Vox Article: "How Tabletop RPGs Are Being Reclaimed From Bigots and Jerks"

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Re: Vox Article: "How Tabletop RPGs Are Being Reclaimed From Bigots and Jerks"

Post by FuzzyBoots » Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:26 pm

Spectrum wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:10 pm
Okay, before asking this next question, let's just put FATAL aside as the complete troll or sickness that it is. How many games do you know about that have been published recently that push a hard left agenda? How many push a hard left agenda? Or maybe put, a Far Right vs Far Left perspective? I collect probably far too many rpgs from a wide variety of publishers. I can't think of one that pushes too far right. There might be a few old school D&D clones that lean that way. I can think of quite a few that push too far left.
Best to put FATAL way aside, preferably in an incinderator. :lol: I'll admit that I'm not certain how exactly to define "left" or "right" in terms of RPGs. Are we talking sexual freedom? Healthcare? Economics? Military spending? And are we talking worlds, mechanics, or both?
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Re: Vox Article: "How Tabletop RPGs Are Being Reclaimed From Bigots and Jerks"

Post by Spectrum » Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:58 pm

I'm glad that we agree on FATAL. I've read through it, largely to see if there was a decent system underneath the layers of bile, sadly, not even that is a saving value.

I'm curious to explore each of those options. I'm really curious to hear if I'm missing any examples. I'm very easy willing to admit that I'm in a bubble.

What do the two sides look like a mechanical level? Off the top of my head, the gender adjustments in old skool D&D-clones would fit as maybe more right? The entirety of Ms. Monopoly's gender gap difference on payments would be to the right? That might be pushing it though, there is a lot of weird in that game. Another recent game I picked up, Dust Wardens has some curious mechanics when it comes to being committed to the group, standing up for yourself and other touchy feely things.

World wise, I'm not sure what a right leaning game would look like. Opportunity for freedom is a good thing? Individual rights vs the needs of the collective?

I think that it's easier to point to commentary like the above. I really can't think of a gaming book that I've come across that out and out says that if you're anything other than a cismale WASP that you shouldn't but their product. The other side is increasingly common.

Or, I was recently reading a game book that on how to introduce some really evil elements to your game- stuff that everyone should be disgusted by. It was doing a great job of being fair and balanced, showing how anger and hatred can be twisted on any side of the coin... and all of a sudden there was a reference to biggoted 'orange faced cheese weasels'. That completely took me out of what they were trying to do. That entire book could be a conversation on its own.

Or the same publisher going into a page long lecture about how the uplifted dogs and cats in the environment think that it is silly that the old school humans had a problem with LGBTQ rights and how they much they enjoy polygamy. Sure, there's a place for it but does it have to be in a light hearted game that is pointed towards younger gamers?

Again, I'm probably slanted in my opinions on this one and I'm curious to hear the other side of the story.
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Re: Vox Article: "How Tabletop RPGs Are Being Reclaimed From Bigots and Jerks"

Post by FuzzyBoots » Wed Feb 05, 2020 1:28 am

Spectrum wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:58 pm
What do the two sides look like a mechanical level? Off the top of my head, the gender adjustments in old skool D&D-clones would fit as maybe more right? The entirety of Ms. Monopoly's gender gap difference on payments would be to the right? That might be pushing it though, there is a lot of weird in that game. Another recent game I picked up, Dust Wardens has some curious mechanics when it comes to being committed to the group, standing up for yourself and other touchy feely things.

