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D&D 5E Don't play "stupid" characters. It is ableist.

Bolares

Hero
It's ridiculous of you to expect people to make thorough arguments about anything they talk about.
Okay then.
Edit: Actually no, it’s not okay. I’m not asking you to make thorough arguments about anything you talk about. That’s an absurd misrepresentation of what I was saying. If you are going to make arguments about a group that suffers a lot of prejudice, in the context where they suffer said prejudice then yes, you are expected to be thorough in your arguments.
 
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Bolares

Hero
Interesting. By another game you mean another TTRPG? Something more grim and less heroic?
Yeah, in a game where you are supposed to be a monster for an example. And even then I’d have a conversation with the table about it to make sure everyone is okay with it and to make clear why and how the character would be played there.
 

Faolyn

Hero
Well, like I said, I have never seen a player actually play something like this. But I have seen a DM. Mostly, they are highlighting a character trait. They also highlight other traits. I have honestly never seen it done maliciously. It's always been here is a character with a specific trait.
I have, although fortunately not since college. But see, it's generally not done "maliciously," in the sense that the player is thinking "these people are bad or inferior so I'm going to make fun of them." It's done because they think it's the mannerism is funny, or because they really think that's how people in the group act.
 



Vaalingrade

Legend
I think you are misunderstanding me a bit.
There is a stark difference between:
"LOL! Stupid characters are hilarious!"
..and...
"LOL! Stupid people are hilarious!"
The point is there isn't.

Mocking a character who has certain traits FOR having those traits is normalizing mocking anyone who has those traits. That's the point.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/They)
The whole post is about not playing stupid characters and here are some things you can play instead of doing that depending on what your actual goal is.

If you want to play a character who lacks knowledge relevant to the world they find themselves in and has trouble communicating you could play a foreign character.

I say 'don't play a stupid character' and then say you could do this instead and that means that I said foreigners are stupid?
Yes, because you’re presenting playing foreignness as a viable alternative to playing stupidity. The implication is that the way someone is playing the character isn’t a problem, as long as their character is foreign. Which I understand is not what you meant but it is what it looks like you were saying.
 

Ace

Adventurer
I'm not sure who ad-hoc is gaming with but in decades of gaming I've seen odious gamers very rarely except among young male teens where all of us thought it was the height of humor.

These days I'm not interested in playing with gross or rude people either but on the very rare occasion it happened it was the fault of the DM and other players for not making things clear and upfront. Communicating like grownups is they key to good gaming.

That said nobody get tell other people how to play their games Its not their business and if they don't like what they are doing , they can play with someone else. Its a big hobby with rooms for jerks and nice people alike.

The exceptions public games cons and game shops in which case, good communication solves that.
 

So after finally breaking down and actually clicking on this thread I found I more or less agreed with most things in the original post, but had spent the last couple days eying the thread title with resentment and dread as the number of posts steadily increased. So my criticism would be that:

"Don't do X. It is [some sort of "-ist" nobody wants to be]."

... is a problematic format for a thread title. It manages to be divisive by being overbroad, accuses anyone who has fallen within its overbroad ambit of a moral failing, when you use a more recently identified -ism practically begs a culture wars battle, and starts the conversation with a bunch of folks already called out and on the defensive for behavior you didn't necessarily mean to call out.

If this issue has been litigated in the proceeding 400+ posts I apologize. I did not read far.

I’ll agree that a thread title such as “Are simplistic portrayals of low Int scores ableist?” might have been a better title.

But, honestly, getting all hot and bothered by the imperative case and whining about being commanded to play in a certain why strikes me as silly*. If the OP had any actual authority over them/you/me/us it might be another thing. But they don’t. So, uh, take an Internet post for what it’s worth, maybe?

*Not that you are. I’m just commenting on the trajectory of the thread.
 


pming

Legend
Hiya.
The point is there isn't.

