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Zig
12-20-2008, 08:13 AM
Politically Correct Gaming...

Ok so I'm flipping through one of the 4e books and I come across this picture of a black female halfling leaping over something and attacking with a sword and immediately my mind went... WHAT THE *UCK? I just couldn't grasp the idea of a black halfling. when I think of black characters in gaming I'm thinking huge Nubian warrior, tough as nails blacksmith/fighter, tribal shaman, maybe a ageless mage with great power, and at a stretch a convert paladin, etc. when I see a picture of the black halfling I wonder how that could have happened genetically, what the village might be like... (are they more like Pygmies than the squire residents?) just couldn't wrap my caveman mind around it. Does this mean there are Asian dwarves? native American scribes? white witch doctors? all of those I could understand as maybe an exception to the standard, but it seems like were having weird jumbles of races piled into the makeup of all the demi-human and human populations that just doesn't make any bit of sense to me.

In another post I brought up sexism in games, and mentioned that if 95% of a population survived through farming and serfdom women would be seen by most as baby factories, and the idea of a female adventurer or a female with a carrier outside of farmer's wife would be alien to them, greatly threatening to their way of life, suspicious beyond belief. of course that wouldn't be the case in elf, drow, maybe dwarf societies, etc.

I'm wondering am I the only one who has thoughts like this? Am I some kind of racist male chauvinist pig gamer because I cant wedge the idea that black people came from jungles and savannas and women in medieval times were treated more like property than citizens?

and lastly I'll end with.... how would you have felt if when Peter Jackson Directed the lord of the rings saga, he decided to cast longalas (sp) the elf archer as a black guy? or Sam the hobbit as Chinese? wouldn't that have ruined it for you or at least made you ask "serioulsy... what the *uck?" (I felt pretty much the same thing as I watched robin hood prince of thieves for the first time, and freaked out when I saw "fairy tales for every child"on HBO)

mrken
12-20-2008, 09:58 AM
Zig, you are not the only one who thinks about this issue. Around 85 when I started to paint minis I bought a bottle of “flesh” colored paint. It was a tan color, but it was darker than my flesh. I also noted that of the 12 guys I gamed with that flesh color was about right. Maybe a little dark for me but on average it was close. My first gamer convention I noted that the color was pretty much right on, but there were a couple of Hispanic guys at the con and a couple of black guys, and a girl.

So no you are not the only one who has noticed the incongruity of the PC world and the real world, and the fantasy world. We live in the real world playing a fantasy world by PC world rules.

Personally I don’t really care about all that PC crap, things in the game I run are sort of historical, but I ignore reality with the gene pool problem. For about a quarter century I have been painting my minis flesh tones a wide range of shades. I pretty much grab a flesh tone from the shelf at random. Never really worried that it was not very realistic. That was a decision I made back in the mid 80’s because I wanted my friends to feel comfortable playing in my games regardless of their skin color. I have friends of all colors ranging from the darkest to the lightest shades and want to make them feel like they belong.

In the games I run, women NPC’s are historical generally. Having said that, I have read about women warriors who fought and led men in to battle. I have also read of men who went off to fight only to come back to find their holdings had grown tremendously because of the expert business practices of their wives. Knowing this I allow the women in the games I run to shine even though they are looked down on by the male NPC’s in the game. This tends to be a form of comic relief when a suitor realizes the woman he is sweet on can kick his butt in so many ways. The women tend to get all mad the first time they encounter this sexual bias in the game, but tend to enjoy the outcome if they hang around long enough for the other side of the coin to drop.

We don’t have gay NPC’s in the game because I am not gay and don’t want to portray that. Actually I don’t portray sex in the game for many reasons, like we have a mixed group generally, sometimes we have younger people, and most of all, I am a prude if you will. I don’t have sex in public.

Now in our fantasy PC world no one knows there are different races, men and women are identical (anatomy, physiology and psychology are ignored) and mating with the opposite sex is so old fashioned, and prudish.

