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If you have more than one race in fantasy setting, then I am tired to see explanation that all those races where born in different places, especially when there are gods walking among people. People from different cultures should in my opinion be separated by ethnicities inside of races that are formed over the course of time, because of environment where people have mostly lived. This is because of fact that for me it is more interesting to image cultures that are shaped on co-operation and co-existence of people that have different physiology especially when people with different physiologies can't reproduce between each other, which means that social dynamics between races are more asexual aspects than what we have used in our world.  

 

I don't get your fixation on this point. Are you suggesting that it isn't good enough for races to be intermingled now, but that they must always have been intermingled? All I'm saying is that you need a point of origin. That races were presumably divided into their own civilizations, but then interacted and intermingled to the point that it is no longer true. That seems to be the case with Eora already. Are you insisting that Aedyr thyrtans and Vailian thyrtans sprang fully formed from the earth completely independently of one another, without any common history? Unless that is your argument, there is no issue here.

 

I find warmongering, mono-race and/or praising physical prowess cultures appalling

 

 

 

Read the thread more closely. Alternatives have been suggested.

 

Besides, this is obviously just a subjective issue on your part. "Appaling" is a very strong word to use to describe such such vague, general cultural attributes as "praising physical prowess". If something like that were to be completely excluded from a world because you do not appreciate it, the result is a much less authentic and interesting world, because you've just disqualified something that is ubiquitous throughout many civilizations and most of human history.

 

All you are doing is describing why you as an individual would not play an orc even if it were novel and well-written. You're not making any case at all for why orcs such as we've suggested would be bad for the setting or creatively unworthy. Which is fine, we all have our subjective preferences. We just can't expect those preferences to be treated like objective truth.

 

 

I don't see need why races would have to have their own civilizations, as they all seem to be born in world about same time, they all are beings that have capacity to communicate with each other and there is living gods among them that are guiding them. So in my opinion it is much more logical and interesting if there has never been time when races had their own civilizations as they have always lived among other races. So I in other words I don't understand your fixation with singular point of origin for races that closes them off from other races in world for some reason.

 

Appalling is just right word to describe singular ideology cultures that are hided behind supposedly clever new aesthetics. Because for me such things are killing blow towards suspension of disbelief.

 

But tell me what is your archetype for orcs, that makes you want their inclusion? 

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I don't see need why races would have to have their own civilizations, as they all seem to be born in world about same time, they all are beings that have capacity to communicate with each other and there is living gods among them that are guiding them. So in my opinion it is much more logical and interesting if there has never been time when races had their own civilizations as they have always lived among other races. So I in other words I don't understand your fixation with singular point of origin for races that closes them off from other races in world for some reason.

 

Nothing in what I've said "closes" races off from one another. No idea how you'd get that from "racing being intermingled now". Deliberate misreading?

 

Where do you imagine that races and ethnicities came from? Did elves in Country A spring fully formed out of the ground, completely independent from the elves in Country B who did the same, without the two having any shared history?

 

I don't think Eora works the way you think it does. When I see Josh speak in interviews, I keep getting that the setting is built around a sense of history - that the world is cosmopolitan because civilizations have had time to interact and populations have been able to travel between them. The racially intermingled nature of the setting exists because people have moved around a lot during its history, not because conveniently-diverse populations came into being from country to country at the dawn of time and remained static.

 

I'm not even trying to argue with you at this point, just understand your objections. I don't think you're articulating your point well, because I just see you taking a confusing stand on something that isn't even an issue. It isn't like Obsidian choosing to add orcs would somehow prevent them from doing the same thing with orcs that they've done with every other race and subraces. You're imposing aritificial restrictions on the limits of creativity.

 

 

But tell me what is your archetype for orcs, that makes you want their inclusion?

 

 

I discussesd this with Malekith. The subject of why there is value in using orcs rather than a brand new race. You're free to read what I've said. I've already put a lot of words into this thread, so you'll understand if I don't repeat myself unnecessarily.

Edited by Sarog

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I don't see need why races would have to have their own civilizations, as they all seem to be born in world about same time, they all are beings that have capacity to communicate with each other and there is living gods among them that are guiding them. So in my opinion it is much more logical and interesting if there has never been time when races had their own civilizations as they have always lived among other races. So I in other words I don't understand your fixation with singular point of origin for races that closes them off from other races in world for some reason.

 

Nothing in what I've said "closes" races off from one another. No idea how you'd get that from "racing being intermingled now". Deliberate misreading?

