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Old 05-09-2018, 09:14 AM   #21
vicky_molokh
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Default Re: Question on when to use Social Stigma vs Odious Racial Habit on Monster Races

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I'm on the record of finding racial Appearance problematic, mostly[1] because I don't know what to do with something like e.g. a Minotaur (racial Hideous) who is particularly ugly to other Minotaurs. Do they just "upgrade" to Monstrous? What if non Minotaurs don't get the problem?
This is explained in detail on page 128 of Fantasy. Short version is add the Universal modifier to Appearance.

Do note that sometimes it makes sense for a technically racial template to provide an 'in-race' appearance, e.g. a genetically upgraded human with Attractive is attractive to humans (including to other upgrades, which are subsets of humans), but will not be noticed by a Vorlon.

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[1] That, and I'm confused why e.g. Catfolk don't get a Racial appearance penalty for looking like animals, but Minotaurs do; cattle don't get a racial appearance problem so it's not that we hate cows. I can totally see some animals suffering with a racial appearance penalty from Humans - turkey-headed people would have a struggle in human society.
There seems to be a matter of what appearance others expect from someone. E.g. humans don't expect cows to have a primate face, but they do expect bipedal sapients to be more primate-like.
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Old 05-09-2018, 09:52 AM   #22
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Default Re: Question on when to use Social Stigma vs Odious Racial Habit on Monster Races

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I'm on the record of finding racial Appearance problematic, mostly[1] because I don't know what to do with something like e.g. a Minotaur (racial Hideous) who is particularly ugly to other Minotaurs. Do they just "upgrade" to Monstrous? What if non Minotaurs don't get the problem?
If a minotaur has a trait that is only repulsive to other minotaurs, that's probably just a physical quirk since the campaign won't involve a lot of contact with others of his kind.
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Old 05-09-2018, 10:07 AM   #23
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Default Re: Question on when to use Social Stigma vs Odious Racial Habit on Monster Races

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Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
There seems to be a matter of what appearance others expect from someone. E.g. humans don't expect cows to have a primate face, but they do expect bipedal sapients to be more primate-like.
Also, frankly, cows belong to a completely different category - they're not people and we don't interact with them socially ... so a "cow" that has acquired personhood has to cope with a category shift into a set where, for most purposes, it doesn't belong and gets judged against those things that are seen to belong to that set. Which for the game default is humans.
There is, of course, that impressive modifier which is explicitly cited to apply to a magnificent looking animal which might apply in some cases...
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Old 05-09-2018, 10:50 AM   #24
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Default Re: Question on when to use Social Stigma vs Odious Racial Habit on Monster Races

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I'm having trouble tracing this back to the conversation, but Social Stigmas usually don't apply (or at least don't apply full force) among other people in the same category. Within a minority or oppressed population, however, a long standing Social Stigma can end up becoming internalized by some.

E.G. While kids take each other much more seriously than adults do, they still (more or less) take rules passed down by adults very seriously. "Outspoken" or "inappropriate" women have been attacked by other women as much as by men during more restrictive periods in history.

On the other claw, while orcs living in an "orc ghetto" for three generations might feel a little crap about themselves, orcs from a free orc nation may just think that the reaction they get is because non-orcs are horrible.
It is relevant unless orcs and humans associate on normal terms. If their only association is fighting each other, then there is no more Social Stigma then any other enemy. Hatfields do not have Social Stigma among McCoys nor vice versa but blacks have such to both.
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Old 05-09-2018, 11:03 AM   #25
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Default Re: Question on when to use Social Stigma vs Odious Racial Habit on Monster Races

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Also, frankly, cows belong to a completely different category - they're not people and we don't interact with them socially ... so a "cow" that has acquired personhood has to cope with a category shift into a set where, for most purposes, it doesn't belong and gets judged against those things that are seen to belong to that set. Which for the game default is humans.
I do not know if it is just me but that reminds me of "cows with guns"..
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Old 05-09-2018, 04:16 PM   #26
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Default Re: Question on when to use Social Stigma vs Odious Racial Habit on Monster Races

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That, and I'm confused why e.g. Catfolk don't get a Racial appearance penalty for looking like animals, but Minotaurs do...
I chalk this one up to the author liking Catgirls and not Cowgirls... err, Minotaurgirls.


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Old 05-09-2018, 04:19 PM   #27
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Default Re: Question on when to use Social Stigma vs Odious Racial Habit on Monster Races

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I do not know if it is just me but that reminds me of "cows with guns"..
?I know the "nuns with guns" and "macho women with guns"...
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Old 05-09-2018, 06:56 PM   #28
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Default Re: Question on when to use Social Stigma vs Odious Racial Habit on Monster Races

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I do not know if it is just me but that reminds me of "cows with guns"..
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?I know the "nuns with guns" and "macho women with guns"...
A song, book, and music video from some years ago about Cow Tse Dung, the great hero of Bovine Freedom.

No RPG version I know of.
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Old 05-10-2018, 12:50 PM   #29
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Default Re: Question on when to use Social Stigma vs Odious Racial Habit on Monster Races

Thank you everyone for your replies and thoughts. Thank you Kromm for the detailed clarification.

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Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
The key difference is this:
Odious Racial Habit: Here's something awful that each member of this race demonstrably does, and does sufficiently often that it generates negative reactions most of the time. It reflects being genuinely foul, crude, rude, annoying, or scary.

Social Stigma: Here's how this race is treated by the game world's dominant race(s), simply for being who they are, independent of anything they might actually do. It indicates prejudice on the part of other races, which may or may not have its origins in an unpleasant truth.
  • A race with ORH but not SS is tolerated in civilization for some reason – most likely because they're so physically similar to the dominant sapient races and/or are so useful to the economy that they usually "pass" and their foibles are ignored – but individuals periodically do something that results in rejection in that specific moment.

  • A race with SS but not ORH is treated badly in civilization for some reason, most likely unfounded prejudice. This is a general dislike, not linked to the actions of specific individuals at particular moments.

  • A race with ORH and SS faces full-time ostracism founded in the reality that its members periodically do something awful, and this conduct is well-known. This rejection grows extra-strong when a given individual justifies it by actually engaging in the troublesome behavior.
So my understanding of this is that a SS (Monster) would be for creatures who are dangerous by nature and cannot really be trusted to live by society's rules because of something about them (sapient or not). A vampire has to drink blood and might lose control at any time even if it did not want to. A Medusa (in Banestorm) has SS (Monster) because they might accidentally turn people to stone even if they do not want to.

On the other hand, Odious Racial Habit (Eats other Sapients) is reserved for sapient creatures who choose to eat other sapients. They may not be monsters but, for whatever reason, they think it is okay to eat sapient creatures.

In this case, I think Tolkien esqu orcs that are sapient and choose to eat other sapients because they like to would have ORH (Eats other Sapients) [-15] and Social Stigma (Barbarian) [-10] for a total reaction penalty of -5 (meaning most civilized people will fight them or flee on sight). They are not "monsters" because they can choose rationally not to attack, but they are violent, untrustworthy, and destructive and therefore are regarded as "Barbarians" who are extra odious because they eat sapient beings.

Does this interpretation seem to track with how ORH and SS are designed?

Last edited by phayman53; 05-10-2018 at 05:14 PM.
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