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  • Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
    Okay, so then answer me this: Who should I apologize to? If I include a tribe of generic cannibals in the story, should I offer an official declaration to every culture in the world who ever had a period of eating humans at some point in their history?

    If I include a generic band of marauding soldiers / barbarians / mercenaries, should I apologize to... oh... how about 100% of the global population? Because I'm pretty sure our ancestors did not exactly get along with each other throughout most of history.
    You should apologize to the people negativity impacted by your actions. I’m sure as hell not affected by you including a race of cannibals or a race of warlike marauders in your story. But if someone tells you they are hurt by it, that’d be the person to apologize to.

    Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
    If you truly want an apology from me in order to feel better about the situation, then fine, I apologize that my generic fantasy trope offended you in some way.
    This is a non-apology. This is the equivalent of, when you step on someone’s foot, saying “sorry your foot got hurt” instead of “sorry I hurt your foot.” It’s still an attempt to absolve yourself of responsibility for what happened, when the whole point of an apology is to show that you are accepting responsibility.

    Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
    But that doesn't mean I'm going to scrap the entire setting and rebuild it from scratch in the vain hope of creating a mature themed story that everybody in the world can enjoy together.
    This whole side-tangent started because Heavy Arms, a member of a historically (and currently) oppressed group of people pointed out that calling your universally evil creatures a “race” opens the door for comparison to real-life groups of humans. In this situation, I think the responsible thing to do would not be to remove all groups of evil creatures in your story, but to stop calling those groups of creatures “races.”


    Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

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    • Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post

      I mean, it doesn't seem hard to me.

      If one of your players says, "Hey, were you aware that this group of X that you designed contains a lot of tropes or ideas that are problematic and have been used as a way to oppress or hurt people. I didn't care much for that," I think the proper response would be to go, "Whoops. I didn't mean to do that and wasn't aware of it. Sorry if you or anyone else found that offensive or upsetting!" That's really all it takes.

      If you want, you can then go on, "Here was my thought process for how I created this group of people and why I designed them to embody elements that I was not aware were offensive or would upset anyone. Since I obviously don't want to upset the people playing in my game session, and don't want them coming away from my game thinking I'm a jerk or anything, do you have any idea on how this group could be modified to be less offensive without losing the the themes and ideas that I feel they need to embody?"

      Ultimately RPGs are a collaborative experience, so if your players aren't enjoying it because they find certain elements to be problematic, and tell you why they're not enjoying it, then it would be in your best interest to work with them to make things more enjoyable for them. Because if they're enjoying your game, you'll enjoy running your game. If they don't like it, you won't have much fun running it either.
      Also this.


      Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

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      • Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
        You should apologize to the people negativity impacted by your actions. I’m sure as hell not affected by you including a race of cannibals or a race of warlike marauders in your story. But if someone tells you they are hurt by it, that’d be the person to apologize to.


        This is a non-apology. This is the equivalent of, when you step on someone’s foot, saying “sorry your foot got hurt” instead of “sorry I hurt your foot.” It’s still an attempt to absolve yourself of responsibility for what happened, when the whole point of an apology is to show that you are accepting responsibility.
        Because I'm not accepting responsibility. A generic trope is just that, generic. It doesn't relate to anything specific beyond a simplified concept, which the creator is then free to expand upon however they wish. And as for being negatively impacted, I would politely ask for clarification as to how the story harmed them in any manner beyond hurting their feelings.

        Now, if people looked at my story and decided that the appropriate response was to organize a lynch mob and hunt down a specific group of people, then yes, I would publicly denounce such responses and call those who partook in it a bunch of morons. But if the worst thing to happen is that somebody chose to read too deeply into the material and put themselves through a series of mental gymnastics to arrive at the conclusion that it was some kind of personal attack, then the only thing I can derive from that is that said person is either self absorbed, or very insecure about themselves.

        As I said before, I can not control what people choose to take away from my work. And as long as the overall narrative is intended for a mature audience, it is going to include dark, adult themes. Themes which many people may not be comfortable with. And that's fine, I'm not going to demean and belittle them because they can't handle certain content. But this is the kind of content that I built the narrative around, and if it upsets them, then we should either discuss it before the game begins, so that we can make some adjustments if need be (fade to black is always a good option), or we can politely suggest that they go look for another game to join so that I don't have to hold up the rest of the group by retconning things in the middle of the story.
        Last edited by Nyrufa; 09-18-2019, 02:40 PM.

