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@Sozz, good summary! Great points about how the certain knowledge of the divine changes the conversation.

Originally Posted by Black_Elk
It just seems like a problematic approach to make the Drow explicitly racial like that though. I mean do they really want to go that way, and say 'yeah, that's what the Drow were all along' ? Because that's what the implication would seem to be with a recasting. They'd have a lot of ground to make up to salvage anything really going that route.

Rather than starting from the premise that the Drow were coded black folks in D&D, I suppose they could also just make the most evil faction of the Drow even more explicitlly white looking than they already are. I mean the Drow are probably the whitest looking race in D&D for everything other than their skintone already. In most illustrations anyway. I mean they don't appear particularly black, if you're just looking at what's in front of you. And they have been steadily making the Drow more light skinned and blue and purple and gray than black as time goes on.

Well said. Exactly. Instead of saying "this was racist all along" they should have made them white. I think the movie the time machine (not an unproblematic story either) got the aesthetics right:

[Linked Image from martynglanville.com]

As far as Gygax, I think he was doing two things: he was trying to implement the dark elves from nordic mythos (which apparently was synonymous with dwarves) and, since this was the 70s, he was probably thinking of a photo negative -- thus the white hair. When I look at myself in photo negatives I look like a drow. Did Gygax have problematic beliefs? Sure. Do I think he was using drow as a stand in for Africans? No.

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[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

I wish I knew how to insert an image

This was one of my favorite Foglio comics from back when Dragon Magazine was doing a Drow special, which is also where most of my Drow lore comes from (and BG:II of course)

@KillerRabbit thanks for the kind words

Last edited by Sozz; 08/08/21 06:32 PM. Reason: I learned how to insert an image. I don't like it
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One other way to reset it would be to have plotline that involves a slave revolt in Menzoberranzan, done up like Spartacus or the Haitian Revolution or something. Just with a really epic sweep, that totally reorients the story of who the Drow are and clues us in to previously unexplored aspects of Drow culture. Not the violent abusive predation one we've seen so far, but some other undercurrent of it, which gives rise to characters like Drizzt. Now played by Idris Elba in my continued thought experiment lol. There are many ways they could run with something like that. Like especially because slavery is still full on in the Underdark where BG2 left off, and that's kinda fucked. So perhaps they take a character like Drizzt or Viconia, but make them into a cross between a Dutty Boukman and a Spartacus type figure? Just have it cracking off in Menzoberranzan, with different factions within the city, and outside as well, all vying for power in a big interconnected revolt arc? It could still be violent and gruesome, but also full of idealism high aspirations for like a better Drow way of life or whatever on the one side. Maybe with more interesting insights into the spider queen and such to be gleaned from a different point of view?

You know where the 'good' Drow in this story are the ones who are forced to toil for the more wicked houses of Menzoberranzan, but then they throw down and break chains, totally turn the city upside down with their allies? Drizzt completes his character trajectory as the ultimate good guy overcoming. The whole conception of the Drow resets a little, at least in that part of the Underdark, via a deep story with a couple familiar characters. Drow have conveniently long life spans, so it could work for a BG3 style timeline. For the Drow Druid angle, that whole idea of being forced underground or working the mines and getting laid low by past calamity could get a pretty interesting treatment I bet. Like where the good Drow faction in the story finds the roots and the true nature of the web, the veins of stone and water and life sources, pulling out from the depths. They could maybe give us a Drow druid sage, and she drops the knowledge and explains what the real deal is with this other form of drow mysticism. But only if they really worked hard on it probably and hired the right writers and artists. I don't really know who should do it, probably Salvatore could pass the baton on the character maybe if he wanted to. I can see where it might come off pretty poorly too if it wasn't done up to spec.

Now that the Drow are playable it makes the situation a little different than before as well. The most ancient Drow could do like a Kush Pharaoh angle on it, just full on, and do some ancient scrolls with another version of how the Drow came to be underground in the first place. And like maybe the surface Elves don't end up looking quite so good in that one lol

I don't know, just some ideas. Maybe it could take off, or maybe it totally falls flat, but I don't mind them trying something different with it. The Cumberbatch Drizzt stuff introduced the threefold Drow idea, but it still kinda just feels like they don't want to deal with Lolth or what are now called the Udadrow really. The whacko cultists running Menzoberranzan is how its framed now. I think it would be more interesting if they just reworked it at the core, instead of adding Starlight Drow that go off to some Hyperborean North, or the woodland Drow who aren't 'corrupted' by the spider queen. Which honestly doesn't feel like its moving the ball anywhere really.

