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Author Topic: Disabilities and Fantasy or SF Workarounds  (Read 1821 times)

Omega

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Disabilities and Fantasy or SF Workarounds
« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2020, 07:30:30 AM »
Quote from: BoxCrayonTales;1146299
With regard to "curing" disabilities... (I'm legally disabled myself btw)

Some disabled people find the concept of curing disabilities to be offensive because of the implication that disabled lives aren't worth living. (This has been used as justification by doctors to let disabled people die of Covid, so it is a real and actively dangerous social problem. So I would rather not contribute to it in any way because I don't want some asshole doctor consigning me to death for not meeting his ableist standards.)

I've been wondering different ways of balancing this line between representing disabled characters without devaluing their lived experiences as disabled people.

One possibility I've seen is that the disabled character shares their body with someone or something else that compensates for them. A robotic chip, an alien symbiote, a suit of powered armor, etc.

What do you think?

How does wanting a cure or workaround for being disabled make a persons life not worth living? Ive run into these nuts decades ago and seen them resurface recently preaching the same damn thing. "Accept! Embrace your Crippledness! Cures are Bad! Wanting to live a normal life is BAD!"

It makes the rest of us look like unreasoning nutcases.

Omega

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« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2020, 07:59:47 AM »
Quote from: Shasarak;1146310
I think, who are the illegally disabled?

The better term might be "recognized disabled". And the level of disability to be recognized varies from place to place. This I and others have unfortunately run into. But thats a subject for elsewhere.

In a fantasy setting though I'd think that being "legally disabled" would see alot of variance as well as most people would just eyeball it and make a call and go with that. Or help or not as they deem. Which is pretty much how people act for real.

Last year was at a store and there was a fellow in a wheelchair asking for help. Problem was due to breathing problems his voice was so low I couldnt understand him and eventually someone else was able to help. I still feel bad about that despite there being nothing could do.

Which brings up an odd situation that can come up in a campaign. Where you have either two incompatible disabilities in different characters, or two compatible ones. A mute character who can only talk in sign language is going to have a hard time communicating with a blind one. Or nigh impossible if the character is deaf and mute. On the flip side a blind and a deaf character might make a viable team if they are good at co-ordinating with eachother.

Years ago I saw this martial arts movie that had a pair of severely deformed characters who were surprisingly good martial artists and co-ordinated really well. A man with no arms teaming with a man with no legs. Crippled Masters if you can ever find it.

Ghostmaker

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« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2020, 07:59:54 AM »
Quote from: Shasarak;1146310
I think, who are the illegally disabled?

*chuckles*

'Legally disabled' is a legal finding that you are suffering some form of disability to an extent that it limits your rights and responsibilities. People who are 'legally blind' for example cannot obtain a motor vehicle operation license.

It's not a criminal or moral finding, it's just a straight up acknowledgement that you're below a minimum threshold.

Omega

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« Reply #18 on: August 25, 2020, 08:11:16 AM »
Quote from: Stephen Tannhauser;1146338
One of the most important things that should be mentioned for any and all workarounds is this: In the context of an adventuring game, they have to be temporary and conditional. In other words, the possibility of the PC losing the workaround has to be real and everpresent (if not necessarily all that high on an encounter-by-encounter basis), and even if the workaround fully alleviates the penalties that would normally come with an impairment, the workaround itself has to require a little more time, attention and effort to manage than a character who doesn't need it must spend. The drama then becomes not about how the PC overcomes the impairment, but the tension of whether he will have to in any given event/encounter.

For mundane physical prosthetics it's easy enough to throw a lost pair of glasses or a broken chair at the PC.  Magical or superscience workarounds should work their conditionality, whatever it is, into the backstory of both the workaround and the character (as with my demonic armour that lets a paralyzed warrior fight again, but won't let him enter a church, to quote myself from another thread).

Exactly. Any workaround that isnt like grafted onto the character can be lost in one way or another. Conveyances stolen or broken. Or just the character knocked off them or tipped over. This could prove a real problem depending on how easy or not it is to get righted again. Having your seeing orb or familliar killed or just bagged is another. Strap on prosthetics can be pulled off. Or damaged. And grafted on prosthetics can be damaged as well. Or severed.

