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5E Should the next edition of D&D promote more equality?

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mythago

Villager
I'm with Alzrius on this. I most enjoy games when they are as realistic as possible, where the fantasy elements are limited to what the game is about. As a simplistic example, D&D is about fighting monsters with magic and swords, so I expect fantastic monsters and magic, but not normal humans with the ability to jump over buildings.

So men being stronger than women in-game sounds just fine to me, unless a main theme of my game is "What if women were as strong as men?" Though if a player came to me and said "I want to play a woman fighter who's as strong as a man" that would be just fine too, as that's obviously a theme that player wants to address in the game.
We seem to be OK with normal humans who do things that are as farfetched as jumping over buildings - surviving wounds and attacks that no normal human would survive, healing damage faster than even the most cutting-edge medical science can achieve, recovering from acid and concussions and poison with no lasting effects. I don't understand the argument that we can handwave those things, but "a female PC can be as strong as a male PC" is less like those things and more like jumping over a building.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
You seem to be conflating a couple of things here - saying one wishes X art didn't exist (or was different, or that there shouldn't be so groudon much of X) is not identical to saying that X art 'should be censored', particularly given that the definition of censorship generally involves some kind of government coercion.
You're incorrect here; censorship does not necessarily require any government action at all. Any instance of trying to suppress the creation and/or dissemination of something is an act of censorship. It's quite possible to have censorship that's confined entirely to private enterprise, or can be expressed purely through wide-scale social disapproval.

Additionally, if the problem is a hostile intent, then rather than 'not pay attention to it', shouldn't the exhortation be 'express your dislike in a way that doesn't advocate censorship'?
You'll notice that I called for that too, in saying that discussion and debate are good things.

Less verbosely, you seem to be suggesting that if someone finds a piece of art sexist and offensive, they really ought to just say nothing and move on, lest something they say place a foot on the slippery slope of suppressing Art. That seems a rather tenuous conclusion.
More correctly, I'm suggesting that if someone finds a piece of art offensive, they should have a civil discussion about it with people of other opinions. If they can't reconcile that art with their personal beliefs, however, since there's no moral way to suppress it, the best way they can do is simply accept its existence and move on.

Not actually following here. Creating artwork can never have a moral dimension? Creative expression is amoral? Criticism of creative expression is immoral?
I didn't say that artwork "can never" have a moral dimension. The creator can create it with a moral dimension in mind (e.g. promoting social mores), but that's supererogatory - going above and beyond the call of duty. Absent that, it's amoral.

Likewise, I didn't say that criticism of creative expression is immoral; immorality is based on actions, not opinions. I just find such criticism (that is, assigning immorality to artwork) to be an expression of approval/support for immoral actions (e.g. censorship), which is worrying.

I understand that you don't believe art has a moral dimension per se, but I don't know how you square this with the claim that creative expression does take on a moral dimension if and only if the potential result of that creative expression is that it results in some kind of 'censorship'. In effect, you've created a subclass of creative expression that does have moral implications because you don't like them.
I don't understand where you're drawing this conclusion from. I've never once made the claim that art takes on a moral dimension if its censored. Censorship is immoral. That judgment stands apart from the act of creating artwork.
 
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Alzrius

The EN World kitten
I'm with Alzrius on this. I most enjoy games when they are as realistic as possible, where the fantasy elements are limited to what the game is about. As a simplistic example, D&D is about fighting monsters with magic and swords, so I expect fantastic monsters and magic, but not normal humans with the ability to jump over buildings.

So men being stronger than women in-game sounds just fine to me, unless a main theme of my game is "What if women were as strong as men?" Though if a player came to me and said "I want to play a woman fighter who's as strong as a man" that would be just fine too, as that's obviously a theme that player wants to address in the game.
It's worth noting that there's a difference between what the game is "about" (which is a thematic judgment) and what the game specifically addresses in terms of fantastic elements (and other elements that it's altering as part of the game setting, mechanics, and story, among other elements).