World wise, I'm not sure what a right leaning game would look like. Opportunity for freedom is a good thing? Individual rights vs the needs of the collective?
I suppose one could argue that a lot of the Medieval-based games like D&D fit toward a Right-leaning model. Much like early Sims, money is extremely important, both to keep score and to ensure that you have enough power to take on the other guy. And while many people really are serving others, there is that freedom of choice, whether you want to go out and fight monsters, do arcane research, tend to the poor, etc. You also have Shadowrun, which is all about fighting for freedoms, often against the forces of sex, drugs, and addictive VR. I'm sure some would argue that the Megacorps often being the villains would argue the other direction, but that falls under the other side of tarring the other side by pointing out what you feel are negative things that should be associated with them, like maybe pointing out that the "LGBT-friendly" Wraeththu game is awfully rapey or taking a game where anything goes (I'll be honest, can't really think of a good example right now) and claiming that it's "a leftist pedophilia simulator". Not too far from how people were painting D&D as an introduction to cults and dark magics.
Spectrum wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:58 pm
I think that it's easier to point to commentary like the above. I really can't think of a gaming book that I've come across that out and out says that if you're anything other than a cismale WASP that you shouldn't but their product. The other side is increasingly common.
Hmm... I haven't seen many books, honestly, saying that cismale WASPs shouldn't play. It's usually more a "we don't want you as players if you exclude people outside your zone". And there's a degree of them pointing out the unconscious bias that will show up unless you specifically avoid it. I don't know how long you've been gaming, but when I started playing in the late 80s, the town I grew up in was 97% white or so, and there just was an implicit assumption that if you were human, you were probably light-skinned. Most guys played guys, most gals played gals, and so the adventuring parties tended to often be a bunch of white guys with a token green-skinned half-orc or a female in a healing role, often getting drunk and having sex because, well, wish fulfillment. And the former part, well, that's fine. People should feel free to be whoever they want to be, even if it's a slightly romanticized version of themselves. Really, a lot of it falls to the GM/DC/GC/etc, who needs to decide whether there will be dark-skinned NPCs, strong female characters who aren't caricatures, non-stereotypical ethnic types, etc. And if they want to have a world where marriage is between a man and a woman, noblesse oblige tends to triumph over shoddy democracies... well, that's all part of building a world that makes sense to them and the players. I do think it's worth encouraging players to chime in so that such things can vary, but that does come with the grain of salt that sometimes the good of the many outweigh those of the few. If someone wants to play the gay barbarian who likes to spoon with his equally muscular boyfriend, that's cool, and generally Session 0 gets to establish that players won't actively persecute even if they disapprove, but if one player is wanting everything to end in multi-gender orgies... well, Session 0 is where you establish what everyone wants to play, not just one person.

And frankly, this is all a bit hard for me to write, because I'm a fairly conservative person at heart, albeit one who believes in the freedom of others to do what they wish where it causes no one else harm, and there's a really fine line to be walked when you have a lot of belief systems in place from religion to sexuality, where some people will want their belief-set taught as the only right one, some don't really care, and others will definitely not want the other person's beliefs taught as truth. And frankly, I do see arguments of "two genders", "genderfluid", "multiple genders", etc, on the same level as religious belief.

Oh, side note on the "inherent biases", fantasy cultures based on real-life ones tend to often fall under this. It starts innocently enough, with a DM stuck for an accent using a Jamaican one for the Orcs, and before you know it, the Orcs has a "mystic herb" and the players manage to defeat a group by getting them to not work by providing sufficient festival materials to get them stoned for days at a time. It really does usually start innocently. Just look at Jab's commentary on the ethnic stereotypes in the Star Wars prequels.
Spectrum wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:58 pm
Or, I was recently reading a game book that on how to introduce some really evil elements to your game- stuff that everyone should be disgusted by. It was doing a great job of being fair and balanced, showing how anger and hatred can be twisted on any side of the coin... and all of a sudden there was a reference to biggoted 'orange faced cheese weasels'. That completely took me out of what they were trying to do. That entire book could be a conversation on its own.

Or the same publisher going into a page long lecture about how the uplifted dogs and cats in the environment think that it is silly that the old school humans had a problem with LGBTQ rights and how they much they enjoy polygamy. Sure, there's a place for it but does it have to be in a light hearted game that is pointed towards younger gamers?
Yeah, trying to use your RPG as a platform tends to jar. Individual characters can have their beliefs, and they might even be backed by divinities of the setting, but establishing that your setting is backing just the one horse... well, it didn't look too good with the D&D knock-offs that tried to turn it all into a "all power comes from Yahweh" system and it doesn't look good today when... I'll admit that I have no idea where the dogs and cats bit comes from. That said, it's nothing terribly new.

As an aside, thanks for the polite conversation. Way too easy to get heated about these kinds of things.
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Re: Vox Article: "How Tabletop RPGs Are Being Reclaimed From Bigots and Jerks"

Post by saint_matthew » Wed Feb 05, 2020 12:32 pm

Any of you watching the Evil Hat guys having a complete meltdown on Twitter?

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Re: Vox Article: "How Tabletop RPGs Are Being Reclaimed From Bigots and Jerks"

Post by Spectrum » Wed Feb 05, 2020 1:40 pm

Social media is evil.
Twitter is among the worst of social media.

So... no.
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Re: Vox Article: "How Tabletop RPGs Are Being Reclaimed From Bigots and Jerks"

Post by Spectrum » Wed Feb 05, 2020 2:09 pm

After having dipped my toe into that cesspool.

It's an.. interesting.. practice.

How do you design a game in a genre in which one of the fundamental concepts is personality reality shattering triggers without triggering the players in turn?

Or.. was HP Lovecraft an early 'snowflake' with triggers that are now, in turn, considered triggers?


