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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.
A good question.
It is correct that by their very nature, role playing games are very malleable.
People have an entire spectrum of opinions of what that means in regards to issues like this.
My personal opinion is the end of the spectrum who addresses issues with a game by noting their inherent malleability, be it rules or setting, are engaging in the gaming equivalent of solipsism.
There are different worlds where lowtech/hitech is part of the culture (alchemy, steampunk etc) and it makes interesting rules for that universe. I don't mind a little alchemy in my D&D.
I'm fine with that, too.
I talked earlier about the Dark Sun setting, which has its own unfortunate implications when it comes to sexual themes, so that's not a great example. As I said, it's kinda got an exploitation vibe going.
There's a different setting for D&D. It's called Planescape.
I personally think it is, by several miles, the best official setting in the history of the game.
Let's do with Planescape what the designers did here. Suddenly add open LGBTQ characters, make no effort to explain their previous absence, and explain the reasoning simply as "it's time".
Awesome. Planescape is explicitly cosmopolitan. It was conspicuously wrong they weren't there in the first place. If I had ran a game in the setting earlier, I would have added them myself.
The snag is this isn't the setting they're doing it to. They're doing it to their "default" setting, which has changed around, but has always hewed towards medieval Europe.
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.
Tolkien is basically Norse and Germanic myths. The environment where it plays out is where Arnor has fallen much like Rome, but the people we follow are mostly not Romans, and that realm is not littered with lords the way post-Roman Europe was. It is not the romantic High Medieval setting, but perhaps Dark Ages.
Originally Posted by andi*pandi
Hmm, why did Bilbo never marry?
Because the hobbits are metaphorically children forever. I know that Sam, Merry and Pippin canonically marry, but only Sam does so in the text of the book, and he does it at the end where he is clearly the adult of the group.
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.
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 actually do think it's helpful, because most of the arguments apply to women as well. I feel it's the strongest counter-argument, so I don't want to shy away from it (not implying this is your motive).
As noted, one argument which doesn't apply is it's a retcon. Women have been assumed to have enough agency to (at the least) become adventurers since almost the beginning.
Another difference, and this gets me into dicey (heh) territory, is the cause of the oppression. The oppression of the LGTBQ community, along with other minority communities, mainly originates from "fear of the other". With women, that's a factor, but I'd say significantly less so than their duty (as a whole) to society to be mothers.
Fear of the other is a central theme of the game. It's literally a set of rules for reacting to the other by killing it and taking its stuff. In this context, it's easier to gloss over the baby factory dynamic than the xenophobia dynamic.
Of course this carries over with racism, but back in the day, the humans were white, the fantasy races stood in for other "races", but they were all white too, and the non-white ones were the "mud people" to be hacked to bits. I'm not sure what the state-of-the-art is.
As an added data point, Ed Greenwood, who created the Forgotten Realms, had the setting with open homosexuality, though that didn't make the official cut. I'll also note that IMO, Ed's a bit of a perv, and by that I mean he's guilty of exploring sexuality in his fiction for reasons of self-gratification rather than aesthetic merit.
The Barclays have a visitor for the summer: Len, George Barclay's nephew. Jimmy is excited to have his cousin stay with them, especially when Len shows Jimmy a new game called Castles and Cauldrons- it's even better than Zapazoids!
Castles and Cauldrons (C and C) is a fantasy role-playing game. The players become medieval characters who use battle skills and other means to conquer their enemies. Len is "Luthor the Magician," and he names Jimmy "Jondel the Apprentice." Jimmy thinks the game is harmless - until Len takes it a step further, and imagination starts becoming reality.
Plastic swords ring with the sound of steel; epic battles are fought against the forces of darkness and won. Jimmy is amazed by these things, but Len wants him to go further still, into incantations, spells, and conjuring - which sounds suspiciously like black magic. What's worse, Len swears Jimmy to silence. He's not to tell anybody about the game, especially his parents or Whit, because "they won't understand." In addition, Whit starts feeling bad because something evil is happening.
The thing is, I only ever heard this episode. I didn't get what was so bad about it. Kids were using their imagination and playing a game.
Whit suspects something is wrong with Jimmy after he and Len visit Whit’s End, acting strangely.
One night, Donna's doll is mysteriously ripped apart, and she blames Jimmy and Len. Whit questions her about the boys' activities. Then George tells Jimmy that Len didn't come to Odyssey just to visit them. His parents thought it would be healthy for Len to get away from a "questionable group of friends."
That night, Jimmy and Len go camping out in the forest. Len decides to include Jimmy in the ultimate C & C initiation: a ritual to summon Shalman, the most powerful magician of all. Len starts the ritual. Jimmy resists, but Len gets so caught up in it, he begins forcing Jimmy to participate. Just before things get ugly, Whit and George show up to put a stop to the ritual — and to Castles and Cauldrons. Whit destroys the game. Len gets some professional help. The Barclay family goes back to normal, and everyone realizes that even Odyssey isn't immune from Satan's wiles.
Knowing the plot of the second part makes this is way more hilarious, it's Christian fear-mongering at its finest. We need to protect our kids from monsters and magic and violence like this: