great example. I think my first exposure to jobs was Final Fantasy.

BTW, I also meant to comment on the Berserker point you made earlier (and maybe previously as well). It is a superb point. If I recall, OD&D also described what we refer to today as barbarians using the term berserker. And I *think* they even had something separate for barbarian, completely unlike what is used today.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GeekyBugle on September 23, 2022, 06:45:26 PM

That’s an interesting way to structure it. It feels more sensible than arbitrarily assigning druids to treehuggers when in real life they were just another Indo-European religion.


Having RQ3 flashbacks as those were the cultural backgrounds, excluding decadent.

It's how I'm doing it in my totally not Conan game. In the backburner at the moment. I dislike playing is established IPs since we all know who is The Hero, it can never be you, you can be a hero and that's it.

So I'm making a totally not Conan setting/game from scratch.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: BoxCrayonTales on September 23, 2022, 07:11:17 PM

That’s an interesting way to structure it. It feels more sensible than arbitrarily assigning druids to treehuggers when in real life they were just another Indo-European religion.


Having RQ3 flashbacks as those were the cultural backgrounds, excluding decadent.

It's how I'm doing it in my totally not Conan game. In the backburner at the moment. I dislike playing is established IPs since we all know who is The Hero, it can never be you, you can be a hero and that's it.

So I'm making a totally not Conan setting/game from scratch.
Yeah, I don’t like settings with The Hero. It will inherently devalue the entire rest of the universe because everything will always be compared to The Hero. It might be good for a one off, but believable and adventurable universes cannot have The Hero. Let’s use real life as an example: is there anyone in human history who can be described as The Hero? No, because history doesn’t work that way. Akhenaton? Caesar? Napoleon? Hitler? They’re just names in history books. There were others before them and there will be others after them, until the end of the world.

This is the key difference between universes that grew around a licensed brand and ones created for play from the start. You can always tell, because licensed settings will spend the majority of their backstories describing how the fate of the universe hinged on some absurd soap operatic events involving three or four people a few years prior to the present. I find it very obnoxious.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GeekyBugle on September 23, 2022, 07:13:31 PM

That’s an interesting way to structure it. It feels more sensible than arbitrarily assigning druids to treehuggers when in real life they were just another Indo-European religion.


Having RQ3 flashbacks as those were the cultural backgrounds, excluding decadent.

It's how I'm doing it in my totally not Conan game. In the backburner at the moment. I dislike playing is established IPs since we all know who is The Hero, it can never be you, you can be a hero and that's it.

So I'm making a totally not Conan setting/game from scratch.
Yeah, I don’t like settings with The Hero. It will inherently devalue the entire rest of the universe because everything will always be compared to The Hero. It might be good for a one off, but believable and adventurable universes cannot have The Hero. Let’s use real life as an example: is there anyone in human history who can be described as The Hero? No, because history doesn’t work that way. Akhenaton? Caesar? Napoleon? Hitler? They’re just names in history books. There were others before them and there will be others after them, until the end of the world.

This is the key difference between universes that grew around a licensed brand and ones created for play from the start. You can always tell, because licensed settings will spend the majority of their backstories describing how the fate of the universe hinged on some absurd soap operatic events involving three or four people a few years prior to the present. I find it very obnoxious.

Preach it bro!
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Lunamancer on September 23, 2022, 11:12:09 PM
Barbarian really just meant “those who are not of our ‘superior’ society and culture.” It’s purely an exonym used to describe other groups. If you were not Greek (or later Roman), the you were a barbarian.

So if you're playing a Barbarian in D&D, does that mean you spontaneously lose your class when you're among your own people? Or is it that PCs are just barred from the class entirely, since Barbarians are always those other people?

Or is it simply the case that you chose to work off of a definition that makes absolutely no sense in the context of talking about a D&D class?

Your argument is specious.

No. Definitions are not arguments, specious or otherwise.

Quote
Even synonyms have unshared shades of meaning.  You can't just assume that everything that applies to one word also applies to another.

Who says I did? You're assuming I've assumed things. I considered the fact, for instance, that one of the things Barbarians refer to is a native of Barbary or Barbary Pirates. But that doesn't exactly square with the skills and abilities for the class. They've got skills for wilderness survival (just called survival) and a couple of related skills to that. But not a profession/sailing skill or knowledge/navigation. So I have to reject that as a definition as it has no place in this context. And a lot of others went out the window, too. The one I'm using is reasonable and consistent. And it's actually on topic.

Quote
Also, just glanced at a dictionary,

Well, maybe have enough basic respect to do a little more research than that next time. And be a little more thoughtful in ensuring what findings you present actually fit the context and address the issue at hand.

Quote
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.

For a short while doesn't count for anything. A few hours ago I walked to the store. I mean, I came back. But are you going to say that during the 10 minutes I shopped that my home was no longer my home? I've got friends who are Portuguese immigrants who have by this point lived 90% of their lives here. Some of them are even American citizens. And their big plan when they retire is to go back to Portugal where the cost of living is lower and Social Security is not taxable for 5 years. Are they not Portuguese having lived the majority of their lives in America? Your easy counterpoint is complete nonsense and a weak attempt at playing word games.

More importantly as it pertains to anything relevant here, does an indigenous person suddenly lose their skills or abilities when they cross a border or sea? Do they lose their culture, religion, or language? Does their ancestry change? Are there any changes at all to their characteristics? No? Then insofar that this is a discussion about a D&D class, you're entirely off-topic.


Unless it was, you know, short for classification. Armor classification. Troop classification. Weapon classification. The types of things one might find in a war game.

My first thought exactly. My second thought, though, was to remember when I was a kid, that the word "class" made me think of like a class in school. Not social class. I could imagine taking a class learning how to fight. Or how to thieve. Or how to use magic. My cousin attended catechism every Sunday, so there could definitely be a cleric class.

And then my third thought was, while D&D definitely does have some notes on social class, Gary focused more on it on his later fantasy RPGs. And in those, Vocations in Dangerous Journeys, Orders in Lejendary Adventure, those class-like structures were also closely tied with social class. Once you realize that this is a thing Gary did consistently everywhere else, you have to wonder if it was also intended this way in D&D and that it was just one of those things that didn't survive the cutting room floor.

I think there's something to it. That Gary chose class to mean, yes, classification, obviously, but that these classes were also classes you could have in school (hence training requirements to level up) and also tied into social class (hence name level, the ability to attract followers, and in the 1E PHB, some of the classes even had notes as to taxes they were entitled to collect, but not all classes, because some classes were classier than others). Which also meant those outside of the dominant social structure (demi-humans) might experience limits in the level to which they can rise due to, if nothing else, "glass ceilings."

Class was the perfect term and no game designer standing on the shoulder of giants is going to improve on the term, even though they might frequently believe they have.

Quote
Here is the problem. Words often have multiple meanings. Calling a fighter a class is just fine. Everyone knows what it means.

Playing the definition game with the socially stunted is a waste of time.

Yeah. In 2022, any wanker can google search a cherry picked definition of a word in 30 seconds while still jerking off with their other hand. There's nothing impressive about it. There's nothing of substance that comes from it. A sticky keyboard doesn't count. There's the famous quote from Bill Clinton, "it depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is" to wit it took me less than 30 seconds to pull up Meriam-Webster online and find 8 different definitions for is. Imagine the combinatorics if we did this for every word in a sentence.

Yeah. Saying it's socially stunted is putting it mildly. The standard for relatively honest (good faith) and intelligent (meeting minimum standards as having something to add) discourse should be that the listener correctly identifies the intended definitions of the speaker. And here I'm complaining about people not even meeting a far, far lower standard of confining themselves to definitions that are actually make sense given the topic.

Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: RPGPundit on September 24, 2022, 12:28:21 AM
Leftists will keep going until Wizards makes "faceless goo-people" the only playable race.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: jeff37923 on September 24, 2022, 05:59:54 AM
Leftists will keep going until Wizards makes "faceless goo-people" the only playable race.

Like NPCs?

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/1b/NPC_wojak_meme.png)
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Chris24601 on September 24, 2022, 08:42:27 AM
Re Barbarians:

Counterpoint, Barbarian isn't a class it's a background, you could be a barbaric Thief, Fighter, Druid, etc.

Types of cultural background:

Savage (Stone Age)
Barbarian (Bronze/Steel Age, think the Celts, Vikings, etc before the Romans)
Nomadic (Steppes people, good riders, have steel are civilized up to a point, tribal)
Civilized (Romans up to the middle Ages, nation state)
Decadent (past civilized, too corrupt, given to vices, think the Stygians & Hyperboreans)

ALL cultures produce the 4 basic classes: Priest, MU, Fighter, Rogue. In different flavors, from Cleric, Druid, Shaman, etc...
That is, in fact, pretty close to how my system does it.

Barbarian is a background, Fighter is a class, and Berserker is one of the fighting styles a fighter can know.

The other backgrounds are; arcanist, aristocrat, artisan, commoner, entertainer, military, outlaw, religious and traveler. These provide all the non-combat abilities including skills and languages for the character.

The other classes are mastermind, mechanist, mystic, theurge and wizard (with NPC-only classes for diabolist and necromancer). These provide only the combat abilities for the character. The mastermind is basically a non-magical party buffer (contributes to the combat side of things by creating or pointing out openings for allies to exploit while not necessarily being able to fight well themselves), the rest each employ one of the paths of magic in the setting (magitech, primal, astral, arcane, abyssal and shadow respectively).

Mix and match with background to best fit your concept. Depending on your conception of them a Paladin might be a religious fighter or an aristocrat or military theurge. The former is more the early D&D variety who is mainly a fighter with clerical support magic, the latter is closer to more modern takes where their background is a warrior but their primary combat focus comes from smiting opponents with divine wrath.

But this also means you can have barbarians who are masterminds (scouts/guides), mystics (shaman), theurges (druids), wizards (rune casters), fighters (berserkers or rangers) or even mechanists (master smiths were often reputed to know magic secrets they imbued into their weapons or armor)… all from a single background.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Chris24601 on September 24, 2022, 09:10:35 AM
Barbarian really just meant “those who are not of our ‘superior’ society and culture.” It’s purely an exonym used to describe other groups. If you were not Greek (or later Roman), the you were a barbarian.

So if you're playing a Barbarian in D&D, does that mean you spontaneously lose your class when you're among your own people? Or is it that PCs are just barred from the class entirely, since Barbarians are always those other people?

Or is it simply the case that you chose to work off of a definition that makes absolutely no sense in the context of talking about a D&D class?
Or, I’m saying Barbarian is a silly name for a class unless all the classes are so broad as to be meaningless… i.e. “I’m playing the Greek class.”

I wholy agree with those who say the class should be called a Berserker given it’s central feature is building themselves into a frenzy before attacking their opponents.

And a huge part of why is because arguably the most famous fantasy barbarian, Conan, shares NOTHING in common with what WotC-era D&D has called the Barbarian. Conan is, if anything, a multiclass fighter/rogue, in D&D terms. His culture is considered to be barbarian.

As I outlined above, Barbarian makes far more sense as a background which filters how the basic classes are perceived. What you say must be called a Barbarian I’d call a Barbarian Fighter. A ranger might also be Barbarian Rogue, a druid a Barbarian Wizard, and a shaman a Barbarian Cleric.

There’s another thread about whether their are too many classes. I tend to say ‘yes’ largely in the sense that if you want more defined mechanics then the system needs another layer to it. One of the main reasons for why “fighters can’t have nice things” in later editions of D&D is that too much what formerly made up the fighter’s toolkit/conceptual space got yanked off into various classes that could be best summed up as “culturally specific fighters.”

So by the end of 3e there were the “barbarian”, the knight, the ranger, the samurai, the marshal, the paladin, and probably more I’m forgetting that all really belonged under the heading of fighter who because it was again a broad archetype could actually have things like a wide range of skills and various special abilities based on the broad areas of competence that professional warriors were generally expected to have (instead of not being able to know how to even do more than two of climb, jump, swim or ride a horse because all the cool skills “belonged” to classes split off from the fighter).

No, Barbarian as a class is not only a bad name for a class centered around going berserk, it is also at the start of WotC D&D’s greatest failures as a system.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: VisionStorm on September 24, 2022, 10:03:34 AM
Barbarian really just meant “those who are not of our ‘superior’ society and culture.” It’s purely an exonym used to describe other groups. If you were not Greek (or later Roman), the you were a barbarian.

So if you're playing a Barbarian in D&D, does that mean you spontaneously lose your class when you're among your own people? Or is it that PCs are just barred from the class entirely, since Barbarians are always those other people?

Or is it simply the case that you chose to work off of a definition that makes absolutely no sense in the context of talking about a D&D class?

Your argument is specious.

No. Definitions are not arguments, specious or otherwise.

Quote
Even synonyms have unshared shades of meaning.  You can't just assume that everything that applies to one word also applies to another.

Who says I did? You're assuming I've assumed things. I considered the fact, for instance, that one of the things Barbarians refer to is a native of Barbary or Barbary Pirates. But that doesn't exactly square with the skills and abilities for the class. They've got skills for wilderness survival (just called survival) and a couple of related skills to that. But not a profession/sailing skill or knowledge/navigation. So I have to reject that as a definition as it has no place in this context. And a lot of others went out the window, too. The one I'm using is reasonable and consistent. And it's actually on topic.

Quote
Also, just glanced at a dictionary,

Well, maybe have enough basic respect to do a little more research than that next time. And be a little more thoughtful in ensuring what findings you present actually fit the context and address the issue at hand.

Quote
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.

For a short while doesn't count for anything. A few hours ago I walked to the store. I mean, I came back. But are you going to say that during the 10 minutes I shopped that my home was no longer my home? I've got friends who are Portuguese immigrants who have by this point lived 90% of their lives here. Some of them are even American citizens. And their big plan when they retire is to go back to Portugal where the cost of living is lower and Social Security is not taxable for 5 years. Are they not Portuguese having lived the majority of their lives in America? Your easy counterpoint is complete nonsense and a weak attempt at playing word games.

More importantly as it pertains to anything relevant here, does an indigenous person suddenly lose their skills or abilities when they cross a border or sea? Do they lose their culture, religion, or language? Does their ancestry change? Are there any changes at all to their characteristics? No? Then insofar that this is a discussion about a D&D class, you're entirely off-topic.


Unless it was, you know, short for classification. Armor classification. Troop classification. Weapon classification. The types of things one might find in a war game.

My first thought exactly. My second thought, though, was to remember when I was a kid, that the word "class" made me think of like a class in school. Not social class. I could imagine taking a class learning how to fight. Or how to thieve. Or how to use magic. My cousin attended catechism every Sunday, so there could definitely be a cleric class.

And then my third thought was, while D&D definitely does have some notes on social class, Gary focused more on it on his later fantasy RPGs. And in those, Vocations in Dangerous Journeys, Orders in Lejendary Adventure, those class-like structures were also closely tied with social class. Once you realize that this is a thing Gary did consistently everywhere else, you have to wonder if it was also intended this way in D&D and that it was just one of those things that didn't survive the cutting room floor.

I think there's something to it. That Gary chose class to mean, yes, classification, obviously, but that these classes were also classes you could have in school (hence training requirements to level up) and also tied into social class (hence name level, the ability to attract followers, and in the 1E PHB, some of the classes even had notes as to taxes they were entitled to collect, but not all classes, because some classes were classier than others). Which also meant those outside of the dominant social structure (demi-humans) might experience limits in the level to which they can rise due to, if nothing else, "glass ceilings."

Class was the perfect term and no game designer standing on the shoulder of giants is going to improve on the term, even though they might frequently believe they have.

Quote
Here is the problem. Words often have multiple meanings. Calling a fighter a class is just fine. Everyone knows what it means.

Playing the definition game with the socially stunted is a waste of time.

Yeah. In 2022, any wanker can google search a cherry picked definition of a word in 30 seconds while still jerking off with their other hand. There's nothing impressive about it. There's nothing of substance that comes from it. A sticky keyboard doesn't count. There's the famous quote from Bill Clinton, "it depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is" to wit it took me less than 30 seconds to pull up Meriam-Webster online and find 8 different definitions for is. Imagine the combinatorics if we did this for every word in a sentence.

Yeah. Saying it's socially stunted is putting it mildly. The standard for relatively honest (good faith) and intelligent (meeting minimum standards as having something to add) discourse should be that the listener correctly identifies the intended definitions of the speaker. And here I'm complaining about people not even meeting a far, far lower standard of confining themselves to definitions that are actually make sense given the topic.

Are you capable of giving direct responses to people's comments without dripping them with undue condescension and incorrectly presuming your superior grasp of any given subject? Or tearing up every post they make into tiny out of context snippets in order to provide lenthy "gotcha' commentary and silly, irrelevant examples* that don't really provide an adequate counterpoint to what they're saying?

Words do have a variety of possible meanings, and this isn't a product of our current age, but of the way language fundamentally works and has been the case throughout all of human history. That's why the first step in advancing an argument or laying out your position about a subject is supposed to be to define your terms. And this was established since the Classical Age, cuz the Ancient Greeks recognized that.

