Thursday, July 10, 2008

In Which I Reveal I Am A Massive Hypocrite

A real update will probably come soon when I am sober. For now...

Basically, I looked at my last post about how sticking to stereotype is just as bad as whining about elves being "mary sue faggots" or whatever it is this time, and then I looked at the races of my campaign setting. Let's review:

  • Humans, which (as usual) come in all kinds of flavours from "medieval fantasy" to "urban dungeon punk" to "Greeks" to "Amazons", i.e. the usual stuff. Only in hindsight do I notice all my humans are white.
  • Dwarves. Beards, beer, live on mountain slopes, etc. Dwarf women have favoured class: wizard, are in short supply, and can take multiple husbands. They like fire and fire magic. This is the extent of their originality, since I haven't fleshed them out much. (They are still better than Deegan dwarves, I guess, which I will not link to for the sake of your eyes. Let's just say "dwarf women with beards" and leave it at that.)
  • Elves. These come in two flavours, depending on whether this is Western Human Continent or Eastern Exotic Continent. The latter (the "main" elves) are dinosaur-riding jungle-dwellers who come off as Amazonian when they are not more or less acting a lot like humans. The former are basically boring standard elves for those who want to play that, only they live in giant mushrooms. Truly, I am a creative genius.
  • Gnomes that live in a swampy land and have a lot of the dungeon punk technology and magic, like floating cities.
  • Mutant half-elves spawned from Eastern Elves and what is basically Thay, with minor random magical powers. These half-elf X-men are found everywhere but some of them have a pirate city somewhere.
  • Elemental humanoids spawned from demigod elementals that went all explodey. Look like humanoids with fairy wings and some genasi-ish traits. Earth ones are so far the only recorded instance of a brown-skinned race.
Now we're getting into the "secondary races" that don't get much screentime, by the way.
  • Halflings, because I can't find a climate and a hat for them, so to speak. Naturally, I still feel entitled to make fun of 4E and gnomes.
  • Orcs which vary wildly between "pirate slavers" and "noble savage" depending on where they are, my mood at the time, my horoscope...
  • Demon-worshipping goblins.
  • Generic evil kobolds, plus some good and optimistic ones from the Grand Nation of Koboldia (population: 200).
  • Demon-worshipping gnolls who live between Eastern Elves and the humans who live on that continent (who are also white, by the way) and harass the elves a lot.
  • Drow. Yeah.
  • "Naga", four-armed deformed humanoids with snake tails that worship demons and were mostly created from elves. Ahem.
  • Sthein, elves with snake tails. Stolen from Bastards & Bloodlines with the naga from the MM replaced with the above naga.
  • Some others I might have forgotten.

I'm an unoriginal, racist hypocrite who steals from everything and I should kill myself.

Well, maybe not that bad. It strikes me as a little weird, though. I guess being "out there" is great if you can do it (Hello, Beyond Countless Doorways), but the familiar is comforting too. And I suppose throwing in "unique" races for its own sake can be fucked up just as easily as introducing an old race and applying the Stereotype template. Where's the line and what side should you be on? I don't know. Maybe it's a matter of personal opinion.

Christ, am I waxing philosophical about this? Okay, we're done.


Anonymous said...

We play Planescape and so aren't troubled so much: first, we've got an uncommon setting with dao, githzerai etc, which seem original even if you do them by the book; second, when you come down to Prime, you can always advocate to "everything is possible on the Planes" rule and make whatever the world you like.

Ettin said...


Are all your humans still white?

Anonymous said...

Erm, sure. I didn't even know humans come in different colors. ~_^

No, srsly, making a "black human warrior" NPC is much like making "gay dwarf warlock" you write about in the latest post. The adjective is just redundant, you can just imagine whatever human you like.