Negative Racial attributes

Is anyone else uncomfortable with Negative Racial attributes?

Picts are (-2) less intelligent than other Humans

I find this unacceptable for a number of reasons. It emplies an Intellectual basis for believing that such difference exist. Most of us will understand that while a primitive race will not understand the world as we do their intelligence is the same.

I understand that it is merely a game deviece designed to Balance play. I do understand that Conan RPG is only a Game and not reality. It does however reflect on the Game's designers and those of us who play the Game. Game balance can easily beachieve through other means.

Conan's great strength is that he sees the world through his own eyes. He does not accept or acknowledge the Prejudices of others. He takes People and situations as he finds them.

I cannot help but notice that the more removed a Race is from a White Caucasion the more significant the reduction in attributes. I hope that this thread does not appear petty- I do feel it is more significant than it might appear.
 

iltharanos

Mongoose
ZamorianBlade said:
Is anyone else uncomfortable with Negative Racial attributes?

Nope.

Picts are (-2) less intelligent than other Humans

They're just as intelligent as Cimmerians (-2 Int).

I find this unacceptable for a number of reasons. It emplies an Intellectual basis for believing that such difference exist. Most of us will understand that while a primitive race will not understand the world as we do their intelligence is the same.

I understand that it is merely a game deviece designed to Balance play. I do understand that Conan RPG is only a Game and not reality. It does however reflect on the Game's designers and those of us who play the Game. Game balance can easily beachieve through other means.

Conan's great strength is that he sees the world through his own eyes. He does not accept or acknowledge the Prejudices of others. He takes People and situations as he finds them.

Um, you did read the first two paragraphs after Character Races on page 15 of the RPG, right?

I cannot help but notice that the more removed a Race is from a White Caucasion the more significant the reduction in attributes. I hope that this thread does not appear petty- I do feel it is more significant than it might appear.

Picts and Cimmerians are the only two races that have a -2 to Int ... so since when have Cimmerians been considered non-White or non-Caucasian?

Hyperboreans, the Nordheimer, the Southern Islanders, Zamorians, and Zingarans all have negative ability modifiers. Of these five races, only one is non-white ...

The Himelians, Hyrkanians, Khitans, Kushites, Vendhyans and so on are all non-white and none have any negative ability modifiers ...

As for other racial attributes, any negatives are minor at best, and certainly nothing so detrimental vis a vis the Hyborians/whites, who have penalties as well.

So I don't know where you're getting this idea that the more non-white the race, the more the penalty.
 

Sutek

Mongoose
:roll:

First

Intelligence is how well one learns and reasons.

Wisdom pertains to will power, common sense, perception and intuition.

Second

The Picts in Conan are imaginary. They are not real. They are described as being dark skinned, but they are not of African, Indian or Native American descent. They are a made-up ethnic group to fill a niche of the "untamed savage" and that is all.

Third

By assuming some ulterior motive on the part of the writers, you are probably showing more of your own prejudices than they are. It's clear by the definitions of the Stats that INT pertains to learned "book knowledge" and WIS pertains to instincts. WIS would be where Picts more excell, although they are still not better than any other culture in that regard. They are extremely quick as reflected by thier +2 DEX, whish I notice you dont' have a problem with. Picts are fast and nimble, but this doesn't seem racist to you. Odd. It'a a singled out racial characteristic; the very definition of "racist".

Fourth
There is no instance of racial bias in the Conan RPG other than that indicated by Robert E Howard's works. If he wrote them that way, Mongoose has tried to portray them that way in the bonuses and penalties. Picts don't learn by teaching them, they learn by doing, if they want to learn at all. They prefer things their way or not at all.

I think you're apllying your own interpretation of the word "Intelligent" to the situation and not accepting the context in which it is used in the game. Besides that, Jushites and Vendyans are much more "non-white" and are completely nominal.
 

Jason Durall

Mongoose
iltharanos said:
Picts and Cimmerians are the only two races that have a -2 to Int ... so since when have Cimmerians been considered non-White or non-Caucasian?

For that matter, REH repeatedly said that he considered Picts a white race, just darker-skinnened than most.
 

DasClay

Mongoose
I dont know, I think he just felt like bashing the "white races" . IT did surprise me that more "primitive" races (stone age ) didnt get the same -2 INT like the picts and crimmerians.

this is a first for me, to see a white man (assuming) bashing his own people, or rather saying the book is discriminating
 

Sutek

Mongoose
I have no idea what race ZamorianBlade is or anyone else on this board. Dont' care either. It doesn't matter. I dont' think he was "bashing the white race" so much as speaking (nay typing) before really thinking about what it was that he was saying and essentially forming an opinion that is totally unfounded - the very nature of racism, wouldn't you agree?
 

skalvar

Mongoose
ZamorianBlade said:
Conan's great strength is that he sees the world through his own eyes. He does not accept or acknowledge the Prejudices of others. He takes People and situations as he finds them.

I cannot help but notice that the more removed a Race is from a White Caucasion the more significant the reduction in attributes. I hope that this thread does not appear petty- I do feel it is more significant than it might appear.