There has never been an age were words had clear, absolute meanings that always applied in every circumstance they're used. And insisting on a specific, narrow meaning or interpretation of a word absolutely is an argument. It might be a moronic, poorly articulated argument that presumes that your interpretation is absolute and infallible (when it isn't) and therefore beyond all contention, and simply a declaration of self-evident truth. But it's still an argument, and your inability to recognize that does not make it not an argument. It just means that you're speaking down to people when you don't know WTF you're talking about.

*who cares if you walked into a store and WTF does the word "Barbarian", which is of Greek origin as Chris correctly referenced, have to do with the Barbary Pirates, who's name comes from ethnic Berbers?
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Zelen on September 24, 2022, 10:10:38 AM
So by the end of 3e there were the “barbarian”, the knight, the ranger, the samurai, the marshal, the paladin, and probably more I’m forgetting...

You make a good case that "fighter" is really too broad of a category. (Pretty crummy name for a class too.)
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Chris24601 on September 24, 2022, 10:56:04 AM
So by the end of 3e there were the “barbarian”, the knight, the ranger, the samurai, the marshal, the paladin, and probably more I’m forgetting...

You make a good case that "fighter" is really too broad of a category. (Pretty crummy name for a class too.)
I guess that depends on what you want a class to be.

If you want hyper-specific where there are mechanical differences between samurai and knights then, yes, Fighter is too broad. But then so is Wizard, Cleric and Rogue. We’d need a different class for every cultural representation of spellcaster, religious and skill-expert across every society you wish to cover.

Conversely, if you want broad archetypes, then Fighter fits right in with the broad archetypes D&D assigned to the cleric and magic-user.

There’s no right answer to where you want that line drawn; but if you’re going to draw it, you should at least try to be consistent. Don’t split the fighter into every conceivable type of fighting man as diffused entities while aggregating every potential type of magic into just one or two classes.

As to the Fighter class name; believe me I’ve looked, but I have yet to find a better one for a category that could include everything from a bare-knuckle brawler to a mounted knight to a skilled barbarian bow-hunter and everything in between. Because even “warrior” doesn’t actually cover all the categories (ex. the street tough) that could fall under the heading of “one who fights.”
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GeekyBugle on September 24, 2022, 11:59:26 AM
Re Barbarians:

Counterpoint, Barbarian isn't a class it's a background, you could be a barbaric Thief, Fighter, Druid, etc.

Types of cultural background:

Savage (Stone Age)
Barbarian (Bronze/Steel Age, think the Celts, Vikings, etc before the Romans)
Nomadic (Steppes people, good riders, have steel are civilized up to a point, tribal)
Civilized (Romans up to the middle Ages, nation state)
Decadent (past civilized, too corrupt, given to vices, think the Stygians & Hyperboreans)

ALL cultures produce the 4 basic classes: Priest, MU, Fighter, Rogue. In different flavors, from Cleric, Druid, Shaman, etc...
That is, in fact, pretty close to how my system does it.

Barbarian is a background, Fighter is a class, and Berserker is one of the fighting styles a fighter can know.

The other backgrounds are; arcanist, aristocrat, artisan, commoner, entertainer, military, outlaw, religious and traveler. These provide all the non-combat abilities including skills and languages for the character.

The other classes are mastermind, mechanist, mystic, theurge and wizard (with NPC-only classes for diabolist and necromancer). These provide only the combat abilities for the character. The mastermind is basically a non-magical party buffer (contributes to the combat side of things by creating or pointing out openings for allies to exploit while not necessarily being able to fight well themselves), the rest each employ one of the paths of magic in the setting (magitech, primal, astral, arcane, abyssal and shadow respectively).

Mix and match with background to best fit your concept. Depending on your conception of them a Paladin might be a religious fighter or an aristocrat or military theurge. The former is more the early D&D variety who is mainly a fighter with clerical support magic, the latter is closer to more modern takes where their background is a warrior but their primary combat focus comes from smiting opponents with divine wrath.

But this also means you can have barbarians who are masterminds (scouts/guides), mystics (shaman), theurges (druids), wizards (rune casters), fighters (berserkers or rangers) or even mechanists (master smiths were often reputed to know magic secrets they imbued into their weapons or armor)… all from a single background.

I've got two types of backgrounds:

Cultural, as I already provided the example
Social, which includes stuff like aristocrat, blacksmith, etc.

Both provide skills to the class without a 200 entries list being needed.

In a modern setting these are changed for economic and occupational with the occupations being broad categories the player can specify within: Blue Collar (specify what exactly).
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Lunamancer on September 24, 2022, 12:58:24 PM
Or, I’m saying Barbarian is a silly name for a class unless all the classes are so broad as to be meaningless… i.e. “I’m playing the Greek class.”

Well, hey, I agree. that it's a silly name for a class. I lean towards it being a silly class period. I still think it's worth doing a minimal amount steel-manning by finding a sense in which calling it "barbarian" makes sense.

Quote
I wholy agree with those who say the class should be called a Berserker given it’s central feature is building themselves into a frenzy before attacking their opponents.

I'm the one that kicked off this branch of the thread by stating that the barbarian was the berserker (from 1E MM) made generic, and that doing so created problems.

Quote
And a huge part of why is because arguably the most famous fantasy barbarian, Conan, shares NOTHING in common with what WotC-era D&D has called the Barbarian. Conan is, if anything, a multiclass fighter/rogue, in D&D terms. His culture is considered to be barbarian.

Yes, the Barbarian as it appears in UA I believe is an attempt at having a Conan class, right down to its weird hatred of magic. I have my doubts how applicable the thief or rogue class is to Conan. I think what thiefly or roguish activities he does falls under fair use ability for all characters. Ultimately I'd say the problem is that Conan is one guy, one unique character. If I thought making berserkers generic created some problems, you can imagine what I think of making a specific person into a generic class.

Quote
As I outlined above, Barbarian makes far more sense as a background which filters how the basic classes are perceived. What you say must be called a Barbarian I’d call a Barbarian Fighter. A ranger might also be Barbarian Rogue, a druid a Barbarian Wizard, and a shaman a Barbarian Cleric.

Yeah. Background makes perfect sense to me. This sort of thing is actually handled in core 1E. Or at least you have examples on how to handle it. Because it's a culturally-specific approach, and your fantasy world could have completely fictional cultures. Surprisingly few old-schoolers even know about it. But it's right there in print in Deities & Demigods.

For instance, under American Indian mythos, clerics are given an additional constraint--that in order to control something, he or she must have a part of it already. And it gives examples like to summon rain, the cleric must sprinkle water on the ground in the process of casting the spell. Or to cast a quest spell on some being, you need a piece of hair, article of used clothing, or something along those lines of the being.

On the flip side, a warrior can make a sacred bundle. It requires a certain series of quests, but once you have the sacred bundle you get +2 on all saves, only surprised 1 in 6, has a (natural) AC of 2, and one point is subtracted from each die of damage you take in battle. That eliminates the need for a d12 hit die, double CON bonus, or the double DEX bonus given to UA barbarians. Or for 3E, the d12 hit die, damage reduction, and uncanny dodge. No need for a special class at all.


Quote
There’s another thread about whether their are too many classes. I tend to say ‘yes’ largely in the sense that if you want more defined mechanics then the system needs another layer to it. One of the main reasons for why “fighters can’t have nice things” in later editions of D&D is that too much what formerly made up the fighter’s toolkit/conceptual space got yanked off into various classes that could be best summed up as “culturally specific fighters.”

So by the end of 3e there were the “barbarian”, the knight, the ranger, the samurai, the marshal, the paladin, and probably more I’m forgetting that all really belonged under the heading of fighter who because it was again a broad archetype could actually have things like a wide range of skills and various special abilities based on the broad areas of competence that professional warriors were generally expected to have (instead of not being able to know how to even do more than two of climb, jump, swim or ride a horse because all the cool skills “belonged” to classes split off from the fighter).

Sure. Or one thing I often bring up is, if you keep the number of classes small, to the level where a DM would naturally come to memorize them just through regular play, that means when writing up stat blocks, you don't have to spell out all the class abilities. One of the great strengths of old school D&D is you can put "C6" into a stat block and that instantly imparts a massive amount of information. Too many classes, and even before you run out of letters in the alphabet, you get to a point where the DM would have to stop and look it up, and so at that point you're better off just putting the info into the stat block, bloating it to the high heavens. It's not a good thing.

Quote
No, Barbarian as a class is not only a bad name for a class centered around going berserk, it is also at the start of WotC D&D’s greatest failures as a system.

Well, who's to say what's the greatest or where it started. But I agree, it's not a good thing.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Zelen on September 24, 2022, 04:07:47 PM
There’s no right answer to where you want that line drawn; but if you’re going to draw it, you should at least try to be consistent. Don’t split the fighter into every conceivable type of fighting man as diffused entities while aggregating every potential type of magic into just one or two classes.

I agree it's about level of distinction you want to make. Look at the magical counterparts: Wizard, Sorceror, Druid, Cleric, Warlock, Psion, Necromancer, Witch, Elementalist, Shaman, ... There's a billion of them, many of them inventing whole new magic systems. In comparison having Barbarian, Paladin, Cavalier, Pirate, etc. seems very non-objectionable.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: VisionStorm on September 24, 2022, 05:31:24 PM
There’s no right answer to where you want that line drawn; but if you’re going to draw it, you should at least try to be consistent. Don’t split the fighter into every conceivable type of fighting man as diffused entities while aggregating every potential type of magic into just one or two classes.

I agree it's about level of distinction you want to make. Look at the magical counterparts: Wizard, Sorceror, Druid, Cleric, Warlock, Psion, Necromancer, Witch, Elementalist, Shaman, ... There's a billion of them, many of them inventing whole new magic systems. In comparison having Barbarian, Paladin, Cavalier, Pirate, etc. seems very non-objectionable.

Unless you happen to object to having a billion variations of what's essentially a "Magic-User", with their endless permutations of "it's a damage spell—BUT...a spirit taught it to me!" or "it's a damage spell—BUT...I learned it from a book!" Then having endless variations of "It's a Fighter—BUT...he comes from a tribe!" or "it's a Fighter—BUT...he knows how to sail and likes to rob trade vessels!" becomes just as silly.

Three classes is all you need (four if you want to keep the Arcane/Divine split): Warrior, Specialist, and Mystic (or Wizard and Priest). The rest are just superfluous variants of the three (four), better achieved through subclasses, backgrounds, skills/feats, or a combination of all those—and maybe multiclassing, but I'm at the point where I think multiclassing should just be replaced with subclasses and/or feats.

But that's a different topic that has been discussed a bunch of times before (I think there was a thread about it recently).

EDIT: Found it...
https://www.therpgsite.com/pen-paper-roleplaying-games-rpgs-discussion/dd5pf2etc-are-there-too-many-classes-now/
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Kerstmanneke82 on September 25, 2022, 01:10:01 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"


Sent the author a link to my blog as well. Got blocked, but used my other twitter-account to check on her status, wherein she says, I quote: "got sent three whole Wordpress blogs over the past week, all of which displayed an impressive command of ad hominem attacks and a complete lack of critical thinking or creativity." End quote.  I guess you and I are two out of three.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: The Spaniard on September 25, 2022, 04:55:33 PM
I checked out the author's Twitter feed... what a dumpster fire.  Most of these people need a villain to attack so they don't have to face their own inadequacies and are projecting their BS on others.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: BoxCrayonTales on September 25, 2022, 05:38:17 PM
These people aren’t interested in changing their views or steelmanning their opponents.

I used to think they had a point. Then I saw a scientific survey showing no connection between orcs and real racist attitudes. That was enough to convince me.

I still think there’s a lot of cringy stuff, but I don’t think orcs are supposed to be a racist sublimation.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: jhkim on September 25, 2022, 09:14:33 PM
These people aren’t interested in changing their views or steelmanning their opponents.

I used to think they had a point. Then I saw a scientific survey showing no connection between orcs and real racist attitudes. That was enough to convince me.

I still think there’s a lot of cringy stuff, but I don’t think orcs are supposed to be a racist sublimation.

I don't think there's any single thing that orcs are supposed to be, and I really dislike the increasing tendency of shoving everything into a binary of either purely racist (and thus uniquely evil and not to be seen) or purely non-racist (and thus beyond any reproach).

For example, Tolkien has explicitly said that his Dwarves are like Jews - including the clannishness and love of gold - and that their language was intentionally Semitic in character to reflect this. At the same time, he was emphatically against the anti-semitism of the nazis and sympathizers, and cast his dwarves as heroes with flaws for a reason.

There's no simple dividing line of right or wrong in this. I love Tolkien's work and think he is a great writer, but I believe there are fair critiques of him - including of his portrayal of orcs as a race that is born evil.

In my current D&D campaign inspired by Incan mythology and history, orcs are one of the founding races of the Solar Empire, and make up a majority of the imperial armies. They match pretty well with Tolkien's orcs in most ways, but here they don't have a dark lord but instead a commanding good-aligned emperor. I wanted to emphasize the Incan concept of "ayni" and how the empire is formed from compromise and banding together. I think it makes for an interesting difference, but I don't think it's the only or best way to portray orcs. It's just one way. Some people could say that it includes bio-essentialism and/or pro-imperialism, but there's more to it than such simple labels.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GhostNinja on September 26, 2022, 08:38:58 AM

Sent the author a link to my blog as well. Got blocked, but used my other twitter-account to check on her status, wherein she says, I quote: "got sent three whole Wordpress blogs over the past week, all of which displayed an impressive command of ad hominem attacks and a complete lack of critical thinking or creativity." End quote.  I guess you and I are two out of three.

The author of that article reminds me of video game critic Anita Sarkeesian, who calls anyone who points out her obvious lies as trolls and claims they are attacking her.   Doesn't want to hear alternite points of views and doesn't want anyone to point out her obvious lies and the fact she doesn't know what the hell she is talking about.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GhostNinja on September 26, 2022, 08:40:09 AM
I checked out the author's Twitter feed... what a dumpster fire.  Most of these people need a villain to attack so they don't have to face their own inadequacies and are projecting their BS on others.

After reading that article, are you surprised?
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GhostNinja on September 26, 2022, 08:45:04 AM
These people aren’t interested in changing their views or steelmanning their opponents.

I used to think they had a point. Then I saw a scientific survey showing no connection between orcs and real racist attitudes. That was enough to convince me.

I still think there’s a lot of cringy stuff, but I don’t think orcs are supposed to be a racist sublimation.

Its like Patricia A. Pulling  in the 80's who campaigned against D&D, until people put together the stats and blew her argument out of the water.  She was embarrassed and sliped into obscurity until she died.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: BoxCrayonTales on September 26, 2022, 09:48:41 AM
These people aren’t interested in changing their views or steelmanning their opponents.

I used to think they had a point. Then I saw a scientific survey showing no connection between orcs and real racist attitudes. That was enough to convince me.

I still think there’s a lot of cringy stuff, but I don’t think orcs are supposed to be a racist sublimation.

I don't think there's any single thing that orcs are supposed to be, and I really dislike the increasing tendency of shoving everything into a binary of either purely racist (and thus uniquely evil and not to be seen) or purely non-racist (and thus beyond any reproach).

For example, Tolkien has explicitly said that his Dwarves are like Jews - including the clannishness and love of gold - and that their language was intentionally Semitic in character to reflect this. At the same time, he was emphatically against the anti-semitism of the nazis and sympathizers, and cast his dwarves as heroes with flaws for a reason.

There's no simple dividing line of right or wrong in this. I love Tolkien's work and think he is a great writer, but I believe there are fair critiques of him - including of his portrayal of orcs as a race that is born evil.

In my current D&D campaign inspired by Incan mythology and history, orcs are one of the founding races of the Solar Empire, and make up a majority of the imperial armies. They match pretty well with Tolkien's orcs in most ways, but here they don't have a dark lord but instead a commanding good-aligned emperor. I wanted to emphasize the Incan concept of "ayni" and how the empire is formed from compromise and banding together. I think it makes for an interesting difference, but I don't think it's the only or best way to portray orcs. It's just one way. Some people could say that it includes bio-essentialism and/or pro-imperialism, but there's more to it than such simple labels.
You're right. I find that arguers on both sides are too willing to embrace extremes and not accept room for nuance.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GhostNinja on September 26, 2022, 10:52:52 AM

You're right. I find that arguers on both sides are too willing to embrace extremes and not accept room for nuance.

NO! YOUR TOTALLY WRONG ABOUT THAT!!!  ;D

Just kidding, I totally agree
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Kerstmanneke82 on September 26, 2022, 11:07:37 AM

Sent the author a link to my blog as well. Got blocked, but used my other twitter-account to check on her status, wherein she says, I quote: "got sent three whole Wordpress blogs over the past week, all of which displayed an impressive command of ad hominem attacks and a complete lack of critical thinking or creativity." End quote.  I guess you and I are two out of three.

The author of that article reminds me of video game critic Anita Sarkeesian, who calls anyone who points out her obvious lies as trolls and claims they are attacking her.   Doesn't want to hear alternite points of views and doesn't want anyone to point out her obvious lies and the fact she doesn't know what the hell she is talking about.