 

Where do you imagine that races and ethnicities came from? Did elves in Country A spring fully formed out of the ground, completely independent from the elves in Country B who did the same, without the two having any shared history?

 

I don't think Eora works the way you think it does. When I see Josh speak in interviews, I keep getting that the setting is built around a sense of history - that the world is cosmopolitan because civilizations have had time to interact and populations have been able to travel between them. The racially intermingled nature of the setting exists because people have moved around a lot during its history, not because conveniently-diverse populations came into being from country to country at the dawn of time and remained static.

 

I'm not even trying to argue with you at this point, just understand your objections. I don't think you're articulating your point well, because I just see you taking a confusing stand on something that isn't even an issue. It isn't like Obsidian choosing to add orcs would somehow prevent them from doing the same thing with orcs that they've done with every other race and subraces. You're imposing aritificial restrictions on the limits of creativity.

 

 

But tell me what is your archetype for orcs, that makes you want their inclusion?

 

 

I discussesd this with Malekith. The subject of why there is value in using orcs rather than a brand new race. You're free to read what I've said. I've already put a lot of words into this thread, so you'll understand if I don't repeat myself unnecessarily.

 

 

As I already said I think that ethnicities inside of races have formed because of the fact that some members of said races have moved to different locations in Eora and their new environments have caused physical changes in them. But I like idea that all the races have born created about same time and many in same areas gods withing them and leading them to form societies. And then some people from those societies have got bored or chased away and this people have formed new societies and so on until they have spread around the world of Eora. I personally like this concept because it's something that you don't often see in fantasy settings, where concept where every race has their own place of origin and history before they found other races is so dominant that I crave alternates.

 

With your discussion with Malekith I can't form any real concept what you think orcs are like, only thing that I find is that you think that orcs have larger physique than humans, so your archetype for them is something from Warhammer/Warcraft? As Tolkien's orcs are smaller than human and even members of uruk-hai aren't that big and D&D orcs have traditionally been about human size.  Or do you have some other setting where you draw your concept for orcs. And what other attributes you would put for them, green skin?, lower than average intelligence?, high might? , pig face or more wow/warhammer style face? tusks?. Like for example Tolkienist archetype for elves is tall, beautiful, graceful, pointy eared and long lived people and for dwarfs short, tough, strong, bearded people.

 

With big and strong humanoid I would go with new original name for race, because in my opinion those are much better for setting than using cliché names if you don't use some cliché-esque archetype go with that name.

 

But my problem is not with orcs or any other race that may be added in Eora but in the way how new race and cultures where you can find it will be introduced and explanation why that race isn't in Dyrwood area and do/do not Empires in PoE know that it/they exist, because I don't want to see single race cultures at least in any major roles in that world, especially one that have lived in isolation from every other race, as I like idea of all multi race cultures so much, that I don't want sacrifice it to anything. As it is concept that make me excited about generic fantasy like I was in my teenage years.

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As I already said I think that ethnicities inside of races have formed because of the fact that some members of said races have moved to different locations in Eora and their new environments have caused physical changes in them. But I like idea that all the races have born created about same time and many in same areas gods withing them and leading them to form societies. And then some people from those societies have got bored or chased away and this people have formed new societies and so on until they have spread around the world of Eora. I personally like this concept because it's something that you don't often see in fantasy settings, where concept where every race has their own place of origin and history before they found other races is so dominant that I crave alternates.

 

Still don't see the problem.

 

So we've established that countries are racially diverse because of population movements. Therefore there must have been a history of population movements, and before that history happened countries must necessarily have been less diverse.

 

Eora's countries are diverse, but that doesn't mean that one race/subrace isn't dominant from country to country. We know that in Rauatai the aumaua are culturally dominant. Does that ruin your conception of the setting? If not, why is there a problem with the exact same thing being done with any potential new races?

 

I get that you like the idea of a cosmopolitan world. I don't get the insistance that the world must always have been cosmopolitan, right back to its earliest pre-history.

 

 

With your discussion with Malekith I can't form any real concept what you think orcs are like, only thing that I find is that you think that orcs have larger physique than humans, so your archetype for them is something from Warhammer/Warcraft?

 

Your use of the word "archetype" here is problematic, because that word can mean different things in different contexts.