Either way, that's only notable insofar as saying that the presence of such elements does not, in and of itself, form a reasonable basis for denying that things in the game with a real-world analogue would have that same level of realism, absent any mention in that regard by the game itself. That's the only point I was making regarding that topic.
 
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mythago

Villager
Alzrius, your definition of censorship is so broad that I don't see how it can contain the negative moral value you assign to it. Under the definition you present, if an artist responds to criticism by freely and voluntarily deciding that the criticism is valid, and so chooses to produce different art in response, the artist has been censored. That means that criticism, however civil, is inherently immoral because it carries the risk of censorship (however slight), and so you are in effect saying that people have no right to express criticism; if they dislike or disapprove of art they should simply move on.

This is even more true in reference to "wide-scale social disapproval". That is, my right to offer civil disagreement diminishes with the number of people who share my view, because at some point it becomes "wide-scale" and thus censorship.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Alzrius, your definition of censorship is so broad that I don't see how it can contain the negative moral value you assign to it. Under the definition you present, if an artist responds to criticism by freely and voluntarily deciding that the criticism is valid, and so chooses to produce different art in response, the artist has been censored.
I don't believe that's correct, as I find that you're extrapolating what I've said to an unreasonable extent. Creating artwork is, as I noted, amoral (notwithstanding any supererogatory action) - if the artist changes his creation later, that would seem to me to fall under that particular umbrella (as it's still the act of creation), rather than being called "self-censorship."

Censorship is the act of making something unavailable; it is not an expression of criticism unto itself.

That means that criticism, however civil, is inherently immoral because it carries the risk of censorship (however slight), and so you are in effect saying that people have no right to express criticism; if they dislike or disapprove of art they should simply move on.
You seem to be ignoring the many times now that I've said that discussion and debate are good things, and that criticism unto itself has no moral dimension. You've incorrectly taken what I said to an unreasonable extreme (e.g. censorship includes all instances of reaction to criticism) and then presented an illogical conclusion (e.g. ergo, criticism is censorship), which I'd expressly said is not so in my previous posts.

This is even more true in reference to "wide-scale social disapproval". That is, my right to offer civil disagreement diminishes with the number of people who share my view, because at some point it becomes "wide-scale" and thus censorship.
Censorship as "wide-scale social disapproval" was my way of discussing censorship by way of not allowing something to have a venue (e.g. intimidation). I'll admit that I could have phrased that better, certainly, but hopefully this clears that up.
 

Ratskinner

Adventurer
Fair enough, but the problem with "fighting off orc hordes" or "digging around tombs" is that that's presuming a context to the pictures that is impossible to ascertain, either against or in favor of. The artists don't have the ability to make the characters look like they're adventuring for your tastes, so the best they can do is make them to their own.

To put it another way, illustrations virtually never have any sort of unambiguous context to the scenes they depict (short us being told, or otherwise having it clearly indicated, that they're meant to represent a specific scene from a specific narrative). Given that, why not presume that, if the characters depicted are part of a larger world, how they're equipped is sufficient for a scenario that they're either heading for or returning from?
For a more universal game like FATE or some others, I might agree. I think D&D brings with it a much smaller (or at least more specific) set of conceits, though. If you're illustrating various adventuring classes for the "pick a class" section, I'm fair confident they could look the part. If you're just peppering the books illustrations of cool-looking fantasy dudes (or dudettes) without context, well I think you're wasting an illustration opportunity. And the illustrations do come with context, usually (hopefully) the rules they are surrounded by. However, that's a bigger art argument that goes beyond the scope of "equality".

IME, games which are about us imagining ourselves sitting around, doing nothing, and looking much cooler than we are IRL, are fairly boring. (....and yes, I have actually accidentally been involved in such a thing....) YMMV, I guess.

