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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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


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Galandris

Foggy Bottom Campaign Setting Fan
I feel the question about cannibalism as a cultural practice is a little bit more complex.

In Hannibal, it is clear that the cannibal is a bad guy. I don't think you're supposed to feel empathy. It expounds the value that cannibalism = bad.

If we were seeing a RPG setting based on a real-life customary cannibalism, and the real-life cultural group accepted that, I'd expect the setting to underline that it was part of the practices, and I'd like the rules to support it. For example, if there was a rite to eat a part of a fallen warrior to gain a part of his strength as a sort of burial rite, AND the setting was including magic, I'd like eating part of a fallen one to provide some kind of mechanical bonus to reflect the practice as it is perceived. So, cannibalism will not only sound tolerated and supported, but attractive.

In that case, I can see a higher level of disconnect in audiences, because there might be a group that doesn't want cannibalism to be shown AT ALL, some that will accept bad guys to be cannibals and only a smaller, third subset that would have no problem practicing cannibalism as part of roleplaying a cannibal without moral quandary about it.

And there would literally no way to please BOTH the one wanting cultural cannibalism to be depicted respectfully AND the one who wouldn't want to see cannibalism in their PG13 entertainment.
 
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Zardnaar

Legend
Even without the racial component... slavery is owning another person. It's offensive.

And remember that this line of discussion also included cannibalism. Are we honestly this far gone that there's cannibalism apologia?

No but I'm saying if it is included it's not automatically racist or whatever.

What I'm saying is you could conceivably have an indigenous produced product that included it.

Remember earlier they were discussing a Polynesian product. I'm not familiar with said product.

It's offensive to Americans but it was practed here, Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

I don't see it being included but a product could reference it and depending on how it was don't, who wrote it, and what they were trying to achieve it may or may not be offensive.

Remember we're talking about a game where we basically kill stuff for fun.
 

MGibster

Legend
Even without the racial component... slavery is owning another person. It's offensive.
If we're going to avoid offensive practices in we're going to end up with My Little Pony the RPG. Bad guys do offensive things. It's why they're bad guys.

And remember that this line of discussion also included cannibalism. Are we honestly this far gone that there's cannibalism apologia?
There's a big difference between arguing something is okay to include in a game and defending the practice in real life. I haven't seen anyone here offer an defense of cannibalism or slavery, just its use in a game.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
If we're going to avoid offensive practices in we're going to end up with My Little Pony the RPG. Bad guys do offensive things. It's why they're bad guys.
There's a lot of noxious crap we can say 'bad guys do' that I bet you wouldn't allow 10 feet from your games and wouldn't buy a book that includes it, to say nothing of the sheer volume represented by D&D's love afraid with having everybody being either slaver or former slave.
 


Faolyn

(she/her)
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.
True...

I think maybe the Realms has enough stuff that's completely fantasy (at least in the Sword Coast part of it) that kind of doesn't matter so much?
 

MGibster

Legend
There's a lot of noxious crap we can say 'bad guys do' that I bet you wouldn't allow 10 feet from your games and wouldn't buy a book that includes it, to say nothing of the sheer volume represented by D&D's love afraid with having everybody being either slaver or former slave.
I'm sure there's lots of noxious crap I wouldn't allow within 10 feet of my table, but I don't think my preferences are some sort of moral imperative.
 

Incenjucar

Legend
It's worth keeping in mind that cannibalism is practiced by living cultures in various forms as mentioned earlier, and these are not the same as the murderous cannibal concept. Still a danged risky thing given prions, etc.
 

Warpiglet-7

Cry havoc! And let slip the pigs of war!
I'm sure there's lots of noxious crap I wouldn't allow within 10 feet of my table, but I don't think my preferences are some sort of moral imperative.
We used to play evil characters fairly often when we were younger. I have no interest anymore.

I like both my campaign and the ones I play In focused on more honorable benevolent protagonists.

But we do kick evil’s ass where possible and some bad guys derive others of liberty, murder etc.

It’s at our table but we strive against it. I in no way think that promotes it!
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I'm sure there's lots of noxious crap I wouldn't allow within 10 feet of my table, but I don't think my preferences are some sort of moral imperative.

I don't generally include slavery here n my games but have done so. PCs job was to stop the raids.

Also present in Dark Sun.

Villains gonna villain. What you're comfortable including in your game is up to you.

If I was gonna do a fantasy Aotearoa I wouldn't include humans at all replace them with Birffolk and lizardfolk and not base any of them on real life cultures.

Use geography for the setting so you would have volcanic plateaus, giant eagles and Dragons would exist based on geographic features.

Tongariro National Park

Red Dragon breeding ground.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
We used to play evil characters fairly often when we were younger. I have no interest anymore.

I like both my campaign and the ones I play In focused on more honorable benevolent protagonists.

But we do kick evil’s ass where possible and some bad guys derive others of liberty, murder etc.

It’s at our table but we strive against it. I in no way think that promotes it!

I think evil is kind of played out. Maybe as a backdrop like my recent Drow campaign.

Did an evil themed game once involving the Drow not exactly fun. Well see me parts were.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
I assure you that the My Little Pony RPG has adequately horrible villains. That franchise has love-eating pod people.
Aw, what did Queen Chrysalis ever do to you?

692d65dc02aeddf6d688949804d40552.jpg
 





Now I rebember the rpg "7th Sea" was offensive for me because the church (even a fictional church) was showed as enemy of the science (that trope is totally false) and mentionating the inquisition could knock your door in the middle of the night (in the real life the most of people judged by the Spanish inquisition were ordinary criminals who blasphemed in lay trails because they would rather to be judged by the inqusition).

I am not happy with the movie "the woman king" because in the fiction they were anti-slavery but in the real life they were the opposite. They attacked their neighbours to catch slaves.

Usually preteens don't play D&D because rules are too complex, but if the DM is an adult, and this will worry about a kid-friendly tone.

When I was a child there were lots of "swords & sandals" movie with slave characters, and sometimes Christians killed in the Roman circus. I have said some time the slavery was showed in some episodes of the Legendary Journeys of Hercules and Xena the warrior princess. In an episode Lucy Liu was a fugitive slave. The slavery can be showed in the fiction, even for teenage audiences, but as something that is wrong, done by no-good people, and something has to be abolished. Aren't children allowed to see movies of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" when these are anti-slavery?

And the pirates were slaves-traffickers. You can't paint a romantic image of the pirates when these were criminals, with the hands tainted by blood of innocent people. And in the real life their attacks were the towns in the coasts because these were weaker to be protected. The Spanish ships traveled together in convoys to avoid the attacks of those pirates. And the famous pirate Barbarrosa was Otoman (with Greek blood).
 

Clint_L

Hero
I feel like when we've reached the point that people are seriously arguing about whether depictions of cannibalism are culturally insensitive or not, the topic has officially jumped the shark.

I mean, it probably did that on page 2, but it has now reached Kafkian levels of absurdity.
 

MGibster

Legend
Aren't children allowed to see movies of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" when these are anti-slavery?
Nobody watches or reads Uncle Tom's Cabin unless they're a student or a scholar in academia. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is more likely to have been read or a film adaptation watched by an American though there are controversies with that one surrounding the name of Jim.

And the pirates were slaves-traffickers. You can't paint a romantic image of the pirates when these were criminals, with the hands tainted by blood of innocent people.
We've romanticized and watered down pirates over the last few decades. Here's an example of a Disney pirates designed for children.

Disney  Pirates.JPG


I'm pretty sure taking another person's property is what being a pirate is all about.
 

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