Orcs/dwarves/elves; can they be used?

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  • Posted By: Todd LNameless [Lee] made the case clearly: he is already inundated with garbled interpretations of his kin,
    so he does not especially welcome Tomas adding to the problem, even with a veneer of fantasy-- or with good intentions.
    Todd; I'm a white guy, yes, but first and foremost I am a human, identifying with humans.

    And to address the "veneer of fantasy": I'm not doing any interpretation of indians in my game. I have not said that I will, and it will not happen. I am doing a fantasy game, in a fantasy world that has been developed through 16 years of extensive play, 9 editions to this day, somewhere around 2.500 game-sessions for me alone. I'm not doing indians or lapps or african slaves. I'm doing orcs and elves and dvellers and trolls and tomts and mossmen and whatnot, but not indians.

    When I stated that I was doing a campaign with orcs being the natives, Lee said this:
    Posted By: Namelessto draw inspiration for your Orc horde vs. peaceful settlers scenario from Native American history, and then frame the Natives as the Orcs can at best be seen as insensitive.
    He is making a leap here;

    - from me being inspired by what people tell me about the conflict between indians and settlers. I am.

    - to me making indians into orcs. I am NOT.

    Lee is trying make the indians into orcs in the quote, by his leap of misconception. By doing that Lee fails to see what I'm at; zooming in on settlers in a culture crash, not any indians. Not even the orcs. The orcs don't concern me at all. They are there as a tool, to let me challenge the characters, and release the dramatic tension of the theme. I am trying to have my orcs be inspired by indians and africans and sami people, so that the orcs will be an effective tool, to make the interaction of my game soar towards complex and challenging drama ... hopefully. Wether this drama goes towards characters being violent, or wise, is up to the players. I will challenge them, and set my traps, but it is eventually up to them what the characters choose to do. So I really don't now if this will be anything like cowboys and indians.

    Lee made some very useful answers to my initial questions. I am thankful for that.

    I do not hold it against Lee that he then misread me, and reacted. I do see where he is coming from. I feel sorry for the reaction, but I can not take responsibility for it. I hope he see that now. He has tried to give me the benefit of his doubt, even when having serious second thoughts about my project. It did not help him read me right, but it is commendable of him. And Lee has, unlike others that have criticized me, been candid about his background. I respect that, even more when he lay bare the fact that his parents live in poverty, due to their indian heritage. And it gives me the opportunity to understand his critique, and where the misconception of it stems from. Being candid and straightforward is the first principle of any discussion, and it helps us understand each other, so I thank him for that too.

    I'm not going to debate this any further. Have a nice day!
  • Tomas, my tuppence.
    I would like to point one thing. You want to repropose themes that have been dark in our history because they involve racism. However, by projecting them into a world with more than just humans, you're entering another paradigm: that of species (instead of race). The risk is to have nonhuman species' characters dehumanized, and to get far from your purpose. Your orcs would need to be very humanized, but then, my question is: why orcs? Because it's a fantasy stereotypical creature that you want to put in a different light, is my guess, but the risk I pointed is there, I believe.
  • edited October 2011
    I feel it is important to point out that orcs are a race, not a species. Species are defined generally by an inability to interbreed, and as half-orcs exist in the first place...I find that point quite telling.
  • edited October 2011
    Tomas, Dave... I'm taking your side!

    Except for one thing.
    I don't agree that Lee's side isn't a legitimate position:

    Dave used the words "how can any reasonable person" [hold Lee's point of view].

    Tomas characterized Lee's point of view as "he misread me".


    You're not allowing room for Lee to respectfully disagree, you're saying his entire position is absolutely wrongheaded.


    Tomas DID attempt to milk the Indians' history for his own purposes.

    It doesn't matter that Tomas was careful to make sure names have been changed to protect the innocent. It doesn't matter that he was trying to-- and succeed at-- doing better than Tolkien and so many others before.

    He's still equating Lee's grandma with an orc. Nobody but Lee gets to say at what point the portrait of his granny is sufficiently altered that it's inoffensive... to Lee.

    And that goes for Graham and Judd as well. To say that there's some "obvious" line that has been crossed is to give yourself the authority to draw that line. Look back at Jim's post. He boldfaces the word "wrong" to say the Tomas, Dave, and my position is absolutely without merit.

    As long as we can't distinguish between actual logical fallacies and subjective disagreements, we're talking past each other.
  • Posted By: dr_peteIt's almost as if this conversation happened before the movie Avatar came out. Those natives were giant blue monsters with sharp teeth AND tails.
    Just because you want to nail blue Sigourney is no reason to bring Avatar into this!
  • But, but I didn't...I did prefer the blue love interest girl to her human actress counterpart, though.
  • One movie that deal with this thing in a similar way was District 9, with a lot of parallel between apartheid era and the treatments of the aliens in the movies. While I can see that also can bee seen as really offensive I think how they presented the aliens was masterfully done. Because the aliens was ugly, and they ate disgusting thing etc, tricking us in the beginning of the movie not sympathies with the aliens and almost feel that the treatment of them was justified... To gradually through the movie get a sick feeling in the stomach when you realize that the fact that they on our eyes eats disgusting things DO NOT justify the racism and treatment they receive.

    Offesive? Yeah.

    But I think you learn a lot more about racism if you both see how easy it can be to slip into that kind of thinking, then if you just do a story saying RACISM IS BAD.
  • Posted By: TomasHVMLeeis trying make the indians into orcs in the quote, by his leap of misconception.
    I am going to own my misinterpretation right here. I would submit that it was an easy misunderstanding because of the way that the entire conversation was started. We were asked about facts about Native Americans, with some pretty specific questions. There was no indication of making this generic and not related to Native Americans. Following this, a pretty ugly picture of your indigenous people was created in your post where you outline how you intend to use this information. I hope that you can forgive me for bringing up the fact that this could be considered insensitive. I still feel like you are missing the boat a little bit about a Native perspective that will be necessary for you to make this plan hum. Then entire reason that the scenario that you outlined is problematic is central to making this turn out the way that you want. You are looking for bias and injustice, not justifiable reaction to facts. Ugly bias will make this work. Ugly "facts" in your campaign will ruin it, or at best water down what you hope to accomplish.

    I outline what I am talking about in the other thread.
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