Welcome to the MacNN Forums.

If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > Political/War Lounge > DnDLGBTQ

DnDLGBTQ
Thread Tools
subego
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 25, 2017, 06:54 AM
 
Going forward, Wizards is going to put at least one LGTBQ NPC in every adventure.

Not sure how I feel about this. I approve politically, but it grinds aesthetically. Sorta like the new Doctor.
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 25, 2017, 06:57 AM
 
Why is it a grind? It just more accurately represents reality — LGBTQ people are all around you and touch everything, from journalism, religion, technology, culture — and yes, games. I'm not even sure why you post this in the PL.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
subego  (op)
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 25, 2017, 07:42 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Why is it a grind? It just more accurately represents reality — LGBTQ people are all around you and touch everything, from journalism, religion, technology, culture — and yes, games. I'm not even sure why you post this in the PL.
What's listed here is why I approve politically.

It grinds because D&D is faux medieval Europe with a heaping dollop of Catholicism. These politics don't evoke the setting.

I'd feel differently if the genre was different. I expect LGTBQ in my Vampire: the Masquerade.
     
andi*pandi
Moderator
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: inside 128, north of 90
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 25, 2017, 08:36 AM
 
So will it effect gameplay? Probably not too much. Is there ways an LBGTQ half-elf ranger would do things differently than a straight one? Probably. It is just another layer of character that lets people self-identify. Maybe it would do some people good to put themselves into such a character.
     
Cap'n Tightpants
Addicted to MacNN
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Shaddim's sock drawer
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 25, 2017, 10:08 AM
 
We don't play the premades, they usually suck anyway. Sexuality shouldn't really be a factor in a good game in the first place, unless you're 14.
( Last edited by Cap'n Tightpants; Aug 25, 2017 at 10:42 AM. )
"I have a dream, that my four little children will one day live in a
nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin,
but by the content of their character." - M.L.King Jr
     
P
Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 25, 2017, 10:24 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
What's listed here is why I approve politically.

It grinds because D&D is faux medieval Europe with a heaping dollop of Catholicism. These politics don't evoke the setting.
This. There have been historical settings where non-heterosexual relationships were common and accepted, but medieval Europe isn't one of them. This matters because the entire society is shown to be quite rigid, which is related to this. If you have a society with more personal freedom - say the upper classes of Rome at its height, or the Macedonian elites after Alexander - non-traditional relationships is one of the many things that become more accepted.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
subego  (op)
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 25, 2017, 06:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
So will it effect gameplay? Probably not too much. Is there ways an LBGTQ half-elf ranger would do things differently than a straight one? Probably. It is just another layer of character that lets people self-identify. Maybe it would do some people good to put themselves into such a character.
The game part of D&D is killing sentient beings and looting the corpses. Gameplay is significantly affected by how good of an excuse one has for it.

The default excuse is the historical period the game is based on. Medieval European society was comfortable reacting to threats with genocide.

Genocide grinds against 21st-century progressivism.
     
subego  (op)
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 25, 2017, 06:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cap'n Tightpants View Post
We don't play the premades, they usually suck anyway. Sexuality shouldn't really be a factor in a good game in the first place, unless you're 14.
Graphic sexuality shouldn't, but (for example) I can't have a monarchy without implied sexuality.
     
andi*pandi
Moderator
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: inside 128, north of 90
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 25, 2017, 07:54 PM
 
The only thing I can think of in D&D where knowing someone's LGBTQ/S status would be helpful is charming someone by flirting, but really anyone who's got enough charming points and a good roll could charm regardless, yes?
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 25, 2017, 08:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
This. There have been historical settings where non-heterosexual relationships were common and accepted, but medieval Europe isn't one of them. This matters because the entire society is shown to be quite rigid, which is related to this.
How important is that when you built a whole fantasy world around it with magic and all that? When you are playing Assassin's Creed, how close does this stick to the historical social context? Is it important to be historically accurate? The world that is constructed for our pleasure is a romanticization and adaptation of what life was really like.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
The game part of D&D is killing sentient beings and looting the corpses. Gameplay is significantly affected by how good of an excuse one has for it.
You are arguing for realism in a situation where there is none. D&D is solely for the modern consumer who has a different attitude towards homosexuality than back then.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 25, 2017, 08:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cap'n Tightpants View Post
We don't play the premades, they usually suck anyway. Sexuality shouldn't really be a factor in a good game in the first place, unless you're 14.
Presence of homosexuality ≠ display of sexual behavior.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
subego  (op)
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 25, 2017, 11:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
The only thing I can think of in D&D where knowing someone's LGBTQ/S status would be helpful is charming someone by flirting, but really anyone who's got enough charming points and a good roll could charm regardless, yes?
Again, it's a question of how the in-game society reacts.

If the in-game society doesn't care whether someone is LGTBQ, that says something about the worldview of the society.
     
subego  (op)
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 25, 2017, 11:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
You are arguing for realism in a situation where there is none. D&D is solely for the modern consumer who has a different attitude towards homosexuality than back then.
The modern consumer also has a different attitude towards genocide.
     
