D&D General The Art and the Artist: Discussing Problematic Issues in D&D

Gradine

Final Form (they/them)
It doesn’t cloud them at all. They are literally violent, they just aren’t physical. The word violence just simply is not limited to physical force.
I'm a transfemme in a rural area; you better believe I've experienced both physical and emotional violence, and if you think one of these is actually more serious than the other, I've got news for you. You're right.

You'd be surprised how quickly a black eye heals
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/They)
I'm a transfemme in a rural area; you better believe I've experienced both physical and emotional violence, and if you think one of these is actually more serious than the other, I've got news for you. You're right.

You'd be surprised how quickly a black eye heals
I’m pretty sure you were addressing a general you here, and not me specifically, but just to be especially clear, I think you and I are in full agreement on this matter. Also, I’m sorry you’ve had to go through that. You are valid and the things I would like to say to people who think otherwise aren’t allowed to be posted here.
 

MGibster

Legend
I'm a transfemme in a rural area; you better believe I've experienced both physical and emotional violence, and if you think one of these is actually more serious than the other, I've got news for you. You're right.

You'd be surprised how quickly a black eye heals
When I recall painful memories, it's the ones that leave mental scars that occasionally occupy my mind these days rather than the physical injuries. I would have to agree with your assessment, physical injuries often heal much quicker than emotional ones.
 

When I recall painful memories, it's the ones that leave mental scars that occasionally occupy my mind these days rather than the physical injuries. I would have to agree with your assessment, physical injuries often heal much quicker than emotional ones.

I was going to post the same thing.

It would be an interesting experiment to ask people "what was your most painful experience?" without specifying what kind of pain you mean. I'm guessing most people who describe emotional pain.
 

But at the same time, I don't feel any obligation to cater to their needs. Maybe the game with a villainous faction of mind controlling spiders isn't the game for them. It's okay to make a game that isn't for everyone.
The OP was mostly about legacy products and writers and artists who were “of their era.” But when it comes to contemporary entertainment, including rpgs, there are absolutely products that I don’t purchase either because there is something off putting about the content or the views/action of the creator. That includes wotc products. I don’t know how much of wotc’s drive to change things is because they care about the “community” or because of the more realistic urge to sell more products, though I would guess it’s more the latter given that they are a large corporation.
 

I was going to post the same thing.

It would be an interesting experiment to ask people "what was your most painful experience?" without specifying what kind of pain you mean. I'm guessing most people who describe emotional pain.
Yeah... PTSD sux.
The OP was mostly about legacy products and writers and artists who were “of their era.” But when it comes to contemporary entertainment, including rpgs, there are absolutely products that I don’t purchase either because there is something off putting about the content or the views/action of the creator. That includes wotc products. I don’t know how much of wotc’s drive to change things is because they care about the “community” or because of the more realistic urge to sell more products, though I would guess it’s more the latter given that they are a large corporation.
Honestly, if they are smart...both
All asides well aside, companies have one and only one goal; Profit. While your opinion may be considered, they don't really care as long as it turns a profit. Now is it good public relations to try and appease the fan base? Well, Duh? Of course, that's where the bucks come from.
As Gus Grissom said to the NASA engineers regarding the program, No Buck Rodgers, no bucks. Meaning without the PR face (the astronauts) there was no funding. Same with companies, but make no mistake, if they thought doing the opposite and lambasting you would make sell more product, there would be a send up on the next PHB cover...
 



AnotherGuy

Adventurer
yeah, if a book that an orc (again using this to avoid real world groups) reads makes some part of the orc population feel attacked, and some elves that have read that book use it as an excuse to persecutor the orcs?
How many Orcs need to feel bad for it to be significant? how many orcs need to be persecuted to be significant?
You are saying people are being persecuted by playing or even reading those published adventures? Can you see what exaggeration does to a conversation?
 


HammerMan

Legend
I'm a transfemme in a rural area; you better believe I've experienced both physical and emotional violence, and if you think one of these is actually more serious than the other, I've got news for you. You're right.

