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Post by EltanimRas » Fri May 20, 2016 8:30 am

Has the possibility of renaming the Dorwinion "Gypsies" been discussed at all, staffside?

See for reference: SoI staff may not be of the opinion that this is an offensive word (although that belief is common in the offline world, and there are certainly people who use the word with intent to insult), but ... just the fact that in addition to being a standard fantasy trope, it also happens to be a name for a real-life ethnic group (whom said fantasy trope caricatures) makes it seem like an awkward choice to me, especially when this point is not one on which the game is constrained by Tolkien canon.

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Re: Gypsies?

Post by Frigga » Fri May 20, 2016 10:10 am

First, let me say that it's a term not intended to be offensive or derisive as utilized by SOI staff. It indeed is a term long utilized in game though previously in a different context. I fear I don't have links to previous Wikis for that context, as they were since closed/removed.

In roleplay, from what I witness at least, it seems a term more likely to be used by the player of such a character themselves than by others to or about them.

The "Gypsies" were originally developed following the concern from players that in past incarnations of SOI, people of color were always written as the wartorn enemy of the "free peoples" when our role playing was centered in Gondor. After some internal reflection, this concern was understood and we wrote it so people of color could appear in our starting play area and later Laketown with ready explination via our understanding of Dorwinion.

Which might have then in turn arguably sort of developed along some standard fantasy trope lines. As what indeed we know about Dorwinion from canon is relatively light and partially so as it was intended to take the parts I remembered fondly during RP of a certain NPC in Angost while removing the direct connection with Mordor or Black Numenoreans.

The alternative word introduced thus far into game is Gwinion a word in Sindarin utilized by the Mirkwood Elves, Dorwinion's great trading partner - meaning "Men from the Land of Wine" as they do not take stock in differences between Men the same as Men do amongst themselves.

I imagine "Gypsy" is a word in the Common Tongue, so I could research a word for Dalish (represented by Tolkien as Old Norse) to have a more neutral alternative word centered in our own mythos in Rhovanion. In the meantime people could also utilize the neutral term Dorwinion which like Rohirrim or Gondorian is simply a note of where someone comes from, though it might come with assumptions based on that fact.

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