P
Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 26, 2017, 08:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
How important is that when you built a whole fantasy world around it with magic and all that? When you are playing Assassin's Creed, how close does this stick to the historical social context? Is it important to be historically accurate? The world that is constructed for our pleasure is a romanticization and adaptation of what life was really like.
It is important that the fantasy world is internally consistent (in fact, that is probably the only really important thing when world building). In the history of humanity, people have been openly gay in times when society has a large amount of personal freedom. If society has that personal freedom, that implies other things, and IME, the Forgotten Realms setting does not show those things. That calls the internal consistency of the world into question.

It may be that this can be explained - and the fact that adventurers are an accepted class that can apparently come from any social strata is probably a way in - but it doesn't appear that WotC are doing that. They seem to be saying that openly LGBTQ characters were always common, we just didn't show them before, but everything else we've shown about the world remains true. That rings hollow.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 26, 2017, 09:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
The modern consumer also has a different attitude towards genocide.
… and towards people of other colors, witch trials, modern medicine, technology and so forth.
Originally Posted by P View Post
It is important that the fantasy world is internally consistent (in fact, that is probably the only really important thing when world building). In the history of humanity, people have been openly gay in times when society has a large amount of personal freedom. If society has that personal freedom, that implies other things, and IME, the Forgotten Realms setting does not show those things. That calls the internal consistency of the world into question.
Internal consistency ≠ historical accuracy.

Characters don't start speaking medieval English, French or Italian, they do not utter things that were normal then and are offensive now. There are very few games that are coherently and completely are trying to be period-correct, even to just make the game (or, say, movie) accessible, you make affordances for the audience. I would even go as far as saying that making a story period correct would in many cases you that the players will not understand the logical consistency of the game, because the internal logic is based on what was known and thought to be evident truths from centuries ago.

Games (and other forms of story telling) try to take today's audience and put them in the setting of the story, and if you want the largest number of people to enjoy the game, you allow the greatest number of people to immerse themselves in the story. Sometimes historical accuracy is part of good story telling, but in most cases it is secondary — especially if other elements such as magic or period-non-correct technology is part and parcel of the game. Otherwise I could also insist on witch trials when your character is seen in public using magic
Originally Posted by P View Post
It may be that this can be explained - and the fact that adventurers are an accepted class that can apparently come from any social strata is probably a way in - but it doesn't appear that WotC are doing that. They seem to be saying that openly LGBTQ characters were always common, we just didn't show them before, but everything else we've shown about the world remains true. That rings hollow.
It seems to me that you are overthinking things.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
subego  (op)
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 27, 2017, 03:14 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Internal consistency ≠ historical accuracy.
The term the hobby has adopted is verisimilitude. The point isn't getting things exactly right, like there's an exactly right with an elf anyway, the point is maintaining willing suspension of disbelief.

During the historical era the game most takes after, society was rural and authoritarian. The literary influences take after the same era, and have societies which mimic it. Most settings in the game do the same.

Rural, authoritarian, LGBTQ friendly... as the children's song goes, "one of these things is not like the others".
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 27, 2017, 10:12 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
The term the hobby has adopted is verisimilitude. The point isn't getting things exactly right, like there's an exactly right with an elf anyway, the point is maintaining willing suspension of disbelief.
As soon as you involve elves in the discussion, period-correct realism is out the window for me. LGBTQ people did exist in any historical period, elves never did. You create a world for the enjoyment of the player, nothing more, and to me leaving out LGBTQ is akin to leaving in evident racism that did exist. There are of course instances where such elements are important, e. g. you'd expect anti-semitism in one of the Wolfenstein games (on the side of the villains). But even in that case, anti-semitism is associated with the bad guys.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
subego  (op)
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 27, 2017, 11:19 AM
 
Verisimilitude does not mean the same thing as realism.

The term was chosen precisely because realism isn't the correct word.

As for racism in D&D, I imagine you're familiar with what Europeans did to the native populations of the Americas.

The game is about doing the exact same thing.
     
P
Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 27, 2017, 12:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
… and towards people of other colors, witch trials, modern medicine, technology and so forth.
Aha. Now I think I see the first problem with your reasoning. The people of the middle ages - taken as from the fall of Rome in 476 to either the fall of Constantinople in 1453 or the discovery of a new world in 1492 - weren't particularly into racism and witch trials, and they were all in favour of trying to further the arts of medicine and technology. Those things you mention all came later, in the 17th century and onwards. That was a very different era.

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Internal consistency ≠ historical accuracy.

