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Ripple Effect of D&D's Statement on the Rest of the RPG Industry?

Bluenose

Adventurer
Tolkienesque fantasy is inherently reactionary, which makes it hard to present it in a liberal or egalitarian vein.

If you wanted to play up Tolkein from a more liberal perspective, you'd want to emphasise the destructive "industrial" wastelands that Saruman in Orthanc and Sauron in Mordor have created. Industrialised environmental destruction and warfare against more environmentally friendly lands - elves living with nature, Rohirrim herding horses across their plains, and the Shire's peacefulness and plenty. Anti-industrialisation/anti-capitalism can be a conservative viewpoint (although it's rare), but I don't think it's reactionary in most senses of the word.
 

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Lem23

Adventurer
What do you mean remove racism from them? Lovecraft's bigoted views were part of what influenced him and it's too late to change that now. But it's easy enough to run CoC adventures that don't include depicting anyone who isn't a white Anglo Saxon as a degenerate.

The new version of Masks of Nyarlathotep is great in this regard. The enhanced sections on New York (in Harlem in particular) stand out as being well-thought out concerning the racism of the period, and the designer notes that talk about how the campaign as a whole came about from having read a biography of Jomo Kenyatta help place context too. There have been other tweaks made here and there, and it's still not perfect, but it's a good exampe of taking some really horribly racist material and inverting it, in a similar way to Matt Ruff's Lovecraft Country.
 

WotC using the term "Race" in 5E is going to have secondary effect on a number of publishers...

I don't think it's going to make much difference for Wizards bottom line (Magic is the main one).

THe only reason it's going to have a noticeable effect is WotC is the 800# gorilla...

One thing that may backfire is that things like the vistani as portrayed: Sure, they're based upon popular imagery of the "Gypsy"... Largely a negative stereotype... which is based upon the Romany, but largely isn't accurate. The two Romany I've known have both enjoyed the presentations for oWoD and Ravenloft. One, in fact, liked WoD: Gypsies so much, he bought me a copy so he could play one in my game.

I do wonder if it's a case of "Since Group A hates being used, Groups B, C, D ... Z must hate it, too" without asking B, C, D, etc...


WotC is trailing Paizo on this.
Technically, so are you... (notes thread about better terms to use).

Also, in ACE:
[q="ACE Playest 1.1"]
  • Dwarf. Grumpy, and with a Scottish accent (if you want), you can appraise the value of things with a single glance.
  • Elf. You’re very sneaky, and when in natural surroundings, you can be effectively invisible.
[/q]
Elf isn't horrible, but the "Dwarves are Scots" trope is pretty much a reductionist trope.
You did call them species, tho', so you're not too far behind...

I don't think most fantasy games will walk away from the term. Most SciFi will use species as they long have...

Industrial inertia is a powerful factor.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Technically, so are you... (notes thread about better terms to use).

Yep. I certainly am. It applies to me equally. But the thread isn't entitled "Ripple Effect of Morrus' Statement on the Rest of the RPG Industry?" In no way am I an industry leader.

Elf isn't horrible, but the "Dwarves are Scots" trope is pretty much a reductionist trope.

That's satire.
 
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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Satire in text is often easily misconstrued.

Satire was the province of text long before the internet existed, and my game is very much a comedic, satirical game which plays on tropes.m in the vein of 2000AD comic books, Douglas Adams, or Terry Pratchett.

I, for one, find the scots dwarves motif rather tired... not offensive, just overused. So I completely missed that it might have been an attempt at satire.

That was -- exactly - the joke. The trope is overused. :)

I mean, if you want to playtest my game and leave feedback that the jokes weren't good enough, that's cool. But this isn't the place for it -- let's stay on topic: the industry leader changing their use of the word 'Race".
 

MGibster

Legend
Satire has been the province of text long before the internet existed, and my game is very much satirical game. Don't ever read the 2000AD comic books if satire in text is a problem for you. :)

Wait, Judge Dredd isn't meant to be interpreted in a straightforward manner?
 


MGibster

Legend
There seem to be a host of people that are uncritical fans of stuff meant to be taken critically. See also The Punisher, Tyler Durden in Fight Club, Joel in The Last of Us, Dexter, Walter White in Breaking Bad, Jax in Sons of Anarchy, etc.

Hell, even Dredd's questioned the system at times.
 




teitan

Hero
Maybe. Even in the fairly ideal world of Star Trek, the various versions of the Enterprise and crew still discovered and/or battled with plenty of alien species that were not as advanced in thinking/culture/peacefulness/etc as the Federation. Just look at the Klingons as an example and how they changed over the decades of shows and movies. As open-minded and everything that Roddenberry was, do you think the Klingons weren't a stand-in for any real-life Earth cultures or peoples?

They were the Russians and the Romulans were the Chinese. Star Trek was as much a Cold War analogy as it was a Utopian ideal.
 

