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Author Topic: Extra Credits: “Evil Races are Bad Game Design”  (Read 3822 times)

Mishihari

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Re: Extra Credits: “Evil Races are Bad Game Design”
« Reply #30 on: April 05, 2021, 09:05:29 PM »
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Thought: Prof. Dubois from Starship Troopers would either be the best or worst person to play D&D with. 

I'd say probably best.  He would certainly be a team player.  I just read this book again, this time with my 13 year old son, and rather than losing relevance over the years like most books, it's becoming more and more relevant. 

Jaeger

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Re: Extra Credits: “Evil Races are Bad Game Design”
« Reply #31 on: April 05, 2021, 10:48:17 PM »

Extra Credits makes the claim that it’s totally okay to just kill anyone you happen across wearing a Nazi or KKK uniform. That’s actually pretty disturbing when you think about it.

Orcs can be redeemed.

Nazi's and KKK members are evil forever.

Because whiteness.

This is known.
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Charon's Little Helper

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Re: Extra Credits: “Evil Races are Bad Game Design”
« Reply #32 on: April 05, 2021, 10:50:05 PM »
Nazi's and KKK members are evil forever.

Especially since it wasn't as if Germany had a draft or anything...

SHARK

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Re: Extra Credits: “Evil Races are Bad Game Design”
« Reply #33 on: April 05, 2021, 11:54:16 PM »

Extra Credits makes the claim that it’s totally okay to just kill anyone you happen across wearing a Nazi or KKK uniform. That’s actually pretty disturbing when you think about it.

Orcs can be redeemed.

Nazi's and KKK members are evil forever.

Because whiteness.

This is known.

Greetings!

Hey there Jaeger! Your commentary reminded me of an associate I knew, many years ago. This man was a retired veteran, having served in the US Army for 25 years. He attended numerous game conventions, being involved in board games such as ASL and Rise and Decline of the Third Reich, and especially World War II miniatures wargaming. He had it all. Terrain, realistic French villages, American and German forces arrayed against each other during the Normandy Campaign, and beyond. He had giant magnifying glasses so you could see better the different soldiers, artillery, and armoured forces spread out on this huge table, turned into a life-like tactical battlefield.

He routinely wore the uniform of a German Wehrmacht Officer, with an Iron Cross at his throat, and usually a black eye-patch that gave him an unmistakable aura of being a Nazi villain. Of course, he was also highly educated, and a walking encyclopedia of knowledge and expertise on history and World War II--down to incredible levels of detail. He hosted these world War II miniatures wargames at every convention, with people coming from all over the country, to play in HIS wargame.

He was also a black American. ;D

It was fantastic fun playing games with him, he was an excellent gamer, and also an outstanding host when you joined him at his huge wargame table. A great American, too.

I sometimes wonder how he would be received nowadays at a game convention. ;D ;D

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
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ShieldWife

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Re: Extra Credits: “Evil Races are Bad Game Design”
« Reply #34 on: April 06, 2021, 12:22:55 AM »
Yeah, like I said about the mention of people in Nazi uniforms or KKK robes: these are people who see the world in an extremely black and white way. Those evil white racists are evil personified, inhuman as much as demons are, who can be killed without hesitation or remorse. Unlike orcs, who are people and shouldn’t be portrayed negatively in role playing games.

If an RPG is to touch on real world morality in any meaningful way, it should be as a reminder that morality is complex and nuanced. Of course, if you find yourself in a war, you’re not an evil person for shooting the enemy in front of you, but one of the greatest horrors of war is that all too often the typical fighter is a teenage boy who just thinks he is protecting his people and he’s forced to kill another teenage boy doing the same.

We might have a battlefield situation with a Nazi soldier on one side and a Soviet soldier on another, both are just 16 years old, both serving regimes that killed and oppressed millions, both basically good kids who really want to do what is right, serve their respective countries, and save the world from communism/fascism/capitalism. One will kill the other and it’s tragically a part of every war.

