[Suggestion] Races of ... does it have to be MEN?

By on July 5, 2010 4:42:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Kimaya

Join Date 07/2010
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This is the one bug or idea that I haven't seen posted by someone else first, so I'm finally putting it up!

Quoth Frogboy from Understanding The Fallen, Elemental, and Middle Earth:

They’re called “Fallen” because the history books are written by men and have a man-centric bias. [...] Obviously, Elemental takes place in a totally different universe. But hopefully this helps players understand where some of the terminology comes from and how it is relatable.

Speaking of man-centric bias, Tolkein really kinda had one.  So it's unsurprising that he, like many folks, called humans "the race of men".  But it does surprise me that Elemental is calling it "races of men", given that we've gotten to the point where we realize that the essential characteristics of humanity include women, too.  Also, "The (fantasy) Race of Man" been repeated to the point of risking being more tired trope than anything.  Given all that, the race option "Men" has stuck out like a hammered thumb that got stuck into a pot of boiling oil and then caught on a rusty nail every time I've started up a new game.

Yeah, yeah, I know "that's just the way humans were called", but while it's not a huge deal, it remains a deal.  It won't keep me from playing (I've been off/on since day 1 of beta), but it's the one big scuff on this stellar game, and it's jarring every time. 

So! This isn't just a gripe, it's an honest suggestion -- Given the lore, how's this for some ideas on things that might work as a decent replacement for Men/the races of men?

  • Vitalis/the vital races (hey, it's human-centric)
  • Hominids/the hominal or hominid races
  • Anthropi/the anthropic races
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July 5, 2010 5:13:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Good point. 

Best regards,
Steven.

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July 5, 2010 5:23:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Thanks muchly!

Obvious PS - It just now occurred to me that I truly shoulda mentioned that I got no problem with Human/human races, I just assumed that y'all wanted something other than human.  Human really does work, and even though it's the ultimate in mundane by definition, it still doesn't seem bland to me like "men". (Probably my human-centric bias.)

(I saw human referenced in the history of one of the new Fallen soveriegns so it reminded me.)

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July 5, 2010 5:25:09 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

It may be interesting to talk about the politics of fantasy, but as the developers have clearly gone out of their way to include female characters as both rulers and warriors, I don't see the use of the word "men" as a concern at all.  This is more about university speech codes than actual bias.

An Amazon faction would be cool.

Not to add fuel to the fire, lol, but ever notice how the word "people" defaults to meaning "white people"? I double-checked in the sovereign selection and unit design screens--they're all white people.

Tolkienesque medieval fantasy tends to be both male- and European-centric.  It struck me as ironic that, in Elemental, the most evil races appear to be even more white than the default humans.  Usually, the "evil races" appear to be modeled after racist caricatures of "savages" and thugs; whereas, in Elemental, so far, they look like diseased versions of the default humans (which nonetheless appear to be white people); it's very consistent; although, of course, there still are quasi-racist Tolkien monsters present, like orcs and goblins.  It will be interesting to see if expansions include new continents, peopled by non-white men and women.  Really, that could present an interesting opportunity to break stereotypes, by introducing highly advanced "African" factions, for example.  Say these people come over from across the ocean, and their magic/technology is so advanced that it makes the white people of the current world look like primitives, and the white people flee in terror from them.

This will also no doubt be addressed by modders who will create Asian, sci-fi, and other fantasy worlds, which will include more diversity.

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July 5, 2010 6:13:24 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Races of Men seems fine considering that to get some egalitarism, you need to pick up the corresponding trait (which would indicate that by default, only exceptional women has some important roles: channeler, adventurer). Hey, history is written by the victorious with the blood of the defeated.

But if we must go for "politcally correct" naming: Human Races. And yet, races isn't very.... correct, so maybe: "Human Phenotypes". BUt it's not very fantasy-like so maybe "Human Lineages".

I don't see a problem with default Sovereigns being all "white people" the same I have no problems with japanese movies having only japanese actors. I welcome any "race of man" added as long as it's not as "token". I'd have problems accepting "black" people coming from an arctic territory though*.

*unless they are drow but then, they wouldn't be humans.... Hmmm a drow-like human phenotype?

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July 5, 2010 6:31:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Fuck political correctness.

If you want to have something other than kingdoms of men because its overused that's cool.

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July 5, 2010 11:20:01 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

im a little upset that i dont see any other races on the "light"/"good" side than just human.

But i guess to change it would to be going against the  lore of the game.

