WotC WotC's Chris Perkins On D&D's Inclusivity Processes Going Forward

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Over on D&D Beyond, WotC's Chris Perkins has written a blog entry about how the company's processes have been changed to improve the way the D&D studio deals with harmful content and inclusivity. This follows recent issues with racist content in Spelljammer: Adventures in Space, and involves working with external cultural consultants.

The studio’s new process mandates that every word, illustration, and map must be reviewed by multiple outside cultural consultants prior to publication.

 

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Zardnaar

Legend
You're arguing that there's something wrong with someone who includes subject matter that might trigger someone's PTSD.


As LBJ once said, "Doing good is easy. It's knowing what's good that's hard." We disagree on what is the good here.

I think this is where things start breaking down. You have some people saying don't make it vs don't like it don't buy it.

Personally I lean towards something like movies. Stick a warning label on it.
 

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Dreamscape

Crafter of fine role-playing games
Ah Roger. Just wondering how you find things here relative to wherever you're from/been. Outsiders perspective etc. It can be a bit insular here at times.
Gotcha! Well, I'm only one outsider, but as a Welshman with a German accent an outsider's perspective is all I really have, so here goes:

To be honest everywhere I've lived (Germany, Éire, England, Hong Kong, Wales) or spent reasonable amounts of time (China, Japan, Singapore, Okinawa, Australia, New Zealand) feels insular to me. You might think NZ would be a particular case in point given its geographic situation, but outside specifically interested parties such as academics most people anywhere just don't seem to have the drive (need?) to really get under the skin of the world as a whole, or even that of near neighbours, and as a result are mostly informed by popular culture. Everywhere people make a myriad small everyday assumptions about "how things should be" that can be baffling or abhorrent to someone somewhere else.

That's why I find it sad but inevitable that the "gateway drugs" to other cultures like RPGs and other entertainment are becoming almost impossible to produce to modern standards, and those other cultures often lack the means or interest in marketing their product abroad. Japan, for instance, is largely concerned with Japanese consumers and it's often only a dedicated cohort of outsiders (with the language ability) who export their awesome stuff for the rest of the world.
 

J.Quondam

CR 1/8
In this game, you're roleplaying covalent links and fighting the color blue using cosmic radiations.


Mmmm... not sure it will sell, tbh.

Sounds like twitter users trying to migrate to Mastodon:

Every Mastodon explanation is like "It's very simple, your account is part of a kerflunk, and each kerflunk can talk to each other as part of a bumblurt. At the moment everyone you flurgle can see your bloops but only people IN your kerflunk can quark your nerps. Kinda like email."

 



You're arguing that there's something wrong with someone who includes subject matter that might trigger someone's PTSD.
I am arguing that IF you include it you will annoy people, customers. If you get big enough that will turn into outrage and you will not be making money without apologies and retcons. again run what you want at your table, sell a $3pdf on your website maybe even get a short print run and sell them at a FLGS and Con, but the bigger you get the more eyeballs... and there is a tipping point where you will make LESS because of it.

As LBJ once said, "Doing good is easy. It's knowing what's good that's hard." We disagree on what is the good here.
that is strange, what isn't good?
 



Zardnaar

Legend
So? 90% of everything is rubbish. Not much new there.

More like in American movies you have goodies and baddies a lot of the time.

NZ stuff is more warts and all. The movie clip Iinked earlier has you have sympathy for a wife beater and actively cheer for him later in the movie. That movie was a very heavy movie and was a big hit here, rave reviews.

Played by Tem Morrison Mr Boba Fett. In 1993.

So a lot of Hollywood stuff coming out last 5 years to us can feel very forced and just badly done.

The author of the book based it off his life experiences from his youth.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
As I've said to many a pizza cutter (all edge, no point) fellow author: Everything is a tool for storytelling. Some things however are like industrial machinery: you need to know what you're doing, why you're doing it, and how to apply it with are or someone is going to get hurt.

If you want to apply certain subjects, you damn well better do it with care instead of just doing it to be edgy, or you're going to get the obvious response, same as touching the stove you know is hot. Five year olds know not to touch the hot stove. Grown adults making content sometimes don't or do it anyway because they think they're being brave freedom fighters.
 

