DDAL Racism and DDAL4-1 [Spoilers]

Status
Not open for further replies.

Cascade

First Post
As the AL admins have said here and elsewhere, another look will be taken at the text to make it clearer for the DMs presenting the story: we want them to portray Sybil, Hricu, Rilynin, Kehkim, and Papa as "real people" (in the fantasy sense), scared and flawed and misunderstood and fighting for their survival in the terrible world that is descending upon them.

I find this incredibly divisive.

A fantasy author (and publisher) has to defend the actions of a set of fictional characters and how they are portrayed because a PC culture takes offense.

Somehow these characters simply can't be bad because they're protected by some real world proxy?

last time I checked - D&D is still FICTION
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Pauper

That guy, who does that thing.
Eliminating all traces of racism out of a sense of political correctness only serves to make the problem invisible. It doesn't address the underlying causes that lead to the intolerance and stereotypes in the first place. Just because you can no longer see racism, doesn't mean that it vanishes....

I would agree, and say that this goes beyond issues of racism.

For example, I recently participated in a musical that, in the script, depicted a character named 'David' who dressed as an angel for the church Nativity pageant. He was bullied for this, beaten up and his costume damaged, by the town bully, who repeatedly called him 'fairy'. Now this is pretty clearly homophobic, and the director identified it as such. However, the solution -- renaming the character from 'David' to 'Daisy' -- arguably created a bigger problem than it solved, because the reaction of the other characters to 'David's' plight, chiding the poor boy for not standing up for himself and dismissing his injuries as 'boys will be boys', becomes entirely inappropriate when the character being beaten up is now 'Daisy'. The characters now seem entirely heartless and insensitive to violence against a young woman in a way that's almost ridiculously unrealistic.

I can certainly appreciate Shawn's response here -- he's right that when an author decides to tackle sensitive material, he (or she) has a responsibility to that material and to the audience. But reading the adventure as a whole, it's pretty clear that Shawn's intent here was not to portray the Gur in the adventure as stereotypical 'thieving gypsies'; it was, as he notes, to contrast the townsfolks' stereotypical response with what the party might think later once the Gurs' true motivations were revealed.

Someone who wants to criticize a work also needs to take on a certain responsibility toward that work; namely, to critique the work as it exists, not as the critic assumes it is in order to validate a worldview or make a political point. I don't feel that the OP took that responsibility seriously here, and so I feel no particular responsibility to take that person's opinion seriously.

Warfteiner's response is also welcome -- more guidance for DMs, particularly inexperienced DMs such as those who might be tempted by this season's DM Rewards to try a turn behind the screen, is always welcome -- but based on the response to this and to the Inclusiveness thread elsewhere, I'm fairly convinced that our community (at least the portion of it that frequents this corner of the Internet) is already pretty well-aware of these issues and isn't going to blow them off or throw them under the rug.

--
Pauper
 

Byakugan

First Post
It's hard to blame people for stereotyping the gypsy culture when that culture goes so far out of its way to ostracize everyone who is not part of said culture. Most of them live in a part of our country far removed from most of the population centers, they try to live their lives off the grid, and they are nomadic and come across as xenophobic. I only know that much because of a brief mentioning in an Anthropology class in college. Literally the only other info I have to go on is stereotypes I grew up hearing, and the show My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. Most people have no idea that gypsy is considered a slur, and even the ones that have heard that are stuck using the term because we were never given another word to use.

As far as the Vistani go...they look like fantasy world gypsies to me...but not like -real- ones because the real ones wear lots of rhinestones! Then there is the fact that they have magical powers, and they worship a dark vampire lord, and they are in fact his 'chosen' special people. Not exactly following recognizable stereotypes here. It is fantasy.
 

delericho

Legend
A fantasy author (and publisher) has to defend the actions of a set of fictional characters and how they are portrayed because a PC culture takes offense.

Somehow these characters simply can't be bad because they're protected by some real world proxy?

last time I checked - D&D is still FICTION

It is fiction, and as long as it remains fiction it's fine. We don't need to worry about our portrayal of elves, and dwarves, and orcs, and the rest because none of those are real.

But once we step onto real-world material (be it by proxy or directly), then it's not entirely fictional. And at that point there's a greater responsibility to treat the material with appropriate respect. And so it does matter how we depict our Roma-proxies here, for the same reason it matters how we depict female adventurers in RPG artwork - because the issues raised then do apply to real people.

Now that's not to say we can't portray a member of the Gur as a villain or a thief, any more than to say we shouldn't depict the occasional damsel in distress. But it's important that that's not all we depict, and further it probably shouldn't be the first thing we depict either - because there's no guarantee people will ever get beyond that first, stereotypical, depiction. Better to introduce the wider group first, show that the stereotype is lacking... and then introduce the villain.