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        • Originally posted by LostLight View Post
          Having each person signing a contract of what cause them feel bad during a game and what doesn't feels, well, forced.
          It's not a contract... it's a questionnaire. You don't sign it, it's not meant to be immutable or legally binding. Another important thing? Green. It's also about what you want to see in the game, not just what you don't want to see in the game.

          And it might feel forced... but to an extent that's necessary. Lots of people have issues with their consent being violated in RPGs (just in terms of things like content and so on), the process of adding consent tools to work to reduce this is inherently artificial.

          Consider it something like speed limits, but without legal enforcement.

          For a long time, we didn't bother with speed limits (mostly because people couldn't go fast enough for it to matter). But we noticed a correlation between high speed and dangerous accidents. So we put up speed limits to say, "hey this road isn't very safe for going so fast." Even though in reality, speed limits are pretty conservative and an experienced and responsible driver could go in excess of them safely, it's better to encourage people to slow down rather than trust everyone is at that level of skill.

          In short, I don't think that having a checklist about "what subjects bother me and what doesn't" because it feel like it replaces a real, human interaction where players talk about subjects which bothers them.
          ...
          Talk with your group, don't force them to fill a piece of paper.
          Sorry for chopping this up, but I want to address the broader point first and some specifics second.

          The whole problem with this is asserting that writing things down, or using a form, isn't communication. It is. It might not be the totality of the conversation (the form directly has a section to remind you of that), but it's still communication.

          Not everyone is actually comfortable having open frank conversations about deeply person issues.

          Maybe this is because you're at a convention and this is a bunch of strangers and you don't want to talk about your phobia in detail.

          Maybe you're feeling socially awkward and unassertive and having the whole group there shuts you down and you don't speak up.

          Maybe you're feeling the social pressure to go with the flow and while everyone else is talking about how awesome X is, X is actually something you can't stand but you don't want to be the one to poo poo on the fun... so you don't say anything.

          Maybe, even if friends you've known for years, you have things you've never told them because they're traumatic and we've been conditioned by society to feel shame about them so we stuff them away instead of telling people.

          There are countless variations that come to the same point: "talk with your group," doesn't work, because it's not enough. Maybe the checklist isn't the right thing for your situation, but some other extra tool probably is. The ideal world were we can all just sit down and talk, trusting the situation to be safe for open conversations about any topic is a fantasy. A good fantasy we should strive to get to as close to as we can, but not reality. Reality is that we sit down to talk as a group, thinking - like economists assuming people are always sane and rational actors - everyone's going to say everything that needs to be said, and that the job is done, but lots didn't get said for a number of reasons.

          One method of communication doesn't work. If you really want to maximize people's openness to speak up? You need to give them options for engaging so they find one that's comfortable for them, even if it's not convenient or easy for everyone to put in that effort. Consent tools are just more methods of communication. A form is real human interaction. An X-card is talking with your group. Maybe, again, not the whole conversation, but dismissing these things as somehow "fake" communication is not healthy for increasing consent based practices.

          More than that, some players may discover that subjects that they did not mentioned in the checklist actually bothers them, while those they thought did were actually a way to deal with issues they couldn't have in real life.
          If consent cannot be given or revoked after the beginning of the activity, then there's no safe way to assume consent at all. The form is a starting point... just like sitting down and talking to people before the game starts is. It's not mean to be set in stone and unchangeable as things progress, any more than telling your group that you don't like clowns means you can't say, "Hey, I know clowns are really not my thing, but even I think it would be neat to put a clown in this, so yeah, lets have a clown in this scene and see how it goes."

          For example, one of my players took it really hard that I gave them a writing exercise in order to develop their characters, saying that I forced her to write against her will.
          Was, "the GM is allow to assign you writing homework," part of something you discussed as a group? Or just something you assumed is normal?

          I mean, this is kind of a consent 101 example here. With the power dynamics of GM to player, unless something like this is something you've made sure is explicit and clearly understood to be a power of the GM to do, you don't assign out-of-play work to people. It's not your job to force writing assignments on your players unless they actively agree to make it your job.