Which is sort of the point to this discussion; notwithstanding any issues of ideology or marketability, what sort of rules in that regard would be accurate?
Accurate has no meaning here. By which I mean, if the "real world" doesn't agree on the answer, there can't be any "accurate" simulation of the answer, only self-fulfilling representations of the author's beliefs/impressions/desires. (Even when the "real world" has agreement, they can all be wrong, which is why experiments were invented.)

It's worth noting that this does seem to be shaping up as an anti-simulationist argument.
I can't see how. The point is simply that Simulationists must and do choose what it is they are including in their games.

Which is not to say that simulations do so. Indeed, when attempting to build a good model for an actual simulation, "Its not realistic" is a perfectly valid objection. RPG games, even many Simulationist games, are not generally very good simulations. Nor do I think they are really trying to be. (There are some wargames that make fairly exhaustive attempts at it, though.) "Simulationist/-ism" and "simulation" are not the same thing.

It's worth noting that when Edwards said that he was referring to making the dream as realistic as possible. He wasn't talking about the ideological quality (or morality) of what that dream was.
First, lets be careful about the word "realistic". "Faithful" might be a better word. Which is to say, if I'm writing a Simulationist Star Wars game, it should play in such a way to be faithful to the movies and the types of events we see there. The movies, in turn, are not "realistic" for a variety of reasons, and any good simulation of that work will consequently not be any more "realistic". Being faithful to the "dream" is the whole point of Simulationism, because it allows exploration of the setting.

Secondly, you're right. Edwards wasn't talking about the ideological quality (or morality) of what that dream was. Which is why I'm saying that my position about gender-biased rules is not about Simulationism.

All kidding aside though, I understand your point, but it's essentially saying that you want to focus on the ideology of sex-based mechanics. That's fine - and for what it's worth I would like to point out (again) that I find them distasteful, to say nothing of how nobody is advocating that they actually be added to the game - but that's not the discussion I'm having.
There is nothing else too focus on. There is no "real" answer to the question of gender-biased strength, and hence cannot be one for D&D.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
For a more universal game like FATE or some others, I might agree. I think D&D brings with it a much smaller (or at least more specific) set of conceits, though. If you're illustrating various adventuring classes for the "pick a class" section, I'm fair confident they could look the part. If you're just peppering the books illustrations of cool-looking fantasy dudes (or dudettes) without context, well I think you're wasting an illustration opportunity. And the illustrations do come with context, usually (hopefully) the rules they are surrounded by. However, that's a bigger art argument that goes beyond the scope of "equality".
I suspect that we'll need to agree to disagree on this one, as I don't think that there's any reasonable way to find as much context as you're saying you find.

IME, games which are about us imagining ourselves sitting around, doing nothing, and looking much cooler than we are IRL, are fairly boring. (....and yes, I have actually accidentally been involved in such a thing....) YMMV, I guess.
Again, that depends on context which can be interpreted literally any way at all. That's quite a lot of mileage variation!

Accurate has no meaning here. By which I mean, if the "real world" doesn't agree on the answer, there can't be any "accurate" simulation of the answer, only self-fulfilling representations of the author's beliefs/impressions/desires. (Even when the "real world" has agreement, they can all be wrong, which is why experiments were invented.)
One can certainly challenge the presumptions in that regard, and that would undercut the question itself as a result. I will note, however, that consensus is not a requirement for an accurate answer to something.

I can't see how. The point is simply that Simulationists must and do choose what it is they are including in their games.

Which is not to say that simulations do so. Indeed, when attempting to build a good model for an actual simulation, "Its not realistic" is a perfectly valid objection. RPG games, even many Simulationist games, are not generally very good simulations. Nor do I think they are really trying to be. (There are some wargames that make fairly exhaustive attempts at it, though.) "Simulationist/-ism" and "simulation" are not the same thing.
I thought that you were trying to undercut the legitimacy of simulationism by saying that since something can't be "perfectly" simulated, then what is simulated is determined by ideology on the part of the designers. If that wasn't your point, then I misread you.

