A few weeks ago, I wrote a little post about the imaginary evils of Dungeons & Dragons which caused a brief moral panic among the cripplingly stupid in the 1980s. And while it's fun to openly mock those who believe that nerds are summoning demons with plastic dice, is D&D truly an innocent game? Might there be some sinister message hidden within the pages of the rule books? If we connect the dots, where will they lead us?
For the purposes of this post, I'll be referring exclusively to D&D 3.5ed. Because seriously, who plays any of that other shit?
I'm not going to bore you with the old "Orcs are representative of (insert real-world ethnic group) nonsense. That's been done to death, and only really serves as a metric to figure out what kind of racist you are when you fill in the blank.
I'm digging deeper, into the nuts an bolts of the game, to present evidence that Dungeons & Dragons, the very flagship of nerd-dom, encourages racism.
In no particular order, here are my findings:
1. If your character isn't a halfling or a half-orc, he probably doesn't like half-orcs.
Throughout history, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural societies have always had at least one group who the others like to collectively shit on. Even Jesus told the story of The Good Samaritan. Think about that for a moment. How horrible could these Samaritan people have been that the very idea of the existence of one (Albeit a fictional one. This was just a parable, after all) who wasn't a complete and utter shithead was worthy of Biblical real estate?
Today we can't go a day without hearing news of yet more black people being gunned down by shitty cops or blatantly vocal white supremacists.
And when I sit down at the table to lose myself in a fantasy world, do you know what I don't want to think about?
Any of that shit.
D&D is my escape from reality. Do I want my character to brutally murder imaginary "evil" people with a sword? Sure I do. Do I want to loot their bodies for treasure and weapons? You bet! Do I want to take a piss on their corpses before leaving them to be eaten by wild dogs? Depending on how heated the pre-battle banter got, probably. Do I want to be told that my character is likely a racist?
I do not.
Yet in the description of every playable character race, with the exception of halflings (who appear to be the only race of non-assholes) and half-orcs themselves, the Player's Handbook makes mention of suspicion and distrust of half-orcs. The creators of this edition of the game must have really had it in for poor half-orcs. Not only are they almost universally despised among other races. They are the only playable race in the game who gets two penalties for their stats (-2 Intelligence and -2 Charisma).
Hell, even dwarves and gnomes get bonuses to attacking certain other races (orcs, kobolds, goblins, etc.) justified by training they've had since birth from having fought with them for generations. I don't know about you, but that sounds a little Hitler Youth-ish to me.
2. Rangers get the option of being even more racist.
Let's say you want your character to be a racist at its core, but you don't want to play a dwarf or a gnome because you don't like short people. D&D has got you covered!
What sorts of virtues come to mind when you think of when you think of a ranger? Respect for nature? Rugged independence? Arbitrary and unquenchable bloodlust?
If you choose for your character to be a ranger, you can start with a "Favored Enemy" right out of the gate, which you despise so much that you get even more bonuses to attacking them. And as you level up, you can grow to arbitrarily hate additional categories of living things as well. Here's the list you can choose from:
I think it's safe to assume that most of you reading this have fantasized about role-playing a character based on Donald Trump, and were disappointed when your Dungeon Master didn't allow 'Troll' as a playable race.
Well fear not. Once again, this game has you covered. Earn enough experience points, and your character can be the most racist douche in the realm.
Of course, there's nothing in the rules about not being allowed to hate your own race, so you could even model your ranger off of Louisiana governor and even sadder presidential hopeful Bobby Jindal.
3. Short races can go fuck themselves.
Humans, orcs, and elves.
Dwarves, gnomes, and halflings.
What are the primary differences between these two groups? As far as I can see, there are two. The ability (or inclination) to reproduce, and height.
There are two mixed races in the game. Half-elves and half-orcs. Why are there not any half-gnomes, half-dwarves, or half-halflings (quarterlings? 3/4-lings?)?
Could it be that people in D&D only ever have sex standing up? Unlikely. People who want to bone will find a way, even if it requires the ingenuity of using a bed or a footstool.
Are there physiological differences which inhibit reproduction? It seems to me that elf's DNA, which allows it to live for centuries, gives it superior vision and hearing, and eliminates its need to sleep, would be far more removed from human DNA than, say, a halfling, which, physiologically at least, is essentially just a small human.
Or could it be that humans in the D&D universe just say "Ew" at the sight of short people? They'd actually prefer to bump uglies with a fucking orc than with a tuskless person two feet shorter than themselves? Take a look at this picture:
No really. Take a good hard look.
I'm not saying there's not enough beer in the world, or that I've never woken up next to worse, but damn. How turned off by shortness do you have to be to consider this the fourth most boinkable woman in the picture above (Well, I guess she's #1 if height is your primary turn-on.)?
I mean sure, she looks like she wants it well enough. You probably won't have to blow a lot of coin on dinner and dancing. And yeah, she's got tits that need steel cauldrons to contain them. But she's kind of hairy in the shoulder area for my taste, not to mention the fact that she doesn't have a goddamn nose.
And let's not forget... This is not an orc. This is a half-orc. This is the offspring of a human and something that looks at least twice as horrifying as that. The full-blooded orc is what turns the D&D guys on more than that saucy little halfling.
But that still doesn't explain why you don't see any cross breeds of dwarves and gnomes, or elves and orcs. I've got one possible explanation...
4. There is a master race.
So who is the privileged white male of the D&D universe? That's easy. It's the human. Only humans are involved in the cross-breeding happening up in the previous entry, because outside of someone of your own race, a human is the only thing you'd ever consider letting touch your junk. Why?
Because if you aren't human, you're a fucking monster.
Don't believe me? Flip through your 3.5 Monster Manual right now. There is an entry for every playable race in the game. But flipping through the H section, you'll go straight from Howler to Hydra.
Need more evidence? Open up your Player's Handbook. The second chapter lists all of the playable races in the game in alphabetical order. Except for humans, who get the number one spot.
So there you have it. Have I made my case?
Of course not. Trying to maintain one blog post a week is hard. I was deliberately wasting your time with a clickbaity title, and you should be ashamed of yourself if you took any of what I wrote seriously. Thank you for reading.