Yeah, we live in a PC world, maybe that is why I enjoy the other fantasy world so much. One doesn’t have to play the mind games of the real PC world to figure out which way is up. I do love people, but the mean ones who makes everyone else’s lives miserable, well you can have em.

TAROT
12-20-2008, 12:42 PM
Meh.

I generally find it more irritating if humans are the only race in a world with variety. Why wouldn't the elves, dwarves and hobbitses that live close to the equator be darker skinned? It bothers me much much more that most of the races that live underground and never see the sun are jet black. Why do drow need melanin?

As for women becoming warriors, mercenaries and pirates, while rare, it's hardly a mind-bending insanity-causing event. Plenty of succesful examples from our history (Bodicea, Anne Bonny, Jeanne d'Arc, Hua Mulan) and you figure for every notable success, there's probably a couple of hundred who ended up unknown in a ditch. If a woman rides into a village armed and armoured, the peasantry'll tug their forelocks and say, "Yes, sir."

Skunkape
12-20-2008, 01:49 PM
I generally don't use historical standards in my fantasy game! So you will find women to be equals to men depending on the country that you are in. My thoughts on this is in a world were magic is common place, like in my world, quite a few of the factors that caused our history to be like it is aren't there in my campaign world.

Also, for skin color of my various races, the only ones which match human standards are, humans. For instance, my race of Mountain Dwarves have the following skin colors, dark tan, tan, light tan dark brown, brown or light brown. The tan color I'm talking about is not suntanned by the way, it's the true color tan.

Depending on which race of Elf you're looking at the colors vary there...for instance an Elluvian (my name for wood Elf) will have skin colors of brown, light brown or tan, once again, not suntanned.

As far as occupation, I have a group of tribesmen that are caucasion, and there will be village witch doctors there because of their particular culture just as easily as there'll be Nubian sorcerers/wizards in a different country.

Yes, I've seen people trying to be historically correct in their own campaign worlds, but that's just not how I prefer to run my game. But don't think that because I prefer a different type of game that I feel you're wrong with how you want to run your game, it is your game after all, and if you and your players are enjoying it, then that's what you should be doing!

Zig
12-20-2008, 10:02 PM
Thats a lot to think about, I guess its correct to say its a fantasy game and there fore anybody can do anything you want them to do, you all made some good points with the hill dwarves being diffrent toned than say mountian dwarves, and yeah I can see how some halflings living in a jungle or elves living in a desert would evolve diffrently (look at the dark sun world) but the forest living variety of elves having frizzy hair and deep dark skin... just dont think I could get cool with that, blows the image of what I imagine a pale skinned thin lipped elf is too much for me, kinda like the idea of the black santa or black jesus, just isnt part of the accepted myth so dosent really fit into my beliefs. With Drow I thought that wasnt so much melinin but "evil magic" which if I was black I would have been offended by "your telling me the only black elves are murderous and evil demon worshipers who commit slavery and human sacrifices and live in caves?"

but I guess I go by the traditional fantasy novel, the women tend to be either rogueish, working class, or high born princess types. the warrior princess would be an extremely rare thing, I mean even today in 90% of the world women are still not seen or treated as equals, not saying that they arnt equal but it's a reality of less secular and less educated cultures... "almost" all of em.

and yeah I can see how you could view it as an escape from all the racial sexist biased problems with our world but I dont know if I'll ever be able to grasp that idea fully. for me all of that turmoil builds the drama/suspense and helps me run the game and/or play my characters. Generally the good wouldent care what color race or sex you were, evils would be more prone to seeing everyone as their steriotypes, pointing out your flaws etc. problems between the mostly white castle/city dwellers, and native tribesmen can and do develop into wars, darker skinned or asian looking barbarians do decend from the mountains and ransack farming villages etc.

