Here's a quick tip today: I've been learning a lot recently about the phenomenon of "othering," which is setting a specific group apart because of its differences, almost always to treat them badly or dismiss their opinions or values. This is particularly damaging when applied to real-world people, because it's been used to justify all kinds of odious abuses (to ethnic minorities, to the physically or mentally disabled, and so on). Language that "others" is subtle but pervasive.

Here's a trick to avoid doing this in your game writing: don't use "the" in front of fantasy races or species, and don't put "people" after it. For example, the sentence, "Coalgrim made a treaty with the dwarf people from the neighboring mountains" is especially othering for the dwarves. This gets even worse when it's a human ethnicity, even a fantasy one: "Coalgrim made a treaty with the Darandu people from the neighboring mountains." Othering even imaginary people is bad linguistic form.

To check this, replace the word of the race or species with "human" to see how it sounds. "Coalgrim made a treaty with the human people from the neighboring mountains" sounds weird; "Coalgrim made a treaty with humans from the neighboring mountains" sounds much more natural. You'll keep that natural feel by writing "Coalgrim made a treaty with dwarves from the neighboring mountains," for example.

Of course, avoid "the" in front of minority groups in your game, just as you would in real life. "Coalgrim locked the insane away in gloomy asylums" not only is othering language, but it risks alienating people with real-world mental health issues. In an industry as small as ours, you don't want to be turning any reader away.

But it's not categorically wrong to include "the." "The" is correct when you're talking about a specific group, like "Coalgrim welcomed the human diplomats alongside the dwarven diplomats." Or perhaps you're writing a quote from a speaker who intends to be othering as a character flaw or something.

Should you go further in removing the "the" in front of other fantasy creatures, too, like griffons or dragons or gelatinous cubes? Probably yes, as it makes your language tighter; I'd go so far as to say definitely yes, when the creature is intelligent. It helps you preserve different perspectives in your game world.

For those of you laboring to hit a word count target and who just deleted a bunch of words based on this advice, I apologize!