For what it's worth, here's a link to my blog. Maybe I may have used some ad hominems but at the end of the day, I think I have been *very* polite. Keep in mind though that English is not my maternal language so mistakes were made perhaps.

https://detaveerne.wordpress.com/2022/09/21/in-defence-of-race/
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Osman Gazi on September 26, 2022, 12:19:31 PM

Sent the author a link to my blog as well. Got blocked, but used my other twitter-account to check on her status, wherein she says, I quote: "got sent three whole Wordpress blogs over the past week, all of which displayed an impressive command of ad hominem attacks and a complete lack of critical thinking or creativity." End quote.  I guess you and I are two out of three.

The author of that article reminds me of video game critic Anita Sarkeesian, who calls anyone who points out her obvious lies as trolls and claims they are attacking her.   Doesn't want to hear alternite points of views and doesn't want anyone to point out her obvious lies and the fact she doesn't know what the hell she is talking about.

For what it's worth, here's a link to my blog. Maybe I may have used some ad hominems but at the end of the day, I think I have been *very* polite. Keep in mind though that English is not my maternal language so mistakes were made perhaps.

https://detaveerne.wordpress.com/2022/09/21/in-defence-of-race/

From your linked blog--maybe I don't understand your terminology (heck, there were decades that I haven't played, and only recently started getting interested again), but I don't think this claim isn't exactly true:

Quote
Race as a whole in RPGs has always been there. In a way. In the first iteration of D&D Elves and Dwarves were classes, not races.

In OD&D and 1st Ed AD&D, race and classes were separate, and Elves and Dwarves were races, not classes.  They had limitations on what classes they could be, and their maximum levels for those classes.  In addition, they had racial bonuses and maximum and minimum scores for certain attributes for both classes and races.  And frankly, racial maximums and minimums make a ton of sense, with Pixies never being as strong as Giants or Trolls being as clever as Elves.

Otherwise, I think you have a good take on it.  On the balance, I do like 5e, though I have to roll my eyes at some of the SJW stuff inserted in it on occasion.  But because of the direction WoTC is moving--and the speed of that movement--I dread a 6e.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Kerstmanneke82 on September 26, 2022, 12:28:47 PM
Hmm, then I must have interpreted it wrong. I have always been under the impression that Dwarf and Elf were classes in and of themselves. However, if I stand corrected, I stand corrected.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Osman Gazi on September 26, 2022, 01:08:38 PM
Hmm, then I must have interpreted it wrong. I have always been under the impression that Dwarf and Elf were classes in and of themselves. However, if I stand corrected, I stand corrected.

No problem.

FWIW, here's from OD&D:

Quote
Dwarves: Dwarves may opt only for the fighting class, and they may never progress
beyond the 6th level (Myrmidon). Their advantages are: 1) they have a high
level of magic resistance, and they thus add four levels when rolling saving throws
(a 6th-level dwarf equals a 10th-level human); 2) they are the only characters able
to fully employ the +3 Magic War Hammer (explained in Book II); 3) they note
slanting passages, traps, shifting walls and new construction in underground settings;
and 4) they are able to speak the languages of Gnomes, Kobolds and Goblins
in addition to the usual tongues (see LANGUAGES in this book).

Elves: Elves can begin as either Fighting-Men or Magic-Users and freely switch
class whenever they choose, from adventure to adventure, but not during the
course of a single game. Thus, they gain the benefits of both classes and may
use both weaponry and spells. They may use magic armor and still act as Magic-
Users. However, they may not progress beyond 4th level Fighting-Man (Hero)
nor 8th level Magic-User (Warlock). Elves are more able to note secret and hidden
doors. They also gain the advantages noted in the CHAINMAIL rules when
fighting certain fantastic creatures. Finally, Elves are able to speak the languages
of Orcs, Hobgoblins, and Gnolls in addition to their own (Elvish) and the other
usual tongues.
Halflings: Should any player wish to be one, he will be limited to the Fighting-
Men class as a halfling. Halflings cannot progress beyond the 4th level (Hero),
but they will have magic-resistance equal to dwarves (add four levels for saving
throws), and they will have deadly accuracy with missiles as detailed in
CHAINMAIL.
Other Character Types: There is no reason that players cannot be allowed to
play as virtually anything, provided they begin relatively weak and work up to
the top, i.e., a player wishing to be a Dragon would have to begin as, let us say,
a “young” one and progress upwards in the usual manner, steps being predetermined
by the campaign referee.

Keep in mind, there were only 3 classes then--Fighting Men, Magic Users, and Clerics.  Even Thieves had to wait until Greyhawk, the first Supplement...which I thought was weird, given how Tolkeinesque OD&D was (they even said "Hobbits" instead of "Halflings" in the first printings)...you couldn't be the iconic Hobbit Thief.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: jhkim on September 26, 2022, 02:04:38 PM
For what it's worth, here's a link to my blog. Maybe I may have used some ad hominems but at the end of the day, I think I have been *very* polite. Keep in mind though that English is not my maternal language so mistakes were made perhaps.

https://detaveerne.wordpress.com/2022/09/21/in-defence-of-race/

You're mistaken about D&D. You say that elves and dwarves started out as classes, which is wrong. Elves and dwarves started out as being restricted in class in "Men and Magic" (original D&D). Dwarves could only choose the Fighting Man class, while elves could be Fighting Men or Magic-Users. AD&D was published next, which introduced many more classes and more detailed race descriptions. The Basic Set came after AD&D, and that was when race-as-class was introduced.

You're also hitting pretty broadly about preferences. I've played Fantasy Hero since the 1980s, which was when I was introduced to character design - where ability scores aren't tied to race. Racial ability modifiers introduce more min-maxing. If I want to make a top-strength barbarian like Conan or Imaro, then I can get total better stats by going with a strength-boosting race instead of human. I prefer it to be even-handed.

I don't agree with everything that the post from the OP says, but you're hitting broadly that somehow my preference to reduce min-maxing is destroying RPGs.

EDITED TO ADD: cross-posted with the other correction
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Kerstmanneke82 on September 26, 2022, 02:28:26 PM
I have also stated I stood corrected ;) I've only been following TTRPGs for a short period of time, since the early nineties and in Belgium at that, so, can't know everything and I'm glad I keep learning.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Kerstmanneke82 on September 26, 2022, 02:30:15 PM
Hmm, then I must have interpreted it wrong. I have always been under the impression that Dwarf and Elf were classes in and of themselves. However, if I stand corrected, I stand corrected.

No problem.

FWIW, here's from OD&D:

Quote
Dwarves: Dwarves may opt only for the fighting class, and they may never progress
beyond the 6th level (Myrmidon). Their advantages are: 1) they have a high
level of magic resistance, and they thus add four levels when rolling saving throws
(a 6th-level dwarf equals a 10th-level human); 2) they are the only characters able
to fully employ the +3 Magic War Hammer (explained in Book II); 3) they note
slanting passages, traps, shifting walls and new construction in underground settings;
and 4) they are able to speak the languages of Gnomes, Kobolds and Goblins
in addition to the usual tongues (see LANGUAGES in this book).

Elves: Elves can begin as either Fighting-Men or Magic-Users and freely switch
class whenever they choose, from adventure to adventure, but not during the
course of a single game. Thus, they gain the benefits of both classes and may
use both weaponry and spells. They may use magic armor and still act as Magic-
Users. However, they may not progress beyond 4th level Fighting-Man (Hero)
nor 8th level Magic-User (Warlock). Elves are more able to note secret and hidden
doors. They also gain the advantages noted in the CHAINMAIL rules when
fighting certain fantastic creatures. Finally, Elves are able to speak the languages
of Orcs, Hobgoblins, and Gnolls in addition to their own (Elvish) and the other
usual tongues.
Halflings: Should any player wish to be one, he will be limited to the Fighting-
Men class as a halfling. Halflings cannot progress beyond the 4th level (Hero),
but they will have magic-resistance equal to dwarves (add four levels for saving
throws), and they will have deadly accuracy with missiles as detailed in
CHAINMAIL.
Other Character Types: There is no reason that players cannot be allowed to
play as virtually anything, provided they begin relatively weak and work up to
the top, i.e., a player wishing to be a Dragon would have to begin as, let us say,
a “young” one and progress upwards in the usual manner, steps being predetermined
by the campaign referee.

Keep in mind, there were only 3 classes then--Fighting Men, Magic Users, and Clerics.  Even Thieves had to wait until Greyhawk, the first Supplement...which I thought was weird, given how Tolkeinesque OD&D was (they even said "Hobbits" instead of "Halflings" in the first printings)...you couldn't be the iconic Hobbit Thief.

To my shame, I know all of this AND I own the books. As I have stated in another (new) blog post, everything else I stand by. Can't all be the same and that's good.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Osman Gazi on September 26, 2022, 03:40:47 PM
Hmm, then I must have interpreted it wrong. I have always been under the impression that Dwarf and Elf were classes in and of themselves. However, if I stand corrected, I stand corrected.

No problem.

FWIW, here's from OD&D:

Quote
Dwarves: Dwarves may opt only for the fighting class, and they may never progress
beyond the 6th level (Myrmidon). Their advantages are: 1) they have a high
level of magic resistance, and they thus add four levels when rolling saving throws
(a 6th-level dwarf equals a 10th-level human); 2) they are the only characters able
to fully employ the +3 Magic War Hammer (explained in Book II); 3) they note
slanting passages, traps, shifting walls and new construction in underground settings;
and 4) they are able to speak the languages of Gnomes, Kobolds and Goblins
in addition to the usual tongues (see LANGUAGES in this book).

Elves: Elves can begin as either Fighting-Men or Magic-Users and freely switch
class whenever they choose, from adventure to adventure, but not during the
course of a single game. Thus, they gain the benefits of both classes and may
use both weaponry and spells. They may use magic armor and still act as Magic-
Users. However, they may not progress beyond 4th level Fighting-Man (Hero)
nor 8th level Magic-User (Warlock). Elves are more able to note secret and hidden
doors. They also gain the advantages noted in the CHAINMAIL rules when
fighting certain fantastic creatures. Finally, Elves are able to speak the languages
of Orcs, Hobgoblins, and Gnolls in addition to their own (Elvish) and the other
usual tongues.
Halflings: Should any player wish to be one, he will be limited to the Fighting-
Men class as a halfling. Halflings cannot progress beyond the 4th level (Hero),
but they will have magic-resistance equal to dwarves (add four levels for saving
throws), and they will have deadly accuracy with missiles as detailed in
CHAINMAIL.
Other Character Types: There is no reason that players cannot be allowed to
play as virtually anything, provided they begin relatively weak and work up to
the top, i.e., a player wishing to be a Dragon would have to begin as, let us say,
a “young” one and progress upwards in the usual manner, steps being predetermined
by the campaign referee.

Keep in mind, there were only 3 classes then--Fighting Men, Magic Users, and Clerics.  Even Thieves had to wait until Greyhawk, the first Supplement...which I thought was weird, given how Tolkeinesque OD&D was (they even said "Hobbits" instead of "Halflings" in the first printings)...you couldn't be the iconic Hobbit Thief.

To my shame, I know all of this AND I own the books. As I have stated in another (new) blog post, everything else I stand by. Can't all be the same and that's good.

No worries...you probably are remembering Basic, where it was the case.  At my age, it's a chore to keep anything straight.   ;D
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Effete on September 28, 2022, 07:10:24 AM
No worries...you probably are remembering Basic, where it was the case.  At my age, it's a chore to keep anything straight.   ;D

They make a pill for that.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Ghostmaker on September 28, 2022, 08:43:24 AM
In defense, my first exposure to D&D was Mentzer Red Box (BECMI) so I can understand the error as well :)

Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Tasty_Wind on September 28, 2022, 09:51:00 AM
I don’t understand this whole push to swap the term “race” with “ancestry” or “heritage”. They say it’s because “race” has too much real world baggage, but then replace it with synonyms.
It’s like how “colored people” is racist, but “people of color” isn’t. Then again, consistency has never been these people’s strength.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Dropbear on September 28, 2022, 12:21:42 PM
I don’t understand this whole push to swap the term “race” with “ancestry” or “heritage”. They say it’s because “race” has too much real world baggage, but then replace it with synonyms.
It’s like how “colored people” is racist, but “people of color” isn’t. Then again, consistency has never been these people’s strength.

I think Ancestry is fine. But I have been playing Shadow of the Demon Lord more frequently than D&D for many years now and I believe it was the first RPG (well before Pathfinder 2E started popularizing it) to actively use that term.

Heritage seems to be too much of a conglomerated term to me.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Tasty_Wind on September 28, 2022, 12:48:26 PM
I don’t understand this whole push to swap the term “race” with “ancestry” or “heritage”. They say it’s because “race” has too much real world baggage, but then replace it with synonyms.
It’s like how “colored people” is racist, but “people of color” isn’t. Then again, consistency has never been these people’s strength.

I think Ancestry is fine. But I have been playing Shadow of the Demon Lord more frequently than D&D for many years now and I believe it was the first RPG (well before Pathfinder 2E started popularizing it) to actively use that term.

Heritage seems to be too much of a conglomerated term to me.

/quote]
SotDL is the first place I saw it as well, but it still made me scratch my head. A white guy from Sweden, a black guy from Botswana, and an Asian woman from Laos all have different ancestries, but they’re all still human. Now compare any three of those people to a goblin or a clockpunk robot powered by the souls of the damned, and that’s where the fuzziness starts.
I don’t think the term “race” should be replaced in ttrpgs, but it is has the be,  something like “Species” would be more accurate.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Steven Mitchell on September 28, 2022, 12:56:53 PM
I don’t understand this whole push to swap the term “race” with “ancestry” or “heritage”. They say it’s because “race” has too much real world baggage, but then replace it with synonyms.
It’s like how “colored people” is racist, but “people of color” isn’t. Then again, consistency has never been these people’s strength.

I think Ancestry is fine. But I have been playing Shadow of the Demon Lord more frequently than D&D for many years now and I believe it was the first RPG (well before Pathfinder 2E started popularizing it) to actively use that term.

Heritage seems to be too much of a conglomerated term to me.
SotDL is the first place I saw it as well, but it still made me scratch my head. A white guy from Sweden, a black guy from Botswana, and an Asian woman from Laos all have different ancestries, but they’re all still human. Now compare any three of those people to a goblin or a clockpunk robot powered by the souls of the damned, and that’s where the fuzziness starts.
I don’t think the term “race” should be replaced in ttrpgs, but it is has the be,  something like “Species” would be more accurate.

For me, I want the term to describe what generally what it is, without getting hyper-pedantic about it.  I don't mind "race" as a more general, archaic nod to "species" in a typical fantasy game.  Historically, "race" is an imprecise term, and in something like D&D, it's tied to an imprecise concept.

"Ancestry" or "Heritage" or even "Blood Line" could more accurately portray the spirit of the game/setting if, for example, all the various entities are human variants put through the fantastical wringer.  Say, elves are just humans that split off ages ago, and now seem that much different. 

If the game is more precise about such things, it needs the terms to convey that.  If it's not, then any term is going to be somewhat misleading.  Switching one vague term for another vague term in a system with vague applications merely confuses the issue for no good reason.

Of course, when confusing the issue is your goal ...
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Kerstmanneke82 on September 28, 2022, 01:13:05 PM
No worries...you probably are remembering Basic, where it was the case.  At my age, it's a chore to keep anything straight.   ;D

They make a pill for that.

It works wonders.

So they say.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: BoxCrayonTales on September 28, 2022, 02:45:20 PM
I'm having a similar issue when it comes to taxonomy in my secreted world-type urban fantasy.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GhostNinja on September 28, 2022, 03:52:24 PM
Have to laugh.  I wrote my blog post regarding the D&D hitpiece and even contacted the writer.  She must have sicked their consule on me because I was mean to her becaused they threatned to sue me if I didnt remove the image I used.

I changed it but the articles still stands.   Morons.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Effete on September 28, 2022, 05:34:21 PM
No worries...you probably are remembering Basic, where it was the case.  At my age, it's a chore to keep anything straight.   ;D

They make a pill for that.

It works wonders.

So they say.

Oh, it's great!
I sometimes take one before shopping at Walmart in sweatpants.

I also hear it's good for whiskey-dick. No more awkward drunken one night stands.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Effete on September 28, 2022, 05:37:24 PM
Have to laugh.  I wrote my blog post regarding the D&D hitpiece and even contacted the writer.  She must have sicked their consule on me because I was mean to her becaused they threatned to sue me if I didnt remove the image I used.

I changed it but the articles still stands.   Morons.

Was it actually a copyright image or was it a screenshot of the article.

Because the former is a no-no, while the latter is protected under Fair Use.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GhostNinja on September 28, 2022, 06:12:30 PM

Was it actually a copyright image or was it a screenshot of the article.

Because the former is a no-no, while the latter is protected under Fair Use.

It was the image from on top of the article which had no clear copyright.

I changed it to a generic D&D image and replied that it was changed and they could shove it.