 

I assume based on how you have used the word, you mean it in the general sense of "character archetype". Archetypes are a good way to come to grips with characters. Not a good way to build races, cultures, or civilizations. Any culture that is based largely on a single archetype is shallow and therefore bad. This is equally true whether you're talking about an entire civilization of "victory or death!" macho-warrior-race guys or an entire race of wise, sagely mages and scholars. Two-dimensional societies are bad as a rule.

 

I like the general aesthetic (not archetype) of the different incarnations of post-Tolkien orcs. As I've said, even though we keep coming back to orcs, elves, and dwarves being "Tolkien", the truth is that PoE is a direct successor to the D&D settings of the Infinity Engine games, and Middle-Earth is only its great grandparent. So I treat the D&D version of a race as genre default for the purposes of juxtaposing new directions to take. When I think of an "orc", I think of a heavier, neanderthal-like people with green or reddish skin and possibly tusks. The same way when you think of "elf" you probably think of a lithe humanoid with pointed ears rather than a hulking brute with a hump who lives in a cave. But aside from these basic commonalities from world to world, all the other particulars of culture and language and history can be changed. The result is something that is both familiar but also novel. Obsidian has already done this with elves and dwarves. You cannot say it is intrinsicly bad to do the same thing with another D&D race without saying it was intrinsicly bad to do it for elves and dwarves.

 

I think Warhammer orcs are terrible, by the way. This is a strongly held opinion. Warcraft orcs are better, but not great. Blizzard has good ideas from time to time, but those ideas are let down by the fact that Blizzard's writing is just so bad that you end up with just a new orc who is just as two-dimensional as the old orc.

 

What I would like to see is the familiar orc aesthetic to be brought into Eora in a new, well-written, three-dimensional way. My vision of this is no more or less than what Obsidian has already done with elves and dwarves.

 

(And while I would like this, it isn't a HUGE deal for me not to get it. I know it is unlikely. But the topic is here and I'm exploring it, plus I think I've made a good case for it.)

 

 

With big and strong humanoid I would go with new original name for race, because in my opinion those are much better for setting than using cliché names if you don't use some cliché-esque archetype go with that name.

 

By this logic, do you disagree with Obsidian calling boreal dwarves "dwarves"? If you don't, you are exercising a double-standard.

Edited by Sarog
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If you don't see problem then I probably can't get you understand it.
 
We haven't established that countries are racially diverse because of population movement, but that different ethnicities inside of races have probably developed because of population movement on regions with different climates.
 
Eora's countries may have more members from one race than another, but major cultures that probably influence multiple countries are in my knowledge quite racially diverse and don't have single dominant race in them. People from same culture have high probability see member of other race and even country in more favorable light than member of other culture that is same race with them.
 
Rauatai don't break anything to me as in my understanding it is only somewhat small country in the world, and it isn't only occurrence of aumaua, and it isn't mono race culture. If you would like example of PoE's lore that I am not keen on is fact that Aedyr Empire is formed in union of human kingdom Aedyr and elven kingdom Kulklin. Sad truth with PoE as is with everything else that isn't written by me is that they don't ever follow my visions exactly as I see them, but that don't mean that I would like to add more things that goes against my vision. Like new race that can be found only from one culture/country in the world.
 
I used archetype because it includes also non visual traits that are generally associated with races (like long lived elves).
 
Your description of orc isn't one that I would directly associate with orcs.
 
D&D has seen quite lot different type of orc during years.

Old orcs 

Newer orcs

So D&D orc don't me any heavy associations with some specific look and D&D's portrayal of orcs usually generic enemies that need to be killed, although in some stories they have noble savage aspects in them, but nothing really interesting IHMO. 
 
 
In my opinion boreal dwarfs hit quite many check box from Tolkien's dwarfs. As they have quite similar hight and body type, they have high constitution, they live in harsh conditions. So there is quite much familiarity, which make differences (they aren't mountaineers, etc.) seem fresh and interesting.

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Elerond, I believe Sarog's idea of orcs is more general than you think.

 

Basically, you wouldn't have 16-foot tall, really thin, long-limbed creatures in your world and call them "dwarves," would you? Nor would you have hulking 10-foot-wide brick-wall-looking creatures with no grace whatsoever and call them "elves." You could, but you wouldn't.

 

Same thing with Orcs. They don't have to be huge, and they don't have to be green, and they don't have to have tusks, but... they've got to maintain some kind of orcish design, or there's no reason to call them "orcs." I think that's all he's saying.

