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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by FhieleLlyrandor View Post
    The conceit was very much present in 1e for most of its publication history.
    Well, 2e was not dissimilar from 1e, and i didn't find this, so i am not sure what you mean. What do you mean by "conceit"? What do you see as some examples of this?

    -Fizz
    Last edited by Fizz; 06-14-2021 at 02:14 AM.

  2. #12
    Member Michael Romes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FhieleLlyrandor View Post
    I remain eternally fascinated by the way the bizarre human quasi-supremacism remained imprinted through early 2e even though it had heavily started shedding the worst of it once the assumption that games weren't interesting unless the party was majority human died an extremely deserved death (Planescape and Darksun not obsessively focusing on humans as though nothing else was truly intended to be played, and even elves and dwarves mostly grudgingly existed to gracefully go extinct once humans wanted their lands, truly did feel like a minor revolution at TSR).

    Then again it still rears its head in fantasy writing to this day, as though humans needed to be constantly coddled that they, really, truly, are the best.

    Also for reverse RP I've tinkered with assuming every unblooded regent counts as tainted in a rules revamp, or reverse engineering the rp army maintenance rule where 1gb replaces 5rp of the cost of an action
    Human quasi-supremacism?
    The humans in Cerilia are the descendants of *fugitives* from Aduria, tribes that fled the rule of Azrai, Shadowmagic and humanoids.

    They could establish themselves in Cerilia only with the goodwill of the sidhelien in the very beginning, when they settled the shores and few plains and showed themselves to be a valuable ally against the humanoid menaces that the sidhelien alone were unable to defeat.

    That they pushed back the Sidhelien and turned half of Cerilia into Plains by logging forests down is something like the arabian conquest - where Byzantium/Eastern Rome and the Sassanids fight each other so long that an upstart tribal rival from nowhere could almost take over both.

    And those same human tribes would have been nearly wiped out at and after Deismaar if not the Sidhelien(well, most of them) in the last moment saw through Azrais lies and changed sides *and* the human gods sacrificed themselves to defeat? Azrai.

    Humans are certainly not quasi-supremacists in Birthright. Even goblins have managed to keep their chaotic instincts in check good enough to form pretty stable kingdoms, the Orog menace - not the humans - have most of the attention of the karamhul and every human ruler capable of strategic thinking fears the next rampage of the Awnsheglien because it will come sooner or later.
    Michael Romes

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Romes View Post

    Humans are certainly not quasi-supremacists in Birthright. Even goblins have managed to keep their chaotic instincts in check good enough to form pretty stable kingdoms, the Orog menace - not the humans - have most of the attention of the karamhul and every human ruler capable of strategic thinking fears the next rampage of the Awnsheglien because it will come sooner or later.
    I didn't mean on a setting level, I meant a degree of humanocentrism that tends to be worse in 1e and still reared its head in a lot of early 2e stuff.

    That said the setting does use first person bias in a way that gets treated as a bit too canon for my tastes, because when it is the setting changes from "cerilian humans aren't actually that good compared to what they claim to be" to just being old school, 1e-style "actually humans are the only part of the world you should care about." And frankly it's hard to not look at cerilian humans' attitude that they deserve the whole of Cerilia whatever the locals may think as anything but at the very least quasi supremacist.

  4. #14
    Member Michael Romes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FhieleLlyrandor View Post
    I didn't mean on a setting level, I meant a degree of humanocentrism that tends to be worse in 1e and still reared its head in a lot of early 2e stuff.

    That said the setting does use first person bias in a way that gets treated as a bit too canon for my tastes, because when it is the setting changes from "cerilian humans aren't actually that good compared to what they claim to be" to just being old school, 1e-style "actually humans are the only part of the world you should care about." And frankly it's hard to not look at cerilian humans' attitude that they deserve the whole of Cerilia whatever the locals may think as anything but at the very least quasi supremacist.
    Which is irrelevant as everyone thinks he deserves the whole of Cerilia whatever the locals may think.
    Rhuobhe would annihilate the humans AND goblins if he could, the other Sidhelien at least drive the humans from the forests, the humanoids would take all in the name of Azrai and not to forget the Vos despite being human would fight the other humans for the right to rule all of it. That is if the Raven, Magian and Gorgon don´t form a triumvirate first and rule them all...
    Michael Romes

  5. #15
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    I am with Michael Romes on this one. (The name sounds suspiciously like Michael Roele... hrmmm. ).


    Quote Originally Posted by FhieleLlyrandor View Post
    I meant a degree of humanocentrism that tends to be worse in 1e and still reared its head in a lot of early 2e stuff.
    You're singling out 1e and 2e, but what changed in 3e and later editions? Humans are the most populous species in every setting, regardless of edition. How are other editions any different? Cite some examples.