Mocking a character who has certain traits FOR having those traits is normalizing mocking anyone who has those traits. That's the point.
Then I guess we just disagree and I don't get it.

It's a game character. Fictional. Resemblance to the 'real world' is just that...a resemblance. We happily accept poisoning, murder, genocide, arson, theft, and any number of other things that go on in an RPG. Why is "WHOA! You're laughing because that guy is so dumb he can't figure out how to unsheathe a sword before using it. That's just a step too far!" the line some are trying to draw?

You can behead a guy who you feel is "bad", no problem.
...not seen as 'normalizing murder'.

You can murder a dozen guards over a "misunderstanding" and get off with paying a paltry sum of coin... no problem.
...not seen as 'normalizing mass-murder'.

You can set up a secret guild of thieves and assassins that carry out crimes of all sorts for money... no problem.
...not seen as 'normalizing criminal behaviour'.

You laugh at a stupid NPC's antics... NO! NOT ALLOWED!
...seen as 'normalizing the mocking of stupid people'.

So yeah. I guess I don't get it. All of those things are happening in a fictional story, of fictional characters, in fictional worlds. Oh well, I guess I'll continue to play stupid PC's/NPC's as doing stupid things, and we will continue to laugh about the things that come up in game because of it. I guess my friends and I are just "badwrongfun" people. shrug Ok. I can live with that.

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/They)
Hiya.

Then I guess we just disagree and I don't get it.

It's a game character. Fictional. Resemblance to the 'real world' is just that...a resemblance. We happily accept poisoning, murder, genocide, arson, theft, and any number of other things that go on in an RPG. Why is "WHOA! You're laughing because that guy is so dumb he can't figure out how to unsheathe a sword before using it. That's just a step too far!" the line some are trying to draw?

You can behead a guy who you feel is "bad", no problem.
...not seen as 'normalizing murder'.

You can murder a dozen guards over a "misunderstanding" and get off with paying a paltry sum of coin... no problem.
...not seen as 'normalizing mass-murder'.

You can set up a secret guild of thieves and assassins that carry out crimes of all sorts for money... no problem.
...not seen as 'normalizing criminal behaviour'.

You laugh at a stupid NPC's antics... NO! NOT ALLOWED!
...seen as 'normalizing the mocking of stupid people'.
One of these things is not like the others. In the first two cases you aren’t actually killing anyone. In the last case you are actually mocking people for actions you associate with their intellect.
 

FireLance

Legend
What I find to be somewhat ironic is that the OP, while telling people not to play "stupid" characters, comes across to me as a moralizing paladin, preaching to their fellow party members and issuing commandments about How Things Should Be Done So That You Do Not Become Evil instead of using their presumably high Charisma to gently persuade and lead by example - a type of behaviour that has often been called Lawful "Stupid".

That's all I have to say.
 

Argyle King

Legend
One of these things is not like the others. In the first two cases you aren’t actually killing anyone. In the last case you are actually mocking people for actions you associate with their intellect.

On some level, I feel like I want to agree.

Though, I'm not sure that I fully understand how hurting the feelings of an imaginary person is seen as worse than taking the life of an imaginary person.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/They)
On some level, I feel like I want to agree.

Though, I'm not sure that I fully understand how hurting the feelings of an imaginary person is seen as worse than taking the life of an imaginary person.
Because, as has been said repeatedly in this thread, offense is not the problem. The problem is that you’re creating an environment where people who think it’s funny to mock people’s intelligence are comfortable, and people who have had their intelligence mocked probably wouldn’t be.
 

pming

Legend
Hiya!
One of these things is not like the others. In the first two cases you aren’t actually killing anyone. In the last case you are actually mocking people for actions you associate with their intellect.
They are all the same... not attributing to real people in reality. I think that's where we aren't seeing eye to eye.

In ALL of those cases, I'm not actually doing anything to anyone...because they are all fictional characters. Nothing is being done to anyone in "real life". Killing an NPC in a game, mocking an NPC in a game...same thing. Mocking an NPC for their stupidity, killing an NPC for their murderous actions, stealing from NPC's because you can.... same thing.

Ask yourself this: could I KILL the NPC for doing something stupid in the game? ... ... So that's ok, but mocking them for doing something stupid in the game is a no-no?

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/They)
Hiya!

They are all the same... not attributing to real people in reality. I think that's where we aren't seeing eye to eye.

In ALL of those cases, I'm not actually doing anything to anyone...because they are all fictional characters. Nothing is being done to anyone in "real life". Killing an NPC in a game, mocking an NPC in a game...same thing. Mocking an NPC for their stupidity, killing an NPC for their murderous actions, stealing from NPC's because you can.... same thing.

Ask yourself this: could I KILL the NPC for doing something stupid in the game? ... ... So that's ok, but mocking them for doing something stupid in the game is a no-no?

^_^

Paul L. Ming
You, the real people playing the game, are really saying real words, with your real mouths, that are said by bullies to mock people, and then laughing about it. That you’re saying them about an imaginary person is incidental. What matters is that by actually saying mocking things about people’s intelligence and laughing, you are making the environment a place where bullies feel welcome and victims of bullying do not.
 
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I played a lot of hockey when I was younger. I aslo played football (the sissy kind with the pads) as well as a ton of other sports. I fear that many of the posters here would run screaming from their first practice or the first game, when the trash-talking starts.

(The poster who wrote this has been kicked from the thread, but maybe the response I almost wrote (before that happened) may help explain to @pming what the issue is.)

Yes, I participated in that sort of thing as well...when I was a teenager. I was being one of the guys. And funny (or so I thought). Now with some age and perspective I realize I was being not just juvenile, but hurtful.

At a high school reunion, a classmate reminded me of a particularly awful thing I said about gay men. In English class. I'm not going to repeat exactly what it was I said, because honestly I'm embarrassed now. But I didn't actually believe it. I was, again, just being funny. And, honestly, I had forgotten about it.

But this classmate had not forgotten. Because he was/is...spoiler alert...gay. But in high school he wasn't out of the closet...basically nobody of that age was in those days...so I didn't know that. I didn't even know or suspect there were any gays/ lesbians in my school. (Clueless, huh?). So, yeah, he remembered. And he obviously remembered being hurt. And, man, do I respect him for calling me out for it 20 years later.

Here's the thing, though: what I said wasn't wrong because somebody of the targeted group happened to be present. It was wrong just because being a malicious jerk is wrong. It's wrong to normalize that behavior, regardless of who is present or might be present or definitely is not present.

Not "wrong" in the sense of hurting somebody directly, but...morally degrading. It does nothing to make the world a better place, and might very well make the world a worse place. It's funny (for those who think so) because it taps into some of our ugliest aspects. Getting a laugh from somebody else's weakness is, itself, weakness.

However, because our culture (probably most all/most cultures?) normalizes it, because we grow up with sitcoms and stand-up comedians who do it, it's pretty understandable to forget that it's not ok and sometimes still do it. So I don't condemn people who maybe haven't thought about all this, and sometimes make a joke at the expense of other people. I know I still do it myself, and sometimes don't even notice.

But to actively defend the behavior, to write post after post after post arguing that such juvenile behavior is fine and harmless and how dare you tell me I shouldn't do it....that sort of astounds me.

No, I'm not offended. I'm disgusted.

Sometimes I hate the Internet for what it reveals to me.
 

Argyle King

Legend
Because, as has been said repeatedly in this thread, offense is not the problem. The problem is that you’re creating an environment where people who think it’s funny to mock people’s intelligence are comfortable, and people who have had their intelligence mocked probably wouldn’t be.


That's starting to sound more like Jack Chic's view of D&D than I'd like.

I 100% agree that mocking disabled people is awful.

I'm not sure that I buy into the mental route this thread is taking to get there.
 


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