|This article or section is about a topic that is particularly prone to Skub (that is, really loud and/or stupid arguments). Edit at your own risk, and read with a grain of salt, as skubby subjects have a bad habit of causing stupid, even in neutrals trying to summarize the situation. |
In Particular: What does and doesn't qualify as "Freakshit", and whether the word should even be used in the first place.
Like Mary Sue, there's a lot of debate about what does and does not count as "freakshit", so getting people to agree on what does and doesn't qualify is skubalicious. It can and has been stretched over just about any new or non-standard D&D race that seems too edgy and/or too off the beaten track or non-traditional.
If it seems like we dislike the word, well, given that we're frequently caught between the Devil and the Deep Blue Skub of political arguments (and make no mistake: "Freakshit" pretty much directly invites such political bickering), you shouldn't be that surprised we, at this wiki at least, are somewhat wary. Many people on /tg/ are sitting vehemently in the camps of "freakshit fuck off" and "varied races are good, actually", so we tread lightly.
We list the following only out of a desire to document the common use of the term, not out of any approval of any particular usage of it, or the word in general:
- The most notable example is probably Shardmind, the race for which the word was coined. There have been "weird for weird's sake" races before and since, but none have inspired as many "who the fuck would want to play that?" reactions as the Shardmind. That it came about in a particularly controversial edition of the game did it no favors.
- Dragonborn get it often and thick, due to a combination of their being, unlike most such races, core player options, being "scalies" and therefore potentially tied to the "furry" phenomenon, and finally, also being introduced in and associated with said controversial edition.
- Tieflings, alongside dragonborn, are generally the "face" of the freakshit crowd on /tg/, since they are so often drawn by tumblr artists who delight in making them flamboyantly colored and cartoony looking, essentially taking on the role of the "sparkledog" design style that was associated with the furry crowd in the 90s. They may also be prominently associated with some annoying politics-based aesthetics, depending on who you ask. Before the modern plague of political discourse around aesthetics, they were also mocked as being "edgy but not too edgy," a race of Drizzt-clones, essentially.
- This technically includes all the weird monsters in 3rd edition that had the option to be used as characters despite sometimes not even being humanoid (and the terrible level adjustment rules that would make them underpowered compared to normal characters so nobody actually would use them rules as written), such as the Unbodied and the Ixitxachitl. Of course virtually no one played them due to these factors, and as such are commonly forgotten during arguments on /tg/.
Finally, there are those who decry anything besides the "classics" (human/elf/dwarf/halfling; gnome and half-orc are pushing it) as "freakshit." Don't be surprised when these people get called "racist xenophobes" by the usual suspects, and probably deserve it.
Words of Wisdom from some Oldfags
Point of advice from some Oldfags who has seen fights over snarl words like this before: If you're going to use it at all, try and reserve a word like "freakshit" for those races who don't just look nonhuman, but actually inspire the questions "Where's the fucking appeal?" or "Why would anyone want to play this?" You can thereby avoid much of the standard stupid arguments that using such an insult will eventually inspire.
To provide a few examples of races that get called "freakshit" but probably don't deserve it: dragonborn exist to cater to the "I wanna play a dragon!" feeling that some players have had since the 70s, to the point that there used to be an entire setting just to accommodate them, and tieflings cater to those who want to either play "obvious Bad Boy/Girl" or "Drizzt clone" types; all of which count as solid, if somewhat basic, starting points for character appeal. Similar points can be made for dhampirs (who share most of the tieflings' baggage) and goblins (playing a goofy character can be fun and goblinoids tend to get less-shit rules than orcs, while all three goblinoid subraces have a bit of flexibility to them that doesn't pigeonhole them into a tiny selection of classes).
Further, if a player insists "I'm only playing a catfolk dhampir because that's how the build worked out", don't try and contradict them. While they're probably lying, it's still a dick move to push them if they aren't making a big deal about it and disrupting the game.
To quote Urban Dictionary:
"Sparkledog is a term for an animal character, popularly a wolf or dog, which has unnatural colors, strange, usually clashy markings, lots of fluff and often a large amount of accessoiries [sic] like piercings, bandanas and collars, which it could not possibly apply to itself since it has no thumbs."
If the race or character in question is more or less described by the above, consider using "Sparkledog" to describe them rather than "Freakshit"; since it has a clearer definition ("Mary Sue-esque physical traits on a Furry"), and it's only an insult in combination, rather than being just a combo platter of existing insults.
- It is only when erotic Furries enter the picture that things actually start getting really horrifyingly terrible, rather than the ordinary fandom levels of bad.
- Hilariously, "catfolk dhampir", whilst the sort of thing that would have been attacked as a "sparkledog" back in the dawn of /tg/ and is now cited here as "freakshit" for its seemingly unlikely combination of catperson and halfbreed vampire, is an actual legitimate (sub)race in Pathfinder Second Edition due to the racial mechanics of that system. Both races even appear in the same Player's Handbook 2 - the Advanced Races Guide - meaning you can literally make them straight out of the book, thereby explaining why we use it here.