    And why would humanocentrism be a thing be a bad thing? The game was/is written and played by humans. All literature / art created by humans is bound to be humanocentric because it's written FOR humans! We're not elves or dwarves- those fantasy lives / mindsets are completely alien to us humans, so why shouldn't the setting be written from the human perspective?

    If the demihumans weren't intended to be played, they wouldn't have been included in the rules. Humans are the "base", which means by definition they are neither better nor worse than the others.

    And frankly it's hard to not look at cerilian humans' attitude that they deserve the whole of Cerilia whatever the locals may think as anything but at the very least quasi supremacist.
    Really? If there is one species that thinks they are superior to others, it's the Sidhelien. Even before humans arrived the elves were waging wars against the goblins and others species, trying to rid the surface of goblins / gnolls etc. So how can you claim that humans are uniquely quasi-supremacist?

    But the reasons for war and conquest are not so simplistic. Conflict arises from competing interests. Humans didn't start cutting down the forests because they thought themselves superior. They needed farmland to grow food to feed their children. Add to that the incomprehensibility of the elven mind to non-elves. and misunderstandings and conflict may have been inevitable. But there is no indication that humans invaded because they thought themselves superior.


    -Fizz
    Last edited by Fizz; 06-21-2021 at 10:01 PM.

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Fizz View Post
    You're singling out 1e and 2e, but what changed in 3e and later editions? Humans are the most populous species in every setting, regardless of edition. How are other editions any different? Cite some examples.
    3e, for one, did not ship with a PHB where the only focus characters in the art were all variations of the same 3 or so human dudes and did not set up a variety of rules to make it sound like you were playing wrong by not going human.

    And why would humanocentrism be a thing be a bad thing? The game was/is written and played by humans. All literature / art created by humans is bound to be humanocentric because it's written FOR humans! We're not elves or dwarves- those fantasy lifestyles are completely alien to us humans, so why shouldn't it be for us?
    There's no correlation there. Humanocentrism in a world where humans are not the only species is obviously bad. Humans really don't need fantasy to tell them how amazing they are, real life already does it enough, frankly undeservedly so. Birthright, if anything, is a setting I've always appreciated for having even the self-proclaimed good humans actually be some of the worst people in the setting.

    Really? If there is one species that thinks they are superior to others, it's the Sidhelien. Even before humans arrived the elves were waging wars against the goblins and others species, trying to rid the surface of goblins / gnolls etc. So how can you claim that humans are uniquely quasi-supremacist?
    I can claim it very easily actually, and I am in fact pretty much fundamentally right as far as the setting is concerned. First person region books are nice for the presentation of a bias but when even the biased source make it clear that the humans didn't stop claiming, conquering, deforesting elvish lands and massacring and pushing out the locals to make room for humans after Deismaar (including most of Tuar's own country to build a road), the implication that they're not doing because they believe in human superiority is funny. Human arrogance, if anything, is deep limitless ocean.

    Still this is entirely unrelated to my point about old school 1e writing being fundamentally written with a low key perspective that you were basically wrong for playing a non-human and any group with more than one of one type was an abomination.
    Last edited by FhieleLlyrandor; 06-21-2021 at 08:20 PM.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by FhieleLlyrandor View Post
    3e, for one, did not ship with a PHB where the only focus characters in the art were all variations of the same 3 or so human dudes
    Your characterization of earlier editions' artwork is demonstrably false. The drawings in 1st ed are few, and mostly simple sketches. Of course there are pictures of humans, but there are plenty of pictures where humans are not the focus (or even present).

    From the 1st ed AD&D Player's Handbook, pages 13, 15, 93, 108 all contain images of non-human groups, one even a full page. And there are numerous examples in the DMG too.

    2nd Ed (when TSR had a bigger budget) had more images, and in color, and there are numerous examples of all types of demihumans. Being that 2nd ed is just a tweak of 1st ed, any differences in artwork is not evidence of anything other than a difference in budget.

    and did not set up a variety of rules to make it sound like you were playing wrong by not going human
    What rules are you talking about? 1st Ed had the same set of traits/rules that distinguish the demihumans from the others as any other edition. Asides from system mechanics, they're the same. So what in 1st edition made you think playing a dwarf was wrong? Tell me where to find examples of this.


    Birthright, if anything, is a setting I've always appreciated for having even the self-proclaimed good humans actually be some of the worst people in the setting.
    We agree here. I like that Birthright has muddied the ethics. But i have the caveat that this feature applies to ALL the demihumans and cultures. In standard D&D, elves are portrayed as entirely chaotic good, the dwarves as lawful good (with the exception of the subraces). In a standard AD&D game, if you run into elves or dwarves, they'd be helpful (or at least not a threat).