 

The most notable traits of orcs, from precedent, are the large, physically-powerful humanoid form and green skin (most commonly, although there are plenty of other variants of skin color, and there could definitely be plenty of ethnicities of orcs, only one of which -- or maybe even none of which -- is green), etc.

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Elerond, I believe Sarog's idea of orcs is more general than you think.

 

Basically, you wouldn't have 16-foot tall, really thin, long-limbed creatures in your world and call them "dwarves," would you? Nor would you have hulking 10-foot-wide brick-wall-looking creatures with no grace whatsoever and call them "elves." You could, but you wouldn't.

 

Same thing with Orcs. They don't have to be huge, and they don't have to be green, and they don't have to have tusks, but... they've got to maintain some kind of orcish design, or there's no reason to call them "orcs." I think that's all he's saying.

 

The most notable traits of orcs, from precedent, are the large, physically-powerful humanoid form and green skin (most commonly, although there are plenty of other variants of skin color, and there could definitely be plenty of ethnicities of orcs, only one of which -- or maybe even none of which -- is green), etc.

 

I didn't tried to deny that, but I wanted to know what his vision about orcs is, as there is much more variety in orcs in fantasy world than there are with elves and dwarfs, but still it usually safer say that they are Tolkien variety of them.

 

I tried to get more specific information as it interest me as how other people see orcs and what traits they emphasize and what they leave out. This is interesting to me because other people have grown with different fantasy world than me which will make their priorities different of those of mine. My inquiries may have bit too unpolite undertone in them as read my message again, but my only goal was to get Sarog give more fleshed out idea of his vision of orcs, by pointing out that his current description don't give (for me) specific enough picture about them.

 

And what comes to most notable traits of orcs I would argue that orcs are humanoids that are smaller than humans, with misshapen face and body, and they are quite weak and cowardly.  And their skin color is dark bit grayish. 

 

-48503304321433830.jpg

Dark Elf from world of Glorantha, don't you think that s/he has very classic elvish look ;)

Edited by Elerond

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If you don't see problem then I probably can't get you understand it.

 

Probably true. We've danced back and forth on the point and I'm sorry to say that you aren't articulating it well. I feel like I've out-argued the point and you're just going on full-steam ahead.

 

I said;

 

We know that in Rauatai the aumaua are culturally dominant. Does that ruin your conception of the setting? If not, why is there a problem with the exact same thing being done with any potential new races?

 

You replied.

 

"Rauatai don't break anything to me as in my understanding it is only somewhat small country in the world, and it isn't only occurrence of aumaua, and it isn't mono race culture."

 

So you have no problem with this particular example. So I must ask again, "why is it a problem if the exact same thing is done with a new race?"

 

At this point it is like you are objecting for the sake of objecting. I've said again and again that a new race needn't be monocultural. I've suggested again and again that Obsidian would obviously treat any new races like they have treated existing races. But you keep arguing against something I'm not advocating. I don't want to strawman you, but what I feel that you are communicating to me is that if members of a new race have not been present in every civilization since the dawn of time, you will contrive a reason to object to that race existing.

 

D&D's portrayal of orcs usually generic enemies that need to be killed, although in some stories they have noble savage aspects in them, but nothing really interesting IHMO. 

 

So what? The fact that orcs have previously been poorly written throwaway villains does not mean Obsidian would write them like that. It actually creates an opportunity to write them well, which has largely not been done. Because something has not interested you in the past, nothing that can be done with it can be worth doing in the future?

 

 

I tried to get more specific information as it interest me as how other people see orcs and what traits they emphasize and what they leave out. This is interesting to me because other people have grown with different fantasy world than me which will make their priorities different of those of mine. My inquiries may have bit too unpolite undertone in them as read my message again, but my only goal was to get Sarog give more fleshed out idea of his vision of orcs, by pointing out that his current description don't give (for me) specific enough picture about them.

 

 Thing is... I haven't been arguing for any specific version of orcs. I haven't been arguing for "my vision" of orcs. I have been arguing generally that "some" vision of orcs can certainly be new and interesting and well written. I've also been arguing that Obsidian's version of orcs - if they chose to include them - wouldn't automatically be worthless just because the word "orc" would be used.

 

As Lephys says, and as I have said before in the thread, you need a bare minimum in common with the popular image of orcs in high fantasy for something to count as an orc. Something like Malakith's example of frail scholar orcs would alienate people with an inclination towards orcs in the same way that a hunchbacked giant who lives in a cave and eats children being called an "elf" would alienate elf players.

