Thoughts on the Failure of Licensed IP in the Hobby: The Lack of Disney-fication is a Feature, not a Bug

I am not sure that we are disagreeing on anything here, are we?
I'm not really disagreeing as much as nuancing the point, yeah. I feel like the whole "X is actually a Western!" thing is a bit overdone and I think it's kind of interesting that the stuff in Westerns D&D reflects most is the stuff less present in modern Westerns. And part of the reason for that is a realization of the humanity of the people on the "other side", and that they also have a perspective.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Staffan

Legend
I'm not really disagreeing as much as nuancing the point, yeah. I feel like the whole "X is actually a Western!" thing is a bit overdone and I think it's kind of interesting that the stuff in Westerns D&D reflects most is the stuff less present in modern Westerns. And part of the reason for that is a realization of the humanity of the people on the "other side", and that they also have a perspective.
That's definitely a change that has come over D&D and its offshoots in later years. The main thing that comes to mind is the very first AP part from Pathfinder, Burnt Offerings. As the adventure starts, the PCs for one reason or another are in the frontier town of Sandpoint to witness/take part in the dedication of a temple dedicated to a handful of different deities, when the town is attacked by immensely savage and nasty goblins. They're terribly disorganized, setting fire to things randomly, going after the weakest people in town (like children). As the adventure goes on, you learn that they probably have the support of at least some people in town, because otherwise they wouldn't dare do things like that, and IIRC something about different goblin tribes not being able to work together without outside leadership.

I'm sure that wasn't James Jacobs' intention, but the whole thing felt a lot like a western of the old racist kind, where the part of the Indians was played by the goblins instead.
 

That's definitely a change that has come over D&D and its offshoots in later years. The main thing that comes to mind is the very first AP part from Pathfinder, Burnt Offerings. As the adventure starts, the PCs for one reason or another are in the frontier town of Sandpoint to witness/take part in the dedication of a temple dedicated to a handful of different deities, when the town is attacked by immensely savage and nasty goblins. They're terribly disorganized, setting fire to things randomly, going after the weakest people in town (like children). As the adventure goes on, you learn that they probably have the support of at least some people in town, because otherwise they wouldn't dare do things like that, and IIRC something about different goblin tribes not being able to work together without outside leadership.

I'm sure that wasn't James Jacobs' intention, but the whole thing felt a lot like a western of the old racist kind, where the part of the Indians was played by the goblins instead.
Yeah that's a sort of more recent, accidental example of the kind that we wouldn't see from Paizo today. Back in the '80s and parts of the '90s, it was quite intentional in that some designers thought it was totally fine to make the evil gnolls or orcs have all the superficial trappings of a Native American culture for example. Whereas others, even in say, 1989, with Taladas were actively working to subvert that (all the most "threatening" cultures in Taladas are human or elven, including the "Mongol Horde" equivalent, who are elves/half-elves mostly).

Over the '90s there was slooooooowly increasing awareness that this assigning oppressed real-world cultures to baddies might not be great, and some clumsy attempts to correct it were made (and adept ones from others), but for whatever reason, 3rd edition and the d20 revolution spurred a lot of what I'd classify as slightly teenage edgelord-y products, and yeah, Burnt Offerings falls into that, and whilst they're careful to avoid giving the goblins any cultural traits which might align them with a real world group (IIRC), they do end up positioning them in an unfortunate way. It wasn't the most inappropriate Paizo/PF1 book either (the less said of that the better).

Ironically this all somehow ended up with people absolutely loving Pathfinder goblins though. Not exactly sure how that happened.
 



Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top