But I could certainly see having some creepy sadistic albino looking Drow who remain classically evil and villainous, according to the most wicked of fascist colonialist slave trading archetypes that everyone loves to hate. You know like have them played by Magneto and Nurse Ratchet, but have the good drow from Menzo be like Idris and Zendaya or something, and they just wreck the whole previous program to the ground. That would be a clutch Underdark themed campaign, that could revamp the thing better that way than through some supplemental lorebook stuff. If they're serious they need to make a campaign for it.

But so far I haven't seen a whole ton in BG3 that would necessarily work against that sort of thing. We've only got one drow to pick apart right now, so I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens in the next act.

Maybe they should save it for Icewind Dale 3 though? Get Justin Sweet back in there to do the concept art, but with some other people too to round it out. Really do the whole thing on that theme so it can be executed well, instead of as an afterthought. Icewindale would be the most appropriate setting to kick it off, if they wanted to give it some legs.

Last edited by Black_Elk; 08/08/21 09:49 AM.
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At some point we'll have the moral rehabilitation for Mind Flayers as well. Maybe precisely in BG3.


Party control in Baldur's Gate 3 is a complete mess that begs to be addressed. SAY NO TO THE TOILET CHAIN
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Originally Posted by Sozz
It's true the first images of the Drow I remember were very much '80s. I more closely associate them with Mötley Crüe or David Bowie, based on the pretty terrible art of that era. So why aren't they bringing up how they can be a way of queer-bashing. They're also a matriarchal society that treats males as less than, so why aren't they seen as an anti-feminist allegory. They also exist in a oppressive theocracy, so why not a screed on fundamentalist Christians or Islamophobia? You can write stories about all these things using the Drow, but don't treat them as real. The Drow will take on any trait the creator wants them to have, and by making this an issue you create the antecedent.
As you have illustrated by various examples all of this is arbitrary. One attribute of the drow (dark skin) has been arbitrarily chosen to make a bold and unsupported connection and demand change. Not necessarily change that would solve the perceived issue as the next quote shows.

Originally Posted by Black_Elk
But I could certainly see having some creepy sadistic albino looking Drow who remain classically evil and villainous, according to the most wicked of fascist colonialist slave trading archetypes that everyone loves to hate. You know like have them played by Magneto and Nurse Ratchet, but have the good drow from Menzo be like Idris and Zendaya or something, and they just wreck the whole previous program to the ground.
So making the 'evil' drow albinos would be better? Do you realize that in some parts of africa albinos are considered to be naturally born evil and capable of witchcraft? Albinos in northern congo are frequently butchered for the magical abilities ascribed to their meat. The meat is even exported to Tanzania, Kenya and other places. So let's make the wicked evil drow albinos. You have just shifted the whole issue to another group based on pigmentation, just one that usually gets ignored in western discourse on social justice.

It is quite clear (from explicit and implicit statements) that most participants of this thread are not just agnostic but fully atheist. Yet there is a metaphysical concept of universal good and evil assumed as real in almost every post. Where has this unambiguous "evil" that people are referring to ever been proven? How has the evilness of actions referred to as evil been proven by strict deduction based upon demonstrable truth? Nowhere.
For most people in the "west" a metaphysical remnant of absolute morality has been left over from a fading christian background. Projecting this notion of universal morals on to a fictional universe with its own metaphysics leads to a confusion of terms and boundaries of meaning.

Originally Posted by TheHero
Study i saw was not about hungry babies, it was experiments around playing and giving or not giving playthings to the other babies.
As i said theres several studies. And all try to checkup with different kind of experiments if altruistic behavior is what you are born with.
I remember that there were such studies involving (non edible) object sharing among chimpanzees. (For example https://doi.org/10.5070/P4194009969) The young chimpanzees were quite willing to share with strangers. That doesn't stop them from tearing apart other chimpanzees later in life.
Bonobos share food but they really don't like to share tools or toys. https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rspb.2018.1536
As it is clearly not language that makes the sharing little chimpanzees turn into brutal conquerers later in life I wonder why we should assume that language is what creates 'bad' behaviour in human adults?
Please provide evidence that racial bias in humans is not already formed prior to language acquisition and that race-sensitive language is necessary in order to prevent the formation of racial bias after language comprehension has been developed.
I am not aware of any research providing clear evidence for that. If there is such research I would appreciate someone providing links or doi numbers for the studies.

