Game World Building 101: "Hello. My name is Destrine Star'Rune, and I'm an Elven Alcoholic."

1 Response

  1. The Rambling Roleplayer did a pretty good Point/Counterpoint on racial stereotypes that’ worth checking out.
    http://theroleplayingrambler.wordpress.com/

    The problem is every member of the race being used as a caricature of that race. The stereotypes are somewhat of a necessary evil though. For the exact reason you line out about elves. When the DM/GM says ‘elf’ all the players should be thinking Galadriel or Keebler, it doesn’t matter which one but they need the common vantage point so they know what they’re dealing with.

    In the game you describe is everyone may end up assuming any halfling they meet is part of the drug cartel, which is just as offensive as all orcs being dumb.

    I think the best you can do is to mute the caricatures so they’re once again characters when you run NPCs. Then just add a little twist, a garnish to the formula. It’s the difference between a Middle Earth hobbit and an Athas halfing. They’re both ‘halflings’ but different.

    Also, important to note the difference between racial stereotypes and class stereotypes. The last two examples could easily fall into the latter.

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