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  1. - Top - End - #571
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Edition: Thread #7

    I suppose we'll just have to agree to disagree then.

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Edition: Thread #7

    Quote Originally Posted by AgentPaper View Post
    So, you want green-skinned humans?
    That's a huge strawman and you should really know it. Not wanting orcs and such to be caricatures made up for the convenience of the PCs =/= wanting them to be "green-skinned humans".
    With that out of the way, I'm not sure how orcs being green-skinned humans are in any way worse than elves being pointy-eared humans or dwarves being short, bearded humans anyway. It's just the way common fantasy races work. In fact, orcs already are green-skinned humans. They're just green-skinned humans who are presented as uniformly evil. Your argument that if orcs aren't one-dimensional XP bags, you might as well use humans pretty much applies to any fantasy race. That is, of course, unless they're written well enough that they feel like a race in their own right. And I'm not sure why you can do it to elves but not to orcs.
    Last edited by Morty; 2012-11-10 at 07:24 AM.
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Edition: Thread #7

    I think it would be a good idea for Wizards to move away from the goblinoids being always chaotic evil and justified in killing. The same goes for reptilians. I think just labeling them as less technologically advanced and more aggressive would be enough to keep a cohesive, resonant identity that makes them an interesting race that still comes into conflict with the PCs on a regular basis. Or perhaps you could describe them from a philosophical standpoint. Perhaps they're Nietcheists or Objectivists who believe that asserting dominance is good, and act accordingly. From their own perspective, then, raiding and pillaging would be morally right.

    If you want goblinoids or reptilians to come into conflict with other humanoids, that can still happen. Their aggression and emphasis on a martial culture will make armed conflict easy to set up.

    If you want to kill a lot of bad guys, goblinoids and reptilians can still be those bad guys. You can still have an evil warlord leading his tribe to pillage your village, in which case the party is justified in killing their raiding party.

    If you want to kill things indiscriminately without any moral qualms, you can still do that. That's what undead, constructs, and most demons and devils are for. Plus there are many monstrous humanoids that prey on humans, in which case killing them would count as self-defense. But I don't think goblinoids or reptilians should fit into that category.

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Edition: Thread #7

    Quote Originally Posted by Madfellow View Post
    I think it would be a good idea for Wizards to move away from the goblinoids being always chaotic evil and justified in killing. The same goes for reptilians. I think just labeling them as less technologically advanced and more aggressive would be enough to keep a cohesive, resonant identity that makes them an interesting race that still comes into conflict with the PCs on a regular basis. Or perhaps you could describe them from a philosophical standpoint. Perhaps they're Nietcheists or Objectivists who believe that asserting dominance is good, and act accordingly. From their own perspective, then, raiding and pillaging would be morally right.
    That is NOT what Objectivism is all about. No Objectivist would raid and pillage. That is the purview of the Looters they abhore.

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Edition: Thread #7

    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    That's a huge strawman and you should really know it. Not wanting orcs and such to be caricatures made up for the convenience of the PCs =/= wanting them to be "green-skinned humans".
    It's not a strawman, since if you get rid of absolutes that differ a species from one another, we have to humanize them, since the only thing humans can do (since it is our only perspective) is turn things into humans but X.

    A strawman would be someone saying "I'd like a game where the orcs are not all muder-kill-demons." and someone else responding "So you don't like Tolkien or traditional fantasy?"

    A strawman is a misrepresentation of a preceding point (i.e. A says 1, B says 1 involved Hitler), not a simplification of a point.
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Edition: Thread #7

    Quote Originally Posted by navar100 View Post
    That is NOT what Objectivism is all about. No Objectivist would raid and pillage. That is the purview of the Looters they abhore.
    The central moral tenant of Randian Objectivism is that each person's goal in life is to pursue their own happiness and rational self-interest, and that one should not concern oneself with the happiness or self-interest of other people. That would make it compatible with a looting lifestyle.

    However, I will grant that when I wrote I did have Nietche in mind more than Ayn Rand. I also think that this thread is not the best place to argue about philosophy (though I admit I am the one who brought philosophy into this discussion).