Characters don't start speaking medieval English, French or Italian, they do not utter things that were normal then and are offensive now. There are very few games that are coherently and completely are trying to be period-correct, even to just make the game (or, say, movie) accessible, you make affordances for the audience. I would even go as far as saying that making a story period correct would in many cases you that the players will not understand the logical consistency of the game, because the internal logic is based on what was known and thought to be evident truths from centuries ago.
This isn't what I'm saying at all. I'll try to be a bit clearer: The middle ages and the feudalism that defined it were a product of the insecurity in the world at the time. The old Roman system of border control with walls, forts and armies on the border had collapsed for many reasons (mostly they ran out of people to man their armies for a host of reasons, at the same time as weapons technology advanced to the point that the legions were outmoded), so Diocletian reinvented it as defence of city centres and local armies to secure each region. The entire pyramid idea of feudalism comes from when the old roman province system was remade into a two tier system with small provinces and bigger dioceses that consisted of multiple provinces, where each diocese then reported to the emperor. This idea then spread and caused the multi-tier system of gentry and nobility to grow up, as each province governor tended to copy the system inside each province. Diocletian also locked down people in place - by preventing them from moving - and occupation - by requiring that the son follow his father and take the same job (the reason for this is mostly that he wanted each province to be able to supply a reasonably sized army, as he had had problems with people fleeing the dangerous border provinces and leaving the dangerous occupation of soldiery). This lead to the institution of serfdom and the establishment of guilds. The Roman society with all of its essential freedoms transformed into the extremely unfree society under a single ruler.

One of the effects was that homosexuality became a sin. Rome had several emperors who were gay at least to some extent, and one - Hadrian - was arguably chosen at least in part because he was (the Senate didn't want any sons to cloud up the succession process that was finally working they way they liked it). Hundreds of years later, rumours of homosexuality was used to discredit past emperors whose legacy was to be tarnished, while those facts were denied and suppressed for emperors who were to be emulated (Hadrian and Trajan at the very least).

What caused Europe to eventually begin to rise out of feudalism and into a newer era was that local security improved. There were still wars, but they were... organised, I suppose, and not invasions by barbarian hordes. As the threat from outside subsided, society no longer had to tolerate the violent nobles who were needed for the defence of the realm, and could begin to hold those nobles accountable when they broke the law.

Forgotten Realms has nobles and castles and certainly guilds. I'm sure serfdom varies across the world, as it did in the real world, but it is hardly unheard of. In many ways it copies the medieval Europe setup, and describes an unfree society. If you then decide that people happen to be very free in this specific respect when they are unfree in every other, that needs to be explained. Alternatively, you could make it a point of the story, that homosexuality is not accepted in one location or another.

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
It seems to me that you are overthinking things.
Oh, I would say that the chance of that is quite high...

Whitewashing the middle ages is a pet peeve of mine. This is a period when life expectancy dropped like a rock, technology progress stopped and arguably went backwards (they spent 1000 years marginally improving the harness for the oxen that dragged a plow) and just about everyone had absolutely zero options about what they were to do with their life. For some reason people have this notion that knights in shining amor are romantic, and therefore want to ignore everything about the era that they don't like. I have certainly seen worse than this, but it does bug me every time it happens.

Did you know that the term "middle ages" was coined by the people who lived in the period? They knew quite well that things were worse now than they had been, and they hoped that they would get better again. I think that says everything about the period.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
subego  (op)
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 27, 2017, 12:57 PM
 
@P,

What's your opinion on gender equality in D&D?

I feel the best arguments for Wizards' approach are the parallels with gender equality, but there are some important distinctions.
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 27, 2017, 09:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
Aha. Now I think I see the first problem with your reasoning. The people of the middle ages - taken as from the fall of Rome in 476 to either the fall of Constantinople in 1453 or the discovery of a new world in 1492 - weren't particularly into racism and witch trials, and they were all in favour of trying to further the arts of medicine and technology. Those things you mention all came later, in the 17th century and onwards. That was a very different era.
I think you are missing the broader point: when telling the story in the setting of the Middle Ages or some other time in the past, we invariably make adaptions so that it makes more sense with respect to our own sensibilities. We adapt the inner logic of what the culture was then to something that is closer to what is going on now. I cannot think of a lot of games where absolute historical accuracy was an integral point of the game, most just place their story in a particular setting that takes inspiration from the historical period. (There could be aspects where historical realism was a goal: Ubisoft's game designers invested a lot of energy into making Assassin's Creed's Paris as close to the real thing as possible.)
Originally Posted by P View Post
This isn't what I'm saying at all. I'll try to be a bit clearer: [...]
I'm well-aware of the historical context. (I've listened to all of The History of Rome, a few Hardcore History episodes and started reading Mommsen's Römische Geschichte recently — well, I'm taking a crack at it.)

