Inherently Evil Races Aren't Bad (Game Design)

Really quick: if you want something similar to Dungeons & Dragons, but which focuses on fun, usability, and quality—yet isn't grossly overpriced—as opposed to social justice progressive politics, propaganda, and irrational, obsessive hatred over mere disagreements and thought crime violations, check out Dungeons & Delvers.

Someone posted this video in a thread over on therpgsite awhile back, but I was reminded of it after wondering, if orcs are "supposed" to be blacks, what are Warhammer's black orcs supposed to be? 

It’s from the channel Extra Credit, which did a video a while back about how…well, I don’t know who to blame for this, really. I’m guessing it’s James Portnow, as it’s said to be presented by him, while Matt Krol does the talking. So, for now I’m going to assume it was James' fault.

Anyway, the only other video I can recall was something along the lines of how James--and let’s be clear, only James--believes, and I’m being completely serious, here, that playing games in which your character wears a Nazi uniform can actually make you a Nazi.

To James, it doesn’t even matter if you have a choice in the matter (such as games that force you to be a Nazi, wear a Nazi uniform, and/or randomly assign you to the “Nazi” team): if your video game character ends up in a Nazi uniform, for whatever reason, this moron thinks that you’ll eventually conclude that it's a good idea to go round up this or that race, and march them off to the ovens.

This reeks of Jack Thompson’s particular brand of logic, who claimed that playing violent video games would make you violent. Or, perhaps even Anita Sarkeesian desperately trying to convince you that harming computer code that merely represents an imaginary female character in any context, will likewise instill within you a desire to harm real women in real life.

And for that you need to give her money so she can somehow solve a problem that doesn't exist. Neither of them provide any evidence, because there isn’t any, and James doesn’t even bother trying to buck the trend where many have failed before with precisely this sort of grift (and it is a grift, but I’ll get to that later).

Maybe losers like James liken it to communism, and delude themselves into believing that they have to try the grift in just the right way to pull it off? Frankly, I think this speaks more to how people like him are easily manipulated into committing immoral actions that, let’s be honest, they want to commit anyway: video games would just be the excuse, the vehicle for their criminal behavior, and they’re really just waiting for the right opportunity.

Is it any surprise that they always end up being actual racists, sexists, molesters, abusers, etc.

But that’s not this video. No, this video is about how making a make believe fantasy race in a game that people sometimes play for an hour or so, possibly all of once a week, is somehow racist (is there anything that isn't racist nowadays, besides stating that all white men should be slaughtered for no reason, of course). Presumably the leftist interpretation, mind you, which is really just a matter of whether or not you agree with him.

I suppose in that context, he’s right, but let’s see how well his absurd argument holds up to the actual definition which, before Marxist professors (so-called) and liberal students wasting time on their parents’ dime obtaining ironically worthless degrees tried adding qualifiersso that they could be plain ol’ racist against white people, all while pretending they’re the good guysis, quite simply, discrimination or persecution based on race.

That’s it. Short and easy enough for a child to understand it...which makes you wonder why the corpulent mass of adult-bodied woke-folk can’t. But, perhaps, does clarify why they want to rebrand pedophilia as “minor-attracted-persons” and make it legal.

Getting back on track, what could generously be described as James’s argument can essentially be boiled down to the following, well...let’s just call them points:

  • Making a race inherently evil is racist.
  • Making a race inherently evil might “be harmful to real-world groups regularly mis-characterized as ugly warlike and malevolent.”
  • Making a race inherently evil is bad game design.
  • Making a race inherently evil is actively harmful to the world you are designing.

Tackling them more or less in order: first off, making a fantasy race inherently evil cannot be racist, because you are not discriminating or persecuting against it (or even a real-world race). You’ve merely assigned it—an imaginary race that doesn't exist—an objective trait, which is ideally supported “in-game” by their behavior: orcs are evil, therefore they commit evil acts. Or they commit evil acts, therefore they are evil. Either way works.

I’ll address the alleged “bad game design” in more detail later, but it’s relevant to note that, even if you didn’t support the flavor in-game, it wouldn’t be bad game design, but bad writing. Kind of like how games like Dungeons & Dragons include flavor, such as magic being described as unpredictable and dangerous, but it ends up being contradicted in game by the mechanics, which make it completely safe and reliable.

You would perhaps have more of a case, if you created a fantasy world and decided that all people with dark brown skill were inherently evil. But even then intent matters, and it would depend on other factors, such as if their look and behavior closely mirrors a real-world culture, or especially if you’re just doing so purely because you plain don’t like blacks.

But, the assertion that this decision is racist is based on nothing more than the opinions of actual racists, who a few years ago honestly tried to make the claim that orcs were intended to be nothing more than stand-ins for blacks. That they were included specifically so that, presumably (evil) white players of course, could kill them whilst pretending they were killing black people.

I’m genuinely curious: does anyone know of a group that does anything remotely like this? An individual player? Is there even a group that spends most if not all of its time playing the game just to kill orcs? I don’t even care if you know definitively whether or not they are doing so to slake their racist proclivities: I just want to know if anyone does anything like that.