You'd be surprised how quickly a black eye heals
sticks and stones may break my bones but words will leave emotional scars that never heal...

it sounds funny. it sounds wrong cause most of us were taught the reverse 'words will never hurt me' but the truth is sometime words hurt alot.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen
I note that while I was away overnight the discussion moved on from discussing the perfectly functional and uncontroversial term "harm", and shifted to the more difficult and debatable "violence". This feels like the goalposts have been moved to make the semantic argument more difficult and thorny. While I agree that structural violence is a real phenomenon, I think it's largely applicable to larger societal structures and institutions than roleplaying games, and so it's functionally a tangent from the topic of the thread, and a distraction from the point.

We've also gotten into more sniping and sarcasm. :/

The point remains valid that when we say harm we should be able to specify what kind of harm. The only valid criticism of its use that I've seen so far is the idea that some unnamed people use the term and fail to elaborate, and that bedrockgames gets the impression that this is done to shut down debate and (unconvincingly to me) to imply physical harm.
 

The only valid criticism of its use that I've seen so far is the idea that some unnamed people use the term and fail to elaborate, and that bedrockgames gets the impression that this is done to shut down debate and (unconvincingly to me) to imply physical harm.

I think this part of the debate is not something I want to further advance because it is a bit of tangent. But I want to be clear about what I meant here. I don't think people are using it in bad faith (though I am sure, as with any debate, a bad faith person here or there could employ the term that way). I think the term is simply a very effective, but unexamined rhetorical device that people draw on. And as with any effective phrase in a debate or discussion, when people find something that works they use it. My primary concern was the particular phrase "This causes harm" and how that gets used in, what I consider an unexamined way. Again not trying to reignite this part of the discussion but I did want to be clear I am not saying people are using it to shut down debate intentionally. I think it has that effect, and people read that effect as victory when they use it. But I don't think people use it with the intentional aim of shutting people down.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen
this is exactly what I am asking for. Yes I think people feeling unwelcome is usually more serious than transitory mental discomfort. However I think there is lots of debate over whether these things are unwelcoming. I have heard very different things talking to different gamers belonging to these groups. Groups of people aren’t monolithic, and what I encounter elsewhere online, out in the world among gamers I know, if often very different from the opinions I see at en world. And I have watched different YouTube channels and listened to podcasts by different gamers belonging to these groups and also get a range of opinions on this matter. It is complicated. There are honest disagreements about this stuff even within the communities in question
Ok, so we agree that people should specify what kind of harm they mean when they say harm. Or at LEAST be able to specify when asked. Am I right that we agree on that?

Yes, different people have different perspectives on whether and what things are unwelcoming or exclusionary. And, for example, some women gamers have apparently never had the experience of walking into a gaming store and being stared, sniggered, sneered at and condescended to.

The fact that there are a wide range of experiences and opinions out there doesn't negate the point that we should listen to folks who say they think things are harmful. It's perfectly reasonable to ask them to explain how and why, but we shouldn't be discrediting the premise without good reason.

That it is a legal term though is also part of the problem. I can say I am sincere and my issue with Harm as a term is it the way it gets used on places like Twitter and done of these discussion. It feels like a rhetorical bludgeon (because no one wants to be guilty if causing harm, but often if you dig deeper, there is more room for disagreement)
I take you at your word that it is used as a rhetorical bludgeon on Twitter. I mostly stay off Twitter. That being said, while we can debate whether a thing is harmful, the better response to a reaction of disbelief there is to respectfully ask the person to explain the nature of the harm, or link us to a good explanation.

correct... but notice you just made it 50/50. My question isn't "can anyone ever be harmed in anyway" it's "How do we cause the least harm with the most good"

if your 10 people (and again we are talking all 10 as honest) 5 say they want something changed, and 5 say they want it to stay the same... the 5 that want it changed say it hurt them in some way... but they share they same characteristic with the other 5? how do you choose what 5 are the ones in the right?

It gets worse if you survey 100 people and 5 want it changed and 5 want it to stay... but 90 either don't know or don't care one way or another.