Picking out homosexuality as a marker for whether an element in a game (e. g. an LGBTQ character) is “correct” is very selective, especially when other crucial elements include elves and magic. If the existence of elves does not throw you out of the setting, I really don't understand why homosexuality would. Why are you willing to suspend your belief for elves but not gays? Again, I think the main point for game designers is that they want to tell a story within a setting. If they want game mechanics where characters fight each other with swords, bows and arrows and magic, they have to set it in a period before guns were widespread. For the most part, there is little more to it than that.
Originally Posted by P View Post
Whitewashing the middle ages is a pet peeve of mine.
I have not advocated white washing, I don't find this historical period particularly appealing myself. I'm just saying that if you use the Middle Ages or whatever other period in time as a setting in a game, and include fantastical elements such as magic in it, you can do pretty much anything the heck you want. Even just the cleanliness of a city's streets is atypical if you ever took a historic city tour. I took an excellent one through old Edinburgh which has been partly preserved, because old houses were just paved over. (And fortunately for us, there is no smell-o-vision yet.)


I think the whole discussion here traces the discussion of women in games, and that, I believe, is an artifact of the Western gaming industry. In Japan, for instance, where there is a humongous number of female gamers, you see less of that. (I was in Tokyo last month, and there were quite a few girls in their teens taking photos in front of posters advertising a game that will be released soon.)
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
subego  (op)
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 28, 2017, 02:22 AM
 
Again, it's not accuracy, it's verisimilitude. The game fits within a genre. This genre has themes.

The sad fact is the tolerance of the LGTBQ community now implied in the game is literal science fiction. Our own society isn't as tolerant. Sure as shit not American society.

The choice fits the themes and genre of the game as much as lasers.
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 28, 2017, 03:50 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Again, it's not accuracy, it's verisimilitude. The game fits within a genre. This genre has themes.
I understand what you have been saying, but verisimilitude is about personal perception: I find acceptance of homosexuality in the Middle Ages much more believable than elves or magic — even if just for the fact that there actually were homosexuals in the Middle Ages who were accepted (not by the society at large, but by smaller pockets) and there have never been elves. Maybe that is all that it boils down to: you seem to be saying that a lesbian elf takes you out of the story and out of the context as you don't find that to be plausible. It wouldn't for me.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Our own society isn't as tolerant. Sure as shit not American society.
That's the whole point of games, you create the world according to your whims: You want elves? Sure. Magic swords? Comes in handy when slaying dragons and hydras. And in my world, I'd have plenty of space for LGBTQs, because nothing says magic like my queer side kick who buffs my health and agility and deals damage to the dragon.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
P
Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 28, 2017, 06:05 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
@P,

What's your opinion on gender equality in D&D?

I feel the best arguments for Wizards' approach are the parallels with gender equality, but there are some important distinctions.
I always considered that to be an axiom going into the game, that the genders of all the races in the game are equally strong. The game can set what axioms it wants and draw conclusions from them, and if they didn't draw any interesting conclusions from that... well, it's a flaw in the storytelling, but maybe it wouldn't have any significant conclusions?
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
P
Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 28, 2017, 06:22 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I'm well-aware of the historical context. (I've listened to all of The History of Rome, a few Hardcore History episodes and started reading Mommsen's Römische Geschichte recently — well, I'm taking a crack at it.)
The History of Rome podcast is excellent, well worth a listen. I particularly enjoyed the parts where it was all going to hell, as it seems to have been glossed over in a lot of other history that I have read.

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Picking out homosexuality as a marker for whether an element in a game (e. g. an LGBTQ character) is “correct” is very selective, especially when other crucial elements include elves and magic. If the existence of elves does not throw you out of the setting, I really don't understand why homosexuality would. Why are you willing to suspend your belief for elves but not gays?
It is not about the existence of gays, it is about the acceptance of them in society at large that I find unbelievable in a feudal society. As for the elves... they aren't always accepted by other races. In general they stick to themselves, and while there are elves in human society sometimes, they're not always welcome. That I (sadly) have no trouble believing.

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Again, I think the main point for game designers is that they want to tell a story within a setting. If they want game mechanics where characters fight each other with swords, bows and arrows and magic, they have to set it in a period before guns were widespread. For the most part, there is little more to it than that.
So pick another time period. In a large Rome-like empire it fits quite well, and it's not like the tech level is vastly different. The city states of Greece, Old Egypt... lots of possibilities. Or make up a new one, just forget about all the lords of this, that and the other.

My argument is that feudalism itself precludes the wide acceptance of something like LGBTQ culture, and if the game ignores that, I would argue that it is no longer internally consistent.

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I think the whole discussion here traces the discussion of women in games, and that, I believe, is an artifact of the Western gaming industry. In Japan, for instance, where there is a humongous number of female gamers, you see less of that. (I was in Tokyo last month, and there were quite a few girls in their teens taking photos in front of posters advertising a game that will be released soon.)
I honestly don't see how that is relevant here? Besides, the biggest purveyor of cRPGs, Bioware, has a significant female fanbase and has had so for more than a decade by now. That fanbase seems to have followed the genre into some Obsidian games as well, so it isn't just Bioware.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
subego  (op)
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 28, 2017, 04:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
I always considered that to be an axiom going into the game, that the genders of all the races in the game are equally strong. The game can set what axioms it wants and draw conclusions from them, and if they didn't draw any interesting conclusions from that... well, it's a flaw in the storytelling, but maybe it wouldn't have any significant conclusions?
I started long enough ago the game tried for "realism" by doing things like giving women strength penalties and the like. They got rid of that for 2nd edition onward.