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Edition: Thread #7

    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    That's a huge strawman and you should really know it. Not wanting orcs and such to be caricatures made up for the convenience of the PCs =/= wanting them to be "green-skinned humans".
    With that out of the way, I'm not sure how orcs being green-skinned humans are in any way worse than elves being pointy-eared humans or dwarves being short, bearded humans anyway. It's just the way common fantasy races work. In fact, orcs already are green-skinned humans. They're just green-skinned humans who are presented as uniformly evil. Your argument that if orcs aren't one-dimensional XP bags, you might as well use humans pretty much applies to any fantasy race. That is, of course, unless they're written well enough that they feel like a race in their own right. And I'm not sure why you can do it to elves but not to orcs.
    No, I don't consider it a strawman. Elves and dwarves (in DnD) are pretty much humans but X, but they have to be because the players are meant to play as them. I don't see any reason to make orcs fall into that camp as well.

    The whole point of using orcs, or trolls, or ogres, or any other race, is that they're a known quantity. They allow you to skip most or all of the exposition you would normally need. You don't need to tell the players that orcs are strong and aggressive and evil, because, unless the player is very new to fantasy, they've learned what an orc is and how they function over the years.

    If you instead cut out some or all of the stuff that makes an orc an orc, then why are you using an orc? Why not use humans, or a new race of your own creation?
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Edition: Thread #7

    Because I want orcs that are strong and aggressive but not "evil", whatever that's supposed to mean. Passing a moral judgement about an entire species and relegating them to the role of XP fodder for the heroes is what I have a problem with.
    Also, you still haven't addressed one of my points - namely, how are the Chaotic Evil D&D orcs less human than elves and dwarves. Elves are haughty, magical humans, dwarves are greedy, dour humans and orcs are violent savage humans. There's no real difference here.
    Last edited by Morty; 2012-11-10 at 03:03 PM.
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Edition: Thread #7

    Quote Originally Posted by Madfellow View Post
    The central moral tenant of Randian Objectivism is that each person's goal in life is to pursue their own happiness and rational self-interest, and that one should not concern oneself with the happiness or self-interest of other people. That would make it compatible with a looting lifestyle.

    However, I will grant that when I wrote I did have Nietche in mind more than Ayn Rand. I also think that this thread is not the best place to argue about philosophy (though I admit I am the one who brought philosophy into this discussion).
    That pursuit of your own happiness does not allow you to interfere with another person's pursuit of his happiness. That is explicitly expressed in Objectivism. Looting is antithetical to Objectivism. Objectivism reveres fair trade. You trade for another person's goods or services he is willing to sell. You never take, i.e. loot.

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Edition: Thread #7

    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    Because I want orcs that are strong and aggressive but not "evil", whatever that's supposed to mean. Passing a moral judgement about an entire species and relegating them to the role of XP fodder for the heroes is what I have a problem with.
    Also, you still haven't addressed one of my points - namely, how are the Chaotic Evil D&D orcs less human than elves and dwarves. Elves are haughty, magical humans, dwarves are greedy, dour humans and orcs are violent savage humans.
    So something is strong and aggressive, and is know for getting what they want through violence. That seems pretty generically evil to me.

    If you have a problem with orcs being relegated to xp fonder, why don't you have a problem with aberrations? They are consistently relegated to automatically evil.

    Also, the reason orcs are less human is because pretty = good in humans. Orcs can be pretty (see WoW), but the average depiction of them (see Lord of the Rings movies) has them as very ugly and unpleasant.
    Elves are nearly universally pretty, or at least ethereal.
    Dwarves are normally 'handsome', and tend to be more morally ambiguous than humans anyway (dwarven greed is not a pretty or good thing, but it's still common knowledge).
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Edition: Thread #7

    Quote Originally Posted by navar100 View Post
    That pursuit of your own happiness does not allow you to interfere with another person's pursuit of his happiness. That is explicitly expressed in Objectivism. Looting is antithetical to Objectivism. Objectivism reveres fair trade. You trade for another person's goods or services he is willing to sell. You never take, i.e. loot.
    That assumes objectivist Orcs would see other races as 'people'. There could be a cultural imperative that places them as the only one worthy of the classification.