 

But the genre-standard for orcs is *not* Tolkien. There is a basic aesthetic commonality between orcs in most franchises. If you take an orc from each setting of Dungeons and Dragons that has them, a Warhammer orc, a Warcraft orc, and an Elder Scrolls Orc, you will find a great deal of visual differences between them. Some are porcine, some are simian, some are primitive, some are martial. Between all of them there is a general commonality - in that they tend to be green, muscular, and have tusks - that is nowhere to be seen in Tolkien. Because PoE is a direct successor to Infinity Engine D&D rather than Tolkien, any physical conception of orcs that is vaguely similar to these other ones that define the modern genre default is an acceptable approach. You can change the skin colour, cut the tusks, but ultimately they all have this hulking physique underneath and that is the only essential component.

 

If you want to know my ideal preference for orcs... it would be something green and/or reddish and/or yellowish, with a neanderthall-like physique and being more simian than porcine. My ideal preference for orcs in a D&D overhaul setting like Eora would be to roll the aesthetic qualities of D&D 3.5 hobgoblins and bugbears into the concept, and achieve something that is an aesthetic middle-ground of the three. But honestly I can take anything that is recognisably an orc, and which comes with a well-written concept

 

Let me add how weird it is for me to go from arguing against the "Tolkien influence = creative death!" camp to your "Tolkien or bust!" stance in the same thread. I think it is clear that Obsidian has gone a middle road; owning their D&D inheritence but breathing fresh life into it.  I don't think that pushing against that in rejection of Tolkien, or pushing against D&D influences for the sake of prefering Tolkien's originals, is harmonious with the creative core of the setting.

Edited by Sarog

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 Thing is... I haven't been arguing for any specific version of orcs. I haven't been arguing for "my vision" of orcs. I have been arguing generally that "some" vision of orcs can certainly be new and interesting and well written. I've also been arguing that Obsidian's version of orcs - if they chose to include them - wouldn't automatically be worthless just because the word "orc" would be used.

 

They did put their version of orcs in, they're called the Aaumua.  Why should they be discounted just because the word "orc" isn't used?

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 Thing is... I haven't been arguing for any specific version of orcs. I haven't been arguing for "my vision" of orcs. I have been arguing generally that "some" vision of orcs can certainly be new and interesting and well written. I've also been arguing that Obsidian's version of orcs - if they chose to include them - wouldn't automatically be worthless just because the word "orc" would be used.

 

They did put their version of orcs in, they're called the Aaumua.  Why should they be discounted just because the word "orc" isn't used?

 

Aumaua aren't orcs any more than orlans are dwarves. Size is not the beginning and end of the subject. Obsidian's inclusion of elves and dwarves was an appeal to that which is familiar from the D&D world of the Infinity Engine games. Aumaua are not. They come with no such aesthetic familiarty. That's not criticism of the aumaua. I'm not "discounting" them because they are not orcs. I do however reject the notion that there is no room for orcs to exist alongside aumaua. There is such room, just as there is room for dwarves to exist alongside orlans.

Edited by Sarog

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Thing is... I haven't been arguing for any specific version of orcs. I haven't been arguing for "my vision" of orcs. I have been arguing generally that "some" vision of orcs can certainly be new and interesting and well written. I've also been arguing that Obsidian's version of orcs - if they chose to include them - wouldn't automatically be worthless just because the word "orc" would be used.

But if there isn't any specific idea behind orcs then I don't see why they should be added instead of race with original name. Only good reason, in my opinion, for inclusion of cliché races is familiarity, but if you fully revamp race so that there is only little or none familiarity left or race is such that there is non even at beginning then, in my opinion, it is better to go with new name because it at least adds originality in the setting.

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Thing is... I haven't been arguing for any specific version of orcs. I haven't been arguing for "my vision" of orcs. I have been arguing generally that "some" vision of orcs can certainly be new and interesting and well written. I've also been arguing that Obsidian's version of orcs - if they chose to include them - wouldn't automatically be worthless just because the word "orc" would be used.

 

They did put their version of orcs in, they're called the Aaumua.  Why should they be discounted just because the word "orc" isn't used?