It had to be the author I criticized because, while people are going to my blog I am not delusional enough to think they found it any other way or randomly.

The author is a petty little bitch and still doesn't know what she is talking about.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Effete on September 28, 2022, 09:37:06 PM

Was it actually a copyright image or was it a screenshot of the article.

Because the former is a no-no, while the latter is protected under Fair Use.

It was the image from on top of the article which had no clear copyright.

Was it the image of the photo collage with a prominent red d20? The one that clearly says "Image: Rebecca Fassola" underneath?  :o

Quote
I changed it to a generic D&D image and replied that it was changed and they could shove it.

Which is probably copyright as well.  ::)
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Lunamancer on September 28, 2022, 10:14:43 PM
I don’t understand this whole push to swap the term “race” with “ancestry” or “heritage”. They say it’s because “race” has too much real world baggage, but then replace it with synonyms.

I think it's because a large number of people genuinely don't know (or don't think of in the moment) that the use of race in the context of "the human race" is a valid use and meaning of the word. Far fewer still likely know that the term race is also used in myth and folklore. For example, the Tuatha De Danann from Irish myth is considered a supernatural race. In religious writings, the Nephilim are often referred to as a race of giants. In folklore, the different types of fairies are referred to as fairie races, identically to how it's used in D&D. Because "race" is the most precise and proper word for what it's describing in D&D.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GhostNinja on September 29, 2022, 08:40:49 AM

Was it the image of the photo collage with a prominent red d20? The one that clearly says "Image: Rebecca Fassola" underneath?  :o

Oops my bad.  It's changed anyway so its no longer an issue.  The fact that the pathetic writer of that article reported it because I hurt her feelings is still pathetic.  Snowflakes after all.

Which is probably copyright as well.  ::)

Well I did a search for free D&D style art so probably not.  Unlike the other image a pathetic tattle tail author whos feelings I hurt is the reason I got the email.  It's resolved so I am moving on.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GeekyBugle on September 29, 2022, 10:42:08 AM

Was it the image of the photo collage with a prominent red d20? The one that clearly says "Image: Rebecca Fassola" underneath?  :o

Oops my bad.  It's changed anyway so its no longer an issue.  The fact that the pathetic writer of that article reported it because I hurt her feelings is still pathetic.  Snowflakes after all.

Which is probably copyright as well.  ::)

Well I did a search for free D&D style art so probably not.  Unlike the other image a pathetic tattle tail author whos feelings I hurt is the reason I got the email.  It's resolved so I am moving on.

Something like this?

Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Darkwind on September 29, 2022, 10:58:54 AM
The author is a petty little bitch and still doesn't know what she is talking about.

They all are, and they live to destroy. That Tolkein thing about "Evil cannot create" is entirely true. Their world revolves around "de-constructing" everything which basically means turning it to shit.

If you want to troll them, go crazy, but its a total waste of time & effort to me so I simply ignore.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Naburimannu on September 29, 2022, 11:39:04 AM
Well I did a search for free D&D style art so probably not.  Unlike the other image a pathetic tattle tail author whos feelings I hurt is the reason I got the email.  It's resolved so I am moving on.

If you literally searched for "free D&D style art", you did nothing to control the copyright status. That query looks at webpages that are in some sense about "free", "D&D", "style", and "art". Many of the thousands of images that come up for me when I execute that search are under copyright; you'd need to dig in pretty thoroughly to be confident you were in the right.

How you get to what you want varies between search engines. With Google, look for "Tools...", that will bring up options including "Usage Rights", and you can select "Creative Commons licenses" - which, searching for "free D&D style art", brings up a whopping 11 images Google is _sure_ are only CC licensed - most of which isn't what I'd consider D&D style.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GhostNinja on September 29, 2022, 12:14:16 PM

Something like this?

Nope this one:

(https://i0.wp.com/www.therustyaxe.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/hero_dmgscreen_0.jpg?w=1500)
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GhostNinja on September 29, 2022, 12:16:17 PM

They all are, and they live to destroy. That Tolkein thing about "Evil cannot create" is entirely true. Their world revolves around "de-constructing" everything which basically means turning it to shit.

If you want to troll them, go crazy, but its a total waste of time & effort to me so I simply ignore.

Yep, and with that author if you point out they are wrong and tell them how they do not know what they are talking about, they become petty like the author of that article did when I pointed out she was clueless.

I am done with her.  I am moving on with actual rpg topics for people who actually game.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Effete on September 29, 2022, 05:21:19 PM
Well I did a search for free D&D style art so probably not.

Naburimannu nailed it on the head.

The Copyright Act of 1972 made protections automatic for any produced work unless the creator specifically releases it. The lack of a symbol or name doesn't mean the work is not protected.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GeekyBugle on September 29, 2022, 11:24:26 PM

Something like this?

Nope this one:

(https://i0.wp.com/www.therustyaxe.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/hero_dmgscreen_0.jpg?w=1500)

[https://www.google.com.mx/search?sxsrf=ALiCzsZeqqjj9UOlWhJTqR0Au3uSDtjqOg:1664508036154&source=univ&tbm=isch&q=public+domain+fantasy+art&fir=OJcBSkRDxZO5DM%252C-a9pX2NwngFsgM%252C_%253BjyRmJv677R37pM%252CJwIKB2Dzevk2DM%252C_%253BkLIWO2lvsKxeSM%252CCDuxOuzdJh9ywM%252C_%253B2vQYz4OVDppONM%252Cwrzq0XiyWukLNM%252C_%253B7nrrMhrPvF6i2M%252CuAFzEfI_-_PD3M%252C_%253Bdsocph28k2nluM%252CxHtHsoWqpcaipM%252C_%253BhQ-Mdj1CviCLGM%252Cwrzq0XiyWukLNM%252C_%253BtAPaNeWLjvwEQM%252Cj1CsAwZeCZotlM%252C_%253BBLL0UH1B_sxybM%252CHIrUVMUP1TvZ6M%252C_%253BPzrflNbv_RfKVM%252Cy1ZvyBIIm2As9M%252C_&usg=AI4_-kSfBPwxv1ew6_C5rCObkXdDgeUGoQ&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj03eHRx7v6AhWOMEQIHWeSD6gQjJkEegQIAhAC  (https://www.google.com.mx/search?sxsrf=ALiCzsZeqqjj9UOlWhJTqR0Au3uSDtjqOg:1664508036154&source=univ&tbm=isch&q=public+domain+fantasy+art&fir=OJcBSkRDxZO5DM%252C-a9pX2NwngFsgM%252C_%253BjyRmJv677R37pM%252CJwIKB2Dzevk2DM%252C_%253BkLIWO2lvsKxeSM%252CCDuxOuzdJh9ywM%252C_%253B2vQYz4OVDppONM%252Cwrzq0XiyWukLNM%252C_%253B7nrrMhrPvF6i2M%252CuAFzEfI_-_PD3M%252C_%253Bdsocph28k2nluM%252CxHtHsoWqpcaipM%252C_%253BhQ-Mdj1CviCLGM%252Cwrzq0XiyWukLNM%252C_%253BtAPaNeWLjvwEQM%252Cj1CsAwZeCZotlM%252C_%253BBLL0UH1B_sxybM%252CHIrUVMUP1TvZ6M%252C_%253BPzrflNbv_RfKVM%252Cy1ZvyBIIm2As9M%252C_&usg=AI4_-kSfBPwxv1ew6_C5rCObkXdDgeUGoQ&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj03eHRx7v6AhWOMEQIHWeSD6gQjJkEegQIAhAC) [Public Domain Fantasy Art]]
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GhostNinja on September 29, 2022, 11:31:07 PM
Ok I changed it to one of the public domain ones.  Good to go
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Effete on September 30, 2022, 02:50:02 AM
Ok I changed it to one of the public domain ones.  Good to go

Nice!
Now delete all the 5e books you downloaded for free. ;D
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Omega on September 30, 2022, 04:20:50 AM
This isn't a new thing. I'd say that even in AD&D1, the -1 Strength +1 Dexterity for halflings wasn't intended to mean that 40% of the time an NPC halfling is stronger than an NPC human.

I think you're absolutely right there.

Look, if a Halfling is basically half of a man, their STR should top out around 9--half of 18. Or if we're trying to account for exceptional STR, maybe I could argue a halfling as possibly having as high as a 12 STR. Average STR for a halfling should maybe be 6, tops.

It goes to show just how far away from any attempts to model biology the game is written. I think the idea is indeed to allow PCs to vary. The game wanted to retain the least amount of differentiation possible to say something about the world. That, yeah, halflings are obviously weaker than humans to an extent great enough to break through the noise of the variation of individuals.

It's worth holding onto lest the game become abstract mush. It was actually suggested in the linked article for the game numbers to be entirely divorced from the lore. I can't think of a better sign to indicate we're dealing with people who just don't "get" roleplaying games at all.

What a bunch of pretentious drivel.

According to the MM halflings are 3+ft tall. With tallfellows being 4+ft tall, Stouts being the shortest if the mixed bloods are 3'6" (which does not jibe with the height range in the back of the DMG, but such is.)
Halfling STR caps at 17 and 14 for males and females. 17 With their average somewhere around 7-9.

Oh noes! D&D did exactly what you snidely proclaim it did not. Golly gee. What a surprise there.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GhostNinja on September 30, 2022, 08:36:27 AM

Nice!
Now delete all the 5e books you downloaded for free. ;D

Only have hardbound copies.  I dont buy .pdfs as they are unfinished products and I dont like having digital copies.

But yes, I know you were kidding
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Ghostmaker on September 30, 2022, 10:10:02 AM
Ok I changed it to one of the public domain ones.  Good to go

Nice!
Now delete all the 5e books you downloaded for free. ;D
"I'm disinclined to acquiesce to your request."
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GhostNinja on September 30, 2022, 10:27:36 AM

"I'm disinclined to acquiesce to your request."

Thats true.  Any other publisher I wouldn't keep .pdfs I havent paid for.  WOTC? Screw em.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Osman Gazi on September 30, 2022, 11:12:43 AM

"I'm disinclined to acquiesce to your request."

Thats true.  Any other publisher I wouldn't keep .pdfs I havent paid for.  WOTC? Screw em.

What I don't like is that I can't seem to find .pdfs legitimately available for 5e.  I have the core rules and a few other books, but .pdfs can be handy.  What would be wrong in having .pdfs of these for my own personal use?  Asking for a friend.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Lunamancer on September 30, 2022, 01:16:27 PM
What a bunch of pretentious drivel.

I'd suggest you look up the meaning of the word "drivel." As has already been done to death here, words have multiple meanings. But I feel fairly assured that you won't find the meaning of drivel to be "anything I don't like." As for pretentious, I would say a prime example of pretentious is using a word like drivel, especially incorrectly.

Quote
According to the MM halflings are 3+ft tall. With tallfellows being 4+ft tall, Stouts being the shortest if the mixed bloods are 3'6" (which does not jibe with the height range in the back of the DMG, but such is.)

Not sure what the relevance of any of this is. Or what the point of repeating it is. If it's in the core books, I already know it.

Quote
Halfling STR caps at 17 and 14 for males and females. 17 With their average somewhere around 7-9.

Oh noes! D&D did exactly what you snidely proclaim it did not. Golly gee. What a surprise there.

First, the correct word is "claim," not "proclaim." Secondly, the only one being snide is you.

Third, the facts you site 100% back up exactly what I said. Which is that the allowable range of halfling strength in D&D is far more generous than what one would expect biology to dictate. The range the game actually allows for is numerically closer to making all races equal than it is to what is "realistic." And that the game stops short of making all races equal using the least amount of differentiation possible to reinforce the fact that, yeah, there are differences.

It's the same reason why shields seem under-rated in AD&D. Because the original idea was just you've got these 4 general categories of armor--none, leather, mail, and plate. And the addition of a shield was interspersed between the four in rank. So with basic you had none, shield, leather, leather & shield, mail, mail & shield, plate, plate & shield corresponding to ACs 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2 respectively. That had to be tweaked when AD&D expanded the number of armor options. But at its core, the AC system was just telling is what's better or worse than what. I don't see evidence of there being a lot of thought given to how much better or worse it should be.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: BoxCrayonTales on September 30, 2022, 01:42:37 PM

"I'm disinclined to acquiesce to your request."

Thats true.  Any other publisher I wouldn't keep .pdfs I havent paid for.  WOTC? Screw em.

What I don't like is that I can't seem to find .pdfs legitimately available for 5e.  I have the core rules and a few other books, but .pdfs can be handy.  What would be wrong in having .pdfs of these for my own personal use?  Asking for a friend.
If I had to guess, WotC is trying to prevent piracy. That's the only logical explanation. It doesn't work, as not offering PDFs increases piracy, but corpos have never been particularly good at understanding this.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GhostNinja on September 30, 2022, 01:48:06 PM

What I don't like is that I can't seem to find .pdfs legitimately available for 5e.  I have the core rules and a few other books, but .pdfs can be handy.  What would be wrong in having .pdfs of these for my own personal use?  Asking for a friend.

Yep and what is silly is there are plenty of places to get them non-legally so if they are doing it to prevent piracy its not working.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GhostNinja on September 30, 2022, 01:48:53 PM

If I had to guess, WotC is trying to prevent piracy. That's the only logical explanation. It doesn't work, as not offering PDFs increases piracy, but corpos have never been particularly good at understanding this.

Seeing some of WOTC's latest decisions regarding games does it surprise you in the lease bit that they dont understand this?
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Effete on September 30, 2022, 03:19:21 PM

If I had to guess, WotC is trying to prevent piracy. That's the only logical explanation. It doesn't work, as not offering PDFs increases piracy, but corpos have never been particularly good at understanding this.

Seeing some of WOTC's latest decisions regarding games does it surprise you in the lease bit that they dont understand this?

First off, I just wanted to say that I thought WotC did offer digital-only purchases. I had never actually been interested in purchasing anything from them in recent years, so this fact eluded me. It's surprising to me that they don't, assuming it's true.

Anyway...

Every company wants to prevent piracy in some way, shape, or form. The proliferency of piracy, however, seems to come down both demand AND value. For example, I don't recall hearing about a huge pirate market around Harry Potter books, despite their undeniable popularity (merchandise is another matter, but that's mostly a result of China being IP thieves as usual).

In my experience, films and gaming books probably have the largest pirate market out there. The things these fields have in common is diminishing returns after the initial purchase. How many times can you watch the same movie before it gets boring? Often times, the purchase has an immediate depreciation. Back in the 3.x heyday, I must have purchased about 50 books, half of which are now sitting in a box on a shelf in my basement. There were books whose content I never even used in any game. Complete waste, right?

Now, don't get me wrong! I'm a staunch capitalist, and I understand the importance of having a consumer market in the economy, but people are also individuals, and they will assess purchases on an individual level. At 25-40 dollars a pop, some gaming books simply do not have that same commercial value to the consumer, even though the product is fairly priced considering production costs and overhead. So people like me, who HAD been loyal customers in the past, get to thinking that the company has already made enough money off them. It's a selfish mindset that I'm not ashamed to admit.

I'm not condoning theft, and I'm certainly not begrudging a company for wanting to make a profit. I'm just saying there are a number of factors involved. Inflation and shitty economy being one of them. So, yeah... not offering a cheaper digital-only copy of an expensive book is going to increase the rate of piracy.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GhostNinja on September 30, 2022, 03:45:11 PM

First off, I just wanted to say that I thought WotC did offer digital-only purchases. I had never actually been interested in purchasing anything from them in recent years, so this fact eluded me. It's surprising to me that they don't, assuming it's true.

Yes I am aware that they do through D&D beyond, however since I try to get computers and other digtal items from my table to prevent people being distracted and the face that they are only a little cheaper than a print book they are worthless to me.

Anyway...

Every company wants to prevent piracy in some way, shape, or form. The proliferency of piracy, however, seems to come down both demand AND value. For example, I don't recall hearing about a huge pirate market around Harry Potter books, despite their undeniable popularity (merchandise is another matter, but that's mostly a result of China being IP thieves as usual).

Back in the 3.x heyday, I must have purchased about 50 books, half of which are now sitting in a box on a shelf in my basement. There were books whose content I never even used in any game.
 Complete waste, right?

You could either mine them for ideas I guess.

]Now, don't get me wrong! I'm a staunch capitalist, and I understand the importance of having a consumer market in the economy, but people are also individuals, and they will assess purchases on an individual level. At 25-40 dollars a pop, some gaming books simply do not have that same commercial value to the consumer, even though the product is fairly priced considering production costs and overhead. So people like me, who HAD been loyal customers in the past, get to thinking that the company has already made enough money off them. It's a selfish mindset that I'm not ashamed to admit.

I'm not condoning theft, and I'm certainly not begrudging a company for wanting to make a profit. I'm just saying there are a number of factors involved. Inflation and shitty economy being one of them. So, yeah... not offering a cheaper digital-only copy of an expensive book is going to increase the rate of piracy.

Yes I am very much a capitalist myself and I do not condone stealing (expecially from game designers who don't make a ton either) and for me its not I condone stealing from WOTC, them I would just turn a blind eye and say nothing (where as with other publishers I would recommend buying their books and advocate against stealing a book.

