We have put the first week of RPGaDay behind us. No substitutions for Sunday, so the word prompt is immutable — Stream. Man that’s a tough one. The first truly difficult word thus far.
See, I get where they’re leaning, but instead I’m going to embark on a stream of consciousness rant. Ready? I’m not. My head is empty. Ok? Let’s do this.
Politics are killing roleplaying.
There, I said it out of loud.
Everyone is welcome to play the game, and play it at their table any way they like. The problem, as I see it, is that some people have agendas and they want to change the most popular games to fit their personal worldview rather than create their own games that embrace whatever nuanced social construct they wish.
Games such as Dungeons & Dragons should be accessible to everyone, which means they should be devoid of all politics. They work best as blank slates where each DM, along with their players, can shape their worlds any way they choose.
When you decry orcs or drow as being a racist representation of people of color, for instance, I think this says more about the people who see that to be true than it does about the fantasy races themselves.
Drow are D&D’s version of Norse Mythology’s Dökkálfar, meaning Dark Elves. The Dökkálfar dwell within the earth and have a dark complexion, which is in contrast to the Ljósálfar. or Light Elves, who are as fair as the sun and live beneath it in the lush green of Alfheimr.
Orc was a generic medieval term for ogre or monster.
How did either one of these become equated to people of color? One are a mythical race from ancient Scandinavia. The other is simply a beastie.
If you want to alter the game, do so at the table, with your friends. But when those changes begin to effect the game at large, when the monsters become player characters, that’s wherein the trouble lies.
See, I’ve always been of the opinion that D&D’s downfall began when they moved away from the core player races — human, halfling, elf, and dwarf — and when humans started to drop out of favor.
There was a reason that humans could climb to twentieth level while the other races could not. I didn’t see it then, but I sure do now. By making every race equal in the game, it undermines us as people. When we are allowed to play monsters, then we lose sight of our own humanity and we are unable to imagine ourselves rising up against the challenge of the forces of evil…
See, when you look at the game and see evil monsters as people of color, you are overlooking the fact that people of color are already in the game — they’re human.
End Stream of Consciousness rant.