But the reason, if you could call it that, for this can be found in the second point where, in case there was any doubt what this was all about, the video includes this little visual aid:

(The art is so bad that I can't tell if the orc is supposed to have saggy tits.)

James and other so-called "progressives" see orcs. They read their flavor text and what could be considered a culture: hideous monsters that rape and pillage to take what they want. They see this, and are instantly reminded of blacks. This of course comes as no shock to anyone that has been exposed to woke-folk behavior for more than a few minutes: these miserable, hate-filled people are blatantly, proudly everything they pretend to hate and project onto everyone else.

The projection is an important behavior to note. When James claims, without any corroborating evidence, that an inherently evil race might inflict vague harm to, well, blacks, he’s projecting his own racist beliefs and opinions onto everyone else. Specifically that blacks are synonymous with evil. He can’t help it, so he needs everyone else to change how they flavor their make believe monsters in a game, all to grant him a temporary reprieve from his own racist thoughts.

It probably enrages him that others—I'd daresay most people—don’t think this way. That people see orcs and know that they don’t exist, that there aren’t any parallels with any real world races (except for the humanoid shape), if for no other reason that you can play a dark-skinned human, in-game, without any DM (except for James, I suppose) stopping you mid-description to clarify whether or not you’re trying to roll up an orc.

You could even have a character hail from some black-esque culture, or even a fantasized real-world location, if your campaign takes place in something intended to be fairly close to the “real world” (or if the campaign world has ways to reach our world), and no DM (except, again, James and other mentally ill racists that subscribe to his beliefs) is going to be confused as to whether you are playing a human or an orc.

So, inherently evil races are, surprising no one capable of something resembling individual thought, not racist, and can only be "harmful" to a real world group if you’re so retardedly racist that you think blacks are universallyor even mostlyugly, war-like, and malevolent, and would carry that misguided belief into reality, judging and treating them just like you would an orc.

But, is it bad game design?

No, because it is not a game design choice, but a flavor choice.

A game design choice would be how to resolve tasks and actions: do you use a d20? A d6? 2d6? What sort of modifiers are there, if any? Do you use a pass/fail binary, or are there various tiers or grades of success? Do you just use hit points, some sort of hit point split, or a kind of wounded condition or mechanic? How does magic work, if your game has that sort of thing?

Those are mechanics. The description of a race or monster, including traditions, stereotypes, and absolute traits and behaviors is flavor, or fluff. You could easily flip orcs from evil to good without changing any mechanics, though if you’re using alignments or some approximation, and have effects that key off of that, those might not work (and some others might).

You could make the argument that it’s bad flavor, but that would depend entirely on how it was written.

Now, I think James realized that there was no actual (subjective) game design argument to be found here, and soin an attempt to cover as many bases as possible in hopes that something would stick with whoever is dumb enough to buy into whatever he’s sellingtried to frame it so that, if you make a race inherently evil, you’re somehow taking away how player’s might choose to interact and treat this race.

This flavor-and-not-game-design-based decision doesn’t predefine how all players will always react and treat them, it just tells the players “this race is inherently evil”. Evil doesn’t mean rabidly, mindlessly destructive, incapable of communication, love, hobbies, or having some sort of code of behavior. You can still talk to them, bargain with them, perhaps even form some sort of alliance (albeit, likely temporary).

I’d ask if these guys ever consumed any sort of media from ten or so years ago, because there are countless examples of good guys having to team up with bad guys, at least for a while, or brokering some sort of truce (or even performing an uncharacteristically good deed), but SJWs don’t really engage in or understand the hobbies and cultures they attempt to infect and destroy.

I should note that this is why SJWs don’t like gatekeeping: they are precisely the sort of opportunistic, greedy, deceitful, lazy, hateful frauds that gatekeeping would rightfully deny. But, seriously, read the descriptions on all of the Evil alignments: only Neutral Evil and Chaotic Evil are especially bad, but even those are examples. You can dial it back a bit, and even deviate from time to time. 

Otherwise, evil creatures would never be able to achieve anything. They’d be too busy killing each other and breaking their own shit to be a viable, long term threat. I suppose it could work in the short term, especially if, say, a demon lord vomited forth a rampart horde of fiends upon the world, but not a race with any sort of appreciable history and culture, especially not one that depends on eating, sleeping, and rearing children.

So, a universally evil race doesn’t eliminate player choice. It informs their choice, and certainly reduces their overall options, but it doesn’t predefine every choice. Not that how to deal with inherently evil races, or even an inherently evil race, are the only choices players will ever make. Unless that's all they want to do, because they are more interested in woke theatrics as opposed to having fun.

There are so many other things to do in games like Dungeons & Dragons than play a boring-ass game of race-relations with make-believe monsters for you to rehabilitate (though I can see the appeal to those that bitch and moan on social media in an attempt to delude themselves into thinking they are accomplishing anything), and there are so many other races to interact with that aren’t inherently evil.