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Originally Posted by Black_Elk
Now that the Drow are playable it makes the situation a little different than before as well.
Not really; the 'good drow' (or to be less chartiable, drizzt clones) have become so popular WOTC has tolerated it/accepted it enough to make an entire faction of drow that are good. Why? Because the evil drow are exactly that; they're meant to be evil and not meant to be anything beyond 'unsympathetic enemy'.

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Yeah that's not something I thought of, and it does sound like a pretty bad scene. I probably should not have used the word albino, when what I meant was just really white looking white people, who live in caves lol. That was a careless colloquialism on my part, referencing more the image that was displayed at the head of this page and not the Congo. Probably not a very comfortable place for a Belgian game studio to be going either. That's why I wouldn't really want the job of taking this on though. I wouldn't know what to do with it at all. Despite considering myself pretty down for the most part and being reasonably well read. Even just spitballing ideas for like 20 minutes probably had me wading into the forbidden zone at a couple points. Its just pretty fraught territory once you even go there. I'm definitely not qualified.

I did enjoy the Nietzsche quote from the first BG game. I think D&D has a bit of a soft spot there. I'll admit to being an athiest, sure, and having a fascination with the Evil in D&D purely for the hail Satan aesthetic preference and being a child of the 80s hehe. Again probably nobody's first choice to sign on for a Drow redrafting lol. Was just trying to sit with it from the other side for a few. My thoughts on the previous page are still more where I'm at with it right now, and the follow on was reaching. Probably easier to just skip out as an unqualified judge on this one though. I'm sure I can take whatever they end up giving us in stride and still find ways to enjoy it instead of letting it give me a headache. But I do see how they could be problematic once the door is open. Maybe the new Drizzt books will be amazing and solve some of the problems. They're setting the bar pretty high

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Originally Posted by ArmouredHedgehog
It is quite clear (from explicit and implicit statements) that most participants of this thread are not just agnostic but fully atheist. Yet there is a metaphysical concept of universal good and evil assumed as real in almost every post. Where has this unambiguous "evil" that people are referring to ever been proven? How has the evilness of actions referred to as evil been proven by strict deduction based upon demonstrable truth? Nowhere.
For most people in the "west" a metaphysical remnant of absolute morality has been left over from a fading christian background. Projecting this notion of universal morals on to a fictional universe with its own metaphysics leads to a confusion of terms and boundaries of meaning.

I may exit this conversation because I think you throwing ideas around for fun. Not trolling but trolling adjacent smile

But I am explicitly saying saying "universal good and evil doesn't exist in our world, we turn to fantasy for things we wish were in our world but aren't". Things like fundamental human rights exist because we have decided they exist. Full stop.

And for me, as a pacifist, the the entire enterprise is suspect if we blur line between reality and fantasy. You don't solve problems with weapons. Kings and queens were ruthless, authoritarian strongmen with good PR . . .

Fantasy =/ reality. It's that simple.

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I wasn't specifically replying to you. There is a lot of transcendental moral thought still in the minds of most people. Human rights were, as you said, invented because "we" have decided that they should exist. The question of course is, who is encompassed by this "we". Governments of western nations (and some others) have signed so called declarations of human rights. Insisting upon their applicability to all human cultures is at least borderline intellectual imperialism. Extending this universal claim to fantasy realms is, as you understand, absurd.
I recommend the book "Falsches moralisches Bewusstsein. Eine Kritik der Idee der Menschenwürde" (Wrong moral conscience. A critique of the idea of human dignity) to all those who understand german.

Sure, I am throwing around ideas. It is a fantasy forum and fantasy is (mostly) about exploring ideas. As long as the ideas are linked to the topic I see no problem with doing that.

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Right, just so we understand each other. I hadn't read the disclaimer in your footer until just now.

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Originally Posted by TheHero
Racist Tropes on Drow STOP IT

First of all, " Hello Forum " hehe
Today i just want to answer to the very Title of the Topic itself, written by dear "TheHero".