First, lets be careful about the word "realistic". "Faithful" might be a better word. Which is to say, if I'm writing a Simulationist Star Wars game, it should play in such a way to be faithful to the movies and the types of events we see there. The movies, in turn, are not "realistic" for a variety of reasons, and any good simulation of that work will consequently not be any more "realistic". Being faithful to the "dream" is the whole point of Simulationism, because it allows exploration of the setting.
Fair enough there, with the caveat that (as mentioned) elements with a real-world analogue that are unaddressed by the game (or other source material) are presumed to be held to realistic standards.

Secondly, you're right. Edwards wasn't talking about the ideological quality (or morality) of what that dream was. Which is why I'm saying that my position about gender-biased rules is not about Simulationism.
Wait...so are you saying that your objection is based on ideology, or that such rules don't possess verisimilitude?

There is nothing else too focus on. There is no "real" answer to the question of gender-biased strength, and hence cannot be one for D&D.
Fair enough, but when it was originally introduced into the thread, it was treated as a resolved element. My inquiries were in line with that presumption (e.g. "if you take that as a truism, but find rule X inaccurate, what would an accurate rule be?").
 
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mythago

Villager
Alzirus, pointing out that there seems to be a contradiction in what you've said is not ignoring what you've said. "A is fine, but B is bad" is problematic when there is substantial overlap between A and B, and/or when it's difficult to make a clear distinction between A and B.

I understand what you're saying about the difference between civil disagreement and intimidation, but you've defined an act of censorship as "Any instance of trying to suppress the creation and/or dissemination of something". So if I politely tell an artist "Hey, the way you portray women fighters is pretty sexist," and the artist says "You know, you're right, in the future I will stop drawing women fighters like that," have I committed an act of censorship? What if the artist says "You know, you're right, and I'm pretty ashamed of this piece I was about to post, so I've decided to ditch and redraw it" - am I now a censor?
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Alzirus, pointing out that there seems to be a contradiction in what you've said is not ignoring what you've said. "A is fine, but B is bad" is problematic when there is substantial overlap between A and B, and/or when it's difficult to make a clear distinction between A and B.
I understand that, but I'm trying to point out that I've made it pretty clear (insofar as I'm aware) that there is no contradiction.

I understand what you're saying about the difference between civil disagreement and intimidation, but you've defined an act of censorship as "Any instance of trying to suppress the creation and/or dissemination of something". So if I politely tell an artist "Hey, the way you portray women fighters is pretty sexist," and the artist says "You know, you're right, in the future I will stop drawing women fighters like that," have I committed an act of censorship? What if the artist says "You know, you're right, and I'm pretty ashamed of this piece I was about to post, so I've decided to ditch and redraw it" - am I now a censor?
The answer to both is no. Neither of the scenarios you posted contain an act of suppression; you're simply stating your opinion (though you're phrasing it as an absolute). The artist's responses are entirely separate (since deontological ethics hold that the morality of an action is determined by the action itself, and in no way by the results of that action), and are simply his personal ideology, albeit modified after talking to you.
 

Ratskinner

Adventurer
I suspect that we'll need to agree to disagree on this one, as I don't think that there's any reasonable way to find as much context as you're saying you find.
Without objection.

I thought that you were trying to undercut the legitimacy of simulationism by saying that since something can't be "perfectly" simulated, then what is simulated is determined by ideology on the part of the designers. If that wasn't your point, then I misread you.
Perfectly understandable, given the context.

In this case
, I think ideology would play a big part of determining what is in the game. Creativity or curiosity or whatever-one-calls-the-urge-to-debate-about-what-the-effective-differences-between-a-katana-and-longsword-should-be-is can also play parts. Certainly a DM who says "No Dwarves in this campaign world. And My Elves are Different." is most likely doing so from non-ideological motivations. (Although, d12 preserve us, some of the responses in various racial threads might make that suspect.)