Its kinda funny, when I heard about the Conan MMO comming out and it being marketed as an "adult" themed MMO that made total sense to me, those books were definatly rated R. When I heard that Funcom was going to cut all sexism and racism out of the conan world I was like "what?!" Conan was all about shouting out racial slurs and treating women like sex objects... he was an unrepentant male chauvenist biggot. Conan was the opposite of PC... he was (duh) a barbarian. Right or wrong it was one of the reasons he and the world he lived in were so loved and removing those negitive aspects of his personality and his world because it "might" offend someone was a betrayal of the entire saga and the basis of their game.

sigh... guess I just hate to have some of my... what.. nostalgic memories/fantasy worlds messed with because some people feel every genre needs and must have a PC overhaul to stay marketable.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
12-21-2008, 11:42 AM
For me, it depends on the game and the group. When i run WFRP, historical standards are found within the gaming experience. It is, after all, an alternate history, very dark, and gritty, fraught with plenty of racism, ignorance, sociopathic crime, crushing religions, plenty of cults and sacrifice, diseases, etc. Oh, and lets not forget the monsters, dark gods, demons, mutants, undead, trolls, etc, than can be found in the dark places of the world, both above and below.

Malruhn
12-21-2008, 05:12 PM
It wouldn't have phased me in the least.

I've had multiple colors in all my races for decades. I remember the first time an adventuring party ran into a clan of Black Dwarves... they didn't know whether they should run, or attack and THEN run. Problem was - and lucky they waited a bit - the Dwarves were Good aligned.

I've had many races of races - and have had homosexually-supportive societies as well - even though I am a straight Caucasian... and even worse, I'm an extremely politically and socially conservative person!!

I have societies where female warriors are almost as rare as people with noses... and societies that believe that females are only there to fix dinner and then play slap-and-tickle with. Why? Because we have the same societies here in reality. It's the same reason that I have societies that accept and embrace magic - and those that see magic as TEH ONE TROO EBIL and any who even LOOK like they cast or use magic must be put to death in the most expedient manner available. I've got societies that have all races present, and others that see Elves as evil (Who lives forever? Only those that sacrifice babies, that's who!!), and those that see Half-Elves like the Southern US saw mixed race people in the 1940's.

Is it PC or reality? I think the latter.

1958Fury
12-21-2008, 06:05 PM
To me it's pretty simple. The player's guide should be complete enough to tell what skin colors are possible within a race. In the case of halflings, for example, the 4e handbook says the following:

Halflings have the same range of complexions as humans, but most halflings have dark hair and eyes.
That's not political-correctness, that's just following the rules set down by the creators of this universe. Now, if I saw a purple-skinned halfling, I'd want some sort of explanation.

spotlight
12-21-2008, 08:32 PM
oh. come on, you guys. This is fantasy gaming we're talking about. In fact, I play about as many female characters as male. Does that make me gay or wierd? No, it's only acting. What ever your champaige allows, happens.

When they were first introduced, I did not like the idea of Drows, but now it is just another creature to me. So how can a black female character being threatening to the pearants?

tesral
12-21-2008, 08:50 PM
I am going to call this a matter of no matter. I put very little thought into the average color of the average PC. Black halflings? If that floats one's boat.

If I don't like a thing, I change it. Drow on my world are clear.

It's just nothing I plan on losing sleep over, or writing a thesis on.

Zig
12-22-2008, 05:19 AM
First off those descriptions in the PH have changed since the first descriptions in the MM and AD&D PH... my question is why have they changed?

I have no problem with you making the choice to put whatever you want into your game. You want black halflings fine, or 10ft tall man hating amazons, awesome! but there is or was a loosely agreed uphon standard (tolken/greyhawk) and when somebody decides to ram their PC beliefs down your RPG gullet by changing racial descriptions in core books and always making sure the black halfling/wood elf is the most predominant character in a piece of art... they are trying to force you to change the way that you see and play your game, and It makes me wonder what is really going on.

