D&D 5E Dark Sun, problematic content, and 5E…

Is problematic content acceptable if obviously, explicitly evil and meant to be fought?

  • Yes.

    Votes: 205 89.5%
  • No.

    Votes: 24 10.5%

overgeeked

B/X Known World
There are a couple of threads on this already, but I wanted to put up a poll and ask a question I had in regards to Kyle Brink’s recent statement about Dark Sun.

Q: Is problematic content acceptable in a work if it's presented as obviously and explicitly evil and meant to be fought?

I'm asking because a lot of people object to presenting problematic content at all, even if it's presented as obviously evil and meant to be fought. That somehow the mere presence of problematic content is promoting same or inherently problematic regardless of intent. That even works that decry problematic things are themselves problematic because they include problematic content. Like saying a work decrying the evils of racism is itself racist or promotes racism because it depicts racism. Or saying a work decrying the evils of slavery is itself promoting slavery because it depicts slavery.

The Dark Sun connection should be obvious, so I'll skip the details.

ETA: Apparently I should not have skipped the details. No, this is not a veiled demand that WotC publish Dark Sun. It's an honest question about problematic content in games.

So the question is, I know, incredibly complex. But for the purposes of starting this thread and the poll, I'll keep the options to a simple yes or no.

Q: Is problematic content acceptable in a work if it's presented as obviously and explicitly evil and meant to be fought?
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad


Emoshin

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
Tough to answer, at least the way the poll is worded.

For example, torture is "problematic content" that is "acceptable" (i.e., I keep reading in published content how demons and devils are torturing innocents) but it's not being fought per se. The PCs can't prevent every incident of torture on the Lower Planes.

In classic Dark Sun, there's slavery and (probably) torture. Both are problematic IMO. As a whole, neither can be fought across the entirety of Athas.

How should I best answer the poll when my mind goes to all these different scenarios?
 


Vaalingrade

Legend
I'd really like D&D to take a long break from its addiction to depicting slavery for every third society or species it generates. IT's not about promoting it as much as shoving it in people's faces (especially people still suffering the societal repercussions of it) ALL the time and trivializing it as just another edgy backstory element.

And if Dark Sun can't be a setting without that stuff--if you can't have the desert sword and sandal adventure with psionics and defiler magic-- without yet another of D&D's seven hundred slave-holding civilizations, then... good riddance.
 


Emoshin

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
Why not? D&D is a game of epic heroes who go from pig farmers to demi-gods. Why couldn't slavery and torture be fought across the face of Athas?
So in your poll, do you mean there would be a canon adventure path where the PCs ultimately succeed in overthrowing slavery and other things that are "problematic"?
 

Imaro

Legend
There are a couple of threads on this already, but I wanted to put up a poll and ask a question I had in regards to Kyle Brink’s recent statement about Dark Sun.

Q: Is problematic content acceptable in a work if it's presented as obviously and explicitly evil and meant to be fought?

I'm asking because a lot of people object to presenting problematic content at all, even if it's presented as obviously evil and meant to be fought. That somehow the mere presence of problematic content is promoting same or inherently problematic regardless of intent. That even works that decry problematic things are themselves problematic because they include problematic content. Like saying a work decrying the evils of racism is itself racist or promotes racism because it depicts racism. Or saying a work decrying the evils of slavery is itself promoting slavery because it depicts slavery.

The Dark Sun connection should be obvious, so I'll skip the details.

So the question is, I know, incredibly complex. But for the purposes of starting this thread and the poll, I'll keep the options to a simple yes or no.

Q: Is problematic content acceptable in a work if it's presented as obviously and explicitly evil and meant to be fought?

I think the problem is the OGL and Creative Commons license... WotC may present the problematic content as explicitly evil and meant to be fought but there's nothing stopping anyone else from publishing the Dark Sun Guide to Being a good Slave Master or the Dark Sun Halfling's Guide to Food Preparation. That's the problem... they don't have control over what's done with it.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
I've always hated the blanket term "problematic" because it's too vague, but I hate even more that it's part of my vocabulary. It's okay for fiction to examine problematic things, and it's okay for role playing games to cover anything a work of fiction might cover.
I'm not going to go hunting for the quote, but I think "problematic" was the word used by kyle brinks.
 


Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Top