I'm talking about how the in-game society views women, and that they generally have full agency.
     
subego  (op)
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 28, 2017, 04:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I understand what you have been saying, but verisimilitude is about personal perception: I find acceptance of homosexuality in the Middle Ages much more believable than elves or magic — even if just for the fact that there actually were homosexuals in the Middle Ages who were accepted (not by the society at large, but by smaller pockets) and there have never been elves. Maybe that is all that it boils down to: you seem to be saying that a lesbian elf takes you out of the story and out of the context as you don't find that to be plausible. It wouldn't for me.
Am I not making it clear the debate isn't over the existence of the LGBTQ community, but how society perceives it?

Explicitly, "not by the society at large" from the post I quote.

A laser in the Middle Ages is vastly more probable than an elf. By the reasoning used here, lasers have less impact on verisimilitude than elves.
( Last edited by subego; Aug 28, 2017 at 06:24 PM. )
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 28, 2017, 10:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
My argument is that feudalism itself precludes the wide acceptance of something like LGBTQ culture, and if the game ignores that, I would argue that it is no longer internally consistent.
… it'd be internally consistent for you because that inconsistency bothers you more than others. And I understand your arguments very well. But conversely, isn't my way of looking at this equally plausible?
Originally Posted by P View Post
I honestly don't see how that is relevant here? Besides, the biggest purveyor of cRPGs, Bioware, has a significant female fanbase and has had so for more than a decade by now. That fanbase seems to have followed the genre into some Obsidian games as well, so it isn't just Bioware.
I think it is exactly relevant as usually the game's characters resembles the people who make it — straight white guys. And the game culture in Japan is extremely different, and has been for decades from that: they have to cater to a female audience. Male homosexuality in, say, manga and games aimed at women is extremely common, as are characters that appeal to women. (A lot of the appeal here is opposite gender, so men often tend to pick a cute female avatar to play while for women it is the opposite.)
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 28, 2017, 10:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Am I not making it clear the debate isn't over the existence of the LGBTQ community, but how society perceives it?
It doesn't have to do with society back then, but just your perception.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
A laser in the Middle Ages is vastly more probable than an elf. By the reasoning used here, lasers have less impact on verisimilitude than elves.
… only because you expect to play a game with magic and elves, that's it. It's all in your head, it's your expectation that it is more likely that in this phantasy world to meet an elf than someone with a laser, even if lasers were a possibility 500 or 1,000 years ago while elves simply do not exist. If you were transported back in time to the actual Middle Ages, you wouldn't expect elves to exist, but you'd expect to find homosexuals if you were looking hard enough and in the right places. It's just in your mind that you constructed an expectation for what a world set in the Middle Ages with magic and all would look like.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 28, 2017, 10:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
The History of Rome podcast is excellent, well worth a listen. I particularly enjoyed the parts where it was all going to hell, as it seems to have been glossed over in a lot of other history that I have read.
I prefer a Hardcore History-style deep dive (Dan Carlin has an excellent 5- or 6-part series on the Triumvirate and the end of the Republic), but then you wouldn't be able to cover the whole Roman history (even with 150+ episodes!).
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
subego  (op)
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 29, 2017, 01:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
It doesn't have to do with society back then, but just your perception.

… only because you expect to play a game with magic and elves, that's it. It's all in your head, it's your expectation that it is more likely that in this phantasy world to meet an elf than someone with a laser, even if lasers were a possibility 500 or 1,000 years ago while elves simply do not exist. If you were transported back in time to the actual Middle Ages, you wouldn't expect elves to exist, but you'd expect to find homosexuals if you were looking hard enough and in the right places. It's just in your mind that you constructed an expectation for what a world set in the Middle Ages with magic and all would look like.
I would expect to find homosexuals. I wouldn't expect to find them accepted by society. Is this in my mind, or likely an accurate expectation?
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 29, 2017, 02:04 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I would expect to find homosexuals. I wouldn't expect to find them accepted by society. Is this in my mind, or likely an accurate expectation?
Are you talking about the universe with or without elves and magic?
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
subego  (op)
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 29, 2017, 03:20 AM
 
In the quoted statement? The real Middle Ages.

What follows is fiction inspired by this real period will have similar societies, or if not, an explanation for why they differ.