They were the Russians and the Romulans were the Chinese. Star Trek was as much a Cold War analogy as it was a Utopian ideal.

Except they seemed to have a thing for casting black actors as Klingons, or darkening the skin of white actors for the parts. Which one is worse in that circumstance, I do not know. I dread the day some of these people with nothing better to do catch some of those episodes from the original series.
 

teitan

Hero
Except they seemed to have a thing for casting black actors as Klingons, or darkening the skin of white actors for the parts. Which one is worse in that circumstance, I do not know. I dread the day some of these people with nothing better to do catch some of those episodes from the original series.

I would say neither because its a portrayal of an alien species.
 

I would say neither because its a portrayal of an alien species.

That won't mean anything here in the US, where the current thing is to find anything that looks like blackface and try to have it removed. An episode of The Golden Girls has been removed because two of the women are wearing mud masks, not even actual blackface.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Except they seemed to have a thing for casting black actors as Klingons, or darkening the skin of white actors for the parts. Which one is worse in that circumstance, I do not know. I dread the day some of these people with nothing better to do catch some of those episodes from the original series.
and
That won't mean anything here in the US, where the current thing is to find anything that looks like blackface and try to have it removed. An episode of The Golden Girls has been removed because two of the women are wearing mud masks, not even actual blackface.

It’s not really a grassroots thing. Are there some people protesting these? Sure. But a lot of what is going on there is entertainment executives trying to get out ahead of potential controversy...and screwing it up because it isn’t what most people are asking for.

Part of THAT is because the American Entertainment industry has done a very poor job of listening to people asking them to address the long (and continuing) history of whitewashing minority characters AND actual instances of black/brown/red/yellowface. I mean, it’s better than it was, but there’s still work to be done.

Ideally, I’d hope that minority entertainers who’ve done whiteface- Eddie Murphy, Dave Chappelle, etc.- would speak up and point out the very real differences between real, problematic instances of blackface and what some are mistakenly looking at.
 
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teitan

Hero
That won't mean anything here in the US, where the current thing is to find anything that looks like blackface and try to have it removed. An episode of The Golden Girls has been removed because two of the women are wearing mud masks, not even actual blackface.

Yeah it's been a bit extreme I agree. Most people consider it way over the top and it's just trying to prevent controversy until everything settles down. I believe, unlike Song of the South, that these things will be restored in a few months time. I pray eventually we get to a point where we learn what's appropriate (Slavery memorials) and inappropriate (confederate statues of questionable providence). Also learning that a subject should be understood as a part of its time and context and what made some men remarkable like Washington and others. Even something as blatantly racist as Song of the South is important culturally to understanding and has a place, within the proper context and educational purposes beyond "don't do this".
 

teitan

Hero
and


It’s not really a grassroots thing. Are there some people protesting these? Sure. But a lot of what is going on there is entertainment executives trying to get out ahead of potential controversy...and screwing it up because it isn’t what most people are asking for.

Part of THAT is because the American Entertainment industry has done a very poor job of listening to people asking them to address the long (and continuing) history of whitewashing minority characters AND actual instances of black/brown/red/yellowface. I mean, it’s better than it was, but there’s still work to be done,

It's people of primarily European descent still not listening. I get the feeling, I have had Christians, upon discovering I was once Jewish, heap praise on "your people" and how without "Jews" we wouldn't have Jesus in some sort of apology for centuries of being blamed for the crucifiction of Christ.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Yeah it's been a bit extreme I agree. Most people consider it way over the top and it's just trying to prevent controversy until everything settles down. I believe, unlike Song of the South, that these things will be restored in a few months time. I pray eventually we get to a point where we learn what's appropriate (Slavery memorials) and inappropriate (confederate statues of questionable providence). Also learning that a subject should be understood as a part of its time and context and what made some men remarkable like Washington and others. Even something as blatantly racist as Song of the South is important culturally to understanding and has a place, within the proper context and educational purposes beyond "don't do this".
There are better ways to teach those lessons than airing Song of the South, though. Without going too deeply into it, a goodly amount of American History as taught simply glosses over the bad. Even with Black History Month being a thing for decades, some people (of all ethnicities) are only this year hearing about the Tulsa Massacre...not to mention the literal dozens of other massacres and similar events, like the levee bombings of 1927, the killing of black politicians after the a Civil War, or the defrauding of Black farmers and GIs (and the stuff that happened to other minorities as well).*

Personally, I‘d rather see less emphasis on putting film, music, sculpture, etc, in their proper context and more emphasis in actually teaching the context. Most non-bigots will agree that things were bad and got better. But currently most people don’t understand HOW bad things were, nor that some truly nasty things haven’t ended yet. IOW, most people are only looking at the surfaces of the issues- until you start digging deep, those wounds aren’t going to heal well.




* And I bet you’d find a similar downplaying of the bad in most countries’ scolding schooling history curricula.)
Edit: “scolding“ was a typo!
 
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