I think this is fair. Honestly the physiology I'd prefer for Halflings is more faerie-like and otherworldly magical, because I think it holds a different sort of appeal, and so we'd depart there a bit in our aims. In my view they are backtracking on Halfling appearance to something I recognize more from like 30 years ago, rather than what we've seen from the more recent materials.

I was trying to anticipate this representation critique on the previous page, but perhaps didn't do the greatest job expressing my views. I think if the goal is to represent actual short statured humans in D&D, then they should be Human and the human phenotype should expand beyond the highly idealized and stylized centerfolds we see now to include the broader variety there. In the same way they treat race now. I think that would be appropriate for the times, and would probably be lauded by everyone who wants a more inclusive game.

Where it becomes more problematic is the idea that historically this is how "the other" has been treated in fantasy. So a person with Achondroplasia might feel like "hey, don't take Halflings away from us! cause Halflings are how we identify here!" And then if there's no replacement, the feeling of having something taken away is probably pretty accurate, sure.

But again, the Halflings and Dwarves as depicted by Larian don't really appear to be badass achons like Willow and Meegosh and Vohnkar, or the Time Bandits, or Tyrion Lannister etc. If that's how Halflings were depicted in BG3 or by D&D in general then I'd probably back way off the topic, like 'well that's their's now, and they can own it how they like.' But that's not really how they look is it? I mean there is a vague suggestion in that direction, but the maquette they're using is pretty fantastical. It doesn't track with how short statured humans actually look in the real world. Instead it's like this in-between compromise to get a Nettie or an Aaron. Also if the D&D Lore supported it more, like with explanations about how Halflings or Dwarves are really just a type of Human in Faerun and exactly analogous to what we see in the real world here, that'd be rather different. But that's not where D&D went with it at all. Instead they ran in the complete opposite direction going on two decades now. So what Larian is doing here, is kind of like re-opening a door that the Wizards probably already hoped to close a while back, to avoid exactly this kind of fantasy stereotyping.

I'm all for including disabilities in the game with more representation, I just think othering them into a separate fantasy category (e.g not "Human") is the wrong way to approach it. They could easily include gigantism and dwarfism among the human phenotypes. They could also do a deaf option where the speaking animations are done in sign. I think they could also provide models that included fantasy themed prosthetics or gnomish devices or enchanted bracers like you mentioned, to capture more the spirit of inclusion. Since it's not reality but fantasy, in D&D we should be able provide options there with no gameplay consequence beyond aesthetics. Something beyond just roleplaying the able bodied. They could be doing professor X style stuff, or have arms or legs of living wood crafted by the Druids or something. I mean there are a lot of ways they could go with it, if they wanted people to see it and say "wow, that's cool they actually thought about people who look like me for a change!" Will they actually go there though? I think judging from what we've seen so far, it feels pretty unlikely. Right now every human, elf, tiefling and githyanki model uses the same chiseled human phenotype with only the heads and few cosmetic features like ears or horns or whatever to distinguish them. All the Halflings are portly. It's not like we can create a unique physical build right now. Let alone doing something more inventive like rolling a one armed PC, but where that doesn't have to impact the actual gameplay, just the looks on offer.

Absent some kind of directive from the Wizards, I don't know that Larian is really serious enough to tackle the broader issue solo. They've proven themselves pretty irreverent with everything they do, all their climbing cows and salamis and whatnot. I think it would be hard for them to escape criticism, or to treat the representation thing with enough gravity to get a pass under close scrutiny. I think it would be more likely to come off as a bad joke or disingenuous given their track record. But still, it would be cool to see a D&D game that approached this stuff in a more thoughtful way.

Last edited by Black_Elk; 07/10/21 07:05 AM.