If we’re not just mowing down mooks to relieve stress, if role playing violence is to have real world significance, then it should remind us that our enemies aren’t monsters and that we aren’t saints. That, however isn’t how these sorts of people want to see morality, because they know that the villains of their narrative are monsters that should be destroyed by any means necessary.

thedungeondelver

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Re: Extra Credits: “Evil Races are Bad Game Design”
« Reply #35 on: April 06, 2021, 02:29:02 AM »
Quote
Thought: Prof. Dubois from Starship Troopers would either be the best or worst person to play D&D with. 

I'd say probably best.  He would certainly be a team player.  I just read this book again, this time with my 13 year old son, and rather than losing relevance over the years like most books, it's becoming more and more relevant.

I feel every day more and more like we're drifting towards the Crazy Years described by Heinlein in the early chapters of the book.
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Reckall

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Re: Extra Credits: “Evil Races are Bad Game Design”
« Reply #36 on: April 06, 2021, 04:53:38 AM »
Yeah, like I said about the mention of people in Nazi uniforms or KKK robes: these are people who see the world in an extremely black and white way.
It is not by chance that this is the whole fundament of the "Cancel Culture" movement.
For every idiot who denounces Ayn Rand as "intellectualism" there is an excellent DM who creates a "Bioshock" adventure.

Ghostmaker

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Re: Extra Credits: “Evil Races are Bad Game Design”
« Reply #37 on: April 06, 2021, 08:21:23 AM »
Greetings!

Hey there Jaeger! Your commentary reminded me of an associate I knew, many years ago. This man was a retired veteran, having served in the US Army for 25 years. He attended numerous game conventions, being involved in board games such as ASL and Rise and Decline of the Third Reich, and especially World War II miniatures wargaming. He had it all. Terrain, realistic French villages, American and German forces arrayed against each other during the Normandy Campaign, and beyond. He had giant magnifying glasses so you could see better the different soldiers, artillery, and armoured forces spread out on this huge table, turned into a life-like tactical battlefield.

He routinely wore the uniform of a German Wehrmacht Officer, with an Iron Cross at his throat, and usually a black eye-patch that gave him an unmistakable aura of being a Nazi villain. Of course, he was also highly educated, and a walking encyclopedia of knowledge and expertise on history and World War II--down to incredible levels of detail. He hosted these world War II miniatures wargames at every convention, with people coming from all over the country, to play in HIS wargame.

He was also a black American. ;D

It was fantastic fun playing games with him, he was an excellent gamer, and also an outstanding host when you joined him at his huge wargame table. A great American, too.

I sometimes wonder how he would be received nowadays at a game convention. ;D ;D

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
I would have paid hard cash to get a picture of that. Holy shit, the dissonance. :D

The Wehrmacht in general did not share the same malus that the SS divisions did (there were multiple reports of Allied forces, especially American ones, straight up refusing to let SS troops surrender). Surrendering Wehrmacht troops could expect to be treated roughly but fairly if they behaved.

It didn't hurt that the Feldgendarmie were hanging anyone who they suspected of harboring wishes to surrender.

Steven Mitchell

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Re: Extra Credits: “Evil Races are Bad Game Design”
« Reply #38 on: April 06, 2021, 09:04:05 AM »
Yeah, like I said about the mention of people in Nazi uniforms or KKK robes: these are people who see the world in an extremely black and white way. Those evil white racists are evil personified, inhuman as much as demons are, who can be killed without hesitation or remorse. Unlike orcs, who are people and shouldn’t be portrayed negatively in role playing games.

If an RPG is to touch on real world morality in any meaningful way, it should be as a reminder that morality is complex and nuanced. Of course, if you find yourself in a war, you’re not an evil person for shooting the enemy in front of you, but one of the greatest horrors of war is that all too often the typical fighter is a teenage boy who just thinks he is protecting his people and he’s forced to kill another teenage boy doing the same.

