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Prejudice in One Community – Blast From the Past 2014/01/08

While this post frames everything in the terms of RPGs, it originally was not written about anything in the RPG world. It was written about people objecting to switches who were in an active relationship as a Dominant not being welcome at SJW. It was the rule when I took over the event. I kept it, despite being told I was a bigot for doing so, because I saw changing what I was given as beyond my remit. I wrote this as an illustration of what I thought would be a stronger course for those calling me a bigot. You might say I was trying to get them to believe in the future.

My successor changed it, and I have no problem with that. We each view what is and is not within our stewardship differently.

However, today I ran across this tweet:

I listening to Sophia’s video, where she discusses how she would have no more right to change a game the complainers created that matched their desires and expectations, I was reminded of this post. Believe in what you want in the world and go out and create it instead of forcing the people who are “wrong” to build it for you is still worth saying.

For those who don’t know me I’m big into role-playing games (not that kind you pervs…well, yeah, that kind too but here I’m more talking D&D). In fact, I’m active in the local gamer’s online community. A common thing in online gamer communities is ads for games that need players. They’ll read something like “new oWoD:Changling game looking for players interested in a magical band a la ‘War for the Oaks'”.

Now, for those not familiar with RPGs nWoD stands for “New World of Darkness”, a line of games including Vampire, Werewolf, Mage, Giest, Changling, and so on. As you’d expect there is also an “Old World of Darkness” that predated it that also included Vampire, Werewolf, Mage, Wraith, Changling, and so on. Some people only play nWoD games, some only play oWoD games, and some play both. Some will play either Mage but neither Vampire and only old Werewolf. Of course, there are plenty of other combos. For example, in general I’ll give any nWoD game a shot and have a strong interest in Mage, Changling, and Werewolf. In the oWoD only Mage and Wraith interest me although I’ve played some of the others. I played quite a bit of oWoD:Changling for example.

So, let’s go back to our add for a “new oWoD game”. If I showed up not wanting to play oWoD:Changling but nWoD:Changling I’d be told “sorry, but we don’t have a spot for you”. Some people think I should be insulted. They would say there is clearly prejudice against nWoD players here. They would wonder when people would grow out of hating those who wanted to play different games.

I, however, know better. These people are looking to have a specific experience, that of playing oWoD:Changling. I might think the new version is better (I do). I might think injecting some nWoD:Changling into the old could spice it up. I might even think they will have less fun than they could. However, I also know that I am not them. I know that they do not exist simply to please or even merely include me. They are people with their own desires and agendas that, to be quite honest, don’t include me not because of prejudice or hatred but simply their things and my things don’t overlap. If they did based on their ad I’d be more than welcome. Actually, I probably know at least one person in the game given gamers are a small community. We probably have played in a game or at least just BSed at the game store or online about games. If our desires haven’t intersected in the past there are good odds they may in the future.

Perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps this particular group is prejudiced against me. Perhaps that’s why they don’t want me at their game. Well, that’s their choice and just as I expect them not to show up at my nWoD:Changling game pretending to be nobles of a dying hidden race of elves instead of someone kidnapped by fairies in the past who then escaped I accept I have no right to demand to be that kidnapping victim in their game of dying nobles. The ability to acknowledge people have different desires that may not interesect with mine and they would like to be able to set off a private space to pursue them without me is both the essence of tolerance and a key sign of adulthood.

I wish more gamers understood tolerance and adult behavior.

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One Comment

  1. BobtheRegisterredFool BobtheRegisterredFool

    Yeah, Orcs-as-blacks has got to be one of the more boring choices.

    DnD provides a bunch of symbols that could function as ethnicities, but need not be mapped to any real world group.

    If you do map, using the same map everywhere is boring.

    I personally do not like Orcs or half-Orcs as PCs. I most often like distinct monster races, so you don’t worry too much over whether the PCs and their opposition are from the same society, and good friends at the pub when they aren’t killing each other. Okay, a game where the monsters and the PCs go down to the dungeon, clock in, try to kill each other, and clock out afterwards could be funny.

    The easiest thing in the world is to instruct the players not to worry about why the player peoples and the monster peoples don’t get on, and not make it into some sort of social statement.

    Okay, I am tempted to map to real world situations, and make a social statement. About populations that had a really, really, really hard time getting along. US and Japanese during the Pacific War bad maybe.

    I like ‘Always Chaotic Evil’ races as a metaphor for cultures that are profoundly incompatible with sedentary, agricultural civilizations that have concepts of peace treaties and ruthlessly suppressing banditry. But that would be Orcs or whatever as indians, and the social statement would be in making the players pay close attention to details to figure out if they are at peace with /this/ band of Orcs or not. “Oh, yeah, you guys were not paying attention, so the group you cut down without talking, this time, was that one group you made peace with twenty sessions back.” That is too much work to do for any old group, it would have to be one that wanted it, and was willing to put forth the effort.

    The only reason to want to run that game is all the RPG commentators who are deeply distraught about the Navajo being on reservations, reasoning about what was historically possible based on modern culture, in complete ignorance of what the broad cultural groups were like at the time, and determined to discuss this in their gaming. You cannot reverse evils of the past by talking and rolling dice. Race-as-class, no race-as-class, whatever, make no difference where real ongoing evils are concerned. If someone is worth playing RPGs with, they probably are not so slow that I would only be able to describe things through a gaming experience.

    I am very nearly too much of an anti-social loner to do any roleplaying at all.

    I don’t want to build a world for DnD adventuring that is ever going to have the cognate of ICC trials because some player wasn’t paying close attention to whatever bullshit I invented to replace Geneva’s Additional Protocol One.

    I am not a lawyer. I very much probably would not enjoy turning a DnD game into a chance to pretend I am a lawyer or a judge. If I had significant interest in the boring, nitty gritty of that stuff, I would probably have actually become a lawyer.

    If I want real American culture and modern standards for what is plausibly viable peace, and modern standards what is legally appropriate, I will use the real world. I’m fine trying to transcribe an attempt at modern American culture into a fantasy world, but would almost certainly want to play around with different ideas for legally appropriate and what counts as viable peace. Treating fantasy adventuring as a domestic (as opposed to foreign) situation of violence could be interesting, but could easily be quite boring. Treating it as foreign or international violence could be interesting, but likewise boring as can be when sticking strictly to the intersection of pop culture and accepted academic thought.

    Nobody can do anything to stop people wanting a white supremacist fantasy experience from using DnD rules with their own world building assumptions. The white supremacists do not need to pretend Orcs are really minorities, they are quite happy outright using terms like mud people. The people who talk about imperialism and colonialism in gaming, for the most part, have their heads as badly up their asses as the white supremacists do.

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