The existence of the supernatural is an obvious reason for why the society may differ. The issue with this is the game makes little or no attempt to consider the differences the existence of the supernatural would have on society, nor does its literary inspiration (q.v. Lord of the Rings).
( Last edited by subego; Aug 29, 2017 at 03:32 AM. )
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 29, 2017, 04:24 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
In the quoted statement? The real Middle Ages.
Then there are no elves, no magic, and I have no problem with a historically accurate portrayal — if that is your aim.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
What follows is fiction inspired by this real period will have similar societies, or if not, an explanation for why they differ.
Then the game designer is free to insert whatever he or she would like in this period. Whether it makes for a logically coherent universe is another matter. Even in very well-established universes such as Star Trek and Star Wars you have tons of inconsistencies, such as the “true” range of transporters and how long it takes to travel from A to B (answer in both cases: as long as the current episode demands it). Very often even obvious mistakes (such as “making the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs”, a parsec is a measure of distance rather than time, but leave it to fans to discuss such egregious errors away) do not take away anything of my enjoyment whereas in other cases (I am still angry about Interstellar) it completely does. Perhaps you found Interstellar to be perfectly enjoyable, or perhaps you got angry at it for different reasons. (My problem is that Interstellar tries to get the physics and the psychology of astronauts right, but after a short while punts on that to move the story along in a way that seemed more convenient for the writers.)

So I do understand if you feel that openly LBTQ characters in a fantasy game set in medieval times goes against your personal grain and pull you out of the story, I'm just saying it wouldn't for me.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
The existence of the supernatural is an obvious reason for why the society may differ. The issue with this is the game makes little or no attempt to consider the differences the existence of the supernatural would have on society, nor does its literary inspiration (q.v. Lord of the Rings).
Yeah, that's why it is called fantasy and we can alter it in any way we would like (including what P correctly dubbed “white washing and romanticizing” of this period where kings are just and honest, and the humans live (mostly) peacefully with elves and dwarves). As soon as you make these rather fundamental changes, I don't see any constraints.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
subego  (op)
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 29, 2017, 04:37 AM
 
I hated Interstellar because it was garbage, but I was impressed they somehow managed to get equations on the blackboard right.
     
subego  (op)
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 29, 2017, 06:21 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Then there are no elves, no magic, and I have no problem with a historically accurate portrayal — if that is your aim.

Then the game designer is free to insert whatever he or she would like in this period. Whether it makes for a logically coherent universe is another matter. Even in very well-established universes such as Star Trek and Star Wars you have tons of inconsistencies, such as the “true” range of transporters and how long it takes to travel from A to B (answer in both cases: as long as the current episode demands it). Very often even obvious mistakes (such as “making the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs”, a parsec is a measure of distance rather than time, but leave it to fans to discuss such egregious errors away) do not take away anything of my enjoyment whereas in other cases (I am still angry about Interstellar) it completely does. Perhaps you found Interstellar to be perfectly enjoyable, or perhaps you got angry at it for different reasons. (My problem is that Interstellar tries to get the physics and the psychology of astronauts right, but after a short while punts on that to move the story along in a way that seemed more convenient for the writers.)

So I do understand if you feel that openly LBTQ characters in a fantasy game set in medieval times goes against your personal grain and pull you out of the story, I'm just saying it wouldn't for me.

Yeah, that's why it is called fantasy and we can alter it in any way we would like (including what P correctly dubbed “white washing and romanticizing” of this period where kings are just and honest, and the humans live (mostly) peacefully with elves and dwarves). As soon as you make these rather fundamental changes, I don't see any constraints.
If there are no constraints, then lasers are fine. As noted, it's not even impossible the way the elves are.

If someone argued for putting lasers in the Middle Ages (or a Middle Ages-like period in a fictional world where the supernatural exists), can the claim it messes with verisimilitude be as easily dismissed? Because it's fiction, are all bets off?
( Last edited by subego; Aug 29, 2017 at 06:35 AM. )
     
P
Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 29, 2017, 10:18 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
… it'd be internally consistent for you because that inconsistency bothers you more than others. And I understand your arguments very well. But conversely, isn't my way of looking at this equally plausible?
To an extent it can be said to be a debate about how seriously you take the setting. If WotC were to say "yes it clashes with the setting as described previously, but we think it is important, so we're doing it anyway", then fine, it's your world. But they seem to be ignoring the inconsistency.

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I think it is exactly relevant as usually the game's characters resembles the people who make it — straight white guys. And the game culture in Japan is extremely different, and has been for decades from that: they have to cater to a female audience. Male homosexuality in, say, manga and games aimed at women is extremely common, as are characters that appeal to women. (A lot of the appeal here is opposite gender, so men often tend to pick a cute female avatar to play while for women it is the opposite.)
But this goes back to why I, like subego, approve politically, so to speak. Yes it is great to be more inviting, but here is comes at the expense on consistency.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
subego  (op)
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 29, 2017, 03:54 PM
 
That's the thing. Put it in any genre which isn't bending over backwards to be an expy for medieval Europe.

This applies even to D&D. There's a pulpy, Conan inspired setting for D&D called Dark Sun. The world is completely alien, and everyone is expected to look and act like they just jumped out of a Frazetta painting... ripped physiques covered in more oil than clothes. Make this society LGBTQ friendly, and I wouldn't bat an eye. Unlike with all the "default" settings, which are unapologetically medieval European (Greyhawk, Points of Light, Forgotten Realms).


