D&D General Modules with a political message?

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Ogre Mage

Adventurer
I find politics within an TTRPG interesting insofar as when they look at how people operate within a political system and how they work together and against one another. And what happens when the party enters into this equation? Should we strongly support the current regime, try to reform it, ignore it, covertly undermine it or openly rebel against it? If there is an power vacuum should we support a certain candidate or remain neutral? When the party is put into political situations like this it can have rich roleplaying results. Of course, sometimes you back the (good-aligned) prince who LOSES the political struggle and then you're f**ked. I was admittedly frustrated as our lives became worse after that. But our personas non grata status was an interesting story to work through.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
It would certainly be useless as a label because it would be a label that applies to everything. That’s why the word’s utility doesn’t lie in labeling things. We don’t go around saying “this is political” or “that isn’t political.” We ask, “what is this saying politically?” or “what are the political implications of that?”
Actually, people say this or that is/isn't political all the time.
 



Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Ugh. I feel too many people keep trying to bring real world politics into D&D enough as it is.
I don't find it so much a problem with real-world politics as with real-world religion. That gets real annoying real fast in a game that supposedly has its own religious conceits and constructs that at most just wave at the real things as they go by in the distance.
Obviously if there's a market for it, the product should exist, but it's definitely not for me. The only kind of politics I care about in D&D are those that make sense in-world.
Same here.
 


FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Most political content in fiction and rpg's is going to be based on parallels to the real world. I don't have such a problem with this kind of content because it doesn't define the truth of the real world, it's more like a thought experiment about how to handle situations where X premises are true. In the real world those premises are most often disputed.

There is one class of political content in fiction and rpg's that turns me away. Identity politics/representation. If such are important to the story then great! If the inclusion feels artificial or arbitrary it comes across to me as a political statement about the real world and political statements about the real world are the kind of politics I want to avoid in my ficiton and rpg's.
 

Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
There is one class of political content in fiction and rpg's that turns me away. Identity politics/representation. If such are important to the story then great! If the inclusion feels artificial or arbitrary it comes across to me as a political statement about the real world and political statements about the real world are the kind of politics I want to avoid in my ficiton and rpg's.
All inclusion is always forced. The decision to include a woman, LGBTQ+, or neurodivergent/disabled person in any form of media is always a "forced" choice. Always.

And plenty of characters have characteristics (gender identity, sexuality, skin color, etc) that don't impact the story. Not every minor trait of every character in the story has to impact it. If you have a problem with the inclusion of a marginalized minority in a work of media, the problem is "politics" or the media. It's you.
 

There is one class of political content in fiction and rpg's that turns me away. Identity politics/representation. If such are important to the story then great! If the inclusion feels artificial or arbitrary it comes across to me as a political statement about the real world and political statements about the real world are the kind of politics I want to avoid in my ficiton and rpg's.
From my experience I do not mind that.
For instance Grand Duke Ulder Ravengard of Baldur's Gate, a big black bald dude, was introduced in MiBG as the man in charge of the Flaming Fist. What we got out of that was an awesome pic of Terry Crews. Now who doesn't want that?
 

M_Natas

Adventurer
All inclusion is always forced. The decision to include a woman, LGBTQ+, or neurodivergent/disabled person in any form of media is always a "forced" choice. Always.

And plenty of characters have characteristics (gender identity, sexuality, skin color, etc) that don't impact the story. Not every minor trait of every character in the story has to impact it. If you have a problem with the inclusion of a marginalized minority in a work of media, the problem is "politics" or the media. It's you.
Yep.
Usually people cry "I don't want politics in my media" is, when the Movie/Game/Book does include non white protagonist/non straight people/non male people who are more than caricatures and don't fit into preconceived notions of "conservatives" of where they belong (usually either out of sight or at the bottom of society, but never in its center, never as important people).
They want their Media white, straight and male and fight and reviewbomb everything that is not that, by saying its political.
But they are the ones who act political (usually fascist) by fighting against the right of other people to just exist in fiction. This white guys make it political, that Bipoc lgbtqi-people are included more in fiction.
They fight and hate everything that challenges their "conservative" worldview. They don't want to see black gay trans women, they want them gone and they bully, troll and in extreme cases murder people, who are not like them.