If that makes sense

I am against stealing rpg books, but I am indifferent when it comes to WOTC
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: PulpHerb on September 30, 2022, 04:25:48 PM
I'm not condoning theft, and I'm certainly not begrudging a company for wanting to make a profit. I'm just saying there are a number of factors involved. Inflation and shitty economy being one of them. So, yeah... not offering a cheaper digital-only copy of an expensive book is going to increase the rate of piracy.

It's also leaving money on the table.

Example from personal experience. About 10 years ago I thought of running a Tribe 8 game. I went to DTRPG to see if it was available on pdf. It was, at over half the retail price of the printed books when it was in production. That was also over the price of used physical books on eBay. I wrote DP9 and their response was "they needed to recoup costs of making the originals". While that is a valid concern, the game had been OOP for a decade give or take. If the costs weren't amortized out by then, it was already a loss baked into the balance sheet. They were starving today's P&L to save the balance sheet from years ago.

They also sold me no books. It was a whim that could have netted them about $40 (core book plus a few supplements/adventures totaling about $50 at a pdf of 50% of retail minus DTRPG's 30% of that or about 35% retail, roughly what they'd get from the distributors without the physical copy costs).

Then a few years back more product then I'd though of buying showed up on Bundle of Holding. I got all of it for around half of what I'd have paid years before.

Game companies on the whole are too small to be leaving money on the table to stop pirates who were never going to buy in the first place.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Effete on September 30, 2022, 07:28:49 PM
It's also leaving money on the table.

Example from personal experience. About 10 years ago I thought of running a Tribe 8 game. I went to DTRPG to see if it was available on pdf. It was, at over half the retail price of the printed books when it was in production. That was also over the price of used physical books on eBay. I wrote DP9 and their response was "they needed to recoup costs of making the originals". While that is a valid concern, the game had been OOP for a decade give or take. If the costs weren't amortized out by then, it was already a loss baked into the balance sheet. They were starving today's P&L to save the balance sheet from years ago.

They also sold me no books. It was a whim that could have netted them about $40 (core book plus a few supplements/adventures totaling about $50 at a pdf of 50% of retail minus DTRPG's 30% of that or about 35% retail, roughly what they'd get from the distributors without the physical copy costs).

Then a few years back more product then I'd though of buying showed up on Bundle of Holding. I got all of it for around half of what I'd have paid years before.

Game companies on the whole are too small to be leaving money on the table to stop pirates who were never going to buy in the first place.

Agreed. PDFs cost next to nothing for a company (since most publishers these days print straight from a pdf file anyway), so offering a digital purchase concurrently with a physical copy is only going to broaden the appeal. Some companies (like Pinnacle) give out a free pdf copy if you buy the physical one. Any purely digital-purchases are likely from those who wouldn't have bought the product otherwise, so that's just extra money in the pocket.

The problem occurs when a company over-estimates the demand for the product, and/or conflates general demand with a demand for a physical product. If 500 people pledge to buy your book, so you print 500 copies, but half of the pledges buy the digital version only, well that's a very costly mistake. One that could have been avoided if you gathered better info on what your customers wanted. In any case, you're immediate instinct as a business owner is to try to recoup your losses before the end of the quarter. This actually seems to be a similar issue that Conner from Coyote & Crow ran into; he apparently didn't evaluate his costs properly, and then had to beg the backers for more money (breaking a promise he made to them and igniting some jokes about being an Indian Giver). I guess the take-away is don't punish the customers for your own poor management.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: PulpHerb on October 01, 2022, 01:21:18 AM
Agreed. PDFs cost next to nothing for a company (since most publishers these days print straight from a pdf file anyway), so offering a digital purchase concurrently with a physical copy is only going to broaden the appeal. Some companies (like Pinnacle) give out a free pdf copy if you buy the physical one. Any purely digital-purchases are likely from those who wouldn't have bought the product otherwise, so that's just extra money in the pocket.

I won't pay more than 40%-50% retail of the corresponding book for a pdf. I know how the distribution system works. They're probably getting at most 50% and more likely less from the distributor for a physical book. If I pay the same for a pdf as the distributor does for the physical book I'm subsidizing the physical book on a cost accounting basis by covering more of the common costs.

Realistically the pdf could probably be reasonably priced at 30%.

A handful of companies are smart enough to index and bookmark a pdf or creating a print-friendly version so I'm not just buying the file they sent to the printers. Do that and I'll consider 50-60% more reasonable because of added value.

Quote
The problem occurs when a company over-estimates the demand for the product, and/or conflates general demand with a demand for a physical product. If 500 people pledge to buy your book, so you print 500 copies, but half of the pledges buy the digital version only, well that's a very costly mistake. One that could have been avoided if you gathered better info on what your customers wanted. In any case, you're immediate instinct as a business owner is to try to recoup your losses before the end of the quarter. This actually seems to be a similar issue that Conner from Coyote & Crow ran into; he apparently didn't evaluate his costs properly, and then had to beg the backers for more money (breaking a promise he made to them and igniting some jokes about being an Indian Giver). I guess the take-away is don't punish the customers for your own poor management.

Going back for cash on a KS just to cover change in shipping costs became untenable a decade ago (before that while we were sorting all this out it could fly). Setting your targets for offset printing needs to be done intelligently. Get a quote on the various print run sizes and make sure the funding point will cover every backer buying one book even if they don't (it's simple division FFS: minimal print run cost divided by size is the floor for physical book level...round up to the next $5 or $10 and set from there what you want for labor and profit).

I know a lot of people don't like POD, but Kevin Crawford at Sine Nomine Games has done quite well with backers getting a DTRPG discount code to get the POD version at cost. If you're not Wizards, Paizo, or a handful of others you don't have the cash flow to order print runs and warehouse them (even if you farm out distribution, you're paying that distributor rent for warehouse space somewhere in all your costs).  Then, when you've established yourself, do offsets for later projects where you know probably number or even an offset of a prior POD books (which KC did with Stars Without Number's most recent edition.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Effete on October 01, 2022, 04:44:03 AM
I won't pay more than 40%-50% retail of the corresponding book for a pdf.
...Realistically the pdf could probably be reasonably priced at 30%.

50% of a retail hard copy is reasonable for a fully indexed /hyperlinked pdf, preferrably with proper layers that can be switched off for a clean printer-friendly version. I agree, I would probably not pay any more than that. If the pdf has flattened layers, no index or linking, etc., a flat 10 dollars is all it's really worth, regardless of the price of the hard copy. If it's a cheap, low-rez scan, like Wizards does with a lot of the old D&D modules, it's arguably worth even less.

Quote
Setting your targets for offset printing needs to be done intelligently. Get a quote on the various print run sizes and make sure the funding point will cover every backer buying one book even if they don't (it's simple division FFS: minimal print run cost divided by size is the floor for physical book level...round up to the next $5 or $10 and set from there what you want for labor and profit).

I don't even have a degree in business, finance, or anything, and this just sounds like common sense to me. One of my side-hustles is flipping houses. It's absolutely crucial to have a cost analysis in place before anything else, primarily because the market typically has a soft cap in certain neighborhoods, but also because shit happens and you always want to give yourself a cushion.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Ghostmaker on October 01, 2022, 09:29:49 AM
Lemme put it this way.

I'd sooner give money to Paizo than WotC right now.

Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: PulpHerb on October 01, 2022, 11:34:59 AM
I don't even have a degree in business, finance, or anything, and this just sounds like common sense to me. One of my side-hustles is flipping houses. It's absolutely crucial to have a cost analysis in place before anything else, primarily because the market typically has a soft cap in certain neighborhoods, but also because shit happens and you always want to give yourself a cushion.

Yep...while technically I currently work in banking, it is as a computer programmer for interest rate modeling and asset pricing. My business experience amounts to having run a Dominos as a GM for about a year and studying retail to "run a game store as a retirement business" until I did the math and decided probably not. That is where my knowledge of the three-tier system and what the gaming company gets of retail price came from.

Yet the average KS in RPGs often seems to be run by someone unwilling to read "Small Businesses for Dummies" or "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Business Plans".
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: PulpHerb on October 01, 2022, 11:37:49 AM
50% of a retail hard copy is reasonable for a fully indexed /hyperlinked pdf, preferrably with proper layers that can be switched off for a clean printer-friendly version. I agree, I would probably not pay any more than that. If the pdf has flattened layers, no index or linking, etc., a flat 10 dollars is all it's really worth, regardless of the price of the hard copy. If it's a cheap, low-rez scan, like Wizards does with a lot of the old D&D modules, it's arguably worth even less.

PDFs of long ago amortized projects are the biggest example of the friction between copyright laws designed for a world of handset type and physical media versus the digital world.

Not sure how that will shake out, but no later than 2050 copyright will undergo a revolution as large as when it moved from a royal monopoly on physical printing to an attempt to assure original creators could profit.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Abraxus on October 01, 2022, 11:57:51 AM
The biggest con in rpgs when it comes to PDFs is when a publisher tries to pass the print price as the same as PDF price. Then try to be disingenuous and use the fans buying the print book as a reason for the markup.

How about no. If someone wants to buy print they are acknowledging and accepting to buy a more expensive version and responsibility. I’m not going to spend 50$  for PDF because gamer xyz wants print. Or my personal favourite bullshit is using “ we need to pay bills”. Beyond the artist, and writer and the guy who pushed the mouse button to  rate the PDF what other costs.

Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: BoxCrayonTales on October 01, 2022, 12:27:35 PM
50% of a retail hard copy is reasonable for a fully indexed /hyperlinked pdf, preferrably with proper layers that can be switched off for a clean printer-friendly version. I agree, I would probably not pay any more than that. If the pdf has flattened layers, no index or linking, etc., a flat 10 dollars is all it's really worth, regardless of the price of the hard copy. If it's a cheap, low-rez scan, like Wizards does with a lot of the old D&D modules, it's arguably worth even less.

PDFs of long ago amortized projects are the biggest example of the friction between copyright laws designed for a world of handset type and physical media versus the digital world.

Not sure how that will shake out, but no later than 2050 copyright will undergo a revolution as large as when it moved from a royal monopoly on physical printing to an attempt to assure original creators could profit.
Proposals for copyright reform are being submitted as we speak. Not because politicians understand that overly long copyright is inherently bad, but because people are angry at Disney and J.K. Rowling for having political opinions counter to their own and want to get petty revenge by taking away their copyright. (Nevermind that Disney and Rowling would still have trademarks.)

I’m against overly long copyright because it actively harms preservation efforts. So many works could be lost forever due to orphaned copyright preventing preservation.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GeekyBugle on October 01, 2022, 01:06:20 PM
snip

I know a lot of people don't like POD, but Kevin Crawford at Sine Nomine Games has done quite well with backers getting a DTRPG discount code to get the POD version at cost. If you're not Wizards, Paizo, or a handful of others you don't have the cash flow to order print runs and warehouse them (even if you farm out distribution, you're paying that distributor rent for warehouse space somewhere in all your costs).  Then, when you've established yourself, do offsets for later projects where you know probably number or even an offset of a prior POD books (which KC did with Stars Without Number's most recent edition.

I agree with your pricing concerns, I would go even farther down because you pay once to have the PDF made, after that everything else is profit. More so if it was a crowdfunded project, in those cases the art, formating, etc has been paid already.

A lower price reduces the incentive to sail the high seas to find the PDF.

But what I find more interesting is the tidbit about sine nomine giving discounts for the POD at cost, I might go that route when/if I publish my first game/gaming product.

Less hasle for me, less risk of some price going up and making me unable to fulfill.

That and having the fully indexed (not sure if hyperlinked haven't tried to do that yet) PDF without art ready to deliver to backers the moment they back the project.

This would mean every backer gets a 100% printer friendly (no art) PDF plus whatever they backed: No art PDF + Finished PDF or POD.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GeekyBugle on October 01, 2022, 01:09:49 PM
50% of a retail hard copy is reasonable for a fully indexed /hyperlinked pdf, preferrably with proper layers that can be switched off for a clean printer-friendly version. I agree, I would probably not pay any more than that. If the pdf has flattened layers, no index or linking, etc., a flat 10 dollars is all it's really worth, regardless of the price of the hard copy. If it's a cheap, low-rez scan, like Wizards does with a lot of the old D&D modules, it's arguably worth even less.

PDFs of long ago amortized projects are the biggest example of the friction between copyright laws designed for a world of handset type and physical media versus the digital world.

Not sure how that will shake out, but no later than 2050 copyright will undergo a revolution as large as when it moved from a royal monopoly on physical printing to an attempt to assure original creators could profit.
Proposals for copyright reform are being submitted as we speak. Not because politicians understand that overly long copyright is inherently bad, but because people are angry at Disney and J.K. Rowling for having political opinions counter to their own and want to get petty revenge by taking away their copyright. (Nevermind that Disney and Rowling would still have trademarks.)

I’m against overly long copyright because it actively harms preservation efforts. So many works could be lost forever due to orphaned copyright preventing preservation.

Life of the author where it's not a corporation seems reasonable to me for copyright, but trademark needs an overhaul to put it inline with copyright:

Say Mickey Mouse enters the public domain, you still can't do shit with it because the trademark persists, so you can call it the same but not make it look the same, or worst you can't use parts of it because of trademark like with ERB.

Orphaned copyright products should enter the public domain immediatly.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: BoxCrayonTales on October 01, 2022, 04:42:06 PM
I don’t believe copyright should last for the life of the author. There’s no economic incentive for copyright to last longer than 20 years or so.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: FingerRod on October 01, 2022, 05:21:22 PM
I don’t believe copyright should last for the life of the author. There’s no economic incentive for copyright to last longer than 20 years or so.

If I write a book when I am 25, by the time I turn 46 I should stop receiving any financial gain from that book? We’ll have to disagree.


But back on topic, it will be interesting when the feedback from the playtest starts coming in if they ‘do more’ around Race. The lower case j journalist is probably not going to be the only person to drag Wizards through the mud on this.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Omega on October 02, 2022, 08:12:15 AM
I'd suggest you look up the meaning of the word "drivel."

Thats ok. I just need to look up you to get that definition today.

You work for WOTC? Because you sure spent alot of time saying very little.

Bravo.

Keep struggling.

But you know. You are right. Its not drivel.

Its lies and misinformation and smokescreens. The usual usual from you lot.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: PulpHerb on October 02, 2022, 11:12:15 AM
snip

I know a lot of people don't like POD, but Kevin Crawford at Sine Nomine Games has done quite well with backers getting a DTRPG discount code to get the POD version at cost. If you're not Wizards, Paizo, or a handful of others you don't have the cash flow to order print runs and warehouse them (even if you farm out distribution, you're paying that distributor rent for warehouse space somewhere in all your costs).  Then, when you've established yourself, do offsets for later projects where you know probably number or even an offset of a prior POD books (which KC did with Stars Without Number's most recent edition.

I agree with your pricing concerns, I would go even farther down because you pay once to have the PDF made, after that everything else is profit. More so if it was a crowdfunded project, in those cases the art, formating, etc has been paid already.


It hasn't been paid until you've moved enough units to cover fixed costs. If your pricing is such that the physical offset print run is designed to cover fixed costs then, yes, PDF is nearly pure profit (there may be a handful of variable costs depending on your delivery method, although arguably most of those would be in business overhead).

However, if the pdf is not an afterthought and pricing is designed to cover the fixed costs after a specific number of units, pdf or print, are moved then, no, pdfs, at least early pdfs aren't pure profit.

Similarly, once fixed costs are covered print books are the same as pdfs in terms of all income over variable costs is profit (at least in a cost accounting sense...for both, company overhead comes out of that gross profit).

What intelligent PDF costing, such that your income from DTRPG/Geekstore (I think that's the name of the new one)/Warehouse 23 after their cut is identical to your income from a distributor for physical books minus the per book variable costs, is increase sales on both by lowering the cost on both.

Quote
A lower price reduces the incentive to sail the high seas to find the PDF.

But what I find more interesting is the tidbit about sine nomine giving discounts for the POD at cost, I might go that route when/if I publish my first game/gaming product.

Less hasle for me, less risk of some price going up and making me unable to fulfill.

That and having the fully indexed (not sure if hyperlinked haven't tried to do that yet) PDF without art ready to deliver to backers the moment they back the project.

This would mean every backer gets a 100% printer friendly (no art) PDF plus whatever they backed: No art PDF + Finished PDF or POD.

No disagreement. There are precisely two RPG people, Kevin and Greyhawk Grognard, who have to demonstrate to me why not to buy into the their KS instead of just pledging follow pretty much that system: text done with a first draft art free available as soon as the KS closes (not when they back...there's a minor freeloader risk there and the 14-30 day it entails doesn't seem to cost a lot of backers) with the added benefit of providing crowd-sourced additional copy edit and access to at cost POD.

Oddly, the guys with well thought out business plans also seem to produce a higher average quality of product...funny that.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: PulpHerb on October 02, 2022, 11:14:24 AM
I don’t believe copyright should last for the life of the author. There’s no economic incentive for copyright to last longer than 20 years or so.

