PDA

View Full Version : Apartheid - Racism



Dimthar
10-03-2007, 08:42 PM
From time to time my friends (players) thought they were entitled "special treatment from society" in the campaign just because they achieved a high level (8+), when in some cases they never spent time to forge alliances, lobby local rulers or pay the occasional Bard a little money to go and sing about their deeds (Narcs in Mexico do this quite often).

So from time to time they had to be reminded that they were "Low Class High Level Characters".

Sometimes the humiliation will come from Nobles (Paladin was denied entrance to a lance tournament) and sometimes they were discriminated for their "Race".

As a GM, how do you role-play racism? How good are you to make the characters feel like outcasts or inferiors? Which Race do you think is the most racist?

Non-wild elves somehow were easy to roleplay being more "civilized" and "educated" than the average human, but I never got it quite right with Dwarves.

Anyway, any suggestions, experiences or ideas are welcomed.

Ed Zachary
10-03-2007, 09:21 PM
In the play by post game, our Elf (Vimachipal) has done a very good job at picking up every human-centric slight, and calling the group on it.

She on the other hand, has been blatant in labeling all of humanity as a barbarian race.

The Half Orc, Half Elf and Dwarf have not made any mention of it.

shilar
10-04-2007, 08:57 AM
I go for subtle racism. Instead of calling an elf a pointy eared freak, I give them special quarters, food served in thier rooms that kind of thing. It looks like I'm being nice but actually it's done more in the attitude of good now we don't have to deal with them.

Vimachipal
10-04-2007, 11:16 AM
She on the other hand, has been blatant in labeling all of humanity as a barbarian race.

Is this what you mean by " blatant racism"?


Bright and early at the crack of dawn, Vi walks down the filthy but nearly deserted streets of Almraiven. She doesn't much like walking amongst the savage and immature races that now dominate the continent of Faerun, so she decided to leave early and avoid as much contact as possible. As Vi hastily walks down the streets that are showing signs of coming to life, she thinks back on why she is here and briefly shakes her head. Remembering why, she thinks: "anyone could've made that mistake, this is such a heavy penance to perform".


From her perch high up in the Rope Trick she cast, Vi watches the two savage barbarians (non-elves) act like the uncivilized ruffians they truly are. Watching the two "goons" go at it verbally as in some sort of primitive ritual, to demonstrate their superiority to each other, makes her sad when she thinks back that long ago enlightened elves once dominated Faerun.

She will continue to wait, hoping that better examples of humanity will show up.


It had been a great source of pride to Vi that she could often move freely amongst and around these barbarian humans without being noticed. Moreso out of desire not to have to interact with them than any attempt at deseption. But upon learning that her position had been spotted by the other female, a priestess, she decided that now would be a good time to interact with her and the two savages. She did not wish to be spotted, but she realized that it would be below her to pretend that she wasn't seen when it was obvious that she was.

Once on the ground she maintained her distance from the others and introduced herself to the three assembled humans...

"I am Vimachipal, Wizardess of the Miritar Clan, of the Kingdom of Evermeet. I shall do my best to help bring the two thieves to justice."

After the introduction she remains distant from the others. She does not mean to be offensive toward the others, but her past history tells her that little good can come from close interaction with these barbarians.

Skunkape
10-04-2007, 02:34 PM
My two most recent campaigns have the players residing in the most advanced and one of the most powerful nations in the area. The land is full of 'freaks' of nature as it were, so the PCs don't really have to worry about racism in their homeland.

But just to the south of that land is a human theocracy, that is very xenophobic. Whenever the non-human party members have to go into that country on a mission, the players are uncomfortable because of how their characters will get treated.

Here's a couple of things that I've done to the non-human characters.

Guards at the gate of a major city give the non-human characters a hard time, charging more for the entry fee, confiscating their weapons, performing extreme searches of their equipment, etc.

While getting food/drink or lodging in major city, the non-human characters are charged more than the human party members. Same has happened when they need equipment/transportation.

I've even had some prejudice displayed toward the human characters who are hanging out with these non-humans, but that tends to be done only by the extreme xenophobes of that country.

So you say, why don't the PCs just have their characters fight back? Well, the country in question allows slavery and gladitorial games. Guess where the PCs would find themselves, sans their equipment and spells if they were to do such a thing?

Course, that's not everyone in that country, some of the people that live there acutally like non-humans, but they tend to be few and far between, and more importantly, don't make their feelings general knowledge.