And even magically generated prosthetics can be negated by anti magic zones or dispel magic even depending on the type and system.

I think though you dont really need rules for this as it "should" be a common assumption that these tools can be lost just like any other.

VisionStorm

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« Reply #19 on: August 25, 2020, 11:02:51 AM »
People who take offense to the notion of having their disabilities cured have two disabilities: the one they need cured, and the one that prevents them from wanting to be cured.

And don't make special accommodations for nor enable willful idiots. ;)

GeekyBugle

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« Reply #20 on: August 25, 2020, 11:30:28 AM »
Quote from: jhkim;1146339
Is this for game balance reasons, or for dramatic tension reasons?

When I think of fictional examples, they often don't have a significant downside. For example, in Star Trek, Geordi's visor is rarely a source of dramatic tension. It's just a special ability of his that is quite reliable. Likewise, Daredevil's blindness is rarely a weakness for him - it's more often a strength, as he isn't blinded by flashes or fooled by visual illusions.

On the one hand, I think it can be great to have drama over a workaround. When I ran a game based on the TV series Alphas, I thought the downsides of each PC were a frequent source of tensions and they made for great drama. On the other hand, I'm hesitant to say that this sort of drama should be required. I've had a lot of games that were plenty of fun without that sort of drama.

And yet Geordi's visor got lost or broken in at least one episode. And was the source for drama in several episodes in other ways.

Let's see, a seeing character can get blinded, but a blind character with some sort of workaround shouldn't loose said workaround because... Reasons?
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GeekyBugle

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« Reply #21 on: August 25, 2020, 11:32:31 AM »
Quote from: VisionStorm;1146371
People who take offense to the notion of having their disabilities cured have two disabilities: the one they need cured, and the one that prevents them from wanting to be cured.

And don't make special accommodations for nor enable willful idiots. ;)

Agreed, were they able to cure Asperger's I would jump at the chance, and I'm high functioning. I can't imagine what life is like for those with severe cases of autism.
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jhkim

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« Reply #22 on: August 25, 2020, 12:33:15 PM »
Quote from: GeekyBugle;1146373
And yet Geordi's visor got lost or broken in at least one episode. And was the source for drama in several episodes in other ways.

Let's see, a seeing character can get blinded, but a blind character with some sort of workaround shouldn't loose said workaround because... Reasons?
That's not what I said. It's possible for either Spock to be blinded (as he was) or for Geordi to be blinded (as he was). Spock can be blinded, but his sight isn't treated as "temporary and conditional". Geordi can lose his vision, but then, there are many things that would blind a seeing person would not affect Geordi (including how Spock lost his vision).

Logically, it depends on the specifics of the workaround. Some workarounds are inherent, like Daredevil's super-senses. Some are cybernetically implanted. Some are external devices. A given workaround might be easier or harder to disable than typical human abilities.

BoxCrayonTales

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« Reply #23 on: August 25, 2020, 12:59:57 PM »
Quote from: GeekyBugle;1146374
Agreed, were they able to cure Asperger's I would jump at the chance, and I'm high functioning. I can't imagine what life is like for those with severe cases of autism.

It's more complicated than that, I'm afraid.

You don't speak for all disabled people. Some disabled people take pride in their lives.

Society views people with disabilities as being less deserving of life, which is ableism. There are numerous accounts of disabled people being murdered (or allowed to die when they could be saved) under the justification that their disabled life wasn't worth living. Especially filicide. That's a viewpoint which presents a real and ever present danger to disabled people.

We don't currently have the means to meaningfully treat the overwhelming majority of disabilities, much less sell miracle cures, so trying to force a non-existent cure on disabled people is counterproductive anyway. When we can regenerate whole limbs and functional nervous systems, then we can worry about the ethics of trying to force disabled people to be cured of their disabilities.

Real life is more complicated than "disabled people should be cured."

GeekyBugle

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« Reply #24 on: August 25, 2020, 01:48:55 PM »
Quote from: BoxCrayonTales;1146384
It's more complicated than that, I'm afraid.