"Ish." The problem is that Oriental Adventures-esque settings are usually filled with blatant stereotypes based on Western misunderstandings of how various Asian cultures worked (and the assumption that they were all very similar), while the European-style settings aren't like that. They're like having a vaguely-European setting where everyone is a chivalric knight who engages in palace intrigue, wears liederhosen, and wields a rapier while throwing chicken bones on the rush-covered floors of a moat-surrounded, cannon-guarded longhouse. So, in my opinion (as a non-Asian), having a pan-Asian setting would be fine, as long as it wasn't filled with such a terrible mishmash of ideas and there was effort put into making them in a sensible setting.
Sounds like the Forgotten Realms to me! Americans are not really any better at writing European-inspired fantasy settings than they are writing Asian-inspired fantasy settings.
 


More like in American movies you have goodies and baddies a lot of the time.
tell me you never watched game of thrones without telling me you never watched game of thrones...
I think your idea of american is just a fraction of our stuff... John Wick is a hired killer, we cheer for aliens and predators, horror movies are all about the monster
then there is breaking bad, american psycho, this is far from an exhaustive list
NZ stuff is more warts and all. The movie clip Iinked earlier has you have sympathy for a wife beater and actively cheer for him later in the movie. That movie was a very heavy movie and was a big hit here, rave reviews.
we do antiheroes and villain protagonists, have you heard they are making a sequel to the joker?
So a lot of Hollywood stuff coming out last 5 years to us can feel very forced and just badly done.

The author of the book based it off his life experiences from his youth.
again maybe you just watch only 1 kind of american movie
 



tell me you never watched game of thrones without telling me you never watched game of thrones...
I think your idea of american is just a fraction of our stuff... John Wick is a hired killer, we cheer for aliens and predators, horror movies are all about the monster
then there is breaking bad, american psycho, this is far from an exhaustive list

we do antiheroes and villain protagonists, have you heard they are making a sequel to the joker?

again maybe you just watch only 1 kind of american movie
You missed this line of his
So a lot of Hollywood stuff coming out last 5 years to us can feel very forced and just badly done.

EDIT: Its funny you mention GoT. So your David Benioff and D.B. Weiss garbaged the storyline pretty much from season 5 onwards. That is the talent that we're seeing coming from Hollywood these days. And Disney is no better.
 

MGibster

Legend
so you agree it's best to leave that stuff out?
I was asking you. No, I don't think it's best to leave that stuff out. I think it's best practice for a game designer to consider what kind of experience they wish to provide their audience and make any decisions based on that. The fact that some people might be triggered by the inclusion of something doesn't automatically mean it should be excluded. Does slavery belong in D&D? I think so. So long as the slavers are clearly depicted as the bad guys the PCs are meant to defeat I think it's fine.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
tell me you never watched game of thrones without telling me you never watched game of thrones...
I think your idea of american is just a fraction of our stuff... John Wick is a hired killer, we cheer for aliens and predators, horror movies are all about the monster
then there is breaking bad, american psycho, this is far from an exhaustive list

we do antiheroes and villain protagonists, have you heard they are making a sequel to the joker?

again maybe you just watch only 1 kind of american movie

No main point is that what is offensive to Americans isn't offensive here or at least having it depicted.

Slavery here wasn't racial based it was intervtribal warfare.

So depending on how a movie or rpg book was made is wouldn't automatically be offensive because it included slavery.

It might be offensive depending on how it was portrayed. Even then is still might offend someone. Arts been doing that for a long time though history will be the judge of it's artistic merit.

But we have got people here saying oh no you can't make that.

An NZ cultural sensitivity reader could sign off on something an American one wouldn't. That work could conceivably include slavery or cannibalism I was literally having this conversation with one of my players the other day who was telling me about his iwi and the context of some of the things that happened.
 

Incenjucar

Legend
American companies in particular have different priorities on depictions based on the global distribution of much of our media and the history and makeup of our local populations, plus the impact of local politics and the money that controls it. A lot of the feel of sanitization comes from needing to market to non-Americans in addition to Americans, and a variety of religious sensibilities, and the fact that "Americans" are quite diverse on top of that. Some of it is silly, like the prudishness, while some of it is great, like trying to reign in insults to vulnerable populations.

However, if you look outside of mass market stuff, you can find just about anything you can imagine, like anywhere else.
 


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