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keftiu
Senior Scribe

476 Posts

Posted - 18 Jun 2020 :  06:04:13  Show Profile Send keftiu a Private Message  Delete Topic
Posting this statement here, as it's from D&D and seems to be worth discussing: https://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/diversity-and-dnd

I'll be beyond pleased if they pull this off at all, and I'm stunned they acknowledged how awful the Vistani as-written are, but I'm somewhat skeptical.

4e fangirl. Here to queer up the Realms.

sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
9752 Posts

Posted - 18 Jun 2020 :  08:36:35  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message
What was so bad about the Vistani (unless they are talking about the fact that they've in the past been portrayed as drunks and thieves who might kidnap folks I guess)? Haven't really looked at the 5e curse of strahd module, though its paid for and in my stack. I guess the only thing that usually pops in my head when I hear Vistani is the tarot/crystal ball mystic person.

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Starshade
Learned Scribe

Norway
275 Posts

Posted - 18 Jun 2020 :  10:23:06  Show Profile Send Starshade a Private Message
Um....
Have to actually read the things to judge, the danger nowadays is 50ish year old men overreading on Intersectional Feminism and making up for "50 years of misdeeds" all at once, as Marvel seem to have done. The part about hiring a Gypsy to give input on how to WRITE gypsies to not shame their culture, is fine.
I'd personally care more about making them playable, if players want. Racial classes for young ones not yet aquiring all talents, multiclassing into Rogue or Bard for fun, etc.
As for diversity, the real diversity, comes from hiring diverse writers. Hire one of the younger gen Fantasy writers to make something, and look for the Native American, the Latino, the Gypsy, Black or a woman. That is diversity. This kind of "Critic" from theory circles is about hiring policies, not solely meant about abstract images circulating in the "Superstructure of the society harming women", ala Karl Marx.
(from a reader of Marxism and Feminism)

Edited by - Starshade on 18 Jun 2020 10:29:52
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LordofBones
Master of Realmslore

1266 Posts

Posted - 18 Jun 2020 :  10:42:53  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message
The Vistani are based on the Roma. The problem is the discrepancy between European views on the Roma (which are pretty close to the way Ravenloft treats the Vistani) and the American view of the Roma.

And,to be fair, Roma culture is seriously hostile to outsiders, who aren't even considered people, IIRC.
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Mirtek
Senior Scribe

589 Posts

Posted - 18 Jun 2020 :  11:10:09  Show Profile Send Mirtek a Private Message
The racism against the Roma is very real in europe,especially in eastern europe.

Their Situation there is decades behind the the racism that is still plagueing the african american community. Basically they're still prior to the victories of the Civil rights movement and discrimination against them is still part of the actual law.

Their portrayal in CoS is akin to the jolly uncle Remus in Song of the South

"Gypsy" is actually a racial slur in europe, it's the n-word used on Sinti and Roma

Edited by - Mirtek on 18 Jun 2020 11:15:09
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
34213 Posts

Posted - 18 Jun 2020 :  11:49:53  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Mirtek

"Gypsy" is actually a racial slur in europe, it's the n-word used on Sinti and Roma



And given that information, I think we should all be more mindful of our usage of such language.

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Gary Dallison
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United Kingdom
5319 Posts

Posted - 18 Jun 2020 :  12:22:11  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message
Given what I've read about wotc recently, I'd say that anything we see about diversity and inclusion from them is just a token gesture.

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Ashe Ravenheart
Great Reader

USA
3149 Posts

Posted - 18 Jun 2020 :  12:57:15  Show Profile Send Ashe Ravenheart a Private Message
I'd like to point out that Pathfinder is ahead of the curve on this with 2nd Edition, having gotten rid of Race as a concept and morphing it into Ancestry going forward. And their version of Roma, the Varisians, are much more favorable in the game, having distinguished the people from the organized criminals the Shoanti.

I actually DO know everything. I just have a very poor index of my knowledge.

