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  • WoD is it still ok in 2018.

    So I've been noticing a trend in the reaction to a lot of the coverage of the new V5 reboot of the WoD and it is something that has been weighing on my mind. Back in the 1990's I was in my teenage years and became aware of a RPG called Vampire the Masquerade. I was captured by the dark themes of the book and how it explored morality and religion. Reading the various books and supplements themes such as murder, insanity, domination and seduction were core concepts about what being a vampire is all about. At the time no one batted an eye and like myself seemed to be a major draw as people explored the metaplot and told stories in the WoD. The very concept of the WoD was up front about its core themes. This is a world where very bad things happen and its about how you deal with those things.

    Fast forward to 2018 and you have V5. Regardless of how the book has been received by the community the thing that I find most disturbing is how much back bending White Wolf has had to do to make sure they don't offend anyone's sensibilities. I consider myself fairly apolitical in most respects so things that have set people off like the neo Nazi controversy, the ways mental illness has had to be tip toed around, and various other ways the book pushes the moral decency of the setting and I began to think that perhaps in this age of hyper politicization and political correctness will the setting of the WoD continue to draw such heated criticism?

    I think WW response to this has been for the most part adequate and measured but the fact they are even having to address these issues worries me. Are we all so entrenched in our views of political leanings or social sensitivities that we cannot as a people handle a game that explores these topics? There have been much worse things than neo Nazi's discussed in previous editions of the games but they never brought the community to a standstill having to debate weather that was something the company has to apologize for.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Frontline989 View Post
    Regardless of how the book has been received by the community the thing that I find most disturbing is how much back bending White Wolf has had to do to make sure they don't offend anyone's sensibilities. I consider myself fairly apolitical in most respects so things that have set people off like the neo Nazi controversy, the ways mental illness has had to be tip toed around, and various other ways the book pushes the moral decency of the setting and I began to think that perhaps in this age of hyper politicization and political correctness will the setting of the WoD continue to draw such heated criticism?
    I don't think so. And I feel like the entire 'controversy' as of late was overblown in various degrees.
    Though, I also don't think White Wolf has had to do much back bending either.

    I think WW response to this has been for the most part adequate and measured but the fact they are even having to address these issues worries me. Are we all so entrenched in our views of political leanings or social sensitivities that we cannot as a people handle a game that explores these topics? There have been much worse things than neo Nazi's discussed in previous editions of the games but they never brought the community to a standstill having to debate weather that was something the company has to apologize for.
    I find the term 'brought the community to a standstill' a bit of an exaggeration as well.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Monalfie View Post
      I don't think so. And I feel like the entire 'controversy' as of late was overblown in various degrees.
      Though, I also don't think White Wolf has had to do much back bending either.

      I find the term 'brought the community to a standstill' a bit of an exaggeration as well.
      That's probably true. I apologize for that.

      You just never saw debates like these at all back in 1990 so if I was a bit hyperbolic its just in comparison to those days I suppose.

      Comment


      • #4
        Well, there is a difference between tip-toeing around an issue, and only exploring it broad, stereotypical strokes.

        The former is definitely a bad thing, if it closes down avenues of storytelling. The exception, of course, being if including a topic makes a work less fun for a significant portion of the readers, without helping the narrative.

        Let's say a writer has an idea for a group of elders and ancillae. They were slaveholders in the Old South and maintain entirely black herds and retainers, out a sick sense of nostalgia. They treat them in the same manner in 2018, as they did in 1860... at least as much as they can manage without the surrounding cultural milieu. The writer and editors would need to ask themselves, is this handled in a manner that examines the issues involved appropriately and maturely? Are all the characters involved portrayed as three-dimensional people with complex backstory and motivation? Will this be thought-provoking or just a cruel power fantasy? Is this just going to have shock value and turn off more readers than it entertains, or will it make people think about current issues and the way some things never change in an immortal society? Bottom-line, will it make the work better or worse? If the creators don't feel they can do it well, or if it turns out they haven't done it well, then it shouldn't be in a published work. Not because of "political correctness", but because bad writing shouldn't get published.

        Offending people or making people uncomfortable is sometimes unavoidable when telling a particular story. If you want to tell the story of a rapist in prison who becomes repentant and works to change the violent ways he interacts with the world, you may need to include graphic scenes of his original crimes, so the reader understands the character. This could be very uncomfortable for some people, for obvious reasons. It may, however, be necessary for the development of the story, so it's fair play.

        If a story can be told in such a way that discomfort is not caused, the story is still just as good, but the writer chooses to hurt some of their readers, anyway... well, what sort of person sits down at a keyboard and cackles with glee saying, "Hee-hee, I'm going to make my readers feel horrible when they read this! It isn't needed for the story, but maybe I'll even make them cry in pain. That's reason enough for me! Yay, pain!" as they start typing?

