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TSR Running list of potential problematic issues in TSR era DnD

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ShinHakkaider

Adventurer
Thanks for implying I am a racist when my approach is actually scholarly and ignoring that I point out the way to progressivism is not to point fingers back but to point them forward with an open hand of embrace because when you point at things you still have three fingers pointing back at you. Before lumping people you do not know into the racist/conservative/etc cart you should analyze yourself for that purity you are looking for.
Nah, that's not what you were doing and you know it, but keep telling yourself that you're being "scholarly".
You look to and examine the past in order not to (hopefully) repeat those mistakes in the future. I push back against and am VERY leery of anyone who says "don't point fingers at the past". It's another way of nullifying and ignoring peoples past experiences, it leads to gaslighting those same people when it comes to racism, sexism, whatever. Looking forward is MEANINGLESS when you still have the unaddressed spectre of the past ever looming.

Anyone that I've EVER dealt with whether online or in person who has taken that approach and then hidden under the shield of being "scholarly" or "objective" has been a bad faith actor and or worse (whether they acknowledge it or not).
 

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reelo

Adventurer
Exactly. That’s the point. There are many different African cultures, and NONE of them are being represented. We took a black man and put him in European style armor and dress.
Yes, but "European style" is just as much a pastiche, in D&D. Norman knights, and Hungarian boyars, and Spanish conquistadores, and Teutonic crusaders, and Polish hussars, and Pictish warriors, are all "European", yet nobody bats an eye when they get lumped together as "vanilla D&D" style.

Anyway, I'm completely on board with getting non-European cultures represented in gaming, but if "European" is good enough a category to lump everything together, so should "Asian" or "African" or "South-American".
 


Weird fun fact: The Cheesecake/Bikini Armor got somewhat of a technical term, IIRC, in the Book of Erotic Fantasy, by being referred to as Glory Armor.
 


Gradine

Final Form (they/them)
Yep. I thought my first post was pretty clear on what the context of this thread is. Apparently a lot of folks either won't read that, or choose to be disingenuous and ignore what I wrote to argue strawmen. Recreating a thread with a + won't change that.
Yeah, it's a pity. Best to ignore, really. There's no room in this thread to argue over the merits of the thread or its purpose.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
Yes, but "European style" is just as much a pastiche, in D&D. Norman knights, and Hungarian boyars, and Spanish conquistadores, and Teutonic crusaders, and Polish hussars, and Pictish warriors, are all "European", yet nobody bats an eye when they get lumped together as "vanilla D&D" style.

Anyway, I'm completely on board with getting non-European cultures represented in gaming, but if "European" is good enough a category to lump everything together, so should "Asian" or "African" or "South-American".
I think you're missing the point. Let me try to rephrase.

Yes, European culture has many cultures within it, as you list. Most of them have been represented in D&D artwork a ton. There are many individual cultures in Africa. Almost none of them were represented.

See the problem? It's not about lumping in several European cultures into one, or several African cultures into one. It's about depicting mostly only European culture and excluding all others.
 

reelo

Adventurer
I think you're missing the point. Let me try to rephrase.

Yes, European culture has many cultures within it, as you list. Most of them have been represented in D&D artwork a ton. There are many individual cultures in Africa. Almost none of them were represented.

See the problem? It's not about lumping in several European cultures into one, or several African cultures into one. It's about depicting mostly only European culture and excluding all others.
No, I completely get that, rest assured!

As I said, I am FOR more representation of different cultures, but I fear that (as seen with OA in the past) there will be criticism of "pastiche", while disregarding the fact that ALL of D&D is pastiche.
 

Stormonu

Legend
Another issue is the encouragement to kill in every encounter. The 0 hp (or negative hp)= death, and making the XP awards all or nothing - either you defeat (kill) the monster, or you get nothing. Trick your way past the guard? He’s not worth as much XP as if you beat him down with your sword. Run away from the guard or fight a round then talk him down? No XP for you at all. Knock him out and move on before he wakes back up? Sorry, you knocked him to 0 hp, so he’s dead. And if you somehow leave him alive - only half XP.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
Another issue is the encouragement to kill in every encounter. The 0 hp (or negative hp)= death, and making the XP awards all or nothing - either you defeat (kill) the monster, or you get nothing. Trick your way past the guard? He’s not worth as much XP as if you beat him down with your sword. Run away from the guard or fight a round then talk him down? No XP for you at all. Knock him out and move on before he wakes back up? Sorry, you knocked him to 0 hp, so he’s dead. And if you somehow leave him alive - only half XP.
I seem to recall that in AD&D you got full XP for avoiding the monsters. That's how we always played it anyway. In fact, because most XP was from treasure, the mechanics of AD&D actually encouraged you to avoid fighting when possible. Being a much more lethal system also encouraged this. It was 3e when that suddenly seemed to shift where monsters were now worth the majority of XP you got, IIRC.
 