I'm not saying they should never, ever do that; I'm saying they need to be careful.
 

Cascade

First Post
It is fiction, and as long as it remains fiction it's fine. ...

But once we step onto real-world material (be it by proxy or directly), then it's not entirely fictional.


How about when something is fictional, portrayed as fiction, completely written to be fictional and a PC sensitive reader decides to make a proxy connection where none exists?

Why is it that a race of green skinned tusked creatures can be inherently evil but any form resembling human is suddenly infringing and racist?

This is a fictional game. Run mostly by volunteers. It's not the place for this type of confrontational material.

Our volunteers have enough to do without added work and distractions....
 

UnknownDyson

Explorer
If there was a race of dark skinned people who were subservient dim witted people who ate chicken, watermelon and danced little jigs all day, would that be acceptable? Its only fiction right?

Now I haven't read the adventure as of yet and can't speak to the nature of the content, some of the posters have said that the Vistani also have protagonist npcs that help the pcs in the adventure, in an entire culture of people logic would permit that at least some of them be thieves. With that being said, I can say that in my experience people who attack political correctness use it as a cover to express racist, homophobic, and sexist opinions.
 
Last edited:

delericho

Legend
How about when something is fictional, portrayed as fiction, completely written to be fictional and a PC sensitive reader decides to make a proxy connection where none exists?

That's not the case here. As noted up-thread, the Gur are explicitly linked to the Roma in published FR lore.

This is a fictional game. Run mostly by volunteers. It's not the place for this type of confrontational material.

Then WotC shouldn't have included the material, or shouldn't have cleared it for inclusion.

That material didn't have to be there. Having chosen to include it, they then need to treat it with appropriate care and attention (and, yes, if and when mistakes happen then they need to be acknowledged and fixed promptly). They can't have it both ways.
 

Scorpienne

First Post
Also, as a DM, you are COMPLETELY empowered to RP and describe the Gur in whatever way you see fit as long as it is consistent with the general outlines of the story. As the DM you can choose to RP/describe the Gur any way you please.

So make good choices!

If you believe that the Gur are portrayed as a "thieving gypsy" stereotype in the printed material, then choose to describe them otherwise - as fully nuanced and complex characters that are caught in a dangerous and desperate situation.

A guy named Daniel John Taylor had a good point on FB that I'd like to repeat here: "I just want to add one comment. Yes the Gur did steal things but it was to fight a greater evil. (The incursion of the mists.) Stories are filled with good people doing bad things for a greater good. I think that the modules need to reinforce that idea. Yes they did wrong, and if I recall the play test they were all willing to fess up and pay consequences. If it is being run as "gypsies stealing things" part of the story is missing."


I think that's a good point. These are desperate people doing anything they can to preserve their family from a disaster. It's far more nuanced than just a stereotype. It's more Jean Valjean than "thieving gypsies".

Paige
 


Coreyartus

Explorer
These are desperate people doing anything they can to preserve their family from a disaster. It's far more nuanced than just a stereotype. It's more Jean Valjean than "thieving gypsies".

Paige

Then that needs to be explained at the beginning in the setup text. That simple sentence, "These are desperate people doing anything they can to preserve their family from disaster," would do it. It should be clear that's what the function of the town's perceptions and prejudices are there for. We shouldn't need to infer it from subtext. If it's that important it needs to be made clear much earlier to the DM as revealing the perceived situational context as false is integral to the end result of the mod. Otherwise the mod doesn't function the way it's intended. It seems this particular aspect to the story is relevant in future mod as well.

But I think the admins know that now. Isn't it the case that most mods develop "look-out-for--" or "remember-to--" aspects that need more attention than they are initially written to convey? Whether it's combat details or NPC's that have to deliver specific information that isn't mentioned explicitly, or environmental characteristics that sometimes slip through the cracks, or whatever... Almost every mod I've ever heard of has a "oh, that should have been more clear" element. Give the admins the chance to correct it so they can communicate what obviously needs to be made more evident at the onset.

This entire season of gothic horror hinges on things not actually being what they appear to be. Appearance contrasting with reality. On multiple levels. Those situations create false conclusions and can lead to fear of the unknown. It is the act of revealing things that are hidden beneath the facade of what they appear to be--that inherent contradictory duality--that needs to be overtly communicated to this season's DMs as they read their materials. The trap of taking things at face value through incomplete information--or manipulating others to fall into traps through false pretenses leading to horrific consequences--and then discovering truths is, in some ways, exactly what Curse of Strahd is all about.

Let's make sure that's obvious now while we can.
 

Status
Not open for further replies.
Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top