        That's not just bad writing, that's being a bad person.

        Stereotyping, however, is not just offensive to some people (though that would be reason enough to avoid doing it), it is lazy writing. A writer can create a character who is a cardboard cut-out of a stereotype quite easily. This is why many writers today are taught to use an exercise in which they take all their characters and ask, "If this character had different demographics, how would the story change?" This can reveal all sorts of unconscious bias (aka poor writing) in a work. Is every lazy black character or sex-obsessed gay character wrong to have in a work? No, there are lazy and sex-obsessed people in every group, and sometimes an individual happens to match a stereotype. A good writer, however, works to make sure every story element included is there because it is important to the story and the character, not just accidentally as a relic of the writer's personal biases.

        Comment


        • #5
          I can certainly agree with everything you've said. So I suppose the question is in your opinion has WW done anything that would qualify?

          Comment


          • #6
            Part of what makes Roleplay a great is the ability to live different points of view. In that sense, why not explore everything you're confortable to tackle and try to reach understanding about an issue?

            Otherwise, I'm sure they weighted long and hard the ethic and commercial standpoints on this issue before releasing. I'm not sure fans would take the leap from V20 if this edition was bleached out of anything that could be 'offensive' in the wrong hands.

            Comment


            • #7
              I think part of the issue boils down to the fact White Wolf is very much anti-fascist and anti-Nazi but its very much about being existential, nihilist, and edgy.

              Which a lot of liberals associate with the Far Right.

              Which is stupid because Punk is decidedly anti-right.

              There's a line in the back of the V5 that tells alt-right readers to take a hike."Vampire: The Masquerade is not a fascist-friendly game. If you are a neo-Nazi, "alt-righter", or whatever you’re calling yourself nowadays, we urge you to put this book down and call someone who you trust to talk about where you went so wrong in your life."
              Last edited by CTPhipps; 09-20-2018, 03:30 PM.


              Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                I think part of the issue boils down to the fact White Wolf is very much anti-fascist and anti-Nazi but its very much about being existential, nihilist, and edgy.

                Which a lot of liberals associate with the Far Right.

                Which is stupid because Punk is decidedly anti-right.

                There's a line in the back of the V5 that tells alt-right readers to take a hike."Vampire: The Masquerade is not a fascist-friendly game. If you are a neo-Nazi, "alt-righter", or whatever you’re calling yourself nowadays, we urge you to put this book down and call someone who you trust to talk about where you went so wrong in your life."
                While I can understand why from a PR standpoint a company would come out against a certain political leaning I do not understand how the game setting as a whole is aligned with any particular political ideology or conversely against. In a contemporary setting such as WoD cant any political group find representation in the WoD? They don't have to glorify it and I certainly think they shouldn't but you also cant act as if they don't exist.

                If I was a neo Nazi you really cant tell me I cant play your game. Its not up to you so to come out like that at all seem like nothing more than a PR move to ensure they are not saddled with the label as pro neo Nazi. Certainly a good move on their part but it sets a precedent. What about themes like slavery, rape, prejudice, or polygamy? Will they have to make statements in their book about those as well if they are mentioned in one of their supplements? If so they're going to be quite busy in the coming years putting out fires when someone gets offended.

                I hate to seem like I'm arguing the case for any of these disgusting ideologies I simply hate having to cater to every type of social sensibilities when trying to write stories about moral ambiguity.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Frontline989 View Post
                  Fast forward to 2018 and you have V5. Regardless of how the book has been received by the community the thing that I find most disturbing is how much back bending White Wolf has had to do to make sure they don't offend anyone's sensibilities. I consider myself fairly apolitical in most respects so things that have set people off like the neo Nazi controversy, the ways mental illness has had to be tip toed around, and various other ways the book pushes the moral decency of the setting and I began to think that perhaps in this age of hyper politicization and political correctness will the setting of the WoD continue to draw such heated criticism?
                  I think it's worthwhile to reexamine that line of thought: Is it that these people are just now offended or is it that we can only now hear them because social media and shifting attitudes in society have provided a platform and allies that lift them out of marginalization?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Cifer View Post
                    I think it's worthwhile to reexamine that line of thought: Is it that these people are just now offended or is it that we can only now hear them because social media and shifting attitudes in society have provided a platform and allies that lift them out of marginalization?
                    I can only offer anecdotal evidence but I was on the White Wolf forums throughout the 90's and if there were such criticism about the themes and topics of WoD books I cant recall them. If they were there it didn't seem to have negatively affected the popularity of WW. Their books were perhaps just behind D&D and GURPS from what I can recall of that time. It certainly never prompted WW to revise their core books to include a disclaimer after their initial print run as WW has been compelled to do.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Frontline989 View Post
                      What about themes like slavery, rape, prejudice, or polygamy? Will they have to make statements in their book about those as well if they are mentioned in one of their supplements? If so they're going to be quite busy in the coming years putting out fires when someone gets offended.
                      I'd say the issue was directly related to the rise of some conservative movements in the last several years, which is what led to the perception (imo) that some of them might be being encouraged in the writing (though, I still think the original complaint was dumb). I don't think we're going to have this same concern with other issues in general. I'm not worried about this slippery slope proposed.