Long Story short,
it is impossible, dear Sir. Drow and Racism are like Cheese and Wine.

As in " IF " Cheese and Wine never to be seperated, when one wants to enjoy the genuine Flavor "of both together" the most.
When i remember ONE THING always and ever regarding Forgotten Realms and Dungeons and Dragons, then it is that Racism and Drow can not be seperated in any Way.

No Offense to Drow-Fan's, but Drow "ARE. THE. MOST. RACIST. RACE." i have ever seen in any kind of DnD-Fantasy all my Life - while now being a humble (or proud?) 36 Years old and knowing Dungeons and Dragons since my early Teenage Years.



And i must agree with a few People here,
that " in a World where there is no Internet and so on ",

IF Your Race (in Case oneself is a Drow) has a truly baaaaaad Reputation among many to most other Races out there,
in a World filled "with" Races who have more or less not even real, active Contact with each other and only small Numbers of them usually meet each other from Time to Time,

"THEN" your Race is maybe and probably doing something wrong. hahaha hahaha hahaha
Alone when for in Example the Early Access Version of Baldurs Gate Three,

"Underdark-Races" (and of Course Drow involved somewhat high in any Hierarchy down there),
call other Races things like " THINGS " or " Lower Beings " or Stuff " from the upper Realm " or so,
then the Drow Race "PROBABLY" has a serious Racism-Problem with pretty much any other Race out there. ^.^;"


It is only logical,
that many, maaaany Folks in the World of Faerun have a bad Impression of Drow and are very distrustful towards them "and" are very reluctant to want to them have nearby and around. In Baldurs Gate II if my Memory was correct,

there was a Racist (lol) who disliked Elves. He had something stinky to say "everytime" You come by with your Group and there was some Elf inside it.


But GOOOD BEWARE if You bring this one "Drow-Waifu" along who is pretty much the most difficult Women in the Game regarding of staying on good Terms with her and even having a Relatioship with her. As soon as "THIS Guy" see's her and talks to your Group, he gets hostile and "ATTACK's" You with all of his might. hahaha hahaha hahaha



And the "Drow-Waifu" in the Early Access Version of Baldurs Gate III, who kinda leads all the Goblins in/from the Camp,

is a true Drama-Queen (and a total Stereotype of Drow if you ask me) - which i basically knew IN AND OUT before witnessing the "Questline" with her - if You can call it that -> and before she
"somewhat sleeps with You 'AND' of Course wants to bloody murder You afterwards."
*sighs* biggrin




You can get the Drow out of the Racism, jeah -> but i bet You can't get the Racism ouf of the Drow. ;-)
AT LEAST NOT if it's one of the traditional Underdark Drow's with Red Eyes and so on. They are not nice. They are basically designed to be Villains.


Any "nice, red-eyed Drow" is basically a total Abnormality. Like good ol' Drizz't and so. cool

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Originally Posted by VarneyTheReaper
Originally Posted by TheHero
Racist Tropes on Drow STOP IT

First of all, " Hello Forum " hehe
Today i just want to answer to the very Title of the Topic itself, written by dear "TheHero".


Long Story short,
it is impossible, dear Sir. Drow and Racism are like Cheese and Wine.

As in " IF " Cheese and Wine never to be seperated, when one wants to enjoy the genuine Flavor "of both together" the most.
When i remember ONE THING always and ever regarding Forgotten Realms and Dungeons and Dragons, then it is that Racism and Drow can not be seperated in any Way.

No Offense to Drow-Fan's, but Drow "ARE. THE. MOST. RACIST. RACE." i have ever seen in any kind of DnD-Fantasy all my Life - while now being a humble (or proud?) 36 Years old and knowing Dungeons and Dragons since my early Teenage Years.



