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On D&D and race

Ta-Nehisi also links to an article on race. (Note: This is a long essay.) About it, he says:

Here's an interesting essay on the presence--or lack of presence-of non-white folks in D&D throughout history. It's a funny thing to be a black kid into fantasy. Most of this stuff is ripped from Tolkien, and as much as I love LOTR, there is, indeed, something disquieting about the total whiteness of the movies. I don't blame that on Jackson or Tolkien. If someone was doing a fantasy epic based on Xhosa creation myths, I wouldn't expect to see any white people.

The article brings up some things that i've definitely thought about, back to the classic "is it morally good to kill orc children?" question. And it's something that actually came up in our campaign (with trolls, not orcs), but with no real resolution. I think a lot of the points raised in the article are accurate but can be addressed with good DMing. Other points are off base, but still worth thinking about.

By fnord12 | November 19, 2008, 4:24 PM | D&D


Any adventurer knows that if you see an orc, you kill it. You don't talk to it, you don't ask what it's doing there - you kill it, since it's[sic] life is worth less than the treasure it carries and the experience points you'll get from the kill. If filmed, your average D&D campaign would look something like Birth of a Nation set in Greyhawk.

we have this argument constantly in our campaign. but in our group, it's a bit more equal opportunity in that they would rather kill first and not bother with questions at all regardless of race.

however, it's alot easier to convince them to start with talk if it is a human-type character as opposed to orcs or the like. even if the human-type character is a vampire.

So, if you say... ran into a fungus man composing bad poetry and short stories on the side of the road; you'd shoot him to death before asking about the weather? Clearly the fungus man is intellegent, as its literate; even if that literacy is not of the greatest caliber.

I only ask because I feel that my fellow Fungal Americans need to be represented fairly in your D&D campaign, and, you know... not shot to death in cold blood.

i can talk to plants now that i'm level 8. grass is not much of a conversationalist. just saying.