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Can anyone explain to me why games in general speak of race, while we're clearly dealing with species?

 

Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Pillars and pretty much everything else I've ever played in my life.

because race as a term for 'species' originates from p&p (im sure about dnd & PF, not so sure about gurps without checking, and other systems i dont know well enough to say) the games you listed are cRPG's and continue on with tradition?

 

also not sure about star trek,starwars and other 'multi-species' settings if the use the term race too


PIllars of eternty (Hard) 1st playtrough: 155h, 38 m (main Ranger with bear(bow), Eder, Durance(off tank), Hirvais(off tank), Kana(ranged), Aloth/GM)
PIllars of eternty (PtoD) 2nd playtrough: 88h 30 m (main Bleak Walker Paladin, Eder, Barbarian, Monk, Rogue (ranged) Cypher(wand)
(not counting reloads and experimenting)
status i love the game, hate the bugs, and wish for better AI and Pathfinding

http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/78749-needed-qualyty-of-life-improvements-information-and-transparency/

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Playing as an Orlan I really didn't see too much of that. Or maybe I'm just dense and missed it.

I remember the Crucible Knight giving me some static for being an Orlan and a Cipher, and I remember the Orlan hiding out because he was guilty of 'hitting someone as an Orlan' basically, but that's all that really sticks out.

It sounds horrible, but I would have liked to have seen it more. 

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In those settings race is used in place of species. Race fits better as well since "species" is a scientific term while "race" is not. So if in a fantasy, sci-fi or whatever setting race can still fit while species may not.

 

Not saying you're wrong about the different races being different species, it's just terminology.

Race is also a scientific term, and it's exactly why it bothers me. Race is a classification below species.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_%28biology%29

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Can anyone explain to me why games in general speak of race, while we're clearly dealing with species?

 

Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Pillars and pretty much everything else I've ever played in my life.

 

In those settings race is used in place of species. Race fits better as well since "species" is a scientific term while "race" is not. So if in a fantasy, sci-fi or whatever setting race can still fit while species may not.

 

Not saying you're wrong about the different races being different species, it's just terminology.

 

In real science, different species can't bang and make babies; only subspecies can, and only sometimes. So in a lot of ways "race" actually makes more sense.

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In those settings race is used in place of species. Race fits better as well since "species" is a scientific term while "race" is not. So if in a fantasy, sci-fi or whatever setting race can still fit while species may not.

 

Not saying you're wrong about the different races being different species, it's just terminology.

Race is also a scientific term, and it's exactly why it bothers me. Race is a classification below species.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_%28biology%29

 

Even the article you linked to call it "an informal taxonomic rank", meaning it's not actually a scientific word or idea but just something taxonomist's use among themselves.

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In those settings race is used in place of species. Race fits better as well since "species" is a scientific term while "race" is not. So if in a fantasy, sci-fi or whatever setting race can still fit while species may not.

 

Not saying you're wrong about the different races being different species, it's just terminology.

Race is also a scientific term, and it's exactly why it bothers me. Race is a classification below species.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_%28biology%29

 

 

I was referring to the anthropological usage and not the biological usage.

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I'm guessing this is a hangover from D&D, where you have half-elves and half-orcs, indicating they can produce viable offspring and thus not considered separate species?


"Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth." -Marcus Aurelius

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In real science, different species can't bang and make babies; only subspecies can, and only sometimes. So in a lot of ways "race" actually makes more sense.

In D&D? Yes.

 

In Pillars, Mass Effect, Dragon Age? No. (Though Elves and Humans would, technically, be the same species) At least, I'm not aware of any cross species mating being viable in any of those games, besides the aforementioned Humans and Elves in DA. (And Asari + everything, but that's asexual reproduction with DNA recombination, which is an absolutely brilliant reproductive strategy... but I digress)

 

Even the article you linked to call it "an informal taxonomic rank", meaning it's not actually a scientific word or idea but just something taxonomist's use among themselves.

You are correct, but if you'd read the whole article, you'd know that even this informal usage would not be applicable to the species in Pillars.

 

 

 

Now it seems like this stuff bothers me immensely, lol. It doesn't, it's just a gripe that really got strong during Mass Effect.