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Starshade
Learned Scribe

Norway
275 Posts

Posted - 18 Jun 2020 :  13:52:17  Show Profile Send Starshade a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Mirtek


"Gypsy" is actually a racial slur in europe, it's the n-word used on Sinti and Roma


Outside of UK, I think there is no consern whatsoever.
The main concern in Scandinavia, is one major group of indigenous travelling peoples, is not Roma or Romani in any form, probably a branch from 500+ years ago, at least, with it's own culture, and is known to have been here for 500 years, being received originally as a "stately and great people".
Also: Should we boycott Fleetwood Mac?
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
34213 Posts

Posted - 18 Jun 2020 :  14:44:25  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Starshade


Also: Should we boycott Fleetwood Mac?



Who?

Seriously, are they even making music, any more? I thought they were done in the 80s.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 18 Jun 2020 14:45:01
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Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
3311 Posts

Posted - 18 Jun 2020 :  15:20:17  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message
I hope they actually follow up on this, and make a significant change to the portrayal of those folks in the main D&D setting, rather than just publishing alternative settings, while putting a bandaid fix on the mess that is the portrayal of races in the standard setting. A bandaid fix won't solve stuff like "the iconic dark skinned elves and the only matriarchy we highlight are all about masturbating to people being tortured, puppies being kicked, and kittens being eaten, under the pretense of survival of the fittest". Especially when FR canon has many cases pointing in other directions, which WotC has been bent on either ignoring, or downplaying into irrelvance, or yet outright deleting, for decades now.

They could easily downplay things like Lolth, by a lot, or the "brute orcs", and give MUCH more relevance to factions like Many Arrows, the Eilistraeans, the Ondonti, etc...

Or even yet, they could rework stuff.

Lolth could be made into a character and society that makes sense,, while still keeping the positive points about her. She can be a deity of ambition, about turning challenges and struggles into strength, about determining one's own future, preserving one's own independence etc... (which would preserve the competition-focused society). Araushnee could have had an interesting development, had they tried to focus on "seizing one's own destiny" and her feeling like a trophy wife, rather than "hurr durr, eeeeevil". This would also make Eilistraee a nice foil, with her effort to lure the drow on a "journey" to see what life can be and embrace (and nurture) the beauty in the world (rather than being blinded and missing on the joy of life due to hyperfocus on "success"), but also a good ally in that she too strives to empower the drow to choose their path. This version of Lolth would also go well with Vhaeraun's own efforts to restore the golden age of the drow.

And yes, that would require some retconning. At this point, WotC has already made so many retcons I don't think we have anything to lose. We might as well welcome some retcons that bring better quality worldbuilding.

To all Facebook-using FR fans, you might be interested in checking out this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450517575051806/

Edited by - Irennan on 18 Jun 2020 15:23:31
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Mirtek
Senior Scribe

589 Posts

Posted - 18 Jun 2020 :  15:37:10  Show Profile Send Mirtek a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Starshade

quote:
Originally posted by Mirtek


"Gypsy" is actually a racial slur in europe, it's the n-word used on Sinti and Roma


Outside of UK, I think there is no consern whatsoever.
The main concern in Scandinavia, is one major group of indigenous travelling peoples, is not Roma or Romani in any form, probably a branch from 500+ years ago, at least, with it's own culture, and is known to have been here for 500 years, being received originally as a "stately and great people".
Also: Should we boycott Fleetwood Mac?

I guess outside of UK the europeans don't speak Englisch in their everyday life and thus do not use gypsy specifically but rather their languages term. The direct german translation "Zigeuner" is used as a slur if said about someone

Edited by - Mirtek on 18 Jun 2020 15:38:19
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Archmage of Nowhere
Seeker

USA
62 Posts

Posted - 18 Jun 2020 :  16:40:44  Show Profile Send Archmage of Nowhere a Private Message
This is going to end about as well as the lore for Corellon did in Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes.
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keftiu
Senior Scribe

476 Posts

Posted - 18 Jun 2020 :  20:00:57  Show Profile Send keftiu a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Ashe Ravenheart

I'd like to point out that Pathfinder is ahead of the curve on this with 2nd Edition, having gotten rid of Race as a concept and morphing it into Ancestry going forward. And their version of Roma, the Varisians, are much more favorable in the game, having distinguished the people from the organized criminals the Shoanti.