We (in this conversation) are talking about REH's Conan, the man who constantly racially stereotypes people and more than once saves a 'white woman from the ravages of black men'?

We (the writers, now) try to portray a world created by an author. This world, whatever your personal bias, has a strong focus on bloodlines and racial types. I know when I write these books I have to back off a bit, otherwise the racist filth that comes from my keyboard frankly nauseates me. But that's the world, and the voice of REH.

I'm not saying the man was, himself, racist (or not more so than anyone from his place and time period). Yet his Hyboria IS racist and not in a particularly subtle or nice way. We walk a careful balance portraying that while still not offending modern readers.

Shannon
Mongoose
Current Status: Feeding baby.
 

argo

Mongoose
ZamorianBlade said:
Is anyone else uncomfortable with Negative Racial attributes?

Picts are (-2) less intelligent than other Humans

I find this unacceptable for a number of reasons. It emplies an Intellectual basis for believing that such difference exist. Most of us will understand that while a primitive race will not understand the world as we do their intelligence is the same.
Not in the world Howard wrote. One of his central themes was the concept of atributes passed on by blood and the consequences of racial isolation and racial mingling. -2 Int describes Howard's Picts prety well.


I understand that it is merely a game deviece designed to Balance play. I do understand that Conan RPG is only a Game and not reality. It does however reflect on the Game's designers and those of us who play the Game. Game balance can easily beachieve through other means.
It isn't about game balance at all. Howard comes to us from a different age and while I dont' intend to turn this thread into a debate over wither the man (or his contemporaries, such as HPL) were racist (that debate has raged for over a half century now) I will point out that these concepts are a critical part of the thematic background for Conan's world, a world that is perhaps harsher and more brutal than even our own, and those of us who are mature enough to want to play in that world desire to hew as close to the source material as possible.

Conan's great strength is that he sees the world through his own eyes. He does not accept or acknowledge the Prejudices of others. He takes People and situations as he finds them.
While Conan does in fact hold as closely to racist attitudes as any of Howard's other characters (damn but he hates Picts, Nordhenhimers and Hyperborians) you are mostly correct about him being a "come as you are" type of guy. It is at this point that I will remind you that Cimerians are another -2 Int race and direct you to my fruther comments below.

I cannot help but notice that the more removed a Race is from a White Caucasion the more significant the reduction in attributes. I hope that this thread does not appear petty- I do feel it is more significant than it might appear.
Not true at all. Many of the non-white races of the Hyborian age are quite admirable for a number of reasons, just different reasons than an Int bonus. You see, REH had this idea in his head that the essential conflict of history was not a clash of skin color nor of social class but a struggle between civilization and barbarism. Howard is famous for remarking that "barbarism is the natural state of mankind" and that "Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.". Note that many of Howard's most vile villans come from "decadent" societies, cultures that have isolated themseves from the outside world and let their blood grow too thin while descending into hedonism and madness. Meanwhile Conan's "come as you are" aittude which you venerate so much is not due to any open-mindedness on his part but rather a complete lack of consideration for anyone not able to support their position at sword-point. If you were obnixous he would either ignore you or crack your head open depending on how annoying you were and which side of the bed he got up on that morning: and he evaluated other men based on their race all the time.

I think that I shold also mention that while the Picts are often portrayed as the bad guys in the Conan tales that is only because they are told from the POV of Conan and Conan hates Picts with an abiding passion. In fact the Picts were the favorite of all REH's creations, he included them in all his timelines from before Atlantis to the modern day and for him they were his ideal "noble savages". Romantic and rugged, uncompromising in the face of danger, instinctive and close to nature, passionate men who lived their life to the fullest. His most favorite of all his characters was Brak Mak Mon (did I spell that right) the lengendary King of the Picts who he came back to time and again throught his short career. REH's treatment of the Picts, and the fact that they eventually destroy the civilization of the Hyborians, is his ideal of barbarism cleansing decadent civilization in action.

I'll also point out that althought the Picts in Conan have something of an "Injun" cast to them they are meant to be the forruners of the savages of Ireland. Also that while the Hyborians may be white skinned they are not Caucasian. The sons of Bori had their line purged from the face of the earth at the end of the Hyborian age and their blood survives only in as much as it is diluted in that of their conquerors (the Picts), according to REH it the modern caucasian is descended of a mixture containing varrying degrees of Cimerian and Nordic blood.

At any rate, yes the Hyborian age gives real weight to the concept of racial sterotypes. But it is not a comment on any modern race and it is a mistake to take those sterotypes for insults. Rather they are the strengths and weaknesses characteristic of each race (just as many fantasy authors make elves lithe and beautiful and orcs strong and deformed) and you should look at them simply as opportunities for character building and role-play. I think that if you do you'll find Howard's mythical earth to be a compelling and exciting place to play.

Later.
 
Thank you all for your replies...

Having heard what you all have had to say, I have a few thoughts...

I was wrong to place any emphasis on a Caucasion world view. I do not feel that the writer's revealed any 'Racism' in their work-.