You don't speak for all disabled people. Some disabled people take pride in their lives.

Society views people with disabilities as being less deserving of life, which is ableism. There are numerous accounts of disabled people being murdered (or allowed to die when they could be saved) under the justification that their disabled life wasn't worth living. Especially filicide. That's a viewpoint which presents a real and ever present danger to disabled people.

We don't currently have the means to meaningfully treat the overwhelming majority of disabilities, much less sell miracle cures, so trying to force a non-existent cure on disabled people is counterproductive anyway. When we can regenerate whole limbs and functional nervous systems, then we can worry about the ethics of trying to force disabled people to be cured of their disabilities.

Real life is more complicated than "disabled people should be cured."

Nice strawman, think you can beat it?

Edited to add:

But you speak for all disabled people?
« Last Edit: August 25, 2020, 02:08:43 PM by GeekyBugle »
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BoxCrayonTales

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« Reply #25 on: August 25, 2020, 04:49:05 PM »
Quote from: GeekyBugle;1146388
Nice strawman, think you can beat it?

Edited to add:

But you speak for all disabled people?


I wasn't trying to attack you. I'm sorry if you felt attacked.

Stephen Tannhauser

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« Reply #26 on: August 25, 2020, 04:55:13 PM »
Quote from: jhkim;1146339
Is this for game balance reasons, or for dramatic tension reasons?


I'd say both, to a degree, although more the former than the latter.
 
One of the things I discovered with designing my current project was that making certain disadvantages into Plot Hooks -- personal obstacles that gave experience points during the game when encountered, rather than upfront when taken -- worked better for some problems than for others: drawbacks like Nemesis, Secret, Ostracism and so on made good Plot Hooks because they were inherently story-related and had many different dramatic variations, but making Bad Sight or other physical impairments into Plot Hooks was ultimately just boring, because you can only lose your glasses so many times in a key encounter before it gets dull.

(The reverse of this might be called the "Kryptonite Problem": when your otherwise-unstoppable hero has one major weakness, it shows up in the stories a lot more often than the in-setting fluff suggests it should, because otherwise you have no drama for your hero.)

So perhaps here we have one of the major distinctions: If an impairment workaround is being used primarily for game purposes, the primary tension is over whether the workaround will be un-available in a given encounter. If it's being used primarily for dramatic purposes, the primary tension is over the exceptional requirements imposed on the PC when the workaround is available.
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GeekyBugle

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« Reply #27 on: August 25, 2020, 05:08:19 PM »
Quote from: BoxCrayonTales;1146419
I wasn't trying to attack you. I'm sorry if you felt attacked.

Another strawman, I didn't said anything about anyone attacking anyone.

Just like I didn't said anything about speaking for others among other stuff you answered to in you anterior strawman.

Back to the gaming theme: IMHO and IME disabled people do not play themselves, just like everyone else.

And a good workaround to any disability in game needs to be believable in game, make sense in game and do not turn the PC into a superhero (unless you're playing superheroes). And as mentioned elsewhere the workaround has to be susceptible of damage just like any part of the PC or it's equipment.
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LiferGamer

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« Reply #28 on: August 25, 2020, 10:05:33 PM »
Again OSR/D&D type games are just the wrong format for it, I'll fall back on gurps here - if it isn't worth points it's neither an advantage or a disadvantage and therefore it's as important as the color of the characters hair.
In other words it's just that look at me I'm special.
Your Forgotten Realms was my first The Last Jedi.

If the party is gonna die, they want to be riding and blasting/hacking away at a separate one of Tiamat's heads as she plummets towards earth with broken wings while Solars and Planars sing.

Omega

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« Reply #29 on: August 25, 2020, 11:30:11 PM »
Quote from: VisionStorm;1146371
People who take offense to the notion of having their disabilities cured have two disabilities: the one they need cured, and the one that prevents them from wanting to be cured.

And don't make special accommodations for nor enable willful idiots. ;)


Yeah. By these nuts "logic" then no one should wear glasses, or hearing aids. Get thee rid of thine offending wheelchair of ableistness! Sorry, no pacemaker for you. Embrace your impending death! Depressed? No meds for you. Be happy you are depressed!