Inquisitor Tremayne
10-04-2007, 04:59 PM
During the Rebellion era of Star Wars the Empire is extremely racist toward aliens.

It usually isn't a problem because when the PCs encounter the Empire it usually starts with blaster fire instead of name calling.

But I have made derogatory statements toward the alien PCs in the party and I think our group is mature enough to handle it.

Skunkape
10-05-2007, 06:39 AM
But I have made derogatory statements toward the alien PCs in the party and I think our group is mature enough to handle it.

Interestingly enough, I've never been in a group that had a problem with racist comments. Sexist comments and comments about violent sexual acts though have not always been met favorably. For instance, one of the other players in a game I was in, a male player by the way, got really hostile toward me when my character made a flippant remark about sex and some female NPCs.

We had made racist remarks previously and he never had a problem, but this particular subject was a raw spot for him. I thought he over-reacted and I had a tendancy to not interact with him as much for the rest of the time I gamed with him. Not gaming with him anymore, partly because of that instance, but as you say Inquisitor, the players need to be mature enough to handle those kinds of situations.

Dimthar
10-05-2007, 04:55 PM
1) Have women and children throw tomatoes and rotten eggs at the "discriminated" character.

2) “Witch Hunt”, Salem Style, the Elf or the Dwarf being accused of giving the “Evil Eye” to a Kid, The parents trying to get some money from the party, of course the judge or the jury will not be impartial.

If I am not mistaken, 2nd Edition Ravenloft gave a few examples on racism (Non-Humans) were in most realms treated as “freaks” or “monsters”.

Moritz
10-08-2007, 11:10 AM
We don't serve their kind around here.

fmitchell
10-08-2007, 06:09 PM
As pointed out above, there's also the "polite to your face, but stab you in the back" sort of prejudice ... but that's more typical of classism than racism. Allegedly, though, some Japanese are guilty of this; their culture tells them to be polite always, but that non-Japanese are "not our kind". I can also see that sort of reaction based on religious differences, or if the "race" or species is important to their society (e.g. conquerors or essential trading partners), or if they're just physically imposing (like half-giants).

Still, it would be interesting if your non-human characters find someone who *seems* friendly, but actually does nothing to help. Even worse, maybe the NPC actively screws them over in a way that he thinks can't be traced back to him.

rabkala
10-08-2007, 07:00 PM
1) Have women and children throw tomatoes and rotten eggs at the "discriminated" character.

2) “Witch Hunt”, Salem Style, the Elf or the Dwarf being accused of giving the “Evil Eye” to a Kid, The parents trying to get some money from the party, of course the judge or the jury will not be impartial.

I must admit, I chuckled a bit when I read these. I am used to using more delicate and subtle ways to make the characters uncomfortable. The more I think of it, a good in your face dose of reality could be perfect. I think I will use these in the near future.

Sometimes just using a slightly different tone when speaking to the 'undesirables' works wonders. A snob looking down their nose at lesser people, can sting.

Dimthar
10-08-2007, 07:55 PM
Now, as I said in the opening, I usually can not come up with “racist” remarks while role-playing a Dwarf. Is there a “Racist attitude” inherent to dwarves?

Unfortunately we have plenty of examples on how to be racist, but somehow I believe there may be specific racist traits from each race towards the others (kind of like the descriptions that were/are on the WoD clans/traditions/tribes).

E.g. Humans Vs Elves: I always liked the idea (Tolkien's?) of Humans being jealous of Elf’s longevity / immortality. Xenophobic villains could always suggest that is due to some ancient pact of elves with demons or other dark powers. Necromancers may try to steal their life essence (Dark Crystal?).

fmitchell
10-08-2007, 10:42 PM
Now, as I said in the opening, I usually can not come up with “racist” remarks while role-playing a Dwarf. Is there a “Racist attitude” inherent to dwarves?

Read Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, particularly Guards! Guards!, Men at Arms, The Fifth Elephant, The Truth, and Thud!. His dwarfs started off as a parody of Tolkien's Dwarves, but in later books have developed their own culture. For example, they have their own secret, quasi-religious ways that they don't teach to non-dwarfs (except for Carrot Ironfounderson, a human raised since infancy as a dwarf). The more "observant" dwarfs think going above ground is unnatural, and there's a cultural rift between dwarfs who won't let the sunlight touch them and dwarfs who dwell on the surface and trade with mankind. They have an outright (but ultimately unjustified) hatred of Discworld trolls (many of whom are quite pleasant, although a bit stupid), and an absolute (and quite justified) hatred of Discworld elves (who are all illusion-weaving, ego-crushing sociopaths).

