🏳️‍🌈Pride Month- Celebrating Representation in TTRPGs (2024)


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Argyle King

Legend
This feels like someone setting up a trap no matter what the answer.

I'll spring it.

I'd love for all of the cast of characters to mimic the diversity of the setting. I also love for characters, including the villainous, to be well developed with their own reasonable motivations. Remember that a villain is rarely the bad guy to themselves. Some fantasy beings like demons and devils are the exceptions, but those fall outside the normal diversity roles anyhow.

No trap; it was simply a question.

For some people (regardless of identity or group) representation doesn't always extend to portrayals that may be less flattering or less likeable characters.

As for falling outside of "normal" diversity roles, that is also true of fantasy species and beings (such as lizardfolk, plasmoids, and etc) for whom the general human understanding of sex and gender do not apply.
 

Staffan

Legend
I've never heard anyone complain about Corellon being gender-fluid, even the folks I might have expected to. It's interesting.
I think it was because back in the day, a big deal wasn't made about it. I do remember a few years back – maybe when Volo's came out? – and it was suggested that eladrin, being closer to Corellon in their nature, could change sex/gender over time, and that caused a bit of a stir.
I can't remember who I heard this from, but they said "Good representation is boring." As long as LGBTQ people aren't only portrayed as villains I don't think it's a problem.
Also, that they aren't villains because they're queer. Take the recent appearance of the Maestro on Doctor Who, who was described as genderfluid/non-binary and played by a trans lady. But they were a villain because they wanted to destroy all music and only leave aeolian sound – their gender, or lack thereof, was part of their over-the-topness, but not part of their villainy.
 

Gradine

The Elephant in the Room (she/her)
Also, that they aren't villains because they're queer. Take the recent appearance of the Maestro on Doctor Who, who was described as genderfluid/non-binary and played by a trans lady. But they were a villain because they wanted to destroy all music and only leave aeolian sound – their gender, or lack thereof, was part of their over-the-topness, but not part of their villainy.
Absolutely this, and louder for the folks in the back.

If you wondering for a contrast, the Disney animated canon was already brought up so I'll bring up another example: Dune, where the Harkonens aren't necessarily villains because they're queer, but are queer because they're villains.
 

Anon Adderlan

Adventurer
Just encountered a #YouTube reply in a review for #Monsterhearts which called the 'turn someone on' move gross and creepy because it doesn't account for sexuality and consent and runs contrary to sexual identity. Oops I guess. Then there's Empire of the Petal Throne which did representation so well that queers were claiming ownership of it. That is until it came to light the creator was a literal (as in not figurative) Nazi sympathizer, who edited a Nazi newsletter, and wrote a book about the Nazis rising again. Talk about awkward.

Finally there are the games which move beyond simple representation and straight into advocacy. Which is fine, but let's not pretend it doesn't have an impact. It's the difference between #Monsterhearts (which presents a perspective) and #ThirstySwordLesbians (which pushes an ideology). But does one do representation better than the other?

Ultimately the problem with representation is the same symbols mean different things to different people, there's no way to avoid conflicting interpretations, and demanding a single acceptable interpretation is a very fascist stance to take.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
Also, that they aren't villains because they're queer. Take the recent appearance of the Maestro on Doctor Who, who was described as genderfluid/non-binary and played by a trans lady. But they were a villain because they wanted to destroy all music and only leave aeolian sound – their gender, or lack thereof, was part of their over-the-topness, but not part of their villainy.

Absolutely this, and louder for the folks in the back.

If you wondering for a contrast, the Disney animated canon was already brought up so I'll bring up another example: Dune, where the Harkonens aren't necessarily villains because they're queer, but are queer because they're villains.
This is definitely an area where older fiction can be disappointing. It's one of the few flaws in one of my most beloved series, Jack Vance's Lyonesse. The queer-coding of the villains.
 


Gradine

The Elephant in the Room (she/her)
Not to feed any trolls, but it's worth pointing out that Monsterhearts is deliberately teasing the boundaries of consent in ways that it is very up-front about and that anybody playing should be consenting to before-hand. It's not a bug; it's a feature.

Fortunately most queer people (and most non-homophobic people) understand that
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Not to feed any trolls, but it's worth pointing out that Monsterhearts is deliberately teasing the boundaries of consent in ways that it is very up-front about and that anybody playing should be consenting to before-hand. It's not a bug; it's a feature.
The character splats are monsters and a lot of the tension of the game is about not giving into your family's terrible practices. And that tension requires making it really easy to be monstrous.

From the website:
In Monsterhearts, you explore some difficult themes: dysfunctional relationships, teen sexuality, coercive power, trauma, abuse, violence, and queer marginalization. The game includes a full chapter on how to handle difficult themes with care and limits.
Personal horror is a big part of Monsterhearts.
 
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MGibster

Legend
Not to feed any trolls, but it's worth pointing out that Monsterhearts is deliberately teasing the boundaries of consent in ways that it is very up-front about and that anybody playing should be consenting to before-hand. It's not a bug; it's a feature.
When I played a game powered by the Apocalpyse engine, I took the opportunity to initiate a romance with a sentient dolphin character played by a friend of mine. I'm not in any position to judge other people.

Edit: Of course I meant through my character. I've never personally had a chance to even date a dolphin let alone romance one.
 

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