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Edition: Thread #7

    Quote Originally Posted by RedWarlock View Post
    That assumes objectivist Orcs would see other races as 'people'. There could be a cultural imperative that places them as the only one worthy of the classification.
    I'm pretty sure that doesn't strictly count as Objectivism anymore. Just because a bigot doesn't see somebody else as a person doesn't mean that that person isn't a person. You know, objectively.
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Edition: Thread #7

    Quote Originally Posted by wadledo View Post
    If you have a problem with orcs being relegated to xp fonder, why don't you have a problem with aberrations? They are consistently relegated to automatically evil.
    I do have a problem with Aberrations that are shown as sapient and having society and culture, like Illithids, being relegated to kill-on-sight XP fodder.
    Last edited by Craft (Cheese); 2012-11-10 at 05:13 PM.

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Edition: Thread #7

    Quote Originally Posted by wadledo View Post

    If you have a problem with orcs being relegated to xp fonder, why don't you have a problem with aberrations? They are consistently relegated to automatically evil.
    Who says I don't? I have a problem with all sapient species being labeled as "evil". It's not like we're discussing orcs specifically.
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Edition: Thread #7

    Quote Originally Posted by Craft (Cheese) View Post
    I do have a problem with Aberrations that are shown as sapient and having society and culture, like Illithids, being relegated to kill-on-sight XP fodder.
    As a note, you are opening up your point to response on a "so something without society and culture is fine to kill?" stand.
    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    Who says I don't? I have a problem with all sapient species being labeled as "evil". It's not like we're discussing orcs specifically.
    In which case, so in your opinion every character has to act exactly like Shadow from Digger, constantly asking everything if they are sentient or not, and then putting everything through a litmus test to see if it is sapient?

    Again, some people just want to sit around and kill stuff. Why is their fun something that you want to not have in D&D?
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Edition: Thread #7

    Quote Originally Posted by wadledo View Post
    In which case, so in your opinion every character has to act exactly like Shadow from Digger, constantly asking everything if they are sentient or not, and then putting everything through a litmus test to see if it is sapient?
    If something is attacking you, or you otherwise have very good reason to believe it soon will be, go ahead and defend yourself. If not, then you should probably just leave it alone.

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Edition: Thread #7

    Quote Originally Posted by Craft (Cheese) View Post
    If something is attacking you, or you otherwise have very good reason to believe it soon will be, go ahead and defend yourself. If not, then you should probably just leave it alone.
    So how is anyone supposed to make conflict? I assume we are talking about D&D, where sitting around in a tavern doing nothing with your characters is considered kinda boring after the second hour.
    Again, some people just want to sit around and kill stuff. Why is their fun something that you want to not have in D&D?
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Edition: Thread #7

    When people need heath care they are in no position to shop around.
    I'm still lost as to where in any of the descriptions, orcs are relegated to kill on sit XP fodder. Is it this "often" word that we're hung up on? If so, it should be noted that "often" doesn't mean a majority or more than 50%, for more than 50% we have the phrase "more often than not" . If 40% of orcs are CE and the remaining 60% were divided evenly among the rest of the alignments, they would still be "often" CE.

    But nothing in any of the text craft posted suggests to me that orcs should be killed on site. That most people play that way isn't a function of the flavor text, so much as they're "monsters" and the default way people play is "kill all the monsters". Heck, if you took any one random D&D group and dropped them in a cave full of lawful good flumphs, you'd have a cave full of lawful good dead flumphs. If you want your monsters to be nuanced, you have to enforce it as a DM, the rules aren't going to do it for you.

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Edition: Thread #7

    Quote Originally Posted by 1337 b4k4 View Post
    If you want your monsters to be nuanced, you have to enforce it as a DM, the rules aren't going to do it for you.
    That's true, but let's not pretend that the rules and fluff as presented have no effect one way or the other. Especially for first-time DMs, the books set the expectations of what the game is supposed to look like and how things are supposed to work. I think immaturity in the books on these issues is at least partially responsible for immature DMing.

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Edition: Thread #7

    Quote Originally Posted by wadledo View Post
    Again, some people just want to sit around and kill stuff. Why is their fun something that you want to not have in D&D?
    I believe the point is that "But they're evil!" isn't a good reason to kill something. If you're killing orcs because they're raiding and pillaging, and you use their being evil as a reason to skip trying diplomacy because they're just asking for it by attacking you, that's fine. If you're killing orcs because, duh, they're evil, and you're good, so you have the right to kill them, that's not fine, that's boring and repetitive.

    The "this creature will attack on sight" slot is already filled by mindless creatures like undead, golems, and giant bugs. The "this creature can be attacked on sight with no moral qualms" slot is already filled by capital-E Evil creatures like fiends. Making all evil creatures like that is fine for the players who just want to sit around and kill stuff, but it doesn't leave room for people who want to try to face evil creatures that can be redeemed/negotiated with/etc.

    Basically, as Craft (Cheese) pointed out, it's a game tutorial problem. If the first enemies you meet in an RPG are evil orcs who attack on sight and can't be negotiated with, then you're encouraged to never bother with nonviolent solutions and all the evil enemies become mere variations on a theme. If the first enemies you meet in an RPG are orcs who are acknowledged to lean towards evil but can be avoided, negotiated with, dealt with, or even allied with, the game tells you that other solutions than violence are possible, and when you do run into mindless killing machines like demons and zombies they have a greater impact.
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Edition: Thread #7

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    Basically, as Craft (Cheese) pointed out, it's a game tutorial problem. If the first enemies you meet in an RPG are evil orcs who attack on sight and can't be negotiated with, then you're encouraged to never bother with nonviolent solutions and all the evil enemies become mere variations on a theme. If the first enemies you meet in an RPG are orcs who are acknowledged to lean towards evil but can be avoided, negotiated with, dealt with, or even allied with, the game tells you that other solutions than violence are possible, and when you do run into mindless killing machines like demons and zombies they have a greater impact.
    Ok, this part I can buy. However, I don't think anything in the current description contradicts this line of play. The Orc description details what motivates an orc, specifically expansion of territory, and acquisition of females. Nowhere does it say that orcs will kill everything on sight and can't be negotiated with. Orcs and such are only always-evil if you interpret them to be.

    The reason that new players don't stop and try to negotiate with the orcs isn't because they are told that the orcs can't be negotiated with. It's because they never think to because they're too busy having fun smashing orcs in the face.

    Certainly some players enjoy the negotiation approach more, but I can't see anything that would prevent them from taking that approach. Heck, there's even rules expressly written for doing just such a thing.

    In the end, it just comes down to what your group enjoys. If you like smashing in and beating orcs in the face, then you're provided for. If you'd rather have an eloquent debate with the orcs about objectivisim and the morality of looting, then nothing's stopping you from doing that either.
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Edition: Thread #7

    They could always take way the innocents of the society. Why argue over the morals of killing orc babies if orc babies just don't exist? Same for females.

    Orcs are spat out of the ground ready to do evil.

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Edition: Thread #7

    Quote Originally Posted by AgentPaper View Post
    Ok, this part I can buy. However, I don't think anything in the current description contradicts this line of play. The Orc description details what motivates an orc, specifically expansion of territory, and acquisition of females. Nowhere does it say that orcs will kill everything on sight and can't be negotiated with. Orcs and such are only always-evil if you interpret them to be.
    My point is not that the Orc fluff, as written, prevents these types of stories. I agree with you that they certainly don't stop you, but that's not what makes me concerned. You're thinking of the DM who already has a story in their mind and is checking the book to see if it's "allowed", i.e., consistent with what the books describe. I'm thinking of the DM who doesn't know what they want to do yet and is flipping through the books to get ideas.