                      I hate to seem like I'm arguing the case for any of these disgusting ideologies I simply hate having to cater to every type of social sensibilities when trying to write stories about moral ambiguity.
                      This is why I don't like the term political correctness. Telling actual people in the alt-right and NAZI's to fuck off isn't 'catering to every social sensibility' to me, it is just good practice.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Frontline989 View Post

                        While I can understand why from a PR standpoint a company would come out against a certain political leaning I do not understand how the game setting as a whole is aligned with any particular political ideology or conversely against. In a contemporary setting such as WoD cant any political group find representation in the WoD? They don't have to glorify it and I certainly think they shouldn't but you also cant act as if they don't exist.
                        Well if the game is about how the villains are racist evil old elders who keep down oppressed poor minority Kindred then it has a decided slant. This is also pretty much 1st and 5E Vampire: The Masquerade.

                        Why the Anarchs are the heroes of the game.

                        Basically, the game depicts slavery, racism, rape, and worse but it is in a manner that condemns these attitudes.

                        Originally posted by Frontline989 View Post

                        I can only offer anecdotal evidence but I was on the White Wolf forums throughout the 90's and if there were such criticism about the themes and topics of WoD books I cant recall them. If they were there it didn't seem to have negatively affected the popularity of WW. Their books were perhaps just behind D&D and GURPS from what I can recall of that time. It certainly never prompted WW to revise their core books to include a disclaimer after their initial print run as WW has been compelled to do.
                        Speaking from the 90s there were a bunch of issues discussed about the Technocracy vs. Traditions as well as their RL depictions.

                        1. Pro-Tradition: That it's really not a good idea to think the Technocracy is the "good guys" given they're literal fascists. They favor a paramilitary nationalist genocidal authoritarian state.

                        2. Pro-Technocracy; That the Traditions are a bunch of anti-science religious fanatics that oppose science. Basically, what we'd call the Taliban then and now ISIS.

                        In terms of vampire, the biggest RL issue was the fact Vampire: The Masquerade was very gay friendly and openly so unlike most media back then.

                        Annabelle, Critias, Fatima, and Lucita were all bisexual or gay characters when that was a very rare thing.

                        Werewolf: The Apocalypse had a serious problem with a Neo-Nazi fandom, though. The fact werewolves are misogynist, racist, purity obsessed warrior cultists pretty much made that inevitable, though.
                        Last edited by CTPhipps; 09-20-2018, 05:39 PM.


                        Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Frontline989 View Post
                          I can only offer anecdotal evidence but I was on the White Wolf forums throughout the 90's and if there were such criticism about the themes and topics of WoD books I cant recall them. If they were there it didn't seem to have negatively affected the popularity of WW. Their books were perhaps just behind D&D and GURPS from what I can recall of that time. It certainly never prompted WW to revise their core books to include a disclaimer after their initial print run as WW has been compelled to do.
                          As I said: Did people just not mind or did they think "oh hey, another set of media gets my illness completely wrong - toss it on the pile..."

                          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                          Werewolf: The Apocalypse had a serious problem with a Neo-Nazi fandom, though. The fact werewolves are misogynist, racist, purity obsessed warrior cultists pretty much made that inevitable, though.
                          I'll give you the rest, but... misogynist?
                          Last edited by Cifer; 09-20-2018, 05:44 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I think the thing is that Vampire probably has a bigger and more diverse following than many other roleplaying games, while the subject material is controversial by design. New editions also create controversy too, of course, while different people react to change in different ways. As such, a lot of these issues just stem from it. Vampire had empassioned arguments amongst gamers throughout the 1990s too, and they sold a lot of copies. My understanding is that V5 sold well at Gencon, and has been a highly anticipated game in wider gamer circles. It may be too soon to know it's retail sales yet, but it could be high. Oh, and I like it and I'm playing a campaign with my group shortly - so that is OK.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Cifer View Post
                              As I said: Did people just not mind or did they think "oh hey, another set of media gets my illness completely wrong - toss it on the pile..."

                              I'll give you the rest, but... misogynist?
                              It's a plot point that the Black Furies made their own tribe because they felt the rest of the Garou were hating on women.

                              Weirdly, I never actually used that element in my games because in a society with an 800 pound death machine as likely to be a woman as a man, I think they'd have equal rights pretty quickly.


                              Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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