Some of these questions you would have to ask Onyx Path about, some were not changes but items that were selectively ignored from source content, and some are revisions that needed to happen due to content direct / update to make the source material communicated better. I’m going to answer as best and directly I can so that there isn’t fuzzy answers.
Some of the changes are massive changes to the direction of the original game into the new game world, but have not yet been fleshed out with support documentation for the different Lineages and Strains like existed in the old publications. I do not know if those books will be published, since the support for the line is completely based on tabletop sales. While DR has been very well received by the Onyx Path fans (and strangely sells better overseas than in the US), the decision to continue to produce core books is not ours to make.
Genjians - scrapped all together. There are similar traits and themes that tie into the Digitarians to hit the narrative focus, but while not intended as culturally insensitive back 13 years ago (it was a flubbed attempt at being more inclusive), they were written in such a way that encouraged players to appropriate cultures and act in sometimes racist ways. It wasn’t the intent, but that is how it came across, so we had to own our part of it and change the content to stop encouraging these sorts of behavior.
Purebloods - Part of the changes to mostly remove “culture traits” from strains and stick to genetic traits. This is a trend you will see much more in TTRPGS and it is starting to be a focus for design change across the board.
Baywalkers - See culture vs genetics.
Vegasian - Narrative design forced problematic content without the ability to opt in or out. Genetic vs cultural
Rovers - Genetic vs cultural
Saltwise - The underwater aspect wasn’t written as a mechanic since any underwater play space would require a custom “zone of mechanics card” anyway, since we can’t actively larp underwater.
Gorgers - “Do they breathe” - same as per saltwise. Breathing isn’t a mechanic we have in the larp and would require a “zone of mechanics card” anyway. No need to make people read a rule that won’t come into play unless there are special local rules being use for a zone of mechanic.
Lascarian - This one gets a longer response because I have seen the cherry picked riots on this. The line that is making lore freaks go nuts is “The third branch of this Lineage is the Lascarians. Interestingly enough, Lascarians are simply an evolved branch of the Semper Mort.” In the DR book “Valley of the Misery Machines” the book goes into the nature of Semper and the arc projects for people being frozen. This content needed to be adjusted for a giant logic flaw: do Sempers still climb out of tubes now? If they do, then the technology that kept them going still exists, which conflicts with the overall source of the world. So Sempers were adjusted so that their frozen states happened longer ago, which is (in direct conflict with its own narrative themes) suggested in this section by stating that the earliest people coming out of their freezy tubes adapted and adjusted and mutated in the dark underground regions where the buried arc projects were. So the amnesia flaw was removed, the “hatching” of sempers was moved much earlier on to make more logical sense for overall genre, and the Lascarians and the Semper were given parallel evolution connections much in the same way that Yorkers and Baywalkers are related.
Some people jumped to “everything is out the window now, its all gone”. No. Its not. While it could change in future Onyx path publications, the intent is that instead of having “humans lived underground and became Lascarians” the start point was instead in their near biological parallel the Sempers. Same underground evolution, adaption, growth, and change. But in the end -this doesn’t change the larp at all since its hearsay knowledge from hundreds of years ago-.
Tainted - The created strain was a narrative on road for the larp to allow the larp to stay in line with the tabletop. The game was going another direction, so we needed to introduce the concept to the larp to allow for better continuity. As for “it undermines existing plot”, all narratives from before 3.0 were ended before the move from 2.0 to 3.0, before the time skip, and all branches were instructed to bring all narratives to a close and start with the new world content since we knew there would be some major changes. Games were given a timetable about a year and a half or so (if I remember right) before the 3.0 change to wrap up existing plots. Pre 3.0 and post 3.0 are two completely different narrative arcs that allows for most of the content of 2.0 and 1.0 to be adjusted back story. People were allowed to reroll characters, make strain changes, and recreate dead characters. While effort was made to give as much transition as possible it was also pretty direct that the first decade of arcs were done and full transparency of that was provided to branches.
Mericans - The foreheads was described in the merican tabletop section. Thicker skulls and extra knuckles. People just sort of missed that?
Natural Ones - Could use them before, just not as well. Culture vs Genetics change again.
Quiet Folk - Did, but in modules and narratives ran by national in a limited sense. It was a lost potential from before that was brought more into the light with the new game edition.
Red Star - Genetic vs Culture. That, and we found that Americans had a really hard time understanding philosophical communism instead of applying 1950s propaganda to it.
Unborn - Cultural need changes as well as adjusting for more appropriate content for the modern age. Again, fell short the same way that Genjian did. So the change was made to remove the appropriation of a culture and instead focus on genetics.
Irons - Yeah, there is conflict if removing the subject of slavery all together instead of just making it not part of the game is good or bad. So, the best decision was to lean towards making sure that everyone was comfortable and not having it involved instead of leaving it to chance in particular given the chance for misuse once it leaves “the intent of the writing source”. So if given the choice between having a scenario that could be presented badly and make problematic or uncomfortable scenarios (in particular given the current state of the world), I am going to lean towards making it less likely to cause unexpected negative bleed.
Unstable - The only picture of any unstable in both of the books happens to be the only white blond not by design. We were so focused on making sure that the artist was making diversity for all of the Strains that the fact that the Unstable is the only white blond wasn’t a consideration before right this second. Strange pallor is a reference to the blue glow. I’ll make sure to ask Onyx Path that if they do more pictures beyond the first that the fact that ethnicity has nothing to do with their design, much like the rest of the strains. From the tabletop description of them (which has no picture sadly) the continuity of their source offers some degree of transfer from the prior LARP design without it being just “play frankenstein’s monster”. To help prevent additional over reading into it, and since without reading the tabletop section the pallor reference doesn’t make sense, it will just get deleted out. Again, lean towards better communication than leave it to risk.
RE Faith: “I’ve been trying to tell people that they were likely only left out for brevity’s sake and that they’ll be included in the setting book whenever it comes out, but the topic has come up enough that it would probably be a good idea for something to be said one way or the other on whether or not these are still canon.”
Yeah. Larp books need to be small and need to be a ruleset that allows the source of the canon of the world to be defined by larger in-depth books that others can opt into reading. The intent is to release more in the settings book, but the most direct answer is that making those books cost a lot of money. At the start I could take a few years to write a book and then just slap a cover on it for better or worse. Now we have a national larp audience and global ttrpg audience, people with incredibly (and sometimes unreasonably) high expectations for the publications, and financially restrictions due to a lack of games being run. In regards to finances, unless we were doing it as a TTRPG supplement that sold to outside the DR larp it probably would never break even on the cost for writers, artists, editors, sensitivity review, layout, and publication costs. It will end up being a loss of money and right now DR Larp is trying to keep as much money in the local branches as possible while operating at minimal as possible at the franchise parent company level to keep things running.