How do you choose the 'least harm'

is 5 in 10 enough to change it, is 5 in 20, 5 in 100, 5 in 1,000? at what point is the scale tipped? is it 51% is it at 40% is it at .001%
Again, since we have no such numbers, you continually bringing them up is an obstacle to useful discussion. Your smuggling in questioning people's honesty is also beside the point. I think we all implicitly get that we're taking folks' reports in good faith as part of the discussion. OBVIOUSLY if one of the reports comes from someone established to be dishonest, we discount that report.

Whether I made my logic example 50/50 or 10/1 is totally irrelevant to the point that an anecdote of something NOT happening to a given person, or to 100 given people, bears exactly zero weight in evaluating whether it happened to one other person.
 

MGibster

Legend
The OP was mostly about legacy products and writers and artists who were “of their era.” But when it comes to contemporary entertainment, including rpgs, there are absolutely products that I don’t purchase either because there is something off putting about the content or the views/action of the creator.
As with many long running threads, the topic has shifted multiple times over the course of more than 500 posts. The post I replied to was most certainly not about legacy products. I'm with you when it comes to contemporary entertainment. There are products that I haven't purchased because I found something off putting about the content. d20 splatbooks by Avalanche Press immediate comes to mind. I don't typically know the views of the creators' of things I purchase, but that's something that could sway my decision on whether or not I want to buy something.

That includes wotc products. I don’t know how much of wotc’s drive to change things is because they care about the “community” or because of the more realistic urge to sell more products, though I would guess it’s more the latter given that they are a large corporation.
TSR changed D&D to suit their customers and I expect WotC will continue to change D&D for as long as they're in business. I've liked some of the changes and I've disliked other changes, and in either way it's okay for them to make changes. I haven't argued against every change. While I've argued that it's perfectly fine to have evil races, I've never argued against WotC making it more clear that orcs or bugbears aren't evil all the time. I miss the importance of alignment, but its role in the game has diminished over the last 22 years and I've come to accept that it's a largely a vestigial holdover in 5th edition.
 

HammerMan

Legend
Again, since we have no such numbers, you continually bringing them up is an obstacle to useful discussion. Your smuggling in questioning people's honesty is also beside the point. I think we all implicitly get that we're taking folks' reports in good faith as part of the discussion. OBVIOUSLY if one of the reports comes from someone established to be dishonest, we discount that report.

Whether I made my logic example 50/50 or 10/1 is totally irrelevant to the point that an anecdote of something NOT happening to a given person, or to 100 given people, bears exactly zero weight in evaluating whether it happened to one other person.
except the question just can not be "Is anyone ever possible harmed."

It is possible for me to make the safest game ever, and 1 in a billion players get hurt.

and that ISN'T what we are talking about anyway. we have some number of people saying "this minority dislikes it, and it caused harm" and another number of people saying "this same minority like it and don't want it removed"
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen
except the question just can not be "Is anyone ever possible harmed."

It is possible for me to make the safest game ever, and 1 in a billion players get hurt.
Sure. But as we don't have concrete numbers to support any assertion on how common it is or isn't (apart from near-universal things like talking to women about their experiences of feeling unwelcome, condescended to, or insulted in some geek spaces), you raising the rhetorical idea of 1 in a billion is for practical purposes putting an emotional thumb on the scale without factual basis.

and that ISN'T what we are talking about anyway. we have some number of people saying "this minority dislikes it, and it caused harm" and another number of people saying "this same minority like it and don't want it removed"
Could you please specify an example on this one? I don't think this particular point is helpful to talk about this way.
 