Let's step it up a notch. What would it tell you if someone asked "What sort of Intelligence penalty rule should I implement for dark-skinned humans?" Would such a rule make the game more realistic? Certainly there are folks who feel it would, and there is even some "scientific" work that supports it. Would you applaud a game utilizing such a rule for its simulationism or verisimilitude? Could the author of such a game come here and say he wrote that for the sake of "realism"?

For me, I think it would tell me more about the author than the world.

Fair enough there, with the caveat that (as mentioned) elements with a real-world analogue that are unaddressed by the game (or other source material) are presumed to be held to realistic standards.
For most rpgs, sure.

Wait...so are you saying that your objection is based on ideology, or that such rules don't possess verisimilitude?
Yes.
Ideologically on two grounds:

  1. D&D should be as broad as possible, adding more fiddly bits (like a gender-bias STR rule) tends to narrow that.
  2. I personally consider the institution of such a rule objectionable on sexism grounds.

WRT verisimilitude: That's in the eye of the beholder. For me, such a rule doesn't make much sense, and as such would tend to drop me out of gamespace (at least as often as it came up, anyway). That opinion has changed over the course of my lifetime and I've gained more experience IRL. I wouldn't be surprised if the same wasn't true for a great number of players over the lifetime of this game.

BTW, thanks for playing Devil's Advocate. Its really sharpening my thoughts on an issue that I hadn't considered in a while.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
Let's step it up a notch. What would it tell you if someone asked "What sort of Intelligence penalty rule should I implement for dark-skinned humans?" Would such a rule make the game more realistic? Certainly there are folks who feel it would, and there is even some "scientific" work that supports it. Would you applaud a game utilizing such a rule for its simulationism or verisimilitude? Could the author of such a game come here and say he wrote that for the sake of "realism"?

For me, I think it would tell me more about the author than the world.
If you want to see what that looks like, look up RaHoWa RPG.

If you don't want to have to wipe your hard drive out of disgust, don't look up RaHoWa RPG.
 
Let's step it up a notch. What would it tell you if someone asked "What sort of Intelligence penalty rule should I implement for dark-skinned humans?" Would such a rule make the game more realistic? Certainly there are folks who feel it would, and there is even some "scientific" work that supports it. Would you applaud a game utilizing such a rule for its simulationism or verisimilitude? Could the author of such a game come here and say he wrote that for the sake of "realism"?

For me, I think it would tell me more about the author than the world.
Apples and oranges. There's all kinds of evidence for gender differences in strength and none as far as I know for racial differences in intelligence.
 

Hussar

Legend
Apples and oranges. There's all kinds of evidence for gender differences in strength and none as far as I know for racial differences in intelligence.
Actually, that's not true. There is most certainly research for racial differences in intelligence. Some years ago a professor at University of Western Ontario made big ripples publishing just such a paper.

But, again, let's run with things. What modifier are we talking about here that preserves your sense of realism for men being stronger than women, but, allows for 2 foot tall, 30 pound halflings to be only 2 points weaker than a human.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
And, for that matter, much larger creatures that are only 2 points stronger. 4Ed was particularly bad at this- look at Dragonborn, Minotaurs, etc.- massively muscular races, averaging over 7' in height and 400lbs or more in weight.

IOW, nearly twice as massive as average humans, +2 STR. Same as Orcs.
 
Ok, let's run with this.

What modifier should women have? How do you express this in a game, so that it is as realistic as possible?
That's a fair enough question; let's see what I can come up with...

I'll use 2E as it's the system I'm most familiar with. Based on my 2E Players Handbook, which lists deadlift capability by strength score, and cursory research of male and female deadlift capability from this site: http://www.exrx.net/Testing/WeightLifting/DeadliftStandards.html it looks like the difference ought to be about 3 points. I'd probably express this as a +3 bonus for men to a strength roll.

There's also evidence that women do better than men in certain areas of fine motor skills, social interaction, endurance, and pain control. These are very difficult to quantify in game terms, as the relevant stats of dexterity, charisma, and constitution are each conglomerates of a bunch of different traits and unlike strength, the book offers no hard standard for what particular scores mean. For simplicity and fairness I'd say female humans get 3 bonus points to allocate as their player pleases among dex, cha, and con.

