“They’re Not Human”

A Black, uh … orc? soldier? with a bloody knife and a baleful stare fights off German troops in a black-and-white New York Herald illustration of his acts of gallantry and/or savagery in World War I. Looking at this photo, I would not surmise that i…
Believe it or not, this was commemorating war heroes.

An essential look at the racist underpinnings of nonhumans in roleplaying games.

In the last game I worked on, I actually had some room to run with on the nonhuman species, and I very specifically tried to make them challenge these kind of tropes. The elves were (with some exceptions) irrational to the point of insanity, angular and ugly; the kobolds were far more technologically and sociologically advanced then their human adversaries and viewed them with a sort of pity. (One kobold will lecture the player on how human sexuality is related to human overconsumption and ends with a simple command: “Stop breeding, human.”)

Players seemed to enjoy the kobolds, and they hated, HATED the elves. They wanted the pretty faerie master-race archetype.

And we had no orcs.