I recently read a blog post on the issue of racism in/of D&D and it got me to thinking about issues of race in fantasy world building. Kody Boye recently released his dark fantasy Blood from his Brotherhood Saga series and touches on the issue of the politics of race. It’s a topic I am interested in and plan on coming back and exploring further later.
World-building: The Politics of Race
by Kody Boye
To say that we’ve experienced major conflict in our world would be an understatement. From enslavement of blacks by plantation owners in America, the attempted genocide of the Jewish people, to even the complete and utter annihilation of the Aztecs, there has never been a shortage of crimes against humanity. It was for this reason that, when returning to The Brotherhood Saga, I wanted to create some diversity and conflict between not only the different types of people, but the individual sentient races in my world.
The majority of the Brotherhood Saga takes place in and around a series of countries called The Three Kingdoms (otherwise known as the Seaside Kingdoms.) To the west is Ornala, which is prominently made up of general ‘white’ and olive-skinned peoples, while to the northeast is a kingdom called Kegdulan, which features a prominent white population. Smack-dab in the middle of the two is Germa—a stark, desert wasteland where the Kadarian (black-skinned) people live. While there is much conflict between Ornala and Germa due to the amount of territory each owns (Germa believes the Ornalan king to be greedy for not sharing his land,) there is also racial conflict of area and position between other higher races—most specifically, Dwarves and Elves.
The Elves arrived on the mainland when humanity was just evolving. Over the millennia, they were exiled from the Three Kingdoms to a forest to the far south called the Abroen. Told never to return to return to the mainland under the stipulation that the territory inside the forest would belong to them, Elves have lived solitary lives within their wooded communities, but this is due to low population numbers, which ultimately keep them from overpopulating their forest.
The Dwarves, on the other hand, were present in the Kegdulanian region prior to Elves’ appearance on the mainland and humanity’s uprising. Settling primarily within the Hornblaris Mountain chain (which is considered to be their true home,) necessity for territory forced them to spread out into the Kegdulan. As humanity rose to dominance on the continent of Minonivna, however, and their ignorance became apparent, the very greedy Dwarves abandoned the few cities they’d created and retreated back to the mountains.
It is apparent by history within the world I have created for The Brotherhood that many races have had conflicts. Humans exiled the Leatherskin peoples (Orcs, Ogres, Goblins and Trolls) across a land bridge, which later was destroyed and cut off from the island by a massive earthquake; Elves drove the Unclean (a race of rat people) to extinction. Dwarves cannot coexist peacefully with a race of semi-sentient creatures called Hornblarin Angels. In basing these struggles around what we have learned from history, I believe I have created a much greater and widespread world that, to me, seems realistic. I can only help my readers will believe the same.