There didn't need to be a black Muslim friend of robin hood, the myth and movie would have been perfectly fine with out it. Boba Fett didn't need to be a Aborigine (actually I saw him as a Clint Eastwood or Charles Bronson type) the guns in E.T. the cops were holding didn't need to be digitally replaced with walkie talkies. The pirates chasing the women in the Pirates of the Caribian ride didnt need to be changed to the women chasing the pirates at disney land. it was ALL being done to further a specific political/social agenda, not to make the myths, games, rides and movies better... IMHO it made them worse (because it brings politics into them) and that does upset me.

Maybe it's just a sign of the times, and was inevitable but that doesn't make it right.

mrken
12-22-2008, 09:17 AM
Zig, you may be on to something. But don't talk about it. It's not all baaa baaaaad.

1958Fury
12-22-2008, 10:10 AM
First off those descriptions in the PH have changed since the first descriptions in the MM and AD&D PH... my question is why have they changed?

Well, I would imagine that as they find more and more minorities are starting to play D&D, the company looks for ways to help the new players immerse themselves into the game. That's not political correctness, that's marketing. But I can't for the life of me think of a reason this would be a bad thing.

I'm sorry, this is not an accusation, but you do come off as a little bit racist here. What you're saying could be interpreted as, "This is my white-dominated universe, how dare they change it! I play this game to escape black people!"


but there is or was a loosely agreed uphon standard (tolken/greyhawk) and when somebody decides to ram their PC beliefs down your RPG gullet by changing racial descriptions in core books and always making sure the black halfling/wood elf is the most predominant character in a piece of art... they are trying to force you to change the way that you see and play your game, and It makes me wonder what is really going on.

Looking through 4e's PHB, at the pics in the races section... each picture shows one male and one female. Where applicable, each picture also shows one Caucasian and one alternate race. I believe this is to show the player the range of character types available. Even the Dragonborn picture shows one with gold scales, and the other with rust colored scales. Damn their PC-ness in depicting the lesser rust-colored race of Dragonborn!

Seriously, it looks like the pictures in the PHB were made to be as adverse as possible, and sure, PC may have been a factor in there somewhere. But I do know that if I were designing a guide, I would make sure to show as many different examples of every race/color/class/etc as possible throughout, just to inspire the players by showing them different options. Besides, 100 pictures of white men with swords is just boring.


Boba Fett didn't need to be a Aborigine (actually I saw him as a Clint Eastwood or Charles Bronson type)

Maori Boba Fett rocks. The fact that you always assumed he was white, when no clues had ever been given, is somewhat telling. For all you know, that's how Lucas pictured him from the beginning.


the guns in E.T. the cops were holding didn't need to be digitally replaced with walkie talkies.

I agree, but it's not my movie.


The pirates chasing the women in the Pirates of the Caribian ride didnt need to be changed to the women chasing the pirates at disney land.

Again, I agree, but it is Disneyland, where all the world's evils get toned down for the tykes.


it was ALL being done to further a specific political/social agenda, not to make the myths, games, rides and movies better... IMHO it made them worse (because it brings politics into them) and that does upset me.

If that "agenda" is to promote racial and gender equality, then I don't see the problem. That's not politics, it's common sense. It might have been politics 100 years ago, but now that most politicians (hopefully) believe that all races/sexes are equal, I don't think it still qualifies.

I know that PC gets on a lot of people's nerves, especially when it goes too far. But at it's core, PC is basically a good thing. It's just a way of saying, "let's all try not to insult each other." It only hurts us when it goes too far, and I don't feel that any of the examples you've given are going too far.

tesral
12-22-2008, 10:48 AM
I know that PC gets on a lot of people's nerves, especially when it goes too far. But at it's core, PC is basically a good thing. It's just a way of saying, "let's all try not to insult each other." It only hurts us when it goes too far, and I don't feel that any of the examples you've given are going too far.

Politically Correct, real Politically Correct is the Art of offending people here and now in order to avoid some vague possible offense of someone not present.