The Varisian crime syndicate is the Sczarni, and I would disagree with you there; in the 2e corebook, the only mention of Varisian culture is the existence of the Sczarni, so we’re back to square one on presenting fantasy Romani as criminals.

4e fangirl. Here to queer up the Realms.
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Seethyr
Senior Scribe

USA
926 Posts

Posted - 18 Jun 2020 :  20:09:46  Show Profile  Visit Seethyr's Homepage Send Seethyr a Private Message
I’ve written and deleted three responses already. Just know that topics like this cause undue stress in a place where an escape from reality is supposed to reign supreme. I hope this doesn’t end up dominating the conversations like it does now literally everywhere else. Just my two cents, I’ll kindly scroll on by for now on and hope my favorite game is recognizable as time passes.

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
34213 Posts

Posted - 18 Jun 2020 :  20:13:04  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

I hope they actually follow up on this, and make a significant change to the portrayal of those folks in the main D&D setting, rather than just publishing alternative settings, while putting a bandaid fix on the mess that is the portrayal of races in the standard setting. A bandaid fix won't solve stuff like "the iconic dark skinned elves and the only matriarchy we highlight are all about masturbating to people being tortured, puppies being kicked, and kittens being eaten, under the pretense of survival of the fittest".



That's why I've maintained for years -- going back to before I was banned from the WotC forums -- that a Drizzt movie would be very problematic. You have to show the society he came from to make his being an outcast significant. Even in 2004ish, when I first started arguing against it, putting drow on the big screen, saying "okay, these folks will literally kill their own family members, without remorse, just to get ahead -- and they all happen to have very dark skin" -- that's just not going to fly with a very large portion of the movie-going public.

People that read for pleasure are a small portion of the movie-going audience, people that read fantasy are a smaller portion of that, and people that read Realms fiction are an even smaller portion. It's probably being overly generous to say that you'd have 10% of the audience that were already familiar with drow. The rest are going to be seeing it new, and it would be a difficult proposition to convince them that it wasn't racist allegory.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 18 Jun 2020 20:14:05
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Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
3311 Posts

Posted - 18 Jun 2020 :  20:31:20  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message
Yeah, that's the elephant in the room that NEEDS to be addressed.

To all Facebook-using FR fans, you might be interested in checking out this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450517575051806/
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Lord Karsus
Great Reader

USA
3452 Posts

Posted - 18 Jun 2020 :  20:36:33  Show Profile Send Lord Karsus a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Given what I've read about wotc recently, I'd say that anything we see about diversity and inclusion from them is just a token gesture.


-That's what I'm guessing. D&D, the whole "nerdy subculture" ain't that diverse. It's a lot more than I gave it credit for in the past- there were a lot more women and minorities when I went to ComicCon a few years ago than I thought there would be- but it's still a completely white male dominated industry/hobby.

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keftiu
Senior Scribe

476 Posts

Posted - 18 Jun 2020 :  22:10:16  Show Profile Send keftiu a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Lord Karsus

quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Given what I've read about wotc recently, I'd say that anything we see about diversity and inclusion from them is just a token gesture.


-That's what I'm guessing. D&D, the whole "nerdy subculture" ain't that diverse. It's a lot more than I gave it credit for in the past- there were a lot more women and minorities when I went to ComicCon a few years ago than I thought there would be- but it's still a completely white male dominated industry/hobby.



The players are diverse as hell, as is the indie space. It's the big companies that need to catch up.

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
34213 Posts

Posted - 18 Jun 2020 :  23:25:52  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Lord Karsus

quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Given what I've read about wotc recently, I'd say that anything we see about diversity and inclusion from them is just a token gesture.


-That's what I'm guessing. D&D, the whole "nerdy subculture" ain't that diverse. It's a lot more than I gave it credit for in the past- there were a lot more women and minorities when I went to ComicCon a few years ago than I thought there would be- but it's still a completely white male dominated industry/hobby.



That was my experience, at GenCon. It was a diverse gathering, but the white males most certainly outnumbered every other category you can name.

