Orcs, Racism, and Tolkien

The most recent episode of Still Digging featured a discussion of articles by James Mendez Hodes “Orcs, Briton and the Martial Racial Myth…” Part I and Part II. The articles focused on the use of cultural and racial stereotypes in the fantasy genre and in particular within the tabletop role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons.

The ArchaeoRPG crew took that discussion and expanded on it discussing the roles that anthropology and archaeology had played in creating the kind of race science used within the fantasy genre. We then discussed what can we as archaeologists today do to change these embed pieces of the fantasy genre while still keeping the features of the genre that drew us to it to begin with.

Watch the video and subscribe to our YouTube channel to keep up with the latest content.

Still Digging – episode 2

This week the ArchaeoRPG collective came together to discuss a variety of topics.

We started with a discussion of the tension that sometimes occurs between professional archaeologist and volunteers. This led to a rather lengthy discussion of the reaction and counter-reaction to a twitter post showing off volunteers in action.

We then shifted gears and began discussing the world of role-playing games. A discussion of the use of racial stereotypes in the fantasy genre and tabletop role-playing games. With particular focus on two articles by James Mendez Hodes

Orcs, Britons, And The Martial Race Myth, Part I: A Species Built For Racial Terror

Orcs, Britons, And The Martial Race Myth, Part II: They’re Not Human

These articles focused on the orc first described in the works of Tolkien and later reinterpreted for Dungeons & Dragons (D&D).

We finally talk out our own upcoming live play tabletop role-playing campaign, Rituals and Rolls. We agreed that one of the purposes of this games was to critically examine the genre through an archaeological lens. We discussed whether this would best be achieved through a homebrew campaign where we attempted to ‘clean up’ 5th edition D&D from its cultural pitfalls or play a prewritten campaign to better understand what these pitfalls are. We chose the later. An coming soon we will begin the first campaign of Ritual and Rolls with Tomb of Annihilation.

 

 

Join us again on July 18, 2019 when episode 3 of Still Digging will air live at 8 pm EDT on YouTube. Please subscribe to our YouTube channel for updates.