smetzger

Explorer
5. Other descriptions. Sure, people discuss the harlot table. But what's worse is, for example, the description of the Goodwife that's also in the urban encounters. Here it is- "Goodwife encounters are with a single woman, often indistinguishable from any other type of female (such as a magic-user, harlot, etc.). Any offensive treatment or seeming threat will be likely to cause the woman to scream for help, accusing the offending party of any number of crimes, i.e. assault, rape, theft, or murder. 20% of goodwives know interesting gossip." In other words, this is one of the few encounters you have with a female, you can't tell the difference between her and a harlot, her only positive use is that she knows gossip, and any offensive treatment will cause her to (falsely) accuse the party of crimes such as rape. Oh boy .... There's just too much to unpack there. Suffice to say, you don't want that.

Karen?
 

HJFudge

Explorer
Another issue is the encouragement to kill in every encounter. The 0 hp (or negative hp)= death, and making the XP awards all or nothing - either you defeat (kill) the monster, or you get nothing. Trick your way past the guard? He’s not worth as much XP as if you beat him down with your sword. Run away from the guard or fight a round then talk him down? No XP for you at all. Knock him out and move on before he wakes back up? Sorry, you knocked him to 0 hp, so he’s dead. And if you somehow leave him alive - only half XP.

Is this something we are considering as problematic?

I guess a better way to ask: What is the problem with encouraging killing your enemies as a means to advancement?

From a pure gameplay perspective: it may be a bit boring and lead to very samey encounters...if all you have is a hammer, I guess everything starts to look like a nail?

But from an outside of game perspective, I do not think there is harm in this. After all, no one is going around thinking that killing is okay in real life because they did it in a board/rpg/video game.
 


Stormonu

Legend
Is this something we are considering as problematic?

I guess a better way to ask: What is the problem with encouraging killing your enemies as a means to advancement?

From a pure gameplay perspective: it may be a bit boring and lead to very samey encounters...if all you have is a hammer, I guess everything starts to look like a nail?

But from an outside of game perspective, I do not think there is harm in this. After all, no one is going around thinking that killing is okay in real life because they did it in a board/rpg/video game.
Murderhobos.
 


teitan

Legend
The issue isn’t with having monotheism in D&D. You completely misread that comment. The problem is ONLY having monotheism depicted.

Why is it whenever people talk about adding inclusivity, there’s always people who immediately act like you’re taking away their representation? There are several posts like that in this thread. It’s not true. Stop using strawmen to defend lack of inclusivity in the game. You’ve made similar comments in other threads.
You’re again projecting. Big time. The original comment implied an issue with monotheism. That you all can’t see that this approach is disclusive as opposed to inclusive is kind of saddening. It’s also very strongly gate keeping and projects onto people the idea that a whole group of people is one thing because it focuses on the negative as opposed to looking to the future. Again the approach should be open hand of embrace of the future instead of pointing a finger where three more are just pointing back at you. Products like the aforementioned Maztica are problematic but Volo’s commentary on Orcs? Orcs aren’t real! Anytime I’ve played with someone who turned out racist they didn’t need fake fantasy races to express their prejudice. They just used human cultures to express their disdain for fellow humans.
 

teitan

Legend
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3. Gatekeeping classes. One of the frustrating things with the way that TSR D&D was built was that they always "gatekeeped" classes and abilities behind absurd requirements; in effect, in order to get super-cool abilities, you already had to have super-cool abilities! That's why you got those ludicrous requirements for psionics, or the 17 Charisma for the Paladin, or any of the other numerous "pre-requisites."
This isn’t offensive. It’s also not gate keeping. Examples from the real world include people with degrees, requiring certain levels of education. Actors need to have a certain level of charisma to succeed. Navy seals, a more apt example, require extensive physical and mental training. Astronauts require mental and psychological trainings above and beyond intense physical conditioning. Army airborne rangers require intense physical training.
 

Faolyn

Hero
To ignore it because it seemed harmless to a particular demographic is to diminish the effects that it may have had on other demographics.
Just to add to this, something that may not bother one person may be horrifying to another. I'm a woman, and Gygax's "harlot table" doesn't really bother me that much beyond making me roll my eyes (I'm far more bothered by the attribute caps for women), but it's not at all difficult for me to see why some people (of any gender) can legitimately find the table insulting or problematic.
 

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