Mind... blown.
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Re: Vox Article: "How Tabletop RPGs Are Being Reclaimed From Bigots and Jerks"

Post by FuzzyBoots » Wed Feb 05, 2020 3:21 pm

Spectrum wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 2:09 pm
How do you design a game in a genre in which one of the fundamental concepts is personality reality shattering triggers without triggering the players in turn?
Assuming I'm parsing your sentence correctly, abstractions, probably. Which, admittedly, isn't too far from Lovecraft's fiction, the idea of the "thing that is too terrible to describe" being referred to as just that. So the players are essentially roieplaying (and perhaps rolling dice) for their reactions to these psychological "eldritch horrors".
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Re: Vox Article: "How Tabletop RPGs Are Being Reclaimed From Bigots and Jerks"

Post by Spectrum » Wed Feb 05, 2020 4:00 pm

However, the consequences of dealing with Things That Should Not Be (TTSNB) are in themselves triggers.

Which are bad, mmmkay?

Is this discussion in itself a TTSNB?
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Re: Vox Article: "How Tabletop RPGs Are Being Reclaimed From Bigots and Jerks"

Post by Ares » Wed Feb 05, 2020 4:27 pm

saint_matthew wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 12:32 pm
Any of you watching the Evil Hat guys having a complete meltdown on Twitter?
I skimmed through this:

https://www.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction ... bles_down/

It's certainly an . . . interesting way for one to argue their case.

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Re: Vox Article: "How Tabletop RPGs Are Being Reclaimed From Bigots and Jerks"

Post by Spectrum » Wed Feb 05, 2020 4:59 pm

It's really pretty unfortunate that they're flaming out like this.

I really enjoy the pulp action in Spirit of the Century.

I love the in universe aspect of the Dresden file books.
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Re: Vox Article: "How Tabletop RPGs Are Being Reclaimed From Bigots and Jerks"

Post by Voltron64 » Fri Feb 07, 2020 10:01 pm

saint_matthew wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 11:14 pm
Spectrum wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:09 pm
I'm still trying to put my impression into words, but it strikes me as very paternalistic.
Yep, treating grown ass adults as children.
Personally, I feel if you act like a children, you deserve to be treated as such.

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Re: Vox Article: "How Tabletop RPGs Are Being Reclaimed From Bigots and Jerks"

Post by saint_matthew » Sat Feb 08, 2020 5:41 am

Voltron64 wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 10:01 pm
saint_matthew wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 11:14 pm
Spectrum wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:09 pm
I'm still trying to put my impression into words, but it strikes me as very paternalistic.
Yep, treating grown ass adults as children.
Personally, I feel if you act like a children, you deserve to be treated as such.
Sure, but gamers aren't acting like children, they are acting like the thing they are, an audience of grown adults, who did not require a lecture from an RPG manual on morality.

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Re: Vox Article: "How Tabletop RPGs Are Being Reclaimed From Bigots and Jerks"

Post by Voltron64 » Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:57 am

Protip: If your first impulse when you hear "gaming has a bigotry problem" is "what about the innocent people?" you're actually more interested in covering up the bigotry problem than solving it.

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Re: Vox Article: "How Tabletop RPGs Are Being Reclaimed From Bigots and Jerks"

Post by Ares » Fri Feb 14, 2020 7:07 am

Voltron64 wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:57 am
Protip: If your first impulse when you hear "gaming has a bigotry problem" is "what about the innocent people?" you're actually more interested in covering up the bigotry problem than solving it.
I'm going to be charitable and assume that when you say "you" there, you're referring to gamers in general and not saying that anyone in this thread is interested in covering up bigotry of any kind.

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Re: Vox Article: "How Tabletop RPGs Are Being Reclaimed From Bigots and Jerks"

Post by Neo-Paladin » Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:40 am

What irks me is that persistent need to paint the whole gaming community with the broadest of strokes. Are there problems? Sure. Are there people who could and should behave better? As it is with every single group of people on the planet: Of course!
But it's tiresome to see the gaming community suddenly being depicted as this rancid cesspool of *insert the respective -ist or -phobe noun of your current pet peeve* when it is factually untrue.
No doubt sooner or later we're the ones who're going to have to "reclaim" gaming from moral busybodies - who always ruin the fun, no matter what political side they are on.
Can't we just skip this nonsense and roll some dice?

PS: As for Lovecraft: I second the notion that most of his racism stemmed from pathological fear. As someone who himself suffers from anxiety disorder and depression, I can relate to the idea of being terrified of everything. And in his time, he had no one (before he met his wife) to tell him that no matter how scared you are, it's NOT okay to just label everything that terrifies you as subhuman. On the contrary. Doesn't make his views right.
But you do not have to agree with someone to understand where they are coming from. He might have changed for the better had he been granted a longer lease on life than he ultimately had. We'll never know.
I think it's fine that they mention his problematic views, but this whole doubling down needs to stop. It never ends well. I am also all for mentioning other notable authors in the field of cosmic horror, no matter their backgrounds. But to try and deplatform Lovecraft posthumously to garner virtue points while making money off his legacy is morally dubious at best.
Last edited by Neo-Paladin on Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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