          It's extremely different to ask a player if they're interesting in a writing project for this purpose, than to actually assign it to them.

          I really don't think you've considered how creepy this story sounds. I'm going to put this in a different context for the purposes of illustration:

          "It's really hard to predict what women will get uncomfortable about. For example, one time I assigned my wife dish-washing duties to help her expand how she contributes to the household chores. She took it really hard and said I was forcing her to wash dishes against her will. I explained to her that I had no idea that she'd take it so hard, as she'd never said anything, and that text time if I tell her to do something she doesn't like, that she would please inform me."

          Does that.... sound like a GM that got caught of guard, or someone you'd call the cops on to report domestic abuse? Maybe it's fine. I know people where that's a negotiated part of the relationship (24/7 TPE is a thing, and more power to them if they consent to it). But it still sounds really messed up.

          I explained to her that I had no idea that she took it that hard, as she never said anything, and that next time if I tell her to do something she doesn't like, that she would please inform me about it.
          Not getting "no" is not the same as getting "yes." If she never said yes especially, assuming her not saying something was a yes is why we need consent education and tool.

          Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
          They are not meant to be an actual correlation to any existing peoples.
          It's ultimately not your decision to make.

          You don't get to retroactively eliminate all the negative associations something has just because you want to use it for a perfectly fine reason that has nothing to do with those associations. They exist, and they upset people, and no amount of what you mean will change that. You can't use the Confederate flag and say you don't want people to think about slavery and racism. It doesn't work that way. It doesn't matter that it's a neat design and you just want it because of that.

          Other people created the correlations before you got there. Ignoring it solves nothing. It's not actually the end of all possibilities, it just means making it work takes more effort.

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          • Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
            Who should I apologize to?
            Me for the whole dwarf mess wouldn't be a bad one if you sincerely meant it. Specifically the whole victim-blaming rant about how me pointing out the bigoted tropes Tolkien used made it somehow my fault that apparently you view the world in a more bigoted light just by knowing what bigots did to my people so you can avoid doing the same thing.

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            • Originally posted by LostLight View Post
              I mean, when asking a player to expand the backstory of their character could cause a player discomfort, I can't really see the use for such a checklist. Talk with your group, don't force them to fill a piece of paper. That's my opinion, at least.
              I generally agree. At the same time though, there are definitely situations where a piece of paper like this could be useful.

              First, some players might feel a little uncomfortable in talking with someone they don't know all that well, especially if they're worried about the ST or other players deciding to play "armchair psychologist," whereas they might be more willing to be upfront if it's just a matter of filling in a piece of paper. The paper creates a certain level of detachment which can be useful for players who might have trouble talking about stuff that they have problem with. It can give them "a place to start."

              A paper like this could also be really useful when dealing with players who are new to the table or even RPGs entirely. These players might not realize they need to (or even can!) mention to the ST which elements that could appear in a game would be problematic for them. At the very least, a paper like this wouldn't be a bad way to kickstart the conversation and get players more aware of the fact that they can give input on what sort of things they would prefer not to see in a game.

              Of course, like was mentioned, it's not a contract or anything and doesn't mean an ST can't include those elements. But if the ST does feel that it's necessary for to use those elements in his game, he will at least know that he needs to do so gingerly or more carefully to avoid harming the fun of the players.

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              • Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post

                Me for the whole dwarf mess wouldn't be a bad one if you sincerely meant it. Specifically the whole victim-blaming rant about how me pointing out the bigoted tropes Tolkien used made it somehow my fault that apparently you view the world in a more bigoted light just by knowing what bigots did to my people so you can avoid doing the same thing.

                Okay, my argument was never insinuating that Jews were responsible for the whole dwarf mess. What I was trying to get across to you is how ridiculous it was to draw attention to the fact that the negative aspects of dwarves should be stereotypes associated with your people. And for people like me, who didn't even recognize those were stereotypes, much less who they related to, your behavior seemed extremely counter productive to what you were trying to achieve.

                If you want people to stop viewing you in terms of negative stereotypes, then you allow those stereotypes to fade into obscurity. The news that somebody like me never even considered the idea that your people were greedy alcoholics should have been a cause for celebration, not outrage. But yet, you seem to be of the mindset that it's a good thing to keep these negative viewpoints fresh in people's minds, rather than allowing them to move beyond it. I mean for god sakes, you actually went out of your way to explain to me in detail why the public thinks Jews might have a drinking problem.