21 years, nine months, inheritable.

or

18 years, nine months, inheritable.

Are logical periods for copyright. They would allow the work to provide for progeny of a male artist to be supported to age of majority by the work even if he drops dead immediately after conception.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: PulpHerb on October 02, 2022, 11:18:39 AM
I don’t believe copyright should last for the life of the author. There’s no economic incentive for copyright to last longer than 20 years or so.

If I write a book when I am 25, by the time I turn 46 I should stop receiving any financial gain from that book? We’ll have to disagree.

The idea behind that argument, at least in the US, comes to the Constitutional authorization:

Quote
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
.

The argument is if you are incentivized to rely on a single work for your lifetime then the most successful are encouraged to be the least productive. If your novel at 25 pays the bills at 60, why would you write another novel?

There are a lot of weaknesses in that idea, including a misunderstanding of how most working authors, the infamous midlist, survive, especially in the new age of indie books. Watching the original "20 Books to 50K" video is a good explanation for anyone curious.

Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: BoxCrayonTales on October 02, 2022, 02:12:17 PM
I don’t believe copyright should last for the life of the author. There’s no economic incentive for copyright to last longer than 20 years or so.

If I write a book when I am 25, by the time I turn 46 I should stop receiving any financial gain from that book? We’ll have to disagree.
That’s not how copyright works. You’d still be able to sell the book and receive payment for it.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: FingerRod on October 02, 2022, 06:04:58 PM
I don’t believe copyright should last for the life of the author. There’s no economic incentive for copyright to last longer than 20 years or so.

If I write a book when I am 25, by the time I turn 46 I should stop receiving any financial gain from that book? We’ll have to disagree.
That’s not how copyright works. You’d still be able to sell the book and receive payment for it.

You could also sell my book, though. Or a large publisher could. So now I am competing with myself, right? Happy to be wrong here.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Effete on October 02, 2022, 06:38:57 PM
I don’t believe copyright should last for the life of the author. There’s no economic incentive for copyright to last longer than 20 years or so.

If I write a book when I am 25, by the time I turn 46 I should stop receiving any financial gain from that book? We’ll have to disagree.
That’s not how copyright works. You’d still be able to sell the book and receive payment for it.

But who would buy a book when they would be able to just copy /scan /duplicate it at absolutely no cost or repercussion?
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GeekyBugle on October 02, 2022, 06:48:15 PM
I don’t believe copyright should last for the life of the author. There’s no economic incentive for copyright to last longer than 20 years or so.

If I write a book when I am 25, by the time I turn 46 I should stop receiving any financial gain from that book? We’ll have to disagree.
That’s not how copyright works. You’d still be able to sell the book and receive payment for it.

Except now it's legal to distribute PDFs of it, it's also legal for ANYONE to make a print run and sell it.

Who would buy when free downloads are legal?

Why should we allow a megacorporation to just take my book and profit from it?

Why would they buy the rights to make a movie when they can wait 20 years and do it without EVER giving me a dime of it or the merchandize?

Cue the idiots calling me a socialist because I believe in private property.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GeekyBugle on October 02, 2022, 07:00:49 PM
I don’t believe copyright should last for the life of the author. There’s no economic incentive for copyright to last longer than 20 years or so.

If I write a book when I am 25, by the time I turn 46 I should stop receiving any financial gain from that book? We’ll have to disagree.

The idea behind that argument, at least in the US, comes to the Constitutional authorization:

Quote
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
.

The argument is if you are incentivized to rely on a single work for your lifetime then the most successful are encouraged to be the least productive. If your novel at 25 pays the bills at 60, why would you write another novel?

There are a lot of weaknesses in that idea, including a misunderstanding of how most working authors, the infamous midlist, survive, especially in the new age of indie books. Watching the original "20 Books to 50K" video is a good explanation for anyone curious.

The argument that government needs to authorize me to profit from what I create is ridiculous, and I do believe Copyright needs limits, mainly because of megacorporations and the ERB/JRRT estates. A physical author/creator owns what he creates.

Now, why shouldn't the creator be able to inherit to his progeny and they to theirs?

Because ideas! But my book isn't an idea, it's a book, you are free to write a novel with a soldier marooned in another planet full of human looking aliens.

Otis Adelbert Kline wrote his Planet of Peril before ERB and yet both had their own copyright to their creation. Because the idea is "what if life in Venus and an earthman goes there?", but the execution was unique.

You're free, right now, to go write a novel series about the same idea as long as you're not plagiarizing a work that's copyrighted. You're not free to write a novel about Carson Napier in Venus and say it's your creation tho.

The idea is a vehicle that doesn't need horses, a Ford, Honda, Tesla aren't ideas tho.

You guys need to learn the difference between game mechanics (can't be copyrighted) and the expresion of said mechanics.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: BoxCrayonTales on October 03, 2022, 09:57:43 AM
Life of the author where it's not a corporation seems reasonable to me for copyright,
Orphaned copyright products should enter the public domain immediatly.
You can't accomplish both of these goals at once. There's tons of authors who are apathetic and don't care to preserve their own works, and plenty of others who simply don't have the time and know-how to properly preserve their works.

I don’t believe copyright should last for the life of the author. There’s no economic incentive for copyright to last longer than 20 years or so.

If I write a book when I am 25, by the time I turn 46 I should stop receiving any financial gain from that book? We’ll have to disagree.
That’s not how copyright works. You’d still be able to sell the book and receive payment for it.

Except now it's legal to distribute PDFs of it, it's also legal for ANYONE to make a print run and sell it.

Who would buy when free downloads are legal?

Why should we allow a megacorporation to just take my book and profit from it?

Why would they buy the rights to make a movie when they can wait 20 years and do it without EVER giving me a dime of it or the merchandize?

Cue the idiots calling me a socialist because I believe in private property.
Here's the paper where I got the 20 years figure from: https://scholarship.law.georgetown.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3300&context=facpub

Quote
Why should we allow a megacorporation to just take my book and profit from it?
Long story short: the Burroughs Estate retains control of Tarzan trademark even though the copyright is expired. It's not legal for anybody to release Tarzan-labeled products without the Estate getting royalties.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GeekyBugle on October 03, 2022, 11:14:34 AM

Here's the paper where I got the 20 years figure from: https://scholarship.law.georgetown.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3300&context=facpub

ANYONE can write a paper justifying their position based on theoretical law and "principles". I don't agree with the 20 years limit.

Why should we allow a megacorporation to just take my book and profit from it?
Long story short: the Burroughs Estate retains control of Tarzan trademark even though the copyright is expired. It's not legal for anybody to release Tarzan-labeled products without the Estate getting royalties.
[/quote]

I can take whatever Tarzan books ARE in the public domain, make a print run as long as I put a different name on the cover, for instance: Edgar Rice Burroughs' Jungle Lord.

Furthermore, ERB IS dead, you're conflating trademark with copyright, those aren't the same thing, and I already said trademark should expire at the same time than copyright.

In my opinion this should be life of the author or, if they die young, a number of years after his death to protect the wife/children from ending destitute.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GeekyBugle on October 03, 2022, 11:28:01 AM
Life of the author where it's not a corporation seems reasonable to me for copyright,
Orphaned copyright products should enter the public domain immediatly.
You can't accomplish both of these goals at once. There's tons of authors who are apathetic and don't care to preserve their own works, and plenty of others who simply don't have the time and know-how to properly preserve their works.

So, when you say orphaned you don't mean orphaned but neglected.

IF you meant orphaned then you can with an integral overhaul of copyright law, one that isn't made to protect megacorporations while screwing the little guy:

The author is a physical person, it should be defined as such in the law.

If a corporation hires you to write/develop an IP for them, YOU are the author, and you sold them an exclusive right to the copyright, which is tied to you and will expire when you die.

Now please explain EXACTLY what type of works are we talking about here, because I think you're talking about video games/software alone, since I don't see how else the author has to do something special or technical for the work to be preserved.

So what you want is for the law, if the creator of a software neglects it in your opinion, to strip away HIS property rights and force the author to put the source code in the public domain...

But software is a very different beast, so you want MS Office to be put in the public domain after 20 years... Who in their right mind would develop ANY software? Besides the people already on the FOSS train?

This is ideological and doesn't take into account human nature.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: jhkim on October 03, 2022, 01:47:49 PM
Life of the author where it's not a corporation seems reasonable to me for copyright,
Orphaned copyright products should enter the public domain immediatly.
You can't accomplish both of these goals at once. There's tons of authors who are apathetic and don't care to preserve their own works, and plenty of others who simply don't have the time and know-how to properly preserve their works.

If a corporation hires you to write/develop an IP for them, YOU are the author, and you sold them an exclusive right to the copyright, which is tied to you and will expire when you die.

Now please explain EXACTLY what type of works are we talking about here, because I think you're talking about video games/software alone, since I don't see how else the author has to do something special or technical for the work to be preserved.

So what you want is for the law, if the creator of a software neglects it in your opinion, to strip away HIS property rights and force the author to put the source code in the public domain...

But software is a very different beast, so you want MS Office to be put in the public domain after 20 years... Who in their right mind would develop ANY software? Besides the people already on the FOSS train?

Taking the last question first. The lifetime of a specific software release is much shorter than 20 years. I'm am reasonably sure that over 95% of the profits for any release are in the first five years. To get significant profits after that, you need major updates to the software. If a third party could legally sell Office XP from 20 years ago, they would take roughly zero profits away from Microsoft. As a test of that, we can see that plenty of corporations engage in non-copyrightable technology like inventions, drug development, and genetic tech - which are only protected by patent that lasts for 20 years max.


I don't speak for BoxCrayonTales, but for me, the example I'd want to talk about is tabletop RPGs. I believe that retroclones of old school RPGs from the 1970s and 1980s should be flat-out legal. If someone has an old dog-eared book from a basement and there is a cool mechanic or idea from it, I think they should be able to use it in their new game as-is. There are lots of variants of old games and even complete retro-clones that I consider to be genuinely positive development of the original. The authors shouldn't be considered evil plagiarizers, but rather trying to positively develop the games. To get more specific, I think anyone should be able to create their own version of Star Frontiers, even though the original is still available for sale.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Effete on October 03, 2022, 02:32:55 PM
If a corporation hires you to write/develop an IP for them, YOU are the author, and you sold them an exclusive right to the copyright, which is tied to you and will expire when you die.

No.

That's not how it currently works, nor should it be how copyright SHOULD work. Corporate personhood exists specifically for this reason. An individual might be the author of a book, but the copyright belongs to the corporate entity, not the author. Part of being a hiree is that you voluntarily absolve yourself of some individual liberties. If I flip burgers at a fast food chain, I can't personally collect profit on those burgers, even though it was my labor that went into cooking them. That's the same principle behind rights ownership. You might author a book, but you write FOR the company. That's what they pay you for (and you get paid regardless of how the book sells). The company is taking the financial risk here, so the company retains the rights.

This is different from an author writing in their individual capacity, where the author and the rights holder are usually the same person.

Expiration of copyright upon the death of the author/creator is not only stupidly arbitrary, it would result in a legal quagmire. Suppose you wrote a book and while flying to an event to announce it's publication, the plane crashes and you die. Does your book immediately slip into the public domain, leaving not only your family unable to collect profits, but also leave the publisher in a position where they are unable to recoup the production costs? Meanwhile, Amazon Books, Kindle, and anyone else could reproduce and sell the book for 100% profit.

No. I think the best way to handle copyright expiration is current method, with a fixed period of time. Currently the US law is 70 years after author's death or 95 years after publication. We can have a debate as to whether or not that is too long, or whether death of the author should even be a factor, but time limits are the best and most fair metric to use.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Effete on October 03, 2022, 03:24:47 PM
I believe that retroclones of old school RPGs from the 1970s and 1980s should be flat-out legal. If someone has an old dog-eared book from a basement and there is a cool mechanic or idea from it, I think they should be able to use it in their new game as-is.

These are two different things, and the fact that you conflate them shows that you don't understand the laws or the argument being had in this thread.

First, the Courts have ruled that "game mechanics" cannot be trademarked, and morons have misunderstood what that means for years. A "game mechanic" is merely an isolated function, such as "roll d20 and add a modifier," or "gain experience to level up." A COLLECTION of game mechanics (typically refered to as "a system") is an artistic expression and constitutes a common law trademark under US code. Wizards' OGL is nothing more than a trademark license, allowing the public to use their "common law trademarks."

Again, it is the EXPRESSION of game mechanics that creates the trademark. This includes, but isn't limited to: the specific names and configuration of attributes, the specific names and configuration of skills, names of feats (including the term "feat" itself), names and descriptions of monsters, etc. Any company has the right to withhold trademarks they don't want to include in a license, which is why the OGL restricts access to beholders, carrian crawlers, yuan-ti, and a few other iconic monsters.

If there is an individual mechanic from an old RPG, you don't need any permission to use it in your own product. A "retroclone," by definition, is not just a single borrowed mechanic, but the entire expression of mechanics. When you so ignorantly say it "should be flat-out legal" to use these old systems, you are saying it should be legal to steal trademarks.

Quote
There are lots of variants of old games and even complete retro-clones that I consider to be genuinely positive development of the original. The authors shouldn't be considered evil plagiarizers, but rather trying to positively develop the games. To get more specific, I think anyone should be able to create their own version of Star Frontiers, even though the original is still available for sale.

But retroclones are already "legal" provided the creator follows the OGL. I read recently that a judge has even ruled that the OGL cannot be revoked and now must exist in perpetuity due to the shere amount of content created while using it. Wizards' has unbottled the genie, and they cannot put it back no matter how badly they want to.

As for your last statement, anybody CAN make their own version of Star Frontiers, they just cannot use any trademarks not expressly allowed by OGL /SRD. Basically, this means they can't call it "Star Frontiers", use any proper names for races, planets, or NPCs, etc. But there's absolutely nothing stopping someone from making "D&D in space." Plenty of people already have.

If what you are actually saying is you think people should be allowed to publish their own games using the Star Frontiers IP, again, you are advocating for trademark theft.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GeekyBugle on October 03, 2022, 04:22:44 PM
If a corporation hires you to write/develop an IP for them, YOU are the author, and you sold them an exclusive right to the copyright, which is tied to you and will expire when you die.

No.

That's not how it currently works, nor should it be how copyright SHOULD work. Corporate personhood exists specifically for this reason. An individual might be the author of a book, but the copyright belongs to the corporate entity, not the author. Part of being a hiree is that you voluntarily absolve yourself of some individual liberties. If I flip burgers at a fast food chain, I can't personally collect profit on those burgers, even though it was my labor that went into cooking them. That's the same principle behind rights ownership. You might author a book, but you write FOR the company. That's what they pay you for (and you get paid regardless of how the book sells). The company is taking the financial risk here, so the company retains the rights.

This is different from an author writing in their individual capacity, where the author and the rights holder are usually the same person.

Care to quote where I say it's how it currently works?

In YOUR OPINION it shouldn't work like that, in mine it should work exactly like that.

Expiration of copyright upon the death of the author/creator is not only stupidly arbitrary, it would result in a legal quagmire. Suppose you wrote a book and while flying to an event to announce it's publication, the plane crashes and you die. Does your book immediately slip into the public domain, leaving not only your family unable to collect profits, but also leave the publisher in a position where they are unable to recoup the production costs? Meanwhile, Amazon Books, Kindle, and anyone else could reproduce and sell the book for 100% profit.

In my opinion this should be life of the author or, if they die young, a number of years after his death to protect the wife/children from ending destitute.

No. I think the best way to handle copyright expiration is current method, with a fixed period of time. Currently the US law is 70 years after author's death or 95 years after publication. We can have a debate as to whether or not that is too long, or whether death of the author should even be a factor, but time limits are the best and most fair metric to use.

No, I don't agree.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GeekyBugle on October 03, 2022, 04:28:59 PM
Life of the author where it's not a corporation seems reasonable to me for copyright,
Orphaned copyright products should enter the public domain immediatly.
You can't accomplish both of these goals at once. There's tons of authors who are apathetic and don't care to preserve their own works, and plenty of others who simply don't have the time and know-how to properly preserve their works.

If a corporation hires you to write/develop an IP for them, YOU are the author, and you sold them an exclusive right to the copyright, which is tied to you and will expire when you die.

Now please explain EXACTLY what type of works are we talking about here, because I think you're talking about video games/software alone, since I don't see how else the author has to do something special or technical for the work to be preserved.

So what you want is for the law, if the creator of a software neglects it in your opinion, to strip away HIS property rights and force the author to put the source code in the public domain...

But software is a very different beast, so you want MS Office to be put in the public domain after 20 years... Who in their right mind would develop ANY software? Besides the people already on the FOSS train?

Taking the last question first. The lifetime of a specific software release is much shorter than 20 years. I'm am reasonably sure that over 95% of the profits for any release are in the first five years. To get significant profits after that, you need major updates to the software. If a third party could legally sell Office XP from 20 years ago, they would take roughly zero profits away from Microsoft. As a test of that, we can see that plenty of corporations engage in non-copyrightable technology like inventions, drug development, and genetic tech - which are only protected by patent that lasts for 20 years max.