And i must agree with a few People here,
that " in a World where there is no Internet and so on ",

IF Your Race (in Case oneself is a Drow) has a truly baaaaaad Reputation among many to most other Races out there,
in a World filled "with" Races who have more or less not even real, active Contact with each other and only small Numbers of them usually meet each other from Time to Time,

"THEN" your Race is maybe and probably doing something wrong. hahaha hahaha hahaha
Alone when for in Example the Early Access Version of Baldurs Gate Three,

"Underdark-Races" (and of Course Drow involved somewhat high in any Hierarchy down there),
call other Races things like " THINGS " or " Lower Beings " or Stuff " from the upper Realm " or so,
then the Drow Race "PROBABLY" has a serious Racism-Problem with pretty much any other Race out there. ^.^;"


It is only logical,
that many, maaaany Folks in the World of Faerun have a bad Impression of Drow and are very distrustful towards them "and" are very reluctant to want to them have nearby and around. In Baldurs Gate II if my Memory was correct,

there was a Racist (lol) who disliked Elves. He had something stinky to say "everytime" You come by with your Group and there was some Elf inside it.


But GOOOD BEWARE if You bring this one "Drow-Waifu" along who is pretty much the most difficult Women in the Game regarding of staying on good Terms with her and even having a Relatioship with her. As soon as "THIS Guy" see's her and talks to your Group, he gets hostile and "ATTACK's" You with all of his might. hahaha hahaha hahaha



And the "Drow-Waifu" in the Early Access Version of Baldurs Gate III, who kinda leads all the Goblins in/from the Camp,

is a true Drama-Queen (and a total Stereotype of Drow if you ask me) - which i basically knew IN AND OUT before witnessing the "Questline" with her - if You can call it that -> and before she "somewhat sleeps with You 'AND' of Course wants to bloody murder You afterwards." *sighs* biggrin




You can get the Drow out of the Racism, jeah -> but i bet You can't get the Racism ouf of the Drow. ;-)
AT LEAST NOT if it's one of the traditional Underdark Drow's with Red Eyes and so on. They are not nice. They are basically designed to be Villains.


Any "nice, red-eyed Drow" is basically a total Abnormality. Like good ol' Drizz't and so. cool
What you're talking about is Drow in-universe being racists, Drow supremacists really, what the thread is mostly dealing with is how people can view the Drow as using racist tropes and generalizations in their depiction. And really how fantasy tropes in general can be interpreted. e.g. the convo on Tolkien.

Like this, the Drow are racist, but they're written to be racist, so who is really the racist? Add how they, and their society is depicted and you see where they're coming from. Considering I'm not really on board with this argument maybe I'm not the best communicator of it.

Last edited by Sozz; 08/08/21 06:20 PM. Reason: Welcome to the Forum
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Originally Posted by Sozz
Like this, the Drow are racist, but they're written to be racist, so who is really the racist?

"Supremacists" exists also in Reallife. It's not racist to point out when/that they "are" racist.

The Writer has* written them to be Supremacists, in a racist Way. But that doesn't make him* racist. He simply invented a villainous Group of Beings/People and that was it.
And the Drow have good Reasons to be so arrogant. They are somewhat powerful "and" have a mighty, dominant Society in the Underdark have they not? ;-)


Also jeah, even if this Topic is like " The Racism is towards the Drow, not coming from them/the other Way around ",

i simply want to mention why this is the Case -> and that the Drow are MOST LIKELY responsible themself for other Races having such a bad Opinion on them.
Similar like certain Groups of People who exist in Reality - and prove us Year and Year again why they should never be allowed to become a dominant, "supreme" Group.

But God protect me before i point out who they are. =P

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Its like the Drow are Super Charismatic Megafauna.

"Guys, what are we gonna do about these racist Drow tropes?" That's unacceptable! I protest! We demand change!

"Guys, what are we going to do about these racist Orc tropes?" *crickets* - pause -"Maybe somebody will look at that later...?"

Listen, I get it. The Drow are interesting, sexy, and make some of the most compelling and mysterious characters in D&D lore. They are popular and easy to popularize. I stand by that Drow never represented any POC group. It smacks as a somewhat superficial reading of the culture of POC to look at the Drow and see any parallels based only on a possible range of non-human skin colors.

I think Salvatore is engaging in self-serving behavior - which is fine - but I don't think we should be elevating him to the status of a Civil Rights leader. He comes off to me more as a shrewd businessman (or his handlers are) and writer of his own press releases. Which is what the original linked article comes off as to me - its a press release - disguised as an article. It's PR.

Although maybe this is all another layer of the fantasy people enjoy. Not willing/unable to stand up against real racial inequality? Lets make up some racial inequality and stand up to that?

