Have you considered doing analysis on more recent material from D&D, like 5e? I'd be very interested to see your take on the stuff in Volo's Guide to Monsters.
Alright I know this is a question from like six months ago at this point but it’s something I wanna bring up, is that like, I’ll get to stuff that isn’t AD&D in a nebulous “eventually” kind of way. Like, due to college and other life shit going on (which is the reason posts on this blog can be so, *ahem*, sporadic) a lot of my non-AD&D books are several hundred miles away, so it wouldn’t happen until at least I get those back. Like, there’s a bunch of 3.5 stuff I really wanna cover, at some point in time, including/especially the Player’s Handbook, where half-orcs are literally the only player race that gets a net -2 to their stat spread, whereas everyone else is at a net 0. Like 3.5 at least seemed to know a little more about what it was doing in terms of realizing that maybe not every single orc is irredeemably evil, from birth, but the farther we get away from it the more the cracks show, as with AD&D. Like, there’s a whole splatbook in 3.5 about playing monstrous humanoids, which was in many regards a step in the right direction, and in many others, not, because in most respects the rules for playing monsters sucked because of empty “monster” levels that were supposedly to balance the “hideous” power of playing, say, a bugbear, or a minotaur.
In fact I’d have to work out how to make it work in my formatting, and not make it take literal days to read, but I’d like at some point to make articles about some AD&D splatbooks, too. Maybe be like an overview with the excerpts being the “best hits”, so to speak? I dunno. Maybe break them up into groups, or chapters. I still need to consider it. The Book of Humanoids, from AD&D, at least, has a roughly similar entry style compared to the Monstrous Manual, so that at least should be pretty easy to get that ball rolling.
And say what you will about 4th edition, I thought the removal of negative racial stats was a good idea, because it made certain races more optimal for this role or that, while not making them totally unusable in any other role, just merely sub-optimal. Though honestly I will admit the very heavy combat focus of 4E kind of makes analyzing its fluff a little bit of a losing proposition, in my opinion? Like I remember looking through some 4E Monster Manuals and being like “??? This is just stat blocks”, with maybe a token paragraph, or somesuch.
Though I liked how they provided player stats for a handful of monsters in the back of every monster manual, if you wanted to be a bullywug, or a gnoll, or what-have-you.
Now, 5th Edition, from everything that I have seen, read, and just within the last couple of weeks personally experienced, is really, really good.
…Like I haven’t had a lot of opportunity to analyze a lot of the fluff, I don’t have many 5E books, but as a game it’s really tightly designed and has a whole lot to offer in terms of like, player customization and choice, and making every class feel like they’re doing something useful within their role, and not having as bad a time power balancing the wizards versus everyone else as compared to 3.5, especially, and without having to resort to the “everyone has kinda-sorta magic” solution of 4E. It feels like it’s simplified without being dumbed down? And I just, like it a lot, already, and I haven’t even done much in it. Like, the classes, the archetypes, I think it’s really cool. And they do have playable minotaurs, even, thanks to a PDF off the Wizards of the Coast website.
…They’re Dragonlance minotaurs, but flavor can be mucked around with, when you’re a DM. It’s liberating that way.
As for Volo’s, I haven’t read it myself, but I have a friend who has, and he’s told me I’ll especially want to take a good long look at its take on kobolds, which, I’ve heard, suuuuuuuuuucks.
Like, they get a whole mechanic based on groveling like sniveling cowards?? A racial mechanic?? So any/all kobold PCs could do this??
I mean, minotaurs always having a melee weapon available on account of the horns, that makes sense, because unless they’ve been cut the hell off, every minotaur’s going to have horns to headbutt people with, right?
I mean, in theory a minotaur could be born naturally hornless, like polled cattle in real life, but I digress; the whole point about a racial ability is that it should be something universal, that anybody of the species has the capacity to do, usually based on an integral physical trait, like the dragonborn and their breath weapons, or the half-orcs and their ability to go down swinging because of their adrenaline, or whatever it is. But groveling and cowardice?? For shame, Volo. That’s some anti-kobold libel. You’d better hire a top-notch barrister, Volo, because whatever international organization for kobold civil rights exists in your setting is going to be breathing down your throat any minute now. Of course, if it’s Forgotten Realms, like a lot of 5e fluff seems to be almost implicitly, then he might get off scott free, but, er…
Uh, but yeah, stuff that ain’t AD&D is coming, eventually.
I suppose it’s that AD&D stuff is almost like, low-hanging fruit? Like it talks so matter-of-factly and cut-and-dry with no room for nuance about a lot of these races that of course they don’t stand up to even the barest of scrutiny. :P
…Although come to think of it, I could at some point do a little analysis of the 5E playable minotaur, like I did with the 5E aarakocra, and see how I like their fluff.
Which I suppose would just devolve into a review of the Dragonlance setting’s interpretation of the minotaur, since that’s what the 5E minotaur explicitly is? But…?
Centaur article should be along pretty quick, by the way. ^^
I totally wasn’t inspired to do it because Orisa came out in Overwatch, or anything.