The strength cap of 25 I'd leave the same for both men and women, as no human reaches this without serious magical augmentation.

The one serious problem I see with this system is that the of presence strength percentile scores would greatly increase the difference. I don't think this will be the case with 5E.

And as I said previously, I'd state right in the core that a player can use the male mods if what he wants is a strong female PC.

That's off the top of my head, so feel free to huck rocks at it, but in very approximate terms that's about what I would like to see.
 
Actually, that's not true. There is most certainly research for racial differences in intelligence. Some years ago a professor at University of Western Ontario made big ripples publishing just such a paper.

But, again, let's run with things. What modifier are we talking about here that preserves your sense of realism for men being stronger than women, but, allows for 2 foot tall, 30 pound halflings to be only 2 points weaker than a human.
Maybe I should have specified "credible" or "widely accepted" research. You can find "research" supporting just about any oddball claim you care to look for on the internet.

And I totally agree on halflings. They should have a much lower strength score than the average human. I'd change that too.
 

mythago

Villager
I'll use 2E as it's the system I'm most familiar with. Based on my 2E Players Handbook, which lists deadlift capability by strength score, and cursory research of male and female deadlift capability from this site: http://www.exrx.net/Testing/WeightLifting/DeadliftStandards.html it looks like the difference ought to be about 3 points. I'd probably express this as a +3 bonus for men to a strength roll.
According to the site you linked to: "Keep in mind, the standards shown in the tables do not represent the highest level of strength performance possible." They are, as far as I can tell, standards of what deadlifters should be able to accomplish based on past results from a single weightlifting category (deadlift) from 1950 to the present....with no clear statement of where the data came from and whether they are representative. I find it a bit difficult to believe that, especially given cultural attitudes about female strength and weightlifting, that these are an accurate representations of potential STR scores in real-life humans that can be seamlessly ported to D&D.

But that aside, the issue is that we have a system that is unrealistic about human ability from the get-go, and so worrying that it accurately reflects maximum human STR potential by gender is....well, misplaced. We know why Dragonborn and gnomes only vary slightly from the human norms, despite that variance being wholly unrealistic: game balance. Given that, I find it very strange to bring a wargamer-like focus on realism between human males and females.
 
According to the site you linked to: "Keep in mind, the standards shown in the tables do not represent the highest level of strength performance possible." They are, as far as I can tell, standards of what deadlifters should be able to accomplish based on past results from a single weightlifting category (deadlift) from 1950 to the present....with no clear statement of where the data came from and whether they are representative. I find it a bit difficult to believe that, especially given cultural attitudes about female strength and weightlifting, that these are an accurate representations of potential STR scores in real-life humans that can be seamlessly ported to D&D.

But that aside, the issue is that we have a system that is unrealistic about human ability from the get-go, and so worrying that it accurately reflects maximum human STR potential by gender is....well, misplaced. We know why Dragonborn and gnomes only vary slightly from the human norms, despite that variance being wholly unrealistic: game balance. Given that, I find it very strange to bring a wargamer-like focus on realism between human males and females.
Well, that site was the best I found in 10 minutes of search. If I was actually doing rules for release, I'd consult an actual expert. And the 3 pt gap was pretty consistent across degrees of experience. And as I said above, If I was writing the rules I'd definitely increase the differences between races too.
 
[MENTION=6688937]Ratskinner[/MENTION], sorry I can't XP post 404 upthread.

illustrations virtually never have any sort of unambiguous context to the scenes they depict (short us being told, or otherwise having it clearly indicated, that they're meant to represent a specific scene from a specific narrative). Given that, why not presume that, if the characters depicted are part of a larger world, how they're equipped is sufficient for a scenario that they're either heading for or returning from.
Look at the cover of the 4e DMG2. There are two people who dominate that scene - a man and a woman. They are descending a steep stone stairway cut into the side of a cliff; across the valley from them is a sinister-looking fortress of some kind. The woman is wearing a midriff top with a lot of cleavage displayed, and the artist has her posed with her back arched, so that her breasts project forward, further amplifying her cleavage.