P.S. I should note Dark Sun has a heavy "exploitation" vibe, so people may not like me finding this setting appropriate.
     
subego  (op)
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 30, 2017, 03:22 AM
 
There's also the aspect touched upon earlier by the Cap'n.

Let's give horny teenagers D&D, and tell them it's the proper venue to explore the theme of sexuality.

I cringe at the thought. It's like handing them dynamite.

I'm not saying get rid of the dynamite, it's built into the very nature of role-playing, but for Christ's sake, don't hand it to them. Let them find it. The general company line should be not to encourage exploring the theme (this is distinct from discouragement).

Again, I'm sensitive to the political argument. The LGBTQ community are unceasingly bombarded with heterosexuality, and it's been so normalized, heterosexuals tend not to realize it's even happening.

There isn't a princess to rescue unless the King and Queen ****.

By that same token, it's been so normalized, positing a princess doesn't really explore the above sexuality despite her very existence depending on it.

Openly LGBTQ NPCs do end up exploring the theme of sexuality in a way the lineage of the princess does not.
( Last edited by subego; Aug 30, 2017 at 05:22 AM. )
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 31, 2017, 02:15 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
To an extent it can be said to be a debate about how seriously you take the setting. If WotC were to say "yes it clashes with the setting as described previously, but we think it is important, so we're doing it anyway", then fine, it's your world. But they seem to be ignoring the inconsistency.
I think ignore is the wrong word here, because it seems to be a deliberate choice by the game's designers. If the game designers's intent is to create a world that is welcoming to gamers of all stripes (including women and LGBTQ) and put them in a world with elements of these times, then what they did makes sense complete sense. Plus, your education in history might actually prove detrimental, because I don't think most people have as good a picture of what life in the Middle Ages (and other historical periods) was like as you have.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
There's also the aspect touched upon earlier by the Cap'n.

Let's give horny teenagers D&D, and tell them it's the proper venue to explore the theme of sexuality. [...] I'm not saying get rid of the dynamite, it's built into the very nature of role-playing, but for Christ's sake, don't hand it to them. Let them find it. The general company line should be not to encourage exploring the theme (this is distinct from discouragement).
I find what you write here quite telling. You seem to be uneasy that LBTQ people are included period. Homosexuality is normal, and you writing “don't hand it to them” suggests that it is a choice, that children “could go down the route of homosexuality” once they find out it exists. CPT's post (which you refer to) unhealthily focussed on sex rather than love. If children and teenagers see and “are confronted with the existence of” homosexuals, then this has no bearing on their own sexuality: straight children don't become gay (and vice versa). 5-10 % of the population should not be hidden away.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Openly LGBTQ NPCs do end up exploring the theme of sexuality in a way the lineage of the princess does not.
You confuse homosexuality with sex: two men holding hands is no more or no less sexual than your parents or my wife and I holding hands. Young children's minds don't jump to the bedroom when they see a heterosexual couple on the street, it's just the minds of some adults.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
subego  (op)
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 31, 2017, 03:12 AM
 
That's not what I'm saying at all.

I didn't say don't hand them homosexuality, I said don't hand them sexuality... hetero, homo, or other.

This is because horny, oft-socially awkward teenagers use it to indulge their pervy side, which doesn't make the hobby welcoming.


Open homosexuality doesn't inherently broach the theme of sex. What broaches the theme is its nonsensical placement in a genre attempting to evoke medieval Europe.
     
P
Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 31, 2017, 04:01 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I think ignore is the wrong word here, because it seems to be a deliberate choice by the game's designers. If the game designers's intent is to create a world that is welcoming to gamers of all stripes (including women and LGBTQ) and put them in a world with elements of these times, then what they did makes sense complete sense. Plus, your education in history might actually prove detrimental, because I don't think most people have as good a picture of what life in the Middle Ages (and other historical periods) was like as you have.
I don't think including women in this discussion is helpful - the game has been welcoming to women for a long time, and every cRPG on the license has had lots of female companions in all sorts of roles. That is not new.

As for the rest of this... I think we're mostly in agreement here, now. I agree that they want to make the game more welcoming to the LGBTQ community, and while I welcome that as a principle, it does come at the loss of consistency. If they had instead made another setting that was based on any other setting than the overused middle ages Europe, I would have applauded the move even more if support for the LGBTQ community was a significant part of it.

Yes, knowing something about history is a problem in these sort of situations. Sort of like knowing fundamental physics is when watching a bad action movie.