To be fair, the D&D fandom doesn't seem as bad as like Star Wars, who is full of sexist racists.
But those right wing nuts a everywhere and they are waging a cultural war against the existence of Nonwhite, nonstraight, non males in fiction (and everywhere else).

They are the ones who make it political, not the ones who just put people who exist real life in Media or put existing social problems in media.

When somebody says "Don't put politics in ma game/franchise/whatever" it usually means "Don't put politics in that I don't like, politics that I like are fine".
 


images


I suppose there is a serious difference between adding political elements to a story, and turning it into a propaganda pamphlet. If the other side shares your same opinion, then you are only "preaching to the chorus", you are repeating the same speech told by others previosly. And if you try to use the plot to send a message to people with a different point of view, then take care because you are treading on slippery ground.

Even when you try doing the best to be ideological neutral, your own point of view may be captured in your work. This not always has to be a wrong thing, when you can say it in a soft and diplomatic way.

One of the main failures by the authors when they want to add a morale to a story is the receiver, reader or audience could feel offended because we are (falsely) typecasted into certain negative stereotypes if our ideology isn't the same than the author. I dare to say there is a serious crisis in the entertaiment industry because companies worried more about sending a message than earning, and keeping, the the affection of the audience towards the characters. Why are you going to spend your money for a product whose author hates you because you don't agree him abour certain threats?

If you are going to add some political elements in your plot, be polite and subtile. If the other side stars to suspect you are trying to indoctrinate your own ideology, then you aren't doing it well. And don't use the plot to tell a morale what has been said in the past by others several times. The repetition may be quite counterproductive

And even when you are telling the truth about the morale of a story, you lack total credibility if the other side suspect you are showing a double standard, two different yardstick to measure at convenience.

---

I would rather to say D&D is "cosmopolitan", and this means "your origings don't matter, if you are a good team partner then you are wellcome". The original spirit of the game always has been, since the begining, different people with different pros and handicap working together as a team to reach the goals.

In the last editions more no-Caucasians characters are showed, and this is not wrong, this is not replacing nobody who was before, but sending the message everybody is wellcome in the tabletop. In the real life the tabletop role-playing game work as a therapy to learn social skills or learn to find the right balance between prudence and bravery, self-esteem and self-criticism. D&D always has been openminded to drink from other sources besided Western culture, without bad intentions about cultural appropiation. Here all the races are wellcome (but the kenders and the gullys, these are sa eparate case..... and the bloodthirsty gnolls, and those (literally) stink troglodites, and..)
 
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John Lloyd1

Explorer
All inclusion is always forced. The decision to include a woman, LGBTQ+, or neurodivergent/disabled person in any form of media is always a "forced" choice. Always.
I'm not sure that inclusion is 'always' forced. If you have a diversity of creators, you should have a natural element of inclusion. I wonder how many of the diverse creators have reduced the inclusivity in their works to conform to the white straight cis het stereotype.

I was reading recently how Clive Barker was pressured to remove the gay protagonists from his works. As a gay author, he naturally wrote gay characters, but was pressured to write straight ones.
 

M_Natas

Adventurer
@M_Natas you may wish to amend your post or your tone.
It is coming across very real-world politically judgemental which is kind of a no-no for the site.
Yeah, If written myself somewhat in a rage there. Sorry for that.

It's just, always, this hypocrisy that gets me. The "I don't want politics" is usually the "I don't want to see the politics I don't like, mine are totally fine" - Crowd who try to hide behind a facade of neutrality which is usally just a way to "protect" the old non inclusive ways.
 

M_Natas

Adventurer
images


I suppose there is a serious difference between adding political elements to a story, and turning it into a propaganda pamphlet. If the other side shares your same opinion, then you are only "preaching to the chorus", you are repeating the same speech told by others previosly. And if you try to use the plot to send a message to people with a different point of view, then take care because you are treading on slippery ground.

Even when you try doing the best to be ideological neutral, your own point of view may be captured in your work. This not always has to be a wrong thing, when you can say it in a soft and diplomatic way.

One of the main failures by the authors when they want to add a morale to a story is the receiver, reader or audience could feel offended because we are (falsely) typecasted into certain negative stereotypes if our ideology isn't the same than the author. I dare to say there is a serious crisis in the entertaiment industry because companies worried more about sending a message than earning, and keeping, the the affection of the audience towards the characters. Why are you going to spend your money for a product whose author hates you because you don't agree him abour certain threats?

If you are going to add some political elements in your plot, be polite and subtile. If the other side stars to suspect you are trying to indoctrinate your own ideology, then you aren't doing it well. And don't use the plot to tell a morale what has been said in the past by others several times. The repetition may be quite counterproductive

And even when you are telling the truth about the morale of a story, you lack total credibility if the other side suspect you are showing a double standard, two different yardstick to measure at convenience.
But that is not the reality of today. Just by representing the plurality of the world by including women, PoC, LQBTQI and other minorities in works, Authors get attacked for "pushing a Liberal agenda".
The "I don't like politics in my fiction" Crowd is (in general) not against bad storytelling, they are against inclusion of viewpoints and people the don't like.
Even Neil Gaimann gets attacked today for its Sandman-Books for pushing a liberal agenda, because the characters are not all just white straight males.
"The I don't Like politics in my fiction "-Crowd attacks really everything, even if it is not "pushy propaganda" (which it is usally never is).
 

Ixal

Hero
All inclusion is always forced. The decision to include a woman, LGBTQ+, or neurodivergent/disabled person in any form of media is always a "forced" choice. Always.

And plenty of characters have characteristics (gender identity, sexuality, skin color, etc) that don't impact the story. Not every minor trait of every character in the story has to impact it. If you have a problem with the inclusion of a marginalized minority in a work of media, the problem is "politics" or the media. It's you.
When people talk about forced inclusion they, at least the moderates, usually don't mean the mere existence of a non-white/non-cis/ect persion, which of course was a concious decision when writing the game, movie or whatever.
Forced inclusion is usually used when this character is then shoved front and center, has the spotlight turned on them and whatever their non-mainstream attribute is gets highlighted in a very unbelievable way. Thats frankly annoying and feels like preaching (because it is).

It is getting better, but earlier media is full of this kind of "forced" inclusion.
 

M_Natas

Adventurer
When people talk about forced inclusion they, at least the moderates, usually don't mean the mere existence of a non-white/non-cis/ect persion, which of course was a concious decision when writing the game, movie or whatever.
Forced inclusion is usually used when this character is then shoved front and center, has the spotlight turned on them and whatever their non-mainstream attribute is gets highlighted in a very unbelievable way. Thats frankly annoying and feels like preaching (because it is).

It is getting better, but earlier media is full of this kind of "forced" inclusion.
But it is not also forced inclusion, when a white cis men showing of his toxic masculinity traits front and center is the spotlight of a Movie?
Why is it a "politics", when a badly problematic minority is written in the spotlight, but the 100 years of television and movies before putting badly written white straight guys front and center is not "politics".
It is the same.
But the "no politics" Crowd is not in Arms over badly written white guys, only when it is badly written minorities. That is the hypocrisy and the actual problematic behaviour. Giving minorities double standards. They need to be perfectly written, while white guys didn't needed that for like forever.
 

I was reading recently how Clive Barker was pressured to remove the gay protagonists from his works. As a gay author, he naturally wrote gay characters, but was pressured to write straight ones.
I won't pretend to know anything regarding Clive Barker's pressure but I imagine much of that pressure is also borne for financial reasons. An obvious example are movies that need to be sanitised for China's viewing audience as per their rules. Now this would happen in other forms of entertainment (books, theatre, games) as well.

EDIT: So thinking about that, diversity in RPGs is also a financial incentive. So there is pressure to include diversity and not necessarily for egalitarian reasons. We've messed up and are pretty much a money driven society.
 

Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
When people talk about forced inclusion they, at least the moderates, usually don't mean the mere existence of a non-white/non-cis/ect persion, which of course was a concious decision when writing the game, movie or whatever.
But every time there is a mainstream movie or book or video game with a non-white, non-male, non-cis, or non-straight character, it's review-bombed and attacked as being "political".
Forced inclusion is usually used when this character is then shoved front and center, has the spotlight turned on them and whatever their non-mainstream attribute is gets highlighted in a very unbelievable way. Thats frankly annoying and feels like preaching (because it is).
If people are upset about a character's race, sexuality, or gender identity being represented, then they deserve to be preached to.
 

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