We might have a battlefield situation with a Nazi soldier on one side and a Soviet soldier on another, both are just 16 years old, both serving regimes that killed and oppressed millions, both basically good kids who really want to do what is right, serve their respective countries, and save the world from communism/fascism/capitalism. One will kill the other and it’s tragically a part of every war.

If we’re not just mowing down mooks to relieve stress, if role playing violence is to have real world significance, then it should remind us that our enemies aren’t monsters and that we aren’t saints. That, however isn’t how these sorts of people want to see morality, because they know that the villains of their narrative are monsters that should be destroyed by any means necessary.

I think the point is that those kind of decisions are largely setting concerns, not game system design.  Which I'm sure you know, just clarifying for discussion.  The possibility of having an "evil race" is not absolutely necessary but is so useful that for many games for the system to expressly excluded it is limiting the kind of setting and audience it will appeal to.  And of course, there are various degrees of 'evil race", too:  Demonic, no exceptions; "Members so biologically twisted that the chances of not being evil are too remote to worry about" (in a game design); "A culture marker for this is the way they are absent some good reason why not"; and so on from there.

In my campaign settings, I vary this quite a bit.  It's always part of the discussion with the players.  Sometimes they want more nuance.  Sometimes they want something they can just kill as part of a heroic adventure (while rescuing others, saving the day, etc.).  I make it a point to not just slide the dial universally one way or the other, too. 

As an example, in my last few campaigns, "kobolds" have been more neutral and true to their fuzzy mythological roots as I see them.  (Whether I've gotten that right or not is almost beside the point.)  They are an isolated people with strange habits and sometimes shunned, but not inherently hostile to civilized people.  Whereas to compensate, I've made goblins worse than normal, still using tools but almost feral in their attitudes.  They are the scorpions in the scorpion/frog fable, where stabbing you in the back is inherent in their very nature--even when it goes against their own interests.  The players start with only needing to know, "In this campaign, kobolds are isolated and sometimes shunned but people say you can deal.  Goblins want to torture, kill, and probably eat you."  The nuance comes later.

I've done this long enough now with the same players that sometimes I can even build on it to put in some misinformation in the basics.  Though it is not bait and switch.  As in, "As players, you may learn otherwise later, but here is what your characters think they know about other races."  Then I'm careful not to change too much or do a complete reversal.  The players know when I do that, most of what is in the information is mostly correct, and part of the fun of the campaign is learning the bits that aren't.

"No evil races" in the game design isn't nuance or sophistication or complexity.  It's dumb design to avoid facing setting issues.  It's also from the same people that in other contexts will say that "everything is shades of gray"--forgetting that "gray" implies the existence of black and white.  As soon as we talk about "gray", then that prompts the question, "Well, OK then, which parts are the white and which parts are black?"  Nuance is taking the different parts so that the GM understands exactly what shade of gray is present in this creature or culture or race in this setting at this moment.   


BoxCrayonTales

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Re: Extra Credits: “Evil Races are Bad Game Design”
« Reply #39 on: April 06, 2021, 10:34:30 AM »
Quote
Thought: Prof. Dubois from Starship Troopers would either be the best or worst person to play D&D with. 

I'd say probably best.  He would certainly be a team player.  I just read this book again, this time with my 13 year old son, and rather than losing relevance over the years like most books, it's becoming more and more relevant.

I've been watching the Roughnecks DVDs and enjoying them. There's even a roleplaying game published by Mongoose that you can buy on Drivethrurpg.

Ghostmaker

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Re: Extra Credits: “Evil Races are Bad Game Design”
« Reply #40 on: April 06, 2021, 11:10:34 AM »
I sure as fuck wouldn't try running any game with a serious ethical bent around DuBois. He'd probably tie me in knots psychologically and leave me wondering what the hell I was doing :)

No, it'd be lighthearted D&D goofiness all the way to take the edge off.

On a sidenote, while the Starship Troopers movies serve best as drink coasters, the Roughnecks animated series was quite good.