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I feel like Godlike didn't provoke a strong enough reaction, mainly. The others are fine as they're not intended to be that remarkable. There aren't anything like Drow in the setting.

 

Death Godlike specifically probably should've taken more flak, and the BB NPCs probably shouldn't have been so Godlike-heavy in some areas.

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It's hard to write reactivity that when it would change the tone and direction of an interaction. If a PC is running into a racist or godlike-phobic character, it would be a pain to write two completely separate versions of dialog -- one hostile and one neutral. And if an NPC is necessary to a quest -- or just a vendor that needs to be available to the player, then it doesn't make any sense to the game to have them be unfriendly to certain player types.

 

An on-the-nose "racism is wong" storyline would have a hard time not coming across as boring and preachy.

 

But I think this would be very easy to get around. You could create a sense of social tensions without over-emphasis or having to write and code five separate versions of each interaction by having NPCs refer to prejudice without being actively hostile themselves, or else practice "benign" racism. For example:

 

Innkeeper [to a human PC]: What can I get you?

PC: I'd like a room for the night.

 

Innkeeper [to a godlike PC]: Holy ****, a godlike! Well ... you're okay by me, just don't expect to be treated any different from anyone else. What can I get you?

PC: I'd like a room for the night.

 

Innkeeper [to a orlan PC]: Hey little guy, don't bite me! Haha, just kidding, no need to be sensitive -- What can I get you?

PC: I'd like a room for the night.

 

A very different experience for three different players, but all that's needed is a brief tag added to an otherwise identical exchange, and the function of the conversation as it might affect a quest etc isn't changed at all.

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It's hard to write reactivity that when it would change the tone and direction of an interaction. If a PC is running into a racist or godlike-phobic character, it would be a pain to write two completely separate versions of dialog -- one hostile and one neutral. And if an NPC is necessary to a quest -- or just a vendor that needs to be available to the player, then it doesn't make any sense to the game to have them be unfriendly to certain player types.

 

An on-the-nose "racism is wong" storyline would have a hard time not coming across as boring and preachy.

 

But I think this would be very easy to get around. You could create a sense of social tensions without over-emphasis or having to write and code five separate versions of each interaction by having NPCs refer to prejudice without being actively hostile themselves, or else practice "benign" racism. For example:

 

Innkeeper [to a human PC]: What can I get you?

PC: I'd like a room for the night.

 

Innkeeper [to a godlike PC]: Holy ****, a godlike! Well ... you're okay by me, just don't expect to be treated any different from anyone else. What can I get you?

PC: I'd like a room for the night.

 

Innkeeper [to a orlan PC]: Hey little guy, don't bite me! Haha, just kidding, no need to be sensitive -- What can I get you?

PC: I'd like a room for the night.

 

A very different experience for three different players, but all that's needed is a brief tag added to an otherwise identical exchange, and the function of the conversation as it might affect a quest etc isn't changed at all.

Yeah, it would be a pain, but I'm not a developer I'm a player. I *want* that kind of reactivity! It's also not entirely unprecedented--VtM:B has an entire different dialogue script for the entire game *just* for Malkavian characters. I imagine it was a ridiculous amount of work, but the end result is fantastically amazing. Malkavian is the *way* to play that game.

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 I imagine it was a ridiculous amount of work

I think you nailed it. The same reason why they can't rewrite all dialogs for low int characters.

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I also think that there is not enough comment about the PC race. I think that's actually my only disapointment with the game.

I mean,come on Pallegina don't explain to me what 's a Godlike, I am one !

Same think with the NPCs. This "tell, don' t show" policy is a shame. I really hope to see more reactions in the add-ons and the sequel.

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 I imagine it was a ridiculous amount of work

I think you nailed it. The same reason why they can't rewrite all dialogs for low int characters.

 

But my point was it needn't be.

 

Most NPCs aren't voiced. Adding a brief additional text string at the beginning of dialogs referencing the player's race/nation/class needn't be any more complicated than switching [he] for [she] based on gender.

 

It shouldn't actually be that hard to find ways to reference player background without having to change the main body or in-game function of a dialog.


DID YOU KNOW: *Missing String*

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Can anyone explain to me why games in general speak of race, while we're clearly dealing with species?