I still do not feel that Attribute modifiers are a good idea. I feel that all the Races in Conan can be colourfuly potrayed without the use of Negative modifiers. Whether one feels that IQ coresponds to INT alone or ITN/WIS is not important.

I thank you again for the replies- I am a bit disappointed that someone did not see fit to support my arguement but I am grateful for you opinions
 
"I'll also point out that althought the Picts in Conan have something of an "Injun" cast to them they are meant to be the forruners of the savages of Ireland."



Who are the 'Savages of ireland'?- am I an 'Irish Savage'

Is Mise Peadar Seoighe

Go raimh math agat
 

Sutek

Mongoose
I almost feel that I shouldn't comment, but ...alas...I also feel I can't help myself.

Get a grip, dude.

Tell you what, if none of the posts above have convinced you that the -2 INT racial penalty is there to reflect the Picts as written in REH's books and other Conan books then maybe you are.

I'm so friggin tired of being told I'm a racist because someone like you gets all riled up over some insignificant crap like this and starts making blanket statements without actually looking at facts.

Fact: It's a damn game and one patterned after an author's work who relished in stereotypes.

Fact: In the pretend fun game, Cimerians are also -2 INT (as has been stated many times above) and Cimerians are more caucasian than not. You ignore this because it doesn't fuel you little "hate fire" that you 've got burning.

Fact: Picts in Conan are totally fictional. If you want a historical Earth Pict, they were pre-Scottish - not pre-Irish. The gaelic word for "Pictland" is "Alba", and that name is synonomous with Scotland. Later, remnants driven out be the Romans resurfaced in Ireland, but the origins of the historical Picts lies in Scotland, and around 3000 BC at that.

Fact: INT in D20 games is a reflection of "book smarts" and WIS a representation of "instincts". In that light, REH's Picts are totally not the type for reading and writing, now are they?
 

S'mon

Mongoose
You could get rid off the Negative mods and give all the races positive mods. Then everybody would be above average! :p
 

The King

Cosmic Mongoose
ZamorianBlade said:
"I'll also point out that althought the Picts in Conan have something of an "Injun" cast to them they are meant to be the forruners of the savages of Ireland."



Who are the 'Savages of ireland'?- am I an 'Irish Savage'

Is Mise Peadar Seoighe

Go raimh math agat
Before the wise man knows the truth he is an ignorant. Likewise before men society develop into a mass-consumption civilization, people were hunters-gatherers. 5000 thousand years before man wore a three-piece suit he was a savage eating raw meat with his hands.

Howard used a lot of stereotypes as we still use them (i.e. Scandinavians are all tall and blond, Italians are small and dark, etc.). This isn't racism but a generalization of facts (because you find more blond and tall people in Scandinavia than in Italia for instance).

Moreover Intelligence is highly connected to magic in this game (another stereotype: wizards have high intelligence and low strengh whereas warriors have low int. and high strengh). You can consider then that Picts and Cimmerians are treated the same because they seldom use sorcery. Their society is composed of non educated warriors. Hence the penalty.

If you want to consider their wits, I suggest you better use the wisdom attribute (or, why not, create a specific attribute).
 

cornelius

Mongoose
I'm surprised that no-one has pointed out that in almost every RPG on the market these days it is stated " XXX the RPG is your game . Do what you want with it . If you see something you don't like , change it " . I can't remember if this is stated in Conan , but I know I've seen this view expressed in writing by the Mongoose writers . We can all change elements of the game to suit our needs , so if the racial mods seem wrong , ignore them . To quote an old edition of Paranoia , " If there's ever a conflict between having a good time and the rules , the rules had better give way " .
 

Ranzadule

Mongoose
Racial attributes are a fact of gaming if not a fact of life. Would it be any different if there were the baseline of no bonus or penalty and some races had plusses?
 

slaughterj

Mongoose
skalvar said:
We (the writers, now) try to portray a world created by an author. This world, whatever your personal bias, has a strong focus on bloodlines and racial types. I know when I write these books I have to back off a bit, otherwise the racist filth that comes from my keyboard frankly nauseates me. But that's the world, and the voice of REH.

That seems a bit exaggerated to me. In ancient times (and even medieval times), people rarely moved far and therefore racial bloodlines would be "strong" and races would be more clearly defined than now. That's just reality and is necessary to reflect in Hyboria to maintain that real feel.
 

Sutek

Mongoose
Or D&D. Noone cares that Swarves have a -2 DEX, or at least noone says anything about it.

It's just a game and not represetative of reality. It's just a way to (A) make things more varried and (B) follow REHs works. That's all.
 

Jason Durall

Mongoose
Orkin said:
Interestingly, nobody seems to (seriously) complain about racial stereotyping in LOTR.

Were you being sarcastic here?

LotR discussions frequently have an eruption of someone complaining about Tokien's depiction of dark skin equalling evil, and white skin equalling good.

On Decipher's forums, these threads sprung up at least once every few weeks, but were quickly crushed by the moderators.
 

The King

Cosmic Mongoose
Moreover any science fiction rpg suggest some alien races or genetically modified humans which make normal humans appear as stone-age savages.
As would Einstein said once: "everything is relative".
 
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