Some of my thoughts on this illustration. First, it seems to me that there is no dispute that this woman is drawn in a sexualised way, in the sense that she is deliberately presented as a sexually attractive figure. Second, the artist has made some degree of effort to achieve this result - the woman's arched-backed pose is not the most natural way to depict a person descending a cliff-side stairway. Third, this sexualisation appears to have little to do with the context. For instance, there is no indication that the woman is flirting with anyone else either in the scene or off-canvass. I guess it's possible that the two people are not actually adventurers about to assault or infiltrate a ruined fortress (in the typical mode of D&D adventurers) but are in fact on their way to a party in the fort where her mode of dress would fit right in, but even if that were so it still doesn't explain why she is stopping for a sexy stretch half-way down the cliff.
[MENTION=3019]mythago[/MENTION] has made the broader points I would have made about censorship, so I'll focus my response to this pictrure more narrowly. The cover of DMG2 is an illustration on the cover of a commercial product. It therefore serves a range of communicative functions: the main one is conveying, in somewhat general, abstract and allusive terms, the subject matter of the contents; a related one is marketing the work, that is, making it an attractive object of consumption for likely consumers; a somewhat secondary function is conveying, in some fashion, the artist's ideas about fantasy adventuer, the human form, etc.

If, from the publisher's point of view, the cover fails in the first or second of these functions that is, in itself, a good reason to get rid of it and try again. If, from the purcahser and user's point of view, the cover gives a misleading impression of the contents of the book, that is also a reason to get rid of it, I think. And for me, as a purchaser and user of that book, I think it does give a misleading impression. It implies that the book has sexual themes or content or concerns that in fact it doesn't. It is a misleading cover. That in itself is a reason to revise it.

There is also the broader question of whether illustrations that sexualise women is therefore sexist. As a general proposition, I don't know that is true. But I think there is something sexist, and potentially demeaning, in the more narrow idea conveyed by the cover of the DMG 2 - namely that, even in fantasy adventuring contexts, it is women's sexuality and sexiness that is their most salient characteristic. Two people might have different views about the morals and politics of lingerie catalogues, or of pornography, yet still agree that there is something weird about so much D&D art being so obviously obsessed by women's sexuality, when that sexuality plays so little role in the game as presented in the rulebooks and most adventures. However uncertain we may be about detailed contexts, we know enough about the overall context of D&D as a mainstream fantasy adventure RPG to know that sexuality is not the main thing addressed by the books.

TL;DR: D&D pictures are full of (faux-)mediaeval weapons; and armour; and castles; and orcs; and dragons; and dramatic displays of magic; and prominently displayed cleavage, breasts, thighs and belly-buttons. What does that last set of things have to do with the fiction that the game rules and texts are actually concerned with?

deontological ethics hold that the morality of an action is determined by the action itself, and in no way by the results of that action
That is not really true. First, deontological morality categorises classes of action by their (typical) effects - for instance, killings are wrong because they (typically) resut in the radical undermining of some particular individual's interest in living his/her life. Kant explains the wrongness of lying by considering the consequences of a universalisation of acting on the principle that lying is permissible (namely, all rational communication would become impossible).

Second, deontological morality categorises individual actions by reference to their effects, too - I don't think anyone would categorise attempted murder as being as serious as murder, for instance.

It's certainly true that deontologists are not going to measure "results" or "consequences" simply by reference to aggregate measures of welfare or utility. But I don't see much of that sort of analysis in this thread. The dominant line of reasoning that I'm seeing is that gratuitously sexualised art wrongs or demeans women because of the conception of women that it commuinicates. That is a perfectly tenable form of deontological argument.
 
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