I say this, by the way, as someone who considers himself an ally to POC IRL and who has spent a large part of my life fighting racial/gender/sexual inequality and injustice or funding those who do.


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That "Lore" in D&D is not absolute is now a big Discussion.

Not everything will be inherent Evil for all times, even in Games.

Read here in this Article.:

https://gamerant.com/wizards-of-the-coast-trending-dungeons-and-dragons-lore-changes/

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Originally Posted by TheHero
That "Lore" in D&D is not absolute is now a big Discussion.

Not everything will be inherent Evil for all times, even in Games.

Read here in this Article.:

https://gamerant.com/wizards-of-the-coast-trending-dungeons-and-dragons-lore-changes/

Its people like you that ruin fantasy and creativity because they try to pander to an audience who were never interested in the genre anyway.
What a shame.

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I'm getting rather tired of these.

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Originally Posted by Eddiar
Originally Posted by TheHero
That "Lore" in D&D is not absolute is now a big Discussion.

Not everything will be inherent Evil for all times, even in Games.

Read here in this Article.:

https://gamerant.com/wizards-of-the-coast-trending-dungeons-and-dragons-lore-changes/

Its people like you that ruin fantasy and creativity because they try to pander to an audience who were never interested in the genre anyway.
What a shame.

Nay sayers will never see, some say. But anyway when an Author rethinks his work and changes the lore then it is his right to do so. Salvatore wants to step away from the BLack&White Racist Tropes and give you more shades and even want you to realize that even a Mindflayer can be good. Baldurs Gate 3 with that MAgic Using Mindflayer Omoluum is just one example of it allready implemented before the whole new Lore changes took effect.
I say its for the better experience and it mirrors our real life which is chaotic and messy too. Theres just no black & White, everything is muddled and so it will be too in the D&D lore.
With those changes i can do play a good Drow in BG3 even. And im doin it just now by having a Seldarine Drow Druid with a lot of wisdom and charisma. wink
My Drow is a Hero now!

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How is this thread still alive?

And I am a person whose favorite characters are drows (from varying alignment). I guess the first sentence sums up my personal opinion on the topic.

P.S. The shades of drow were always in the Baldur's Gate franchise since BG1 and Viconia (yes, Viconia is not your typical evil drow smile ) and Drizzt. In BG2 this is even more pronounced as you meet at least one more drow with a non-evil alignment.

P.S2. I guess we can all agree it is great to allow a player to play as a drow however (s)he likes (yes to more choices). However, not every fantasy world should be a perfect and fair world. I want my fantasy world to have a chance to be cruel, unfair and racist, which will allow the convictions of my characters to be tested and for them to shine (or fail, depending on the character).

P.S3. Forgive my first sentence but this discussion has outlived its usefulness.

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Originally Posted by TheHero
Originally Posted by Eddiar
Originally Posted by TheHero
That "Lore" in D&D is not absolute is now a big Discussion.

Not everything will be inherent Evil for all times, even in Games.

Read here in this Article.:

https://gamerant.com/wizards-of-the-coast-trending-dungeons-and-dragons-lore-changes/

Its people like you that ruin fantasy and creativity because they try to pander to an audience who were never interested in the genre anyway.
What a shame.

Nay sayers will never see, some say. But anyway when an Author rethinks his work and changes the lore then it is his right to do so. Salvatore wants to step away from the BLack&White Racist Tropes and give you more shades and even want you to realize that even a Mindflayer can be good. Baldurs Gate 3 with that MAgic Using Mindflayer Omoluum is just one example of it allready implemented before the whole new Lore changes took effect.
I say its for the better experience and it mirrors our real life which is chaotic and messy too. Theres just no black & White, everything is muddled and so it will be too in the D&D lore.
With those changes i can do play a good Drow in BG3 even. And im doin it just now by having a Seldarine Drow Druid with a lot of wisdom and charisma. wink
My Drow is a Hero now!

Blablabla

All I heard was someone who just describe completely lobotomizing interesting and historical precedents from fictional works of art because it offends their sensibilities.

Lets not kid ourselves that you have any interest in deep complex story that provokes thought but rather use the medium to virtue signal.

You are no different than book burners. Back in the 80s we had the concerned christian parents who saw satanism everywhere and now days we have you people.

Last edited by Eddiar; 20/12/21 01:53 AM.
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