    "Crap, my players want to go investigate the Orc camp. Guess I'd better plan what the orcs will do when the PCs arrive, let's see what the monster manual has to say about them... Orcs love to fight and steal things, and often attack groups of other races on sight. Okay, so when the PCs arrive, they're immediately ambushed and mugged by 4 orc archers in the trees and 2 orc barbarians hiding in the brush..."

    This is why it bothers me that their fluff only talks about that they fight, how they like to fight, and the reasons that they might be fighting things.

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Edition: Thread #7

    Quote Originally Posted by Craft (Cheese) View Post
    This is why it bothers me that their fluff only talks about that they fight, how they like to fight, and the reasons that they might be fighting things.
    Well, this is a game based off of a game based off of a game based off of a tabletop war game.
    Until there's a hp track for emotional damage, I don't think combat is ever going to no longer be the primary concern of the game.
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Edition: Thread #7

    Quote Originally Posted by Craft (Cheese) View Post
    My point is not that the Orc fluff, as written, prevents these types of stories. I agree with you that they certainly don't stop you, but that's not what makes me concerned. You're thinking of the DM who already has a story in their mind and is checking the book to see if it's "allowed", i.e., consistent with what the books describe. I'm thinking of the DM who doesn't know what they want to do yet and is flipping through the books to get ideas.

    "Crap, my players want to go investigate the Orc camp. Guess I'd better plan what the orcs will do when the PCs arrive, let's see what the monster manual has to say about them... Orcs love to fight and steal things, and often attack groups of other races on sight. Okay, so when the PCs arrive, they're immediately ambushed and mugged by 4 orc archers in the trees and 2 orc barbarians hiding in the brush..."

    This is why it bothers me that their fluff only talks about that they fight, how they like to fight, and the reasons that they might be fighting things.
    That's not preventing anything, that's just describing what orcs are like. Nothing forces you to make the first thing players encounter orcs, or goblins, or anything else. There's plenty of rules for how to have humans, or elves, or dwarfs as your antagonists, who are much more likely to be able to be negotiated with.

    If the DM wanted to have an encounter with negotiation, then he'd have a camp of humans. If he wants and encounter with lots of fighting, then he has a camp of orcs. If the players decide that they want to break the mold and parley with the orcs, or attack the humans, then there's plenty of rules for each of those as well.

    The only thing that drives players away from having games not centered around combat, is the fact that players like combat. The only way to "fix" that is to force the players to do something they don't enjoy, which then leads to you being the "stop having fun guys" guy.

    If you enjoy campaigns where you negotiate with the orcs instead of killing them, then that's fine, go for it, nothing's stopping you. But that doesn't mean that the rest of the player base would have more fun if they were forced to play the same way you do.
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Edition: Thread #7

    I don't think many people would disagree that D&D, as it stands, is largely a game about killing things and taking their stuff. I don't think this is necessarily problematic - as I mentioned in another thread, it's not like I have moral qualms about killing bandits in Skyrim, and they're just as real.

    The issue is more ... well, alignments make you lazy.

    If you want to go off and kill orcs for looting & pillaging the countryside, well that's high D&D adventure. If you go and kill orcs for being orcs, that's just asinine. This isn't grey morality or anything - it's just recognizing that "evil" is defined by what you do, not what you are.

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  27. - Top - End - #597
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    Craft (Cheese)'s Avatar

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Edition: Thread #7

    Quote Originally Posted by AgentPaper View Post
    That's not preventing anything, that's just describing what orcs are like. Nothing forces you to make the first thing players encounter orcs, or goblins, or anything else. There's plenty of rules for how to have humans, or elves, or dwarfs as your antagonists, who are much more likely to be able to be negotiated with.

    If the DM wanted to have an encounter with negotiation, then he'd have a camp of humans. If he wants and encounter with lots of fighting, then he has a camp of orcs. If the players decide that they want to break the mold and parley with the orcs, or attack the humans, then there's plenty of rules for each of those as well.

