Evil races and D&D





Would you mind sharing the highlights of that conversation, @trashHeap? :slight_smile:

We basically had a discussion of “evil races” in D&D and talked about how this was probably especially problematic for Drow or “Dark Elves” in particular. How I was going to present them and why and how this was basically different from what their going to see in some other D&D media. A lot of these people in this group are new to D&D and this was going to be their first exposure to dark elves.

By and large ive tried to present the underdark and it’s associated cities as place where various more human peoples were driven to, for a variety of reasons from the surface. It’s inhabitants primarily suspicious and hostile to surface dwellers, with good reason to be; as surface dwellers who arrive without intention to migrate are often disruptions, usurpers or worse. Surface dwellers are easy to spot, they don’t know the languages, the customs, they don’t wear the clothes or own the right currency.

I mean by and large. Mind flayers were still mind flayers.

By and large this sort of thing might be easier if your writing your own adventures or running your own sandbox instead of adventure paths right? However nothing necessitates evil races being evil. The D&D beastiaries are repleat with truly monstrous monsters to keep dungeons interesting. Roaving bandits and power mad mages can still drive play.

A lot of the conflict in my games from single entities abusing power or amassing a lot of power needing to be taken down. Or from disputes between confused factions that have gotten out of hand. Or from players trying to solve one problem with a magic artifact that in turns causes other problems.

I try to make most major cities somewhat cosmopolitan and featuring a number of races that country or group is likely to do trade with.

Like D&D as written is problematic, but it doesn’t have to be in execution.

And honetly its kind of subjective where to draw the line. Like im not terribly sympathetic on the undead so vampires are still a bit of the usual. However I am all about having Orcs and Goblins humanistically portrayed as just different peoples with different customs in my games; its easy for misunderstandings to arise with them and say humans but its often because no one has tried for a non violent solution; or realized what rule or custom on which side of the fence is being violated.

Games this route can be much more social or negotiation heavy at times but it doesn’t rule out dungeons or combat and I kind of like running it that way.


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