Adapting that a bit to the usual D&D world, Dwarves might regard all non-Dwarves with suspicion. Dwarves mine gems and precious metals; they forge wondrous weapons and armor using secrets known only to them. The surface races covet the fruits of Dwarvish labor, which is why Dwarves have to be stronger and cleverer than these would-be thieves. How can these lazy sun-dwellers, who pick fruit off trees when they get hungry and sleep when it gets dark, appreciate the intense labor that is a Dwarf's heritage and curse? How dare they demand the hard-won secrets that generations of Dwarves have suffered and died for? How can they understand the joys of finding a new vein, or breaking into a natural cavern that no eyes have beheld since the creation of the world? No, better to arm yourself against the surface-dwellers' inferior weapons, and sharpen your wits against their tricks.

And let's not get started on Elves! The Dwarvish grudge against Elves stretching back untold generations to some incident that isn't well recorded but was undoubtedly the Elves' fault.

rabkala
10-08-2007, 11:00 PM
Now, as I said in the opening, I usually can not come up with “racist” remarks while role-playing a Dwarf. Is there a “Racist attitude” inherent to dwarves?

Unfortunately we have plenty of examples on how to be racist, but somehow I believe there may be specific racist traits from each race towards the others (kind of like the descriptions that were/are on the WoD clans/traditions/tribes).

It of course depends on what world in which you play and its creation myths. In some worlds the dwarves still hold lingering grudges against the humans for forcing them to leave their lands. Sometimes dwarves wanted to make an ally of the humans, but found that they cannot be trusted. The elves and dwarves were often great allies until the time of the humans.

I suppose you could easily pick any number of our human flaws on which to focus. Dwarves are known for their stability, traditions, family values, and honor- humans not so much. Common dwarves are known for their attention to detail, expert craftsmanship, and love of their medium which humans cannot quite attain. Humans are brash , short lived, short sighted, untrustworthy, and sloppy by dwarven standards.

I have used some real world examples in the past for racism. Did you know that a common insult used by the Japanese of the Americans in WW1 was, 'Milk Breath'? Sometimes just going down to base things that cultures do not share can work. They can smell, look, sound, and act funny when compared to another cultures ways.

PhishStyx
10-09-2007, 03:20 PM
Discworld trolls (many of whom are quite pleasant, although a bit stupid

That isn't precisely true. Trolls are only "dense" in lower altitudes where their brains don't function as well due to chemical differences in their brains. At high altitudes, they're literally super-computers.

fmitchell
10-09-2007, 06:00 PM
That isn't precisely true. Trolls are only "dense" in lower altitudes where their brains don't function as well due to chemical differences in their brains. At high altitudes, they're literally super-computers.

I was simplifying to fit the parenthetical statement. And to correct the correction, the real factor is cold: on the icy mountaintops or deep underground, their silicon brains work much faster and more efficiently. (In a freezer, like in Men at Arms, a troll can develop into a mathematical genius.) The smartest trolls leave the mountains to try their fortune among humans on the plains, and the heat turns even the smartest troll into a relative moron. Deserts shut them down completely, at least during the day.

Moritz
10-11-2007, 07:44 AM
In many of my campaign cities, the dwarves have to ride in the back of the bus.

Also, in my world, the Trolls have caught on that they become dumber in the heat and they have moved into the arctic environments. There they plot the eventual take over of the flat earth.

Malruhn
10-14-2007, 04:26 PM
I've used racism in my campaign for years. Dwarves tend to not understand "surfers" or "hill riders", those who dwell on the surface. Elves tend to not like those who live so darned FAST. Halflings don't like those taller than themselves. Humans don't like much of anything that isn't human.

Elves aren't trusted because they live so long - and (of course) the only reason they are "immortal" is because they have made deals with the devil.
Dwarves are greedy and will steal the gold from your teeth before you die.
Orcs are just dirty and either kill, eat or rape everything they get their hands on.

Then, with the half-races, in many places in my world, it is akin to the American south in the 1950's - with mixed race relationships and children. Definitely not a good time to be a half-anything.
_______________

Thank you for the idea about Trolls. I love the idea!