Angry Rants: Stop Playing Against Stereotypes!

Category Rants 800 x 450You know that thing where you pick a race and then you decided to break down stereotypes and bust out of the pigeonhole by playing the complete opposite of that race because “non-humans can be just as diverse as humans?” Yeah, you’re not creative. It isn’t clever. It’s not good for the game. And it doesn’t work the way you want it to. STOP IT!

Read the entire rant at The Mad Adventurers Society…

7 thoughts on “Angry Rants: Stop Playing Against Stereotypes!

  1. The description of “how human’s brain is wired” is very helpful, and would be great if all fantasy races would be described in that way. It’s a deeper point of view that would help make characters more interesting. The problem here is that, as usual, descripion of races in D&D and other fantasy RPG are never so deep and interesting, so people who play those races tend to make uninteresting character.

  2. Interesting stuff, especially the stuff about how hard it can be to get a sense of the other PCs and what they look like and who they are. This is why multi-classing can be a bit annoying. Someone makes a ranger/monk/warlock or some shit, either for conceptual or power-gaming reasons, and I just end up thinking of them as “the weird complicated one” and never having a strong idea of them as a character.

  3. Something else, too. The race descriptions could be seen as instructions to tell human players how to play non-human species. Dwarves like gold and being underground, and they’re insular and conservative. But that’s just the best way to describe them in a way that makes sense to us. A Dwarf who is insular and conservative isn’t akin to a Human who is insular and conservative, at least under the hood.

    So playing strongly, diametrically against type is kind of strange. A Human may be the way he is for a host of reasons that don’t apply to the Dwarf, even if they outwardly display the same traits. You can analyze the Human’s psychology and upbringing, and come up with a credible reason to play him against some pre-established type. But you can’t really do the same thing to a Dwarf, because he’s not Human. His brain isn’t hooked up the same way. He’s basically an alien. We just see him through the lens of “insular, conservative, loves gold” but it runs much deeper and it’s perhaps pretty non-intuitive for us.

    A Dwarf who doesn’t love gold and is gregarious, flamboyant, and lenient isn’t just some kind of social oddball. He’s quite literally insane.

  4. I know I’m sometimes tempted to change the stereotype of a race for my game (so if I’m running a 1001 Nights flavor of game, I might make elves be desert nomads, for instance.) Would it be better to just make a brand new race to avoid player confusion?

  5. I would say that it’s all right to break a stereotype, but the only way to make it distinctive is to restrict the break to one or two points, and otherwise hold all the more strongly to stereotype.

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