                And what does that get you? Nothing, beyond extending your people's suffering, by conditioning future generations to view them in the same manner that their ass hole parents did.

                What exactly are you asking me to apologize for? I'm sorry for not being antisemitic? Because that sure sounds like what you want me to say!

                Don't think that I am completely without sympathy. I too have been marginalized by bigoted hate groups throughout my life. Both in terms of my sexuality, as well as my mental capacity. I've suffered verbal, physical, emotional and even sexual abuse, just like several other people on these forums. I know how painful and infuriating that kind of bullshit can be, and I am intimately aware of how persistent the emotional scars can be. And I do not want to constantly revisit that pain, by drawing attention to it every time somebody does something remotely similar to what I had to suffer through.
                Last edited by Nyrufa; 09-18-2019, 04:07 PM.

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                • Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                  Because I'm not accepting responsibility.
                  Why not? “Whoops, my bad, that’s not what I going for at all” is not a hard thing to say. If anything it makes them much more receptive to you then explaining what you were going for and asking if they think they’re capable of thinking of it that way, which is clearly your preferred approach.

                  EDIT: If you really have to think of it as a white lie then go ahead, from a practical perspective the important part is that saying it is only going to help the situation even or especially if you follow up with “Here’s why I think we can make this work.”
                  Last edited by Sith_Happens; 09-18-2019, 04:33 PM.

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                  • When people aren’t aware of the ways certain groups are marginalized and oppressed, those oppressions can more easily fly under the radar. Better to take the “well I didn’t know that was a racist stereotype” excuse away from people.


                    Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

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                    • Originally posted by Sith_Happens View Post

                      Why not? “Whoops, my bad, that’s not what I going for at all” is not a hard thing to say. If anything it makes them much more receptive to you then explaining what you were going for and asking if they think they’re capable of thinking of it that way, which is clearly your preferred approach.

                      I did say that I wasn't going for that at all. Multiple times, and ad nauseam. Yet, they refused to accept that response and insisted up and down that my intentions didn't matter, as long as the damage was done. At this point, I have no idea what else I can say to convince them that I was not trying to be disrespectful, or aggressive towards anybody.
                      Last edited by Nyrufa; 09-18-2019, 04:40 PM.

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                      • Was talking about a hypothetical game, not this thread. It’s obviously too late to try the tactic in question here in this thread.

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                        • Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                          What I was trying to get across to you is how ridiculous it was to draw attention to the fact that the negative aspects of dwarves should be stereotypes associated with your people.
                          Right, you're blaming me (the victim of systemic long historied bigotry) for drawing your attention to stuff that bigots did. I didn't want fantasy dwarves coded as Jews. I didn't ask Tolkien to do that. He did that far before I was born. I don't want people to repeat his bigotry mindlessly. Your response is still to blame me for being the problem.

                          If you want people to stop viewing you in terms of negative stereotypes, then you allow those stereotypes to fade into obscurity.
                          Ignoring Nazis has never made Nazis go away.

                          Teaching people who believe Nazis are bad, what things Nazis use as code to disguise their bigotry helps people that think Nazis are bad to know what to look for to spot Nazis and help stop them.

                          You can't ignore negative stereotypes out of existence, because they are bad people actively keeping them going. So you have to inform all the people that aren't bad people what the bad people are doing, so they don't accidentally help the bad people.

                          Why is this so fucking hard to grasp?

                          But yet, you seem to be of the mindset that it's a good thing to keep these negative viewpoints fresh in people's minds, rather than allowing them to move beyond it.
                          People kill Jews because of those stereotypes. Not killed in the past, not something long gone to history. It's still happening. I can't "move beyond," people wanting to kill me because of bigoted nonsense. I have to defend myself against that, and that means I need good people to know what's going on to stand with me, not whine about how I'm harshing their buzz and how they'd like to play games while my life is on the line.

                          What exactly are you asking me to apologize for?
                          See above.

                          Don't think that I am completely without sympathy.
                          Demonstrate some then. Words about your own pain only show a lack of sympathy because you have no interest in helping others avoid it, just protecting yourself from feeling a sliver of it again.