    The only thing that drives players away from having games not centered around combat, is the fact that players like combat. The only way to "fix" that is to force the players to do something they don't enjoy, which then leads to you being the "stop having fun guys" guy.

    If you enjoy campaigns where you negotiate with the orcs instead of killing them, then that's fine, go for it, nothing's stopping you. But that doesn't mean that the rest of the player base would have more fun if they were forced to play the same way you do.
    My response is exactly the same as my previous post: It's not about preventing, it's about not providing an effective and diverse set of tools. It just looks like we're talking in circles now, so I respectfully back out of this debate.

  28. - Top - End - #598
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Edition: Thread #7

    Especially for first-time DMs, the books set the expectations of what the game is supposed to look like and how things are supposed to work. I think immaturity in the books on these issues is at least partially responsible for immature DMing.
    Eh, I think the immaturity in DMing is primarily a result of immature DMs. Lets face it, the vast majority of DMs are immature because they're mostly kids and college students who have the free time to be playing on a gulag basis. By the time it gets to adults DMing games, it's been my experience that most games are a bit more nuanced than "kill everything that moves"

    The reason that new players don't stop and try to negotiate with the orcs isn't because they are told that the orcs can't be negotiated with. It's because they never think to because they're too busy having fun smashing orcs in the face.
    Not completely, I do agree there is a bit of a tutorial problem here. For long term players, I agree if they aren't negotiating its because they're having fun kicking ass and taking names. For new players, I think it's a combination of factors, including experience with computer RPGs which are only just now beginning to explore the possibilities of being able to negotiate and choose sides, vs every encounter being a fight to the death.

    On the other hand, I don't think the monster manual entry is the place to be having a dissertation on orcish culture, or the negotiation with them. D&D badly needs another tutorial adventure that is boxed in like Keep on the Borderlands was. KoB very clearly indicated that negotiation with the creatures of the caves were both possible and even expected. A well written tutorial adventure with multiple paths highlighted (including negotiation) is a considerably better and more effective place to bring these issues up.

  29. - Top - End - #599
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Edition: Thread #7

    Quote Originally Posted by Craft (Cheese) View Post
    My response is exactly the same as my previous post: It's not about preventing, it's about not providing an effective and diverse set of tools. It just looks like we're talking in circles now, so I respectfully back out of this debate.
    So, more rules for how to talk to orcs? That's fine, but there's already diplomacy, bluff, intimidate, and so on. There's already a set of diverse and effective tools, it's just that many players don't want to use them, because they're generally found to be more boring than other tools, namely swords and sorcery. This isn't a fault of the system, or even a fault of the player, but simply a fact that fighting is more fun than talking, for the majority of the player base. Hence, it makes sense for most of the rules and fluff to talk about how and why the actors are fighting. It doesn't go into detail about how orcs live and what their customs are because they don't expect players to need or want that information.
    Excellent avatar by Elder Tsofu.

  30. - Top - End - #600
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Edition: Thread #7

    Craft (Cheese), look at it this way.

    Demons are always evil yes? Not just in game terms but within the world.

    Orcs are almost always evil. Their souls are just as black as any demons. A few of them are not innately evil. But if you use it like a statisic. say 98.8% of the orc population are undeniably evil. We aren't talking about being "savage" or prone to violence, we are talking about Evil. That 1.2% margin of error is too small for most anyone carrying about when something is doing you harm.

    You can argue, are orcish young, & their womenfolk also evil? (Within the 98.8% statistic) Yes they are. Young demons are evil, old demons are evil, female demons are evil.

    Just because other media has softened the image of the orc, it doesn't mean that D&D's orcs aren't evil vile creatures. Following that logic should we soften every creature that has a more positive spin in other media? Should vampires sparkle? Should goblins become snarky merchants? Should pixies be vulnerable to pizza related bribes?(okay maybe the last one should be true :P)

    Look I'm saying that any of these shouldn't be options or modules or anything. But ask yourself. Should this be core? Is this version of orcs be the staple?

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