What I find hilarious—besides the orc obsession, as if they're the only inherently evil race, though I suspect there's some sort of sexual fetish behind it—is that this can be easily solved in your own group by simply telling players that this, that, or no monsters are inherently evil. Or that they don’t know, if it’s something no one has dealt with much, or even at all (ie, the inherently evil race arrives from another dimension).

There’s no need to record a series of strawmanlette arguments, and trite-and-toothless fallacies poorly disguised as arguments (and in fact, they did this in Eberron years ago, and a lot of people really enjoyed that setting). But then, the purpose of this wasn’t to change the world for the better (as if it could), or help people “design” better games (as if someone like James could): it was for some combination of quick-and-easy attention, control, and money.

James is riding the woke-wagon. He’s going to tell you what you want to hear (or, at least in this instance, given the poor reception the video received, what he thought you wanted to hear), you click Like, maybe leave a comment on how wonderful he is for parroting the same empty platitudes you’ve already heard for the past few years, and beg for more approved opinions.

Ideally you sign up for his Patreon. Not to improve the production quality, oh no. There's no way to improve upon this, right?

Why is the art so bad despite having over 3,000 subscribers? And just look at the character design: unnaturally dyed a stock hipster color, half-shaved head, glued to a phone, messy room, swastika...legs...? I'm sure that was purely a subconscious decision. Pay no attention to the fascists pretending to be anything but would-be tyrants.

I am surprised they didn't bother to check more fake-woke indie hipster SJW armchair slacktivist passive-progressive boxes, throwing in a rainbow flag, problem glasses, and facial hair. Though to be fair, what with the lack of detail you probably can't see the hairy legs, and I'm sure this person's Twitter profile is bursting with a invented labels.

Anyway, you don't subscribe to these sorts of Patreons to get better products, but to be told more opinions you already agree with. Or, perhaps you mistakenly believe that you need to atone for imagined sins that you’ve been gaslighted into believing you committed, merely because you were born into the "wrong" gender and/or race.

It sounds racist and sexist, and that's because it is, but SJWs have been indoctrinated into believing contradictory information, and adhering to and enforcing arbitrary rules. It’s no wonder people call social justice a cult: don't question, just do.

I’d almost forgotten about the last point, how inherently evil races "can be actively harmful to your world". James never presents a case for how inherently evil races could be actively harmful (whatever that means), and since they also aren’t racist or bad game design, the only conclusion is that, surprising no one, they aren’t. 

The whole part is just more of James trying to manipulate you into doing, thinking, and repeating whatever he wants. He just says it before detouring into whatever the hell biological essentialism is (I couldn’t find a consistent definition or description), makes claims and statements without evidence, and then misrepresents, or rather projects his racism and moral shortcomings onto everyone else, about why people might rely on stereotypes and archetypes, as they relate to make believe monsters.

Players might rely on generalizations, not because they’re as James disingenuously describes it, “comforting”, but convenient. Games aren't real life, they are a hobby or brief, entertaining diversions from real life. Your average player is never going to read an entire rule book cover to cover, likely not even most of it. They might read the important bits, sometimes not even bothering to do that, and then pore through it as the need arises (such as needing to look up, say, how far you can jump).

I'd wager that most players don't even own more than the core rules: virtually everyone I played with have owned at most a Player's Handbook, but generally consulted my RPG library, or relied on pirated PDFs. It's also a safe bet that they don't think too much about RPGs outside of whatever time is designated for play, instead devoting their time to other , more meaningful pursuits.

Therefore, by broad-stroking various game elements, it is easier for the majority of players to remember generally what they are about, though even then they might still forget (depends on how frequently they crop up): elves are pretty and live in the woods, dwarves like to drink and forge things, and orcs like to rape and pillage. These are not comforting, but they are simple and easy to remember.

I shouldn’t have to say this, but orcs aren’t real. They are a fantasy monster. In the context of a game, they didn’t necessarily evolve like humans did (if humans even evolved in your game world). They don’t necessarily think just like humans might, or have the same moral compass. They could have been created or spawned by an evil god or force. They could be anthropomorphized manifestations of destruction and/or evil, or mortal races corrupted by evil.

There are many ways to easily explain why they are inherently, wholly evil, in a way that makes sense "in-game". It's not bad game design, it's not racist, and it's not hurting anyone. Unless, again, you're so stupid, your mind so malleable, and you're so racist that you play a game and decide to judge real-world races—that look nothing like the monster you're somehow conflating them with—for behaviors and actions that didn't really happen.

Here's an orc as depicted in Dungeons & Delvers

They are demonic entities with "oily and dark skin", created by Orcus, and exist only to slaughter and destroy. They don't have a culture, as they don't possess the capacity for complete human thought: why would Orcus bestow that upon them, even if he were capable of doing so?

If you think they represent black people in any capacity, you need some serious therapy. In the likelihood that you're already in therapy, consider more frequent sessions, or even changing therapists.

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