                          Right now, if we were magically transported back in time to Nazi Germany, I 100% believe you'd out me as a Jew on the spot to save yourself. That's what you've said over multiple threads makes me think about your "sympathy" and commitment to being a good person to your fellow humans.

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                          • I feel like we've reached the point where the conversation has run it's course.


                            Sean K.I.W./Kelly R.A. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Sean, Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
                            The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
                            Male/neutral pronouns accepted, female pronouns enjoyed.

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                            • Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                              Well, according to what others have previously stated on this thread, a person's imagination is influenced by memories and real world experiences. And if that's the kind of thought process we're going by, then to me it sounds like it would be nigh impossible to include any degree of world building in a setting, because the cultures we design "have to come from somewhere" and chances are, that somewhere is derived from people who exist in real life.
                              You're missing a couple of factors here.

                              First, not everyone is equally offended by things. Like, there are people who are fine with dwarves being Jewish or orcs being "the least lovely Mongol-types." If that's the kind of world you want to build (and I know you're not going there, but I'm using an extreme example to demonstrate a principle), then find people who want to play in that world and have fun with it. The only problem comes when you take that out to people who are not the target audience and act like we should like it... well, that and any prods you might feel from your conscience, but that's on you to deal with.

                              Second, it is possible to draw inspiration from existing cultures in ways that are respectful, non-appropriative, and not racist. Like, take the movie Black Panther as an example. It draws from several different African cultures, but no one I know of felt it was racist because it was done with a sense of reverence, and an understanding that a culture is not a caricature.

                              Third, you're drawing a line at a very self-serving point. You seem to be wanting to be given credit for worldbuilding while ducking responsibility for any problematic implications of your attempts to worldbuild because your orcs don't mean anything, they're just cartoon cannibals. It sounds like you want to have your cake and eat it too, which... well, good luck squaring that circle.

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                              • Originally posted by JimB View Post
                                You're missing a couple of factors here.

                                First, not everyone is equally offended by things. Like, there are people who are fine with dwarves being Jewish or orcs being "the least lovely Mongol-types." If that's the kind of world you want to build (and I know you're not going there, but I'm using an extreme example to demonstrate a principle), then find people who want to play in that world and have fun with it. The only problem comes when you take that out to people who are not the target audience and act like we should like it... well, that and any prods you might feel from your conscience, but that's on you to deal with.

                                Second, it is possible to draw inspiration from existing cultures in ways that are respectful, non-appropriative, and not racist. Like, take the movie Black Panther as an example. It draws from several different African cultures, but no one I know of felt it was racist because it was done with a sense of reverence, and an understanding that a culture is not a caricature.

                                Third, you're drawing a line at a very self-serving point. You seem to be wanting to be given credit for worldbuilding while ducking responsibility for any problematic implications of your attempts to worldbuild because your orcs don't mean anything, they're just cartoon cannibals. It sounds like you want to have your cake and eat it too, which... well, good luck squaring that circle.
                                Yes, I know that not everybody is okay with the same things. And if that turns out to be the case, I would be perfectly willing to discuss it with the group so that we're all on the same page. To reiterate, the dark, mature themes are simply my default stance on a setting, and not something that I'm insistent on sticking to.

                                I never saw the Black Panther movie, but if it was anything like the comic book iteration, then I can only imagine it had at least some scenes which existed purely to hate on white people. As for Wakanda itself, don't let the futuristic,utopian paradise fool you. The Wakandans are ruthlessly jealous about the success of their culture to the point of completely isolating themselves from the rest of the world. Not only that, but they have lined their borders with frankly barbaric defense mechanisms. Like the Panther Jaws, which are giant bear traps that impale you through the chest with sharpened tree branches! And then they just leave the corpses out in the open as a warning to anyone else who tries to cross their borders uninvited.


                                But as I said, I don't know enough about other cultures to try a real take on portraying them in any kind of accurate realism. The similarities would be mostly aesthetic, with some mild inspiration. For example, I think the feudal Japanese architecture looks pretty neat. And if I'm not mistaken, there's an entire nation of Hobgoblins who seem to heavily resemble this kind of society? Hobgoblins dressed in samurai armor reminds me of this:



                                Which I think is a pretty cool idea in and of itself.

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