I don't speak for BoxCrayonTales, but for me, the example I'd want to talk about is tabletop RPGs. I believe that retroclones of old school RPGs from the 1970s and 1980s should be flat-out legal. If someone has an old dog-eared book from a basement and there is a cool mechanic or idea from it, I think they should be able to use it in their new game as-is. There are lots of variants of old games and even complete retro-clones that I consider to be genuinely positive development of the original. The authors shouldn't be considered evil plagiarizers, but rather trying to positively develop the games. To get more specific, I think anyone should be able to create their own version of Star Frontiers, even though the original is still available for sale.

If I have access to MS Office's source code from 20 years ago, I can create an Office suite that works with their documents perfectly. I wouldn't be selling their shit, I could take the parts of the code I need and integrate them into any of the opensource office suits and fuck their proffits.

You don't understand how software development works, what I'm talking about or the difference between game mechanics and their expression.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: jhkim on October 03, 2022, 04:45:00 PM
I believe that retroclones of old school RPGs from the 1970s and 1980s should be flat-out legal. If someone has an old dog-eared book from a basement and there is a cool mechanic or idea from it, I think they should be able to use it in their new game as-is.

These are two different things, and the fact that you conflate them shows that you don't understand the laws or the argument being had in this thread.

First, the Courts have ruled that "game mechanics" cannot be trademarked, and morons have misunderstood what that means for years. A "game mechanic" is merely an isolated function, such as "roll d20 and add a modifier," or "gain experience to level up." A COLLECTION of game mechanics (typically refered to as "a system") is an artistic expression and constitutes a common law trademark under US code. Wizards' OGL is nothing more than a trademark license, allowing the public to use their "common law trademarks."

Effete, a collection of game mechanics can be *copyrighted*, but they are not generally trademarked. Trademark applies only to distinct text or images that are used in marketing - so for RPGs, trademark is only distinctive content that is on the cover of the book, not in the interior. The Open Game License is a *copyright* license, not a trademark license. It is explicitly *not* a trademark license, as specified in item #7 of the OGL.

Quote
7. Use of Product Identity: You agree not to Use any Product Identity, including as an indication as to compatibility, except as expressly licensed in another, independent Agreement with the owner of each element of that Product Identity. You agree not to indicate compatibility or co-adaptability with any Trademark or Registered Trademark in conjunction with a work containing Open Game Content except as expressly licensed in another, independent Agreement with the owner of such Trademark or Registered Trademark. The use of any Product Identity in Open Game Content does not constitute a challenge to the ownership of that Product Identity. The owner of any Product Identity used in Open Game Content shall retain all rights, title and interest in and to that Product Identity.
Source: http://www.opengamingfoundation.org/ogl.html

During the 3E era, there was a separate D20 System Trademark License that companies could use, but it is no longer offered. I have some explanations and references to case precedent on my old website here:

https://darkshire.net/jhkim/rpg/copyright/


If there is an individual mechanic from an old RPG, you don't need any permission to use it in your own product. A "retroclone," by definition, is not just a single borrowed mechanic, but the entire expression of mechanics. When you so ignorantly say it "should be flat-out legal" to use these old systems, you are saying it should be legal to steal trademarks.

First of all, mechanics are copyrighted, not trademarked as I said. (In theory, a mechanic could be patented, like WotC's patent on collectible card game "tapping" mechanic - but as far as I know, no tabletop RPGs has ever had a patent.) I would invite you to look into the lawsuit between TSR and GDW over publishing of Gary Gygax's Dangerous Journeys. Dangerous Journeys wasn't even close to a retroclone of D&D, but it had some similar mechanics - and especially the ones which took some text gave pretext for the lawsuit.


There are lots of variants of old games and even complete retro-clones that I consider to be genuinely positive development of the original. The authors shouldn't be considered evil plagiarizers, but rather trying to positively develop the games. To get more specific, I think anyone should be able to create their own version of Star Frontiers, even though the original is still available for sale.

But retroclones are already "legal" provided the creator follows the OGL. I read recently that a judge has even ruled that the OGL cannot be revoked and now must exist in perpetuity due to the shere amount of content created while using it. Wizards' has unbottled the genie, and they cannot put it back no matter how badly they want to.

As for your last statement, anybody CAN make their own version of Star Frontiers, they just cannot use any trademarks not expressly allowed by OGL /SRD. Basically, this means they can't call it "Star Frontiers", use any proper names for races, planets, or NPCs, etc. But there's absolutely nothing stopping someone from making "D&D in space." Plenty of people already have.

If what you are actually saying is you think people should be allowed to publish their own games using the Star Frontiers IP, again, you are advocating for trademark theft.

1) I am advocating that the law should be different, such that copying a 40-year-old RPG should be considered the same as copying a 90-year-old H.P. Lovecraft story. I believe that the current terms of copyright law are excessive to the point of inhibiting creative expression rather than enhancing it. Authors benefit from being able to freely use public domain works like Homer and Shakespeare. Authors like A.C. Doyle and H.P. Lovecraft and others of their era should be free to use from.

2) The *only* retroclone that is legalized under the OGL is a retroclone of 3rd edition D&D that doesn't include the experience table. It does not, for example, allow a retroclone of 1st edition AD&D, which has a lot of text and mechanics that are unique and were never made into open game content.

3) You reference the OGL in relation to Star Frontiers, but nothing in the original Star Frontiers was ever released under the OGL, so the OGL is irrelevant to releasing Star Frontiers. Also, Star Frontiers is not in any sense "D&D in Space" like Spelljammer. It has mechanics and background entirely unrelated to D&D.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Effete on October 03, 2022, 04:59:46 PM

Care to quote where I say it's how it currently works?

My god, you argue exactly like a fukken Leftist!
By taking a single phrase out of context and pretending I insinuated something I didn't. You know I won't find a quote of you saying that's how the law currently works because such a quote doesn't exist. But then you'll claim victory for beating down the strawman you erected.

Quote
In YOUR OPINION it shouldn't work like that, in mine it should work exactly like that.

In my opinion this should be life of the author or, if they die young, a number of years after his death to protect the wife/children from ending destitute.

Okay, so I missed this part apparently. That's my mistake.

What age would be the cutoff for being "young"? How many years after death would the protection last? Is date of publication a factor at all? If someone publishes a book at 60 but then dies, what happens? Was he "too old" so the work immediately becomes public domain and fuck his 56 year old widow? What about a 22 year old that had no family yet?

Your idea for copyright is so convoltuted, if it was a game system it would virtually unplayable with how many exceptions and contingencies would be involved.

Personally I don't think death should be a factor at all since it's entirely arbitrary. A fixed amount of time from date of publication is the fairest method because it means everyone is playing by the same rule. Everyone from the author to the family to the genral public has a clear idea of when that copyright expires, and they can make plans accordingly.


Quote
No. I think the best way to handle copyright expiration is current method, with a fixed period of time. Currently the US law is 70 years after author's death or 95 years after publication. We can have a debate as to whether or not that is too long, or whether death of the author should even be a factor, but time limits are the best and most fair metric to use.

No, I don't agree.

Are you able to articulate why?
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GeekyBugle on October 03, 2022, 05:07:11 PM
JHkim, you're wrong, names can and constantly are trademarked, so a monster name can be trademark WotC if they bothered to register it or if common law covers it after publishing.

There's a reason a game like Warriors of Mars that uses the public domain works of ERB about Mars/Barsoom is safe from lawsuits but if they called it John Carter of Mars they wouldn't be.

It's why you can't make a game called Buck Rogers but you could make one called 25th century that is the same with the serial numbers filed off.



Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GeekyBugle on October 03, 2022, 05:22:08 PM

Care to quote where I say it's how it currently works?

My god, you argue exactly like a fukken Leftist!
By taking a single phrase out of context and pretending I insinuated something I didn't. You know I won't find a quote of you saying that's how the law currently works because such a quote doesn't exist. But then you'll claim victory for beating down the strawman you erected.

In your quote you appear to be saying I do believe or have said it works like that, but if that wasn't your intention fine, I'll accept your statement.

Quote
In YOUR OPINION it shouldn't work like that, in mine it should work exactly like that.

In my opinion this should be life of the author or, if they die young, a number of years after his death to protect the wife/children from ending destitute.

Okay, so I missed this part apparently. That's my mistake.

What age would be the cutoff for being "young"? How many years after death would the protection last? Is date of publication a factor at all? If someone publishes a book at 60 but then dies, what happens? Was he "too old" so the work immediately becomes public domain and fuck his 56 year old widow? What about a 22 year old that had no family yet?

Your idea for copyright is so convoltuted, if it was a game system it would virtually unplayable with how many exceptions and contingencies would be involved.

Personally I don't think death should be a factor at all since it's entirely arbitrary. A fixed amount of time from date of publication is the fairest method because it means everyone is playing by the same rule. Everyone from the author to the family to the genral public has a clear idea of when that copyright expires, and they can make plans accordingly.

You know what I agree, young is too vague, so, it's life of the author or life of the spouse or until his youngest child reaches adulthood. Now, I'm not a lawyer and I'm not going to pay one to express it in legal terms so I'll ask you to TRY and understand what I'm saying.

Quote
No. I think the best way to handle copyright expiration is current method, with a fixed period of time. Currently the US law is 70 years after author's death or 95 years after publication. We can have a debate as to whether or not that is too long, or whether death of the author should even be a factor, but time limits are the best and most fair metric to use.
Quote
No, I don't agree.

Are you able to articulate why?

Yes I can, in my opinion it should be forever, it's property and it should ALWAYS remain in the hands of the heirs of the author.

But, I'm willing to try and find common ground because I can see the benefit for society as a whole from public domain works.

So, a middle ground would be something that protects the author, the spouse and children but isn't so long as to be useless, and for this to be true Trademark of anything relating to that IP should be extinguished together with copyright.

Corporations shouldn't enjoy as much protection because they have the means to market and profit from the IP way better and faster than a physical person. If you disagree with this but agree with patent law then explain why you agree with patent law.

So, either the protection expires with the creator's life or corporations only have 20 years upon which the rights revert to the creator or to the public domain take your pick.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: jhkim on October 03, 2022, 05:34:36 PM
JHkim, you're wrong, names can and constantly are trademarked, so a monster name can be trademark WotC if they bothered to register it or if common law covers it after publishing.

There's a reason a game like Warriors of Mars that uses the public domain works of ERB about Mars/Barsoom is safe from lawsuits but if they called it John Carter of Mars they wouldn't be.

It's why you can't make a game called Buck Rogers but you could make one called 25th century that is the same with the serial numbers filed off.

It seems like we miscommunicated, because I agree with this. Words and images can be trademarked - even something as simple as the name "McDonald's" when that is a common family name. However, that only limits how a game is *marketed*, like what is on the cover. From the U.S. Trademark Office,

Quote
A trademark can be any word, phrase, symbol, design, or a combination of these things that identifies your goods or services. It’s how customers recognize you in the marketplace and distinguish you from your competitors.

The word “trademark” can refer to both trademarks and service marks. A trademark is used for goods, while a service mark is used for services.

A trademark:
  • Identifies the source of your goods or services.
  • Provides legal protection for your brand.
  • Helps you guard against counterfeiting and fraud.

A common misconception is that having a trademark means you legally own a particular word or phrase and can prevent others from using it. However, you don’t have rights to the word or phrase in general, only to how that word or phrase is used with your specific goods or services.

For example, let's say you use a logo as a trademark for your small woodworking business to identify and distinguish your goods or services from others in the woodworking field. This doesn't mean you can stop others from using a similar logo for non-woodworking related goods or services.

Another common misconception is believing that choosing a trademark that merely describes your goods or services is effective. Creative and unique trademarks are more effective and easier to protect.
Source: https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/basics/what-trademark

So yes, I agree, that trademark can limit the title and marketing of a game, but not the content of the game.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: DocJones on October 03, 2022, 05:43:13 PM
My opinion on how this should work for literary works, which would include most TTRPGs and probably board games:

1) Copyright should expire 14 years after the authors death, and be renewable for an additional 14 years by their heirs.
2) Copyrighted works published by a corporation or other entity containing work-for-hire from multiple authors should expire in 28 years from the publication date.
3) All trademarks to names originating from a literary work expire when copyright expires.

But I don't write the laws.


Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GeekyBugle on October 03, 2022, 05:46:59 PM
My opinion on how this should work for literary works, which would include most TTRPGs and probably board games:

1) Copyright should expire 14 years after the authors death, and be renewable for an additional 14 years by their heirs.
2) Copyrighted works published by a corporation or other entity containing work-for-hire from multiple authors should expire in 28 years from the publication date.
3) All trademarks to names originating from a literary work expire when copyright expires.

But I don't write the laws.

I can live with that.

But define work-for-hire, I write a novel, I hire an artist to do the interior art, does that count?
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: DocJones on October 03, 2022, 06:07:58 PM
My opinion on how this should work for literary works, which would include most TTRPGs and probably board games:

1) Copyright should expire 14 years after the authors death, and be renewable for an additional 14 years by their heirs.
2) Copyrighted works published by a corporation or other entity containing work-for-hire from multiple authors should expire in 28 years from the publication date.
3) All trademarks to names originating from a literary work expire when copyright expires.

But I don't write the laws.

I can live with that.

But define work-for-hire, I write a novel, I hire an artist to do the interior art, does that count?

1) A work-for-hire is that created by an employee within the scope of their employment.
or
2) A commissioned work where the author gives up copyright explicitly in a written agreement.

An artist might be an employee hired for that purpose or be commissioned and have an agreement where they give up copyright.
Absent an agreement or employment contract they retain copyright.  This is how it works currently.  In other countries I think it's called "corporate authorship"


Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GeekyBugle on October 03, 2022, 06:11:47 PM
My opinion on how this should work for literary works, which would include most TTRPGs and probably board games:

1) Copyright should expire 14 years after the authors death, and be renewable for an additional 14 years by their heirs.
2) Copyrighted works published by a corporation or other entity containing work-for-hire from multiple authors should expire in 28 years from the publication date.
3) All trademarks to names originating from a literary work expire when copyright expires.

But I don't write the laws.

I can live with that.

But define work-for-hire, I write a novel, I hire an artist to do the interior art, does that count?

1) A work-for-hire is that created by an employee within the scope of their employment.
or
2) A commissioned work where the author gives up copyright explicitly in a written agreement.

An artist might be an employee hired for that purpose or be commissioned and have an agreement where they give up copyright.
Absent an agreement or employment contract they retain copyright.  This is how it works currently.  In other countries I think it's called "corporate authorship"

Okay, now expand this: "2) Copyrighted works published by a corporation or other entity containing work-for-hire from multiple authors should expire in 28 years from the publication date."

Because I can see a scenario where, without being a corporation, my copyright expires in 28 years because it includes "multiple authors" due to the art and other stuff like logos and stuff.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Effete on October 03, 2022, 06:12:37 PM
]
In your quote you appear to be saying I do believe or have said it works like that, but if that wasn't your intention fine, I'll accept your statement.

I'm sorry.
I'm a bit of a hothead and I came at you unfairly. I can see now how my statement could have been misunderstood. I don't want to make any enemies here, and I'm sorry for accusing you of arguing in bad faith. I should have handled this with a cooler head.

Quote
You know what I agree, young is too vague, so, it's life of the author or life of the spouse or until his youngest child reaches adulthood. Now, I'm not a lawyer and I'm not going to pay one to express it in legal terms so I'll ask you to TRY and understand what I'm saying.

Fair enough. I deserve that jab. :)

Quote
No. I think the best way to handle copyright expiration is current method, with a fixed period of time. Currently the US law is 70 years after author's death or 95 years after publication. We can have a debate as to whether or not that is too long, or whether death of the author should even be a factor, but time limits are the best and most fair metric to use.
Quote
No, I don't agree.

Are you able to articulate why?

Yes I can, in my opinion it should be forever, it's property and it should ALWAYS remain in the hands of the heirs of the author.

But, I'm willing to try and find common ground because I can see the benefit for society as a whole from public domain works.

So, a middle ground would be something that protects the author, the spouse and children but isn't so long as to be useless, and for this to be true Trademark of anything relating to that IP should be extinguished together with copyright.

Corporations shouldn't enjoy as much protection because they have the means to market and profit from the IP way better and faster than a physical person. If you disagree with this but agree with patent law then explain why you agree with patent law.

So, either the protection expires with the creator's life or corporations only have 20 years upon which the rights revert to the creator or to the public domain take your pick.
[/quote]

So if I understand you correctly, you believe that individual copyrights/trademarks would maintain a "legacy" with the family as long as someone from that family is still alive, but corporate owned copyrights/trademarks should be limited to 20 years. Let me know if I'm incorrect here.

Assuming I understood correctly, though, I don't know why a distinction needs to be made between "individuals" and "corporations." It's not given that a corporation can more easily market a product. I have friends who own LLCs and effective marketing is difficult for them, often being one of the largest line items on their balance sheet. It sounds like what you are really advocating for is a legal distinction based on capital.