TAN, on the subject of setting: Stephen King's Dark Tower books are a very interesting counterpoint to the ever present feudal setting in these kinds of books. King read LOTR and wanted to write the same thing but with an Old West backdrop - so he did. It works very well, even though it is a rather basic fantasy story otherwise. There is nothing magical about the middle ages setting, and I wish makers of this sort of games would realize that and move their story somewhere else.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 31, 2017, 04:50 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I didn't say don't hand them homosexuality, I said don't hand them sexuality... hetero, homo, or other.
Yet, you mentioned this only within the context of LBTQ. Mario and his Princess Peach do not evoke any sexual “feelings” in kids either.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
This is because horny, oft-socially awkward teenagers use it to indulge their pervy side, which doesn't make the hobby welcoming.
So including LBTQ characters appeals to the pervy side of teenagers?
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 31, 2017, 04:57 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
I don't think including women in this discussion is helpful - the game has been welcoming to women for a long time, and every cRPG on the license has had lots of female companions in all sorts of roles. That is not new.
I would only add women, because in most societies for most of history they have not enjoyed the same rights as men, and female warriors were practically non-existent. Despite that there is a tradition of female RPG characters even if this was historically inaccurate.
Originally Posted by P View Post
I agree that they want to make the game more welcoming to the LGBTQ community, and while I welcome that as a principle, it does come at the loss of consistency.
I would only add here that it is not just more appealing to LBTQ people, it is also more appealing to me (even though I am a straight guy) because a world accepting LBTQ is closer to the world I want to live in. If I play a game that does not clearly signal it wants to be historically accurate, that's one element that allows me to more easily enjoy it.
Originally Posted by P View Post
Yes, knowing something about history is a problem in these sort of situations. Sort of like knowing fundamental physics is when watching a bad action movie.
Yup, precisely. (That's why I have included my rant on Interstellar, as a physicist I felt insulted and a special kind of rage.)
Originally Posted by P View Post
There is nothing magical about the middle ages setting, and I wish makers of this sort of games would realize that and move their story somewhere else.
That's one reason why I usually prefer scifi: I have less of a need for nostalgia and get much more enjoyment out of imagining where we as a society could go.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
subego  (op)
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 31, 2017, 05:22 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Yet, you mentioned this only within the context of LBTQ. Mario and his Princess Peach do not evoke any sexual “feelings” in kids either.

So including LBTQ characters appeals to the pervy side of teenagers?
What appeals to the pervy side of teenagers are cues the game is the appropriate venue to explore sexual themes.

What makes the inclusion of openly LGBTQ characters a cue the game is the appropriate venue is the incongruity of their placement in a setting meant to evoke the Middle Ages.

I mention it only in the context of LGBTQ because that's the topic. My point applies to this blast from the past...

     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 31, 2017, 05:41 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
What appeals to the pervy side of teenagers are cues the game is the appropriate venue to explore sexual themes.
Teenagers nowadays have the internet, they can skip vaguely clad women (and men) in games right to completely naked women and men doing it on movies. I don't think many people will choose games to indulge. Besides, none of this is LBTQ-specific.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
subego  (op)
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 31, 2017, 05:42 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I would only add here that it is not just more appealing to LBTQ people, it is also more appealing to me (even though I am a straight guy) because a world accepting LBTQ is closer to the world I want to live in. If I play a game that does not clearly signal it wants to be historically accurate, that's one element that allows me to more easily enjoy it.
Let me try it this way.

Think of it like Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

It's not meant to be historically accurate, it's meant to evoke a theme.

To me, making this world more "livable" does not increase its appeal.
     
subego  (op)
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 31, 2017, 05:46 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Teenagers nowadays have the internet, they can skip vaguely clad women (and men) in games right to completely naked women and men doing it on movies. I don't think many people will choose games to indulge. Besides, none of this is LBTQ-specific.
Again, what makes it LGBTQ (not a fan of the G, are we ) specific is its incongruous inclusion.

As far as I know, the availability of internet porn hasn't changed teenagers' proclivities towards talking about sex.
     
Paco500
Professional Poster
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Berkshire, UK
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 31, 2017, 08:28 AM
 
This has been an interesting conversation to watch. I've not contributed as I don't 'have a dog in this fight' as I've not played DnD since I was around twelve (this is not a judgement on the hobby or me subtlety calling it immature - I just developed interests elsewhere).

My question about this discussion/debate would be is it any more than academic? Does the publisher putting LGBTQ characters in the game necessarily affect gameplay? If it bothers a group of players for whatever reason can they just not omit the content? My recollection is that DMs could alter content and story line as they see fit.

I've got no issue with theoretical discussions, I just curious if that is all it is.
     
andi*pandi
Moderator
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: inside 128, north of 90
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 31, 2017, 10:42 AM
 
D&D is no more the Middle Ages then Tolkien is. While Tolkien has things in common with the middle ages, what it does not vastly outnumbers it.

Hmm, why did Bilbo never marry?
     
 
Thread Tools
 
Forum Links
Forum Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Top
Privacy Policy
All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:17 PM.
All contents of these forums © 1995-2017 MacNN. All rights reserved.
Branding + Design: www.gesamtbild.com
vBulletin v.3.8.8 © 2000-2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.,