BoxCrayonTales

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Re: Extra Credits: “Evil Races are Bad Game Design”
« Reply #41 on: April 06, 2021, 12:02:50 PM »
On a sidenote, while the Starship Troopers movies serve best as drink coasters, the Roughnecks animated series was quite good.
It has the highest rating on IMDB in the franchise. Unfortunately, it’s extremely difficult to get a hold of. It’s not on any streaming service and the DVDs are OOP. The boxed set doesn’t include subtitles like individual releases did so if you’re hearing impaired like I am then it’s really difficult to hear what characters are saying unless you wear headphones (which are really inconvenient to setup on a TV).

The violence is bloodless and there isn’t any sexuality, so you can even watch it with your family. It’s the closest in spirit to the novel of all adaptations, but it focuses more on character building and tactics with barely any philosophy. The show was cancelled before all the planned episodes were produced, so the series ends on a cliffhanger.

The bugs gets a ton of new castes compared to the novel, making them unpredictable. At one point they’re explained as able to consume the genomes of other species to create new castes, like the tyranids or zerg they originally inspired. This keeps them unpredictable and plays into the monster of the week formula the show often uses.

It’s fun and wish it got a sequel or something.

GeekyBugle

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Re: Extra Credits: “Evil Races are Bad Game Design”
« Reply #42 on: April 06, 2021, 12:18:43 PM »
On a sidenote, while the Starship Troopers movies serve best as drink coasters, the Roughnecks animated series was quite good.
It has the highest rating on IMDB in the franchise. Unfortunately, it’s extremely difficult to get a hold of. It’s not on any streaming service and the DVDs are OOP. The boxed set doesn’t include subtitles like individual releases did so if you’re hearing impaired like I am then it’s really difficult to hear what characters are saying unless you wear headphones (which are really inconvenient to setup on a TV).

The violence is bloodless and there isn’t any sexuality, so you can even watch it with your family. It’s the closest in spirit to the novel of all adaptations, but it focuses more on character building and tactics with barely any philosophy. The show was cancelled before all the planned episodes were produced, so the series ends on a cliffhanger.

The bugs gets a ton of new castes compared to the novel, making them unpredictable. At one point they’re explained as able to consume the genomes of other species to create new castes, like the tyranids or zerg they originally inspired. This keeps them unpredictable and plays into the monster of the week formula the show often uses.

It’s fun and wish it got a sequel or something.

You'd need to watch in on a PC (or use it as the player) and have a player that allows external subtitles but here:

https://english-subtitles.net/20332-roughnecks-the-starship-troopers-chronicles.html
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Re: Extra Credits: “Evil Races are Bad Game Design”
« Reply #43 on: April 06, 2021, 12:29:23 PM »
So we all agree that Good races are good game design, right.
I don't want to play with you.

Omega

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Re: Extra Credits: “Evil Races are Bad Game Design”
« Reply #44 on: April 06, 2021, 01:05:25 PM »

I generally agree with Kyle here, which is what I've expressed in my own circles. Though a slight correction - there are people that worry about the feelings and culture of orcs. Mainstream games like World of Warcraft have them as player characters with interested communities, and mainstream films like Bright (2017) portray orcs as sometimes-positive characters. But even if someone accepts the specific case of orcs - the video is arguing that there should be no inherently evil monsters at all - even vampires and so forth.

As noted before. Non-Evil examples of probably every known monster out there has probably popped up in some TSR product.
Ones I can think of...
Non-evil Gnolls, Harpies, Orcs, Kobolds, At least two freaking good Mindflayer, demons, devils, arcanaloths, drow, Yuan-ti, nightmares, hellhounds, Nagpa, wererats, vampires, various undead from skeletons to spectres to mummies, and many more. Even one where Tiamat is not evil.
They also flipped this around and there have been evil silver and gold dragons, unicorns, pegasus, devas, pixies, faeries, and more. Especially if you add in WOTC depictions as they seem to love dropping in evil versions of normally good creatures.

The difference is TSR allowed these to co-exist and a DM could use or not as they pleased. WOkeTC on the other hand clubs you over the head like a baby seal with the agenda club.