The issues here is that it would disincentivize anyone from divesting their personal holdings from their corporate holdings. Why wouldn't they just register everything under their personal name so they can hold it indefinitely? Secondly, it disincentivize anyone from growing their company to a point where these different laws would now affect them.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GeekyBugle on October 03, 2022, 06:24:15 PM

Quote
Are you able to articulate why?
Quote
Yes I can, in my opinion it should be forever, it's property and it should ALWAYS remain in the hands of the heirs of the author.

But, I'm willing to try and find common ground because I can see the benefit for society as a whole from public domain works.

So, a middle ground would be something that protects the author, the spouse and children but isn't so long as to be useless, and for this to be true Trademark of anything relating to that IP should be extinguished together with copyright.

Corporations shouldn't enjoy as much protection because they have the means to market and profit from the IP way better and faster than a physical person. If you disagree with this but agree with patent law then explain why you agree with patent law.

So, either the protection expires with the creator's life or corporations only have 20 years upon which the rights revert to the creator or to the public domain take your pick.
Quote
So if I understand you correctly, you believe that individual copyrights/trademarks would maintain a "legacy" with the family as long as someone from that family is still alive, but corporate owned copyrights/trademarks should be limited to 20 years. Let me know if I'm incorrect here.

No, you're conflating what I believe should be (perpetuity) which has no reason not to include corporations with the compromise I'm willing to reach because I see the benefit to society from public domain.

Quote
Assuming I understood correctly, though, I don't know why a distinction needs to be made between "individuals" and "corporations." It's not given that a corporation can more easily market a product. I have friends who own LLCs and effective marketing is difficult for them, often being one of the largest line items on their balance sheet. It sounds like what you are really advocating for is a legal distinction based on capital.

The issues here is that it would disincentivize anyone from divesting their personal holdings from their corporate holdings. Why wouldn't they just register everything under their personal name so they can hold it indefinitely? Secondly, it disincentivize anyone from growing their company to a point where these different laws would now affect them.

Okay, let me quote someone who said what I proposse almost to a T and made it much clearer:

My opinion on how this should work for literary works, which would include most TTRPGs and probably board games:

1) Copyright should expire 14 years after the authors death, and be renewable for an additional 14 years by their heirs.
2) Copyrighted works published by a corporation or other entity containing work-for-hire from multiple authors should expire in 28 years from the publication date.
3) All trademarks to names originating from a literary work expire when copyright expires.

But I don't write the laws.

It's not exactly what I propossed but close enough as to make no difference.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: jhkim on October 03, 2022, 06:26:18 PM
My opinion on how this should work for literary works, which would include most TTRPGs and probably board games:

1) Copyright should expire 14 years after the authors death, and be renewable for an additional 14 years by their heirs.
2) Copyrighted works published by a corporation or other entity containing work-for-hire from multiple authors should expire in 28 years from the publication date.
3) All trademarks to names originating from a literary work expire when copyright expires.

I can live with that.

But define work-for-hire, I write a novel, I hire an artist to do the interior art, does that count?

I don't think trying to limit corporate ownership will be effective. Large corporations can and do convince creators to sign their rights away for money, all the time. If the law changes to make corporate-owned copyright lesser than creator-owned, then the corporation will just leave the copyright with the creator, but pay the creator to sign a contract. Such contracts will specify that - in return for money - the creator will rubber-stamp whatever the corporation asks. If the creator breaks the contract, then they lose the money.

The lifetime clause would also mean that corporations will hire out farms of fresh college graduates to do their writing, and older writers would have an even tougher time finding work.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: DocJones on October 03, 2022, 06:26:52 PM
Okay, now expand this: "2) Copyrighted works published by a corporation or other entity containing work-for-hire from multiple authors should expire in 28 years from the publication date."

Because I can see a scenario where, without being a corporation, my copyright expires in 28 years because it includes "multiple authors" due to the art and other stuff like logos and stuff.

Current US law also already defines this clearly. 
A work that is jointly authored expiration time starts when all the authors are dead.
Works that are collections each story/article expires separately for each author.

My 3 statements were a proposal to modify current US copyright law for literary works... not to rewrite everything that already exists.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GeekyBugle on October 03, 2022, 06:29:46 PM
Okay, now expand this: "2) Copyrighted works published by a corporation or other entity containing work-for-hire from multiple authors should expire in 28 years from the publication date."

Because I can see a scenario where, without being a corporation, my copyright expires in 28 years because it includes "multiple authors" due to the art and other stuff like logos and stuff.

Current US law also already defines this clearly. 
A work that is jointly authored expires as above (14/28 years) when all the authors are dead.
Works that are collections each story/article expires separately for each author.

My 3 statements were a proposal to modify current US copyright law for literary works... not to rewrite everything that already exists.

And I'm asking if, in your proposed modification, hiring artists/designers would make my novel's copyright expire in 28 years and not 14 years after I die.

Are the artists/designers considered authors or not?
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: DocJones on October 03, 2022, 07:35:12 PM
And I'm asking if, in your proposed modification, hiring artists/designers would make my novel's copyright expire in 28 years and not 14 years after I die.

Are the artists/designers considered authors or not?

Artwork is considered a separate asset in regard to literary works, like collections.
So no, it does affect the copyright term of your novel.   

If you mean designers or editors as in someone who works as a publisher or is hired to edit/format your novel, then no it doesn't affect your copyright terms.
That is as long as you are a real person rather than a legal entity that is not a person.

Copyright law regarding art is quite complex as there are portfolio rights, physical possession rights, prints, etc.
I don't pretend to know anything more about it.

Again my only proposal was changing the length of copyright terms nothing else... other than the trademark proposal which is novel.
In other words going back to the early 19th century US law regarding length of terms.

Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Effete on October 03, 2022, 07:52:27 PM
Effete, a collection of game mechanics can be *copyrighted*, but they are not generally trademarked. Trademark applies only to distinct text or images that are used in marketing - so for RPGs, trademark is only distinctive content that is on the cover of the book, not in the interior. The Open Game License is a *copyright* license, not a trademark license. It is explicitly *not* a trademark license, as specified in item #7 of the OGL.

No. The specific collection of game mechanics constitutes a "design" that identifies a particular system with a particular brand. That falls under trademark protection. Copyright protects the specific phrasing of such a design. To use your own words, from your website (emphasis mine):
"A board or role-playing game relies heavily upon ideas. Ideas themselves cannot be copyrighted -- only specific text which explains the idea. The same game rule, expressed through totally different text, is not an infringement."
Why would the OGL need to grant "copyright permission" if the law already recognizes that simple rephrasing does not constitute a violation? Because copyright is not the issue; trademark is.

I will grant that there is some minor overlap. The SRD is considered "open content" and can be reproduced verbatim (under the terms of the OGL) without copyright infringement, but the OGL does not grant license to reproduce anything not expressly allowed in the SRD. Item #7 of the the OGL is referring to Product Identity, which is a term used in the licensure, not the law. Product Identity lists the trademarks which are excluded from the license. A creator can include demons and devils in a product, but they cannot use "Tanar'ri" or "Baatezu." A creator can write an adventure called 'Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder' just as long as "beholder" is not a reference to the monster in any way shape or form. "Beholder" is a protected trademark; the literal written description and statblock of a beholder is protected by copyright.

Quote
First of all, mechanics are copyrighted, not trademarked as I said.

And your understanding of the distinction is flawed.

(In theory, a mechanic could be patented, like WotC's patent on collectible card game "tapping" mechanic - but as far as I know, no tabletop RPGs has ever had a patent.) I would invite you to look into the lawsuit between TSR and GDW over publishing of Gary Gygax's Dangerous Journeys. Dangerous Journeys wasn't even close to a retroclone of D&D, but it had some similar mechanics - and especially the ones which took some text gave pretext for the lawsuit.

Quote
1) I am advocating that the law should be different, such that copying a 40-year-old RPG should be considered the same as copying a 90-year-old H.P. Lovecraft story. I believe that the current terms of copyright law are excessive to the point of inhibiting creative expression rather than enhancing it. Authors benefit from being able to freely use public domain works like Homer and Shakespeare. Authors like A.C. Doyle and H.P. Lovecraft and others of their era should be free to use from.

This is a complex topic that probably deserves it's own separate post, if not a dedicated thread. I'm not going to get into it here.

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2) The *only* retroclone that is legalized under the OGL is a retroclone of 3rd edition D&D that doesn't include the experience table. It does not, for example, allow a retroclone of 1st edition AD&D, which has a lot of text and mechanics that are unique and were never made into open game content.

I spent a good deal of time trying to find the relevant information off the Wizards website, but couldn't. For what it's worth, this was taken from wikipedia:
"Dungeons & Dragons retro-clones are fantasy role-playing games that emulate earlier editions of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) no longer supported by Wizards of the Coast. They are made possible by the release of later editions' rules in a System Reference Document under the terms of the Open Game License, which allow the use of much of the proprietary terminology of D&D that might otherwise collectively constitute copyright infringement. However, as per the license, these games lack the brand names Dungeons & Dragons, D&D, and all the other trademarks associated with those brands.

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3) You reference the OGL in relation to Star Frontiers, but nothing in the original Star Frontiers was ever released under the OGL, so the OGL is irrelevant to releasing Star Frontiers.
The OGL was drafted by WotC when they acquired all those old properties, and according to wikipedia, those properties use the OGL for open gaming. This would explain why OSRIC, Labyrinth Lord, ACKS, et al include the OGL in their products. The OGL is the license needed to use Wizards' properties.
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Also, Star Frontiers is not in any sense "D&D in Space" like Spelljammer. It has mechanics and background entirely unrelated to D&D.
Fine... "roleplaying in space", since you want to be pedantic.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: GeekyBugle on October 03, 2022, 08:13:02 PM
And I'm asking if, in your proposed modification, hiring artists/designers would make my novel's copyright expire in 28 years and not 14 years after I die.

Are the artists/designers considered authors or not?

Artwork is considered a separate asset in regard to literary works, like collections.
So no, it does affect the copyright term of your novel.   

If you mean designers or editors as in someone who works as a publisher or is hired to edit/format your novel, then no it doesn't affect your copyright terms.
That is as long as you are a real person rather than a legal entity that is not a person.

Copyright law regarding art is quite complex as there are portfolio rights, physical possession rights, prints, etc.
I don't pretend to know anything more about it.

Again my only proposal was changing the length of copyright terms nothing else... other than the trademark proposal which is novel.
In other words going back to the early 19th century US law regarding length of terms.

Understood, so I ratify my agreement with your proposal, it might need finessing to protect the spouse but that can wait for when the changes to the law are being propossed (meaning likely never).
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: DocJones on October 03, 2022, 08:56:09 PM
Effete, a collection of game mechanics can be *copyrighted*, but they are not generally trademarked. Trademark applies only to distinct text or images that are used in marketing - so for RPGs, trademark is only distinctive content that is on the cover of the book, not in the interior. The Open Game License is a *copyright* license, not a trademark license. It is explicitly *not* a trademark license, as specified in item #7 of the OGL.

No. The specific collection of game mechanics constitutes a "design" that identifies a particular system with a particular brand. That falls under trademark protection. Copyright protects the specific phrasing of such a design. To use your own words, from your website (emphasis mine):
"A board or role-playing game relies heavily upon ideas. Ideas themselves cannot be copyrighted -- only specific text which explains the idea. The same game rule, expressed through totally different text, is not an infringement."
Why would the OGL need to grant "copyright permission" if the law already recognizes that simple rephrasing does not constitute a violation? Because copyright is not the issue; trademark is.
Game mechanics/systems can be patented, not copyrighted nor trademarked.
But if there is prior work then they can't be patented.  Also patent protection terms for a system aren't that long (17 years?) 
The literal expression of a game system can of course be copyrighted.

Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: jhkim on October 03, 2022, 08:56:53 PM
Effete, a collection of game mechanics can be *copyrighted*, but they are not generally trademarked. Trademark applies only to distinct text or images that are used in marketing - so for RPGs, trademark is only distinctive content that is on the cover of the book, not in the interior. The Open Game License is a *copyright* license, not a trademark license. It is explicitly *not* a trademark license, as specified in item #7 of the OGL.

No. The specific collection of game mechanics constitutes a "design" that identifies a particular system with a particular brand. That falls under trademark protection. Copyright protects the specific phrasing of such a design. To use your own words, from your website (emphasis mine):
"A board or role-playing game relies heavily upon ideas. Ideas themselves cannot be copyrighted -- only specific text which explains the idea. The same game rule, expressed through totally different text, is not an infringement."
Why would the OGL need to grant "copyright permission" if the law already recognizes that simple rephrasing does not constitute a violation? Because copyright is not the issue; trademark is.

I'm not a lawyer, but I linked to the official definition of trademark from the USPTO just before, which doesn't fit with what you're saying here.

To elaborate, copyright doesn't just protect against verbatim copying. This was established by the precedent of "character copyright" in stories, which was cemented in the 1973 lawsuit where Sid and Marty Krofft sued McDonald's by claiming that the entire McDonaldland premise plagiarized their TV show H.R. Pufnstuf.  Even though McDonald's characters had different names and changed many details, it was still held to be infringement. Likewise, sound-alike music has been held to be infringement - even if the creator is just riffing on a bit of melody they remembered. So in general, rephrasing is not sufficient to protect against copyright infringement for characters, settings, and other creative elements. WotC could potentially sue over copyright infringement if someone created a beholder-like creature even if it didn't use the name "beholder" or use verbatim text.


However, the precedent is different for *rules*. Rules and mechanics can be protected by patent, but not copyright. From the start of the U.S. Copyright Office FAQ:

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Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed.

So a single rule can be rephrased, and it shouldn't in theory violate copyright. One can't also then copyright 50 different phrasings of a mechanic and then effectively get a patent that lasts for 95 years instead of 20 years.

However, an RPG system as a whole has a lot of creative expression that goes beyond what most people would call mechanics. Elements like races, spells, classes, monsters, and magic items can all be creatively distinct. Also, there's an argument that a lot of mechanics together might be distinctive enough to be considered "creative" rather than "rules" to the law. This would need to be hashed out in court, and as far as I know, the major tabletop RPG lawsuits have been settled out of court rather than going to a judge and jury.


2) The *only* retroclone that is legalized under the OGL is a retroclone of 3rd edition D&D that doesn't include the experience table. It does not, for example, allow a retroclone of 1st edition AD&D, which has a lot of text and mechanics that are unique and were never made into open game content.

I spent a good deal of time trying to find the relevant information off the Wizards website, but couldn't. For what it's worth, this was taken from wikipedia:
"Dungeons & Dragons retro-clones are fantasy role-playing games that emulate earlier editions of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) no longer supported by Wizards of the Coast. They are made possible by the release of later editions' rules in a System Reference Document under the terms of the Open Game License, which allow the use of much of the proprietary terminology of D&D that might otherwise collectively constitute copyright infringement. However, as per the license, these games lack the brand names Dungeons & Dragons, D&D, and all the other trademarks associated with those brands.

Here's how I would read that. The 3rd edition D&D rules were released as open game content - which opened up things like races, classes, spell names, monsters and other creative elements. Because copyright only weakly protects *rules*, a retroclone of AD&D can potentially slip by in rephrasing distinctive AD&D rules which are different from D&D3 rules, or simply saying that the "fair use" clause allows minor copying. And as long as they don't threaten D&D, WotC isn't inclined to take legal action, so it's in a grey area.

Retro-clones of games other than D&D tend to rely on the game company not being around any more to sue them. Also, being free games they can skate by like fan fiction - which is often technically a copyright violation but doesn't motivate the company enough to go through a lawsuit.


3) You reference the OGL in relation to Star Frontiers, but nothing in the original Star Frontiers was ever released under the OGL, so the OGL is irrelevant to releasing Star Frontiers.
The OGL was drafted by WotC when they acquired all those old properties, and according to wikipedia, those properties use the OGL for open gaming. This would explain why OSRIC, Labyrinth Lord, ACKS, et al include the OGL in their products. The OGL is the license needed to use Wizards' properties.

As I understand it, OSRIC, Labyrinth Lord, ACKS include the OGL so that they can copy 3rd edition D&D, and then add on their own changes to make that open content more like earlier edition D&D. If you look at their legal disclaimer, they will reference the WotC SRD that has 3rd edition D&D content, allowing them to use general D&D elements like classes, races, and spells. They rely on rephrasing or just not being a threat to avoid lawsuit otherwise. Still, unless Wizards of the Coast has explicitly released something as Open Game Content in an SRD, however, then it is not available. There is no SRD for other games releasing their material as open content.

However, copyright only weakly protects rules, so creating look-alike games is possible even if one doesn't use the OGL. There were lots of D&D-like systems that were released prior to the release of the OGL in 2000. That is what enables other retro-clones.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: Zelen on October 03, 2022, 09:00:26 PM
Copyright discussion pooping up this thread a bit much.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: RPGPundit on October 06, 2022, 08:50:00 AM
Copyright discussion pooping up this thread a bit much.

Agreed. Stay on the listed topic, people.
Title: Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
Post by: bricy45er on October 06, 2022, 10:35:42 AM
interesting information