    But in Birthright, encountering a band of elves may be an instant fight for your life, particularly if you're a human. The gheallie sidhe is certainly not portrayed or justified as a good act. And the dwarves are not immune either: consider the good dwarves of Baruk-Azhik versus the evil dwarves of Mur-Kilad.

    Birthright is different not because humans can be antagonists (other settings have examples of evil humans too), it's because all the cultures are compromised.

    So how can you claim that humans are uniquely quasi-supremacist?
    I can claim it very easily actually, and I am in fact pretty much fundamentally right as far as the setting is concerned.
    As far as the setting goes, you are incorrect.

    I didn't say humans were not capable of having a superiority complex. My question was "how can you claim that humans are uniquely quasi-supremacist?" Note the word "uniquely". Why do you think only humans are capable of a superiority complex?

    The Birthright rulebook describes elves as "very conscious of their perceived superiority and treat others with coldness or condescension". So as i said, if any species has a superiority complex, it's the elves. No such description is mentioned for humans.

    If you want your humans to think themselves superior, fine. But they're not different than other species, and by canon elves are the biggest offenders. So why single out humans?

    ... make it clear that the humans didn't stop claiming, conquering, deforesting elvish lands and massacring and pushing out the locals to make room for humans after Deismaar (including most of Tuar's own country to build a road), the implication that they're not doingbecause they believe in human superiority is funny. Human arrogance, if anything, is deep limitless ocean.
    But your ascribing human actions to arrogance alone is to ignore the history that led to these events. The elves are not innocents in this. The humans did encroach on elven lands, but it was the elves who started the gheallie sidhe, killing humans indiscriminately: soldier, logger, peasant, child. And this continued even after Deismaar. Don't you think that after generations of such attacks the humans might be pissed off enough to not care about elven concerns? Thus, a superiority complex is not required to be antagonistic towards them.

    In fact, it may be the elven superiority complex that lead to the gheallie sidhe- they're only humans, just a pest to be wiped off the map.


    Still this is entirely unrelated to my point about old school 1e writing being fundamentally written with a low key perspective that you were basically wrong for playing a non-human and any group with more than one of one type was an abomination.
    Again, where this is stated or even implied? Genuinely, from where do you get the impression that playing a non-human is wrong? I played 1st ed and even more 2nd, and a human pc was always in the minority.


    -Fizz
    Last edited by Fizz; 06-22-2021 at 01:17 PM.

  8. #18
    Member Michael Romes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fizz View Post
    ...
    Again, where this is stated or even implied? Genuinely, from where do you get the impression that playing a non-human is wrong? I played 1st ed and even more 2nd, and a human pc was always in the minority.
    -Fizz
    My guess would be that he refers to the few rules favouring humans.
    Paladins had to be humans and all demi-humans had level restrictions in place. However due to low-level campaigns or demi-human multiclassing I never had a problem with them.
    Michael Romes

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Romes View Post
    My guess would be that he refers to the few rules favouring humans.
    Paladins had to be humans and all demi-humans had level restrictions in place. However due to low-level campaigns or demi-human multiclassing I never had a problem with them.
    Hmmm... good point. Maybe. That was meant to be the humans' sole advantage. Elves, dwarves, etc, all had special abilities, and the humans' special "ability" was unlimited advancement. Whether that was a fair trade-off is another question entirely, but i don't think it says "playing a non-human is wrong".

    It's odd, over the years the complaint i always heard was the exact opposite, that there was no reason to play humans- they're too boring. (I didn't agree with that sentiment either. Heh.)


    -Fizz

  10. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Fizz View Post
    The humans did encroach on elven lands, but it was the elves who started the gheallie sidhe, killing humans indiscriminately: soldier, logger, peasant, child.

    -Fizz
    There is nothing indiscriminate about farmers and loggers being targeted when they're part and parcel of the adurians' colonial expansion.

    Thus, a superiority complex is not required to be antagonistic towards them.
    It took a gigantic superiority complex in the first place to decide that lands they'd never even set foot on until the expansion of the Adurian empire were theirs by divine right.

    The claim that the gheallie sidhe is arrogant for its existence reminds me of a common saw in a lot of fantasy settings, if anything, that elves are inherently arrogant for merely wanting to survive without becoming conquered subjects of humanity.

    Paladins had to be humans and all demi-humans had level restrictions in place. However due to low-level campaigns or demi-human multiclassing I never had a problem with them.
    Among other things, basically yes. Also some of the obviously arbitrary class restrictions; it took complete druid and complete bard to drop the silliness of elves not being able to take those up in core 2e.
    Last edited by FhieleLlyrandor; 06-28-2021 at 11:58 PM.

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