So far, I don't see any. Bobba Fett? I never assumed anything about what was under the mask, he could have been green and a girl with a scratchy voder, and it didn't hit me one way or the other. Black Halflings? Meh. I don't care. One opinion. "Official" never has carried any weight with me.

BTW, Politically Correct has a counterpart. The person easily offended by anything that violates their perceptions. Call it PO Politically Offended. Don't be it either.

Personally I don't see enough going on to warrant a fraction of the verbiage spent. Zig, they sell these colored pens at crafts stores for the scrapbooking crowd. They even have lily white ink. If it's your book color the Halfling any color you want and drop it.

In light of the subject and of the season let me add this: "Each man demands his rights, as well he should. But if each man gave those rights to each of his fellow men, then none would need demand anything, and we would live in peace. In truth, it is better to give than receive." -- The Tao of Phoenix

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
12-22-2008, 10:52 AM
Politically Correct, real Politically Correct is the Art of offending people here and now in order to avoid some vague possible offense of someone not present.

So far, I don't see any. Bobba Fett? I never assumed anything about what was under the mask, he could have been green and a girl with a scratchy voder, and it didn't hit me one way or the other. Black Halflings? Meh. I don't care. One opinion. "Official" never has carried any weight with me.

BTW, Politically Correct has a counterpart. The person easily offended by anything that violates their perceptions. Call it PO Politically Offended. Don't be it either.

Personally I don't see enough going on to warrant a fraction of the verbiage spent. Zig, they sell these colored pens at crafts stores for the scrapbooking crowd. They even have lily white ink. If it's your book color the Halfling any color you want and drop it.

In light of the subject and of the season let me add this: "Each man demands his rights, as well he should. But if each man gave those rights to each of his fellow men, then none would need demand anything, and we would live in peace. In truth, it is better to give than receive." -- The Tao of Phoenix
Re: the quote by The Tao of Phoenix

I have to chime in here. There has never been a time in recorded history that this proved true.

Let me also add that i dont see the importance of this thread. I play with gamers of all races and not one ever mentioned the race of his halfling, orc, human, etc. It's not important. If someone in our group stated that his halfling was black, i wouldnt think anything of it. Why? Who cares? My WFRP alternate history campaigns are generally in line with our bleak euro-dark ages past, but even then, if a player wanted to go another race, or whatever, i wouldnt think anything of it. I guess what i am getting at here is that it has never been made an issue in my games in over 30 years of playing, which is probably why this thread holds a certain fascination to me.

I'm writing this thead off as i would concerning debates with religion and politics, for everyone is right... and wrong, and no one is going to change the others opinions. ;)

My two coppers. Do what you will with them, throw them in the river for all i care. :D

tesral
12-22-2008, 10:57 AM
Re: the quote by The Tao of Phoenix

I have to chime in here. There has never been a time in recorded history that this proved true.

Has there ever been a time in recorded history where it was tried?

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
12-22-2008, 11:05 AM
Has there ever been a time in recorded history where it was tried?
Yes! History is replete with examples.

Farcaster
12-22-2008, 11:10 AM
First off those descriptions in the PH have changed since the first descriptions in the MM and AD&D PH... my question is why have they changed? ... but there is or was a loosely agreed uphon standard (tolken/greyhawk)

My question is, why do you care? And who agreed to what standard? Where can I find this standard we all supposedly agreed to?

The world was a very, very, different place in the 1930's when Tolkein wrote Lord of the Rings. It was even a very different place when the first RPG hit the shelves. And further, D&D doesn't make any attempt to present even a pseudo-historical view of our world. It is a fantastic location filled with a mishmash of myths, time periods, and cultures. I think you need to get over the fact that the authors were not so dimwitted as to only present "black people" as savages.

If you don't like it, you and your group can play the game however you want. In the meantime, I don't really much care to hear about the purity of races in D&D...

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