 

Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Pillars and pretty much everything else I've ever played in my life.

 

Because it was that way in the early days of TTRPGs, which is the foundation on which all RPGs were built.

 

Why was it that way in the early days of TTRPGs? Because mostly unintentional racism.


If I'm typing in red, it means I'm being sarcastic. But not this time.

Dark green, on the other hand, is for jokes and irony in general.

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Yeah, race doesn't play a factor. No one in the entire game remarked that I was a Pale Elf, even if the description says that most Dyrwoodans never see one in their life. My second playthrough is a Fire Godlike, and no one said anything so far.

 

I mean, I don't expect every single interaction to be influenced by that. But even Bioware managed to integrate race into dialog better, albeit PoE does a better job at making classes feel relevant. My Cipher at least had some dialog options.

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One guy said something about my Godlike in Gilded Vale. That's it so far, but I haven't gotten my Godlike far past that yet, either.

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Just to clarify; Ive not expected anything from Pillars of eternity. Its its own fantasy realm so yeh there might not be such a thing as racism which is all fine and dandy, I get it and it shouldn't have to be essential to any fantasy realm.

However this is where I was trying to make my point. There are history tomes you read and character descriptions implying there is racism and brings a topic out of it and yes there are tiny snippets of it but not so much as to warrant it an issue. Its like communities have forgotten past grievences.

 

I will say though there are certain parts of the game where tensions are risen that would have been the perfect opportunity to bring it up spoiler reference

the riots agaist animancy, taverns and bars such as in gilden vale even ondra's gift in the salty brothel where you find aloth but more of it. Essentially any time things are chaotic and there is no law enforcement

Generally speaking without getting too off topic you find in real life relgion gets mixed a lot with race  and where people live but I didnt find that here. Ill only make one reference not to get too off topic; Why muslims are sometimes mistakenly labeled a relgion instead of Islam.

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The game seems to focus less on racial tension and more on cultural or nationalistic pride. Drywoodians hate Aedryn's for example and although friendly with Valians don't like them that much. etc

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I prefer the focus on religious and cultural tension. Allthough it's somewhat "skin deep" in the game, it certainly feels deeper, more real and more buildt into the world than a generic "we hate these guys because EARS!".

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It seems to be more about the lingering after-effects of colonialism and rebellion rather than racism and such in the present. These things--like racism against Orlans--show up more in the way the society is structured than in personal day-to-day interactions. I do wish this was much more represented; the lore book, for example, says that most Wild Orlans in the Dyrwood are indentured servants who are slaves in all but name.

But I don't remember encountering that.

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I prefer the focus on religious and cultural tension. 

 

Sure. But at the beginning of Act 3, not one person has noticed I'm Vailian yet, either -- including the Vailian ambassador and the patriotic Pallegina.

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That there is some racial tension, esp. regarding Orlans and Godlike, doesn't mean that race has to play a major part in all interactions. Especially if you're not talking to poor neighbour kid (who happens to be Orlan) but to a paladin in full plate (who happens to be Orlan) with several friends who is going to be your customer.

Could they have done a few more checks here and there? Sure. There can always be done more.

Does race have to permeate everything? Of course not. In the Dyrwood, several species living together within one culture seems to be quite normal, and the whole reincarnation business renders Earth-standard racism kind of moot, anyway. Some are more equal than others, but not even close to some RL examples.

Is that bad? No. It's just different.

 

---

Race vs species: The term "species" also has a decidedly scientific ring to it, while "race" is more... mythological, and therefore it's usually preferred in fantasy, a genre where anything resembling modern science and technology often is anathema.


Therefore I have sailed the seas and come

To the holy city of Byzantium. -W.B. Yeats

 

Χριστός ἀνέστη!

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I can agree with that. There is a discrepency between how Orlan NPC's talk about being treated and how other NPC's discuss orlans, and how an Orlan PC is treated within the game world.

 

This is a reflection of issues with reactivity in general within the game. Nobody in the game world makes a peep about you being a Priest of Eothas, either, as far as I can tell.

 

Raedric does!

 

I was expecting to get arrested a bit more for going around in a cloak with the symbol of Eothas on it, though.

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