2019-01-15 Orcs

@lula wrote a blog post about Tolkien’s orcs and find that Tolkien poured all the anti-Asian sentiments into it. Orcs, Britons, and the Martial Race Myth, Part I: A Species Built for Racial Terror.

I like his test: “Show me a fantasy game with orcs in it, and my first question is whether I can play as one.”

Gotta check my orcs, now. I feel like there a few influences in my game:

In my last campaign, the orcs from the dungeon got killed, resettled, betrayed, and killed some more by the player characters. Uuuugh. Another orc tribe attacked their castle construction site and that led to some killing. The orcs from the wilderness got treated well, and turned into allies, on the other hand. So... sort of OK, I guess?

Generally speaking, I don’t think there’s too much racism in my game. The inherent problem is, of course, that the major fault line between Law and Chaos is the same old city dwellers vs. nomads conflict, except that almost all the humans and dwarves are on one side and everybody else is on the other side. Race stands in for civilization and progress. Although I hope that as a referee I manage to avoid equating chaos with evil.

I think the first thing I will add to my monster handbook is the option of playing an orc. :)



Probably classism in mine. Every time I’ve run orcs it’s been as backwood violent xenophobic rednecks.

Michael Julius 2019-01-15 14:59 UTC

I remember somebody somewhere had orcs all be French cheese connoisseurs. I love the idea.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-01-16 07:53 UTC

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