One D&D: Talking Races

I talked a bit last week about my Initial Reaction to One D&D. Today, I’d like to start talking about the specifics. But before I do that, I would like to address the reaction to the name “One D&D.” I seriously doubt that this will be the final name for the new edition. In fact, I fully believe that when the final version launches two years from now that it will be called Dungeons and Dragons 6th Edition, even if the 6e part is downplayed. The reason for that being is that 10 years ago, when 5e was being developed, it was called D&DNext, calling it the “Next Iteration of Dungeons and Dragons,” and yet they still called it D&D 5e when it was all done. So I expect them to follow the same pattern this time around.

Anyways, onto racial specifics. Let me start by saying that I am really freaking glad that they FINALLY included orcs as a core book playable race. This is a long time coming and is long overdue. For those who don’t know, orcs, as described by a certain fantasy author, were modelled on racist wartime propaganda caricatures of the Japanese. Specifically that they are antithetical to civilization and possessed no redeeming qualities. Let me be abundantly clear that myself and everyone in my company are steadfastly against such a view; such bigotry does not belong in the world. Early editions of the game reflected this view, making orcs a race that could be slaughtered without feeling bad about it. That view has changed over time. More modern editions of the game describe them as possessing “love, compassion, and empathy,” making them more than capable of choosing their own path in life. Orcs are a noble race of warriors and poets, hunters and gatherers, defenders of the wild lands, and protectors of traditions. Their inclusion as core playable races is something that should have been done a long time ago, and I am glad to see it done.

The other new core book race is ardling. These are obviously supposed to be the counterpart of tiefling. Again, I am glad to see their inclusion. I never liked the inclusion of tiefling without some descendent-of-good-creatures peer. However, I’m kind of “meh” that that is all. I mean there are so many other possibilities that could be included. Why not include a catfolk race or fey race or a construct race or a turtle-people race? These are far more interesting than elves and dwarves will ever be to me.

And while I am at it, I am disappointed to see that they are still using the term “race.” Other games have moved on from it, acknowledging that it is a charged term. Breaking a tradition is never easy, but using this term is one that should be broken. Wizards really should change the term race to something else. “Heritage” is used by Pathfinder. “Kin” is used by 13th Age. Pick one and run with it.

See all of JBE’s supplements at DriveThruRPG, the Open Gaming Store, and Amazon.

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