HammerMan

Legend
Sure. But as we don't have concrete numbers to support any assertion on how common it is or isn't (apart from near-universal things like talking to women about their experiences of feeling unwelcome, condescended to, or insulted in some geek spaces), you raising the rhetorical idea of 1 in a billion is for practical purposes putting an emotional thumb on the scale without factual basis.
no I am giving examples I have no dog in this fight (if anything I side with the more progressive) I am not putting my thumb on the scale (although I do fear some are on both sides) I am just asking we look at the scale.
Could you please specify an example on this one? I don't think this particular point is helpful to talk about this way.
sure earlier someone said that they knew people of a minority that wanted things removed from some adventures. this was countered with another person saying they had run said adventure with the same minority and not only did they not want it removed but they enjoyed it as is. the second one mainly (but both eventually) where told that antidotes don't matter... I made a joke about the plural of antidotes is survay data, I went back and forth with another poster until we agreed no one has a perfectly peer reviewed scientific study on this... and this brings us to where I am now.

back in 4e I started out very vocal about an issue believing I was siding with women who would be put off from gaming if we didn't change something. Within a week I was corrected (both here on these boards, and in real life) that women I respected were on the reverse side. In trying to take my own experience as a guy who tries to be an ally, I missed a part of the woman experience. Up until right before covid shut down my local gaming store, there were still jokes/arguments on this topic from 15 years ago... and I HAVE been called sexist, for pointing out that "no, that isn't the way all woman feel" but I personally have only been called such by other men.

People (minority, majority, gamers, religious sects, even populations of towns) are not all on the same page. there is no group that ALL want something one way.

So I don't want any person dismissed who says "I have X experience" but I also don't want the person dismissed who says "I had the opposite experience"

As a moderately progressive guy who has VERY progressive friends this has (and is currently) caused me some paralysis. When confronted with "Some number of people want you to do 1 thing, but some other number of people want you to do the opposite, and BOTH groups are trying to help do the most good."

I also made a joke about the trolley problem, and how I would freeze and not be able to react fast enough to make a difference, then suffer PTSD for years and need therapy for seeing it play out. I also almost side treked the conversation by giving an example not of gaming where trying to do the right thing has me currently doing LOTS of research and still not having a good answer.
 

Irlo

Adventurer
yeah, if a book that an orc (again using this to avoid real world groups) reads makes some part of the orc population feel attacked, and some elves that have read that book use it as an excuse to persecutor the orcs?
How many Orcs need to feel bad for it to be significant? how many orcs need to be persecuted to be significant?

You are saying people are being persecuted by playing or even reading those published adventures? Can you see what exaggeration does to a conversation?
You're not representing the example accurately. The hypothetical situation is that elves are persecuting orcs using what they read in a book as an excuse, not that orcs are persecuted by reading a book or playing games.
 

Yes, different people have different perspectives on whether and what things are unwelcoming or exclusionary. And, for example, some women gamers have apparently never had the experience of walking into a gaming store and being stared, sniggered, sneered at and condescended to.

The fact that there are a wide range of experiences and opinions out there doesn't negate the point that we should listen to folks who say they think things are harmful. It's perfectly reasonable to ask them to explain how and why, but we shouldn't be discrediting the premise without good reason.

I am not advocating dismissing people’s claims. I am saying we always get any claim to see if it is reasonable and true. Not because most people are lying but because when you automatically grant truth to any claim like this, you create a tool for bad actors to exploit (and there are always going to malicious people in the world who will lie about things). If you grant this to every claim you risk exaggerating something that isn’t a problem into a problem. And if you grant truth yo every explanation of the problem, you risk oversimplifying the solution, even solving it counter productively. Now none of that means you dismiss people’s pain, none of that should be a license to kick [edit: mock] people, and none of that means there aren’t problems that need solving. But solving a problem means, accurately determining if it is a problem, gauging yo what extent, accurately diagnosing it, and finding an explanation or explanations to solve it. I think I’m these conversations, flaws in some of these lead yo more problems and lead to exaggeration if problems. All that said: the game store problem is one I 100 percent agree with. There are lots of reasons it is a problem but it is one of the main reasons I don’t hand in game stores. I think a lot of it comes down to social awkwardness around women among male gamers, and less yo do with malicious intent, but it is very easy to see (and just about every woman who wasn’t a gamer I have taken to a game store, has made this complaint yo me. So don’t get me wrong: I am not saying dismiss everything. But in these threads the problems tend yo be much less concrete: issues around things like evil orcs, old tropes in a new context, use of cultural tropes, debates about safety tools, etc.
 
Last edited:

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top