Good thing about races in this game, is the amount of modding. Add elves, amazons, and call them whatever.

Bad thing though, i think easy to use modding makes the lore of the game very useless. And unless i get drawn into the campaign, i dont see the point of buying a book or collectors edition.

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July 5, 2010 11:27:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

LOL. Another feminist trying to ruin everyone's fun.

 

The race of Men in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth books, such as The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, refers to humanity and does not denote gender.

In Tolkien's writings, Man with an initial capital letter refers to any human being

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_(Middle-earth)

 

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July 6, 2010 12:14:46 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Myles,
Fuck political correctness.

I think it's kinda funny to read this, looking at your caveman avatar, and the political correctness that drives his appearance in Geico commercials.

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July 6, 2010 1:10:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Just call them all "Mostly Bags of Water" and be done with it. LOL!

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July 6, 2010 1:28:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Why not "Meatbags" instead?

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July 6, 2010 4:50:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

As an Anthropologist, I approve your use of the word Hominid, but you know I'm pretty sure all the Fallen count as Homonids too.

This isn't really political correctness, though...this is more silly than anything. This is how the English language is structured, and the cliches are there so people have something to grasp onto. Elemental is a Medieval Fantasy game, which has a heavily European (English) and Male bias. While I'd certainly be happy to see other races or types of civilizations than the Medieval Peasantyness, I wouldn't necessarily expect it from this game. (Though I'd like to see more people make games and stories /not/ set in Medieval European Fantasy Worlds.)

When it comes to fantasy Tolkien tends to be the archetype more often than not, and due to the patriarchal anglocentric undertones in his stories, it tends to pass into most fantasy.

I'm Hispanic and I'm not insulted by the fact that a game based on European Medieval Fantasy features White people. Now The Last Airbender...that's more something you should be upset at. An Asian-Inspired Fantasy world turned into bland nonsense by a bad director replacing A Tibetan and two Eskimos with white people.

That being said, I'd certainly be happy if I could make a Mongolian-type horsemen faction, or a faction of Tribal Forest Dwellers...but I won't count on it.

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July 6, 2010 4:57:48 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

That being said, I'd certainly be happy if I could make a Mongolian-type horsemen faction, or a faction of Tribal Forest Dwellers...but I won't count on it.

I'm really pretty sure you could. Heck, Frogboy posted a video of him modding in a unique resource tile to Fallen that allows them to recruit Ogres. You can certainly make unique stuff for a Horsemen faction, and likely Tribal Forest Dwellers though it's less obvious where you want to go with that

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July 7, 2010 10:59:15 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

When I said 'Tribal Forest Dwellers' what I was thinking of was 'Wood Elves' but knowing that Elves don't exist in Elemental's World, I offered a counterfeit substitution but with the same image in my head.

Bows, leaves, leather armor, green cloaks. Yay cliches.

Still, would be noticably different then how most of the factions operate in beta. At the moment Stealth and Ranged combat aren't really very effective tactics for long-terms, and you can't build inside of forests.

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July 7, 2010 11:22:14 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

<sarcasm>HuMAN is wrong in any case.  What about "humyn" and "womyn" to avoid any root (heh . . he said root) word issues? </sarcasm>

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July 7, 2010 11:45:16 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

LOL. Another feminist trying to ruin everyone's fun.

Fuck political correctness.

While these assholes above me are super-diplomatic, I sort of agree with them to a certain extent. I argued heavily in a prior thread that female characters should not be gimped. However, there is sort of an established setting here which takes place in a male-dominated society. There's a certain extent where I think for game purposes such civilizations should be flexible enough to allow female characters, I think the 4th ed DnD style of both genders being split down the middle of any profession ever is sort of hard to swallow. As such, I sort of understand why they would call themselves the kingdoms of "man" as opposed to the kingdoms of "humans" and the kingdoms of "people" just sounds dumb. If there was a good term for humanity that sounded good and was gender neutral, I'd suggest we use that instead.

Tolkienesque medieval fantasy tends to be both male- and European-centric. It struck me as ironic that, in Elemental, the most evil races appear to be even more white than the default humans. Usually, the "evil races" appear to be modeled after racist caricatures of "savages" and thugs; whereas, in Elemental, so far, they look like diseased versions of the default humans (which nonetheless appear to be white people); it's very consistent; although, of course, there still are quasi-racist Tolkien monsters present, like orcs and goblins. It will be interesting to see if expansions include new continents, peopled by non-white men and women. Really, that could present an interesting opportunity to break stereotypes, by introducing highly advanced "African" factions, for example. Say these people come over from across the ocean, and their magic/technology is so advanced that it makes the white people of the current world look like primitives, and the white people flee in terror from them.

You might be interested in the Pathfinder Campaign Setting, a setting I like to push a lot. There is an Africanized setting featured prominently in the world (not just a far-off region), full of diverse civilizations. I don't know if you play PnP RPGs at all, but it should be interesting.

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July 7, 2010 11:46:54 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Dumb double posts double posting.

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July 7, 2010 6:20:01 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

There still the Races of Man ... but maybe the Kingdoms ruled by Queens should be Called Queendoms

 

Or we could be all Gypsy and call ourselves Roma ... but I wouldn't want anyone to feel Gypped.

 

"Ba dum dush!"

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July 7, 2010 7:30:26 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

You should know that the "Races of Man," include also the Dwarves.

In this game they're called Ironeers. People call them Men because they can interbreed with "the real" humans, and because they don't view them as evil.

 

In other words in this game just because it is a "Man" does not mean it is a "Human."

 

This factoid pleases me greatly.

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July 7, 2010 7:52:52 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

They are not genetically speaking dwarves. All Races of Men are human. A different thing would be that one resembles what we could call dwarves in another game.

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July 7, 2010 8:28:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yeah, I made some Ironeers and they're the same regular race as the faction, which I expect is the way it's going to stay.  The lore that I read actually had dwarves as non-Men by definition, which is also Tolkein-esque.

As for all the whining about my suggestion being, to them, "feminist" or "politically correct" etc. -- it's a pity the idea upset you!  I already pointed out the obvious that Tolkein etc. were very man-centric and that Elemental is another game drawing heavily on that for canon... and also that this doesn't mean that Elemental has to make the same mistake just cause they're copying Tolkein.  Or using "cliches of the English language" or Euro-Medieval Fantasy trope or whatever the hell someone wants to point to as "that's the way it's always been so that's the way it should be".  

I actually can expect a company like Stardock to consider bucking a tired trend because that's exactly what their games have always done for me.  Filled with familiarities, yes, but in ways that are new and well-thought out to some surprising and talented detail.

In short, "Fuck the way it's 'always' been done. Do it your own damn way because it makes a better, more original game."  Does their way have to be my way?  Of course not, I'm not on their team.  But while forumites getting even a polite level of bent out of shape because someone's suggestion is different from what they'd prefer may be "traditional internets", it remains damn silly.

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July 7, 2010 8:50:20 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Kimaya,
As for all the whining about my suggestion being, to them, "feminist" or "politically correct" etc. -- it's a pity the idea upset you!  I already pointed out the obvious that Tolkein etc. were very man-centric and that Elemental is another game drawing heavily on that for canon... and also that this doesn't mean that Elemental has to make the same mistake just cause they're copying Tolkein.

Yeah, yeah!

Bad Tolkien was too man-centric! He should have thought people in the years 2010s would want to rewrite History and give women a place they never had.

How many women in the armies of Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, in medieval armies, with the conquistadors, in the army of Napoleon, during WWI and WWII?

How many women fought in plate armor waving swords?

 

We don't need neither stinkin' retro-feminism nor political correctness crap!

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July 7, 2010 9:00:44 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

and also that this doesn't mean that Elemental has to make the same mistake

Why are you assuming that it's a "mistake"? As was pointed out above, "human" and "woman" both have the word MAN in them, which makes "The Race of Man" a fairly accurate generalization as a more flavorful fantasy name besides "Human".

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July 7, 2010 9:10:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Kimaya,
I actually can expect a company like Stardock to consider bucking a tired trend because that's exactly what their games have always done for me.  Filled with familiarities, yes, but in ways that are new and well-thought out to some surprising and talented detail.

I ran human through the thesaurus.com and got mortal as the best alternative.  Now hear me out because this could work.  Mortal implies natural and Fallen means unnatural.

See, it fits into Elemental lore perfectly.

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July 8, 2010 7:25:20 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

That somehow someone "enlightened" tied "mortal" to "human" doesn't mean that "mortal" has anything to do with "natural" and "unnatural".

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July 8, 2010 7:31:16 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Can I suggest a radical solution? We instead have 'chaps'. There can be 'good chaps' and 'bad eggs'. Thereby circumventing all of the political correctness issues whilst being simply splendid terms to use in their own right.

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