 

 

Aumaua aren't orcs any more than orlans are dwarves. Size is not the beginning and end of the subject. Obsidian's inclusion of elves and dwarves was an appeal to that which is familiar from the D&D world of the Infinity Engine games. Aumaua are not. They come with no such aesthetic familiarty. That's not criticism of the aumaua. I'm not "discounting" them because they are not orcs. I do however reject the notion that there is no room for orcs to exist alongside aumaua. There is such room, just as there is room for dwarves to exist alongside orlans.

 

Orlans are substitution for halflings/hobbits  

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But if there isn't any specific idea behind orcs then I don't see why they should be added instead of race with original name. Only good reason, in my opinion, for inclusion of cliché races is familiarity, but if you fully revamp race so that there is only little or none familiarity left or race is such that there is non even at beginning then, in my opinion, it is better to go with new name because it at least adds originality in the setting.

 

There is an idea. I've just finished describing the paramaters of this idea to you. There is a general idea of what an orc is *physically*. A D&D orc and an Elder Scrolls orc and a Warcraft orc and a Might & Magic orc all have physical differences,  but they fall within that general idea of an orc. Whereas an aumaua or a qunari do not. There are paramaters. Those parameters just happen to be wider than Tolkien.

 

Your argument in this post is a fallacy of the excluded middle. You only see the familiar cliche and the unfamiliar innovation. But something can be familiar and innovative at the same time. PoE is already doing this with elves and dwarves and you accept this as positive. I'm forced to once again conclude that you are arguing according to arbitrary double standards.

 

Eora is not an "original or die" setting. Eora is not a "cliche" setting. It is a middle road that blends the familiar with the novel. I've been arguing in favour of an orc that is *neither* a cliche *nor* a "full revamp without any familiarity". I've argued a blend of innovation and familiarity. That you replied to me like this suggests that you are just skimming my posts without considering them, or that there is otherwise a very serious defficiency in our ability to communicate.

 

I'm sorry to be so blunt, but if you continue to just reword your objections without properly engaging with my answers to them, I'm not going to keep repeating myself in turn. I feel like I'm arguing with a talking head on my TV screen, and that's not worthwhile conversation to have.

 

Orlans are substitution for halflings/hobbits 

 

This reply completely misses the point to which it is responding.

Edited by Sarog
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But if there isn't any specific idea behind orcs then I don't see why they should be added instead of race with original name. Only good reason, in my opinion, for inclusion of cliché races is familiarity, but if you fully revamp race so that there is only little or none familiarity left or race is such that there is non even at beginning then, in my opinion, it is better to go with new name because it at least adds originality in the setting.

 

There is an idea. I've just finished describing the paramaters of this idea to you. There is a general idea of what an orc is *physically*. A D&D orc and an Elder Scrolls orc and a Warcraft orc and a Might & Magic orc all have physical differences,  but they fall within that general idea of an orc. Whereas an aumaua or a qunari do not. There are paramaters. Those parameters just happen to be wider than Tolkien.

 

Your argument in this post is a fallacy of the excluded middle. You only see the familiar cliche and the unfamiliar innovation. But something can be familiar and innovative at the same time. PoE is already doing this with elves and dwarves and you accept this as positive. I'm forced to once again conclude that you are arguing according to arbitrary double standards.

 

Eora is not an "original or die" setting. Eora is not a "cliche" setting. It is a middle road that blends the familiar with the novel. I've been arguing in favour of an orc that is *neither* a cliche *nor* a "full revamp without any familiarity". I've argued a blend of innovation and familiarity. That you replied to me like this suggests that you are just skimming my posts without considering them, or that there is otherwise a very serious defficiency in our ability to communicate.

 

Orlans are substitution for halflings/hobbits 

 

This reply completely misses the point to which it is responding.

 

 

You missed my points in both of your replies. So I think that you probably should ponder them bit more.

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Dark Elf from world of Glorantha, don't you think that s/he has very classic elvish look ;)

 

That particular image is a Myconid from the D&D 2nd edtion monster manual isn't it?

 

Since your asking what Orcs look like to other people, or at least arch-typical features - and actually seem interested in someone answering you Elerond. I find it interesting that my and your opinion on Orc's are quite different. Here is my opinion - incoming block of text. ;p

 

  I tend to envision them as being slightly taller then an average human, having more bulk. Though that bulk is not that of a sculpted body builder but more of a core of muscle covered in fat (Muscle tone not evident). Skin tones ranging from moss green to pale grey - since typically aren't assumed to have great hygiene all skin tones can appear in one specimen due to skin discolouration. (Acme, scar tissue, dry patches, or even just dirt or other detritus on their bodies.) Hair colour being as varied as seen in humanity though earth tones being most common, I wouldn't expect to see Orc's with green hair. (Typically a feature that usually makes me infer a Troll.)

On the features of the face, while not having tusks - would have protruding canines, the Orc would have a strong protruding jawline (Common overbite), and pointed teeth. Whether naturally pointed due to diet or sharpened due to cultural rituals would be unclear. Earlobe would taper to a point, similar to goblins, elves - though the lobe would not be oversized - would follow similar ear size expected in a human norm.

 

Culturally would be considered Barbaric - and the worst of primitive cultural norms expected. Ritual killing of malformed infants, the slavery of defeated foes. Expected coming of age ceremonies would include killing a sentient foe - of a culture opposing their own. Lines of succession expected to follow strength of ability of leaders to feed and win glory for their tribesman. Matters of justice being settled by strength of arms rather then empirical evidence (or common opinion).

Thats' about it. Though I tend to view them as I've used them D&D. If I tend to need a more civilized enemy using a goblinoid sub-type I go to the Hobgoblin not the Orc.

On adding Orc's into Pillars - I think it was a good idea to leave them out. They are a typical fantasy staple, usually playing the roll of evil overlord low leveled minion. While I've read fantasy where Orc's are the main villain usually I don't finish them due to them typically be portrayed as lacking guile, or failing to be that interesting. So I  agree with you Elerond on them being unnecessary.

 

If someone were to take Orc's and say revamp them to basically be a Spartan-like warrior culture(advancing tech to gunpowder, and well crafted steel arms, and drilled soldiers basically), I would cry foul as it's basically swapping their alignment to Lawful and giving them the role typically taken by Hobgoblins. (Which are the typical goblinoid Lawful race.) If another extreme was taken, and instead of warriors they were tinkers or crafters, now they are misplacing typical goblins.

 

Really I don't see a great amount of room to "reinvent" the Orc, or even that it's worth it. They do the brute barbarian culture pretty well as is - and if one hears of orc's their culture is assumed to match that of common fiction. Barbarous tribe of warriors basically.

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snip

 

-48503304321433830.jpg

Dark Elf from world of Glorantha, don't you think that s/he has very classic elvish look ;)

 

That particular image is a Myconid from the D&D 2nd edtion monster manual isn't it?

 

 

It maybe, I took it from RuneQuest/Glorantha fan page, but it don't look like dark/black elves in RuneQuest creature manual, which I don't have currently in my hands so that I could had scanned picture from there.

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Just gonna throw this out there: Tolkien's races were largely based on existing ethnic groups. Dwarves were based on his take on Jews, Hobbits/Halflings on his view of rural england, Orcs on anti-asian stereotypes, and on and on.

 

Suggesting an "alternative" version of Orcs that isn't racist is kind of like making Golliwogs a major fantasy race and acting like that's not messed up because you put a huge amount of work into taking them seriously and treating them fairly in your setting.

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Just because someone draws specific inspiration for devising a concept does not mean that any further use of that concept comes equipped with that same inspiration's undertones.

 

Think of it as "Hmmm... come to think of it, a race of 3-1/2-foot-tall humanoids would be pretty interesting," instead of "I'm literally just copying Tolkien's exact thought process on making this race."

 

An alternative version of anything fictional is hardly ridiculous.


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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What makes it ridiculous when it's a fantasy Golliwog if that's true? Tolkien's orcs are conspicuously and explicitly based on WW2 era propaganda and most of the material that's followed on has in one way or other imitated that. Hell, Blizzard's attempt at revisionist orcs doubled down on the asian angle.

 

Seriously what makes the Orc less messed up than the hypothetical TTLY SRS take on the Golliwog beyond the fact that we're kind of used to the Orc?

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I don't know what a Golliwog is, which is why I didn't really comment on the legitimacy of Golliwog rehashes.

 

Also, I don't know how else to say this. I'm not defending Tolkien. I'm observing the non-restriction of fictional concepts. A fictional race of numerous, warlike humanoids doesn't automatically make its creator Tolkien, complete with inspiration and all.

 

Furthermore, basing a fictional race on a real culture/people is not inherently racist. Drawing inspiration from something for a fictional concept doesn't result in a negative commentary. That being said, I'm no Tolkien expert, and, again, have no interest in defending Tolkien, specifically. I'm simply commenting on the nature of fiction, here.