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keftiu
Senior Scribe

476 Posts

Posted - 18 Jun 2020 :  23:39:06  Show Profile Send keftiu a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Lord Karsus

quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Given what I've read about wotc recently, I'd say that anything we see about diversity and inclusion from them is just a token gesture.


-That's what I'm guessing. D&D, the whole "nerdy subculture" ain't that diverse. It's a lot more than I gave it credit for in the past- there were a lot more women and minorities when I went to ComicCon a few years ago than I thought there would be- but it's still a completely white male dominated industry/hobby.



Do keep in mind that a lot of folks can’t afford to take time off, fly across the country, rent a hotel room, and attend a convention. Gen Con is a luxury, and not a great vertical slice of a hobby where all you need to play is a dice roller and a pdf - to say nothing of how some people feel unsafe in convention spaces, or with Gen Con specifically.
That was my experience, at GenCon. It was a diverse gathering, but the white males most certainly outnumbered every other category you can name.


4e fangirl. Here to queer up the Realms.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
34213 Posts

Posted - 18 Jun 2020 :  23:42:23  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by keftiu

quote:
Originally posted by Lord Karsus

quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Given what I've read about wotc recently, I'd say that anything we see about diversity and inclusion from them is just a token gesture.


-That's what I'm guessing. D&D, the whole "nerdy subculture" ain't that diverse. It's a lot more than I gave it credit for in the past- there were a lot more women and minorities when I went to ComicCon a few years ago than I thought there would be- but it's still a completely white male dominated industry/hobby.



The players are diverse as hell, as is the indie space. It's the big companies that need to catch up.



I used to think well of diversity and acceptance among gamers...

But then came WotC's move where they said in a 5E book that characters could be of any gender or sexuality. Many accepted this and moved on -- but some didn't, and there was a huge blowback on that, even in our halls. It got really ugly, with people complaining about it and calling it pandering and going entirely off the deep end with it. It was a huge mess, and we had to slam down on that discussion, because of the haters who were outraged at the thought of WotC saying "everyone is welcome at our table." Even now, years later, I can't understand why that was such a controversial statement.

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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
7315 Posts

Posted - 18 Jun 2020 :  23:43:14  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message
Modern Western imaginings of Samurai and Vikings and Romans, Aztec and African and Indian and Asian cultures are also woefully untruthful. Perhaps, to some, offensive and slanderous. Should we revise all of them, too?

[/Ayrik]
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
34213 Posts

Posted - 19 Jun 2020 :  00:01:08  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik

Modern Western imaginings of Samurai and Vikings and Romans, Aztec and African and Indian and Asian cultures are also woefully untruthful. Perhaps, to some, offensive and slanderous. Should we revise all of them, too?



Yes. Why shouldn't we, if they are offensively incorrect?

I mean, I get that some liberties have always been taken, even with most Western European-ish fantasy. But there's a difference between taking a few liberties and perpetuating false and offensive stereotypes.

It's a simple fact that we're not going to be able to welcome everyone to our table if we deliberately keep elements that we know offend them.

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keftiu
Senior Scribe

476 Posts

Posted - 19 Jun 2020 :  00:23:06  Show Profile Send keftiu a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik

Modern Western imaginings of Samurai and Vikings and Romans, Aztec and African and Indian and Asian cultures are also woefully untruthful. Perhaps, to some, offensive and slanderous. Should we revise all of them, too?



...yes?

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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
7315 Posts

Posted - 19 Jun 2020 :  00:46:45  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message
I was just trying to ask "where do we draw the line?"

Of course we don't want to offend anyone. But at the same time it's basically impossible to create a world full of fantasy cultures which don't have remarkable comparisons to (offensive) portrayals of real-world cultures.

I've met people who found Al-Qadim utterly obnoxious. They were Arabs who felt Ad-Qadim was insulting, deeply and personally insulting, although I'm not Arab and I genuinely couldn't (still can't) determine exactly what they found so vehemently offensive in the material. So we played in the Moonsea instead, everybody happy, nobody unhappy, problem (whatever it was) easily solved.

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