Well, that was fun
This was part of Tracy Hickman's newsletter. Note that it gets a little inflamatory in places - so make sure that the rest of the thread does not!
Yesterday, I found a terrorist attack in my mailbox.
Maybe I took it so hard because it was September 11th. Like many of us in the United States, I had spent the day searching for ways to honor the memory of all that was lost just one year ago. I tried to avoid the television. Instead, I spent much of the day in reflection and work ... and thinking on the nature of true heroes.
The thing that upset me the most about this terrorism, however, was that it was in the form of Dragon Magazine’s 300th issue.
At the bottom of the cover, in a little box, it said: “Mature Audiences: Sealed 16-page Section.” In large letters next to it, spanning the bottom of the magazine, it read: “HOW FAR WILL YOU GO? Vile Content * Graphic Violence.”
Vile Content? Graphic Violence?
What about the Comic Book Code that prohibited anyone writing for D&D from indulging in such excrement?
Now their daring us to go TOO FAR?
How dare you? How dare you take something that I have enjoyed with friends and family for over a quarter of a century and make it cheap, trashy and demeaning? How dare you pour filth on all those good memories?
Not that this attack was entirely unexpected. I had information that this was coming soon in the form of a product to be aptly called ‘The Book of Vile Darkness.’
Now THERE’S a title that will silence the D&D critics.
Yes, there will be a ‘Book of Vile Darkness’ but it would be carefully labeled for ‘Mature Audiences’ only.
Now my nose twitches whenever I see the words ‘mature audiences’ stuck together. It is such a subtle and devious oxymoron. Invariably, ‘mature’ subject matter targets immature impulses. Think about it: EVERY act that is labeled as ‘for mature audiences’ deals with an immature act or animal-level instinct.
It is understandable on one level: it is lazy. It takes far less effort to tell a dirty joke than a really GOOD joke. It is like my mother use to tell me about swearing: people curse when they are either too lazy or incapable of thinking up something intelligent to say.
Now, after OVER TWENTY YEARS of building public relations good will ... it is all being thrown out the window. They are gleefully opening the Pandora’s box ... and there will be NO CLOSING IT again.
It literally makes me sick.
The lead article in Dragon on this subject is entitled: “How Far Should You Go?” ... which sounds like a dare to me. The subtitle is “Choosing the Right Level of Evil for your Campaign.”
The “Right Level of Evil”???
On the outset, the article appears to be an attempt as some sort of gaming equivalent to the Motion Picture Rating Board classification of films. The clinical-looking ratings of LG, SG, MG and VG supposedly give us a convenient handle on the nature of these game forms. For those of you not familiar with these ratings, they mean ‘Lighthearted Game’, ‘Standard Game’, ‘Mature Game’ and ‘Vile Game.’
It then goes on to completely dismantle, point by point, the same comic book code that we all worked so hard to protect for a quarter of a century. Here is the ‘brave new world’ that we can look forward to in our D20 games. It promotes “selfish and sinful impulses”; distrust and suspicion of everyone; slavery, torture, rape, gore, violence (including “over-the-top, unrealistic amounts of gore”); Characters engage in all manner of sexual acts; and worse!
This is sociopathic behavior ... NOT entertainment.
SHAME ON YOU! Laura and I went to Gencon this year and were relieved and delighted to see families there. Yes, actual families with their children coming to play games and have a good time. Gencon felt actually FUN for the first time in years. We thought that perhaps at last D&D could have a future.
This destroys it all for me. Every dark fear that mothers and clergy across America have about D&D is now, suddenly, true. In one stroke, I watched everything that Laura and I had worked toward for the last 25 years come crashing to the ground.
Shame on you ... whoever you are! Do you honestly think you can dump filth into our trough and blithely expect us to feed on it? You have sold out cheaply to the animal within, apparently too lazy to write something positive and strong. Don’t you know that Goths and the whole post-modern cynicism is so-last-decade? Do you honestly think that we will all follow you into this dark place?
People occasionally ask me how I feel about playing evil PC characters.
My response is always: Don’t do it.
After all, who do YOU dream of being?
A New York City Fireman...
...or a Terrorist?
If you agree with me, may I suggest you make your displeasure known ... as both my wife and I will ... in no uncertain terms to ANYONE you think needs to hear about this. May I suggest http://www.planetfeedback.com could assist you in getting the names and addresses of people to whom you might complain?
And my I further suggest that you demonstrate your own maturity by avoiding purchasing or playing ANYTHING labeled for ‘Mature Audiences Only.’