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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This is a Golliwog doll:

 Vnkzyre.jpg

It is a racial caricature based on the blackface tradition. There's a long-standing traidtion of this kind of blackface in literature. That does not make it not-racist and not terrible when it's imitated or reiterated.

 

This is Tokio Kid:

llKFQ5y.jpg

It is a racist caricature that's part of the tradition Tolkien based the orcs on. There's a long tradition of repeating this kind of caricature in fantasy lit. You can probably see a lot of points of comparison in the skintone, the fangs, the pointed ears, the coarse black hair...

 

My point is that it's trying to staple some SO DEEP SO SERIOUS backstory to a literal racial grotesque. It's absurd when it's a blackface doll, and it's absurd when it's tolkien's racist take on asian people.

Edited by nzmccorm
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Wow. In that case, it's completely different. What if dragons were originally some satire of a particular culture? Would that mean that no one could ever conceive of huge, flying reptiles in their fantasy worlds anymore, because they'd always be specifically attempting to negatively comment on that particular culture? Nope.

 

That doll is referencing black people, and it's using a caricature of a black person to do it. It's not some metaphor or other symbol that just happens to be used as such.

 

It's very much like... a weapon of choice. A serial killer may kill people with a carpenter's hammer. That doesn't mean that if someone wants to use a carpenter's hammer, they wish to kill someone, or somehow condone serial killing. The general orc concept is like the hammer. That Golliwog doll is like an assault rifle. There's nothing about an assault rifle that isn't designed to harm/destroy.

 

I'll say it one more time, then I'm done here: Just because someone is thinking of WWII propaganda when they design a fictional race of aggressive humanoids does not mean that no one can utilize the standalone concept of a similar race of aggressive humanoids in any way other than by making it pertain to WWII propaganda. I really don't know how to say it any more clearly.


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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The hammer comparison is faulty though. Hammers were not invented, visually and otherwise, as a representation of racist anxiety. The orc was born out of Tolkien being especially racist compared even to other chinless Oxbridge types.

 

We've moved past the Golliwog and Golliwog-types in children's literature because we've accepted that it's messed up and racist. Holding onto the Orc is holding onto a racist cliche that we should have long outgrown and saying "It's different because XYZ!" is ignoring the fact that it's still a continuation of the same tradition of racist grotesque. That's part of what makes Eternity cool. It's stepping away from things like the Orc and it's interested in a fantasy world that actually looks and works believably rather than running on ye olde racial essentialism.

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Big thumbs-up, @nzmccorm.

 

An evil race that is evil because it's evil is boring. If you have to have orcs, at least question the trope, like in Arcanum.

 

 

 

They formed the industrial proletariat and were exploited by the lighter-skinned races. You came across a "smart" one who was displayed in a museum as a freak. You could also get them to unionize and fight for their rights.

 

That was not dumb.

 

 

 

If you want to have a warlike culture, then make a warlike culture. Base it on a real culture, or make one up. Unthinkingly regurgitating clichés is boring. Leave that to BioWare.

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I have a project. It's a tabletop RPG. It's free. It's a work in progress. Find it here: www.brikoleur.com

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I'm fairly positive that Tolkien's idea of the orcs began to develop before any Asian powers or supposed threats began to make any significant appearances in Europe.

 

Here is an interesting essay on Tolkien's orcs. Note for instance that according to that site, it is "often theorized that Orcs represent German soldiers. There certainly are similarities between them. Orcs are almost caricatures of the German enemy of trench warfare: the hordes of gray, pitiless warriors who overwhelm the brave and outnumbered defenders of the West."

 

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^ That boy looks cooler than racist-stereotype-Japanese-guy in any case.

 

You can interpret any fantasy race as a racist caricature with more or less effort. What I find more convincing is that the Orcs are inspired by the trench fighter of the Western Front in general - a person who has lost his hope and his humanity in the endless battles of the hellish trenches.

 

* * *

 

The discussion here reminds me of a very interesting take on the question whether Watto from Star Wars Episode I is an anti-Semitic stereotype on jewornotjew.com:

"If a character is designated as Jewish and is portrayed as loving money, having a big nose, being henpecked by women, whatever, that's a negative Jewish stereotype and the creator should be called to task.

 

But if a character has a big nose and loves money and the anti-defamation league or whoever says that makes him/her Jewish, well, that's not the creator of the character spreading negative stereotypes. That's the Jews themselves."

 

I think fantasy races should first of all be considered by themselves.

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